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Why an Independent Agent?

December 3rd, 2015 | Comments Off on Why an Independent Agent? | Posted in Hedda's Hints

Benefits of Choosing an Independent Insurance Agent

shutterstock_264602657Every day you are faced with numerous ads about insurance. A talking lizard says buy direct from him. Another ad tells you you’re in good hands if you buy direct. There are so many insurance ads that it’s hard to know what’s best way to buy insurance. That’s why you need an independent insurance agent.

Buying insurance is not like buying most anything else. It’s about properly protecting your car, your home, your business against unforeseen future risks. Maybe one insurance company can’t take care of all your insurance needs. Maybe you don’t even know for sure what kind of insurance you need to pro-tect your family and you.

Who Are Independent Agents?

Independent insurance agents represent a number of different insurance companies and can quote a wide range of insurance products. An independent agent has the opportunity to study different carri-ers in an effort to best match price and coverage for your needs. And if a carrier is competitive one year but not the next, your independent agent can help you find a different company. That is why they are called independent.

Independent insurance agents own their own businesses and are in Everytown, USA. They are part of your community; they are members of local organizations; they support local charities and they are trusted advisors. They work on your behalf and educate you on the insurance you need to consider.

The Difference between Independent Agents and Others

When you are shopping for insurance, it’s important to have choices. You only have one choice when you purchase from agents who represent just one insurance company. Agents who represent only one insurance company are sometimes called ‘captive’ agents. Online direct insurance companies sell di-rect to you without even using an agent, in most cases.
An independent agent is not beholden to any particular insurance company and is your independent advocate. An independent agent can provide you with multiple quotes from multiple carriers for you to choose from. Just think who you would want to represent you should have a claim.

Reasons to Choose an Independent Insurance Agent

Independent insurance agents are trained to be your trusted advisers who understand risk and can offer you choices.

They are licensed professionals who must pass rigorous tests and take continuing education classes.

Most independent agents are small-business owners or work for local agencies in your community.

Independent agents are focused on you, the customer. Their business depends on it. And you can de-pend on them to be there with you if you need to file a claim.

Because independent agents represent many insurance companies, they are trained in many products, they know the marketplace, and they know which insurance company is competitive at any point in time to best match price, product and service for you.
If a carrier decides to cancel your policy, an independent agent can and will help you find another insur-ance company they represent.

Independent Agents Are Here to Help You

Smith Insurance is here to help you with all your insurance needs. Customer satisfaction is important to our success. We work with you to find you the best coverage at the most competitive rates. Please feel free to call us with any of questions about your insurance, from home and auto to business and recrea-tional vehicles.

6 Tips for Winter Driving

December 3rd, 2015 | Comments Off on 6 Tips for Winter Driving | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Safety Focused Newsletter December 2015

Best Shopping Apps to Compare

December 3rd, 2015 | Comments Off on Best Shopping Apps to Compare | Posted in Apps

The 11 Best Shopping Apps to Compare Prices

shutterstock_232714435While contestants on The Price is Right might be able to guess the price of pretty much any item within pennies, in the real world, price-comparison apps do the work for you.

These services let you know if the item before you is a deal or no deal before you make a costly mistake. When standing before a shelf of rapidly selling must-have gifts, there’s no need to phone a friend frantically to make sure you’re getting the lowest price possible; your phone can tell you.

It’s a welcome relief since at this time of year stores are filled with enough flashing lights and screaming crowds to turn a holiday shopping trip into a full-on family feud right there in the mall.

For the past few holiday seasons, these apps have been saving shoppers the trouble of searching for a deal online before driving to local stores to see if they can beat it. There are apps to help the tech-deficient choose a gift for the tech-addicted, lighten the load of loyalty cards, predict prices and product releases to minimize buyer’s (and receiver’s) remorse, and offer up rewards.

Price-comparison apps merely need to snap a barcode and perform a search to turn out all of the above, making the marketplace crowded. Because we don’t want you to start your holiday shopping panic before you’ve even left an app store, PCMag has found the 14 best apps out there.

Click To View Slideshow »

Displays to Brighten Up Your Night

December 3rd, 2015 | Comments Off on Displays to Brighten Up Your Night | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

Daylight savings may be a bummer (sunsets at 4:55 pm…really?!). But look on the bright side—with it getting dark earlier, holiday light displays can be enjoyed without interrupting kiddo’s bedtime. Grab your coats and some hot chocolate, and head out to ooh and aah at one of these spectacular light displays.

Bull Run Festival of Lights

Sit back, but don’t relax too much! You just might miss the featured penguins, snowmen, candy canes, jumping deer, Santa’s workshop, tin soldiers, and elves that pepper this 2.5-mile drive-through light show. The fun doesn’t stop with the impressive 40,000 animated lights that flit and flicker to music—after your car ride take a stroll through the park’s Winter Wonderland Holiday Village brought to life with rides, an ice rink, shopping, and food.

When: Daily from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm (Now-Jan. 3)
Cost: $15-$25 per car

7700 Bull Run Dr. (Centreville, Va)
Online: bullrunfestivaloflights.com

Annmarie Garden in Lights

This walkthrough is packed with a smorgasbord of holiday lights, statues and figures (think: unicorns, dinosaurs, and princesses). Stroll the path with your little ones, and be sure to keep those eyes peeled for seven shamrocks, which is part of the Holiday “I Spy” program. Afterwards check out the garden’s Ornament Show and Sale and decompress from all of the excitement with a hot cocoa from the on-grounds cafe.

When: Daily for 6 pm-9 pm (Dec. 5-Jan. 2)
Cost: $6; Free/kids under 4

13480 Dowell Rd. (Solomons, Md)
Online: annmariegarden.org

Christmas Street, Baltimore

On 34th St. in Baltimore, every single house strings up lights…and puts up holiday signs and inflates huge snowglobes. Even more impressive is that this festive nabe has been spreading Christmas cheer for over 60 years! Park your car and let the kiddos explore so they won’t miss a single detail. Some houses are even decorated on the inside and open their doors for house tours.

When: Daily from dusk to 11 pm (Nov. 28-Jan 1)
Cost: Free

700 block of 34th St., between Keswick Rd. and Chestnut St. (Baltimore, Md)
Online: christmasstreet.com

Winter Light Festival, Seneca Creek State Park

Fill’r up if you plan on checking out the light display at Seneca Creek State Park in Germantown, Md—this is a holiday strip that you can enjoy from the warmth of your car. The intricately lit animated displays that you’ll spot on your ride include elves at work in Santa’s workshop, penguins sliding down snowcaps belly first, and a flock of birds flying over the lake. Make sure your brood looks out all sides of the car—front, back, left, and right—so they don’t miss a single thing! Bonus: This year, the park is offering special prism viewing glasses (for passengers only) that bring the displays to life.

When: Sun-Thurs, 6 pm-9 pm; Fri-Sat, 6 pm-10 pm (Nov. 27-Dec. 31)
Cost: $12/car, Mon-Thurs; $15/car, Fri-Sun

11950 Clopper Rd. (Gaithersburg, Md)
Online: gaithersburgmd.gov

Festival of Lights, Mormon Temple of D.C.

You’ve probably seen it a thousand times going west on the Beltway, north of Silver Spring. It’s big, it’s white, and has been there forever. But did you know that the Mormon Temple of D.C. has been covering their grounds with over 600,000 lights each year for over 40 years? The Festival of Lights also offers a life-sized nativity and free live musical performances at 6 pm, 7 pm and 8 pm most nights, including Christmas and New Year’s Day.

When: Daily from dusk to 10 pm (Dec. 3-Jan.1)
Cost: Free

9900 Stoneybrook Dr. (Kensington, Md)
Online: dctemplelights.lds.org

The Bishop’s House, North Portal Estates

If you can’t make the trek to 34th Street in Baltimore, check out the Bishop’s House in D.C. (yes, a real bishop—Bishop C.M. Bailey—lives here!). It may be just one house, but this one house is covered in over 500,000 lights. FYI: The typical D.C. house uses just 500 lights. Kids will love hearing the holiday music booming from this abode. Make sure to check out all the nooks and crannies in this display. Bonus points if you can spot the rocking horse and jack-in-the-box!

When: dusk to dawn (early Dec.-early Jan.)
Cost: Free

1665 N. Portal Dr., NW (Rock Creek Park)

Meadowlark Gardens Christmas Lights

Get in a bit of cardio while taking in the lights at this half-mile winter walking tour that includes 500,000 LED lights and a ton of cool animated displays (think: a bubbling stream, jumping fish, and darting dragonflies). There’s also a Gingerbread Village on tap.

When: 5:30 pm-10 pm (through Jan. 3)
Cost: $13/adults; $9

9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct. (Vienna, Va)
Online: winterwalkoflights.com

Source: redtri.com

Best Places to Ice Skate Outdoors

December 3rd, 2015 | Comments Off on Best Places to Ice Skate Outdoors | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

Ice on sidewalks? Pass. Ice rinks? Yes, please. Especially if they’re under snowfall or along the Potomac River. Check out eight awesome D.C.-area rinks in this round-up that’ll have the tykes gliding and spinning.

Silver Spring Ice Skating at Veterans Plaza

Right in the heart of downtown Silver Spring, this rink is a perfect break (or excuse) from running errands. With fun music playing and tons of families, cross “ice skating outdoors” off your winter bucket list today. Don’t forget to look up at the colored LED lights above! There are even double-blade skates for the tiny toddlers! Tip: Parking is free after 8 pm on weeknights and free all weekend!

8523 Fenton St. (Silver Spring, Md)
Open: Mon.–Thu.,12 pm–10 pm; Fri., 12 pm–12 am; Sat., 10 am–12 am; Sun.,
10 am–10 pm
Cost: 2 hour sessions – $9/adults; $8/kids under 12; $4/skate rental
Online: silverspringiceskating.com

Harris Pavilion

There’s no time limit on skate sessions at this rink in Old town Manassas, so the kids can twirl, whirl, and zip around until their toes go numb. Insider tip: If junior is into this ice skating thing, sneak away and snag him a skating gift certificate; it makes for a sweet stocking stuffer. After skating is done, check out the Opera House for amazing chocolate, or the toy attic at the Whismical Galerie next door.

Open: Mon.-Thurs., 3 pm-8 pm; Fri., 3 pm-10 pm ; Sat., 12 pm-10 pm; Sun., 12 pm-5 pm
Cost: $8/adults; $7/kids under 10; $4/skate rental
9201 Center St. (Manassas, Va)
Online: harrispavilion.com

Ice Rink at Canal Park

Make skatin’ next to the river your “thing” this winter – along the Potomac at The Washington Harbour Ice Rink, and near the Anacostia at the Canal Park Ice Rink. Stop by Tuesdays, 4 pm–6 pm, for 2-for-1 admission. Mark your calendars for December 5th-6th for PARCEL Market setting up shop around the rink. Think holiday flea market but cooler, featuring local art, music, food, and crafts. Weekly events feature Cartoon Skate (Saturdays, 11 am–1 pm) and Rock and Skate (Fridays, 7 pm–9 pm). Check the events calendar for more details.

202 M St., SE
Open: Mon. & Tue., 12 pm–7 pm; Wed., 12 pm–9 pm; Thur. & Fri., 12 pm–9 pm; Sat., 11 am–10 pm; Sun., 11 am–7 pm
Cost: Skate as long as you like – $9/adults; $8/kids under 12; $4/skate rental; Classes – $140 for (6) 30 minute sessions
Online: canalparkdc.org

Pentagon Row Ice Rink

This recently expanded rink is now the largest one in NoVa and the second largest in the state! And when you’re dizzy from spinning (on the ice), get a warm cup of cocoa and sit down by the fireplace. Can’t wait for the snow to arrive? Then stop by between December 7th and January 1st, 6:30 pm–8:30 pm for Snow on the Row, where flakes fall on cue! For giddy gliders needing more assistance, ask for a Penguin Skating Aid at the kiosk.

1201 South Joyce St. (Arlington, Va)
Open: Mon.–Wed., 12 pm–10 pm; Thu., 12 pm–7 pm; Fri., 12 pm–11 pm; Sat., 10 am–11pm; Sun., 10 am–7 pm
Cost: 2 hour sessions – $9/adults; $8/kids under 12; $4/skate rental; Classes – starting at $95
Online: pentagonrowskating.com

The Washington Harbour Ice Rink

Glide right alongside the Potomac River and across from the beautiful Teddy Roosevelt Island at D.C.’s largest outdoor rink. Stop by Tuesdays, 4 pm–6 pm, for 2-for-1 admission. For the skate crew that still digs big friendly mascots, join ‘em on the ice Saturdays, 10 am–12 pm, for Cartoon Skate. Older kiddies will love Rock and Skate on Saturdays, 8 pm–10 pm, for games and prizes! Helmets and Penguin Skating Aids available for free!

3050 K St., NW
Open: Mon. & Tue.,12 pm–7 pm; Wed. & Thu., 12 pm–9 pm; Fri., 12 pm–10 pm; Sat., 10 am–10 pm; Sun., 10 am–7 pm
Cost: Skate as long as you like – $10/adults; $9/kids under 12; $5/skate rental; Classes $175 for (6) 30 min sessions
Online: thewashingtonharbour.com

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink

There aren’t many places where the pint-sized pirouetters can make their skating rounds amidst beautiful sculptures and topiaries. If the grown-ups don’t want to slice the ice, they can grab a warm drink from the cafe next door while supervising their brood from the sidelines. If it’s the first time for the tots on ice, consider taking the Mom/Dad & Me or Snowplow Sam classes aimed at the 3-6 year old crowd.

6th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
Open: Mon.–Thurs.,10 am–9 pm; Fri., 10 am–11 pm; Sat., 11 am–11 pm; Sun., 11 am–9 pm
Cost: 2 hour sessions – $8.50/adults; $7.50/kids under 12; $3/skate rental; Classes – $145 for (5) 30 min sessions
Online: nga.gov

Rockville Skating at the Square

Grab a bite to eat at any one of the restaurants that line the square, then head to the ice to burn-off some energy! Kiddos also love watching the Zamboni freshen-up the ice. Parental Patrol can surmise the reasoning behind the Zamboni’s quirky cleanup pattern. Tip: Park in the garage, then get your ticket validated at the library (right next to the skate rental) for 2 hours of free parking.

131 Gibbs St. (Rockville, Md)
Open: Mon.–Thu.,12 pm–10 pm; Fri., 12 pm–11 pm; Sat., 10 am–11 pm; Sun., 10 am–10 pm
Cost: 2 hour sessions – $9/adults; $8/kids under 12; $4/skate rental; Classes – starting at $95
Online: rockvilleiceskating.com

Reston Town Center Skating

This covered, open-air rink is perfect when the weather isn’t cooperating (go figure!) but the troops still want to be outside. There are even double-blade skates for the tiny toddlers and classes that start at 2 ½ years old. Instead of watching Saturday morning cartoons, join ‘em on the ice Saturdays, 11 am–1 pm, for Cartoon Skate. Night-owls will dig Rock and Skate on Fridays, 8 pm–10 pm, for games and prizes!

1818 Discovery St. (Reston, Va)
Open: Sun.–Tue., 11 am–7 pm; Wed. & Thu., 11 am–10 pm; Fri. & Sat., 11 am–11 pm
Cost: Skate as long as you like – $10/adults; $9/kids under 12; $5/skate rental; Classes start at $30 (drop-in) and $120 for 4 sessions
Online: restontowncenter.com

Source: redtri.com