TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2020
Many homeowners don’t recognize the plumbing leak risk that lies in plain sight within their home or condo: water supply lines.
It has become common to connect a home’s water to appliances using flexible water supply hoses. They are used not only for water connections to washing machines, but also for toilets, sinks, air conditioning cooling water, water softeners and many other appliances and fixtures. To make this issue more personal and relevant, ask yourself: “When is the last time I inspected my water supply lines?”
Every hose in a home or condo is at risk of failure that could lead to extensive water damage. Considering that a typical home has at least three hoses per bathroom (two under the sink and one under the toilet) and two in the laundry room, it is clear the possibility for loss exists in even the most modest homes. Regardless of design or materials, all hoses will deteriorate over time and fail.
Make regular inspection of the water supply lines a key part of routine home maintenance. If there is any outward sign of corrosion, excessive wear and tear or bulging, replace the supply line immediately.
- All hoses used in the home should be replaced every five years at a minimum
- Replacing them all at the same time makes it easier to track the age of all the hoses in your home
- Everyone in your family should know where the main water shut-off to your home is located
- Consider turning off your water supply to the home when leaving for vacation or an extended period
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety provides additional tips to help protect your home from water damage caused by water supply lines.
This loss control information is advisory only. The authors assume no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Contact your local, independent insurance agent for coverage advice and policy service.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2020
There’s no doubt people spend A LOT of time on the Internet. Hence the need for an annual Data Privacy Day! The Digital 2019 Report reveals that the average Internet user spends more than a quarter of their life on the World Wide Web. Also, consumers are online an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes each day, whereas mobile devices continue to be a popular mode for connecting to the digital world . Society relies on these gadgets for so many different things (like I rely on my smartphone’s GPS to get me everywhere), and since we’re constantly connected, there’s a continuous and growing concern for cybercrime and maintaining online safety.
In 2020, forecasts suggest there will be approximately 6.58 network-connected devices per person around the globe. With a total world population of over 7.5 billion people, this means there could be nearly 50 billion network-connected devices in use this year . You might be (unknowingly) allowing thieves to spy on you through your electronic devices right now because many come with privacy insecurities, making it easy for a hacker or thief to get in and get your personal data. There are viruses and programs thieves can create to steal the information you enter into your devices. We have to be smarter and safer about our data privacy than ever!
While it can be scary to think about, we shouldn’t live in fear of hackers and identity thieves. Here are seven ways to fight back and keep your personal data safe and secure online:
- Always use a strong password with at least eight characters. Be sure to use a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers, and at least one symbol.
- Never save passwords in your web browser.
- Use trusted antivirus software on your computers, such as McAfee or Avast.
- Never enter personal data into a website that is insecure or looks unprofessional. A secure website’s URL should begin with “https” as opposed to “http”. The “s” at the end stands for “secure” and uses an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection.
- Disable your webcam when it’s not in use.
- When using social media or other communication apps like Skype or FaceTime, only accept friend requests from people who you know and trust.
- Identity thieves love your credit cards so keep that information private and do not share it, especially when you are using an ATM or entering your card number online. Also, just like your passwords, never save your credit card online.
For additional protection, consider cyber protection insurance. This coverage protects against things like unwanted attacks, extortion threats, online fraud, and more. The coverage may have a very broad definition of “connected home device” and contemplates items such as smartphones, thermostats, entertainment systems, appliances, and home security monitoring systems.
For example, Central’s Personal Cyber Protection Coverage endorsement provides the type of coverage you might expect from a first-party cyber liability endorsement: data recovery and restoration, cyber extortion, financial loss due to online fraud, and breach of personal data. However, it also takes things a step further and covers psychiatric counseling services, legal expenses, temporary relocation expenses, and additional expenses related to cyberbullying attacks. This is a terrific feature to include, especially given how serious cyberbullying threats have become.
Take precautions to ensure your peace of mind online. Contact your local independent agent to learn more about protecting yourself from the threat of cyber thieves!
The information above is of a general nature and your policy and coverages provided may differ from the examples provided. Please read your policy in its entirety to determine your actual coverage available.
Copyright © 2020 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 23, 2020
Winter storms often bring a rash of auto claims. Winter driving can be dangerous, so it is essential to stay alert and be smart. Let’s talk about winter driving safety tips, and steps to simplify the claims process should you be involved in an accident.
Here are five winter driving tips:
- Prepare your vehicle for winter. Assure tires are properly inflated, fluid levels are maintained, the gas tank is at least 3/4 full when a storm is approaching, and windshield wiper blades are working well.
- Stock your vehicle. In the event you do get stranded, be sure to have plenty of blankets, some snacks, a good working flashlight, and extra clothes.
- Have something with grit. If you get stuck, it’s always good to have a bag of salt, sand, ice melt, or even kitty litter to provide some traction.
- Dress appropriately. This would include a warm coat, gloves, good shoes or boots, hat, and scarf.
- Don’t be in a hurry. Judge the road conditions and drive accordingly. Try to stay on roads that have been plowed, salted or treated. Drive defensively when in heavy traffic. And remember, black ice can always be a possibility.
Despite your best efforts, should you be involved in an auto accident, keep these five tips in mind to help simplify your claims process:
- Gather as much information as you can at the scene. Take photographs of the damaged vehicle. Snap a shot of the scenery if it’s safe to do so. If multiple parties are involved, try to take pictures of their damage, and always call the police. It never hurts to have a formal document to show what happened at the scene and be sure the police officer provides the report number.
- If another party is involved, trade insurance information as soon as possible if it is safe to do so. Once the police arrive, they often separate the two parties so no contact is made. The police will record the insurance information on the police report, however, this report may not be available until days or, in some extreme cases, weeks later. If you get this information from the start, there is less chance your claim will be delayed.
- Write down details so you don’t forget important information. It’s always helpful to give your claims adjuster the key pieces of information about the claim. Write down what street you were on when the accident happened and what direction you were traveling. Which lane were you in? What time did the accident happen? How was the traffic? Be sure to take note of the weather or road conditions. If you are in an unfamiliar area, write down some local landmarks to help an adjuster pinpoint your location.
- File the claim as soon as possible. The sooner the insurance company knows about the accident, the better. Information that is transferred from the insured to the adjuster is fresher and details are sharper if less time has passed. This gives the adjuster a much fuller picture of the accident, allowing him or her to provide you quicker and more accurate service.
- Remember, it’s a partnership. Your insurance company wants to help you get through this difficult situation as efficiently and painlessly as possible. However, in order to do that, they may need your help. They may ask you to give a statement regarding what happened in the accident, or they may ask you to get an estimate of damages from your body shop of choice so they can properly review the damages. Paperwork, such as your title, may be required to effectively pay out your claim. Although these documents may require some effort, they are essential to providing seamless service in adjusting your claim.
A great resource after an accident is our “What to Do After a Car Accident” brochure. Print a copy and keep it in your glove box as a guide to what information you should collect after an accident. You can also view our What to Do After a Car Accident video for additional tips.
I hope these winter weather driving tips help keep you safe on the road. Stay alert and be smart, but if you find yourself needing to file a weather auto claim, remember these tips to help simplify the claims process.
Copyright © 2020 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2019
Happy New Year! As we bring 2019 to a close and look forward to the year to come, we hope you make the choice to celebrate responsibly. Drunk and impaired driving caused 10,511 deaths in 2018 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. Check out their site for more information and statistics.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2019
From the Battles Insurance Family, we wish you a Merry Christmas. May your travels be safe and your celebrations bright and cheery!