Thanksgiving Fails

TIPS FOR AVOIDING THANKSGIVING DINNER DISASTERS

With more people preparing their own dinners and staying home this year, Forbes Advisor developed 11 tips to have a safe experience.

  1. Keep your cooking area free of flammable materials like food wrappers, towels and oven mitts. If they’re too close to your stove, they could catch fire.
  2. Avoid wearing long sleeves and hanging fabrics that could come in contact with a source of heat.
  3. Don’t leave your kitchen when anything is being cooked on the stovetop.
  4. Stay at home while turkey and other items are being cooked in the oven, and regularly check those items.
  5. Be alert when you’re cooking. If you’re really sleepy or really tipsy, it’s smart not to be whipping up Thanksgiving dinner in the kitchen. “Cooking while overtired or under the influence is dangerous,” the NFPA warns.
  6. Keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove and other areas where hot food or drinks are being prepared or served.
  7. Set timers so you don’t forget to check on food.
  8. Test your smoke alarms to make sure they’re working.
  9. Never throw water on a grease fire that’s occurring in a pan on top of your stove. Instead, turn off the burner and cover the fire with a lid or larger pan to smother it.
  10. If a fire breaks out in your oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  11. If you’re not sure whether you can safely fight a kitchen fire that has started, leave your house and call 911.

“The pandemic may limit the number of people in homes this year, but there will still be lots of the usual cooking and distractions that contribute to a sharp increase in cooking fires on and around Thanksgiving. Being vigilant in the kitchen remains critical to ensuring a fire-safe holiday,” said Lorraine Carli, a spokesperson for the NFPA, in a news release.

Buying, Paying Off ,Owning- What You Need To Know

Getting a New Car?
In some cases, we get people that call from the car lot afraid that they will not be covered because we don’t know about their new car yet. Although it is beneficial to get us the information as soon as possible, most companies have a grace period of a few days, so if you buy a new car over the weekend it’s okay to drive it until our company opens on Monday.

When you call in, we will need the VIN number on your new car, so as soon as you are able to get that number we suggest giving us a call. The sooner we have it the better to ensure that you are getting the right coverage for your new vehicle. It is best not to rely on the dealership to call and give your new information. While many dealerships do call us to give us information on who purchased a new vehicle from them, some of them do not, or cannot give all the information that we might need. To make sure your new car is well covered always call your insurance company yourself to tell them of any new purchases.

Paid off that Car Loan?
Congratulations! Paying off your car is a huge accomplishment. Notify us about the loan payoff so that we can remove the lienholder from your policy. This means that if you maintain comprehensive and collision (full coverage) and your vehicle were to be totaled in an accident, the payout from the insurance company for the damage would go to you instead of your bank.

Made your final Mortgage payment?
Congratulations on this huge accomplishment!
Once you have paid off your mortgage in full and have no loan servicing provider, it will be your responsibility to pay homeowners insurance and property taxes. Make sure that you contact our company and let us know you have paid your home loan in full! We will make sure the mortgage company is no longer the additional insured and remove the lender’s name off the homeowner’s insurance policy. It is important to make sure all future bills are going to the homeowner to have them paid on time and avoid any lapse in coverage.

Get Your Home Ready for Back to School

Lately, our homes have become our everything, including our office, gym, classroom, movie theater and beyond. With school starting, now’s the perfect time to whip your home into shape and get ready for a smooth school year. Here is a checklist of suggestions on how to achieve a school ready home.

Check the closet: Now is the perfect time to make room by taking out anything that is no longer worn or fits.

Dedicate a space: Set up an area, or individual hooks to organize a space for backpacks, jackets and other things that are easy to grab as you run out the door and serve as a place to hang when not in the use, so its not on the floor.

Go Grocery Shopping: Stock up on those quick and easy breakfast option like frozen protein waffles and frozen fruit too! Create a snack box to help kids be more independent, let them pack their own snacks or grab their own afterschool treat to hold them off until dinner.


Check in nightly: Before preparing for bed, check in with your kids and use the time to reset the house for the next day. You can check in with the kids while letting them choose what they may want breakfast or set out snacks or lunch options for them to take the next morning. Use this time to get organized with any schoolwork, papers, or any extras they may need to bring the next day.

Prepare workspace: Whether your children are learning remotely or going back to in-person learning, it’s important they have a dedicated spot to do homework. Keep it simple with a clear space without a lot of distractions.

Allow your kids to participate in helping make your home back to school ready. Create a plan that works the best for you and your situation, and change the clutter and chaos to an organized, calm and cool space.

Summer Home Maintenance

With summer in full swing and the kids out of school, you may be looking forward to cookouts, children playing in the pool or yard, and gatherings of friends and family. Make sure you and your guests stay safe and happy this summer, by taking steps to keep your home cool and protected from costly damage. Here are a few tips to get you started:Inspect your porch or deck. The last thing you need is a painful splinter in your toe – or worse. Carefully inspect your porch or deck supports, floors, stairs, and railings for any damage or hazards that happened over the winter or spring and make repairs before you invite guests over.
 

Check for water leaks inside and out. You’ve probably already turned on the water to your outside faucets. Inspect the pipes and any appliances attached to them to see if there is any sign of leaks inside or outside your home. Pay attention to your water bills, as they can be a good indication of a leak somewhere that’s not obvious – like an underground sprinkler system.

Patch cracks and potholes in the driveway. Avoid damage to your vehicles by smoothing out your driveway. You can hire someone to resurface it or patch it yourself if the cracks and holes are small.
 

Safer-Home-Image

Clean your grill before lighting it up. Before you start barbecuing this summer, give your grill a thorough cleaning, inside and out. With the propane tank turned off, remove the briquettes and cooking grates, and carefully detach the gas tubes and burners. Wash the grill with warm, soapy water, then dry it with a towel, and reassemble. During the season, take time to burn off the grease on the grates – this can eliminate unwanted fires.

Cool your home efficiently. Instead of keeping your AC on full blast all summer, try lowering the blinds, investing in blackout curtains, closing off unused rooms, and placing a bowl of ice in front of a large fan (feels like a cool, sea breeze!) If temperatures are too hot upstairs, move to the basement floor and be sure to let the cool night air in by putting fans in the window after the sun goes down.
 

Keep your lawn in good shape. As a general rule, your lawn needs between one and one and a half inches of water per week, from rainfall or irrigation. During the hot summer months, water your lawn during the last couple hours before sunrise to keep the water from evaporating. Sharpen your mower blades to give your grass a clean cut (which will help it conserve moisture better).
 

Trim trees and bushes. If you live in an area that is prone to wildfires, keep your trees and bushes trimmed around your house, and pick up any lawn or garden debris, as it can feed fires.
 

Inspect your pool. Before opening your pool to swimmers this summer, be sure to clean it and balance the chemicals properly. According to swimuniversity.com, thousands of pool owners end up in the emergency room each year due to poisoning from pool chemicals, so use safety goggles and extra care when handling your chemicals. Make sure any steps, ladders, railings, slides, and diving boards are in good condition and installed securely, your pump and filter are working well, and the pool is brushed and vacuumed often to head off algae problems. Be sure to shock the pool at the beginning of the season to kill all the bacteria and get your water sparkling clean. After dealing with chemicals in the pool, spray down the pool deck completely. Test all of your pool’s safeguards as well – gate locks, door alarms, storage for chemicals – and set out your rescue and first aid equipment and flotation devices.
 

Consider your liability. Summer is a time for outdoor fun. Unfortunately, it can also be a time for outdoor accidents. Review your liability insurance policy to make sure you are completely covered for any unfortunate accidents that may happen on your property. Consider additional liability insurance coverage if you own a pool. Your insurance agent or broker can help you decide how much you’ll need.

CHUBB Insurance Article
 

Cyber Criminals Are At It Again!

We have been seeing an increasing number of claims involving cyber attacks, viruses, malware, phishing and other situations where electronic systems are being compromised both by directed effort and innocent mistake. These incidents can cause loss or damage to electronic data, forensic expenses, loss of income, network security and privacy lawsuits, extortion losses, notification costs, and damage to your business’ reputation. Most standard commercial insurance policies provide only limited (if any) coverage for these types of claims, and something as simple the use of email in your business can expose you to the risk of a breach or cyber event. We strongly recommend that each of our commercial customers reach out to discuss how they can benefit from additional coverage.

Additional links and resources regarding Cyber

Cyber Info Videos from CHUBB

Email Fraud and Ransomware Attacks

Home Renovations

If you’re planning a home renovation, you may want to call your insurance agent first because this decision can impact your homeowners insurance. Some home renovations will change the amount of coverage you need, while others could even help you qualify for a discount. We cover six common scenarios that could affect your insurance, so you can plan ahead.

1. Building a New Addition

When you expand and improve your home, you could likely increase its replacement value. This is the cost to repair or rebuild your home. Some additions that could increase your replacement value include: adding a second-story bedroom, expanding the living room or building a new garage.

After building a new addition, or making updates or other improvements, you may need to increase your coverage because the value of your home, and the cost to rebuild it will likely have increased. Most insurance companies require your Coverage A or dwelling coverage limit be at least 80 percent of the replacement value of your home.

Your insurance agent can recalculate your home value to determine whether you’ll need more coverage because of the addition or improvement.

2. Building a Pool

If you’re looking to add a pool, you will want to contact your insurance agent to review coverage for changes to your property’s value, as well as any increase in risk. When people are swimming and running around the pool, there’s the chance for an accident. If someone gets hurt, they could try to hold you responsible for damages. This can apply even if the accident isn’t your fault.

Check with your agent to see whether your existing policy covers a pool and if you need to increase your liability coverage. This coverage can help pay damages to injured persons and provide for a defense if you are sued as a result of their injuries.

You should also ask your agent what steps you can take to keep your pool safe so you can avoid accidents. Adding a fence with a lock is a smart move. You could also add lights with motion sensors or a pool alarm to discourage trespassers. Consider skipping the diving board, because this increases the chance of an accident and your insurance cost.

Travelers wants to help you protect the things that matter to you. We offer a wide breadth of products so you can be covered at home and on the road.

outdoor home renovation project

3. Adding a Deck

A new deck is another improvement that can add value but also risk, especially if the deck is attached to a second story or higher. You should let your agent know that you’ve added a deck, so he or she can adjust your policy as necessary.

4. Renovating the Kitchen

Upgrading the kitchen can significantly increase the value of your home, especially if you switch to higher-quality counter tops, appliances and new flooring. You should contact your agent to see if you need to increase your insurance coverage.If your contractor upgrades the plumbing or electrical wiring as part of the renovation, ask your homeowners insurance agent if you qualify for a discount or if your coverage needs to be adjusted. These upgrades can reduce the chance of flooding water damage and fire, so check if your insurance company has discounts that can help to reduce your premium.

5. Finishing the Basement

Finishing your basement can also increase the value of your home. That means, yet again, you may need more homeowners coverage. Flooding can be a concern, especially for the lowest floor in your house. It is important to note that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by floods. Ask your agent to review your coverage and look to see if there are steps you can take to help prevent future damage, like installing a sump pump.

6. Redoing the Roof

Before you redo your roof, ask your insurance agent whether this could qualify for a discount. Some companies offer a discount when you reinforce the roof or use stronger roofing materials that are wind, hail and leak-resistant. Your agent can explain how to qualify. At the same time, redoing the roof could increase your property value, which means you might need more coverage.

It is a good idea to contact our client advisor when you’re considering making home renovations. Their knowledge and expertise can help you get the most out of your discounts while making sure your home is adequately insured.

Source: Travelers Insurance

Phishing and Cyber Attacks Spike Up While Working From Home

We have been seeing an increasing number of claims involving cyber attacks, viruses, malware, phishing and other situations where electronic systems are being compromised both by directed effort and innocent mistake. These incidents can cause loss or damage to electronic data, forensic expenses, loss of income, network security and privacy lawsuits, extortion losses, notification costs, and damage to your business’ reputation.  

Stay vigilant to protect yourself and your business from becoming a victim of a cyberattack. Most companies don’t believe someone would target them with a phishing attack. However, we’ve seen large and small businesses targeted, as well as increases in ransomware claims submitted under our Cyber coverage.
Most standard commercial insurance policies provide only limited (if any) coverage for these types of claims, and something as simple the use of email in your business can expose you to the risk of a breach or cyber event.   

We strongly recommend that each of our commercial customers take advantage of our free cyber security assessment provided by our partners at Fifthwall. With a small amount of basic information, this free report will provide a snap-shot of what a cyber event could look like for your organization and provide a strong starting point to understand how these risks may threaten your business.   

https://www.fifthwallsolutions.com/assessment/christie-associates

Pittsburgh Rain

Just one inch of water can cause damage to your home.  That’s why it’s important to insure your home with additional protection designed to cover you against water damages caused by flooding. 

Flood insurance covers the water that comes from a natural source and if two or more properties are involved. If you and your neighbors are all having water issues due to heavy rains and/or rising waters, then you are likely dealing with a flood insurance claim. Reach out to your client advisor if you would like more information regarding Flood Insurance. 

Pittsburgh’s 4th of July 2020

Summer looks a lot different this year. Communities across the Pittsburgh area have cancelled popular events, festivals and Fourth of July fireworks/gatherings because of COVID-19. A lot of people are looking for alternative celebrations right now, and below are some helpful resources.

Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

Get the most out of your spring cleaning by using our spring cleaning checklist. When you’re cleaning, it’s important to use the proper cleaning solutions. It’s even more important to know that these cleaning solutions consist of chemicals and some combinations can be extremely hazardous to your health. Please do your research before using and combining any cleaning products.

Home

  • Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Check all electronics, make sure they are plugged in, cords are untangled and everything is plugged into a surge protector
  • Check expiration date on fire extinguishers
  • Change your air filter
  • Unblock all air vents
  • Clean bathroom fans
  • Sweep front porch and back deck
  • Store all winter items, clothes, and decorations
  • Disinfect all computer keyboards and mouse

Every Room

  • Wash Baseboards, door ceilings, window sills, doors, and walls
  • Vacuum and wash vents
  • Wash window treatments (drapes, etc.)
  • Dust blinds
  • Wash Windows – inside and out
  • Dust and shine overhead lights

Kitchen

  • Clean out pantry
  • Wash kitchen cabinets
  • Deep clean oven
  • Move fridge – vacuum and mop behind it
  • Vacuum coils on fridge
  • Deep clean fridge inside – wash outside

Living Room

  • Dust and wash any and all mirrors, frames, and decorative items
  • Vacuum all upholstery
  • Dust furniture and fixtures
  • Wash all throw pillows and blankets
  • Dust and polish furniture
  • Vacuum and shampoo carpets

Bedroom

  • Wash all bedding
  • Wash all bed and throw pillows
  • Flip Mattress – if using pillow top, rotate mattress
  • Purge anything stored you don’t want anymore

Bathroom

  • Clean and disinfect tub and shower
  • Wash bathmats
  • Dust and replace decorative items
  • Wash and/or replace shower liners and shower curtains

Other

  • Update all your house first aid kits and be sure to toss expired medication while sorting other medication
  • Donate clothes items to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or other local community organizations