Tell Me about Renter’s Insurance

Posted on Sun, Feb 07, 2016

Fotolia_93016166_XS.jpgWhether you’re moving up into your own apartment or downsizing from a home, renters insurance provides financial protection against loss or destruction of your possessions with you’re renting. 

Renters insurance provides financial protection against the loss or destruction of your possessions when you rent a house or apartment. While your landlord may be sympathetic to a burglary or a fire cause by your iron, destruction to your household goods is not usually covered by your landlord’s insurance.  Since renters insurance covers only the value of your belongings and not the physical building, the premium is reasonably inexpensive. 

By purchasing renters insurance, your possessions are covered against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm and water damage (not including floods). Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance also covers your responsibility to other people injured at your home or elsewhere by you, a family member or your pet and pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court.

Renters insurance covers your additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your apartment because of a fire or other covered peril. Most policies will reimburse you the difference between your additional living expenses and your normal living expenses but still may set limits as to the amount they will pay.

There are two types of renter’s insurance policies you may purchase:

Actual Cash Value:  Pays to replace your possessions minus a deduction for depreciation up to the limit of your policy.

Replacement Cost:  Pays the actual cost of replacing your possessions (no deduction for depreciation) up to the limit of your policy.

With either policy, you may want to consider purchasing a floater. A standard renter’s policy offers only limited coverage for items such as jewelry, silver, furs, etc. If you own property that exceeds these limits, it is recommended that you supplement your policy with a floater. A floater is a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them for perils not included in your policy such as accidental loss.

Dean & Draper

Have more questions about renter’s insurance, making an inventory of your belongings, or a supplementary policy for your valuables?  We’re here to provide those answers and more. 

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, www.iii.org

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Renter's Insurance

Super Bowl 50 - 10 More Amazing Stats

Posted on Sun, Jan 31, 2016

Fotolia_4871771_XS.jpgWith the hype around next Sunday’s Super Bowl Game, we thought you real fans might be hungry for more stats.  Jordan Heck at Sports Network Omnisport has come up with some interesting ones. 

And in case you’re watching the game for the commercials, here’s a look at the Top 50 Super Bowl Commercials from 2000 – 2015.

And now for more amazing stats

  1. The age difference between Peyton Manning (39) and Cam Newton (26) is the largest between starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl history. The difference is 13 years and 48 days, beating the previous high of 12 years and 250 days when Manning faced Russell Wilson in 2013.
  2. The winner of this Super Bowl will be the eighth different winning team in the last eight seasons.
  3. Peyton Manning became the only quarterback to take multiple teams to the Super Bowl multiple times. Super Bowl 50 will be Manning's fourth time at the big event, with two appearances each as a member of the Colts and Broncos.
  4. Just five years ago these teams had the top two picks in the NFL Draft. Carolina selected Cam Newton while the Broncos selected Von Miller. Both players are key components to their team's success. Also, this will be the first time the No.1 overall pick and No. 2 overall pick from the same draft will face each other in the Super Bowl.
  5. Both of these teams made the Super Bowl with the coach they hired after firing John Fox. Carolina with Ron Rivera and Denver with Gary Kubiak.
  6. This is the first Super Bowl matchup featuring opposing starting quarterbacks who were selected No. 1 overall. Only six quarterbacks selected first overall have won the big game: Terry Bradshaw (4), Troy Aikman (3), Jim Plunkett (2), John Elway (2), Eli Manning (2), Peyton Manning.
  7. For the third straight season, the top seeds from each conference will face each other in the Super Bowl. This was a rarity as it only happened nine times prior to this stretch, and just three times before 1990. The NFC has won eight of 11 such matchups and the favorites have gone 8-3 against the spread, which has to be good news for Panthers fans.
  8. The Panthers are one of 13 teams that have never won a Super Bowl. They only have one other appearance, which was in 2003. No one from that team is still on the roster, and only two (Julius Peppers, Steve Smith) are still in the league.
  9. Cam Newton can become the third quarterback (Joe Montana and Joe Namath) to win a National Championship and a Super Bowl as a starting quarterback. He can also become the first quarterback to win the Heisman, national title, MVP and Super Bowl.
  10. Peyton Manning is tied with Brett Favre with 199 career wins (regular season and postseason combined). If he wins the Super Bowl he can hold the all-time record.

Dean & Draper

We hope that you have a great time watching the game – and the commercials.  When you’re ready to get back to the real world, we’ll be here to give you great advice about your insurance.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: super bowl stats

Succession Planning with Life Insurance

Posted on Sun, Jan 24, 2016

TakingCareofTomorrow_3.jpgSuccession planning may not be on the top of “To Do” your list.  Most of us would rather do almost anything else than think about the death of our business partners or even ourselves.   We’re here to give you information about some choices you have to solve this issue with Life Insurance. 

WHAT IS BUY-SELL PLANNING?

At the heart of a good business succession strategy is the planning that provides for the efficient passing of the business should the owner or one of the owners, die, become disabled, or wish to, or have to, leave the business for another reason. Buy-Sell Planning is one component of business planning and should be viewed within the context of long term business and succession planning. A Buy-Sell Agreement is the centerpiece of any Buy-Sell Planning.

WHAT IS A BUY-SELL AGREEMENT?

A Buy-Sell Agreement is a legally binding document that spells out what will happen to a business when a specific triggering event occurs, such as the death or disability of a business owner or shareholder. Other events typically covered include the resignation, retirement or termination of a shareholder or owner.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A BUY-SELL AGREEMENT?

The major benefit of a Buy-Sell Agreement is that it allows for the continuation of the business by providing for an agreed upon transition of the business. In addition to providing a ready market for the business, it can provide that the price for both buyer and seller is a fair one. The agreed upon price can, in many instances, set the value of the business for estate planning purposes.

WHAT IS MEANT BY A “FUNDED” BUY-SELL AGREEMENT?

While the Buy-Sell Agreement can provide the legal framework for the sale and transition of a business, it does not provide the cash needed to fund it. One of the most popular methods of funding a Buy-Sell Agreement is permanent life insurance. Based on current federal tax law, permanent life insurance has several tax advantages. The death benefit will be received tax-free, in most instances, and the cash value in the policy grows tax-deferred. The cash value provides a pool of money that can be accessed with tax efficiency to fund a buy-out. Other methods of funding a Buy-Sell include: term insurance, borrowed funds, a sinking fund, or an installment purchase.

HOW ARE BUY-SELL AGREEMENTS FUNDED WITH LIFE INSURANCE STRUCTURED?

The majority of Buy-Sell Agreements funded with life insurance are either Entity or Cross Purchase Agreements. Other methods include Trusteed Cross Purchase and Wait and See Agreements.  For information that clearly explains the choices listed above, click here for a downloadable file.

Dean & Draper

Jerry_Linville.jpgWe hope you have found our information about Succession Planning useful.  Our expert on all things involving Life Insurance, Jerry Linnville, welcomes your questions and calls  281-794-3783.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Life Insurance, Succession Planning, Buy Sell Agreements

Driverless Car Update

Posted on Sun, Jan 17, 2016

Fotolia_86965823_XS.jpgJust last week, the Obama administration proposed spending nearly $4 billion during the next decade for the government to work with auto makers and others to craft policies and rules for vehicles that can move without a driver at the wheel. The proposal also will set up pilot programs for testing “connected vehicles” that avoid crashes by talking to each other.  And include accelerating the acceptance of driverless cars on U.S. roads and curb traffic fatalities and travel delays.

Who’s Leading the Driverless Car Race?

Google's self-driving cars logged far more miles in California than similar prototypes operated by Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volkswagen/Audi and Delphi, with a much lower rate of incidents requiring the automated systems to disengage and hand manual control to the driver, according to annual reports filed this month with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Google: prototypes drove more than 424,000 miles is 13 months with 272 incidents requiring disengagement of the automated systems. 

Mercedes-Benz: prototypes drove more than 1,700 miles in 13 months with 1,031 incidents requiring disengagement of the automated systems.

Nissan/Infiniti: prototypes logged 1,485 miles in 12 months with 106 incidents requiring dis engagement of the automated systems.

Volkswagen/Audi: prototypes logged nearly 15,000 miles in 13 months with 260 incidents requiring disengagement of the automated systems.

Delphi: a supplier of automated systems and components to carmakers, prototypes logged more than 16,600 miles in 13 months with 405 incidents requiring disengagement of the automated systems.

And Now for the Driving Experience

During our research for this blog, we stumbled on a new to us blog.  It’s from The Oatmeal.  This bog is focused on the Google Self Driving car and since Google is leading the pack of driverless cars, wanted to share excerpts from The Oatmeal’s experience.

1. Human beings are terrible drivers.

We drink. We doze. We text. In the US, 30,000 people die from automobile accidents every year. Traffic crashes are the primary cause of death worldwide for people aged 15-24. This is one of Google’s "moonshots" -- to remove human error from a job which, for the past hundred years, has been entirely human.

2. Google self-driving cars are timid.

The car we rode in did not strike me as dangerous. It struck me as cautious. It drove slowly and deliberately, and I got the impression that it’s more likely to annoy other drivers than to harm them. Google can adjust the level of aggression in the software, and the self-driving prototypes currently tooling around Mountain View are throttled to act like nervous student drivers. 

3. They're cute.

Google's new fleet was intentionally designed to look adorable. Our brains are hardwired to treat inanimate (or animate) objects with greater care, caution, and reverence when they resemble a living thing.

4. It’s not done and it’s not perfect.

Some of the scenarios autonomous vehicles have the most trouble with are the scenarios human beings have the most trouble with, such as traversing four-way stops or handling a yellow light (do you brake suddenly, or floor it and run the light?).

Despite the advantages over a human being in certain scenarios, however, these cars still aren't ready for the real world. They can't drive in the snow or heavy rain, and there's a variety of complex situations they do not process well, such as passing through a construction zone. Google is hoping with enough logged miles and data, eventually the cars will be able to handle all of this as well (or better) than a human could.

5. I want this technology to succeed, like … yesterday.

I'm biased. Earlier this year my mom had a stroke. It damaged the visual cortex of her brain, and her vision was impaired to the point that she'll probably never drive again. This reduced her from a fully-functional, independent human being with a career and a buzzing social life into someone who is homebound, disabled, and powerless. 

The facts are 45% of disabled people in the US still work. 95% of a car's lifetime is spent parked.  This technology could transform the lives of the elderly, or eradicate the need for parking lots or garages or gas stations. They ignore the great, big, beautiful picture staring them right in the face: that this technology could make our lives so much better.

6. It wasn’t an exhilarating ride, and that's a good thing.

Riding in a self-driving car is not the white-knuckled, cybernetic thrill ride one might expect. The car drives like a person, and after a few minutes you forget that you’re being driven autonomously.

I say look at the bigger picture. All the self-driving cars currently on the road learn from one another, and each car now collectively possesses 40 years of driving experience. And this technology is still in its infancy. 

Dean & Draper

With new technology comes challenges, resistance, and sometimes miraculous innovation.  We are intrigued with driverless cars and the stunning opportunities for a much safer driving experience so we plan to keep you updated.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: driverless cars, driverless car news

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Posted on Sun, Jan 10, 2016

awareness-logo-glaucoma.org-thumb-290xauto-1166.jpgAn astounding 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma.  The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase.

Glaucoma is called "the sneak thief of sight" since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it's permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Moreover, among African American and Latino populations, glaucoma is more prevalent. Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Although the most common forms primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages.

Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.

There is no cure for glaucoma—yet. However, medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma among other factors. Early detection is vital to stopping the progress of the disease.  Watch a video from the research scientists working to find a cure.

Types of Glaucoma

There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and angle-closure glaucoma. These are marked by an increase of intraocular pressure (IOP), or pressure inside the eye. When optic nerve damage has occurred despite a normal IOP, this is called normal tension glaucoma.

Secondary glaucoma refers to any case in which another disease causes or contributes to increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss.  Read more about Types of Glaucoma.

Regular Eye Exams are Important

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the most common form, there are virtually no symptoms. Vision loss begins with peripheral or side vision, so if you have glaucoma, you may not notice anything until significant vision is lost.

The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get a comprehensive eye examination. Then, if you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African-Americans. And among Hispanics in older age groups, the risk of glaucoma is nearly as high as that for African-Americans. Also, siblings of persons diagnosed with glaucoma have a significantly increased risk of having glaucoma.  Read about diagnostic glaucoma tests.

Risk Factors

Are you at risk for glaucoma? Those at higher risk include people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent. Other high-risk groups include: people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted. Regular eye exams are especially important for those at higher risk for glaucoma, and may help to prevent unnecessary vision loss.

Dean & Draper

We encourage you to talk with your family and friends about glaucoma.  If you have glaucoma, don’t keep it a secret. Let your family members know.  Suggest that everyone get tested regularly.  If you have questions about your health insurance coverage, we’re only a phone call away.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: health insurance, Health Care, Glaucoma Awareness

How to Make and Keep New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on Sun, Jan 03, 2016

Andy DeanHere we are, three days into a new year and some of us are still considering making a resolution.  You remember those – a commitment to improving something about ourselves in 2016.  Self-improvement or at least the desire for improvement – is a shared American hobby.  Some studies indicate that more than 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions.   Wondering how many people are actually successful in keeping their resolutions? University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% achieve their New Year’s goals. 

Resolutions may fail because people may not be ready for change, or their goals may be too lofty or hard to measure. However, those who are able to keep their goals on track report being able to connect to a sense of purpose, and have goals that are in alignment with their core sense of values.

Below you will find some great ideas and suggestions on choosing your resolution, clarifying your intent, increasing your will power, and making your resolution at part of your day every day. 

Strengthen Your Will Power

People who put their goals on paper are significantly more likely to achieve them than are those who merely make mental vows, research from Dominican University of California has shown. What's also key: posting your goal in places where you will see it often, says Marvin D. Seppala, M.D., of Hazelden. "Your will matters most the moment you make a resolution — and you'll want to be able to recapture the intensity of that moment again and again."

Share what you've written, too: The Dominican study found that those who told friends or family about their goals did better than those who didn't, and people who e-mailed their support team weekly progress updates did best of all. Social approval — as in "You look great!" — gives your brain a surge of soothing oxytocin, explains Joseph Shrand, M.D., of Harvard.

Post your goal where you will see it every day. 

Make One Change at a Time

Once you understand that you have only a limited amount of willpower, it's easy to understand why multiple resolutions aren't likely to work, says Ian Newby-Clark, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Guelph in Canada. Most resolutions actually require many behavior changes.  Since weight loss is the top resolution, let’s use this goal as an example.  Weight loss involves many more behavioral changes than the first decision to lose weight.  For instance: deciding on a weight loss program, changes in grocery shopping and cooking, and finding an exercise program to mention a few.

Break It Up

Since your supply of self-control is finite, make resolutions that require small acts of will, not weeks of vigilance. The overall goal may be to lose weight while this week’s goal could be broken into segments that lead to the broad goal of weight loss.  So this week goals could include going to the gym 3 times, take the stairs at work at least 2 times, and eat a healthy lunch – possibly brought from home - all week.  The better you are at making small changes, the easier it will be for you to keep going.

Plan Ahead

To ensure success you need to research the change you’re making and plan ahead so you have the resources available when you need them. Here are a few things you should do to prepare and get all the systems in place ready to make your change.

Anticipate Problems

Do your research.  Identify the potential obsticles and make a plan for dealing with them.

Pick a Start Date

If you truly want to make changes then pick a day when you know you’ll be well-rested, enthusiastic, and surrounded by positive people.

Go For It

On the big day go for it 100%. Make a commitment.

Accept Failure

If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk, or shout at the kids one morning don’t hate yourself for it and don’t allow this one time to derail your whole program. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them.  Perseverance is the key to success.

Plan Rewards

Create a list of rewards for those days when you have been exceptional following your plan for on those difficult days when you’ve been struggling.  Naturally, the reward isn’t a cheat.  Instead it could be a movie, a visit with family or friends, a new box of golf balls, a pretty new lipstick, a trip to the library to cruise the books, or taking the dog to the park.

Dean & Draper

We hope that you are in the 8% of Americans who successfully make and keep their New Year’s resolutions.  Of course, we would like to suggest one more.  January is a great time to review your insurance.  We can help you with that resolution and promise to make the experience as smooth and easy as possible.  And we’re only a phone call away.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Thank you to the resources used in this blog posting:

WebMD Feature from "Good Housekeeping" Magazine  http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/10-ways-to-make-your-new-years-resolutions-stick

Margarita Tartakoysky, M.S. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/12/31/7-self-compassionate-practices-and-habits-for-the-new-year/ 

Dan Diamond, Contributor http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/2/

Topics: Insurance Reivew, Making and Keeping Resolutions, Goal Setting

Worst Day of the Year for Drunk Driving – Tips for Staying Safe

Posted on Mon, Dec 28, 2015

Fotolia_78224801_XS.jpgWhat is the worst day of the year for drunk driving?  This is a bit of a trick question.  Since New Year’s Eve is just a few days away and partying is on our minds, most of us would pick New Year’s Eve as the drunkest day of the year.  But wait – most parties start at 9:00 or later and run until the wee hours of the morning making the drunkest day of the year is New Year’s Day according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

On New Year’s Day half the fatal crashes involve a driver who was considered to be drunk, which typically means a blood-alcohol content of at least 0.08, according to an analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  “It’s the worst day of the year for fatal crashes involving impaired drivers,” Russ Rader, an institute spokesman.

Let’s stay safe and have some fun on New Year’s Eve.  Here are a few tips:

  • Eat a hearty, carb loaded meal before you leave.  We all know the effect of drinking alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Gather your friends and designate a driver.  This designated driver takes his/her job seriously and doesn’t drink all evening.
  • If you don’t designate a driver, plan your transportation options – cab, Uber, Lyft, public transportation, or services like Tipsy Tow. 
  • Buzz driving IS drunk driving.  Listen to your friends, if they say you’re not sober then you’re not fit to drive.
  • Stay hydrated - alternate a drink with a glass or water. A snack or two would be good as the evening progresses, too.
  • Partying with a group is more fun and safer than hitting the streets alone. 

Thanks to our friends at the at the Clinton Herald for some of the tips above.  Click here for more informaiton.

Celebrate, have fun, and stay safe.

Wishing you a fabulous New Year and a prosperous 2016.  Thank you for the trust you have placed in us.  We want to support you and welcome your call in 2016.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2015 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: New Year's Eve Safety Tips, Drunk Driving

Keeping Food Safe and Your Guests Healthy

Posted on Sun, Dec 20, 2015

Fotolia_58247890_XS.jpgThe whole family has gathered at your home for the holidays.  In all of the hustle and bustle topped by kitchen filled with confusion you left that salad loaded with mayonnaise and the leftover turkey out on the counter for 3 to 4 hours.  Of course everybody went back for a snack.  Now you have a house full of food poisoned guests.  How embarrassing! 

The Partnership for Food Safety Education has some great tips for keeping your food safe and your guests healthy.  For more food safety brochures, click here.

CLEAN. Wash hands and surfaces often.

Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto hands, cutting boards, utensils, counter tops and food. To Fight BAC!® always:

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets.
  • Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.
  • Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.
  • Rub firm-skin fruits and vegetables under running tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water.

SEPARATE. Don’t cross-contaminate

Cross-contamination is how bacteria can be spread. When handling raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, keep these foods and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods. Always start with a clean scene — wash hands with warm water and soap. Wash cutting boards, dishes, countertops and utensils with hot soapy water.

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and in your refrigerator.
  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.

COOK to the proper temperature

Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of cooked foods. The best way to Fight BAC!® is to:

  • Use a food thermometer which measures the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry and egg dishes, to make sure that the food is cooked to a safe internal temperature.
  • Cook roasts and steaks to a minimum of 145°F. All poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer.
  • Cook ground meat, where bacteria can spread during grinding, to at least 160°F. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links eating undercooked ground beef with a higher risk of illness. Remember, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your burgers.
  • Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny. Don’t use recipes in which eggs remain raw or only partially cooked.
  • Cook fish to 145°F or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.
  • Make sure there are no cold spots in food (where bacteria can survive) when cooking in a microwave oven. For best results, cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.
  • Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating. Heat other leftovers thoroughly to 165°F.

CHILL. Refrigerate promptly

Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Do not over-stuff the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate to help keep food safe. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 40°F or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the temperature is consistently 40°F or below. The freezer temperature should be 0°F or below.

  • Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs and other perishables as soon as you get them home from the store.
  • Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food or cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit at room temperature more than two hours before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer (one hour when the temperature is above 90°F).
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Food must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
  • Always marinate food in the refrigerator.
  • Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.
  • Use or discard refrigerated food on a regular basis.

SAFE & HAPPY HOLIDAYS

We wish you and yours safe, happy holidays filled with the warmth and wonder of the season.  From our Dean & Draper family to yours, Happy New Year.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2015 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

 

Topics: Food Storage, Food Safety, Bacteria in food

Shopping Safely at the Mall

Posted on Sun, Dec 13, 2015

Fotolia_58898715_XS.jpgRight now we’re in the middle of the shopping madness of the Holidays.  Most of us are stressed, want to finish gathering those gifts, and a fairly short tempered.  In our rush, we can easily forget the basics of staying safe on our shopping trips. 

Our friends at the Houston Police Department have provided some great holiday safety tips:

  • Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
  • Shop with a friend whenever possible.  There is safety in numbers.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card.
  • If possible, carry only your driver’s license, necessary credit cards or personal checks.
  • If you must carry a purse, do not wrap straps around your arms or shoulders.  You could risk injury from a would-be purse-snatcher.
  • Do not carry wallets in a back pocket.
  • When possible, slip bags/purchases in a nondescript bag(s).
  • Watch your purchases while eating in mall food courts; bags can be easily snatched.
  • Have your car keys ready in hand before leaving the store.

Larry Kaminer in an article for The Personal Safety Group indicates that harder targets tend to operate in what has been described as “Condition Yellow”, a frame of mind in which you are relaxed yet aware of your surroundings and employ sound strategy.

People in “Condition Yellow”:

  • Walk with their heads up, shoulders back and scan their surroundings making them more difficult to surprise.
  • Dress down, blend in and wear comfortable footwear that allows them to move quickly.
  • Always know what is going on in the blind spot behind them.
  • Back into their parking space allowing for a rapid egress if necessary
  • Remain aware of who is around them while shopping and remember to scan the upper balconies from time to time knowing criminals often do their surveillance from the high ground.
  • Are good at reading body language and do not deem their instincts as silly or irrational if they get a “bad vibe” from somebody. They will remain in a well-lit, busy area until they are certain that the threat no longer exists or help arrives.
  • Carry very little, allowing them to rapidly bring their hands to bear to protect themselves.
  • Ask security to escort them to their vehicle if they feel uncomfortable.
  • Do not draw cash from mall ATMs knowing this attract unwanted attention.
  • Carry bags with the strap over one shoulder and not across their body so the strap cannot be used as a convenient “handle” by which to grab and control with.
  • Look inside and underneath their vehicles before unlocking and loading packages. (A small flashlight always comes in handy.)
  • Do not turn their back on the world as they load their vehicle.
  • Lock their vehicles even for the brief time it will take to return the shopping cart.
  • Ignore handbills placed on the windshield knowing this could be a set up.
  • Once in their vehicles, lock doors and drive away immediately.
  • Are weary of panel vans or utility vehicles parked on the driver’s side or near their vehicles. It is easy to be pulled through the sliding door of a van.
  • Make sure they have not been followed from the mall by paying attention to the vehicles around or behind them.

Dean & Draper

We hope your holidays are filled with laughter, joy, and warmth.  We are always available to answer your insurance questions and welcome your call.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2015 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Shopping Safely, Holiday Mall Parking Safety

Fireplace Safety – Tending Your Chimney with Care

Posted on Mon, Dec 07, 2015

Fotolia_58507584_XS.jpgTis the season for holiday cheer and a cozy fire.  Even here in Texas, we’re having temperatures that most of us think are low enough to light the fire.  Before you pile up the logs and break out the eggnog, HGTV and This Old House have some tips for keeping your fireplace safe.  Before you spark up the logs, take heed that fireplaces and chimneys are involved in 42 percent of all home-heating fires. We’ve selected some of our favorites so if you want to see the complete HGTV list, click here.  

Maintenance

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be swept at least once a year at the beginning of the winter to remove soot and debris. Find a certified sweep in your area via the Chimney Safety Institute of America. 

Fireplaces should not be used as furnaces. Use a fireplace for a short-duration fire — no longer than five hours.

Cap the Chimney.  A cap fitted with wire-mesh sides covers the top of the chimney and keeps rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering. Replace or repair a cap that's missing or damaged.

Preparing the Fire

Before making a fire, open the glass doors, pull aside the screen curtains, and place the kindling, newspaper and logs inside. Next, open the damper and a window. The window needs to be open only a few inches. You can check to make sure the smoke will go up the chimney properly by lighting a match, quickly blowing it out and watching the smoke to see whether it's going up and out.

Keep a nonflammable rug (available at fireplace-supply stores) in front of the fireplace so that sparks won't melt or otherwise damage your carpeting.

Never use liquid fire starter. 

Burn Seasoned Hardwoods.  Choose dense wood, such as oak, that's been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Green wood and resinous softwoods like pine produce more creosote, a flammable by-product of combustion that can build up in the chimney.

Smaller is better.  Large fires build up creosote faster. 

Cleaning Up

Fireplace coals can remain hot enough to start a fire up to three days, so always wait at least that long before removing the ashes. At that point, open the damper so that the airborne ash will be drawn up the chimney instead of into the room. Be sure to wear a dust mask and open a window in the same room as the fireplace to prevent negative air pressure. Use a shovel to scoop the ashes into a metal container. Store the container far from combustible materials and surfaces, and wood floors.

Never use a vacuum to clean up ashes because live coals may be hiding in those ashes.

Clean the firebox (the area where the logs burn) at least once a week during the months you use it, when ash builds up. Leave about an inch of ash because it acts as insulation, allowing the coals to heat faster and retain the heat easier. Keep the firebox completely clean during the months when the fireplace is not in use.

Dean & Draper

We are continually concerned about our customer’s safety and are pleased to provide safety tips regularly.  If you have questions about your insurance, we welcome your questions.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2015 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: fire insurance, Fire place safety