What You Need To Know About Fireplace And Wood Burning Stove Safety

The leaves are changing and Autumn is right around the corner. Are you ready for the cooler weather? Fireplace And Wood Burning Stove SafetyHow about your home? Did you know the largest source of fire in American homes comes from fuel burning appliances? That is why fireplace and wood burning stove safety is so important. 

Wood Burning Safety

Use these tips to practice fireplace and wood burning stove safety. 

  • Read the instructions for your wood burning stove and follow them carefully. 
  • Inspect the firebrick liner, if you have one. Should the liner show signs of wear, replace it immediately. Do not use that unit until the liner is replaced. 
  • Do not use flammable or combustible liquid (gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, etc.) to start a fire. 
  • Burn wood recommended by the manufacturer only. 
  • Do not burn plastic, wood or garbage that has been painted or treated with chemicals. 
  • Be sure to have properly maintained smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and an approved multi-purpose fire extinguisher in your home. 
  • Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. Doing so will cause the fire to heat up which will force toxic carbon monoxide into your house. 
  • Take extra care when disposing of hot ashes. Remember that these embers may still be hot for several days. 

Solid fuel units tend to require a lot more maintenance than other heating systems. Therefore, regular inspections and care are needed to protect your home and family against fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Chimney Maintenance

Both metal and masonry chimneys require maintenance so that smoke and flue gases are ventilated properly. At the very least, you should have your chimney inspected annually before each heating season. In addition: 

  • Have  your chimney cleaned on a regular basis to reduce creosote buildup. 
  • Make sure your masonry chimney has a flue liner in place to reduce the possibility that the masonry could absorb creosote. 
  • Replace cracked or damaged liners, as they will allow creosote to accumulate and heat to escape. 
  • When hiring someone to reline your chimney, only allow the contractor to use a product that has been tested and listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. 

There are two types of chimneys that require specific maintenance to maximize the dangers in your home. 

  • Fireplace inserts (hearth stoves):
    • Vent should be connected to the flue of the chimney. 
  • Factory-built metal chimneys:
    • Do not use natural gas, fuel oil vents, well casing, stovepipe or other material in the chimney, as they cannot withstand the heat in the wood burner. 

A few other tips

Do not vent more than one heater or appliance into a single flue. Doing so can cause major complications. If one fuel-burning appliance is connected to a flue and then you attach another appliance, such as a water heater, you are running the risk of the following serious problems:

  • Heavy creosote accumulation
  • Deterioration of the flue
  • Creosote blocking the lower heater vent
  • Carbon monoxide drifting into your home

 

When it comes to your home and family fireplace and wood burning stove safety is crucial. Make sure to practice the above safety tips to stay safe and warm. Now is a good time to review your homeowners insurance coverage to make sure your policy is up to day and adequate.

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Ways To Prevent Lifting Injuries In The Workplace

lifting injuries

lifting injuriesLifting injuries are an unfortunately common injury in the workplace. It’s been a long day, you’re in a hurry, you’re up against a deadline. Those are all common events in the workplace.Lifting and lowering tasks can cause serious injury if not preformed properly.  It’s such a common activity, we often forget the proper technique to use. 

Safe Lifting Tips

Before lifting an object, estimate it’s weight by tilting it up slowly. If it’s hard to move, it’s too heavy to lift. Get help or use a lifting aid. When in doubt, ask for help. Make sure to always clear away any potential obstacles before carrying the object. 

Get under the load by bending your knees, not your back. Bending over at the waist to reach for the object puts strain on your back, shoulder and neck muscles. Avoid bending and twisting at the same time when possible. When lifting, hold the item or load as closely to your body as possible. Carrying objects will change your balance. Keeping the load close to your body helps maintain your normal center of balance. Make sure to support and propel the object while carrying it. Your grip should be firm.Use good foot positioning keeping your feet shoulder width apart.

To lower the object, bend your knees as you did to pick it up. To place the load on a bench or shelf, set it on the edge and slide it into position. Make sure your hands and feet are clear when lowering the load. 

Team Lifting

When another person is helping you lift, teamwork is very important. If you are carrying the load to another location, make sure to coordinate this prior to lifting the load. Lifting and lowering should be done in unison as you don’t want to suddenly drop the load without warning. 

Proper lifting methods protect against lifting injuries to yourself and others. Suffering an injury will not only affect you personally in your personal and business life, but it will also affect your employer and coworkers. Take some time to practice proper lifting techniques and they will become routine. 

In the unfortunate event of an injury at home or work do you know what kind of chiropractor or doctor benefits you have? Contact us today if you need help reviewing your health insurance or other employee benefits. 

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Click here to learn more about proper lifting techniques. 

 

Important Youth Sports Safety Tips You Need To Know

youth sports safety

For many kids, the new school year is in full swing. And with that, comes many kids playing youth sports. Participation in sports is not only fun, but it helps build and maintain health bones and muscles. It also reduces the risk of developing obesity and reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. The benefits are numerous, but as a parent your main concern is safety. What happens if my child gets hurt? Will this injury make them fall behind in school? The questions are numerous. However, there are steps you can take to keep your child safe. We have a few youth sports safety tips to keep in mind. 

Youth Sports Safety Tips

The risks of injury should not keep a child from enjoying the benefits of playing sports. There are a some easy youth sports safety tips that can help. 

  • Know and follow the rules of the sport.
  • Be in good physical condition before beginning any sport. 
  • Wear proper apparel and protective gear. 
  • Know how to use athletic equipment.
  • Be sure to warm up before playing. 
  • Drink plenty of liquids before playing to prevent dehydration. 
  • Do not play when tired or in pain. 

What do do in the event of an injury

Taking quick action and receiving prompt treatment for an injury can often prevent a minor injury from truing into a major injury. Make sure to remember RICE therapy.  Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. If you notice any of the following signs, your child may need to visit the doctor. 

  • Inability or decreased ability to play
  • Visible deformity
  • Severe pain that prevents the use of an arm or leg
  • Symptoms which persist or affect athletic performance

Prevention

Most sports-related injuries are preventable. A few steps coaches and parents can take to help reduce the changes of an injury occurring include: 

  • Enroll your child in programs where you know an adult will be monitoring the event. 
  • Be sure your child uses the proper safety equipment.
  • Teach your child to start by warming up and stretching.
  • Remind your child to cool down afterwards.

Most schools and coaches will require a physical examination before they will let students play sports. If the do not require one, it is still a good idea to go ahead and get one. A physical examination will determine the overall heath of your child. And, did you know most health plans offer a routine physical examination as a wellness benefit. Most plans cover wellness benefits at 100% or at a small copay. 

Important Tips On How To Prevent Truck Rollovers

prevent truck rollovers

In the trucking industry, rollovers happen daily. But they don’t have to. As a business owner you can reduce your insurance claims and improve the safety of your drivers by taking a few steps. Properly educating drivers, ensuring your trucks have proper maintenance and making sure everyone understands how the trucks handle with different load sizes are a great start to. Even with the best information available, there are still a few myths associated with truck rollovers.prevent truck rollovers

Myth #1: Poor driving conditions lead to most rollovers.

Facts:

  • Less than 4% of single vehicle rollovers are caused by roadway and environmental factors.
  • Approximately 2/3 of rollovers occur in daylight rather than in the dark.
  • 93% of rollovers occur on dry roads.

Myth #2: A majority of rollovers are caused by reckless maneuvers and excessive speeding.

Facts:

  • Avoiding excessive speeds is an important first step to prevent truck rollovers, but there are a host of other factors. Driver fatigues and inattention can also cause accidents.
  • Evasive maneuvers are a factor in only a small percentage of rollovers.

Myth #3: Rollovers only happen to inexperienced drivers.

Fact:

  • Most rollovers involve drivers with over 10 years of driving experience.
  • Most rollovers occur among driers between the age of 25 and 55.

A large majority of truck rollovers are caused by driver error, most crashes are preventable.

Some tips to keep in mind to prevent truck rollovers.

  • Obey speed limits and take it slow around corners.
  • Stay alter. Turning up  the radio or rolling down the windows are not effective ways to keep you alert. There are regulations in place to prevent fatigue-related accidents.
  • Put down your cellphone. It’s both illegal and extremely dangerous to text while driving.
  • Ensure your truck is mechanically sound before your trip.
  • Understand the design and performance of the type of truck you will be driving. For example, tankers handle differently than reefers or flatbeds.
  • Always make sure loads are tied down properly. Shifting loads can easily lead to a rollover.

There are numerous factors that can lead to a rollover. Knowing the risks and how to be safe are a good start to prevent truck rollovers. Deadlines are important, but safety is the number one priority. Do you have a safety program in place? If not, talk to your agent today to see what resources we may have available for you.

Click here to learn more about Commercial Auto Insurance

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What You Need To Know About Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Workers' Compensation Fraud

Workers' Compensation FraudWorkers’ Compensation insurance is designed to protect employees who are hurt on the job. And while most employees will never use it, there are some that unfortunately need it. This benefit pays for medical expenses, lost wages and other expenses while an employee is healing from their injuries. Most employees are very honest while filing their claim, however, for some that is not the case. Workers’ Compensation fraud occurs when someone knowingly makes a false representation. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that billions of false claims are submitted each year. This is concerning to employers because this causes their costs to go up.

Some warning signs to keep in mind.

  • Monday Morning: The alleged injury occurs either “first thing Monday morning,” or late on a Friday afternoon but not reported until Monday.
  • Employment Change: The reported accident occurs immediately before or after a strike, a layoff, the end of a big project or at the conclusion of seasonal work.
  • Job Termination:  If an employee files a post-termination claim:
    • Was the alleged injury reported by the employee prior to termination?
    • Did the employee exhaust his/her unemployment benefits prior to claiming workers’ compensation benefits.
  • History of Changes: The claimant has a history of frequently changing physicians, addresses and places of employment.
  • Medical History: The employee has a pre-existing medical condition that is similar to the alleged work injury.
  • No Witnesses: The accident has no witnesses, and the employee’s own description does not logically support the cause of injury.
  • Conflicting Descriptions: The employee’s description of the accident conflicts with the medical history or First Report of Injury.
  • History of Claims: The claimant has a history of numerous suspicious or litigated claims.
  • Treatment is Refused: The claimant refuses a diagnostic procedure to confirm the nature or extent of an injury.
  • Late Reporting: The employee delays reporting the claim without a reasonable explanation.
  • Hard to Reach: You have difficulty contacting a claimant at home, when he/she is allegedly disabled.
  • Moonlighting: Does the employee have another paying job or do volunteer work?
  • Unusual Coincidence: There is an unusual coincidence between the employee’s alleged date of injury and his/her need for personal time off.
  • Financial Problems: The employee has tried to borrow money from co-workers or the company, or requested pay advances.
  • Hobbies: The employee has a hobby that could cause an injury similar to the alleged work injury.

Do your part to eliminate fraud.

Strong workplace safety programs make it harder for dishonest employees to create false workplace injuries. Also, set strict injury reporting guidelines so you can monitor claims from the beginning. Take a strong stand against Workers’ Compensation fraud. Set a no tolerance standard and penalize anyone abusing the claim system.

Click here for business insurance information.

Do you suspect a fraudulent claim? if so you can call 1-800-OHIOBWC or visit their website to complete a Fraud Allegation Form.

 

Food Safety Is The Key To A Successful Tailgate Party

Tailgate party

Summer is coming to an end, school is about to start again, and the weather is going from warm to cool. For many that can mean only one thing. It’s Football season! When many think of football, they also think of another beloved pastime, the tailgate party. Whether you plan or attend the tailgate party, for many it’s the best part of football season. The game, friendships, fun, and the food. But as with any good thing, they also come with a few risks. Food poisoning can quickly take your day of fun and turn it into a day of misery.

Practice Food Safety To Avoid Being Sidelined

Each year millions of people fall ill due to food poisoning. This occurs after consuming foods that are contaminated during preparation. A few tips to help keep your tailgate party on track.

Thaw Food Properly.

When thawing food, outer sections warm up faster than inner sections. This can cause microorganisms to grow. Thaw food out in the refrigerator or under running water. Only that foods in the microwave that will be cooked immediately.

Preparing Food Safely. 

Prevent cross contaminating foods by washing hands using hot, soapy water before handling foods and between touching different types of foods. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and already prepared/cooked foods. Clean all food surfaces and equipment after each task, especially when handling raw foods.

Cook to Proper Temperatures. 

Use a food thermometer to make sure meats, chicken, turkey, fish and casseroles are cooked to a safe internal temperature.

  • Roasts and steaks should be cooked to at least 145 degrees F.
  • Ground meat should be cooked to at least 160 degrees F.
  • Whole chicken or turkey should be cooked to 180 degrees F.

Cooling and Reheating Food. 

Refrigerate or freeze prepared food and leftovers within two hours. To properly reheat food, it must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F for at least 15 seconds.

If You Are Traveling With Food 

If you are traveling with food make sure to be prepared and bring along anything extra you may need.

  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Keep everything clean. When transporting raw meat, double wrap or double bag the products. Bring disposable wipes or paper towels to wipe down working surfaces, utensils and hands.

By taking some extra steps you can ensure that you have a great tailgate party experience. We want to make sure you and your loved ones are protected. We are here for all of your auto, home, life and health needs.

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What You Need To Know About Auto Insurance And Road Trips

Auto Insurance

Auto Insurance

With the new school year just around the corner, many families are trying to fit in one last vacation. For many that means…ROAD TRIP! Before you hit the road in the family car, there are a few things to check. Most of us know to check the oil, tire pressure, and things like that. But there’s one last thing to check. Your auto insurance. Before you leave your driveway, you should be sure that you have the proper auto insurance.

Understand the basics.

Most auto insurance plans are going to have the same basic coverage. Making sure you understand how they work and the expenses you could be responsible for is critical. In the event of an accident you don’t want to be surprised with additional costs or find out your deductibles are higher than you thought. Below are some of the most common auto insurance coverage.

  • Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car
  • Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage. Most states require car owners to purchase a minimum of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. (However, you should always purchase more than the minimum required).
  • Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.

Collision and Comprehensive coverage

These coverage’s are separate from each other and will each have their own deductible.

  • Collision coverage – Collision coverage pays for the cost to repair damages to a vehicle due to an accident either with another vehicle or an object.
  • Comprehensive coverage – Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your vehicle that is caused by theft, vandalism, fire, natural disasters or hitting an animal.

Click here to learn more about Collision vs Comprehensive coverage

Types of Liability coverage

Bodily Injury Liability (BI): This covers injuries that you, the designated driver or policyholder cause to someone else. It does NOT cover the cost of damages to your vehicle, or to you or other people on your property.

Property Damage Liability (PD): Covers you or someone driving the car with your permission if the car damages someone else’s property. It also provides you with legal defense if another party files a lawsuit against you.

Medical Payments (MP) or Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This is no-fault coverage provides medical expenses to you and your passengers injured in an accident.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UM or UIM): This coverage will reimburse you if you are hit by an uninsured or hit-and-run drive or when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for your total loss.

Optional coverage options

Some of the most common optional coverage options include rental car reimbursement and towing and road side service coverage. One of the last things you want to worry about after an accident is how you’re going to get around and pay for additional transportation. With rental car reimbursement you will be able to rent a replacement car. The insurance will pay for the rental of that car until your car is fixed or until your coverage limits run out.

With Towing and road side service coverage, you can call towing or emergency roadside service to help when you run into unfortunate mishaps. Flat tire, locking keys in the car, running out of gas, those are just a few examples of where this coverage can help.

Don’t wait to review your auto insurance coverage until it’s time to use it. Contact your agent today to review your policy today. Have you purchased additional options or do you have a standard plan? Now’s the time to review it and add anything you may have a need for in the future.

Please share this information with others. Make sure they are aware of what they need to know about auto insurance and road trips. 

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Why Business Liability Insurance Is So Important To Have

business liability insurance

If you open the newspaper or turn on the news, it’s not uncommon to hear of someone suing someone else. Unfortunately, in today’s world, lawsuits are a part of every day life. That’s a scary though. Ever more so if you are a business owners. What if someone falls in your parking lot? Or what if something falls off your a shelf and hits a customer? While you take every precaution to make your store safe and inviting to customers, you can’t always predict every risk. That is why you purchased business liability insurance. To help protect your business and you livelihood.

What does Business Liability Insurance cover?

Business liability insurance (also known as commercial liability insurance) protects your business from damages caused by bodily injury or property damage for which your business is found to be legally liable. A typical business liability insurance policy provides coverage for claims of bodily injury or other physical injury, personal liability (libel or slander), advertising injury and property damage as a result of your products, premises or operations. It can be offered with other coverage such as property, crime, automobile and more.

These policies also have a safeguard against liability. This allows you to continue your normal operations while dealing with real or fraudulent claims of negligence or wrongdoing. Policies also provide coverage for the cost to defend and settle claims. Other typical coverage’s may include?

  • Automatic additional insured: Coverage is provided for written contracts, agreements and permits.
  • Personal and advertising injury: Protects against offences made by you or your staff during the course of business, such as libel, slander, disparagement or copyright infringement in advertisements.
  • Defense costs: Provides coverage for legal expenses for liability claims brought against your business, regardless of who is at fault.
  • Medical expenses: Provides coverage for medical expenses if someone is injured on your premises or by your products.
  • Premises and operations liability: Provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by others on your premises or in conjunction with your business operations.
  • Products liability: Provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by others as a result of your products.

How much coverage does my business need?

The amount of coverage needed varies from business to business. A few thought to keep in mind include:

  • Perceived risk: Consider the amount of risk associated with your business operations and functions. For example, if you manufacture heavy machinery you would generally need more coverage than a business that manufactures stuffed animals.
  • Premises and operations liability: If you operate in a state that has a reputation for rewarding high damages, then you may wish to purchase higher limits of liability.
  • Type of product manufactured: If you manufacture a dangerous product, you may want to carry higher limits of liability.

In addition to a business liability policy, you can also purchase an Umbrella Liability policy to give you higher limits of liability.

Other ways to protect your business.

In addition to insurance, there are steps you can take to help protect your business from liability exposures. Establish a high standard for product quality control at your business. Keep all company records up to date and accurate. Train your employees thoroughly and properly.

At Rinehart-Walters-Danner Insurance we understand your business needs to be protected. As an Independent Insurance Agency we have relationships with numerous companies. This allows us to tailor make the business insurance plan best suited to your specific needs. Contact an agent today to learn more about our risk management and insurance solutions.

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Are My Valuables Covered By Homeowners Insurance

Valuables

ValuablesYour grandmother decided to pass on her birthstone ring to you on you 16th birthday, many years ago. Of all your valuables, it is the most important to you. You always took extra precautions when wearing it and storing it. But, even when it’s locked up safely at home, is it truly safe? If it was ever stolen or lost, that’s what your homeowners insurance is for, right? Wrong.

Standard homeowners, condominium or renters insurance policies include a limit on coverage for jewelry and other valuables. Most policies have stringent limits on coverage of valuables.

  • Jewelry – as little as $1,000
  • Firearms – up to $2,000
  • Silverware – up to $2,500

Also, many policies may not cover losses due to theft, accident or loss.

Common items that require additional coverage

  • Jewelry
  • Silverware
  • Heirlooms (furniture, paintings, etc)
  • Rugs
  • Musical instruments
  • Fine Art
  • Antique china, crystal, decorative items
  • Designer appliances
  • Furs
  • Vintage wine
  • Collectibles (stamps, coins, glassware, etc.)
  • Firearms
  • Computers

Additional coverage options

Endorsements – Endorsements are additions to your homeowners, condominiums or renters insurance policies. This will change or add to the policy’s provisions. Your valuables are “scheduled” on a list that includes a brief description and the item’s dollar value. For all items, an appraisal or sales receipt is typically required. This will help ensure that, in the event of a covered loss, the amount of insurance is enough to cover the repair, replacement or cash payment of the item. The endorsement can cover property otherwise excluded from a basic homeowners insurance policy, extends the number of perils insured against or increase the amount paid for a covered loss. Items scheduled are typically not subject to the policy deductible.

Floaters – A Separate personal articles floater may be used to schedule your valuables that are subject to special limits under basic homeowners insurance coverage.

If you have an existing endorsement or floater, it is important to periodically review our policy’s coverage limits to minimize the likelihood of underinsurance arising out of outdated appraisals and inadequate limits of insurance.

Doing a home inventory can help protect valuables

A home inventory can be a great tool when it comes to protecting your home and valuables. A home inventory will allow you to go room to room and take pictures and details for your items. And did you know we offer a mobile app with that tool? You then can share that inventory with your insurance agent who will be able to determine if you have adequate coverage, need more coverage or need to add an endorsement or floater for your valuables.

Click here for our mobile app info.

As always, your agent is there to help you determine the best coverage for your needs. Doing a home inventory and sharing it with them is a great way to help make sure no valuables are missed.

 

What You Need To Know About Insurance When You Remodel Your Home

remodel your home

remodel your homeThe time to remodel your home is finally here! The colors are picked, the floors have been decided on and you are finally ready to start. Before your start construction, there are just a few things you should know.

Working with a general contractor

The best way to minimize your risk when you remodel your home is to hire a general contractor. The list of contractors can be large, but not all of them are equal. When you are comparing contractors, ask them to provide a Certificate of Insurance and/or copies of their policies. They should have Workers’ Compensation, General Liability and Builders Risk coverage. This will protect both them and you in the event of any issues during construction. Reviews are also a great place to look. Google & Facebook reviews give past clients the opportunity to share their experience with the contractors. Good or bad, they can tell how the process went for them.

Working with sub-contractors

If you decide to manage the project on your own, you assume all the risks. Hiring sub-contractors who can provide you with a certificate of insurance or copies of their policies showing general liability and workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory for your legal protection. Otherwise, you could be subject to workers’ compensation laws, should they become injured while working on your home.

Doing the work “DIY”

If you do the work “DIY” style, there is still a change of help from others. If a friend or relative helps out as a favor and gets injured, your homeowners insurance typically covers the cost of their injuries. This however will be subject to your policy limits. For an extra layer of protection, it’s a good idea to also carry umbrella liability coverage, which kicks in to provide liability coverage above your homeowners insurance policy.

Homeowners Insurance review after renovations

Experts estimate that 1 out of 4 remodeling projects adds at least 25% to the value of a home. Yet, often most homeowners forget to increase their coverage to protect their investment. When making a major change to your home, it’s important to talk to us about insuring those changes. Most homeowners insurance policies require 100% of the home’s replacement cost, so it’s important to raise your home’s policy limit before your project begins.

Adding to your home is exciting, but poses financial risks. Contact us today for assistance on determining the value of your home and making sure you are properly covered.

Click the links below to learn more about:
Homeowners Insurance
Umbrella Liability Insurance