Thanksgiving Turkey Preparation Safety Tips You Need To Know

Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingThanksgiving will be here before we know it and chances are you’re already planning your menu. Everyone loves the green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and lets not forget the main star…the turkey! But there are a few thinks to keep in mind when preparing your turkey this Thanksgiving.
  • Thawing – There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in a microwave oven.
  • Preparation – After preparing the turkey, thoroughly wash your hands and disinfect utensils or surfaces to avoid bacteria from the turkey spreading to other foods.
  • Stuffing – The safest way to prepare stuffing is to cook it outside the turkey in a casserole dish. However, if you prefer to cook the stuffing in the turkey, do so just before cooking, and use a food thermometer. Make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a save minimum internal temperate of 165 degrees F.
  • Cooking – Be sure the turkey is completely thawed, and set the oven a minimum temperate of 325 degrees F. Make sure the stuffing, breast, thigh, and wing joint reach a safe minimum temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Rest –  When finished, let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.
As long as you follow the above steps you will have a safe and delicious turkey! If you cook your turkey other ways such as smoker or deep fryer ensure you follow proper instructions for each device and keep a safe distance from your home or other structures. No one needs a homeowners insurance claim during the holidays.

Important Chimney Maintenance Tips You need To Know

chimney maintenance

chimney maintenanceIn spite of the ambiance and relaxation that a fireplace provides, there are also inherent fire dangers. To combat the risk of fire or inhalation of dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas, it is important for you to make chimney maintenance part of your home maintenace plan. Follow these tips to keep your chimney in good shape and prevent fire hazards.

General Chimney Maintenance Tips

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 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.

Specific Chimney Maintenance Tips

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

  1. Fireplace inserts—Make sure the vent is connected to the flue of the chimney.
  2. 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.

Keep These Precautions in Mind

Do not vent more than one heater or appliance into a single flue, as major complications can arise. 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 various problems. Such problems include heavy creosote accumulation, deterioration of the flue or CO gas drifting into your home.

For additional home maintenance guidance and homeowners insurance solutions, contact us today.

Should I Bundle My Insurance Policies Or Not?

bundle

bundleIf you’ve ever shopped around for insurance, you’ve likely been asked if you want to bundle your policies. In other words, combine your home or renters, auto and life insurance policies with the same carrier. Although you have the option to shop around individually for each policy, it almost always makes sense to have the same carrier cover as many of your policies as possible.

Click here to learn more about personal insurance options

Benefits of Bundling

  • The discount—Most policyholders bundle their policies because of the promise of a discount. The amount varies by provider but can generally range between 5-25 percent.
  • The option of a single deductible—With bundled policies, your deductible may be cheaper in the event of a claim that affects multiple policies. For example, if your home and auto policies are with two separate carriers, and a hailstorm damages your home and your car, you’re responsible for paying both your home and auto deductibles before receiving payment. But if you bundle your policies, your provider may offer you the option to pay only the higher of the two deductibles.
  • Less chance of being dropped—If you’ve made claims or gotten tickets, having your policies bundled with one provider can decrease the chance of them dropping you.

When It Doesn’t Pay to Bundle

It isn’t always better to bundle your policies with one insurance carrier. Here’s when it may be better to split them up:

  • If you have tickets or past claims that make your auto insurance expensive – In this case, it may be cheaper overall to buy each policy from separate providers.
  • When premiums increase—Bundling discourages people from price shopping, which makes it easier for providers to increase their rates. Most assume that you won’t go through the effort of shopping around when your policies renew.
  • If policies aren’t technically bundled—Some carriers may insure you with an affiliated company. Although you may get a discount with that company, you’ll lose the convenience of paying your premium with one familiar provider.

A Few Tips to Consider

Although discounts are the main reason people bundle their insurance policies, never assume that bundling is the cheapest option. Your needs and circumstances will dictate whether you should combine your policies with one carrier. Consider the following tips:

  • Shop for new coverage when your policies renew. Ask for the price of the individual premiums as well as the price of the bundled premium. Then you can decide whether it is worth it. Just make sure you compare the same coverage when shopping for quotes from each carrier.
  • Ask if the provider uses a third-party insurance company. Remember that you may save money but lose the convenience of dealing with one provider and a combined bill.
  • Ask an independent insurance agent to get prices from multiple companies so you don’t have to do the legwork. An agent that is loyal to a particular carrier may be able to offer discounts that you can’t get alone.

With multiple factors contributing to the price of your insurance premiums, it is important to shop around in order to get the best rate for your insurance needs. Feel free to contact us to determine if bundling is right for you and help you take advantage of all available discounts.

Do You Understand The Benefits Offered By Your Job?

Benefits Offered By Your Job

Benefits Offered By Your JobMany employers recognize the hard work their employees do every day. In addition to a pay check, many employers will offer additional benefits to compensate their employees. Whether you are a new employee of the company, or an existing employee that has never enrolled in the benefits, understanding everything an employer has to offer can be difficult. We break this all down and help you understand the benefits offered by your job.

Common Benefits Offered By Employers

When it comes to benefits offered by employers, there is no set guideline to use. As a result, employers build their own benefits packages and can pick and choose what they want to offer. Some of the most common options include:

  • Medical Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)

Click here to learn more about employee benefits.

Employer-paid vs Voluntary benefits

Depending on the size of the company you work for, there may be several packages available. Some may be employer-paid, some may be voluntary and some may be in the middle where you and the employer split the cost. There could be several options for benefits offered by your job.

  • Employer-paid benefits are those that the employer pays 100% of the cost. This typically includes life insurance and disability insurance.
  • Voluntary benefits are those you the employee can choose to elect or not. You will pay 100% of the premium. This typically includes dental and vision insurance
  • Contributory benefits are those that you and the employer both pay for. The employer picks how much they will pay and then you pay the remainder. One example would be medical insurance. The employer may pay 80% of the premium, you pay the remaining 20%

What Coverages Are Included In The Benefits Offered By Employers?

This will vary for each company. They will be able to provide you with a summary of benefits that will show you basic plan information. Deductibles, copay’s, coinsurance and maximum out of pocket is standard on each summary. Employers have HR departments or an insurance agent they work with. They will be able to explain everything to you and help you enroll.

Understanding benefits offered by employers can be overwhelming. Take time to review the information provided to you and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Every individual’s situation is different however employers have specific plans in place to help you.

Have questions? Contact us today, we can help.

Halloween Doesn’t Need To Scare Your Bank Account

Halloween

Halloween

What do you get when you mix costumes, decorations, and candy? A Happy Halloween!!
Those that have children, probably feel the sting a little more while at the check-out. But Halloween doesn’t need to break the bank.

A few tips to keep in mind to help you save money

  • Buy bulk candy to get the most for your money.
  • Ration out how much you will give each Trick-or-Treater.
  • Buy pumpkins close to Halloween to get the best deal.
  • Make your own decorations – use leaves for stuffing in outside decorations, spray paint cardboard or cereal boxes for DIY headstones, or use cotton balls as cobwebs.
  • Make your own costumes or only buy what you have to.

Halloween Safety Tips

In addition to saving money, your family’s safety is extremely important. Costumes, trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving are all Halloween traditions. But there are also dangers associated with each of those activities.

Costume Precautions

  • Do not let children wear baggy or long costumes, as they are difficult to walk in and can be tripping hazards.
  • Purchase wigs, costumes and accessories that are fire-retardant.
  • Select face makeup and paint that is labeled as “FDA Approved” or “Non-toxic” to prevent allergic reactions.
  • Place reflective tape on your children’s costumes and candy buckets if they are going trick-or-treating at night.

Trick-or-Treat Safety

  • Remind children to walk only on the sidewalk and look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Do not allow children under 12 years old to go trick-or-treating by themselves.
  • Remind children to never approach or get into a car with a stranger offering them candy.
  • Once your children get home, inspect their candy.

Pumpkin Carving Tips

  • Only carve pumpkins on a flat surface with good lighting, such as a kitchen table.
  • Use a pumpkin-carving kit that includes tools appropriate for the task.
  • Place lit jack-o’-lanterns away from flammable objects such as sheets and curtains.

Having a good time does not mean spending a lot of money. Even on a budget you can have a spooky Happy Halloween!

The Mid-Ohio Youth Mentoring Comedy Benefit Show Is This Saturday!

Mid-Ohio Youth Mentoring

Mid-Ohio Youth MentoringMid-Ohio Youth Mentoring, formerly known as Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Central Ohio, is a well known local program. They have mentored children, ages 5 through 16, in communities across Mid-Ohio for the last 25 years.

Visiting their website you can see their mission

“Our mission is to provide youth in our community with a mentor that supports, encourages, and provides opportunities, that will help them achieve success in life.” 

In order to make their mission successful, they need donations.

One popular event they hold annually is the Mid-Ohio Youth Mentoring Comedy Benefit Show. This year’s show is Saturday October 16th at 6pm. To get your see more details and purchase your tickets, visit their website. 

www.midohiyouthmentoring.com

Help us support them by spreading the word. 

 

Comedy Benefit Show

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Mid-Ohio Youth Mentoring Inc.       Presents the comedic styling’s of:          Pat Godwin

A comedy benefit show brought to us by: Scott Dunn                 With lead off comedian: TBA

What: Adult comedic humor,              (doors open at 6:00 p.m.)

When: Saturday, October. 16th 2021, 7 – 10(ish) p.m. (music and drinks till late)

Where: The Liederkranz: 1212 Silver Lane, Mansfield OH 44906

Why: Raise funds to support our mentoring programs in your community

Tickets are $20 – Click here to purchase yours now!

There will be a cash bar for your enjoyment, snacks will be provided, and fun will be had by all.  Please help us supply the children of this community with positive adult role models by purchasing this ticket and attending the show.

The kids thank you for your support!!

Helping You Avoid A Collision: Beware of Animals on the Road

animals on the road

According to recent estimates from the Federal Highway Administration, there are over 300,000 wildlife-vehicle collisions in the United States every year. Even more concerning, nearly 2,000 of these indicents are deadly for the driver. These statisitics underscore why it’s important to take the proper precautions to avoid a collision with an animal. Whether you’re driving in the city or the country, here are some tips to keep you safe behind the wheel and prepared in the event that there are animals on the road.

Beware of Animals on the Road

  • Remain alert at all times and watch out for animals.
  • Slow down if you see an animal up ahead, as it is generally unpredictable.
  • Slow down at designated animal crossing areas marked by road signs. These signs indicate that the area has a lot of animal traffic and an increased potential for accidents.
  • Use your high beams at night to see animals easier.
  • Watch your speed, especially during dusk and at night.
  • Have your vehicle’s brakes and tires checked regularly to ensure they are in safe working order.
  • Watch out for movement and shiny eyes on the roadsides. Slow down if you see anything suspicious. In addition, slow down on blind curve areas of the road.
  • If you see an animal in front of you, do not swerve because it may cause you to hit another vehicle, side rail or lose control all together. Use your brakes immediately.
  • Always wear a seat belt—it’s your best safety defense.
  • Animal and vehicle collisions are especially commonplace between October and December. Make sure you are especially diligent as you drive during this time.

If a Collision Occurs

In the event that your vehicle collides with an animal, pull off to the side of the road and call the state patrol or local police department. Do not attempt to move the animal if it is lying in the middle of the road. Never leave your vehicle to check on an injured animal, as it may still be alive and potentially dangerous to you. Stay in your vehicle until help arrives.

For additional driving safety guidance and auto insurance solutions, contact us today.

How To Determine The Amount Of Life Insurance You Need

Life insurance is not a fun topic to think or talk about. However, it is a necessary one. Do you have loved ones that depend on you financially? Do you have college loans or a mortgage that you do not want you family members to have to take over? Life insurance is about protecting those you love in the event that something happens to you. Your designated beneficiary would collect a financial benefit upon your death. 

 

Life insurance can be confusing, but that’s where we come in. There are numerous types of insurance. Term, Whole Life, Universal Life. Not all plans may be the best fit for your needs. When looking at life insurance you want to make sure to get the best rate but also the best fit for your family’s needs. 

Click here to learn more about the types of life insurance. 

Once you determine that you need it and what type you want, how to you determine the amount of life insurance you need?  

How Much To Buy?

A few common factors to keep in mind when determining the amount of life insurance you need are:

  • What debts do you have?
  • What is your income?
  • Do you want to pay for a child or children’s college education?
  • What expenses will continue even after you are gone? 

Many people decide based on an income replacement calculation, between 5 and 10 times the amount of your current income. Think about your personal circumstances. Is your income the sole income for your household? Are there other expenses, such as college tuition, that may arise in the future? Don’t forget to include potential medical and funeral costs. One goal of life insurance is to ensure your family does not get stuck with bills, debts or expenses that they cannot afford. 

Click here for a life insurance calculator. 

If you have people that depend on you for financial support, it’s important to make an educated decision about life insurance options. Contact your agent today to discuss life insurance and your family’s needs. 

 

 

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. 

6 Things You Need to Know for Camping Safety

camping safety

camping safetyCamping is an activity enjoyed by millions of Americans each year. To keep the experience fun and safe there are some basic precautions that every camper should take. We have put together a list of 6 things you need to know for camping safety.

Essentials

Before setting out it is important that you have the following items:

  • A medical kit—It should include a topical antibiotic, bandages, cotton swabs, diarrhea medication, antacids, scissors, tweezers and burn ointment, at a minimum.
  • Flashlights—Bring several, and ensure beforehand that they are working correctly. Carry along some extra batteries as well. You may wish to purchase an LED flashlight; although more expensive, they last much longer.
  • Water—It is never a good idea to drink from natural water sources such as lakes or streams. Bring along bottled water, water purification tablets or a water purifier. If you decide to bring bottled water, figure a gallon per person per day to cover drinking and cooking.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses—Being out in the sun for hours at a time—much less days—can cause irreversible skin and eye damage not to mention the immediate discomfort sunburn will bring to your trip.
  • Waterproof matches— Even if everything else is wet, you can still make a fire.
  • Insect repellant—Not only is sunburn unpleasant, but bug bites can be nasty too.
  • Extra clothing—As hot as it may be during the day, nighttime may be an entirely different story. In addition, should your clothing get wet, you will want dry items to change into.

Tent Placement

It is important to consider the weather while choosing a site to set up camp. Avoid low-lying areas that could flood during a heavy rain. Also, in windy situation avoid setting up your tent under a tree, as possible falling limbs could present a danger. Camping Safety is a priority. 

Animals

  • Never approach or feed a wild animal. While it may look safe, their actions can be unpredictable.
  • If camping in bear country, ensure that all dishes and food are kept at least 200 yards away from where you plan to sleep. Hang cooking utensils and food from a tree while not in use.
  • If you bring along family pets such as the dog, make sure he or she is properly supervised. It is important that your pet does not interfere with nearby campers or indigenous wildlife.

Campfires

Before starting your campfire:

  • Clear the area of overhanging branches and brush.
  • If possible surround the fire pit with rocks and keep a bucket of water nearby.
  • Do not build the fire near the tent(s) or anything else flammable.
  • Never leave a fire unattended and ensure it is completely out before going to bed.
  • Collect firewood from the ground only, never cut into living trees.

Activities

  • Do not hike alone. Bring along a compass, water, snacks, a flashlight, and your cellphone if it operates in that area. The American Red Cross recommends a minimum of four people hike into an unfamiliar remote area, because if one person gets hurt, one can stay with him/her while the other two go and get help.
  • Always supervise children in the water, even if they know how to swim. It is advisable that if the camping site is around water, every camper should know how to swim.

Food Safety

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends the following:

  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold—Bring a cooler with a cold source; since it is difficult to keep items hot, it is suggested that you cook them ahead of time, cool them, and transport them cold to be heated up later.
  • Keep everything clean—Bacteria present on raw meat and poultry can easily spread to other foods, called cross-contamination.
    o When transporting raw meat, double wrap or double bag the products.
    o Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat.
    o Never use the same platter and utensils for raw meat and cooked.
    o Always cook all cuts of pork, ground beef and lamb to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. All poultry, hot dogs and leftover meat should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a meat thermometer along with your              cooking supplies.
    o Bring disposable wipes or biodegradable soap for hand and dishwashing.

If you are camping for more than one night, you may want to bring the following:

  • Peanut butter in a plastic jar
  • Concentrated juice boxes
  • Canned tuna, ham, chicken or beef
  • Dried noodles and soups
  • Dehydrated foods
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • Powdered milk and fruit drinks

Make sure you clean up all trash and belongings when leaving your campsite. Always strive to leave things better than you found them so other will get the chance to fully enjoy the beauty of nature just as you have. These camping safety tips should help ensure you have a fun, safe experience!