Here at Florey Insurance we want everyone the proper etiquette for speaking with your insurance agents.
We think it is important to know the proper way to talk to your insurance agent. You should always be willing to disclose the proper information to them, because it can help them get you the best rates available.
It might seem like the peak of summer, but fall is right around the corner. That means flu season if right around the corner too!
Manufacturers have started shipping the flu vaccine, and that means its time to get yours before the rush in the later months. Here are a few pieces of Information about the Influenza vaccine.
Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?
Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
How do flu vaccines work?
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
Who should get vaccinated this season?
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. This recommendation has been in place since February 24, 2010 when CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for “universal” flu vaccination in the United States to expand protection against the flu to more people. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza.
Where can I get a flu vaccine?
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even in some schools.
What are the benefits of flu vaccination?
While how well the flu vaccine works can vary, there are many reasons to get a flu vaccine each year.
- Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
- Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, including among children and older adults.
- Vaccine effectiveness for the prevention of flu-associated hospitalizations was similar to vaccine effectiveness against flu illness resulting in doctor’s visits in a comparative study published in 2016.
- Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.
- Flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac (heart) events among people with heart disease, especially among those who experienced a cardiac event in the past year.
- Flu vaccination also has been associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes (79%) and chronic lung disease (52%).
- Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy. Getting vaccinated can also protect a baby after birth from flu. (Mom passes antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy.)
- A study that looked at flu vaccine effectiveness in pregnant women found that vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection by about one half.
- There are studies that show that flu vaccine in a pregnant woman can reduce the risk of flu illness in her baby by up to half. This protective benefit was observed for several months after birth.
- And a 2017 study was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza.
- Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick. (For example a 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients.)
- Getting vaccinated yourself also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.
Here are a few steps that you should take to keep your home prepared in the event of a fire.
- Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year
- Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
- Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
- Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
- Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
- Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
- Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
Big storms bring heavy rains and wind. On the insurance front, people who suffer property damage and losses from a large storm face possible complications collecting policy benefits to pay for repairs.
Home and renters policies exclude some but not all types of water damage. “Flood” damage (your policy should define what the insurer considers a “flood”) and earth movement are excluded. Water damage from sewers and drains that back up may or may not be covered, depending on the wording in the specific home/renters policy. If wind or falling trees cause damage to pipes or contribute to water getting into a dwelling, there may be coverage under a home/renters policy. If you have a separate flood policy, flood insurance may cover damage from inundations and mudflow with a number of limitations and exclusions.
What to do before and during a severe storm:
- If you live on or at the foot of a hillside, place sandbags around the perimeter of your home.
- Place rolled up towels along the inside of exterior doors to prevent water from getting in.
- Do your best to keep your gutters clear but stay safe throughout the storm.
- Move valuables and items up from lower levels and away from doors and windows.
- Find a copy of your insurance policy. Check the wording on water damage and the amount of your deductible
- Use the free UPHelp Home Inventory App to photo document key features of your home that could be damaged (windows, siding, roof and interior) and your possessions.
What to do after the storm:
- If your home was damaged, focus on creating a scope of everything that was damaged and what it will cost to repair or replace.
- To keep a clean record and avoid premium increases, don’t file a claim until you review your policy and you think your loss will exceed your deductible and be covered. Read: To claim or not to claim…
- If the damage was sudden and accidental and triggered by the storm, don’t accept a claim denial argument from your insurer or agent that it was due to faulty construction or maintenance. The insurer cashed your premium checks and insured your property “as is”.
- If you file a claim and your insurer rejects it, make sure you get a clear and detailed explanation of their position.
- The answer to whether your town or city will pay to repair flooding damage to your home is…”it depends.”
Every time you take your boat and/or personal watercraft out on the water is a new experience. No matter how many trips you have under your belt, it is best to freshen up on boat safety before each voyage. Be sure you and your passengers follow these safe boating tips and practices to help promote an incident-free return from each outing.
Before Setting Out on Your Boat
Ensure that your boat and/or personal watercraft is operating properly before heading out onto the water. Follow this pre-departure checklist to help you avoid any potential problems.
- Share your float plan with a friend or relative. Be sure to include your destination and expected time of return.
- Check fuel levels and add as necessary.
- Check your engine. For in-board engines, open the hatch to look for fuel or fluid (oil, coolant, etc.) leakage or excess water in the bilge, or the lowest section inside of a boat. For outboard engines, check the fuel system for leaks or heavy gas odor. Excessive fuel vapors from either engine type can be a sign of a serious problem.
- Ensure all lights are functioning and in place.
- Check for any electrical issues such as loose, disconnected or corroded conductors.
- Test radio/communications devices.
- Run blowers to evacuate fumes and vapors from the bilge prior to starting your engine.
- Attach your boat and vehicle keys to a floating bobber.
- Check the local weather, sea reports and boating forecasts. As the operator of the boat, you have a responsibility to pay attention to the weather and should not head out if adverse conditions are expected.
- Have an emergency/evacuation plan in place, and go over it with your passengers.
- Review the vessel’s controls, location of personal flotation devices and location of fire extinguishers with your passengers.
What to Take Aboard
No matter how careful you, your passengers and fellow boaters may be, accidents can still happen. In the event of an incident, you should always have these items with you while you are out on your boat:
- Boat certificate and registration.
- Towing policy paperwork (if you have one).
- Personal flotation device (PFD) —with protective packaging removed—for each passenger.
- Charged and functioning fire extinguisher.
- Fully-stocked boating emergency/survival kit.
Staying Safe on the Water
Having a good time while out on the water includes getting everyone back to shore safely. Whether you are navigating or just along for the ride, everyone plays a critical role in boating safety. Be sure you and your passengers practice these safe boating behaviors on every outing:
- Do not exceed the number of passengers safely allowed on your vessel.
- Make sure all passengers remain in their proper, seated positions on the boat while it is in motion.
- Children should wear a PFD at all times – this is required by law in some states, so be sure to check local laws, rules and regulations. Adults should consider wearing them as well, and at a minimum, they should be readily available.
- Shut off the engine while passengers are loading and unloading for recreational activities such as tubing, waterskiing, wakeboarding and swimming.
- Monitor gauges at the helm (voltage, temperature, fuel) to help promote safe operation and identify any issues as soon as possible.
- Be aware of your surroundings, like water conditions and other vessels, to help you react to any potential dangers in a timely manner.
- The primary and backup operator (if you have one) should abstain from consuming any alcoholic beverages prior to or during the outing.
Millions of us enjoy warm weather every year by swimming in our backyard pools and relaxing in hot tubs. Tragically though, over 200 young children drown in backyard swimming pools each year. The American Red Cross suggests owners make pool safety their priority by following these guidelines:
- Secure your pool with appropriate barriers. Completely surround your pool with a 4-feet high fence or barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Place a safety cover on the pool or hot tub when not in use and remove any ladders or steps used for access. Consider installing a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool.
- Keep children under active supervision at all times. Stay in arm’s reach of young kids. Designate a responsible person to watch the water when people are in the pool—never allow anyone to swim alone. Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Ensure everyone in the home knows how to swim well by enrolling them in age-appropriate water orientation and learn-to-swim courses from the Red Cross.
- Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
- Establish and enforce rules and safe behaviors, such as “no diving,” “stay away from drain covers,” “swim with a buddy” and “walk please.”
- Ensure everyone in the home knows how to respond to aquatic emergencies by having appropriate safety equipment and taking water safety, first aid and CPR courses from the Red Cross.
Summer car maintenance that you can do
You don’t have to leave all the fun to the experts. If you’re a DIY-er, you can do this stuff on your own:
1. CHECK YOUR OIL
Oil helps keep your engine lubricated, which reduces friction (and heat buildup) under your hood. Checking your oil is super easy. And if you’re low, adding more oil is easy too. Just don’t confuse adding oil with changing oil. You should still get an oil change every 5,000 miles or so.
2. HECK, CHECK ALL YOUR FLUIDS
If you remember back to high school chemistry, heat causes liquid to evaporate. And all those fluids in your car have very important jobs to do, like lubricating and cooling. Topping off your fluids at the start of the summer can help you avoid overheating. If you’re unsure about which fluids to use or how much to add, ask your mechanic for help.
3. INSPECT YOUR TIRES
As outside temperatures fluctuate, so does tire pressure — cold temperatures cause tire pressure to drop while hot temperatures cause it to increase. So, first things first: make sure your tires are properly inflated. You can usually find your tire’s recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) in your owner’s manual or on your driver’s side door. To ensure an accurate measurement, always make sure you haven’t driven for at least 3 hours.
4. WASH AND WAX YOUR CAR
Keeping your car shiny and clean may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can actually save you from major costs down the road. Dirt and dust scratch away at your car’s top coat … you know, the one that protects the paint from fading and peeling in the sun. Paint damage is more than just unsightly, though — it can actually be damaging to your car’s structure. When paint peels away, it leaves your car susceptible to rust.
Summer car maintenance that the mechanic should do
Unless you know your way around an engine, it’s best to leave some of the more technical stuff to the experts. When you make your appointment, be prepared with a specific summer checklist:
1. GET A RADIATOR CHECKUP
A winter of salted roads can eat away at your radiator’s core, which can lead to leakage and, ultimately, an overheated engine. The mechanic can check for damage and clogs (a clogged radiator makes it harder for coolant to pass through) and flush your cooling system if necessary.
2. CHECK YOUR BATTERY
If you live in cold weather, you’ve probably experienced a dead battery more than once. But did you know the heat can pack a pretty mean punch too? Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which can lead to corrosion. If it’s been a while since you bought your last battery, ask the mechanic to give it a look.
If you do experience an overheated engine or a blown tire, being prepared can help you get through these situations a lot more smoothly. Take advantage of that big old storage space in your trunk to carry these items:
- Extra coolant (aka antifreeze): a 50/50 mix of coolant and water is your car’s preferred summer cocktail
- Extra water: to mix with the coolant (and to drink if you get stranded for a while)
- A spare tire: even better if it’s full sized
- An emergency kit
Recommended Safety Tips
And let’s not forget the safety of our pets!
Now is the time to prepare for the high temperatures that kill hundreds of people every year. Extreme heat caused 7,415 heat-related deaths in the United States from 1999 through 2010. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet many people die from extreme heat each year.
Those who are at highest risk include people 65 and older, children younger than two, and people with chronic diseases or mental illness. Closely monitor people who depend on you for their care and ask these questions:
People at greatest risk for heat-related illness can take the following protective actions to prevent illness or death:
Don’t Forget Your Pets Either!
Spring is finally here, and that means you will want to get all that winter crud off your car. Here are a few tips to help you clean that car!
Wash With the Right Suds
Even though hand dishwashing liquid is a great degreaser, it’s not the thing to use on your vehicle’s finish. Yes, it removes dirt, grease and old wax. But it also sucks important oils right out of the paint’s finish. Use it repeatedly and you shorten the life of your paint job. Instead of dish soap, use a cleaner formulated for vehicles
Pluck the Finish
A car hurtling down the road at 60 mph becomes a dartboard for any crud in the air. Your vehicle’s clear coat deflects some of it but can hold the sharper grit. Washing removes the surface dirt, but clay-barring is the only way to pluck out the embedded stuff.
Polish the Finish
Many car owners confuse polishing with waxing. But they’re separate steps. Polishing removes small surface imperfections and scratches and buffs the finish to a shine. Waxing adds more gloss and protects the finish from the elements.
Get a Mirror Finish With Synthetic Wax
Some people swear by carnauba wax. It produces a deep, warm shine. But we prefer the wet-gloss look of the newer synthetic polymer waxes (also known as paint sealant) such as Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax
Suck Up the Dust As You Go
Most DIYers start cleaning the interior by shampooing the carpet. That’s a mistake—you’ll just get it dirty again as you clean the upper surfaces. Instead, start at the top and work your way down.
Slide Seats Forward and Clean Out the Junk
You’ll be surprised by what you find behind the seats. We found a lost cell phone, enough pens and pencils to equip a small office, and enough change for several vending machine lunches.
Wash the Windows, Including the Top Edges
Ever notice that line of grime on the tops of windows when they’re partially rolled down? Most people overlook this detail when giving their vehicle a quick wash. A few minutes with Windex and a clean rag is all it takes.
Adapted from familyhandyman.com