Considering a Backyard Fire Pit?


fire pit

Outdoor fireplaces are attractive, inexpensive, and extend the use of your yard through fall and winter. They add ambiance to a cool evening and are enjoyable to stare at. However, when you use a fire pit you are actually playing with fire! If you are careless using it, you could not only set your home on fire, but the grass as well, causing others around you to be in danger.

To make sure you are safe, we recommend focusing on the following

Positioning
– The smartest surface to place a fire pit is on patio blocks or concrete, as they are non-flammable. Avoid positioning on grass or on a wooden deck because they can catch fire easily.
– Whether you have a permanent or portable fire pit, the position is extremely important. You’ll want to make sure it’s at least 10 feet away from any objects and neighboring yards, and that no low hanging branches are above where its placed.

Lighting
– Consider using a commercial fire starter with kindling, rather than lighter fluid. Ensure no flammable objects are close by before using it – roughly five feet is a reasonable distance. However, more distance is preferable.
– Lighting your fire can be difficult depending on the direction wind is blowing. If it is too windy, it is smart wait to use your fire pit.

Usage
– When the fire is lit, make sure you don’t leave children or pets unattended (or the fire unattended at all!)
– It is unsafe to wear flammable or loose-fit clothing while near the fire, as these can catch fire surprisingly easily.
– Garbage and paper products can spark easily and throw off embers and burning remnants, so you should try not to put any of those in the fire!

It is always safe to keep a container of water or hose nearby, because accidents do happen! If you have any questions about what your current homeowners policy covers, do not hesitate to give us a call at 781-943-1555!

Selling a Motorcycle? Here Are Some Tips!

What To Do When Selling a Motorcycle

harley-1238021_960_720

While selling any kind of vehicle can be a lot of work, it does not necessarily have to be complicated. It can be as simple as putting an ad in the classified section of your local newspaper or putting a “for sale” sign on it as you display it on your front yard. We’ve come up with a list of steps to take that will help the process a bit.

  1. Know the value of your motorcycle. If your bike is stock, check Kelley Blue Book to determine market value. Many factors will affect sales price, but using KBB will help give you an accurate range to price your motorcycle. If your bike is customized, the book value will depend on several factors.
  2. Decide your sales strategy. There are several different ways to sell a motorcycle. Craigslist, eBay, fliers, and local publications/newspapers are common ones. If you are less familiar with the internet, you may want to try fliers or local newspapers first.
  3. Prepare your motorcycle. If repairs are needed, you may want to take care of them before advertising so that the bike is more desirable to possible buyers. If a repair seems on the expensive side, think about whether or not it will increase the value of the motorcycle to have it fixed and make your decision based on that.
  4. Take a variety of photos. You’ll want to take photos of your bike from many different angles, especially if you are selling it on the internet.
  5. Write a description of your motorcycle, then post online. Keep in mind any website you use will have different guidelines and regulations, so make sure to inform yourself before posting. Post fliers at local motorcycle dealerships and other shops nearby as well.
  6. Wait for potential buyers. Double check your contact information and be sure to answer inquiries quickly. Someone who is actively looking for a motorcycle may find another one while they are waiting to hear back from you.
  7. Decide your preferred payment method. Whether you will accept checks or other forms of payment, you should decide ahead of time. Also, be prepared for any offers that are made, as you will most likely have a bottom line price you’ll plan on sticking to.

These are basic steps you can take to make the process of selling your motorcycle a simpler process. Call us at 781-943-1555 for any of your insurance needs!

Run of the Charles: Boston’s Premier Paddling Race – Sunday, April 24th, 2016

 

Run of the Charles: Boston’s Premier Paddling Race – Sunday, April 24th, 2016

paddle

Only two days left to register for the biggest and best canoe and kayak event in New England, hosted by the Charles River Watershed Association.

This year marks the 24th anniversary of the Run of the Charles: Boston’s Premier Paddling Race. Races start in Dedham, Newton, Needham, and Brighton, on the Charles River. Each race will finish at DCR’s Artesani Park on Soldiers Field Road in Brighton. Families and race fans will meet at the Finish Line Festival (free), which will have live music, exhibits, raffle drawings, awards and picnics.

This race will have over 1,200 attendees including amateurs, professionals, recreational – from both the United States and Canada – all ages 12 and older. Available races include the 24-Mile Relay Race, 19 miles, 9 miles, and 6-mile amateur races. The 26-Mile Professional Marathon includes $5,000 in cash prizes.

When? Sunday, April 24, 2016
– First race check-in at 8:30am
– Ends about 4:30pm at DCR’s Artesani Park

Cost? Race entry fees range from $25 – $500 per individual, and $250 – $400 for each relay race team.

Contact information:
c/o Classic Communications
38 Mechanic Street, Suite 101, Foxboro, MA 02035
Phone: (508) 698-6810
Fax: (508) 698-6811

Additional links:
Register Now
General Information
Rental Rates – full details about pricing & deposits as well as registration and cancellation policies

In 2016, Tax Day is April 18th!

 

money

For all the procrastinators out there – you’re in luck! If you live in Massachusetts or Maine, you get two additional days.

This year, the due date for filing federal individual tax returns has been changed from Friday, April 15th to Monday, April 18th. If you are a Massachusetts or Maine resident, you have until Tuesday, April 19th.

There are several reasons for this – Patriots’ Day is on the 18th, so many IRS offices in both Massachusetts and Maine will be closed.

While actual filing isn’t due until the 19th, estimated tax payments are all due on April 18th regardless of what state you’re in. The other reason is Emancipation Day is celebrated on April 15th – this Friday – when taxes are usually due. Emancipation Day typically falls on April 16th, but because it falls on a Saturday this year, it is being celebrated on the 15th.

So, although you have another 5 days (6 in MA and ME), go and file your taxes!

Related Links
5 ways to use your tax refund
Tax returns reveal our secrets

What Does “Full Coverage” Car Insurance Really Mean?

traffic

In short, “full coverage” car insurance doesn’t exist. It’s a term that references the combination of collision and comprehensive coverage on an insurance policy. A policy with full coverage is one that provides a solid amount of coverage for when an accident occurs.

Common variations of what is considered “full coverage” include:

  • A policy which includes a state minimum coverage, plus any additional insurance required by the lender who financed your vehicle.
  • Coverage that would take care of everything if an accident or other incident occurs.
  • A policy which includes liability, collision and comprehensive coverage.

It’s important to mention while this is considered full coverage, it does not mean you have full protection no matter what. It’s all about what best fits your specific needs. If you are looking for a totally comprehensive car insurance policy, think about maybe adding one of the following coverages:

  • Rental Reimbursement –  covers your rental costs while your car is in repair if you’re in an accident.
  • Medical Payment – even if you were at fault, this coverage can be used to pay for your medical costs after an accident.
  • Roadside Assistance – this kicks in if your car breaks down and you need towing and labor assistance.

Keep in mind what one person may consider “full coverage” does not necessarily mean it is the best insurance for you. Your own personal needs, as well as your vehicle and budget are things you need to think about while deciding which coverages you need. We are available Monday through Friday to help you decide which coverages may work best for you. Feel free to give us a call at 781-943-1555 or email us at info@cochraneandporter.com!

 

Helpful links
What is covered by a basic auto insurance policy?
Why do deductibles matter?
Get a quote!

 

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

 

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Texting

Distraction while driving includes any activity that redirects the drivers’ attention from their primary task, driving!  Any form of distraction while driving is dangerous for the driver, passenger(s), and bystanders. Distracted driving has tragically become a deadly epidemic on American roadways.

Common activities known for distracting drivers are talking on the phone, eating, or texting. Navigation systems and other forms of in-vehicle technologies can be distracting; however texting while driving is incredibly dangerous because you are incorporating all 3 of the main forms of distraction.

The 3 main forms of distraction:

  • Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving
  • Manual: taking your hands off of the wheel
  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road

Facts

  • At 55 mph, an average text takes your eyes off the road long enough for you to drive as far as a football field.
  • Drivers under age 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
  • In 2013, 424,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. This is an almost 10% increase from 2011.
  • According to the National Safety Council, texting while driving is the cause of 1,600,000 accidents per year, and nearly 25% of all car accidents.

Related links:
Basic facts about teen crashes
Distracted driver facts & statistics

Don’t be a part of the statistics – make sure to be cautious and remain off your cell phone while driving. It may seem like you are able to keep your eyes on the road, but you are distracted mentally as well, which can something be just as dangerous.

Don’t forget to call us at 781-943-1555 for any questions regarding any kind of insurance or any other questions you may have!

Safe travels!

6 Ways to Protect Your Identity Online


laptop

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), roughly 9 million Americans have their identity stolen every year. Taking just small precautions can help protect your identity and good name. Although nothing will guarantee your safety, there are many ways you can decrease the chances of your identity being stolen.

  1. Use secure passwords – change your passwords regularly and make sure to not use the same one. Think of something that isn’t obvious and not easy to guess.
  2. Protect your social security number – Refrain from carrying your social security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it in a safe spot at all times and in a place where nobody would think to look.
  3. Use firewall, spyware and virus protection – Update it yearly or whenever necessary in order to keep unwanted guests away from your desktop or laptop.
  4. Clean out your wallet and purse often – Remove any cards you haven’t used in a while and cancel ones you no longer need.
  5. Shred documents that contain sensitive information – invest in a shredder so that all documents are completed destroyed with no evidence of a whole document.
  6. Keep an eye on your credit card statements and bills – if anything looks unfamiliar, contact your credit card company immediately.

These are only a few standard precautions you can take to prevent yourself from being a victim of identity theft online. Be sure to check out our Identity Theft Protection service from our online shopping store or give us a call at 781-943-1555!