Preparing Your Vehicle For Freezing Cold Temperatures

Be prepared for freezing temperatures!

 

Freezing Cold Windshield
While it’s technically been winter for several weeks, we’re just now experiencing freezing cold temperatures and the dread of having to clean ice off our windshields before we can drive. Weather changes affect both you and your vehicle. In freezing temperatures, you can’t expect your car to function properly immediately without making some minor changes. Here are some suggestions on ways to ensure that your vehicle is properly ready for the winter season:

Emergency kit – It’s a good idea to put together some things useful tools to store in your trunk so you have them in case you get stuck in a snow bank or on the side of the road during a snowstorm.

Windshield safety – Many people don’t take the time to clear their windshield. Make sure your windshield is completely clear before you drive, especially when there are adverse weather conditions. Eliminate the chances of an accident by only driving if there’s no ice or snow blocking your view.

Tire pressure
– Tire pressure is really important in the winter, which is why many people purchase snow tires. Properly inflated tires will ensure good traction in slippery conditions.

Battery – Battery issues remain one of the most common ways for a car to break down, particularly during winter. The scary thing about car batteries is extremely cold temperatures can decrease the battery’s life by up to 50 percent.

Some important kit items include:

  • Blankets
  • Snow boots
  • Engine oil
  • Washer fluid
  • Coolant
  • Flashlight
  • Jumper Cables
  • Flares
  • Small snow shovelTake a look at a full list of car kit emergency tools that will come in handy.

Additional car safety tips for freezing weather:

  • Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to avoid potential freezing issues due to excess moisture.
  • Make sure your brakes are in good working order.
  • Keep a cell phone charger or extra battery pack in case you need to call for help.

While making sure your vehicle is prepared for freezing cold temperatures, your home also requires its own cold weather participation. Contact us for any questions or concerns at 781-943-1555!

February is American Heart Month

Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are due to heart disease, making it the leading cause of death for both men and woman in the United States. However, heart disease is typically preventable by making healthy decisions early on in life and making sure you don’t have high blood pressure.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017. The CDC highly recommends that anyone who is aware of their high blood pressure monitor it and make it a goal to lower it in the upcoming months.

There are several ways you can protect yourself from having heart disease in the future. Some include:

  • Do not smoke or allow yourself to be exposed to second-hand smoke – this can increase the risks of heart disease as well as lung cancer and stroke.
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure – age and heredity greatly increase the chances of having a high blood pressure. It’s helpful to measure blood pressure at your home while you are relaxed, as many people have white coat syndrome, meaning they become nervous when going to the doctors.
  • Monitor your cholesterol – high blood lipids are a large contributor to cardiovascular disease. If you have a strong family history of elevated cholesterol, it is important you watch your diet; drug therapy may also be necessary.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day – whether it is a run or just moving in any way, this is important. Lack of exercise is a large contributor to obesity in Americans.
  • Reduce stress – stress contributes to cardiovascular disease and if severe enough, could potentially cause a heart attack. Some simple ways to reduce stress include laughing, healthy relationships and engaging, regular exercise, among others. It is important to take responsibility for your health and make sure you understand the common risk factors for heart disease. Also, if you have diabetes, your risk dramatically increases, so it becomes even more vital you take the necessary actions to prevent this potentially deadly disease.

It is important to take responsibility for your health and make sure you understand the common risk factors for heart disease. Also, if you have diabetes, your risk dramatically increases, so it becomes even more vital you take the necessary actions to prevent this potentially deadly disease.

Other Helpful Links:

Our Free Health Discount Card – you can gain access to programs that can save you money every time you use pharmacies, vision care providers, hearing care specialists, & more!

Full list of ways to help cope with stress in your daily life: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm

25 ways to sneak in exercise throughout your day:
https://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/25-ways-to-sneak-in-more-exercise-every-day/

 

 

Do You Have Children? Looking For a Fun Activity in Wellesley?

Mini-golf buffs, take heart! You don’t have to wait until the spring to share your favorite fun family sport, you can indulge right in the heart of Wellesley, MA in the dead of winter, no less. And you might win a prize, to boot – local merchants are contributing to the event raffle!

On Saturday, January 30th and Sunday, January 31, the Wellesley Free Library will host A Hole of Fun, their 2nd annual Mini Golf event. The library will turn into an 18-hole mini golf course and will also have a 19th hole with food, a raffle, and other family activities. The 19th hole activities are sponsored by Wellesley Square Merchants Association. In fact, many businesses come together to sponsor the “hole” event, so many thanks to our neighbors for coming together to make this fun event possible.

If you have children and are looking for something fun and different to do with your children, check this out! Wellesley Free Library is located at 530 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA 02482.

Additional details:

  • Saturday, January 30, 5pm-9pm
  • Sunday, January 31, 9am-1pm
  • Individual Round of Golf, $7.00
  • Group of 5, $30.00
  • Children under age 10 must play with an adult

 

Supporting Local Treasures
Support your local library – there are many reasons why you should. In addition to being a seat of learning for people of all ages, there are fun, year-round events for family and community, ranging from book clubs and chess meets to Lego clubs and tech workshops. Our local Wellesley Free Library is a particular treasure, with a long history of being an important part of our community.
 

Additional Groups at WFL
Clubs for Teens: https://wellesleyfreelibrary.org/teens/teen-clubs/

Fun & Games: https://wellesleyfreelibrary.org/children/fun-games/

Book Groups & More: https://wellesleyfreelibrary.org/children/bookgroups-clubs/

 

Understanding the Risks of Identity Theft

Are you at risk for identity theft?

identity theft

According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are about 9.9 million identity theft incidents per year, or 19 people every minute! Chances are it happens much more than you may think. Some people assume identity theft is covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Identity theft is a serious crime that occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission. Personal information frequently compromised includes your name and address, credit card account numbers, medical insurance account numbers, and your Social Security number.

One common way a thief can obtain your personal information is by looking through your trash. It’s always important to shred or destroy any personal documents before putting them in the trash. If your wallet is lost or stolen, immediately notify the police and cancel any credit card that were in at the time it went missing.

Other common ways for thieves to obtain your identity include:

Student Theft – College students are at a high-risk. This may be because of the frequent unsolicited offers for new credit cards that create an opportunity for thieves to gain access to their personal information. Also, because they tend to change addresses frequently, mail often does not get forwarded, which also increases the risk of identity fraud.

Medical Theft – More and more frequently, thieves are getting medical treatment and healthcare benefits while using someone else’s name and other information.

Child Theft – Thieves often seek access to a child’s personal information to create accounts in that child’s name. This can go unnoticed for years because no one thinks to check a child’s credit reports!

SeniorTheft – Senior citizens are frequent targets for ID thieves because many have life savings. They can also be less tech-savvy, which makes them easier targets for scams and less likely to monitor their accounts.

Don’t be a part of the statistics. Whether it is the holiday season, tax season, or any given time of year, you may be at risk. Take a look at our Identity Theft Insurance today and make sure you’re properly protected! Learn the other common types so that you can prevent it in the future!

 

 

5 Ways to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

fireworks2

At the end of the year, I often hear people say, “I’ll make that my resolution for next year” or “I’ll start in January.” It is estimated that about 45% of Americans set New Year’s resolutions, although about 24% of them end up failing for some reason or another. However, the start of a new year is actually a great time to make significant changes that can last for years to come.

Set short-term goals. If all you have is a long-term goal you want to achieve during 2016, how will that help in the short-term? You can create a monthly resolution you’d like to meet and make sure you stick to it. This also helps because your long-term goal will seem much less intimidating if you’re looking at them in the short-term.

Keep a log of your goals and share them with loved ones. If you’ve discussed your goals with friends or family they’ll be aware of what you are trying to reach and are more likely to push you if they know your specific goals. Another good idea is to send a weekly update to them so they stay on board with your progress.

Make sure your goals are realistic. Choose a reasonable goal that will be attainable and not make you feel stressed or rushed. For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, make a goal of 5 or 10 pounds than re-asses after that goal is met. Or, if you are trying to stop smoking cigarettes, try cutting down to 5 cigarettes a day rather than a whole pack. Then, gradually decrease the amount per week.

Be aware of possible setbacks. Of course as humans, many people backslide occasionally on their resolutions and goals. However, it is important if you want to achieve your goals, you need to respond in a positive way to your setbacks. If you make a mistake, view it as temporary and understand you are not failing just because of that.

Don’t give up. Making changes can be difficult, and it will definitely take a lot of will power and determination. If you really put your mind to something and are persistent, you will see changes.

When it comes down to New Year’s resolutions, it is important to simply drop a bad habit. Try something new. If you’re trying to lose weight, eat more vegetables and cut out any processed food. It may take time, but it will be worth it.

Have a Happy and Healthy 2016!

Would You Like To Help Someone In Need?

Interested in helping a child in need?

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” –John Holmes

I try to keep in mind there are people who need help year-round and not just around the holidays. For many of us, the holidays are a time for giving back, whether that means donating to a local charity or helping out a friend or family member financially. Right now, there are many children who aren’t fortunate enough to even wrap a jacket around them when it’s cold, or live in a heated home. We often take small things in our lives for granted. It’s important to remember how fortunate many of us are. This holiday season, Cochrane & Porter is helping Caring Partners, Inc. to raise money by raising donations for those who are in need.

Caring Partners, Inc. is a nonprofit organization which consists of two Massachusetts charitable programs – Belle of the Ball and Coats for Kids. Belle of the Ball takes place in the spring and distributes prom dresses to high school junior and senior girls who would not otherwise afford to attend their school’s prom. This program is different than many other prom gown collection drives because there is also a day full of personal shopping and pampering for each of the girls.

We at Cochrane & Porter are humbly asking for any donation to support Caring Partners, Inc., as well as donations of coats or jackets. All money raised will be used to fund Belle of the Ball and Coats for Kids which benefits children of all ages and young woman. In addition, we are holding a coat drive here at our office, and we encourage our clients to add to our collection by holding coat drives of their own. Coats will be cleaned and distributed to more than 900,000 coats to families in need. Together, we can make a difference.

If you are interested in making a donation, you can do so here. If you wish to donate a coat or jacket, our address is 981 Worcester Street, Wellesley, MA 02482. We will be accepting donations until January 7th, 2016.

We wish the happiest holidays to you and yours, and a happy and healthy new year. We take pride in serving our customers like you and helping you with the most important assets in your life. Please know if you have any questions regarding your insurance you can contact us at 781-431-9800.

7 Fun Ideas for Winter Weather

Many people, including myself, may find themselves slightly bored during the winter as the weather can potentially restrict us from going about our normal daily routines. However, there are many fun activities that you can look forward to when the weather becomes cold and icy!

  1. Go Skiing – Many people look forward to winter just for this reason. Prices this season have been dropping! There is the option to go night skiing as well, which some prefer over daytime. Liftopia helps you to find New England Skiing Deals.
  2. Tour a Brewery – Brew tours are common in the winter, and they even fill up quick. Most places, Samuel Adams for example, only recommend a small donation be made by those who attend. They are informative, interesting and usually last about one hour. Check out Boston Magazine’s list of the Top 21 Breweries in New England.
  3. Go to the Gym – The winter is a great time to workout at a gym. Many feel the gym is exactly what they need right after the holidays! It’ll help keep the winter blues away and help you stay in shape while it is not so nice outside.
  4. Go Sledding – Especially if you have children, sledding is a winter pastime that never gets old. The two best parts about sledding are it’s free and you can sled at the closest hill to your home.
  5. Taste Wine – Wine tastings are relatively quick and are very cheap. Typically they take place on Saturday afternoons and evenings, but are offered other days and times.
  6. Go Roller Skating – Most people probably haven’t roller skated in a long time. It’s fun and cheap for anyone, and can be an exciting experience for children. Check out a list of Roller Skating Rinks in Massachusetts.
  7. Play Board Games – It’s reasonable to assume that the majority of people probably haven’t done this in years, mostly due to the increase of use in technology and all of the applications that are now available instead of a physical board game. It’s also a great way to socialize and still stay inside your home. Popular Mechanics List of 25 Best New Board Games

Just because there’s snow on the ground does not mean there’s no fun to be had! Make the most of the cold weather by keeping busy and spending time with those who are important to you. Happy Winter!

5 Tips for Driving in Winter Weather

Most drivers face adverse weather conditions at some point or another while driving, especially in New England. We have several types of bad weather conditions, the most common being:

  • Fog & mist
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Flood
  • Hail
  • Strong winds
  • Extreme hot or cold weather
  • The sun when driving from sunrise to sunset

While there are many precautions you can take to prevent an accident, we consider the following to be the most important:

  1. The most important driving tip for winter weather is to reduce your speed. While it may seem like common sense, many people forget that just because you feel as though you are moving right along in bad weather, you can easily slide. No matter the vehicle, you should not drive more than 45mph in adverse weather, to prevent an accident.
  2. Simply do not drive on icy roads – there’s no better way to avoid an accident than by staying off the roads until bad weather has passed.
  3. Always wear your seatbelt – wearing a seat belt should be common sense, but during bad weather it is even more important that you wear it.
  4. Stay aware of predicted weather conditions – if you know that a bad storm is coming, simply try to stay off the road for as long as possible, until  cleanup is complete.
  5. Turn into a slide – When fishtailing or sliding, it might indicate that you are driving too fast. If this happens, it is important that you turn into a slide, because this could prevent you from sliding off of the road or hitting something else.

If you have any questions, whether it is regarding vehicle safety or insurance, please give us a call at 781-431-9800. Safe travels!

How to Avoid a Cooking Fire on Thanksgiving

Many fire accidents occur during the holiday season – make sure to keep safe!

If you are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, chances are most of the cooking is your responsibility. While it is a fun and enjoyable experience for most, it is important to keep in mind that cooking is the cause of about 69 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires. Some homes are more susceptible to having a fire because of the kitchen size, kitchen layout, and the amount of guests over for Thanksgiving, or any time of year.

To prevent a kitchen fire on Thanksgiving Day, we recommend the following:

  • Don’t leave any appliance unattended while it is in use. This can be difficult because there tends to be lots of distractions while you are the host.
  • Wear clothing that is fitting and not loose, especially around your sleeves.
  • Be aware of where the fire extinguisher is located, and ensure that several people know how to use it in case a fire does occurs.
  • If a fire starts in a pain on the stove, immediately turn the stove off and cover the pan with a lid. Refrain pour water on a stove fire – this may cause it to flare-up.
  • If there’s a fire in the oven, immediately turn the oven off, and make sure to keep the door closed. Call 911, and remain outside the house until the firefighters arrive.
  • Do not get rid of hot grease in the garbage. Let it cool down and then throw it away in a covered metal can.
  • Keep children away from any hot liquids or plates.
  • Check the kitchen to make sure that nothing hot is left out before going to bed or leaving your home.

If you aren’t the host and will be traveling to someone else’s house, drive safely! It is estimated that 43 million Americans travel more than 50 miles from home during Thanksgiving weekend. There are several safety measures that you can take to be careful on Thanksgiving Day. Check out the best times to travel on Thanksgiving.

If you take the proper safety measures, your home will remain safely full of family rather than smoke and fire. Call us at 781-431-9800 if you have any questions!

6 Ways To Protect Your Identity This Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches, chances are that you are at a much higher risk of identity fraud than during any other time of the year. In 2012, 1 in 20 consumers were a victim of identity fraud. This is a serious issue that affects more and more people every day.

There are several steps you can take to ensure you don’t become a victim of identity fraud. These include:

  1. Avoid carrying important credit cards when you don’t need them – social security cards, passports and other sensitive documents should remain in a safe location that only you are aware of. 
  2. Always shred any documents that you throw in the trash – shred things like credit card statements, returned checks or credit card offers. Any documents with identifying information and account numbers can provide an opportunity for identity thieves to take over your personal information. 
  3. Keep an eye on your credit and bills – be sure that your credit reports and bank statements are accurate and that all transactions were made by you. 
  4. Be careful when giving out personal information on the phone –don’t give out key information over the phone to anyone who calls and asks for it. Elderly people are particularly at risk – they are often targets for fraudulent calls. 
  5. Keep a file with all credit card account numbers, passwords, phone numbers, and expiration dates – This will be handy if your wallet is stolen, because you will be able to alert your creditors quicker and easier. 
  6. Get identity theft coverage – through our More Store via LifeLock, Inc., we offer the industry’s most complete Identity Theft Protection service. The system also provides daily monitoring of all three Credit bureau reports. Also, LifeLock provides a $1 million Total Service Guarantee. We hope that you take the correct steps to make sure that you are not vulnerable to identity theft this holiday season, and all year long. 

For peace of mind and proactive protection, check out Identity Theft Protection from LifeLock, Inc.