4 Holiday Shopping Tips for Last Minute Shoppers

holiday-shopping
Can you believe yet another Christmas is practically here?! It is likely you still have presents to buy for friends and family, whether you are a procrastinator or someone who shops ahead of time. We all know that the closer we get to Christmas Eve, the more crowded malls are, and the emptier shelves become.  Here are a few recommendations for you last minute shoppers!

Create a gift list

tveubliosk

While this may seem obvious, making a list will help you brainstorm, prioritize your items, and help you plan your budget. Last minute shopping will often make you run around quicker than normal and create unnecessary stress. It will also help you from over spending or making unwise decisions.

Refrain from overbuying & overspending

 

money

 

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend roughly $655 this holiday season. If you are emotional shopping, chances are you’ll end up spending much more than you wanted to in the first place. It may be a good idea to use an app such as RetailMeNot or Giftagram, which alert you of discounts, coupons and other ways to save money. Be proactive about comparing deals, and wait for those bargains as well!

If you’re going to the mall, shop early in the day

 

mall

Many stores are open early and late during the weeks leading up to Christmas. If possible, try and go in the early hours because store staff will have had the opportunity to restock and organize shelves, which will make it much easier to find what you’re looking for. By late at night, many items have been picked over and shelves tend to be a mess. This will make it difficult for you to find the right gift in the proper amount of time.

Don’t downplay the value of gift cards

 

gift-and-tree

According to the Retail Gift Card Association, 71% of people feel “very satisfied” when they receive a gift card at Christmas, and out of those people, 69 percent say that will buy “something needed” and 30 percent will use the card to buy something they would not typically purchase.  We should not underestimate the value of a gift card!

Don’t let last minute shopping get in the way of your spirit this holiday season! You can prevent unwanted stress by planning ahead, organizing your finances and finding ways to save money. Remember to stay focused!

As always, do not hesitate to contact an agent at Cochrane & Porter for any of your insurance needs! 781-943-1555 or info@cochraneandporter.com

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!

Gift Yourself These Insurance Coverages this Holiday Season

You may want to invest in these extra insurance coverages this season!

snowy-road

The holiday season tends to be busy – we want to spend as much time as possible with our families, but we also have to tend to our other obligations. This can result in significant amounts of stress! While you are making plans with your loved ones and making sure that your shopping list is finalized, make sure you spend some quality “me time” as this is essential for your overall health and well-being.

Here are a few insurance coverages that  may help to minimize your concerns this holiday season and beyond:

Identity Theft Protection

Online shopping is becoming more and more common and with that, cyber crime is on the rise. Make sure to protect yourself from this threat and only shop at reputable companies with secure websites.  If a site is questionable or seems odd, it’s a good idea to exit out of it right away. Try not to open any emails from an unknown person. Check out our Identity Theft Protection product!

Roadside Assistance & Rental Car Coverage

Rental care and roadside coverage come especially in handy during winter time if your car gets stuck in snow! For example, a curb is underneath a snow bank and you don’t see it, resulting in a flat tire. This coverage will help you with the tire so you can get back on the road! It is typically an add-on to your regular auto policy.

Trip Insurance

Especially if you plan on traveling this holiday season, it may be a good idea to invest in this insurance! It will cover you from unforeseen circumstances such as medical emergencies. It can also help protect you from financial loss associated with trip cancellation, medical expenses, or lost luggage.

Happy holidays from us at Cochrane & Porter – we hope you have an enjoyable and safe one! Give us a call at 781-943-1555 or info@cochraneandporter.com for any of your insurance needs.

Turkey Leftover Ideas

food

Thanksgiving dinner is absolutely one of the most highly anticipated meals of the year. There are many ways to make new dishes out of leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Here are two (somewhat unique) ideas for meals you can make with all your leftovers!

Thanksgiving in a blanket

Ingredients

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
3/4 c. shredded roasted turkey
3/4 c. prepared stuffing
3/4 c. prepareed mashed potatoes
1 c. cranberry sauce
1/4 c. prepared gravy, warmed

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out Crescent Rolls. Top with mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing and cranberries (just a little bit of each). Roll up and transfer to prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with gravy to dunk in.

Recipe by Delish

Leftover Turkey and Stuffing Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients
1 large egg, beaten
2 c. leftover shredded turkey
2 c. leftover stuffing
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 red and yellow bell peppers, hollowed
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
Fresh parsley (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine beaten egg, turkey and stuffing (in a large bowl). Season with salt and pepper, then mix together.
2. Spoon mixture into bell peppers and top with mozzarella.
3. Transfer peppers to baking dish and bake until peppers are tender and cheese is melty, 25 to 30 minutes. Add parsley (optional).

Recipe by Delish

These are only two out of the many ways you can make delicious meals from your leftovers. As always, for any of your insurance needs feel free to contact us at 781-943-1555 or info@cochraneandporter.com

 

Weather and travel forecast for Thanksgiving 2016

Your Thanksgiving 2016 Travel & Weather Forecast

turkey-23435_960_720

Whether you are hitting the road or welcoming guests to your home, here is some information you may find helpful for this Thanksgiving regarding weather and traveling conditions.

Weather
Wednesday is supposed to be in the mid-40’s, sunny and dry, and we won’t see temperatures above 51 degrees. On Thanksgiving Day, we are supposed to see a light storm pass through – expect to see some clouds and occasional showers. Black Friday will be dry but cold, so be sure to bundle up if you are taking advantage of all those sales! Throughout the weekend we are not expected to see high’s above the mid 50’s.

Best times to travel?
Over 48 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this year on Thanksgiving, according to AAA. This is roughly one million more travelers than last year!

Information about the best and worst times to travel this Thanksgiving, according to the Boston Patch:

  • The worst day to leave is Wednesday; if you do plan on leaving Wednesday, try and be on the road by 7 am and avoid driving around 3 pm.
  • The best day to return is the day after Thanksgiving (Friday). Traffic is expected to be at its worst around 4 pm — the earlier you leave, the better off you are!
  • The worst day to return is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Leave by 6 am if you need to travel on this day. 4 pm is when traffic is supposed to be very heavy.

Based on AAA.com bookings, the most popular destinations this Thanksgiving include:

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  2. San Francisco, California
  3. San Diego, California
  4. Orlando, Florida
  5. New York City, New York

Make sure to plan ahead and take safety breaks when necessary. It is important to make sure that your vehicle is equipped for your trip as well – Consumer Reports has a checklist of items recommended for holiday road trips.

We wish you a fun, happy and safe Thanksgiving! To those of you who are traveling, be cautious of traffic and make sure not to text and drive! As always, do not hesitate to contact an agent at Cochrane & Porter for any of your insurance needs: 781-943-1555 or info@cochraneandporter.com.

 

cp-logo-horizontal

Scary Myths about Home Insurance

Don’t be a victim of these homeowners insurance myths….

pumpkinsss

Seeing as today is Halloween, I was thinking it would be appropriate to talk about a few myths about homeowners insurance that are downright scary because they can end up costing us a lot in the long run!

Myth 1: “There’s no need for me to review my policy at renewal because I chose the correct coverage the first time.”
Think about how much your life changes from year to year. For example, you inherit a diamond ring from your grandmother, or added an addition to your home; these all require important and necessary changes to your insurance policy.

Myth 2: Since I am a renter, my landlord will cover property damages.”
It is possible that your insurance company is partnered with a company that offers renters insurance to tenants, but it is more likely that your landlord’s policy only protects the building itself. Keep in mind that even if the landlord owns any appliances inside your rented home, they are not responsible for damages to your personal property.

Myth 3: “I have an umbrella policy, so I have full coverage.”
Okay, the purpose of a personal umbrella policy is absolutely to add an extra layer of liability protection on top of what your auto or home policies provide, but that does not mean you are fully covered! Here are 3 things you need to know about umbrella coverage:

  • It typically will not cover business activity. If an accident occurs in your in your home or vehicle while you are using it for business purposes, you probably won’t be covered.
  • Umbrella coverage only kicks in after you’ve exhausted your coverage on a primary policy, for example, your auto or homeowners.
  • Your umbrella policy will not help with your own injuries or losses; it provides coverage strictly for if you are sued by another person or found at-fault for injuring others or damaging their property.

There are many other myths regarding your homeowners insurance – don’t fall victim of them! Contact an agent at Cochrane & Porter if you have any questions about this: 781-943-1555 or info@cochraneandporter.com!

The Importance of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is Approaching!

memorial day

Memorial Day is next Monday, May 30th! This day is considered the unofficial start to summer. While it is a weekend to enjoy nice weather and good company, it’s purpose is to honor men and women who passed while in the U.S. military.

Interesting facts about Memorial Day:

  1. Memorial Day was originated in 1862  and was originally called Decoration Day.  It was a time for the nation to decorate the graves with flowers for those who had passed away from war.
  2. It’s typical for people to confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day. Veterans Day is a day to thank and honor those who have served in the military during both peacetime and wartime. Memorial Day is the day to remember and honor all military personnel who died while serving the country, especially those who died in a battle or by wounds they sustained while in battle.
  3. The “National Moment of Remembrance Act” was passed in 2000 by Congress. This designated 3:00pm local time on Memorial Day every year as the National Moment of Remembrance – a time to honor the men and women of the United States who died in the pursuit of freedom and peace. All Americans are encouraged to pause at that time for a moment of silence.

Keep in mind there are many safety precautions to take during Memorial Day weekend – American Red Cross offers a full list of safety tips for Memorial Day.

Have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Related links
Complete history of Memorial Day
Camping safety recommendations
Swimming pool safety tips
Barbecue safety tips

Purchasing A High Valued Item for Valentine’s Day?

It’s almost Valentine’s Day!

NLJOHCUL2T

Are you giving that special someone a new piece of jewelry this Valentine’s Day? How sweet! But what if that item becomes lost or stolen?

Although there is no way to insure the sentimental value of such a special gift, the Insurance Information Institute  states that having the proper insurance coverage will at least provide financial protection. It’s completely understandable that calling your insurance agent is not on your plans for Valentines’ Day, but it’s something you will be thankful for if an incident occurs causing your jewelry to go missing.

If you are buying an expensive piece of jewelry, typically there are two options. If the jewelry exceeds the liability limit on your policy, you can ask us to increase the limits or to schedule it separately on your policy . Or, we can schedule the items on your current policy, also referred to as a “floater” policy.

Jewelry losses are some of the most common of all home insurance claims. In order to prevent the sting of the loss of a valuable item, we recommend the following:

  • Contact your insurance agent immediately after you purchase the item
  • Have the item appraised
  • Store the valuable items in a safe location
  • Keep a copy of receipt
  • Take photos of the item
  • Add the item to your home inventory

Incidentally, floaters don’t just cover jewelry. If you have very expensive electronics, antiques, special collections, or other valuable items, you should be talking that over with your agent to ensure you have appropriate coverage should fire, theft or damage occur! Call an agent at Cochrane & Porter today at 781-943-1555 to discuss whether or not you have items that may need to be added to your policy!

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!