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.

Halloween Safety Guide

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Halloween is a great time to celebrate your playful, creative, and maybe even spooky side. While you should have an enjoyable Halloween, it is important to be aware of the safety measures you should take to ensure that your children are not vulnerable to any danger.

Halloween Home Safety Tips

  • Instead of using regular candles, consider battery-powered candles, flashlights, or glow sticks. This will reduce the chances of a fire occurring.
  • Keep any decorate items around the yard away from walkways – you don’t want any trick-or-treaters to trip!
  • If your home or vehicles are hit with eggs, wash it off as soon as possible to prevent any long-term damage to paint.
  • Keep pets indoors – not only may they frighten children, but they could get injured.

Halloween Costume Safety Tips

  • Bright and reflective costumes tend to be the safest. You want to make sure that your child is visible if it becomes dark out when walking.
  • Keep in mind that certain masks can decrease a child’s visibility.
  • For costumes that have objects such as a sword, cane, etc. – ensure that the object is not very long or sharp.
  • Costumes should be flame-resistant
  • Be sure to hem costumes that are too long to avoid any tripping

Halloween Driving Safety Tips

  • Teach children to keep eye contact with drivers when crossing the street.
  • Children should walk on direct routes – sidewalks if possible.
  • When backing up, be more careful than normal, as children may not be paying attention because they will be distracted by other children
  • Look out for cars backing up

These are a few precautions that you can take to eliminate potential problems occurring. We hope that these tips keep you and your children safe this Halloween!

Why Do Deductibles Matter?

What is a deductible and why is it important?

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A deductible is the amount of money deducted from an insured loss. This amount represents the risk between the policyholder and the insurance company. It is typically a percentage of the total amount on a policy, or a specified amount. Overall, the higher the deductible, the less the consumer’s policy premium will be.

If you have a $500 dollar deductible, $500 will be deducted in the event that you need to file a claim. For example, if your insurance company determines that you have a loss that is worth $8,000, you will receive a claims check that is $7,500. If an accident occurs, your insurance company will pay for damages up to the limit on your policy.

It is important to choose a deductible that you can afford. If an accident occurs, you will need to have enough money to cover the deductible.

Facts

A higher deductible will save you money. While having a higher deductible gives you a lower premium, it is important to remember that your deductible is the amount of money that you’ll be responsible for in the event that you have a claim.

Liability claims do not require a deductible. On an auto insurance policy, deductibles apply to comprehensive and collision coverage. For a homeowners policy, the deductible applies to structure damage of the house or any personal items; however, it does not cover if the homeowner is sued or if a medical claim is made because someone is injured while in their your home.

FAQ’s

Where is my deductible located on my policy? Deductible amounts can be found on the front page of both auto and homeowners insurance policies.

Do you need to pay your deductible even if you’re not at fault? It depends how quickly and easily fault is determined after the accident occurs. If you decide you would like to have your car fixed while investigation continues, there is a possibility that you’ll need to pay the deductible out of pocket. However, through subrogation, the policyholder is reimbursed from one insurer to another insurer.

What am I responsible for paying if my car repairs cost less than my $500 deductible? If your car repairs are less than your deductible, you will receive no money from your insurance company. Because these are considered “small repairs”, you are expected to cover them yourself.

Who is in a good position to raise their deducible? Someone who has a perfect driving record and never been in a car accident may be a good candidate to raise their deductible.

As you can see, choosing the right deductible is important for several reasons. You want to ensure that if the time comes that you need to file a claim, you are in a comfortable position; one that will not a burden financially.

Swimming Pool Safety Tips

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To ensure a fun and safe pool experience this summer, it is important that parents build their current safety practices by remaining alert and staying close by, when their child is in both community and personal pools. Before you allow your child to jump in, be aware that drowning is the third leading cause of death among children.

Here are some suggestions on ways to prevent any accidents from happening around your pool:

  • Try to remember not to keep toys near pool while it is unoccupied
  • It is recommend to keep bicycles and other riding toys away from the pool
  • Understand that it is dangerous for children to run on the pool deck
  • Consider only diving into pools that have been determined to be deep enough for diving
  • Designate a responsible person to keep an eye on those who are in the pool
  • If a child or infant is missing, it is a smart idea to check the pool first

Babies
Start slow with babies. Around 6 months old is when it is generally accepted to be a good time to start introducing them to water. Be sure to always use waterproof diapers, and change them often.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Although it is beneficial to just about everyone, learning CPR as a parent will give you a piece of mind and help you be a better parent. CPR training is offered at many places, such as fire departments, hospitals, and recreation departments. Having your children learn CPR is an added bonus, and will benefit them their entire life.

Diving
Although many people believe that they know how to dive properly, often times, the average person hasn’t been trained by a professional. One suggestion is to think about enrolling your children in classes that will teach them how to dive safely.

It’s important to note that you should never dive into above-ground pools, or through toys that are in the pool. Surprisingly enough, the majority of injuries happen in the shallow end. Another important safety measure is to always dive with your feet in first, especially if it is your first time in that pool. You may not be able to determine how shallow it really is.

Fences
The safest fences are the ones that surround all 4 sides of the pool, and are at least 4 feet high. It should completely separate the pool from the house and the yard. Make sure that the fence does not have any openings – even small ones, as a young child could potentially fit through it.

Diving Myths

Myth 1: I’ve seen many people dive into water that is only 3 feet deep and they do not get injured, therefore it is fine for me to do the same.

Fact: Fortunately, most people who dive into shallow water are not injured. However, it is common for the person to hit their head on the bottom of the pool. Many people believe that just because others aren’t usually injured, or because they have done it before, it won’t happen to them. Unfortunately, over 1,000 people each year are seriously injured from diving into shallow water.

Myth 2: Everyone knows that it is very possible that they can suffer spinal cord injuries and break their neck by diving into shallow water.

Fact: Most people do not know that it is extremely dangerous to dive into a pool that is less than 5 feet deep. Many are aware that they can hit the bottom, but do not think twice about the possible serious injuries that they could suffer, because it has never happened to them before.

Myth 3: Diving is easy, and everyone knows how to do it.

Fact: Diving is not easy in the way that there are extremely complex laws of physics that are unknown by both scientist and especially a recreational swimmer. For an average recreational swimmer, your body is completely out of control once it leaves the diving area.


As a pool owner, it’s important to have the proper coverage in place, as you are liable for injuries that may occur to others. Call us today to review your coverage and help answer any questions you may have on your liability surrounding your pool.

Hiking Safety

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In order to ensure that you are prepared responsibly for a trip, you should have knowledge of the weather, area, limitations of your body, and some common sense to make sure that you will have a safe and enjoyable trip. The following are recommendations that we believe will lead to a successful and mishap-free trip:

Traveling with at least four people. You will want to make sure that in the event that there is an emergency, you will have two people who can go for help, and one person can stay with the person who is injured. Especially if the location is isolated, having at least four people is very necessary.

Learning the basics of first aid. The most important symptoms to identify include heat exhaustion, hypothermia, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. Carrying a first aid kit with you at all times is beneficial as well.

Setting a comfortable pace while hiking. The rule of thumb is to design a group trip so that it is comfortable for the weakest member of the group; others can go ahead if they wish. It is also important to practice any skills that ahead that may be necessary, such as reading a compass or give first aid. If your trip requires you to be in good physical condition, we recommend preparing ahead of time to ensure that you are in healthy shape.

Wearing appropriate clothing. It is important to remember that even though it might be warm and humid outside, there are many possibilities that a tick could fall on you. Be sure to wear light clothing that covers as much on your body as possible.

Traveling only during daylight. It is possible that traveling in the darkness can cause a fall, so it is important to only travel during daylight. If it is necessary for you to leave the camp site after darkness, be sure to bring a good flashlight and travel with another person.

In order to be prepared for potential weather changes or minor injuries, the following items will help to ensure that you remain safe:

  • Compass
  • Candle
  • Warm clothing (extra socks, rain gear, etc.)
  • Extra food
  • Flashlight
  • Bug spray
  • Map
  • Plenty of water
  • Sunscreen
  • Trash bags
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses (if necessary)
  • Whistle
  • Radio with batteries

At Cochrane & Porter, we also like hiking. If there are any safety tips that we have missed, comment below. Or, tell us about your favorite places to go hiking!

Remember to be prepared and always use your best judgment. Safe hiking!