Insurance Philadelphia

Home Safety and Homeowners Insurance

by Anita on September 12, 2014

It’s impossible to prevent all homeowners claims, but you sure can prevent some. Take the time to do a home inspection of your own.

(1) Check your appliances to ensure they are working properly and hooked up appropriately. Read manuals prior to use and keep an eye out for recalls on products that have been known to cause hazards.

(2) Change your smoke alarm batteries twice a year. If your smoke alarm does not have a CO2 detection, purchase those separately. You can check out our video on CO2 to understand the importance of CO2 detection: https://www.travelersagentvideo.com/VLP530C0D.aspx  They are just as important as Smoke alarms.

(3)When is the last time you purchased a fire extinguisher? If yours is old, contact your local firehouse and see if you can go there and have it checked.

(4) Have your roof and gutters checked by a professional. Clean leaves out of the gutters and check for missing siding or roof tiles.

(5) If you have a fireplace, have it cleaned and inspected by a professional as improper ventilation can emit CO2.

(6) Do you have large trees on your property? Heavy winds can cause weak limbs to fall and cause damage to homes and/or vehicles.

(7) Have you considered installing a monitored alarm system, deadbolt locks or screen doors?

(8) If you have a sump pump, is it working properly and do you have a back up pump?

(9) Have you checked for cracked steps or uneven cement on your walkways?

(10) Be aware of any plumbing or electrical issues that may signal a more significant problem.

When choosing deductibles make that decision carefully. Although higher deductibles mean lower premium, make sure you can afford those deductibles in the event of a claim. You will also have to choose liability limits for your homeowners policy. Be mindful of your lifestyle. Do you own a dog, have a pool, trampoline, throw large parties? These elements add risk to the insurance company as well as the insured. A licensed experienced agent will help you make well informed choices when purchasing homeowners insurance.

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AnitaHome Safety and Homeowners Insurance

Traveling with your Pets

by Anita on June 15, 2014

Traveling with your Pets
Drive down the road on a nice spring or summer day and dogs are hanging out windows or running about a moving vehicle. We all say “Ahhh, look how cute” when we see man’s best friend traveling alongside him in a car sticking his nose out the window. But is that really safe for your pet? Flying debris, dust, and rocks can damage their eyes. If you are involved in a car accident, chances are your pet is going to get hurt as they are not in a seat belt. What’s worse is if they are traveling in the back of a pick-up truck. Any impact would send them flying out of the vehicle. Pets are also seen traveling on laps, in handbags, in the front seat and in the back seat….all of those options are just not safe. If you are simply running errands, going to the local dog park, or driving to a vacation destination consider safe travel for your pet. We wear a seat belt and secure our children in car seats, booster seats and seat belts. Keeping our pets safe in our cars is important as well.
Your best bet is to place your pet in a carrier and secure it in the back seat. Speak with your veterinarian or go to your local pet store and inquire how you should best travel with your pet. What works for a small dog may not work for a large dog. Ask what you can purchase to keep him secure in your vehicle while driving. If you are traveling long distance stop and allow your pet a bathroom break. Carry bottled water, bowls, food, and treats. Remember to also bring a leash to walk them and allow them to stretch their legs. You want your pet to be comfortable on those long rides.
Did you know that if you have a Progressive auto insurance policy and have collision coverage then your dog or cat is covered on your auto policy? They provide up to $500 in complimentary Pet Injury coverage. Be sure to ask your agent about the coverage and conditions. But like the saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

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AnitaTraveling with your Pets

Sunscreen Tips

by Anita on June 3, 2014

FUN IN THE SUN

Babies under 6 months:

The two main recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn are to avoid sun exposure, and to dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant’s face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.
For All Other Children:

The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and clothing with a tight weave.
Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
Be sure to apply enough sunscreen — about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.

Babies under 6 months:

The two main recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn are to avoid sun exposure, and to dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant’s face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.
For All Other Children:

The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and clothing with a tight weave.
Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
Be sure to apply enough sunscreen — about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.
Adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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AnitaSunscreen Tips

Disadvantages of buying insurance online

by Anita on May 1, 2014

Today with the Internet it is very easy to get an insurance quote. You plug in your information or call up the insurance company directly, they take your information, send you an email, you e-sign the documents and you have insurance.
Sounds easy, right? Easy, but not always the best choice. You are going to have auto insurance as long as you are driving and homeowners as long as you own your home. You are going to need to speak with an agent at some point during your policy period. If you would feel more secure speaking with an agent that you can trust and always go to, then strongly consider finding an Independent agent with an office you can visit.

While you have the policy you may have questions, need to make changes to your policy or require additional insurance. So many people come into our office or call with questions on their policy and unfortunately if we did not write the insurance, we are not able to help them, because we do not have access to their policy on our systems. So before you make the purchase, be sure that you don’t need a more hands on insurance partner. Take the time to see if there are agents in your area that write insurance for the company you want. Independent agents can also tell you about discounts that you are eligible for, as well as finding the right company for you.

As convenient as 1-800 numbers are… sometimes it is nice to pull up a chair and have a face to face conversation with a licensed agent. A good agent will ask you many questions to determine which insurance policies you should be carrying as well as types of coverage you should have. Agents who work in a call center are on a time limit and are interested in writing a policy and getting off the phone. They are not looking for ways to help customers, save them money or build a relationship. They also can only provide a quote for the company they work for. Have you ever tried to order circus tickets online? The operator gives you one choice, if you ask for other options or don’t answer quickly enough that you want the tickets, they hang up on you. There is something to be said about personalized service and most people appreciate good service. At Freedom Insurance Group we are loyal to our customers not the companies we represent.

While there is talk that one day drivers will be able to purchase insurance at a kiosk. As a consumer that is not something that I would be interested in. I want to speak with someone who can provide me with all the information I need to make informed decisions regarding my insurance. If I have a claim, my circumstances change, I purchase a new car, buy a new home or add a pool to my home, I want to know that I can call my agent whom I know well and get the best insurance at the best price.

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AnitaDisadvantages of buying insurance online

Ice Storm 2014

by Anita on February 2, 2014

This week’s ice storm has had a strong impact on the community in many ways. If you are driving through Bucks County, roads are closed, lights are out, trees are down and many still do not have power. Most people have not even assessed all of their damages thus far. People have damage to their homes from fallen tree limbs and with no power for the last 3 days more damage may follow. Heavy tree limbs and branches fell on cars denting hoods, breaking windows, cracking headlights and causing even more problems. If you are unsure if your damages to your vehicle or home are covered be sure to call your insurance agent. Keep in mind your deductibles as well. This winter which started early has proven to be a rough one so far.

What was really nice is the way the community reached out to those in need. Libraries and schools set up shelters; offering to charge phones and electronic devices. They also extended hospitality to come in from the cold and have coffee or hot chocolate. A high school even offered for residents to come in and use the shower facilities. Those who did have power opened their own Bed & Breakfasts…brought in friends and family, those in need, for warm a place to sleep and hot meal.

Smart phones have enabled people to learn about the resources available in the community in real time. I can’t even remember how we found out about school closings 20 years ago during power outages and knowing when the power should be restored. We have so many ways now to receive information by checking social media, websites, and simply opening our email. If you escaped damage to your home, car, and have power then count your blessings. And to the Moms and Dads who have been home with the kids for days…well Monday is just around the corner.

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AnitaIce Storm 2014

Holiday Decorating Safety

by Anita on December 2, 2013

It’s that time of the year for holiday shopping, decorating, cookie making and holiday cheer! One of my favorite Holiday movies is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. And well… Clark Griswold he just makes the movie. His heart felt attempts at creating a “good old-fashioned family Christmas” don’t seem to end well.  If you can relate, then this blog is definitely for you. Do you plan on going out into the woods to cut down your own over sized Christmas tree, tying it to the top of your minivan and stuffing it in your living room? Are you an expert at ” exterior illumination”? Trimming the tree and decorating the outside and inside with lots of twinkling lights is the pinnacle of holiday decorating. Incorrect execution can be dangerous for you, your family and holiday guests. So here are some helpful tips on how to avoid disaster.

1. If you plan on purchasing a real Christmas tree first keep it watered daily. A little sprite and ginger ale added may also keep it fresh longer.
2. Set up the tree in a well ventilated area.
3. Keep burning candles away from the tree.
4. Check the lights and wires before putting up on the tree.
5. Only use good extension cords and don’t overload the sockets.
6. Always shut off the lights on the tree at bedtime and upon leaving your house.
7. Invest in a surge protector.
8. Don’t keep the tree longer than one month or less if it’s starting to dry out too quickly.
9. If you have pets keep an eye out to make sure they do not chew on the wires.

On to decorating the outside with lights, reindeer and the blow up Santas. If you are lucky enough to be able to hire an electrician to put the lights on your house then read no further. But if you are installing the lights yourself, read on.
1. Do not staple the lights to your roof. Stores sell gutter clips that you can attach the lights to your house.
2. Be careful on the ladder. If you are using a metal ladder do not have the lights on while putting up and your best bet is to use a wooden ladder.  Make sure you also have a spotter.
3. Most importantly, know the electrical system in your home. Use lights and extension cords that are specifically for the outdoors. And make sure you do not overload the sockets. Santa doesn’t need to see your house from the next town so know the amps your home can handle when deciding how many lights to put up.
4. Another popular tradition is the luminaria lining your property (Santa Clause path) on the outside. Read the directions carefully when lighting candles and placing them in the luminary bags. Especially if its windy, the bags can blow over. Traditionally people fill flame-resistant bags with at least an inch of sand and place a candle inside. But to be on the safe side you can buy battery operated votive candles in place of the real candles and not have to worry about starting a fire.  Again only light luminaria if you are at home and can keep an eye on it and always put the candles out at bedtime.

Finally, if you have toddlers, young children or your guests will be bringing theirs keep all glass ornaments up high.  If you plan to use the fireplace over the holidays take precaution in that as well.  It’s important to property maintain both gas and wood burning fireplaces.  Talk to a professional to learn more about what you need to know when using a fireplace.

Ensuring your home is safe will keep your holidays festive and worry free.  So put on the hot cocoa, get the Christmas tunes going and trim that tree.  As of today there are only 19 more shopping and cookie making days left!!

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AnitaHoliday Decorating Safety

Tips for Teen Drivers

by Anita on November 5, 2013

It’s here – your teenager is turning 16 and asks the question “Can I get my license?” You can look at it two ways….you will now have to worry about your teen on the roads or they can now drive to practices and stop at the store to pick up the milk. Allowing them to take the test and get their permit is a big decision. It is an exciting time for the teens, but stressful for the parents.

Your teen getting their drivers license will also affect the cost of your auto insurance. All companies are different. Some insurance companies want to you put the teen on your insurance policy at the time they get their permit and other companies allow you to wait until they get their actual drivers license. Make sure you call your insurance agent and ask them how the company you have works.

Here are some practical steps to prepare your teen to drive:

  • Make the decision that he or she is mature and ready to take on the responsibility of driving.
  • Get the state driving permit book.
  • Are you going to teach them to drive or will he/she take driving lessons with an driving school. Keep in mind you may get a discount on your auto insurance if your teen takes driver safety so it may be a good idea for them to learn from a certified driving school.
  • Let them practice with you in the car on the roads and in empty parking lots.
  • Add them to your policy. If your teen is a good student you may also be eligible for a Good Student discount on your auto insurance as well.
  • Take the Test.

Think about having your teen sign a driving contract with you. Some of the things you may want to include are:

  • Never Drink & Drive.
  • No texting or emailing while in the car.
  • Limit the number of teens in the car as passengers.
  • Will your teen pay for gas or pay for their share of the insurance and maintenance expenses?
  • List the days/times and usage when your teen will have access to the family car.
  • Always have proper car insurance.

Now is also good time to start teaching them the proper way to maintain a vehicle. That includes auto insurance including what the coverage means, registration, inspection, what to do in an accident and the responsibility of owning and operating a vehicle. If your teen wants to get their own auto insurance, go to our website and learn more about what you will need to get started.  http://www.freedom4insurance.com/auto-insurance.html or call Freedom Insurance Group Inc. at 215-673-0300.

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AnitaTips for Teen Drivers

Tips on Finding Auto Insurance

by Anita on October 31, 2013

Be careful the next time you say, “baby, you can drive my car.” As classic as The Beatles song is, if someone else does something to your car and you do not have insurance, you will have hell to pay – whether that is to your parents or just for your car you have just totaled.

Uncontrollable Factors

Getting the best insurance for your buck starts with your car. Well, really, it starts with who you are. Your rate will depend on several factors, including your age, gender, and where you live. Most of these factors you cannot change, unless you are willing to move to Oregon, where Americans pay the least amount of auto insurance.

Freedom

Controllable Factors

What you do have control over is your driving record – anything from running a red light to getting in a fender bender can bump up the amount of premium you pay. Drivers with clean records pay the least amount of insurance premiums. In addition, the car that you drive can affect your premium. If you are looking to save money, make sure your car is not the type that is frequently in collisions or a car that is stolen often. Other than the obvious benefit of not having your car stolen, you will also pay less of a premium.

Deduct

Based on these factors, you have to do your research and find out just how much coverage you need for protection for yourself, your car, and others affected in a collision. Compare prices between agencies and decide what is right for you. Everyone’s  insurance will affect them differently, but be sure you are not just getting the one that allows you to pay the least, but the one that will sufficiently protect you, as well.

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AnitaTips on Finding Auto Insurance

What to do in case of an emergency

by Anita on October 31, 2013

Emergencies are often sudden and completely unpredictable.  And while we often think we know how to deal with unexpected circumstances, the shock of an emergency can make us think and act irrationally, which can be dangerous.  These points will help you prepare for an emergency if one should occur.

Plan ahead

While emergencies cannot usually be predicted, we can prepare ourselves for the eventuality.  Take the time to think about what things might happen in your life that could have dangerous consequences.  Events like stove fires, gas leaks, and electrical problems are all things we can prepare for.  Make sure you know what you should do in disaster situations.  Also, ensure the necessary emergency supplies like fire extinguishers and first aid kits are available at all times and that you are familiar with how to use them.

Stay calm

Hospital Emergency sign

If an emergency does occur, the most dangerous thing you can do is panic.  Keep calm and take deep breaths.  If you don’t think you can handle the emergency without help, then call 911 and stay on the line while the responder talks you through what you should do.

Be decisive

Although emergencies generally require quick action, take the time to think about your decisions.  Act rapidly, but not so fast that you lose your calm.  As hard as it may seem, think logically about what needs to happen and how you can accomplish that.  Then commit to your decision and follow through.

Care for any wounded

If anyone has been injured, do not leave them unless absolutely necessary.  Call 911 as soon as possible and explain the situation.  Unless you are a doctor or trained emergency worker, do not try to correct injuries or move the injured person yourself.  Simply keep them calm and stop any bleeding until the professionals arrive.

Emergencies can be scary, but if you follow these guidelines, your preparedness can help save your life and the lives of others.

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AnitaWhat to do in case of an emergency

Halloween Safety

by Anita on October 30, 2013

Halloween Safety
It’s trick or treat time. If you are going out, here are some tips on keeping kids safe.

1. Make sure kids go out with a responsible adult.
2. Check costume length to prevent tripping.
3. Ensure the kids can see out of the masks.
4. Take a flashlight.
5. Invest in the glow necklaces or bracelets to keep track of your little monster.
6. Don’t let them eat any candy until it is checked thoroughly at home.
7. Watch crossing the streets.
8. Only go up to houses with the lights on.
9. No running.
10. Bring along an extra candy bag so when the bag gets too heavy for the kids, they can pass it along to you.

If you plan on giving out candy at your house here are some safety tips to keep those trick or treaters safe on your property. Having Homeowners insurance is not enough, do your best to avoid liability claims.

1. Make sure your front door has proper lighting.
2. Keep a clear path for all those kids.
3. Sweep away any debris or wet leaves which can be slippery.
4. If you have a dog that barks a lot or will try to escape out the door, keep him/her secure in your home.
5. If you have outdoor decorations, such as mums, pumpkins, scarecrows, or scary décor keep those away from the path kids would take to knock on your door.
6. Look for tripping hazards such as cracked cement or uneven pavement – try to fix or put out a sign to warn visitors.
7. Only give out store bought, wrapped candy that cannot be unwrapped. Or non-edible items such as pencils, erasers, stickers, or bouncy balls.
8. Cut any branches or trim any bushes that are in the walking path.
9. Don’t put any decorations on your steps.
10. Keep your Homeowners insurance policy in force. Don’t forget to make your payments.

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AnitaHalloween Safety