Protect yourself from Carbon Monoxide—at Home and Work

‎Monday, ‎February ‎05, ‎2018, ‏‎5:00:31 AM | safecoGo to full article

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Every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hundreds of people in the U.S. die from carbon-monoxide (CO) poisoning—and the invisible, odorless gas sickens thousands more.

The numbers seem even more tragic when you consider that most of these deaths and illnesses are preventable. Here are tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to help protect yourself and your loved ones at home and work.

At home

  1. Make sure you have CO alarms—and that they work. You should have a CO alarm on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. Test them and replace batteries regularly, too. The alarms themselves should be replaced every five years or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Get your chimney and furnace checked. A chimney or furnace that isn’t functioning properly can lead to CO buildup inside your home. Have a professional examination and/or service before you begin using them.
  3. Be careful with generators and grills. Neither should ever be used inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage—even semi-enclosed spaces like porches can be risky, too. Keep generators at least 20 feet away from the house when in operation.

At work
In general, the same precautions for homes apply here, but there are a few additional considerations for the workplace, particularly one where gas-powered machinery is used:

  1. Be mindful of ventilation. Every year, workers are poisoned by CO while using fuel-burning equipment in areas that don’t have adequate ventilation.
  2. Try using different tools indoors. Consider electric tools or ones powered by compressed air, and if possible, avoid using forklifts, pressure washers and other gas-powered equipment. Ensure machinery and tools are maintained properly, too.
  3. Report unsafe conditions or issues. If you see something that might cause CO buildup, or you suspect CO poisoning in you or a co-worker, get people out of the area and report the problem to your employer immediately.

Whether you’re at home or work, always be on the lookout for symptoms of CO exposure: They include dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and nausea. If you suspect an issue, leave the area as soon as possible and call 911—because when it comes to CO, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Top image by Flickr user Yutaka Seki used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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When Should I Update My Auto Insurance?

Your auto insurance policy protects your car from covered risks including liability claims and collision. A professional insurance agent can help you get reliable policies depending on the type of car you drive and the risks involved. If you live in Johnstown, PA, contact Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC to find the most appropriate auto insurance policy.

Updating Your Auto Insurance

When You Make Big Life Changes

Your life changes may cause overlaps or gaps in your auto insurance. If, for example, you get a new job, you will most likely change your commute. Your new commute could include higher or lower risks which your insurer must consider. If you are moving to another place, your new area of residence may introduce new risks or remove old ones. Either way, you will need to update your auto insurance.

When You Buy A New Car

Your new car can have a big impact on your premium rates. If you purchase a car with security and safety features or good crash test ratings, you will get discounts on your new auto insurance. Be sure to inform your insurer ahead of time. If you do not want to pay high premium rates, contact your insurance agent before buying a car and get their suggestions.

When The Value of Your Car Depreciates

If you got your existing car insurance when your car was brand new, then you are paying premium rates for the value of your car at that time. That value depreciates with time. Update your auto insurance coverage to get premium rates of the current value of your car. That way, you can save some money.

Contact Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC in Johnstown, PA to discuss an auto insurance policy for your car.

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The basics of commercial insurance.

Other than selling products or dispensing services, various responsibilities of running a business are required of the average entrepreneur. From bookkeeping, licensing to inventory management, these are all responsibilities that fall squarely on a business owner. A factor that pulls one in a variety of directions. However, things get much easier to handle when you have a commercial insurance policy that guarantees you a significant safety net when facing substantial complexities.

Before obtaining a policy, get to know the basics of commercial insurance protection. They include:

Commercial Insurance Policy Options

Regardless of industry, or the type of business, the right commercial insurance policies for your business is those which are tailored to the businesses they protect. In most instances, the best policies are founded on the foundations of general liability insurance protection. From there, a variety of coverages may be added depending on risks. These options as explained by Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC in Johnstown, PA include:

  • Commercial Auto Insurance – This policy covers a business, its employees, as well as the fleet of vehicles involved in an incident. Though this policy is not tied into law, it provides financial coverage against any actions against the organization involving company vehicles thus offering the best coverage for asset planning.
  • Commercial Property Insurance – This policy covers business assets in the form of inventory, equipment, buildings, as well as furnishing from potential risks that may include humanmade disasters such as theft or fire as well as natural disasters such as high winds and other weather events.
  • Interrupted/Lost Income Insurance – This policy covers businesses from unexpected events that may suspend operations by allowing business owners to meet finical obligations such as rent or payroll.
  • Directors and Officers Insurance – This coverage works best for large corporations as it protects individuals charged with decision-making obligations from litigation.
  • Errors and Omissions Insurance – This policy covers detail-oriented staff members in an instance where they may make an error or omission in any company official paperwork.

Reach out to Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC in Johnstown, PA to get a quote and get started on a commercial insurance policy. We are ready to answer your questions!

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Summer Driving Tips

Summer’s almost here. The sun will come out of hiding, and people will, too.

As crowds swell at the beach, in parks, and even on roadways, it all makes for some challenging driving conditions. More people are out and about, whether on foot, bike, or skateboard, or by car, motorcycle, or RV, increasing the risk of an accident. And, the summer heat isn’t exactly kind to your vehicle.

Still, there’s no stopping the allure of a summer drive. To help keep yours safe, keep your attention on the road and on your surroundings, as well as on these safety tips.

Summertime Safety Behind the Wheel

Just like winter, summer has its own set of seasonal hazards that require your complete attention as a driver. Here are some to be particularly mindful of:

  • People: In your neighborhood, on city streets, in parking lots, and especially around parks, beaches, or any popular summer attraction, people are outdoors and often more focused on their enjoyment than on personal safety. Children are out of school and they might be playing in the street in a quiet neighborhood or chasing a basketball bouncing away from a driveway hoop. In summer, there is simply more human activity everywhere, and it’s up to you to slow down and stay alert.
  • Bikes and motorcycles: Bicyclists and motorcyclists are also more active in good weather. Pay attention and take extra care in areas that attract cyclists.
  • Glare: The sun’s glare is bright in summer, and even harsher when the sun is low and in your face. Have your sunglasses handy if you’re not already wearing them, and be ready to flip down the visor so you don’t spend even a second driving while blinded by the glare.
  • Roadway obstacles: A busy roadway is no place for a sofa. But, with scores of people completing summer moves, you might just encounter one. Keep an eye out for roadway obstacles and plan as far ahead as possible on how to safely maneuver around them. Thunderstorms and tropical storms can further clutter the roads with debris, tree limbs, or even downed power lines.
  • Heatstroke: Finally, don’t forget the dangers of summer parking. Children and pets left in parked cars are vulnerable to injury or even death from heatstroke. At an outside air temperature of 60 degrees, a car’s interior temperature can reach 110 degrees, which is a lethal level for children, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Rolling down car windows does not provide sufficient cooling, so don’t be tempted to leave children or pets for even a minute. It can be lethal—and in many states illegal—to leave children and pets alone. To help keep your car cool for when you return, park in the shade or place a removable sunshade in the windshield.

Road Trip Safety

A road trip with family and friends can make a memorable summer for both the right and the wrong reasons. Make it the right reasons with some careful planning and driving. There will be plenty of time for fun once you reach the campground, resort, or cabin.

  • Inspect your ride: Have a mechanic give your car, bike, or RV a full inspection before you go. Be especially mindful of coolant and oil levels to help protect your engine, and remember that tires often deflate with significant temperature changes, such as during the transition from spring to summer. If you have a bike carrier, car carrier, or trailer attached to your vehicle, be sure everything’s secure before taking off.
  • Pack your emergency supplies: We know space is at a premium when packing for a summer road trip, but don’t neglect to include some important necessities in case of emergency. This includes water, food, maps, first aid supplies, a tire pressure gauge and tire change kit, a flashlight, towels, and jumper cables. Be sure to keep your phone charged and gas tank full in case of trouble. And, don’t forget plenty of games, books, snacks, and activities to keep the passengers distracted—and keep them from distracting you.
  • Plan your route: Map out how to reach your destination and how much time it will take to get there, and be sure to leave plenty of room for unexpected delays. Minimize those unexpected delays by checking the Department of Transportation websites of the states where you’ll be traveling for planned road work before you go.
  • Check your insurance coverage: Is your insurance ready to help out if you injure a pedestrian on your summer drive? What if you crash into a tree or run out of gas? If you’re not sure for what types of scenarios you’re covered, check in with us before heading out on your trip.
  • Take your time: Don’t get frustrated when unexpected delays—or fascinating roadside attractions—put you behind schedule. Keep to the speed limit, and don’t risk shortcuts that aren’t clearly marked. Take plenty of breaks to stretch your legs and rest your eyes while kids run off excess energy, and switch drivers when you’re drowsy.

There’s no better time to be on the road than when the sky’s clear and the sun’s shining. We wish you safe travels and a wonderful summer!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Top image by Flickr user Garry Knight used under Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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Do You Need Umbrella Insurance?


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One of the most certain things in life is uncertainty. Your dog could bite the neighbor’s kid. Your teen driver could hit a cyclist. A guest could fall down your stairs. A rainy morning commute on worn-out tires could result in a multi-car accident. And you could be held liable to others for the cost of damages – injuries, property destruction, emotional distress, lost wages and more.

Good thing you have insurance. But, wait, your policy covers $300,000 of liability, and, in a lawsuit, you’re judged liable for $1 million. That leaves $700,000 left to pay. How will you cover it?

If you have umbrella insurance and your policy covers the incident, the additional $700,000 will come from your policy. If not, it will come from the assets you have now, such as your home and savings, and from future assets, such as your wages or inheritance.

The fact is, it only takes one serious accident and a resulting lawsuit to put everything you own – and will own – at risk. And it only takes one umbrella policy to help protect it all.

Here are a few things you should know about umbrella insurance:

  • Personal umbrella policies typically offer between one and five million dollars of liability coverage. Consider your net worth when choosing your coverage –you could be sued for everything you have.
    •An umbrella policy is not a stand-alone policy. Your insurance carrier will typically require you to meet certain qualifications, such as having an auto policy with a certain level of liability coverage, in order to purchase umbrella insurance.
  • Even when you have umbrella insurance, your car or home insurance is your first line of defense. For example, if you are liable for $2 million in a car accident and your auto insurance covers $500,000 of liability, your auto policy covers the first $500,000. Your umbrella policy covers the remaining $1.5 million, assuming your policy covers the incident and that you purchased that much coverage. If you are liable for $250,000 in an accident on your property and your homeowners insurance covers $300,000, your umbrella policy won’t be needed.
  • If you insure a motorcycle, ATV, golf cart, snowmobile, motorhome, or watercraft, your umbrella policy may provide additional liability coverage on top of those policies as well. Be sure to check with your agent to confirm your coverage on these types of vehicles.
  • A single umbrella policy typically covers all of your family members who are residents of your household.

Essentially, an umbrella policy gives you excess liability coverage on top of what your other policies provide. If you’re at fault for a serious accident, you’ll need it.

Umbrella insurance also gives you liability coverage in instances where other policies don’t. Examples include driving in a foreign country or renting a boat.

If you’re curious about how umbrella insurance might play a role in protecting the life you’ve built or plan to build, talk to us today.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Top image by Flickr user dusk-photography used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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5 Things Every Pennsylvania Resident Must Know Before Buying Home Insurance

Are you spending too much on home insurance?

Each year, Johnstown, PA homeowners lose hundreds of dollars instead of saving. Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC aims to help you save by providing you with crucial factual information. Home insurance is one of the significant no-brainers. Here are five things you must know before buying the coverage to save.

Search and Compare Rates 

Previously, finding affordable policies was left for cars and tickets. Currently, home insurance has landed on the same page. With a few internet searches and phone calls, you can land on good deals. Nevertheless, don’t let cost be the only determinant factor, but also keep the coverage details in mind.

Refurbish Your Home 

You must have heard that renovating your home leads to reduced premiums. Well, most insurers are sensitive to house condition. Things like the house’s structure, wiring condition, and plumbing are game changers as far as insurance is concerned. Renovating these features imply that risks such as bursting pipes and fire from electrical faults are minimized. Consequently, your premiums reduce saving you money.

Understand Cash value versus Replacement Cost 

As a homeowner looking for a suitable home insurance coverage, comprehending and distinguishing actual cash value from replacement cost is vital. Replacement costs cover the amount of money it will cost to replace your home together with personal belongings while real cash value focuses on home value and not individual properties.

Increase your Deductible 

Increasing your deductible significantly reduces annual premiums when buying home insurance. The high deductible helps you manage premiums when you make claims since the number is reduced. 

Get Umbrella Coverage 

Most of you won’t agree with this because you incur costs upfront. However, if you ever use your home insurance coverage entirely, the umbrella policy becomes essential. For instance, when a guest gets in an accident and breaks a bone in your home. 

Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC proudly serves Johnstown, PA residents. Reach out to our offices to speak with an agent and get a quote, or try our online rating tool.

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Ride Safe with These Motorcycling Tips

Motorcycle riders are far more likely than people in cars to be seriously injured or killed in a crash — but keeping safety in mind can reduce your risk.

There are many benefits to motorcycles — they get great gas mileage, they can make your commute easier, and it’s almost never a problem finding a parking space. As anyone who rides will tell you, they’re also a lot of fun.

But riders assume a lot of risk to get those benefits — according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, they’re 30 times more likely to die in a crash than drivers and passengers in cars. Whether you’re an experienced motorcyclist or you’re just getting started, these tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and Consumer Reports can help keep you on the road, and out of danger.

Choose the right bike — and know how to use it. Riding a more powerful motorcycle than you can truly handle can get you into trouble. According to Consumer Reports, a model with a 250-cc to 300-cc engine is great for a starter or commuter motorcycle, while those with 500-cc to 750-cc engines are good for extended highway riding. Whatever size bike you choose, though, taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) riding course will ensure you know how to operate it properly.

Make sure you’re visible. Even when drivers are alert, it can be hard for them to see motorcyclists (and it’s even worse if they’re distracted). That means you need to help as much as possible. Try to stay out of the blind spots of cars and trucks, and make sure your headlight is always on, even when riding in the daytime. It’s also a good idea to wear bright-colored clothing or add reflective strips to your bike.

Use the right safety gear. Whether your state has a helmet law or not, we strongly recommend that you protect your head — studies show riders without helmets are three times more likely to have a brain injury in a crash. You should also wear leather or other thick clothing. As the MSF puts it, “The only thing between you and the road is your protective gear.”

Be safety-minded at all times. This can mean any number of things, from keeping your bike well-maintained to deciding not to ride when the weather is bad. Both of those things are good ideas, of course. Perhaps most important is driving defensively, because at least one study shows that in the majority of car-motorcycle accidents, car drivers are at fault. You need to be hyper-alert and prepared for sudden lane changes, being cut off and more.

“Born to be wild” may be a phrase forever associated with motorcycles, but don’t take that to heart when it comes to safety. Let your hair down and enjoy the ride — just use some common sense to make sure you’re around for the next ride, too.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Top image by Flickr user David Hilowitz used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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