Solar Eclipse Safety Tips and Need to Know info for August 21

Photo Credit:  Luc Viatour /

Did you know Monday will be the first coast to coast total solar eclipse since 1918? The Eclipse will track through the following states: Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina. You can check charts for your area but the first show will be n Oregon at 9:05am PDT and will end in South Carolina at 2:48pm EDT. The lunar shadow is expected to leave the U.S. around 4:09pm EDT. Here is a projection of when Atlanta should view the eclipse.

When you are in the path of totality, what will it look like? The sun will be blocked around 2 minutes. the sun’s hidden solar corona will become visible and create what looks to be diamond rings of light.

Now for safety and some things to keep in mind as we anxiously await this event that NASA describes as one of nature’s most awesome sights….

Observing the sun can be dangerous if you do not practice proper precautions. Because of the UV radiation and unsafe exposure to it can cause damage ranging from aging of eye layers, cataracts, development of “eclipse blindness” or retinal burns.

It is never safe to look directly at the sun in a partial eclipse nor the partial phases of a total solar eclipse without the proper equipment and safety measures.

What are safe practices for viewing?

  • Simple Card Projector- You can find diy’s for this simple trick involving Two pieces of cardstock and a pin to make a tiny hole in one of the sheets of cardstock. In this technique always keep your back away from the sun using the pinhole projection. Do not look through pinhole
  • Do not look directly at the sun without protective eye gear, even sunglasses cannot protect your eyes. Eye gear needs to be glasses with solar filters, inspect to make sure there are no tears, scratches or damage. If so you will need to discard that pair.
  • If you don’t want to risk any of those methods, NASA will be broadcasting a live stream of the solar eclipse as it passes through the United States. The live stream will run from 2-3 pm Monday and it is free to watch. You can watch the stream HERE.

Stay Safe and enjoy the event!


Insurance FAQ: Can an Auto Insurance Claim be Denied?

While the auto policy is very comprehensive there are a few scenarios that could cause a claim denial.

  • Filing a fraudulent claim
  • Filing a claim under coverage you do not have(For example: If you hit a deer you would need comprehensive coverage, if that is not on the policy, it would create a claim denial)
  • Increasing the value on your vehicle via upgrades without telling your insurance company may mean that the vehicle damages will not be covered at full value
  • Filing a claim for a loss not included on your policy, such as business use
  • Not paying your premium and letting your insurance lapse

Safe Travels: Staying Safe on Vacation

We tend to think about our home safety when we are leaving for vacation and who will get our mail. But what about your safety as you travel?

Here are some key things to keep in mind while you are traveling to stay safe:

  • Do not wear flashing and expensive things to make you stand out, thieves can recognize a Rolex and you risk being a target
  • Limit the information provided to customs with general terms like business or consulting rather than executive titles that may sound worth a ransom
  • Use your business rather than home address while traveling overseas and only use home address when returning to the states
  • If you are pre-arranging a driver, do not provide your full name to indicate you are American. It is suggested to use a generic last name in that country or initials
  • While large hotels may have better security, they are more likely to be a terrorist target than a small boutique hotel
  • Once in the hotel review the escape route, check for working phones in case of an emergency
  • Make sure you are vaccinated properly for the country you are visiting
  • Make an electronic copy of important documents and email them to yourself should it be lost or damaged
  • Do not carry everything together, spread it across bags or on your person so if your wallet is stolen you do not lose everything

Here’s How to Find out if Your Vehicle is Subject to a Safety Recall…


Did you know that according to the U.S. Vehicle Transportation Department vehicle safety recalls hit an all time high in 2016 at 53.2 million? While driving safely and keeping up with maintenance are very important another very important vehicle safety step is making sure your vehicle is not subject to any recalls. While manufacturers do reach out by mail, could your address have changed since you got your vehicle?

Like seen with the Takata airbag massive recalls it could be a danger to you as the car owner and others on the road if the safety recalls are not addressed.

How do you check and see if your vehicle is subject to a safety recall, you ask? Good question.


You can go into this site, enter your VIN, click “Check Recall Status and the information will come up. You can also be directed to a dealer to fix the problem if need be to have the repair scheduled as soon as possible.

This site can also be used to find this information for business fleet owners.


What You Need to Know about Playground Safety

It is summer and school it out. While the warm weather brings on the possibility for so many fun outdoor activities, one that is on most parents list is taking the kids to the playground. What mom doesn’t like watching their kids run around playing on the playground? Watching the kids on the monkey bars, swings and slides bring up all of those fond childhood memories. While we certainly want our children to share these fun activities it is best when combined with safety.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind around the playground.

  • The Right Fit– Make sure your child’s clothing is not extra loose as this can cause it to catch on playground equipment, this is also true of clothes with drawstrings. Get rid of any accessories such as purses, necklaces or related items that kids may have brought with them. Also, helmets while a great idea for bikes are not safe on the playground.
  • Manage Activities– Keep an eye out to make sure your child is on the age appropriate playground equipment. Smaller kids may not be able to use all of the equipment available such as climbing walls or possibly  even the monkey bars.
  • Ouch, that’s hot! Make sure to feel any surface that your child may sit on with your hand to make sure it is not too hot and your child is not at risk for burning their legs.
  • Safe Space-Make sure surfaces are made of rubber matting, ground rubber, mulch or some other agent that will soften the blow should a fall take place. Play grounds with shock-absorbing surfaces act as a cushion protecting against injury in case of a fall.
  • Parenting basics- Teach your child and watch to make sure other children are not pushing or crowding while on the playground as this adds danger.

Does my Auto Policy Pay if another person is driving my car?

The short answer is yes. In Georgia, the  auto insurance coverage follows the car and not the driver. If you loan a friend your car, you are loaning them your auto insurance policy. If you give permission to a friend to drive to the store and an accident occurs, the coverage for the vehicle will respond, not the drivers own independent auto policy. The auto policy of the vehicle will be primary, the friends/driver’s insurance may kick in if the accident exceeds vehicle policy limits, however, the coverage for that vehicle will be primary.

Keep in mind if your car is damaged and the driver was as fault, you will need to make a claim and the deductible will apply when repairs are made.

Insurance companies do require that all drivers in the household be listed on the policy. Drivers who live in the same house need to be disclosed, otherwise following a claim the insurance company could cancel the coverage at renewal for misrepresentation.

Talk to your agent to make sure you understand your policy type as in some occasions policies can limit coverages to drivers not on the policy.



Home Safety Tips for Summer Time

Summer puts us outside a lot for around the house activities. Yard work, hosting barbecues , going to the pool, or watching the kids play are just some of the things that cause us to step out of the front door or garage during the summer. Summertime is fun, just make sure to think about the doors, windows, and garage door safety. Even just the garage is a huge target. It can be easy for a criminal to sneak into an open garage to steal tools and other valuables. It also creates an opportunity to get into the home, grab some items quickly and then run out again without being noticed.

Criminals can tag team as well. One can distract a homeowner at the door while the other get can get  into the garage or back yard to quickly get whatever they can grab.

Just think of areas to secure when you go out this summer to keep your house safe while you are out enjoying the weather and summer activities. Teach your family to be smart about the house and property to ensure a fun and safe summer for all.

Vacation Rental Properties and Insurance Coverage

Are you renting a home while on vacation this summer? There are some things you may want to check coverage on before you go. Getting a beach home or mountain cabin can be a very convenient way to accommodate the family for vacation.  Thinking about liability can be the last thing on your mind as you gear for relaxation. Before you fully go into that mode think quickly about liability for any damages to the property and also about your personal property with you on the trip.

Most homeowners policies have provisions within in them that apply for this event, personal property coverage and liability. Before you go check your policy  to see how it would respond in some cases you may need to purchase additional coverages.

Personal property coverage extends to losses of personal belongings while in the scope of travel. This is provided up the the limit on the policy, normally this limit is not high unless you have specifically raised this limit to account for valuables in the home. You can check with you agent to make sure this limit accurately represents both what you have at home and personal belongings you travel with.

Liability coverage  covers events that result in property damage, bodily or personal injury. This included events that could occur at the rental resulting in property damage. Accidents happen, it is best to know ahead of time how your policy will respond. Be aware, that most homeowner’s properties exclude property rented to an insured. Some policies offer a $1,000 per occurrence for damage to property of others(furniture,appliances etc..) If your policy excludes these coverages, there are other options. Check with your agent for some of these  options. Also check with the vacation rental property management company to see if this insurance coverage can be purchased through them.

It is important to note that if you have a personal umbrella policy, most policies will provide property damage coverage to rental properties. If you have an Umbrella policy it may not be necessary to purchase additional coverage. Before you leave for your getaway, contact your agent to discuss you coverages and options for additional coverages for this trip.

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Ways to the Make Most Dangerous Room in a Home Safe



Some of you may have thought that the kitchen would be the most dangerous room with the sharp objects and fire hazards but think again….As you can see it is the bathroom. According to the CDC there are daily injuries and hospital visits that result from bathroom injuries. Some can be quite serious such as drownings, electrocutions and falls. While everyone needs to be careful during their bath routines, bathrooms can be especially hazardous for kids and the elderly.  Statistics show that kids injure themselves most around the bathtub while seniors report the most injuries while getting on or off the toilet. The CDC reports that most injuries do occur while bathing or showering due to a slip, trip and fall injuries.

Here are some things you can do to decrease the likelihood of bathroom injuries:

  • Be sure to use a nightlight both on the path into and inside of the bathroom at night.
  • Be sure to keep the tub clean so there is no slippery soap residue
  • Place grab bars and rails around the shower, bath and toilet in homes of the disabled or elderly. Also make sure these are installed properly to provide balance and support
  • Use mats that are  non-slip and secure any lose throw rugs with rubber backing
  • Anchor towel racks to the wall, they are not meant to, but often do support full body weight
  • Keep the floor dry
  • If your toilet is low, consider getting an extender or higher toilet to make it easier to get up and down
  • Adjustable shower heads can be a good idea to get it the right height to minimize movements in shower
  • Bath and shower seats are a good idea so you’ll have a place to sit down(or for ladies to shave)
  • For the elderly, install baths with a lower side or a walk- in tub
  • Also be careful of shower doors which are not meant to hold body weight and can cause injury if they come off of their tracks
  • Don’t rush, take your time. If you are in a hurry you are more likely to fall

Photo Credit:

Does your Policy Cover Hail Damage?

Hail Damage and Autos:

Comprehensive coverage is required and must be purchased before the event.  This coverage is subject to a deductible, unless a zero deductible endorsement is added to the policy for additional premium. Storm damage is considered a covered event of comprehensive as most of the time these events come unexpectedly. In most cases the cost of repairs for hail damage does exceed the deductible which will be due at the time that you get your vehicle repairs.

It is possible that your vehicle can be totaled if the hail damage is extensive enough depending on the value of the vehicle.

Hail Damage and Homes:

Hail hits without warning and is often unavoidable. This is also covered under your homeowners insurance and is subject to a deductible. Hail can damage window ledges, roofs, siding as well as other property damage. It is important to note that all hail does not cause damage. Normally hail needs to be at least 3/4 inch or dime sized. You will need to let the insurance company know as soon as possible after an event, as well as have it inspected by a professional to see if the damage is hail storm related. From there the insurance company will determine if there is damage and applicable coverage to extend.