Pumpkin Carving, The Fun and Safe Way

Some tips to carry on the fun tradition of carving pumpkins safely.

Some things to keep in mind to avoid injuries and practice pumpkin carving safety.

Tools of the Trade-Pumpkin carving kits are readily available in stores and provide proven and tested quality carving instruments with small tools that are less sharp and dangerous.  The smaller instruments are also easier to use and control, rather than knives. Do no use kitchen knives.

Age Appropriate:  Kids under the age of 14 should not do the carving and cutting. They can draw the designs but should not use any of the sharp tools.

Good Environment: Avoid carving on any slick or unsteady surfaces. Be in a well-lit area where you can see where you  are carving.

Alternatives: for small children under 14, consider ways of decorating that do not involve sharp tool such as painting and decorating the pumpkin.

Mold Prevention Tips

Mold loves to grow where moisture is present. Mold spores drift through the air and land on moist surfaces such as damp wood, paper, carpet, food, ceiling tiles, insulation, drywall, wallpaper, or fabric they can grow and spread.

Mold can cause respiratory issues, asthma and allergies, particularly in infants and the elderly.  While we can’t eliminate mold, to avoid potential harm to buildings and occupants, here are some steps to keep mold from growing in our working and living areas.

  • Clean up spills immediately and inspect sinks and cabinets for standing water
  • Keep areas of window condensation clean and dry
  • Do not put carpet in bathrooms
  • Repair leaky plumbing, windows, etc
  • Use a dehumidifier to maintain a relative humidity
  • Maintain roofing, roof gutters, and drainage systems properly
  • When repainting in moist rooms, use a mold inhibiting agent in the paint
  • Repair cracks in basement walls and slope landscaping away from the building
  • Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, and open a window, when steam and moisture are in the air

 

Fire Prevention Home Safety Tips, for Upcoming Fire Prevention Week: Oct 5-11

 

In preparation, for fire safety week the first week of October(5-11) here are some home safety tips and facts for you to keep in mind throughout that year.

The leading causes of homes fires are: cooking, heating, electrical equipment, candles and other smoking materials. In light of this list, here are some ways to protect your home

  • Check Electrical Cords: replace or repair any damaged cords
  • Attention Smokers: Smoke outside, if you are smoking inside, use deep, wide ash trays on a sturdy table
  • Smoke Detectors: Make sure yours is working with fresh batteries
  • Heating Equipment: keep all flammable items within at least 3 feet of the heating equipment
  • Cooking Safety: Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food
  • Candles: blow out candles when you leave the room or go to bed

 

 

Should I buy additional Insurance on a Rental Vehicle?

rental

You’ve probably been at the rental-car counter, listening to the representative ask if you want to purchase the company’s insurance. And the thoughts start racing through your head. “Is this a rip-off? Doesn’t my regular auto policy cover me? What about my credit card? Why didn’t I figure this out before I left on my trip?”

 

At WTM, we are here to help. And while not every situation is the same, we’ve got some general tips that will help you make an informed decision the next time you’re standing at that counter.

 

1. Know your personal auto policy.

Because insurance policies vary, it’s a good idea to give us a call — before you rent a car — to make sure you have the coverage you need. In many instances, your personal auto policy will provide coverage for a rental car — but that coverage may be limited to the value of the car you own, rather than the one you’re renting. Of course, if you don’t have a personal auto policy, you’ll need to purchase coverage from the rental company.

 

And keep in mind that in the event of an accident, many rental companies will charge fees beyond repair costs. They may assess a loss-of-use fee for each day the car is unusable, as well as charge you because the value of the car has decreased. Not all insurance policies cover these fees.

 

2. Also know your homeowners or renters policy.

If you’re traveling with expensive electronics or other valuable items, you probably want to consider what coverage you’ll have in the event they are stolen. Your personal auto policy and/or credit card coverage likely won’t provide protection for this scenario.

 

3. Check your credit card protection.

Most credit cards will also provide some coverage, but often payment is limited to reimbursement of your personal auto policy deductible (after that policy pays for repairs). Generally, loss-of-use and other fees are not covered, but it’s important to check with your credit-card provider to determine their policies. And while some cards may offer additional protection for a fee, usually coverage is limited to damage to the car, not liability for any injuries to others. Remember, to receive any sort of benefit from your card, you must use that card to pay for your entire car rental.

 

4. Consider any unique circumstances.

Are you renting a car in a foreign country, or for more than a week? You’ll definitely want to get confirmation of coverage from both your insurance carrier and credit card company because different rules might apply. Also, no matter where you are, vehicles such as trucks, RVs or exotic sports cars often aren’t covered under standard agreements. And if you’re using a car for business purposes, your personal coverage might not apply. Finally, if multiple people will be driving the car during your trip, make sure your coverages will apply to them.

 

5. Learn about the insurance offered by the rental car company.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, rental companies offer four main types of coverage.

A Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) relieves you of responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. This may also provide coverage for loss of use.

Liability Protection provides protection from lawsuits if you are sued after an accident.

Personal Accident Insurance covers you and passengers for medical bills after an accident. You may not need this if you have adequate health and auto coverage.

Personal Effects Coverage protects you if items are stolen from your car. You generally are covered for this under your homeowners or renters policy, but keep in mind that the loss must exceed your deductible for you to receive payment. If you have a high deductible, it may make sense to purchase this coverage from the rental company.

 

When you go on vacation, you don’t want to stress out about insurance. So give us a call before you leave. Then, when you head over to the rental-car counter, you can stop worrying about your coverage — and start enjoying your trip!

 

I am Borrowing a Car, am I covered?

keys

Most people have an idea of what’s covered and not covered under their various insurance policies. But at WTM we get a lot of questions about borrowing or loaning a car.

Now that summer is here, and you might be looking to borrow your neighbor’s truck for a home-improvement project or a trip to the local landfill, we thought it was a great time to provide a little more information.

Generally, insurance coverage follows the vehicle rather than the driver. So in most instances, as long as the owner of the car has insurance, it’s covered even if someone other than the owner is driving it — as long as they have the owner’s permission.

The borrower’s insurance is considered secondary, meaning that in the event of an accident, it could apply if the owner’s insurance is insufficient to fully cover the damage.

It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to what is called “permissive use” coverage. For example, permission must be given by the owner, unless the borrower has a reasonable belief that they are allowed to use the car. However, the borrower cannot give permission to someone else. So if your teenager allows one of his or her friends to drive your car, your coverage likely won’t apply.

Coverage might also be denied if the borrower operates the vehicle in a negligent or criminal manner. And if the borrower is using your car for business purposes, your personal auto policy likely won’t cover that.

If you have a regular long-term arrangement to either borrow or lend a car, the borrower should probably be added to the owner’s personal auto policy. Those who don’t own a car, but often borrow one, might also consider “named non-owner coverage,” an endorsement that provides bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorists coverage and more.

 

What are the top 10 least expensive Cars to insured in 2014?

Don’t forget to include the price of insurance into the vehicle you are selecting.

Insure.com did research on 850 different vehicle models, in 10 different zip codes with the top 6 insurance providers and came up with this list of the top 10 least expensive cars to insure.

Please contact your agent if you have any questions on premium when purchasing your auto.

Here is the count down:

Augusta_Ga_2012_Dodge_Grand_Caravan_pdf

10.  Dodge Grand Caravan SE

honda_odyssey_ex_l_w_res_2014_exterior_angularfront

9. Honda Odyssey EX

8. Dodge Journey SE

subaru_outback_2.5i_6mt_2014_exterior_angularfront

7. Subaru Outback 2.5i

6. Chrysler Town & Country Touring

5. Jeep Compass Sport

4. Honda CR-V LX

3. Jeep Patriot Sport

2. Honda Odyssey LX

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1. Jeep Wrangler Sport

Which Insurance Profession cracked the Top 10 for Best Jobs in America?

Coming in at number four, the position of Actuary was the only insurance career to break the top 50 of America’s best jobs according to CareerCast. 
 
The ranking is based on 5 metrics: demands of physical labor, work conditions, income level, stress, and hiring prospects. 
 
CareerCast ranked the position of actuary highly due to an increased need for insurance-related analysts and risk assessment in wake of the Affordable Care Act and the growing sector of health insurance. 
 
Here is CareerCast’s list of top 10 best careers in 2014. 
  1. Mathematician
  2. University Professor (tenured)
  3. Statistician
  4. Actuary
  5. Audiologist
  6. Dental Hygienist
  7. Software Engineer
  8. Computer Systems Analyst
  9. Occupational Therapist
  10. Speech Pathologist


 

Q&A with Lynn Mathis: Rental Vehicle and Valet Parking

valet

 

Question: Would my auto policy coverage extend on a rental vehicle using a valet service in the event of a collision?

Answer:Lynn Mathis

A fairly standard condition in many personal auto policies provides physical damage coverage for a non owned auto. The definition of a non-owned auto is any private passenger auto, pickup, van or trailer not owned by or furnished or available for the regular use of you or any family member while in the custody of or being operated by you or any family member…

If that valet driver isn’t part of your family, your policy might not respond if he wrecks your rented car on vacation. Hey it’s usually cheaper to park it yourself anyway!

 

Ways to Make your Home more ‘Burglar’ proof when going away on Vacation

 

 

It’s summer and vacation time for many. If you are going away on an extended vacation it is important that you make sure your house is not an “easy mark” for burglars while you are away.

Research states that if it takes more than 4-5 minutes for a burglar to break into a home they will go elsewhere. An added benefit of the peace of mind of making sure your home is safe is many insurance companies will offer 2-15 percent discounts based on the presence of devices that make your home more safe.

What are some things you can do to keep your home safe while away?

  1. Hold your mail or have a neighbor pick it up for you. Your mail can be held by going to the post office and requesting that your mail be held for a certain period of time. Burglars interpret full mail boxes as “come on in”. Likewise it would be a good ideas to stop newspaper delivery during this time as well.
  2. Trim Shrubbery, burglars love privacy. Also arrange for your lawn to be mowed once a week. This will also make it easier for neighbors and friends to keep an eye on your home while you are way.
  3. Don’t Tidy up if you normally leave a car parked in the driveway or the water hose out or maybe a child’s toy on the side of the house, leave these things to keep the illusion that someone is home.
  4. Keep it Quiet, don’t advertise on social media that you are way as not all message are private. Stay on the safe side and talk about your trip after you are back with pictures and a safe house.
  5. Advertise your alarm system, if you have alarm protection, let them know. You can use signs and if you want to trick the burglar you can put up the sign for a different company in case they are familiar with alarm company procedure.
  6. Hide the hidden key, if you normally hide a spare key under a mat or plant…take that away so as to not may it too easy to enter.
  7. Safe Keep your valuables, put valuables in a PO Box or safe while you are away.
  8. Alert your alarm company, let them know the dates you are away. Make sure your alarm is set and working when you leave.

Williams, Turner and Mathis: 44th Anniversary, est. 7.1.1970

In honor of WTM’s 44th Anniversary,here are some little factoids about the history  of WTM.

  • The Raymond S. Williams Agency was formed July 1, 1970
  • November 18,1974 the first board met, Raymond S. Williams was elected President of the Board
  • Helen C. Williams was elected secretary
  • March 1, 1977 Ray S. Williams Jr. passed away
  • July 3, 1978 Ray Williams III elected President
  • December ’78 premium goals were $200,000
  • December ’82 first computer purchased
  • May ’83 Lynn Williams Mathis elected Secretary/Treasurer
  • November ’83 office moved to Montreal Rd
  • May ’95 Williams, Turner and Mathis, Inc was formed