Waitte’s Insurance wishes you and your family a safe and happy Labor Day

Friends drinking spritz at cocktail bar with face masks - New normal friendship concept with happy people having fun together toasting drinks at restaurant - Bright filter with focus on left woman

Waitte's Insurance wants to wish you a safe and Happy Labor Day

On September 5, 1882, ten thousand union workers gathered for a parade in New York City. This event inspired the creation of the official federal Labor Day holiday in 1894. While initially created to celebrate the achievements of the American labor force, Labor Day has also come to symbolize, for us, the end of summer.

While the usual parades may be on hold for this year, many parties and other social events will still take place, and the National Safety Council anticipates between 348 and 452 traffic fatalities. The NSC also estimates that over 45,000 non-fatal injuries will occur due to auto accidents that will be serious enough to need treatment by medical professionals.

Now more than ever, we value our time with family and friends. So how can you enjoy this opportunity to socialize and still protect yourself?  Wear your seatbelt, only ride with a sober driver, and call Waitte’s Insurance to be sure you have the coverage you need before the celebration starts. 

 

For further information, visit the following publications:

NSC Labor Day - Injury Facts

Enjoying the Outdoors Safely

Enjoying the Outdoors Safely

Enjoying the Outdoors Safely

While the past several months have thrust upon us many challenges, frustrations, and disappointments, there have also been a few positive changes.  Some of us are getting more sleep, enjoying more exercise, or spending more time with family. As many of us have been working from home, we are turning to walking and bike riding as ways to get out of the house and improve our health.  

Just being outside can help reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of a variety of diseases, and improve mental health (New York Times). When we add some exercise in the mix, things only get better. However, there are some safety factors that we need to consider.  

The fatality rate for pedestrians and cyclists has been steadily rising over the last several decades. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 6,590 pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2019.  While the fatality rate of cyclists is lower, at 857 in 2018, it is still an unfortunately high number (New York Times).  

What are some of the factors contributing to these numbers?  It’s no surprise that distracted driving plays a role. While it is illegal to text or talk on a hand-held phone in many states, not all drivers follow the laws, and hands-free phones can still compromise a driver’s ability to focus on the road. Another factor is the vehicles themselves. Increasingly, Americans favor SUVs and light trucks over cars.  The greater mass of these vehicles along with the fact that they sit higher makes it more likely that the vehicle will smash directly into a cyclist or pedestrian rather than pushing the victim up onto the hood of the car (USA Today).  

While these facts should give us pause, fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid becoming part of the statistics.  

  • Wear a helmet designed for cycling.  Be sure it has a safety certification sticker and is properly fitted for you.  A helmet that does not fit you or is not properly adjusted will not fully protect you.  Consider purchasing one at a local bike shop where staff can help you find the right fit and adjustment.  
  • Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it, and follow the rules of the road. While some people like to ride into traffic because they can see oncoming cars, in reality, this is both more dangerous than riding with the flow of traffic, and it is not legal.
  • Be sure your bike is in good working order before you ride, especially your brakes.
  • Whether you are walking or biking, wear clothes that make you clearly visible to drivers; on the bike, consider attaching flashing reflectors even during daylight. If you walk at night or early in the morning, consider wearing a reflective vest over your clothing.
  • Anticipate that drivers might not see you and be ready to act accordingly. A jump into a ditch or onto a sidewalk is clearly better than an encounter with any automobile when you consider that even lighter coupes weigh significantly north of two thousand pounds. 

Enjoy the satisfaction of connecting with your community and the outdoors by getting out for a walk or a bike ride. Waitte’s Insurance Agency is here for you with tips on how to get the most out of opportunities while still staying safe. Stop in on your next walk or bike ride, or give us a call to talk about your unique insurance needs.  

 

For further information, visit the following publication:

Governors Highway Safety Association
Bike Safety Tips
New York Times Health Article
New York Times Pedestrians and Cyclists Article
Bicycle Safety NHTSA

Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation

Keeping your home safe while on vacation

Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation

Following months on lockdown that may have felt like years, many families are deciding it’s finally time to take a vacation. While there is plenty of focus on how to stay safe during the trip, it’s also a good idea to take steps before we depart to keep our homes safe.  

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, on average, one home is burglarized every 18 seconds in the United States. Burglaries occur most often during the summer months, and any evidence that your home is unoccupied will make it a more likely target. Before you take off, consider taking the following steps to keep your home safe.

  • Lock all windows and doors.
  • Have mail or package delivery stopped.  A stack of mail or a package on the doorstep is a clear giveaway that homeowners are absent.
  • Hire someone to mow your lawn or shovel your driveway. 
  • Tell a trusted neighbor what your plans are. If possible, ask the neighbor to bring in your garbage cans if they will be outside and to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
  • Consider putting some indoor and outdoor lights on timer switches.  This helps make your home look occupied.  
  • Wait until you return to post pictures and stories about your trip on social media. Posts often circulate more widely than you intend.

While these steps will take a bit of time, they will help ensure that your trip is worry-free and relaxing. 

Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with planning ahead for your well-earned vacation.  Learn about more ways you can plan to protect your home and family by calling Waitte’s Insurance Agency where our staff can assist you with your unique insurance needs. Share our vacation tips with your family and friends, and be sure you, your family, and your friends are covered so we can all keep our community safe.

 

For further information, visit the following publication:

US Department of Justice "Crime Clock" article

Life insurance. Do I need it?

Single woman alone swinging on the beach and looking the other seat missing a boyfriend

Life insurance. Do I need it?

Life insurance is not a sexy topic, but like death and taxes, if you are a responsible adult, it should be on your radar. You may be asking yourself, Do I really need it? To answer this question, ask yourself who will be financially impacted in the event of your untimely death. Your life insurance policy can ensure that financial hardship won’t be added to the emotional grief of the people close to you if something unexpected should happen.

The first reason people typically consider life insurance is because they have a family. Ask yourself, How will my family function without my financial contribution? If you don’t work outside the home, your contribution is still significant, and your question might be, What might be the cost of care for my family if I am no longer able to be here for them?

In addition to a spouse and children, you may also be supporting older relatives. How will they get by if something happens to you? Also, consider any debt you may have. If you pass away, your debt will likely become the responsibility of your spouse, parents, or siblings’, which could put them in a difficult financial position.

Perhaps some of you are reading and at this point thinking, But wait, I don’t have a family yet, and I don’t have any debt either. Luckily for you, life insurance is most affordable for people in your situation. Now is a great time to plan for your future!

If you are still unsure why you need to think about life insurance now, consider the cost of the average funeral, which is somewhere in the ballpark of $7,000 to 10,000. This figure does not include a burial plot or monument (or marker), each of which will run you somewhere in the four figures or more. Cremation is typically less expensive. Services are roughly between $5,000 to $6,000 plus the urn and cemetery or interment fees for those who choose this option. 

When your loved ones are grieving, you don’t want them to wonder how they will pay for your funeral today or how they will make ends meet moving forward. The steps you take to provide for the ones you love might be the greatest gift. 

How much insurance do you need? This question is best answered when you sit down with your insurance professional, discuss your unique needs, and help you develop a plan that is right for you.

For further information, visit the following publications:

National Funeral Directors Association: Statistics 
7 Reasons You May Need Life Insurance, Even if You Think You Don't
Yes, You Probably Need Life Insurance And Here's Why

Life is meant to be lived! Get out and enjoy the ride!

POV shot of young man riding on a motorcycle. Hands of motorcyclist on a street

Life is meant to be lived! Get out and enjoy the ride!

For some, the word “bike” conjures up images of childhood and that first delicious spin on two wheels. Many adults recapture this thrill riding a motorcycle. For non-riders, the pull of the bike may be hard to comprehend. What is the draw? Sam Louie, a writer for Psychology Today, describes riding as a way to engage: “You take in what’s around you, using all your senses. You must concentrate all your energy on riding (no texting, eating, etc.).” Louie points out the therapeutic aspect of riding: “Sometimes being alone on the seat of a bike free of distractions can provide the emotional space needed to declutter your soul.” 

Other riders describe this focus as meditative or a feeling of “zen,” as it clears your mind of clutter, including the worries and fears that are especially present with us today and maybe weighing on us more than we realize.

In addition to the freedom, thrill, and zen aspect of riding, there are many practical aspects. Motorcycles are more fuel-efficient than cars, so you will spend less at the pump and pollute less. According to Business Insider, motorcycles are cheaper and easier to maintain than cars, even when including the gear cost.

The thrill of the ride combined with the mental health benefits from being outside and a part of the world in a way car drivers don’t experience (not even you convertible owners), as well as the practical, economic benefits of riding make motorcycles start to sound like the panacea of transportation. Unfortunately, the safety factor is not something we can ignore.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a motorcycle rider is 28 times as likely to die in a traffic crash as a person in a car. While motorcycles make up approximately three percent of all vehicles on the road, they account for about 14% of fatalities (National Safety Council). How can you enjoy your freedom on the road while taking steps to avoid becoming one of these statistics?

Wear a full-coverage helmet whether your state requires it or not. According to the CDC, helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69% and the risk of death by 37%. Never drink and ride; stay alert and drive defensively, especially at intersections, where half of all accidents occur. Invest in proper gear: wear durable protective clothing, preferably something reflective, and glasses, goggles, or a face shield that will prevent fogging. Be educated: most states, including Connecticut, require you to pass a motorcycle safety course to operate a two-wheeled motorcycle on the road legally. If it has been a while since you took your course, consider a refresher. Life is meant to be lived! Get out and enjoy the ride! For information about insuring your motorcycle, call Waitte’s Insurance, where our staff is here to discuss your unique insurance needs.

For further information, visit the following publications:

CDC Motorcycle Safety
Motorcycle Safety is a Two-way Street
12 Reasons to Ride a Motorcycle
Motorcycling: Love of the Machine
NHTSA Motorcycle Safety

Schools In. Stay Safe and Drive Safe.

Stop Sign on School Bus

Schools In. Stay Safe and Drive Safe.

Although life as we know it has been met with many changes in recent months, most students will be returning to some sort of school routine in the coming days if they have not already. During a typical school year, 56.6 million children attend an elementary or secondary school in our nation, and of these, an estimated 23.5 million students ride school busses. While not all schools are currently at full capacity, most students will be physically attending during at least part of the week, and this should influence how we behave on the road.

According to Connecticut law, a motorist “must stop for a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing whether it is on your side of the road, the opposite side of the road, or at an intersection you are approaching” (DRIVE-SAFELY.net). The exception is if you are traveling toward the bus and the bus is separated from you by a median or other physical roadway barrier. Consequences for failing to follow the law are significant, with the first violation resulting in a fine up to $450. Repeat offenders risk a $500 to $1000 fine and 30 days in jail for every subsequent violation, and motorists risk consequences even if no law officer is present. If a bus driver is able to identify the license plate number, color, and type of vehicle or provide a camera recording the violation along with the date, time, and location, police must issue a warning or summons to the owner of the vehicle cited for illegally passing a school bus (Poole and Gadson).

While these laws may seem strict, they are necessary. Almost three times as many school children die getting on and off the bus as students who die in crashes while riding the bus (Stanford Children’s Health). While the overall fatality rate is low, the loss of any child is a tragedy, especially if there is something we can do to prevent it.

See our links below for more tips to help drivers, parents, and children stay safe. Thinking and planning for the unexpected can help ensure a better tomorrow. To help you prepare for tomorrow, contact Waitte’s Insurance for help with your unique insurance needs.

 

For further information, visit the following publications:

Stanford Children's Health
Connecticut DOT School Bus Safety
CT's Laws and Comparative State Penalties for Illegally Passing a School Bus
School Bus Laws by State

Swimming Safety

Young Boy Swimming in a pool during summertime.

For people of all ages, swimming is the fourth most popular activity in the United States, and for children and teens ages seven to 17, it is number one (CDC). Unfortunately, the water we love can also be dangerous. For children ages one through four, drowning is the “leading cause of unintentional injury death,” and for children ages five through nine it is the second most common cause (CDC). Drownings of children under four are most likely to occur in a home swimming pool while drowning victims in older age brackets are more likely to occur in natural water settings such as lakes and rivers.  

In the case of young children, drowning often occurs due to a lack of supervision and/or lack of barriers around a pool. For older children and adults, lack of proficient swimming skills is a greater factor.  

What can we do to keep ourselves and our children safe?  The Red Cross suggests we only swim in designated areas preferably supervised by lifeguards, never swim alone, never leave children unattended, and have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear life jackets.  Anyone who has not taken swimming lessons should do so. Lesson opportunities can be found on Red Cross websites, at a local YMCA or other fitness facilities, or through your local parks and recreation department. There are opportunities for both kids and adults of all levels from basic water survival to stroke development for fitness to competitive swimming. 

If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers.  According to the Red Cross, many children who drown in home pools were under the care of one or more parents and out of their sight for less than five minutes.  

Swimming for adults is a whole-body workout and a great way to cross-train for any athlete who wants to avoid or recover from injury. For kids and adults, swimming is a way to relax, cool off, and play.  Be sure you and your family members all have the swimming skills you need to be safe. If you have a pool at home, take the necessary steps to keep it secure both with physical barriers and homeowner’s insurance. The staff at Waitte’s Insurance Company are here to assist you with your insurance needs so you are ready to take the plunge knowing you have taken the steps you need to stay safe.  

 

For further information, visit the following publications:

Red Cross Swimming Safety Tips

CDC Unintentional Drowning

CDC Swimming Publications, Data, & Statistics

Stay Safe and Still Enjoy Your Time in the Sun

Two little kid boys, best friends enjoying sailing boat trip.

While this might not have been the summer everyone anticipated back when the weather was cold, most of us have found ways to have fun, and being outside on the water has been a go-to form of recreation, even more, this year than in the past. Swimming, fishing, waterskiing, tubing, or just riding around our great lakes and rivers have become even more treasured ways to spend time this year. As we look forward to a few more weeks of outdoor adventures, there may be some things we should keep in mind to ensure the safety of the people we care about.

In 2019, 613 people died and 2,559 people were injured in recreational boating accidents in the United States (USCG). The leading contributor to fatal boating accidents was alcohol. While it is legal to operate a boat and drink, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence. Operators are expected to observe the same blood alcohol limits as the driver of a car, and the same penalties apply to boat operators as they do to motorists. Unfortunately, the law is not always taken seriously out on the water. According to the US Coast Guard, boating while intoxicated is even more dangerous than driving a car drunk. “The marine environment motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind, and spray accelerate a drinker’s impairment,” causing fatigue and significantly compromising the boat operator’s reaction time (USCG).

Another factor contributing to fatalities is training. Seventy percent of boating accidents resulting in fatalities involved operators who did not receive safety instruction (USCG). One eight-hour course taken in one day can make a significant difference for your safety and the safety of those whose company you enjoy on the water. Most states offer some form of boater safety training, and in Connecticut, boater safety classes are currently offered in online video platforms that provide opportunities for interaction between you and your instructor (see link below).

One more way you can protect yourself and those you care about is to wear life jackets. Eighty-six percent of drowning victims in 2019 boating accidents were not wearing life jackets (USCG).
The staff at Waitte’s Insurance Company want you to enjoy these last few weeks on the water with family and friends safely by taking a boater safety course, wearing a life jacket, and riding with a sober operator. Check with us for more information about insuring your watercraft along with any other insurance needs so you are prepared for a safe journey both on land and in the water.

 

For further information, visit the following publications:

CT gov site for online boater safety classes

2019 recreational boating statistics USCG

US Coast Guard BUI article

 

Honest Abe Can Help You Avoid an Accident

How to check tire wear with a penny

Consumers are advised to check tires monthly and replace them when they are too worn. So how can you tell when a tire is no longer roadworthy? Hold a penny with Lincoln’s head facing you upside down. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, your tire has less than 2/32” of tread, and it’s time for new tires (NHTSA).  

It is also important to maintain proper tire pressure. Under-inflated tires decrease fuel economy, increase wear on the tires, and can lead to accidents caused by tire separation or blowout.

It is no surprise that usage contributes to tread wear. Less obvious is the impact of time. “As tires age, they are more prone to failure” (NHTSA). It is recommended that automobile owners replace tires every 6-10 years, including the spare.

While monthly checks for proper inflation and tread wear can help you prevent an accident, not every accident can be avoided. Waitte’s Insurance is here for you to prepare for and recover from the unexpected. 

*National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Storm Damage

Storm Damage

Connecticut is known for its scenic foliage, rich history, and savory cuisine (lobster rolls, anyone?). Our great state is also known for wind storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards. The United States suffered 10 weather disaster events in just the first half of 2020, causing over $1 billion each.* How do you protect your family? Prepare your emergency kit with a flashlight, battery-powered radio, and spare batteries, and call Waitte’s Insurance for a quote so you can be ready to weather the storm.

*National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration