Empty Nesters

Empty Nesters

Your kids have been a focal point in your home life and schedule for the past two decades or more. For many of us, however, the physical presence of a child in the home will no longer be part of the equation as the youngest (or in some cases only) child moves on to college, work, or another form of adult independence. 

While empty nest syndrome is not a clinical disorder or diagnosis, the sadness, depression, and loss of purpose that may coincide with the child's departure are very real for many parents (Psychology Today). While we are proud of our children for their increasing independence, the pain felt by parents can be substantial enough that they become “vulnerable to depression, alcoholism, identity crisis, and marital conflicts” (Mayo Clinic). 

Some of the sense of loss can be mitigated by frequent contact with a child through texting, email, or phone calls, though too much “helicopter” parenting can backfire and result in a lower sense of well-being for young adults transitioning to independence (VeryWellFamily.com). “Even if they welcome your guidance and attention, too much checking in and giving direction will hinder your young adult from learning to make good decisions and handle life on their own” (VeryWellFamily.com).

Recommendations for parents include limiting texts, emails, or phone calls to children to once or twice a week and engaging in some self-care. Give some attention to your own diet, sleep habits, exercise, and leisure activities. Now might be a great time to reconnect with old friends or plan a trip with your spouse. Consider taking a class or picking up a new hobby or resume an old activity that you didn’t have time for when your kids dominated your schedule.

Keep in mind that it will get easier. Consider seeking support from friends or colleagues who are going through the same thing or who became empty-nesters within the last few years. Like many big life transitions, you may experience some ups and downs. Still, with time, you may be surprised to enjoy your new role as an advisor rather than a direct caretaker of the wonderful person you have coached into adulthood. “You’ll get used to your child being in charge of their own life, and you can begin to develop a new sense of normal in your life” (VeryWellFamily.com).

At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we want you to have a smooth transition into this new phase of life. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

 

Mayo Clinic

Psychology Today

VeryWellFamily.com

History of Labor Day and some Sobering Statistics

History of Labor Day and Some Sobering Statistics

In the late 19th century, labor activists fought for and won their battle for a national holiday recognizing the myriad contributions workers have made to the “strength, prosperity, and well-being” of our great nation (U.S. Department of Labor). Every year since 1894, Americans have celebrated the contributions of our laborers. 

Picnics, parties, parades, and other gatherings are common ways to recognize Labor Day, and for some, unfortunately, drinking and driving has become a part of the ritual. 

Only two days rank higher than Labor Day for the number of fatal automobile accidents (Thanksgiving and Independence Day), and the National Safety Council predicts nearly 400 fatalities of this nature.  The fact that drinking and driving account for roughly one-third of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. indicates that many if not all of these deaths are preventable (Trafficsefetymarketing.gov). 

In addition to fatalities, an estimated 44,000 individuals will incur injuries serious enough to require medical assistance (National Safety Council). 

What can you do to stay safe? There are some options you can exercise to avoid becoming one of the grim statistics. 

  • If you are planning to drink, even if it’s just one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver. If a friend who has been drinking is planning to drive, take away the keys and/or find a sober driver for your friend.
  • Stay off the road if possible after dark. The rate of alcohol-impaired drivers more than triples at night compared to daylight hours (Trafficsafetymarketing.gov). 
  • Wear your seatbelt and insist that others in your car do the same. Research indicates that seat belts are 45% effective in preventing fatalities for front-seat car passengers (National Safety Council). If you are in the back seat, buckle up there too. Though some believe that the back seat is safe without a seat belt, the reality is that an unbuckled rider in the rear seat is eight times more likely to be killed or injured in a crash than one who is buckled (Washington Post).

At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we wish you a happy and safe Labor Day. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

National Safety Council
Trafficsafetymarketing.gov
U.S. Department of Labor
United States Department of Transportation "Alcohol-Impaired Driving"
United States Department of Transportation "Safety Facts"
Washington Post

Do I Need to Purchase Insurance for my Rental Car?

Do I Need to Purchase Insurance for my Rental Car

You’re finally getting out and enjoying the freedom of vacation and exploring new places or returning to some old favorites! Renting a car allows you to go where you want when you want. But are you taking unnecessary risks if you don’t purchase extra coverage for a rental car? Or are you throwing money away if you do?

Like many things, the answer depends on your circumstances and how much risk you are willing to assume. 

If you are risk-averse, you may want to purchase a collision damage waiver (CDW) from your car rental company. The great thing about a CDW is that “no matter how banged up the car could be, you’re off the hook. Just turn it in and be on your way” (SmarterTravel.com). Unfortunately, CDW can be quite expensive--typically starting at $30 per day or significantly higher; the cost of this coverage may be similar to what you are paying for renting the car (SmarterTravel.com). 

For anyone who is not inclined to spend quite so freely, you may be pleased to know that if you already have car insurance, your coverage extends to the rental car and maintains the same coverage limits and deductibles if your trip is for personal travel within the United States (MarketWatch.com). However, you must have commercial coverage if your trip is for business. Rental car coverage for personal travel to Mexico or Canada may or may not be covered by your existing policy, so it’s a good idea to contact your agent before heading out on your trip (MarketWatch.com). If your trip is overseas, you will likely need to purchase rental car insurance, as U.S. companies typically don't provide coverage there.

Another avenue of protection is your credit card. Most cards, when used to pay for your car rental, will provide collision coverage. The coverage is secondary, which means it will only take care of what your own insurance does not pay first, and you will receive it as a reimbursement after you have paid the rental company upfront (SmarterTravel). Unfortunately, there may also be the challenge of rental companies not always sharing proper documentation with credit card issuers (SmarterTravel).

One more option you may want to consider is the collision coverage offered by third-party insurance companies that may be available if you rent your car through one of the bigger online travel agencies such as Priceline or Expedia (SmarterTravel). Collision coverage purchased this way typically costs around $10 per day--much less than the rental company’s CDW. However, if you make a claim, you will likely have to pay upfront and be reimbursed later (SmarterTravel). 

One more reassuring travel-related fact is that if you are the victim of theft, your homeowners' or renters' insurance policy will cover your possessions (Nerdwallet.com). Your deductible will still apply, and to make a claim, you will need to file a police report (Nerdwallet.com).

At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we want you to have a safe, enjoyable vacation wherever you go and however you travel. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

MarketWatch.com
Nerdwallet.com
SmarterTravel.com

Winter Fun and Adventure

Winter Fun and Adventure

Winter Fun and Adventure

This year many of us were experiencing some degree of cabin fever before the winter season even began. Fortunately, here in Connecticut there are so many opportunities for outdoor fun that everyone should be able to try something new or rediscover an old pastime. 

The Connecticut Office of Tourism (see link below) offers information about a variety of activities that allow you the opportunity to be outdoors, active, and still maintain social distance. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are obvious go-to winter activities. If you want to add a new twist, try going at night. If you are ready to bring it up to another level, you can try freestyle skiing or snowboarding. This involves jumps, rail slides, tricks, rides on half-pipes, and/or switch riding.

Another option is ski jumping at Satre Hill in Salisbury. Not ready to make the leap yourself or want to watch the experts do it? Check out Jumpfest 2021 on February 12-14 (Jumpfest.com). 

Kids can build a snowman or a snow fort, and when they are ready to explore beyond the yard, they may want to try snow tubing. Snow tubing is a fun activity for all ages and levels of athletic ability and can be enjoyed at Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort.

Another option for the adventurous can be found ice climbing. Ascent Climbing and Ragged Mountain Guides can hook you up with the guides, advice, and training you need for your next adventure. Fat-tire biking, also known as snow biking or ski biking, is done with bikes built with frames to accommodate extra-wide tires that allow you to explore trails in the winter on dirt or snow. 

Adventurers who prefer more independence can cross country ski or snowshoe at a variety of scenic Connecticut locations including Winding Trails in Farmington, Gay City State Park in Hebron, Weir Farm National Historical Site in Wilton, White Memorial Foundation in Litchfield, or Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic (Connecticut Office of Tourism).

One more option that may not yet have crossed your mind is ice fishing. Ice fishing can be done with one friend or a bunch, and as any veteran winter angler will tell you, you don’t even have to catch anything to have a great time, as typical ice fishing can have a lot in common with tailgating. If you do catch fish worth keeping, you may be surprised to realize how tasty they are. “The ‘muddy’ taste you sometimes hear about from fish can be caused by blue green algae, which can proliferate during warmer months. Blue green algae is gone, or greatly diminished, in cold and frigid water, so it no longer affects the fishes’ taste” (Associated Press “Ten Reasons to Go Ice Fishing”). If you decide to try ice fishing, check out the link below from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for advice on how to know when the ice is thick enough to support ice fishing and other tips.

Whatever you are into this winter, the staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you health and happiness as we embark on a new year. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

 

Associated Press "Ten Reasons to Go Ice Fishing"

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection 

Connecticut Office of Tourism “8 Must-Try Winter Activities in Connecticut”

Jumpfest

Snowmobile Fun and Safety

Snowmobile fun and safety

Snowmobile Fun and Safety

Those who have never tried it may wonder what is so appealing about riding a 500 pound machine that initially may be hard to control and often leaves even experienced riders stuck in snow. However, new riders are often hooked after just one run on the sled. The scenery, the variety, and the friendly people are all frequently mentioned as reasons to ride. If you are feeling skeptical, you can rent one to try it out. 

If you don’t own land enough to ride on or know anyone who does, you can check out the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website linked below with a list of ten state forests with snowmobile trails. After exploring the beauty these areas of Connecticut have to offer, you may be inclined to look toward other areas of New England or head west to even more wide open spaces including Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Montana. 

If you purchase your own sled, you are required to register it with the state of Connecticut unless you are only operating on property owned or leased by you (State of Connecticut DMV). Drivers are not required to have a special license to operate a sled in Connecticut, though intoxicated drivers can be prosecuted (State of Connecticut DMV).

With all the exploration, fun, and excitement to be had riding a snowmobile, it is also important to keep in mind that there are risks. Every year over 14,000 people are treated in hospitals with injuries sustained while snowmobiling, and over 200 fatalities are attributed to snowmobiling accidents in North America (Researchgate). While drugs and alcohol are frequently cited as contributing to these statistics, other sources point to lack of experience and excessive speeds (New Hampshire Snowmobile Association and NewYorkUpstate.com). 

Whatever you do for fun this winter, Waitte’s Insurance Agency is ready with options for your business, home, and recreational vehicles. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

 

Connecticut DUI Law

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

NewYorkUpstate.com

New Hampshire Snowmobile Association

Researchgate

State of Connecticut DMV

Enjoy the Fall Without Getting Burned

Roasting Marshmallows Over Campfire

Enjoy the Fall Without Getting Burned

As the leaves begin to change and the cooler weather of fall approaches, we renew our appreciation for fire. The warmth of a fire brings with it images of cozy gatherings and good food. Backyard fire pits have grown in popularity over the years and now offer a great way to socialize in relative safety as we can enjoy the company of friends and neighbors and still be outside. Like seemingly all good things, though, fire can be risky.

According to the Journal of Burn and Care Research, “Outdoor fire pits represent an increasing hazard to young children who are particularly susceptible to burn injuries from falls in or around lit recreational fires.” On average, a fire injury occurs every 30 minutes, and each year approximately 3,400 burn injuries become fatal (Burn Statistics). 

While backyard fire pits are one concern, what happens in the kitchen can be even more dangerous. Stanford Children’s Health indicates that home-cooking equipment is the “leading cause of home fires and related injuries.”

While medical research has led to advancements that enable 96.7% of patients treated in burn centers to survive, the consequences of serious burns often include serious scarring and life-long physical disabilities (American Burn Association).

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to help keep our family members and friends safe. Before building or purchasing a backyard fire pit or table, spend some time planning. Your fire should be at least ten feet from your house or a neighbor’s yard. Stay away from overhanging tree branches, fences, or anything else that might burn easily. Before burning, check the wind. If the trees are swaying in the wind, save your fire for another day. Only allow adults to start and maintain a fire, and anyone near the fire should not wear loose clothing. Have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit handy, and keep a close eye on any children. Those under five are especially vulnerable.

There are also steps you can take in the house to significantly reduce the risk of burns. Periodically check appliance chords for damage or fraying; unplug appliances when they are not in use; keep children away from hot liquids, hot oils, or deep fryers; turn pan handles in toward the stove; and check the temperature of bottles, other heated drinks, foods, and bathwater before allowing children access. A kitchen fire extinguisher is also a great idea.  

You can help keep your family, friends, and neighbors safe by avoiding fire hazards and burns. More fire safety and burn prevention tips can be found in our links below. At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we care about keeping our community members safe because we are part of the community. Our friendly agents look forward to talking with you about your unique insurance needs.

Oxford Journal of Burn and Care Research

Nationwide Children's

HomeAdvisor "Fire Pit Safety Precautions"

Stanford Children's Health 

Stanford Children's Health "Preventing Burn Injuries" 

American Burn Association

Burn Statistics

Teen Drivers: How to Help Keep Them and Our Community Safe

Teen Drivers- How to Help Keep Them and Our Community Safe

Teen Drivers- How to Help Keep Them and Our Community Safe

It is a sobering fact that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), every day about six teens die, and hundreds more are injured in car crashes. Along with the loss of life and pain and suffering also comes a staggering economic cost of accidents involving teen drivers: over $13 billion annually (CDC). 

Why are teen drivers contributing to such grave statistics? Obviously, inexperience plays a role.  Teens are also more likely to speed and/or follow other vehicles too closely.  In addition to these risky habits, teens are the least likely age group to wear seatbelts (CDC). Since research has shown that “seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half,” the importance of buckling up cannot be overstated (CDC). While teens cannot legally drink alcohol, many do drink and drive, and intoxication only exacerbates the challenges of operating a motor vehicle for an inexperienced driver. 

As if they don’t already face enough of a challenge to focus on the road, cell phones and other devices may also be competing for teens’ attention and posing further distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a teen who is texting while driving is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than a driver who is not texting.

 

What can you do to help your teen driver stay safe in the face of these daunting statistics? 

  • Model safe driving yourself, especially when your teen is with you. Avoid eating or drinking while driving, and talk to your teen about doing the same.
  • Talk to your teen about the risks of alcohol and other drugs, especially while driving.
  • Make sure your teen is aware of other factors that can compromise a driver’s focus including driving with passengers, driving at night, and driving while drowsy.
  • Stress the importance of wearing a seatbelt, and model by always wearing one yourself.
  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of using a phone while driving. Consider downloading an app to block calls while driving, and ask your teen to do likewise.
  • Make sure you and your teen are both aware of your state’s graduated licensing laws and follow them. These laws have reduced fatalities as well as crashes overall (CDC).
  • Consider utilizing a tracking app that will allow you to view your teen’s location and speed in real-time as well as track your teen’s recent trips on the road, such as Life 360. Tracking basics are free, and additional paid features are also available.

 

While worry is an inherent part of being a parent of a teen, there are steps we can take to reduce the likelihood of serious injuries or even fatalities. At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we care about the safety of all of the families in our community because we are part of the community. Give us a call when you are ready to talk about your unique insurance needs.

 

For further information, visit the following publication:

CDC "Teen Drivers: Get the Facts"
NHTSA "Teen Driving"
Graduated Licensing Laws

Hit the Road in a Recreational Vehicle

Hit the Road in a Recreational Vehicle

Hit the Road in a Recreational Vehicle

Many of us are thinking about finally taking the vacations that have been on hold for so long, and we might be considering new ways to travel. The assets of recreational vehicles merit their consideration, especially now. An RV allows for a great deal of flexibility--you can go where you want whenever you want. An RV also allows you to avoid the expense, crowds, and hassles of air travel. You can save money by cooking your own food, and when you are ready to head to your next destination, everything is already in the vehicle--no need to pack.  

Seasoned RVers are also quick to point out how friendly people are. If you don't know anyone when you arrive at a campground, you soon will. Another advantage is the view.  While traveling, the RV driver and his or her companion are seated higher off the road than car drivers, and the large windshield offers a broad view of the destination.

RV travel offers a great way to experience the treasures that are our national parks and other great destinations while still enjoying the convenience of a bed and private restroom--go out sightseeing, hiking, biking, or fishing, and return to the convenience of the modern amenities in your RV.  

Drawbacks of traveling by RV include the initial investment of purchasing the RV, the cost of gas, and the challenge of parking.  Consider renting an RV to decide if the investment is right for you, though you may need to plan well ahead. Both sales and rental are significantly up from last year. 

If you do decide to take advantage of the freedom and adventure that come with owning an RV, remember that just like your car, your RV needs to be ensured to be on the road. For more tips about RV travel, destinations, ownership, and rental, check out the links below. For information about insurance, contact locally owned Waitte’s Insurance Agency to discuss your unique insurance needs. Help our community thrive by making sure you, your friends, and your family are covered.

 

For further information, visit the following publication:

AARP "Pros and Cons of Owning an RV"
Tripsavvy "RV Pros and Cons"
National Geographic "Vacationing by RV"

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

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