National POW/MIA Recognition Day

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

National POW/MIA Recognition Day falls on Friday, September 17 this year. Established in 1979 by then-President Jimmy Carter, the day was first recognized in June but is now held annually on the third Friday in September (Time.com). In 1997, this became one of six days when the POW/MIA flag is displayed in specific locations as required by Congress (Time.com).

The flag that has become a symbol for prisoners of war and service members missing in action was designed by World War II pilot Newt Heisley at the request of Mrs. Mary Hoff, wife of MIA Lieutenant Commander Michael Hoff, in 1971 (militarybenefits.info). It remains the only flag, other than the American flag, to fly above the White House. 

Historically, World War II saw the largest number of POWs at 130,201 captured and 116,129 returned (Americanhistory.si.edu). World War I recorded 4,120 captured and 3,973 returned, with Korea at 7,140 and 4,418, respectively (Americanhistory.si.edu). While Vietnam’s numbers were smaller (726 captured and 661 returned), the American public became much more aware of the plight of captured service members as a result of North Vietnamese propaganda campaigns (Americanhistory.si.edu). Over 1500 who served in Vietnam are still missing in action, and investigation efforts continue (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency).

Many states will mark National POW/MIA Recognition Day with veterans rallies. The day will also be recognized with ceremonies, and other events at the Pentagon, war memorials, museums, and communities will show support as they gather for organized walks, candlelight vigils, and other events (timeanddate.com; nationaldaycalendar.com). 

As we approach ≈, consider contacting a local veterans organization to ask how you can show honor and support for the sacrifices of those who have served, and recall the mantra of the POW/MIA remembrance movement honoring our nation’s prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action: “You Are Not Forgotten.”

Americanhistory.si.edu 

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Militarybenefits.info

Military.com

Nationaldaycalendar.com

Pow-mia families.org

Timeanddate.com

Time.com

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

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

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