Connecticut Health Insurance: What Could Affect Your Premiums?

While the month of February includes Valentine’s Day, the time to consider those near and dear to your heart, it’s also the month to remember to care for your actual heart. February is American Heart Month, which is a designated time to raise awareness of the factors that contribute to good heart health. Among these factors are exercising regularly, a diet featuring plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and controlling stress. Without these daily habits, not only will your physical health suffer, but your Connecticut Health Insurance premiums could also be affected.

What Determines My Connecticut Health Insurance Premiums?

Age:

Obviously, you cannot turn back the clock, but you do need to be aware that as a general rule, people over the age of sixty pay more (sometimes as much as 3 times more) for their health insurance than someone under that age. Younger people tend to be healthier, and as a group, file fewer claims than older policyholders. If you are over sixty, even if you are in perfect health, you can expect to pay more than someone in their twenties, even if that person has a chronic health condition. However, pre-existing conditions at any age do not warrant an increase in health insurance rates.

Tobacco Use:

Smoking’s negative effect on health is well documented and tobacco use is second only to age as a predictor of mortality. So it’s no surprise that smokers pay up to fifty percent more for coverage than non-smokers. The good news, of course, is if you are a smoker you can quit! Although you need to be aware that individual insurance carriers can impose a waiting period from between one and five years after you quit smoking before your rate comes down.

Profession And Income:

Let’s face it, some jobs are more inherently dangerous than others. While worker’s compensation is expected to cover most on-the-job accidents, if you cannot prove your illness or injury was directly caused by your job, you will be expected to assume the cost of treatment.

If you are in a low-income bracket with a household income of between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level and you do not have access to employer-sponsored coverage, you may qualify for tax credits. If your income falls below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level you may be able to take advantage of Medicaid or CHIP and enroll in their low cost or even free programs.

Where You Live:

The area where you live may have an impact on your insurance rates, as some areas have been identified as having a higher proportion of unhealthy residents. Perhaps this is due to poor environmental conditions, little access to healthy foods and other factors. These types of location-based assessments are frowned upon by regulators, as they may lead to discriminatory practices, so check with your carrier to assess their standards.

Marital Status:

People who are married tend to live longer, engage in less risky behavior and take better care of themselves than single people, so it’s no surprise that a married person’s insurance rate will most likely be lower than a single person who otherwise has the same risk profile.

Number of People Covered By Your Policy:

It just makes sense that the more people who are covered by the policy, the more the policy will cost. Do the calculations to make sure that getting individual coverage for each party who needs insurance would not be more expensive that getting a policy that covers everyone. Discounts can be granted to those with multiple people on their policy, so look into all of your options.

Ignoring the fixable factors that determine your Connecticut Health Insurance can be costly. Continue best practices towards a healthy lifestyle and your insurance premiums will surely follow suit.

If you have any questions regarding your current health insurance coverage, please call our office at (860) 886-1961.

Prevent Flood Damage to Your Home with 6 Simple Tips

Traditionally in New England, the period of time that leaves your home the most susceptible to flood damage is during the rainy spring season. Most often in March and April, consistent downpours and minimal sunshine can create a world of problems for homeowners. But as all Connecticut locals will tell you, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes. As unpredictable as the four seasons can be in this region of the U.S. there are always preventative measures for protecting your home, automobiles, and of course, your loved ones during unfavorable weather conditions. In regards to an excess of water threatening your home, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind in the effort to prevent flood damage.

6 Simple Ways You Can Prevent Flood Damage to Your Home

Shovel Snow Away From Your Foundation:

This issue is particularly relevant to New England homeowners. With how drastically temperatures can rise during the transition into spring, snow mounds leftover from previous winter storms can melt at an expedited rate. Move all remaining snow away from your home so that it doesn’t melt into your foundation and cause damage.

Repair/Protect Your Roof:

Any necessary repairs to your roof should be made well ahead of the rainy season. Simply putting a bucket underneath a leak in your ceiling only masks the problem. Leaks that may appear to be small will inevitably get bigger and cause extensive damage to your roof. Schedule a maintenance check on your roof and fix any and all problematic areas. Not to be used in place of repairs, but large tarps can provide a temporary solution to cover weak spots that are prone to leakage. Investing in a rubber roof underlayment could also prevent widespread damage.

Clear Gutters:

Gutters clogged with debris, such as leaves and mud, are completely useless. The main purpose of gutters on your home is to detract rainfall away from your foundation and prevent flood damage. To allow water to properly flow and escape through your gutters, make sure to remove large clumps of debris and clear away blockages using a garden hose if possible. This project will typically require a ladder so ALWAYS use caution when cleaning your gutters.

Invest in Sandbags:

Burlap bags filled with sand can work wonderfully for blocking water from entering your home. Piling large mounds of these bags around every inch of your home’s foundation isn’t necessary. However, sandbags can be very effective in keeping water away from easily accessible entrances to your home, such as basement doors.

Elevate Expensive Equipment/Possessions:

During any threat of flooding, devise a plan for certain electronics, furniture, appliances and other valuable items to be raised out of areas that are prone to flooding. For larger items such as washing machines, this may be a difficult task, but raised platforms for temporary placement can protect many of your pricier belongings. All electrical items should also be unplugged during a flooding occurrence.

Document All Possessions:

Irreplaceable items such as gifts with sentimental value should always be in a waterproof and elevated location. For possessions that can be replaced but are expensive in nature, properly document and appraise them so that they can be submitted in an insurance claim in the event that flooding damages them. Certain items may not be covered under your current homeowners insurance policy, so you may want to consider looking into Personal Articles coverage for particular valuables.

Connecticut and its surrounding states must always be on alert for ever-changing weather conditions. Whether you are stocking up on salt for the winter or collecting sandbags to prevent flood damage, your home is one investment that needs continuous tender, love and care. Stop a disaster before it even starts by not only preparing your home for unforeseen storms and flooding but also with sufficient insurance coverage.

If you’re in the market for a new homeowners insurance policy or you simply wish to review your current policy, Waitte’s Insurance Agency is always there! Maintain peace-of-mind for your home and family by calling our office at (860) 886-1961.

First Time Buying a Motorcycle? Read This Checklist Beforehand

As winter slowly fades into spring, people are gearing up for what should be delightful weather this season in New England. It’s the type of weather that is perfect for riding a motorcycle up and down the scenic east coast. While your buddies already have theirs, you might be thinking you are overdue for buying your own motorcycle. But before you start your search to find the sweetest ride, we’ve provided a checklist of items to consider to ensure you’re ready to hit the road. Buying a motorcycle is much like buying a car, only with a few more caveats.

If you’re a first-timer buying a motorcycle, keep the following factors in mind:

  1. Know Your Ability

You’ve practiced and received your license. That doesn’t quite mean you’re ready for a bike just yet. There’s no room for error on one of these vehicles, so avoid showboating skills that you know you don’t have. Be realistic about your strengths, disadvantages and what you need to work on to remain safe.

  1. Research Your Options

Doing a little bit of research, and maybe a test ride will help you decide which style is better for you. While you may be tempted to get a fast bike, a cruiser may be better suited for you. This is all a matter of individual preference and riding style.

  1. Feel it Out

Especially for first-timers, look for a bike that fits your body type. Comfort will not only help you maneuver turns better, but you also don’t want to be stiff or uncomfortable if you’re planning a long road trip with your buddies.

  1. New or Used?

If you were learning how to play guitar, would you start off your first lesson by buying an expensive, Jimi Hendrix-style instrument? Of course not. The same goes for investing in a motorcycle. Novice motorists should consider starting off with a used, but safe bike as they are cheaper. Once you have gained enough confidence and experience, feel free to splurge on that shiny new model. Overall, your chosen investment all depends on your budget.

  1. Think it Over

So, you’ve found your dream bike. You’ve tested it, and love it. But you shouldn’t jump on it just yet. Take some time and ask the seller some in-depth questions regarding the bike.

  1. Inspect the Motorcycle

If you’re buying a motorcycle for the first time from a non-licensed dealer, you should have a qualified mechanic thoroughly inspect it. Double-check the mileage and find out about any outstanding repairs that are needed. When buying from a qualified salesperson, ask them to print out a service history report so you’re positive you’re not buying a lemon.

  1. Check the Title

Verify that the title has a clean history. You don’t want to get stuck with a bike that was involved in any previous criminal activities. It is not advised to purchase or trade with an individual you barely know, so always use your best judgment.

  1. Make an Offer

Most dealerships are willing to work with you so don’t let the sticker price scare you. Once you’ve found your bike, submit a reasonable offer and negotiate from there.

  1. Calculate Insurance Costs

Know your budget and calculate the additional costs of the bike after purchasing it. This obviously refers to a number of factors such as gas, maintenance, winter storage, and of course, motorcycle insurance. Shop for the best insurance policy options for your budget prior to your investment. The very best way to check out your policy options in Norwich, Connecticut is by contacting Waitte’s Insurance Agency.

Springtime motoring is just a couple short weeks away! If you’re buying a motorcycle for the first time or simply wish to compare premiums that are available, give us a call at (860) 886-1961.

Why Connecticut Employers Need Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation is a type of insurance that is a MUST for employers to purchase in order to protect themselves and their employees in the event of an on-the-job accident. The Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) outlines the responsibilities of Connecticut employers to provide this protection for their employees. You cannot operate a business in Connecticut without a workers’ compensation plan of some sort. But why do you need it? And what level of protection must you provide?

What Connecticut Employers Responsible For:

Workers’ compensation covers the medical care and the time off that is required for an injury that an employee incurs while at work or an illness that was the result of an insufficient working environment. This can include being exposed to a toxic substance or inadequate ventilation in the workplace that could make an employee ill and unable to continue working. A worker’s compensation policy can be obtained through an insurance company or employers can self-insure by filing their intention to do so with the WCA Commission.

A printed notice of your workers’ compensation coverage must be posted in every area that your employees work. Injury claims must also be submitted within a week to the Commission, and injury payouts made within three weeks of the incident. The Commission with then review all claims that have been submitted.

An Injury Has Occurred at My Job Site… What Happens Next?

Employers are responsible to pay for the medical care, rehabilitation and sick time required of their injured or ill employees. Out of pocket, this cost could be an exorbitant amount that could possibly even compromise the business as a whole, depending on the severity of the condition. Workers’ compensation provides a safety net that employers pay into each month, and will pay out in the event of an employee illness/injury.

There is the possibility that your employee may wish to work throughout their illness or injury, but can no longer fulfill the work requirements of the position they had when they got injured. At this point, you must continue the willing employee’s employment, but provide them with a position suitable to the work that they can perform.

For Connecticut employers, workers’ compensation is non-negotiable. It is a legal obligation for business owners to have a plan in place to protect any and all employees on their payroll.

Without a policy in place, not only are you in violation of state laws on the matter, you are also setting yourself up for financial hardship, a compromised reputation, or possibly even a lawsuit. Save yourself a headache, and cover company with a comprehensive workers’ compensation policy.

Is your business in need of coverage for you and your employees? We can provide you with a comprehensive FREE rate quote to ensure that everyone working with you and for you are taken care of in the event of an accident or illness.

Considering Buying a Boat This Season? Keep These Tips in Mind

With boat season rapidly approaching, buying a boat and hitting the open water is more tempting than ever. As wonderful as the idea of going nautical sounds, (especially in Connecticut) purchasing a boat comes with a laundry list of factors to strongly consider. Much like investing in an automobile or a home, first-time boat buyers will want to do their homework before making any hefty investments. For those with little-to-no experience in this process, we have compiled a checklist of items that can help take the angst and guess-work out of choosing the right watercraft for your needs.

What to Keep in Mind When Buying a Boat For the First Time:

Where You Live

Let’s be honest, if you live miles and miles away from the nearest lake or port, chances are you won’t get the most bang for your buck. If you’re nowhere near water, you will need to consider transporting the boat. Calculate the costs of traveling far distances while towing a boat. Plan out exactly where, when and how often you will be boating to make sure you get the proper permits for that area ahead of time.

Budget

Just like a car, your boat can turn into an expensive toy quickly. Using the 30-70 rule will help you create a budget. 30 percent of your money will go to the boat itself, while 70 percent will go towards things like:

  • – Gas
  • – Transportation
  • – Boat Accessories
  • – Storage
  • – Training Courses
  • – License Requirements
  • – Repairs
  • – Insurance
New or Used

While a new boat can feel like the best purchase, you should consider where you live, and how you’re going to use the boat. If you’re a first-time buyer with no experience with boats, getting a used boat is probably the wiser choice. Your budget should factor into whether you buy new or used also. Aside from being a lottery winner and splurging on the latest boat model, start small and work your way up until you have a few years of experience under your belt.

Use of Boat

What will be the main purpose of your boat? For fishing enthusiasts, you’ll want to be realistic as to how often you will be going out and the type of fishing you will be doing. Those who tend to only fish a handful of times a year may be advised to invest is something much smaller such as a rowboat. But if the plan is to indulge in other activities like water skiing or tubing, then investing in something larger will probably be getting your money’s worth.

Licenses and Training

A lot of Connecticut boating courses can be completed in a single day’s time and are usually on the weekends. The cost of classes can vary, so check for classes in your area to register for your preferred date and time. Local fishing licenses are also mandatory wherever and whenever you cast your line. Not complying with the proper state licensing can land you in a world of financial and possibly legal distress, so make the necessary efforts before making any boat purchase.

Attend Boat Shows

Attend a boat show is one of the best ways that first-time buyers can get an idea of the type of boat they want. Not only can you browse through countless makes and models, but there are a ton of knowledgeable people with years of experience that can help you with any questions you have. Be sure to pick their brain and learn as much as you can. Browse through boat shows in Connecticut this year to find the one nearest you to make the process of buying a boat a lot less stressful.

Find the Right Insurance

Once you have selected that perfect watercraft for your particular needs, contact our office to choose the best possible insurance policy. It’s not only a state requirement to be insured on the water, but also a means of protecting yourself and your assets.

If you’re tired of being a land lubber and are thinking of buying a boat for the first time this season, Waitte’s Insurance Agency wants to help determine the most practical insurance premium to fit your budget. You can even receive a FREE Rate Quote by filling out a simple form.

Connecticut Seat Belt Laws & Common Misconceptions

Beautiful spring weather has finally arrived in Connecticut! With the temperatures beginning to climb, more and more people are hitting the not-so-open road. Although it is always the right time to practice road safety, with the increased number of motorists on roadways, it is even more important to be careful and vigilant. One of the easiest and most important ways you can stay safe on the road is by following Connecticut seat belt laws. For those who are unclear as to the laws in place within the state, we’d like to provide a thorough reminder.

Front Seat Use:

Anyone driving a car in Connecticut MUST wear a seat belt by law. Similarly, anyone who is a front seat passenger must also be secured in the car with a seat belt. This law must be followed by anyone who is in the front seat of a car, regardless of age or level of driving experience.

Teenage Drivers:

Drivers between the ages of 16-17 must always wear a seatbelt. Every passenger in their car must also wear a seatbelt when the teen is driving. Any driver or passenger found guilty of not following this law is subject to a fine of $75.

Two-Part Systems:

If your car has a two-part seat belt system, both the shoulder strap and lap belt must be engaged when you are operating the car. If the shoulder strap fastens automatically, you need to still be sure to manually fasten the lap belt. Wearing just one part of the seat belt is unsafe and therefore prohibited by Connecticut law.

Airbags:

Air bags are a safety feature that have become standard equipment in most new cars. However, if your car is equipped with an air bag, it does not make you exempt from wearing a seat belt. Seat belts and airbags work in tandem to keep drivers and passengers safe in the event of an accident. Although airbags will protect you from injury if you hit the steering wheel, seat belts are designed to protect you during side impacts or if the car rolls over.

Connecticut Seat Belt Laws For Children:

Children under the age of 16 need to abide by the following restraint and safety system guidelines.

Misconceptions Regarding Seat Belts:

Seat belts have been around for a long time, but there are still many misconceptions that perpetuate regarding them, often fueled by those opposed to them. Your best ammunition against this misinformation is to have the facts. Here are some common seat belt misconceptions along with rationale to disprove them.

1. Misconception: I can get trapped inside a car if I’m wearing a seat belt

Fact: Seat belts can be released in mere moments. In fact, it takes less than a second. In the rare event that you are in an accident that forces your car underwater, wearing a seat belt may prevent you from hitting your head and being knocked unconscious. So, your chances of escaping improve with the belt.

2. Misconception: Seat belts are only good for long trips but not for everyday driving around town.

Fact: Statistically, most accidents that happen occur within 25 miles of one’s own home. Furthermore, the majority of accidents occur on roads where the posted speed limit is no more than 45 mph. Wearing a seat belt is every bit as important when you are driving throughout your neighborhood than it is when you are out on the open highway.

3. Misconception: Some people who are in accidents and not wearing seat belts are thrown out of the car and walk away uninjured.

Fact: If you are in an accident, you have a better chance of survival if you stay in the vehicle. Wearing a seat belt can keep you in the car rather than being thrown out of it and potentially into the path of another vehicle or something equally as dangerous.

4. Misconception: If my vehicle gets hit on the side, I am better off being thrown from the vehicle and away from the point of impact.

Fact: When a vehicle is hit on the side, anything in the vehicle that is not secured (including the passenger) will move toward the side of the crash, not away from it. It is better to be fastened in by a seat belt to reduce the chance of being thrown anywhere.

5. Misconception: I can brace myself at slow speeds.

Fact: A head-on crash at speeds as slow as 25 mph has an impact similar to that of a bicycle slamming into a brick wall. It is simply impossible to brace yourself for an impact of that nature.

Connecticut seat belt laws were created to keep drivers protected. By not following them every time you depart in your car, you not only risk legal ramifications but also the safety of yourself and any passengers with you. So enjoy the wonder of spring in the air and start planning that road trip… responsibly!

Not abiding by Connecticut seat belt laws is just one way you could end up in financial hot water. You also need to have adequate insurance coverage. If you’re in the market for a new insurance policy, we are happy to help you get started!

Get your FREE Rate Quote for automobile insurance HERE!

Avoid Common, Yet Costly Homeowner’s Insurance Claims

So you say you’ve never had to file any homeowner’s insurance claims. (knock on wood!) If you fall into this category, then you’re one of the fortunate ones. However, as long as you’re aware that disasters can occur at any moment, you’re more prone to take precautions to lessen the blow whenever the need to file a claim may pop up. Even the most common damages or injuries that occur inside or around the home can be minimalized with a few simple preventative measures. Check out some of the ways you can decrease the likelihood of having to file a claim on your home.

Prevent Damage, Injury, and Costly Homeowner’s Insurance Claims Against…

Weather:

With a lack of caution, unpredictable weather such as wind, rain, hail, snow and other storms can force the need to file homeowner’s insurance claims.

– Purchase and install storm doors and windows. Always keep them securely locked during any type of storm.

– Prepare proper storage for outdoor furniture, lawn ornaments, potted plants, or any light-weight yard items. Things such as deck tables or potted plants        can not only get damaged themselves but can become dangerous when thrown around by extremely high winds.

– Lightning can also pose a threat. Install lightning rods to avoid as many lightning strikes as possible. Use surge protectors and unplug unnecessary              electronics during a storm.

– During the winter, accumulated snow can wreak havoc on homes, especially those with flat roofs. Clear off your roof any time there is snowfall. Just a          foot of snow can weaken a flat roof to the point of collapse.

– Hire a licensed professional to trim any tree branches that hang over your home. Branches can become weakened and snap from intense winds or added      weight from snowfall.

Water:

Water damage is not typically covered by standard homeowner’s insurance; therefore, you often need a separate policy.

– Rain gutters should be relatively new and installed securely. Aim gutter reservoirs as far away from your home’s foundation as possible. Clear all gutters      of leaves, mud and other debris at least twice a year to allow water to flow easily.

– Regularly inspect outdoor water hoses, spouts and other things that discharge water. Pay attention to details while looking for wet spots or leaks.

– Have your roof inspected annually, as the smallest leak can quickly escalate into a much larger problem.

– Seek professional assistance at the first sight of leaks coming from your sinks, toilets, showers, or other indoor piping. Especially in regards to plumbing,      repairs will only increase in cost and aggravation the longer you put them off.

Fire:

Fire damage to your home can be devastating, but it is also one of the most preventable disasters.

– Unplug electronics when they are not in use.

– Damaged electrical cords should be replaced immediately.

– Keep furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces, and other heat sources properly maintained and far away from flammable objects and furniture. Never leave            heating sources or flames, such as candles, unattended.

– For smokers, try to smoke outside whenever possible. In case you do smoke indoors, thoroughly extinguish your cigarette/cigar

Homeowner's Insurance Claims - Norwich, Connecticut

and its ashes with water. Never smoke when you are sleepy.

– Set a timer with an alarm whenever using an oven, stovetop or grill to remind you that it is on. Never wear loose-fit clothing    when cooking.

– Keep all lighters and flame sources stored away and out of reach of children.

– Connecticut state law requires smoke detectors to be installed on each floor of your home. As an extra precaution, install           these detectors in each bedroom as well. Test them every month to make sure they are working properly.

– Store fire extinguishers at each end of the house. Check their gauges monthly and replace them right away if they are                 inoperable. (see image on right)

Accidents:

If someone is injured on your property, you may be liable depending on the circumstances.

– Clear all ice/snow from walkways and doorsteps during the winter.

– Rearrange electrical chords, furniture or other objects that can be a tripping hazard.

– Replace any loose or broken floorboards, stairs, handrails or driveway divots that can cause injury.

– Swimming pools should be completely fenced in with a locking gate.

– Properly secure any hanging decorations or furniture that can potentially fall and injure someone.

– Dog owners can be liable if their pet bites someone on your property. The best solution for this is to properly train your dog to not be aggressive, but if        that is not in the cards, keep your dog fenced in your yard and display a “Beware of Dog” sign on the fence.

Prevention is key! It doesn’t require a lot of effort to safeguard your home and side-step the most common homeowner’s insurance claims. In some instances, your home may require additional coverage in the form of a Personal Umbrella. If you believe this might be the case for you, please contact us today for a quote!

Get your FREE Personal Umbrella or Homeowner’s Insurance quote by clicking here!

Firearm Safety in the Household

A firearm of any kind is a very serious piece of equipment. For gun owners, firearm safety should be a common sense ideology. However, the majority of gun accidents in the household occur from lack of education or not taking the proper precautions. Whether you’re already a gun owner or looking to become one, you always want to avoid a potentially deadly scenario in your home by using extreme caution and abiding by basic firearm safety protocol. This could mean the difference between protecting your family from home invaders and accidentally harming someone that you love or an innocent bystander.

Firearm Safety Tip Checklist

Licensing:

It doesn’t matter whether you purchase from a gun show, pawn shop, or online, you MUST register your firearm and obtain the necessary licensing. This is a legal requirement not only in case your gun goes missing, but to ensure accountability in the event your gun is used in a criminal act. Connecticut locals are strongly encouraged to research the state’s required licenses before purchasing their first gun.

Safety Courses:

Inquire at your local gun ranges, as most of them provide the customary training and safety courses for appropriately operating a firearm. As important as it is to earn the proper certifications, it’s even more crucial to pay attention and truly learn what is needed to keep you and your family safe with a gun in your home.

Storage:

Preferably in a locked vessel such as a safe, hide your firearm securely and out of reach of children or those who it is not registered to. Always keep your gun unloaded with the safety trigger on. Additionally, ammunition should be hidden separately away from the gun. These practices will help avoid an accidental discharge and will make it more difficult for intruders to get their hands on a loaded weapon.

Handling the Firearm:

Safely handling a firearm will be discussed in-depth in your training courses, but we still want to stress the topic. Guns should always be in “safety” mode whenever they are in your possession. Furthermore, your shooting index finger should never hover around the trigger until the moment you intend to shoot it. Always keep the barrel of the gun pointed down towards the ground until you’re ready to fire. *Rule of thumb – NEVER point your weapon at anything you do not intend to destroy just in case of an accidental discharge.

Cleaning the Firearm:

This is significant for a few reasons. A poorly maintained and dirty firearm will not always fire correctly. Because of this, many misfires and backfires can occur, causing damage to the weapon and possible injury to anyone around. Any firearm should be thoroughly cleaned inside and out before each use. And just like how it is suggested to be stored, your gun should always be unloaded with the safety on whenever you are cleaning it. Even if you remove the magazine, a single bullet may be loaded into the chamber of the gun; so double, triple and quadruple check to ensure it is completely unloaded.

When to Take It Out:

Most people purchase a gun to protect their families and homes from criminals in or around their property. The hope is that the weapon will never need to be used for this reason, but an immediate threat is one of only a few instances in which it should be taken out. The other reasons would be to clean it or to go shooting at a gun range. Whenever transporting a firearm to a gun range, it should be secured in a locked vessel and stored in the trunk of your car.

Who Should Have Access to it?

Only those with the required licenses and training should ever access your personal firearm. Never lend it out to anyone unless it is within the confines of a range. No weapon should ever be put into the hands of a child. Children are more likely to be killed or injured by a firearm accidentally than from a criminal act. It may be tempting to some to show off their newly-purchased handgun, but it should only be handled by its owner.

Firearm safety is the number one responsibility any gun owner to avoid harm to themselves, their families and their property. Yes, gun incidents can also lead to damage to your home, which in turn, leads to unnecessary insurance claims. Accidents in the home can arise out of nowhere, so you don’t want to just protect yourself physically but also financially with sufficient homeowner’s insurance. In the market for new coverage? We’re always happy to help!

Stay Cautious With These Firework Safety Tips

Between Memorial Day, Father’s Day and the 4th of July, there is a lot to celebrate in the summer months. Many of these occasions call for certain traditions, such as grilling outside with family and friends and even setting off fireworks. While fireworks are illegal in Connecticut for personal use (except for sparklers and fountains), they are still legal in other states for small-party celebrations. We would never encourage the illegal use of these explosive displays in our state, but in the event that you find yourself visiting an area where it’s permitted, we’d like to provide a number of firework safety tips to prevent disaster throughout the summer festivities.

Firework Safety Isn’t Only a Precautionary Measure, it’s a Responsibility!

They are exploding devices, period:

And as such, they are very dangerous and can cause serious injury. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to find a public display. Many towns host their own state-approved shows, spending thousands of dollars on top-of-the-line fireworks that you can’t buy at the fireworks stands. So gather the family and enjoy the sizzling, awe-inspiring displays together.

Fireworks damage property and onlookers:

Every year, fire marshalls around the United States report house and grass fires caused by fireworks. You could be liable and even charged with a felony if a fire, property damage or personal injury results from a firework (legal or illegal).

Pets aren’t too keen on fireworks displays:

It’s recommended not to bring your pet to a fireworks display or to shoot fireworks near your pets. Dogs especially have ultra-sensitive hearing and loud bursts can cause heightened anxiety for them. At home, before it gets dark, put your pet in an interior room with no windows so they can’t see (and hopefully hear less) of the fireworks. Many pets become afraid of the explosions and escape from their yards on holidays that involve fireworks, so check to make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag. In addition, it is common courtesy to warn any neighbors with pets that you will be setting off fireworks in the area. This will allow them to take the proper precautions for their pets ahead of time.

Pay attention to fire bans in your area:

Local television weather stations usually start reporting fire bans a few days before the holiday, and you can always call your local fire station. Always abide by posted warnings and bans in your local area.

Read all warning labels:

If you insist on creating your own fireworks displays, read the labels and the caution warnings to know how the fireworks will perform prior to lighting them. A responsible adult should ALWAYS supervise any fireworks. Everyone nearby should wear safety glasses. Needless to say, fireworks and alcohol don’t mix. So do your fireworks show first, then have a celebratory beer afterward.

Never give fireworks to children:

Enough said!

Don’t get crazy:

Remember the rule of thumb – lighting only one firework at a time, and never try to relight a “dud” firework that didn’t ignite the first time. Have a large bucket of water to douse any fires just in case. Once you have lit a single firework, back away from it quickly but carefully, as not to trip and fall in the process. And yes, we have to say it… fireworks should only be used OUTdoors and at least 50 yards away from any cars and homes.

Don’t get creative, either:

NEVER make your own fireworks. Those without the proper expertise in explosive chemicals and devices can put themselves in extreme danger. Many fingers have gotten blown off and serious injuries have occurred as a result of do-it-yourself fireworks. And don’t shoot fireworks into containers or at each other. Firework safety is about abiding by the posted instructions and not tempting fate.

We hope you take all of the above firework safety information into strong consideration to ensure happiness and safety for all of your loved ones during the summer holidays. To all Americans, we want your Independence Day to be without incident and filled with joy!

In addition to providing quality and cost-effective insurance rates for Norwich and surrounding residents, we also want our customers to stay informed on the latest news, safety, and helpful everyday tips. One of the ways we do this is through social media, so be sure to check out the Waitte’s Insurance Agency Facebook Page!

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