Happy New Year 2022

Waitte's Insurance wishes you a Happy New Year!

Many of us have been making annual New Year’s resolutions for years, though we might not realize just how old this tradition is. The oldest record of New Year’s resolutions takes us back approximately 4000 years to celebrations of the ancient Baylonians whose new year coincided with the planting of their crops in mid-March (History.com). Their twelve-day religious festival, Akitu, included resolutions to pay any debts and return any borrowed objects, as well as reaffirming their loyalty to the current king or crowning a new one (History.com). The Babylonians believed if they kept their resolutions, “their gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year” (History.com).

Typical modern-day New Year’s resolutions involve weight loss, healthy eating, increasing exercise, or spending less money. Unfortunately, according to the New York Post, only about eight percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually follow through with their goals.

Why is the failure rate so high when the tradition for resolutions is so common? New York Times writer Jen Miller suggests that we may be making these resolutions for the wrong reasons, including the following three:

  • The resolution is too vague
  • There is no realistic plan for achieving the resolution
  • The resolution is based on what someone else (or society) thinks we should do (NYTimes.com)

Citing the journal Management Review, Miller suggests that what works for management can also be applied to New Year’s resolutions. The theory is that we will be more successful when we make “SMART'' resolutions--those that are specific (lose a certain number of pounds within a set time period, for example), measurable (track your progress in a journal), achievable (break your goals into realistic steps), relevant (be sure the goal is a positive step for you), and time-bound (give yourself time to reach your big goal with intermediate time-based steps along the way) (NYTimes.com).

As we look toward a new year with hopes of positive change, consider ditching the tired, typical old resolutions for something more inspiring, sustainable, and meaningful for your life: cook something new each week, read more books, join a new club, become a plant owner (check out the related article below), take the stairs (even when you’re tired), plan a vacation, drink more water, jumpstart a new career, consider therapy, volunteer, learn a new skill (or hone an old one) (GoodHousekeeping.com).

Whatever your goals, we hope 2022 is a great year for you!

GoodHousekeeping.com
GoodHousekeeping.com "30 Gorgeous Plants That Are Almost Impossible to Kill"
History.com
NYPost.com
NYTimes.com

How other nations celebrate Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Waitte's Insurance!

As we dive into the turkey and pie on Thanksgiving, we might enjoy learning about how others give thanks too.

Canadian Thanksgiving was first celebrated in 1578 when English navigator Martin Frobisher and his crew celebrated their safe Arctic journey in what is now Nanavut (History.com). Soon after, French settlers came to the area and “held feasts with their indigenous neighbors” (Readersdigest.ca). United States traditions were spread by those who moved into Canada from the southern border, and today, Canadian Thanksgiving looks much like our own. Though the celebration is held on the second Monday in October, most feasts will include the turkey we are familiar with, and following the meal, citizens will watch the Canadian Football League’s annual Thanksgiving Day Classic and enjoy spending time with their families (History.com). Other than the earlier date, the most remarkable difference between American and Canadian Thanksgiving may lie not in the meal but the additional activities. A Thanksgiving Day hike is a popular tradition as a means to enjoy the outdoors before cold weather sets in. 

German Thanksgiving, known as Erntedank or Erntedankfest, is an autumn harvest festival that takes place in September or October depending on the region (German-way.com). In rural areas, festivities typically include church services, parades, and music. The church altar is decorated with huge crowns of wheat to represent the continuing seasons (Germangirlinamerica). Celebration in urban Germany begins with a church service including huge straw baskets on the altar filled with grain, fruits, and vegetables which are blessed and later given to the poor (Brightbhubeducation.com). Later in the day, the crowning of the harvest queen is followed by music, dancing, food, and in some cities a lantern and torch parade as well as fireworks shows (German-way.com). 

Citizens of Vietnam also enjoy a harvest celebration; theirs is known as Tet-Trung-Thu. Held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar cycle, always during the full moon, this holiday falls somewhere between the end of September and early October (Readersdigest.com). This year celebrated on September 21, the festival marks the “ascendancy of the moon over the sun in winter, the bounty of life, and prayers for the return of the sun’s warmth and light” (“Children and Youth in History”). During the celebration, children wear tiger masks and bang on drums to frighten away Ra Hu, the mythological creature thought to have eaten pieces of the moon, in the hope that he won’t eat the entire moon. Legend suggests that the festival was created by parents who worried that their children felt neglected by the amount of time parents spent working in the fields. “The festival was a way to show children they were loved and appreciated, complete with a candlelit procession at dawn in their honor” (Readersdigest.com).

However you celebrate, we wish you a happy, healthy, and bountiful Thanksgiving!

Almanac.com
Brighthubeducation.com
Children and Youth in History
German-way.com

Cool Weather Critter Conflicts

Cool Weather Critter Conflicts – image of a deer in a front yard

Cool Weather Critter Conflicts

As cooler weather prompts us, humans, to spend more time indoors, animals are also likely to be looking for protection from the elements. Unfortunately, conflicts with animals can be costly for homeowners. 

Large animals have been known to cause structural damage. Deer may shatter glass doors; bears will enter a home through a large window or screen door (DNR). Small animals can also cause big problems. Raccoons may enter an open garage door or a pet door and wreak havoc in your garage or home. 

Whether or not the damage is covered by your homeowner's insurance may depend on the type of animal causing the problems. Damage caused by raccoons, bats, opossums, and groundhogs is typically covered, while damage from squirrels, rats, and mice is not, as these are classified as rodents (Critter Control).

Damage caused by an animal not classified as a rodent may, thankfully, extend beyond the walls of your home. Your garage, deck, or porch will also likely be covered, and if a structure on your property is damaged that is not connected to your house, you may still be covered under “structures coverage” (Critter Control). Such structures may include a detached garage, shed, or fence (Critter Control). 

The best news is that if you have not yet experienced animal damage, there are steps you can take to prevent it from becoming your problem.  

  • Inspect your roof, porch, and basement regularly to look for openings. Cover and/or seal even tiny spaces or cracks (NPIC); any openings larger than one-fourth to one-half inch should be caulked.
  • “Use window screens, chimney caps, and draft guards beneath doors to attics, and flll electrical and plumbing holes with stainless steel wool or caulking” (these CDC recommendations are especially helpful for avoiding bats).
  • Keep tight-fitting lids on any garbage containers. Consider metal containers rather than plastic. 
  • Empty any food bowls you use to feed pets outside as soon as they are done eating and store pet food inside or in heavy containers (NPIC).
  • If bears live in your area, be aware that a bear’s sense of smell is seven times greater than that of a bloodhound and 2,100 times that of a human (NIEH). This may prompt you to put away food from an outdoor meal sooner than you otherwise would. You would also be wise to keep food stored and sealed away rather than left out on counters or tables near an open window or screen door.

If you are not sure what your homeowner’s policy or renter’s policy covers, or if you are interested in an update, give us a call at Waitte’s Insurance Agency. We would be happy to discuss policy options to fit your unique needs.

Center for Disease Control
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Critter Control
Department of Natural Resources
National Institute of Environmental Health
National Pesticide Information Center

It’s All About Location, Location, and Relocation

It’s All About Location, Location, and Relocation

The recent housing market boom, along with the switch to working remotely for much of the population, has led many of us to relocate. And while it’s a thrill to make a fresh start, there are also many things we have to be sure to take care of, especially when we cross state lines.

It’s important to cancel utilities for your old home and create accounts for your new one. These things are best done before the move, especially if you are heading to a new state, including electricity, gas, water, sewer, internet, cable TV, and garbage pickup (istorage.com). 

When going on vacation, most of us put our mail on hold. When moving, it is helpful to forward mail to your new location, and filling out the form entails a similar process to vacation holds. For more information about forwarding your mail, click on this link to U.S. Postal Service.

You also need to remember the activities you currently pay to participate in. Cancel (or transfer) your gym membership and any club memberships you may have. Be sure to look into this well before your move if possible, as some facilities may require you to pay to the end of the month or other cycle if you don’t give them enough advance notice. You should also check out opportunities for these activities in your new location to help you settle in and form new social networks (Moving.com).

If you have school-age children, you need to notify their current school and transfer their records to the new school. The kids’ new school may also ask for medical records, including immunizations. If you are planning ahead, consider asking what clubs or activities the new school offers to assist your children in forming new friendships and help them adjust (Moving.com). 

If you are moving to a new state, you will need to go to that state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for a new driver’s license. Check on requirements ahead of time, as your new state may require you to get your license within a set time frame after you move. You will also need to know what documents the new state expects you to provide, which may include your license from the state you are moving from, your social security card, proof of residency in your new state, and more (Moving.com).

In addition to the time limit for updating your driver’s license, you also may have a time limit to register your pet with your city or county. Ask around about local veterinarians so you know where you can go when your pet needs a checkup or if it gets sick or injured.

The health of your family members will certainly be as important as that of your pets, so you will want to plan on what health care facility and possibly specific doctors you will visit when you are in need. It may be worth asking your old doctor as well as new neighbors, new friends, and/or co-workers for suggestions. You could also check online resources such as the American Medical Association in your quest for health care providers (Moving reviews).

You will need to register your vehicle(s) and update your car insurance, including any recreational vehicles you own. Even if you stick with the same company, you may need to switch to a local agent. A new homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance policy will be in your near future as well. 

While you are updating your utilities, license, and insurance, you will benefit from updating your voter registration so you can participate in upcoming elections. Many states offer several ways to register, including in-person, mail-in, and online registration (Moving.com).

Once you arrive in your new home, it is a good idea to change the locks on your outside doors so nobody else can access your home, and check to be sure “doors and windows closed securely and cannot be opened from the outside” (Mymovingreviews).  

The staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you the best of luck with your moving adventure. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

Istorage.com
Moving.com
Mymovingreviews
U.S. Postal Service

Who needs renter’s insurance? You do!

Who needs renter’s insurance? You do!

What does renter’s insurance cover? While a landlord’s policy insures the building and covers any structural damage, their policy does not do much for tenants. Typically, renter’s insurance protects what is inside your home against fire, storm, or theft (Business Insider). While renter’s insurance is not required by law, it does provide peace of mind knowing that your belongings are covered, and it is often less inexpensive than people expect (Business Insider). 

Coverage of personal property is what most people think of when considering renter’s insurance. When purchasing renter’s insurance, you decide whether to select actual cash value or replacement cash value. Replacement cash value is more expensive than true cash value (because the value of your possessions depreciates over time) (MarketWatch).

Another advantage of renter’s insurance is liability coverage. If you are sued for accidental injury or property damage, liability coverage can pay medical damage and legal expenses (NerdWallet).

Suppose your rental unit is damaged to the extent that you have to relocate temporarily. In that case, your renter’s insurance will cover a portion of your hotel room and meals (Business Insider) which could otherwise be a catastrophic expense.

Many policies even provide coverage away from home if your items are stolen (NerdWallet).

Not only is renter’s insurance inexpensive for basic policies, but you may also find that if you bundle your renter’s insurance with your auto insurance, your rate increase may be negligible depending on your level of coverage. While specialty items such as expensive jewelry, cameras, artwork, bicycles, or musical instruments may require additional coverage (known as riders), you may be pleasantly surprised by how affordable it is to protect your belongings (Business Insider). 

Even if you think you don’t have much, take an inventory of each room in your home and ask yourself, What if I had to replace everything? You may realize that the value of your possessions is greater than you thought, and protecting yourself against the potential loss of it all is to your advantage. 

You may also want to consider renter’s insurance for your college student. With the cost of tuition these days, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your son or daughter has protection for their material possessions, as well as liability coverage, may make renter’s insurance a worthy investment.

Interested in finding out more about renter’s insurance? Give us a call at Waitte’s Insurance Agency to learn more about your options. 

Business Insider

MarketWatch

NerdWallet

Interesting Area Festivals

Interesting Area Festivals

While some annual events are canceled this year and others may be modified, there are still many opportunities to get outside, visit local communities, and experience something fun and different. Below are just a few samples of New England opportunities for an adventure this fall.

On October 2-3 and 9-10, Bedford, Pennsylvania’s Bedford Fall Foliage Festival will feature arts and crafts from over 400 vendors, live music, and kids’ activities, including scarecrow making and horseback riding (Bedfordfallfoliagefestival.com). 

Ocean City, Maryland, will hold its annual Oktoberfest on October 23 and 24 this year with a beach maze, pet parade, “trunk or treat” driving parade, Halloween drive-in movies, and the “Great Pumpkin Race” (OCOceancity.com).

The Sea Witch Festival, held annually for 31 years in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, includes hayrides, vendors, scavenger hunts, a bandstand, a 5K race/walk, and more. The celebration begins on Friday, October 29, and ends on Sunday, the 31st (VisitDelaware.com).

The kickoff for Harvest on the Harbor in Portland, Maine, will be at 5:30 on Friday, November 5. The celebration known as Meet Your Maker will feature members of the Maine Distillers Guild. Participants will sample a wide variety of spirits and foods and have opportunities to meet the distillers. The events on Saturday, November 6, feature two OysterFest sessions allowing participants to sample “the choicest oysters from up and down the coast of Maine,” as well as local beers and sparkling wine (HarvestontheHarbor.com). The link below can connect you with tickets for both events. 

This October, Providence, Rhode Island, will celebrate its 7th annual Ocean State Oyster Festival with live music, craft beers, and opportunities for visitors to learn about local oyster farming (Oysterfestri.com). 

While the fall festivals of New England offer excellent opportunities to build fun new memories, if your time is short, you can do something as simple as taking a walk in the country. The temperate weather and the sights of the changing leaves are sure to help you escape and rejuvenate. 

There’s nothing like the charm and beauty of New England in the fall. Get ready for your next road trip adventure and give Waitte’s Insurance Agency a call to be sure all of your home, auto, and other insurance needs are covered. 

Bedfordfallfoliagefestival.com
CountryLiving.com
HarvestontheHarbor.com
OCOceancity.com
Oysterfestri.com
VisitDelaware.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

Mosquitoes: Not Just Biting Pests

Mosquitoes: Not Just Biting Pests

Usually, we think of mosquitoes as pesky nuisances, but the truth is that they can be both downright dangerous and helpful at the same time. Some of the most common illnesses caused by mosquitoes include dengue fever, malaria, West Nile virus, and Zika virus. 

Dengue is carried by mosquitoes in tropical and subtropical areas of the world and causes fever and flu-like symptoms. The most severe form of dengue fever causes excessive bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and death (“Dengue Fever” Mayo Clinic). 

Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite transferred to humans by infected mosquitoes that have deadly consequences. “In 2019, an estimated 229 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 409,000 people died” (“Malaria” CDC). Luckily for residents of the United States, a project begun In 1942 by the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas (predecessor of the CDC) was established to address the problem of malaria and other similar diseases. These efforts were so successful that in 1951, malaria was basically eliminated as a disease transmitted here in the United States, though about 2000 people are diagnosed with it each year who have recently traveled to areas where malaria is common (“Elimination of Malaria in the United States” CDC). 

Currently, West Nile virus (WNV) is the most prominent mosquito-borne disease in the continental U. S. There are currently no vaccines to prevent WNV. Most people who are infected do not show symptoms or feel sick, though about 20% of those infected develop a fever and other symptoms. Approximately 1 of every 150 people infected with WNV develop a serious illness which in some cases leads to death (“West Nile Virus” cdc.gov).

Worldwide, the virus most frequently spread to humans through mosquito bites is Zika. Most commonly found in tropical and subtropical areas, humans infected with Zika show no signs or symptoms. Those who do show symptoms typically experience mild fever, muscle pain, and/or rash, though in some cases victims experience brain or nervous system complications (“Zika Virus” Mayo Clinic). Another concern related to Zika virus involves women infected during pregnancy. Contraction of the Zika virus increases the likelihood of miscarriage for the mother as well as serious birth defects in infants including microcephaly (“Zika Virus” Mayo Clinic). 

So is there anything redeemable about this annoying, disease-carrying menace? As a matter of fact, yes! Mosquitoes are important pollinators, and in the case of a few rare plants, no other insect will suffice. And not all mosquitoes bite and not all of the time. “It’s only when a female mosquito lays eggs does she seek a blood meal for the protein. Males feed only on flower nectar and never bite” (National Wildlife Federation). 

Mosquitoes also serve as a food source for many animals including birds, dragonflies, turtles, bats, and more (National Wildlife Federation). 

So how do we let these annoying insects do their job without becoming their feast? For starters, we can decrease the population around our homes by eliminating standing water where they like to lay eggs (State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program). We can also try to schedule our outdoor time when mosquitoes are less active. While there are a few species of mosquito that stay out all day, most are at their greatest activity around dawn and dusk (State of Connecticut). 

The most common mosquito deterrent people look to solve the pesky problem is a repellant. Those with ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus have been shown to be effective (State of Connecticut). Permethrin, a medication used to treat scabies and lice, is known to repel and kill mosquitoes and as an added bonus will also protect you from ticks (State of Connecticut). It is important if you use permethrin to be sure to apply it only to clothing. If it comes in contact with your skin, it is likely to cause burning and itching. It should also be kept away from pets (State of Connecticut).

At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we want you to have a fun, healthy, happy summer. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

"Dengue Fever" Mayo Clinic
"Elimination of Malaria in the United States" CDC
"Malaria" CDC
"Mosquito Control" Environmental Protection Agency
National Wildlife Federation
State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program
"West Nile Virus" cdc.gov
"Zika Virus" Mayo Clinic