Safe Driving Practices For Winter Weather Conditions

The winter season is certainly a time of great merriment and celebration. The holidays offer Americans the opportunity to travel around the corner or across the country to be with friends and relatives. However, it is also a time to be even more cautious, primarily when you’re traveling in the icy winter weather conditions.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, between the years of 2002 and 2012, there were 211,188 vehicle crashes attributable to snow and sleet. Furthermore, during that same period, 154,580 crashes occurred due to ice on the pavement. Safe driving practices are your insurance for traveling during this joyful yet dangerous time of the year. Read below to find some quick best practices for driving in winter.

-Always watch the weather forecast to learn of the conditions or road closures in your area and where you are traveling. Make preparations to travel before the weather turns ugly and always inform others of your route, destination, and expected time of arrival.
-Keep your fuel tank half full in order to avoid a gas line freeze.
-Never drive while sleepy. Stay alert to both the weather conditions and the actions of the drivers on the road with you.
-Always steer into a skid.
-Keep your windshield clean to increase visibilty.
-Always wear a seat belt.
-Be sure your automobile is appropriate for the weather conditions in which you will be driving. Properly maintenance your vehicle for optimum performance.
-Get a winter survival kit for your vehicle which may include a flashlight and spare batteries, canned food, snack bars, medications, water, a cellphone charger, and a red bandana or cloth.

If you can avoid driving, stay home until the worst of a winter storm has passed. Be sure you are prepared for incidents that may occur to your vehicle without driving. Don’t let winter weather conditions get the best of you. Practice these safe driving tips in the snow and ice.

An icy branch fall on your car? Does your autombile insurance cover this? Contact your insurer to confirm that you are prepared for the tough winter season.

Seasonal Depression: Monster or Myth?

With summer in the rear-view mirror, the calendar begins to turn towards the autumn and winter months. Especially in New England, the temperatures will gradually decrease, the days will become shorter, and the warm sunshine will start to feel like an old friend that you just don’t get to see anymore. This combination of lack of sunlight and colder weather can cause many to feel a little down in the dumps. It’s not unusual this time of year to feel the winter blues, but is that all it is? Could there be an underlying cause? In the past couple of decades, a lot of attention has been given to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or how many refer to it as seasonal depression; but what is it exactly?

SAD Explained:

Seasonal Affective Disorder is the name given to a mood disorder that seems to affect people, who are otherwise fine the rest of the year, with symptoms of depression during the same time each year, typically in the winter months.  It is thought that the colder temperatures, which forces people to stay indoors longer, coupled with the lack of sunlight in the winter months, causes people to feel depression.  Symptoms include lack of energy, decreased motivation, withdrawal from friends and family, overeating (which can lead to weight gain), and difficulty concentrating.  It is estimated that this disorder affects up to 6% of the American population, mainly concentrated in northern climates where winter is most pronounced.

Fact or Faked?

However, even though SAD is now an official clinical diagnosis, the question remains “Is SAD a legitimate disorder?”  A number of recent studies seem to suggest otherwise.  One major study published in January of 2016 examined a major cross-section of the American public (over 34,000 participants) and concluded that there was no conclusive evidence to suggest that SAD is real, or that factors such as amount sunlight or temperature have any long-term effect on a person’s mental health. The results of the study suggest that SAD is an idea that might be  more rooted in folk psychology and old wives’ tales than actual science. In another clinical study in Norway — a location known for its long and severe winters — also examined a large subset of the population and concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that these symptoms were more prevalent in the winter.

The debate about Seasonal Affective Disorder will likely go on for years to come.  Even though many individuals continue to report having symptoms, evidence is mounting that SAD, in fact, might not be scientifically validated as the actual “disorder” as it was once suggested. As a result, many medical professionals are starting to question the prevailing school of thought.

Regardless, when there’s a chill in the air and the nighttime falls earlier, try not to let it get you down! Grab a nice book and bundle up by a warm, crackling fire or go outside and build a snowman with your family.  Continue to find ways to enjoy the unique activities that fall and winter can offer you in New England!

One particular activity that Connecticut and its surrounding states specialize in during the winter months is snowmobiling. Do you or someone in your family own a snowmobile and need to get it insured? No problem! Contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency to get coverage on all of your winter and recreational vehicles.

7 Steps to Keep a Safe Workplace and Avoid Injuries

As a business owner, you have a legal and moral responsibility to provide as much of a hazard-free and safe workplace for your employees as possible. Many businesses, however, do not do everything in their power to keep their workplaces safe. Managers sometimes neglect to enforce various safety regulations or cut a few corners to save time and/or money. Even if precautions are put in place, many places of work don’t properly train their employees in how to avoid danger or they don’t provide the necessary follow-up to ensure their employees remain alert, vigilant, and aware.  Because of this, employees in these businesses are more at risk for various dangers and are unsure of what to do in such an emergency.

It must be a primary concern, as an employer,  to do everything possible to put safety measures in place and train your employees accordingly and regularly.  If you are unsure of how to proceed, use the following guide to help you in making your workplace a more safe and secure area for your employees.

1. Establish a Safety-Conscious Attitude

The most important thing you can do to ensure the safety of your employees is to initiate a climate of safety in your workplace.  If you and your employees are committed to safety it will have a tremendous effect on the environment.  This means putting as much thought and effort into your safety as you would any other aspect of your business.  By changing the climate of your business, you can have a real effect on workplace safety throughout your entire staff.

2.  Identify Your Workplace Hazards

The next step is to identify what areas of your business environment and operations are potentially the most hazardous.  Review past injury records, survey employees, and consult with a safety expert who is trained to find problem areas that the rest of us might otherwise overlook.  Also, make sure you are well-versed in the various OSHA regulations that pertain to your situation.

3. Create a Plan for Each Potential Hazard

Now that you have identified equipment, processes, or locations where accidents are more likely to occur, it is time to create a plan of action. Take the following questions into consideration when writing out your safety plan:

  • – What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) do employees need to perform their duties safely?
  • – What actions (or non-actions) can put employees at risk in each situation?
  • – What do they need to know?
  • – What should they avoid?
  • – What steps should they take if they are involved in an accident?

4.  Involve Your Employees in the Planning of a Safe Workplace

As previously mentioned regarding surveying employees, as you start to create your plans, make sure to get employee input.  Since they are the ones most in harm’s way, they definitely have a stake in the safety of the workplace.  In addition, they might also be aware of potential hazards, or ways to avoid those hazards, that you would not know since they are around those dangerous areas each and every day.

5.  Provide Adequate Employee Training

Once your plans are in place, train your employees.  This means educating each employee about all of the dangers they might come into contact with each day, as well as what they should do in the event of an accident. This also means reinforcing this training with regular drills to deal with certain situations, such as environmental concerns or employee injury. Many workplaces even require staff members to become certified in first aid and CPR. If your business falls into this category, ensure that all employees are up-to-date with all necessary certifications. The more they know and are capable of responding to, the safer everyone will be.

6.  Make Sure New Hires Are IMMEDIATELY Trained for Their Jobs

One of the biggest concerns for workplace safety is with new and inexperienced hires.  It is at this time that someone is most vulnerable to accidents.  Make sure new employees are exceptionally trained in all workplace safety protocols BEFORE they begin their regular work duties.

7.  Always Look for Ways to Improve the System

Finally, always be on the lookout for ways to improve your safety.  Just because something is working does not mean it can’t be improved and made even safer.  As you and your employees learn more, offer incentives to encourage them to find new ways to keep your business hazard-free.  A little investment now can have huge dividends in the future!

Keeping a safe workplace is no joke.  As a business owner, you need to do everything in your power to keep your employees safe not only from an ethical standpoint but to also avoid a Workers Compensation claim.  By following these simple guidelines, you will have gone a long way to keeping everyone free from danger and your business free from liability suits.

Regardless if you take all of the necessary precautionary measures, accidents are always a possibility in the workplace. If you are a business owner, contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency by  calling (860) 886-1961 to review your current Worker’s Compensation policy. Make sure you are sufficiently covered in the event of a worst case scenario.

Fighting Connecticut Traffic Violations: Is it Worth it?

If you have ever received a traffic ticket, your first instinct may have been to fight it – after all, many people believe that the citation was unjust and that they did not deserve the harsh penalty that they received. However, roughly only 3 percent of drivers who receive traffic citations actually contest them in court, and choosing to do so relies purely on the circumstances surrounding the ticket. You’ll want to ask yourself the following questions before you consider fighting Connecticut traffic violations

1. Is the cost of the ticket worth the expenses it would take to fight it?

Going to court requires taking time off of work, finding reliable transportation, and possibly hiring legal counsel to help you with your court battle. All of these costs combined may be greater than the loss you would incur by just paying the ticket.

2.  Do I have the time to go through the process of fighting it?

Court cases for driving infractions typically don’t drag on for weeks or months like other cases can, but you still must be prepared to take at least one entire day off from work just in case. Taking time away from your work and personal schedules to fight a simple speeding ticket could serve as an inconvenience, especially if you have an unforgiving employer or a position that really requires you to be there on the court date.

3. Will the ticket influence my insurance rates?

If your premium increases because of the ticket you received, you may actually be saving money by fighting it in court – even with the expenses mentioned above. Check with your insurance agency to find out how certain citations affect your rates.

4. Could I lose my license if I don’t fight the ticket?

Some motorists run the risk of losing their licenses if they have tallied up multiple traffic violations. If this is the case, it provides a valid reason for you to go to court, as you don’t want to lose your mode of transportation or be forced to attend traffic school over another ticket.

5. Do I have a solid defense to successfully fight the ticket?

Without proper representation, fighting the ticket may simply be a waste of time. Review your options  you may need to hire an attorney who has experience with traffic cases and can help advise you through the process as well as in court.

Defenses for Fighting Connecticut Traffic Violations:

If you are considering going to court, there are several possible defenses (if applicable) that you could use to successfully get a traffic citation overturned. For example, if you can provide proof that the view of the police officer who pulled you over was obstructed, this could warrant dismissal of the violation. If you were cited for speeding and a radar gun was used, check whether it could have been compromised by something in the surrounding area. Alternatively, you could bring up the need to keep up with the flow of traffic (if there was any at the time).

Whenever you receive a traffic ticket, make sure to get testimonials from witnesses and document everything, including the officer’s name, badge number, their temperament, and the weather conditions. Finally, take photos to document the area where you were pulled over.

In the event that you are pulled over, it is important to remember one thing. Whether you believe the traffic ticket you received is justified or not, ALWAYS cooperate with the citing officer, abide by his or her instructions and treat them with the utmost respect. Acting irrationally and unnecessarily escalating the situation could result in additional citations that will only affect you long after the officer has left.

The most common traffic citation issued by police officers on a daily basis is due to speeding. But do you know what types of driving infractions in Connecticut could cost you the most?

Connecticut Driving Seniors: When it’s Time to Consider Giving Up the Keys

From the moment a young driver receives his or her driver’s permit and well into their adult years, the ability to drive becomes a tent-pole for independence and transportation. However, like many other factors that can begin to diminish with age, certain individuals lose the ability to drive for a number of reasons once they reach senior citizen status. It is important for Connecticut driving seniors to stay sharp and identify when they might start having difficulty operating a motor vehicle. While it may not be ideal, certain seniors may need to make the decision to turn over their car keys indefinitely for the safety of themselves and other motorists on the road.

Is Age a Concern?

Road safety for driving senior citizens is crucial for keeping drivers from incident and injury. On average, individuals begin to lose some of their mental clarity and reflexes which enable safe driving around age 65, with a notable increase of fatal accidents happening between ages 70 and 74.

Though age may not indicate everything about your driving ability and individual skills, these numbers are alarming and should be an indicator of when someone should begin running through personal auto safety checklists. Ask yourself or your aging loved ones about recent traffic violations, near misses and other driving difficulties. If you notice an increase in any of these factors, you may need to re-evaluate your ability to drive safely.

What Health Factors May Impact Driving?

Health factors that crop up with age are considered one of the main causes behind a senior citizen’s reduced driving safety. Vision and hearing impairments are leading causes of reduced driver safety. These declines can cause serious challenges for Connecticut driving seniors who must pay attention to many moving components, including on-dash indicators like the speedometer and pedestrian activity on the side of the road.

If you fear that your age or the age of a family member has negatively affected the ability to drive or obey traffic laws, there are ways to combat some of the factors working against you.

How Connecticut Driving Seniors Can Keep Their Keys:

First, consult your doctor for a physical examination and get a visual exam, as well. These appointments are preventative measures to rule out serious health problems that can not only inhibit your driving abilities but may be a sign of illnesses. In some states, regular doctor’s notes regarding your capacity for safe vehicle operation are required in order to renew your driver’s license. This is not, however, a requirement in the state of Connecticut.

You can also employ some healthy living measures, like light physical exercise and good sleep habits to help you be more and alert throughout the day and on the road. Regular exercise with strength training and stretching can improve flexibility and provide the quicker reflexes that are required behind the wheel. Driving during good road conditions and when the sun is shining may also help you to feel more confident behind the wheel.

For Connecticut driving seniors, the life-impacting decision to turn over your car keys is definitely not an easy one, but there is no shame in it! For the overall safety of all parties involved on the roadways, it will provide peace-of-mind to stay realistic about one’s abilities. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a medical professional for you or a loved one if you fear they are no long able to drive on their own.

To all Connecticut driving seniors, or enthusiastic teens ready to hit the road for the first time, ALWAYS make sure that you are properly insured!

Click Here to Receive a FREE Competitive Analysis to Assure You Are Not Paying Too Much!

Connecticut Personal Umbrella Insurance: What You Need to Know

Connecticut personal umbrella insurance is a safeguard that protects you from incurring unexpected expenses as the result of an accident. And while this sounds like the pitch for the auto and homeowners insurance policies that you already have, it’s actually a bit different.

What Does Connecticut Personal Umbrella Insurance Cover?

Consider, for a moment, that you are involved in an auto accident that incurs $500,000 in damages and you’re the responsible party. Your auto insurance policy covers you up to $250,000, but after that, you’re on your own to come up with the remainder. Now you’re out a quarter of a million dollars and your personal assets are at risk.

A personal umbrella insurance policy fills in the gap to protect you and the assets that you’ve worked so hard to secure. It kicks in to cover the expenses that extend above and beyond those which your existing auto or homeowners insurance policies cover.

Who needs Personal Umbrella Insurance?

Personal umbrella insurance is valuable for many insurance customers, particularly those with the following circumstances:

A job that requires extensive driving, increasing their risk of an automobile accident.

– Dangerous items in the home, including a swimming pool, trampoline or firearm.

– Pets, particularly dogs that may be categorized as aggressive.

In addition to these factors, you should also consider your own personal net worth, how much liability coverage your existing policies insure and the likelihood that you may be sued. Understanding whether your assets – and what assets – may be on the line somewhere down the road can help you to decide whether personal umbrella insurance is a good buy. Both individuals and families can benefit from personal umbrella insurance.

Personal Umbrella Insurance Just Makes Sense:

You may be wondering whether a personal umbrella policy is worthwhile when you could just as easily increase the coverage offered by your existing insurance policies. While that is a valid option, it’s not one that will save you money or frustration.

What makes a personal umbrella policy unique is that it covers the gaps, wherever they may come up. You can’t plan for an accident, and your umbrella insurance is there to cover those areas. All you have to do is pay into one plan that offers you upward of $1 million, rather than increasing the coverage of the policies you think might be impacted at some point down the line.

Do You Need Connecticut Personal Umbrella Insurance?

Residents of the state of Connecticut, in particular, can benefit greatly from personal umbrella insurance. The net worth of Connecticut residents is the among the highest in the country, meaning that your valuable assets are on the line in the event of an accident.

Avoid a devastating lawsuit and protect your hard-earned assets in the event of an unforeseen incident. Contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency at (860) 886-1961 to learn more about if Connecticut Personal Umbrella Insurance is right for you.

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.

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!

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!