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

Winter Fun and Adventure

Winter Fun and Adventure

Winter Fun and Adventure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Associated Press "Ten Reasons to Go Ice Fishing"

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection 

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

Jumpfest

Snowmobile Fun and Safety

Snowmobile fun and safety

Snowmobile Fun and Safety

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

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

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

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

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

 

Connecticut DUI Law

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

NewYorkUpstate.com

New Hampshire Snowmobile Association

Researchgate

State of Connecticut DMV

December 19 is National Wreaths Across America Day

National Wreaths Across America Day - wreaths placed on veterans graves

December 19 is National Wreaths Across America Day

When Morrill Worcester was 12, he won a trip to Washington D.C. that included a trip to Arlington National Cemetery. This trip left a lasting impression on Worcester, who later founded the Worcester Wreath Company (Wreaths Across America).

At the end of the 1992 holiday season, Worcester’s company was left with a surplus of wreaths. With the memory of the trip still on his mind, Worcester decided to use this opportunity to honor the veterans buried at Arlington. Worcester, assisted by Maine Senator Olympia Snowe and others, arranged for wreaths to be placed in a section of Arlington Cemetery that was older and receiving less attention as the years passed (Wreaths Across America).

When word spread about what Worcester was doing, additional individuals and groups volunteered to help including James Prout, owner of the Blue Bird Ranch trucking company who provided transportation; volunteers from the American Legion and VFW Posts; and members of the community (Wreaths Across America).

In 2007, the Worcester family, along with various other groups and individuals, founded the non-profit Wreaths Across America organization. According to the Wreaths Across America site, “The mission of the group is simple: Remember. Honor. Teach.”

The event is currently held on the second or third Saturday in December in over 1,400 locations including all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and some overseas locations, placing hundreds of thousands of wreaths (Militarybenefits.info).

Want to know how you can get involved? Consider doing one of the following:

  • Start a fundraising group
  • Volunteer to place wreaths on veterans’ graves
  • Sponsor a wreath
  • Suggest a new location

More information about the event and opportunities to participate can be found by clicking on our links below. Waitte’s Insurance Agency is proud to be part of a community that honors the contributions of our nation’s veterans. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

Militarybenefits.info

Wreaths Across America

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.