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.

A Safe Home is a Well Insured Home

Illustration of a smoke alarm sounding off in a smoky room

Many people contact us asking how to bring down their
homeowners’ insurance premiums. One of the quickest answers is to take steps to make your home safer. A safe home means a lower risk of the insurance company having to pay for home damage or other expenses, and leads to lower insurance rates in return. Each precaution you take can reduce your bill.

Install a smoke and carbon monoxide detector

As of 2014, it is illegal in the state of Connecticut to buy or sell any home without these detectors. Even if you don’t plan on moving, you still want your family to be warned in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide leak.

Install a pool barrier

By law, pools must be behind a fence, gate, or other enclosure so that they cannot be accessed from the outside. If you have small children or pets, keep them safe by also ensuring that there is a fence or other barrier between your exterior doors and the pool.

Insulate pipes near exterior walls

This prevents them from freezing even if the heat is turned off and protects you from costly water damage from a burst pipe. However, if you leave your home for vacation or other extended periods of time, don’t  rely on the insulation to protect your pipes alone. Rather than turning your furnace completely off, lower it to around 60 degrees.

Install a burglar alarm

Alarms provide an effective deterrent to burglars and also notifies the police of a break-in immediately, even if you’re away on vacation. Insurance discounts vary as you go from a simple, unmonitored alarm that just sounds when a window is open to a fully-monitored system with motion detectors and cameras.

Add storm shutters

Storm shutters protect your windows from debris caused from both winter storms and the rare tropical system that makes its way up the Atlantic coast. Because they protect you from window damage, wind damage and rain damage, the insurance rate discount can be substantial.

There are many steps to be taken in order to maintain a safe home. Of course Waitte’s Insurance is more than happy to assist you in lowering your premiums; but first and foremost, we wish for your home to be safe for you and your loved ones. For further information, contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency, Inc. today by clicking here.

Shopping for Individual Health Insurance in CT

Having health coverage helps you save a considerable amount of money on medical bills. If your employer doesn’t offer any health insurance plans or if your plan doesn’t include your spouse or dependents, you’ll have to do some shopping on your own to find individual health insurance or family medical insurance in Norwich, Connecticut.

When you’re comparing health insurance plans, it’s important to determine what type of coverage you need. Some common options you’ll find in CT include the following.

Individual Health Insurance and Family Medical Insurance

These health insurance plans are mainly for those who aren’t able to sign up for health coverage through their employer, those who are self-employed, or those who need to find coverage for spouses or dependents who aren’t covered through their employer’s group plan. Individual and family plans also benefit those who want to find coverage with lower premiums or those who need a plan that offers better coverage for their medical needs.

Short Term Medical Insurance

Short-term medical insurance provides health coverage for a certain amount of time, which can range from one month to one year. Those who typically benefit from this type of coverage are those who are waiting for a group plan to go into effect and those who are currently unemployed but looking for work; such as recent college graduates and those who are between jobs.

Health Discount Cards

These cards aren’t meant to replace health coverage. Instead, they provide discounts on prescriptions and certain medical services. They are sometimes used to supplement coverage for those on plans that have high deductibles for prescriptions or other medical services.

Health Savings Accounts

HSAs are savings accounts that can be used to save for retirement and pay for medical services. They’re paired with certain high-deductible health plans. Those with an HSA can use pre-tax dollars for eligible medical expenses, deduct all of their HSA contributions on their taxable income and save HSA money tax-free.

Finding the right health insurance in Connecticut can be difficult if you’re not sure what to look for. Call Waitte’s Insurance Agency, Inc. today at (860) 886-1961 to discuss the types of individual health plans that are available, and what works best for you and your family.

Discounted Insurance for Veterans

Veterans have risked their very lives to keep our country free. As a result, who better than our veterans to earn a discount when it comes to their home and auto insurance needs? Thankfully, there are many types of insurance discounts available for those who have fought so bravely to keep America safe.

Motor Vehicle / Auto Insurance Discounts:

This type of benefit entitles veterans to receive premium discounts on vehicles, such as sports bikes, motorcycles and cars. Some insurance companies are able to provide a discount of up to 20 percent off a veteran’s premium for vehicle coverage. Although minimum auto insurance is required in most states, it is a good idea to acquire more coverage than the minimum required when possible. Thankfully, due to the discount offered to veterans, they should be able to afford a plan that covers everything from bumper to bumper.

Home Insurance Discounts

In addition to discounts on motor vehicle insurance, many insurance companies will also discount a veteran’s home owner’s insurance policy. As a result, many veterans who have little to no coverage on their homes currently can acquire the protection for their homes that they deserve. An adequate home owner’s plan will provide enough coverage to replace the home that is covered, along with all the treasured mementos that lie within. It is a good idea to ask for additional coverage for specific items of value, such as collectibles, jewelry and the like.

Combining the Plans:

As is the case with many insurance bundles, veterans are often eligible for even more savings if they combine their home and auto policies by purchasing them through the same agency. Veterans who are attempting to find the best deal should explore this option when pricing plans, as it oftentimes will make already affordable plans even less strenuous.

If you have served in the military at any point during your lifetime, it is worth asking our office about possible military veteran’s benefits. After all, we want to reward those who have worked so hard to keep us safe. Therefore, a simple discount is the least we can do.   Call Waitte’s Insurance Agency today at (860) 886-1961 to inquire about further discounts for our nations heroes.

Prepare For When Blizzard Problems Become Flooding Problems

It has been a brutal winter in the Eastern part of the United States with New England states receiving the brunt of the snow and nasty weather.  In one day, Worcester Massachusetts had 31.9 inches of snow on January 27th, which came on top of several other feet of snow this winter.  Thompson, Connecticut had over 30 inches on that day too.  Communities and states went from worrying about trying to dig out from the snow to trying to figure out where they were going to put it all when they did remove it.

Although most New Englander’s may not think so right now, there is another problem around the corner that could be as bad as snow:  eventually the snow will melt and municipalities and their citizens will have to face the problem of flooding.  People who live near rivers and along the coast face dangers of melting snow and ice creating run-off conditions that can cause as much or more damage to homes than the excessive snow from this winter.

In preparation for impending urban flooding due to the snow, there are things that homeowners can do to in advance:

*Check for flood insurance policies to ensure you have appropriate coverage in case flooding does occur and you’ll be covered for property damage.
*Move snow away from your home’s foundation to keep water from running into the basement when the snow does begin to melt at a fast rate.
*Clear drains and downspouts so water can go where intended and not create a backup of melted water.
*Remove area rugs and store them so that they won’t get wet and mold won’t grow on them.
*Make certain that sump pumps are working appropriately.
*Know where the electricity shutoff is so that if your home does flood, you can make your home safer.
*Have an emergency preparedness kit ready.

While you’re checking your insurance policies to ensure you’re covered for flooding, double check to be certain you have appropriate coverage for storms too.  It may not seem like it when we’re still digging out from the yet another blizzard, but flood and storm season really are right around the corner.

Waitte’s Insurance doesn’t want you to get blindsided by the potential disastrous costs of property damage due to melting snow. Insure your property from mother nature by reviewing your current policy, or call our office at (860) 886-1961 to see which flood insurance policy could save you money and aggravation come Springtime.

Knowing the Factors that Determine Your Car Insurance Premium

You may be the world’s safest driver, yet your car insurance premium rates are higher due to factors you can’t control. Is this fair? No, but it’s reality that most insurance companies use various parameters to set their rates for auto insurance.

Understanding each factor that determines coverage rates in Connecticut and elsewhere can give you a leg up when it comes to finding the best policy.

Marital status, age and gender

Rates reflect the fact that older drivers typically are involved in fewer accidents. Women also have fewer accidents, and their rates reflect it. Statistics show that single people are more likely than married individuals to be in a wreck, so singletons pay more.

Location and driving consistency

The area where you live determines in part your car insurance premium rates. Higher rates of property crimes can increase your rates. Of course, your rates also will be higher if you routinely drive long distances.

Credit score

Studies show credit scores to be useful in determining the chances of insurance claims. Payment history, bankruptcies and debt levels all play a part in insurance rate calculations.

Driving record

Speeding tickets, DUIs and accidents all raise your coverage rates. Locals of Norwich, and drivers throughout the entire state of Connecticut, should note that all information related to a DUI stays on your record for a decade, and your insurance company may check your record at any time. Experts note that your rates likely will increase by 20 to 60 percent after a DUI, or your policy may be canceled.

Type of car

The value of your car and its safety record also helps determine your rates. Knowing the deciding factors that go into setting car insurance premium rates, and working to control what you can, will save you money in the long run.  Whether that’s driving a less-expensive vehicle, reducing your speed or moving to a lower-crime area, the savings add up.

Are you unsure as to how your driving record or any of these factors will impact your insurance premium? Let Waitte’s Insurance Agency calculate an insurance rate that is best suited for you. For a free rate quote, Click Here!

Essentials in Preparing Your Motorcycle for Scenic Connecticut Roads

The Winter winds are finally subsiding and the warm open road is waiting for you to get out and ride! But after leaving your ride in storage for the Winter, it’s important when preparing your motorcycle to check all of your safety equipment and review the laws and regulations to ensure your next road trip ends safely.

Motorcycle Laws and Regulations in CT

There are some important motorcycle safety regulations to keep in mind before you take yours out on the Connecticut roads. Eye protection is mandatory unless your vehicle has a windscreen, and if your bike was manufactured after 1980, daytime headlight use is required. Also, remember that riding two abreast in one lane is prohibited.

Licensing Courses

The Connecticut Rider Education Program for Motorcycle Safety offers four skill levels of courses which are available to all riders. You may also be eligible for a 10% discount on your motorcycle insurance policy by completing a rider education course in Connecticut.

Equipment Requirements

Although Connecticut law does not require motorcycle operators over the age of 18 to wear a helmet, doing so is one of the most crucial steps you can take to ensure your safety! According to state motorcycle accident statistics, in more than two-thirds of fatal motorcycle crashes the driver wasn’t wearing a helmet. Don’t skip this simple and essential step! Other requirements in Connecticut include having at least one rear-view mirror and a properly functioning muffler.

Restrictions for Riders Under 18

Riders under the age of 18 years old MUST wear a helmet at all times and are also required to complete a rider education course.

Insurance Requirements

Before you bask in the Spring sunshine, take the time to review your motorcycle insurance policy to make any necessary updates. A compulsory liability insurance policy is the minimum requirement in the state of Connecticut.

Does your current motorcycle insurance policy need to be reviewed or updated? Before you begin preparing your motorcycle for the beauty that New England has to offer during the Spring, contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency today and receive a premium quote!

Health Insurance for Smokers: Quit Before Your Rates Skyrocket!

If you are a smoker, you can pretty much bet on an increase in the premium you pay for health insurance. Many agencies are cracking down on health insurance for smokers because, in the long run, smokers are more costly to care for when it comes to their health. But how do you know if you qualify as a smoker? In Connecticut, you are a tobacco user if you have used tobacco 4 or more days during one week in the past 6 months. If you are quitting or only use tobacco occasionally, you may not even qualify as a smoker. This is important to understand as it could save you a lot of money.

How much more money will tobacco cost you when it comes to health insurance? According to the Affordable Care Act, you can be charged up to 50% more for your premium. This is called a tobacco surcharge and it is starting to apply to premiums offered by many companies. But in reality, it costs you much more than that. Smoking can cost you your health in general. Even if you can afford the insurance premium, it can cause things such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, and respiratory complications. So is it really worth it to be a smoker?

The costs for premiums go up so much because not only does the cost of healthcare increase over time for a smoker, but it also serves as an incentive to quit. Many smokers are looking at other options so that they can improve their health and save money over time on their health insurance premiums. Smokers can also save money on premiums by joining programs to help them quit. Such programs are offered by ObamaCare as well as other insurance carriers. Now is the time to quit. You could save your life and you will definitely be saving money.

Are you a former smoker who has successfully kicked the habit for good? Please share your experience in the box below to not only help others save money on health insurance, but aid them in becoming healthier as well!

The Rose of New England: An Historic Overview of Norwich

The city of Norwich, Connecticut, also known as “The Rose of New England”, was founded in 1659 by settlers from Saybrook. The land was purchased from Chief Uncas of the “Mohegan Native American Tribe”. This Native American tribe originated in upstate New York as the Mohegans and later became The Mohegan Tribe after moving into Connecticut.

As one of the first Connecticut cities, Norwich was incorporated in 1784. Textile factories were common, due to the available water supply of the Yantic and Shetucket rivers. Thanks to the ship trading between Boston and New York, Norwich became a prosperous shipping center, due to its convenient location.  It was also known as both an agricultural and industrial area. Many of the agricultural areas evolved into to more industrial ways over time.

Notable Natives

Benedict Arnold: Born in Norwich in 1741, Benedict Arnold was an American General during the Revolutionary War. Arnold became possibly the most infamous traitor in United States history after his plan to defer to British military forces was exposed in 1780.

Samuel Huntington: As a signer of the Declaration of Independence, long-time resident of Norwich, Samuel Huntington became the President of the Continental Congress in 1779. Since he obtained this position during the time that the Articles of Confederation were being ratified, many beat-biographers and Connecticut cival groups believe that Huntington was actually the first President of the United States.

Thomas Leffingwell: Built in 1675, a two-room home built by Stephan Backus was purchased and converted into an Inn by Thomas Leffingwell. Known best to locals as the “Leffingwell House Museum”, the house is a modern day tourist staple containing many fine works created by 18th century silversmiths and clock makers. The Inn is said to have also hosted George Washington for breakfast in 1776.

The Rose City Today

The Norwich & Worcester Railroad (still alive today) was constructed from 1835-1840. Today’s Norwich is flourishing and boasts immigrants from French Canada, Cape Verde Islands, Europe, and more. The “Mohegan Native American Tribe” continues to thrive in this area of Connecticut as well. Named after the tribe, Mohegan Park is one of the most popular recreational areas in the city today. With it being the largest park in Norwich, residents and patrons can enjoy the beach, hiking and biking trails, basketball courts, picnicking and grilling, playgrounds, and more. Many events and activities are held here and preservation efforts are constantly made to keep it thriving.

Have you visited one of the many historical venues in Norwich lately? Please share in the box below your experiences and any additional fun facts you may have learned about our fair town!

Moving Out? 12 Tips for Preparing to Sell Your House

When preparing to sell your house, remember there is a reason why some houses sell immediately and others sit on the market for years. When people look at a house they trust their instinct before committing to the purchase, and the bulk of their instinct comes from their first impression. There are a few things you can do to sell your house quickly.

1.  Make sure to clean the home thoroughly.
2.  A fresh coat of paint typically removes all old smells like pet odors and creates a home worthy of being shown to prospective buyers.
3.  Make sure the lawn is manicured and bushes are trimmed.
4.  Flower beds are always a nice addition.
5.  Increase the home’s exterior beauty by cleaning the gutters and pressure washing the outside of the house.
6.  Make sure the home is fully functional mechanically by taking the time to make sure every single electrical outlet, switch and fixture works properly and smoothly as they are supposed to.
7.  Plumbing repairs are often overlooked, but every faucet should have the proper water pressure.
8.  Every drain should be able to accommodate the amount of water it receives without backing up in the slightest.
9.  Complete any minor repairs such as a hole in the wall of the guest bedroom, or a closet door that doesn’t properly close.
10.  Stage the home to show how the rooms and spaces can be used. Remove unnecessary furniture and personal items to showcase how spacious the rooms can look without clutter.
11.  Remove most, if not all personal photographs and keepsakes. The best way to appeal to potential buyers is to help them envision themselves living there, not another family.
12.  Realistically price the home based on what similar properties in the neighborhood sell for.

Remember that the people buying your house are likely making the biggest investment of their life. Preparing to sell your house is important to assure them of the wisdom of their purchase. Take the time to prepare your house according to potential buyers’ expectations in order to assure a quick sale as you move on to your own new home.

Taking these precautions shouldn’t only apply to when you are selling your home. Proper plumbing, electrical and other large scale projects should always be monitored to prevent damage to your home. Resale value is key!

Leave a comment in the box below or contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency once you have settled into your new home so that we can assist you in purchasing the best homeowners insurance policy for you!