Prepping for Spring: Your Home

Spring is almost here!  The outdoors is already calling us to come and have loads of fun.  It’s important to be ready.

We previously posted some tips about getting your vehicles ready for Spring:

Now that your vehicles are ready for the season you should turn your attention to your house. Your living spaces are primed for spring cleaning, so follow these tips and get your home looking its best so you can enjoy the better weather even more.

Clean Your Gutters

Over the fall and winter, leaves and other debris collected in your gutters, and they are ready to be emptied. If you live in an area that gets a lot of Spring showers, then it’s crucial that you keep your gutters clear so that they can work properly. Now that the sun is out, you can take care of it in a day and be ready for the next rainfall.

Change Your Filters

Chances are that you have several appliances that use filters. A range hood, a built-in water dispenser for your fridge – all of them need to be changed regularly. Don’t forget your HVAC system. Springtime should serve as a reminder to get you to inspect and replace any filters that are looking worse for wear. Having this be a seasonal thing will ensure that you don’t forget about them.

Wash the Windows

Now that the sun is coming out and the weather is nice, you will want to let in as much light as possible. If your windows are still covered in Winter gunk and dirt, now is the time to make them spotless. Just be on the lookout for birds who may not realize that there’s glass in the way.

Take Care of the Lawn

You’ve been able to use the weather as an excuse to avoid mowing and raking leaves, but now you can’t keep avoiding it. When Spring arrives, it’s time to pull the lawnmower out and start trimming your grass.

In addition to the lawn, you should be checking all of your shrubs and plants to see how they fared over the Winter months. If they need treatment or pruning, you should take care of that now so that they can bloom well in the Summer.

Check Your Home Exterior

Take a few minutes to walk around your home and check for any damage, wear or other damage.  Make a note of all items that need to be done and schedule a day that you will complete the tasks.  This will ensure your house stays in top shape.

Make Sure Your Homeowner’s Insurance is Adequate.

Keeping your property in pristine condition is the whole point of Spring cleaning, but you still want to keep them insured adequately just in case.  If you did your annual insurance review back in January, you already know for sure that your home is covered.  If not, contact Bob Johnson Insurance (865-922-3111 or 800-624-3339)to schedule your insurance review.  Our agents can help you understand your options and make sure that you have the coverage you need and want.

 

Stay Safe This Prom and Graduation Season

Stay Safe this Prom and Graduation Season

When your teenager is ready to graduate high school, this means that there’s a lot to celebrate. These occasions also mean that your teen will want to drive with friends to make sure that everything is as awesome as possible. 

Unfortunately, because teenage drivers are still learning the ropes, many of them make mistakes when behind the wheel. These mistakes can be exacerbated by other elements like drugs and alcohol, which may be present at these end-of-school celebrations. 

So, with that in mind, we want to share some tips to help you keep your teen safe. No prom or graduation party is worth putting their life in danger. 

Establish Ground Rules

When your child starts driving on his or her own, it’s imperative that you have rules in place at all times. While you may decide on some different variations, a good place to start will be:

  • No drinking and driving
  • All passengers wear seat belts
  • No distractions such as cell phone use while driving (see Related Articles below)
  • No other drivers (unless designated)

Be sure to remind your teenager about these rules when he or she heads out to prom or some other celebration. 

Know Where They’re Going

If you’re aware of your child’s itinerary for the night, it will be easier to check in on him or her if necessary. Also, if something does happen, you can track your teenager down more easily if you know where he or she was during the evening. 

Stay in Touch

While you don’t want your teen answering the phone while driving, be sure to stay in contact throughout the evening. If necessary, one of your rules could be to send a message at certain points so that you know they’re safe. 

Consider Transportation Alternatives

If you think that your teen may drive under the influence, think about other options. A limousine service can work well for prom night, or you can tell him or her to call an Uber instead. 

Set a Curfew

Celebrations can go all night long, but you don’t want your teenager to be driving home in the wee hours of the morning. Instead, set a curfew beforehand. This will not only mitigate the dangers, but it will enable your child to show that he or she is responsible. 

Overall, this season is a remarkable time for any teenager. Make sure that your child stays safe, and these celebrations will create lasting positive memories. 


Related Articles

Helpful Tips For Spring Break

Spring Break Tips

It’s fun to go to the beach or elsewhere for Spring Break to enjoy time with friends and/or family.  It’s also fun to not run into any problems while traveling.  Here are three quick reads to help you stay safe and avoid problems when you go on Spring Break.

Do You Need Rental Car Insurance

If you’ve ever rented a car before, then you know that one of the questions you’ll get asked is if you want insurance. For many people, this may seem like an unnecessary expense, but is that really the case? Click here to find out.

Auto Coverage when Borrowing a Friend’s Car

When you’re driving your own car, you know that you have auto insurance coverage in case of an accident or collision. However, what happens if you’re borrowing a car from a friend?  Also, what if you loan your vehicle to someone else? Click here to find out.

Avoiding Distractions While Driving May Save Your Life

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 424,000 people were involved in a collision because of a distracted driver. Click here to get four tips to help you avoid becoming a statistic.

Spring Break Tips: Avoiding Distractions While Driving May Save Your Life

Driving Distractions - texting and driving

One of the most common dangers on the road is not what you may expect. Distracted drivers are more and more prevalent these days, thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices and other items that can impact a person’s ability to pay attention to the road. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 424,000 people were involved in a collision because of a distracted driver. Even worse, about 10% of all traffic fatalities were directly related to this problem, meaning that it’s more important than ever to ensure that you’re not one of those statistics. 

The Department of Transportation classifies distractions into three categories. 

  • Visual – your eyes are not on the road
  • Manual – your hands are not on the wheel
  • Cognitive – you’re not paying attention 

Fortunately, we have some tips that may help you stay safe while out driving so that you don’t get involved in a crash or a fatal accident. 

Don’t Use Your Phone!

All too often, people think that they can answer a phone call or a text while driving. Even if you’ve done it before, the risk is too high. All it takes is one second, and you could put your life in danger. 

Don’t Eat and Drive!

If your hands are full of food, then they’re not on the wheel. Yes, eating on the go is part of modern life, but pull over and do it safely. 

Don’t Program Your GPS While Moving!

Input your directions before you head out so that you’re not doing it while driving. 

Don’t Get Involved in Road Rage!

If you find yourself getting angry at other drivers, find a method of relaxation to help you calm down. It’s not worth your life. 

Overall, you should be focusing on one thing – driving. If you’re distracted, all it takes is one time to change your whole life. Don’t become a statistic. 

Tips for Safe Holiday

Tips for a Safe Holiday

The holidays are fun and exciting and busy. Holiday decorations add to the atmosphere and excitement, but they also pose potential safety issues. Follow these simple tips to stay safe this holiday season.

Inspect Strands of Lights

Lights are beautiful and really set the tone for the holidays, but always play it safe when dealing with electricity. Before stringing lights inspect the entire strand. Look for frayed or exposed wires, cracks in the housing where bulbs screw in or any other damage. If you find anything wrong or damaged do not use the strand. Replace damaged strands with new and safe strings of lights. Always unplug a strand when replacing a bulb and make sure to use replacement bulbs that are the correct voltage.

Turn Lights Off at Night

Turn holiday decorations off overnight. Lights become warm the longer they are on and this can pose an ignition risk, especially when hung on a tree. Consider using a timer to ensure the lights go on and off each night to save you from remembering and ensuring safety. Also shut the lights off when you head out to work or to run errands. The same goes for candles. Never leave a candle burning unattended.

Safely Burn the Yule Log

A fire creates a cozy ambience, but before lighting a fire make sure the structure and equipment is safe. For a gas fireplace that means the glass should be intact and in place. For a wood burning fireplace, be sure the chimney has been cleaned and keep the size of the fire under control. Store wood a reasonable distance from the fireplace and keep fire rated gloves and fireplace tools, such as a poker close by.

Test Your Alarms

Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure everything is in proper working order. You should routinely check these devices to ensure safety, but with all of the extra decorations and activities during the holidays giving everything another check is a good idea.

Value of Safety Checks

Ensure the holidays are a festive time, but also a safe time by putting these tips to use. With all of the hussle and hubbub of the holidays taking the time to watch out for these safety issues can keep your family and loved ones safe and secure.

Insurance involves more than just a policy. We want all of our customers to be safe and celebrate an enjoyable holiday season. If you have questions, click here contact BJI. We are glad to help.

Avoid Holiday Shopping Scams and Rip-Offs

Avoid Holiday Scams and Rip-offs

As the holiday season begins, the sales start rolling in. But in an effort to buy great gifts at discounted prices, many shoppers fall victim to scams and rip-offs this time of year. Whether it’s hackers trying to steal your payment info or companies trying to pawn off low quality products, it pays to be diligent when placing orders during holiday sales.

To protect yourself this shopping season, follow these simple tips.

Exercise Caution

This time of year, you may run into some online scams disguising themselves as great deals. While it always pays to go with your gut.  If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  Knowing what to look out for helps too.  Watch out for emails disguising themselves as legitimate companies so they can steal your information.  Keep reading for more information.

Be Conscience of Too Good Pricing

As holiday shopping ramps up, you may be excited to explore the sales and score big deals on items from your wishlist. But be careful – if you come across a price that’s too good to be true, it could be a warning sign that you’re not going to get your money’s worth. Even paying a fraction of the regular price could be a waste of money if it’s a crummy product. If possible, test the product as much as possible to ensure that it works and is in good condition before you purchase it.

Use Trusted Retailers

When it comes to online shopping, this time of year you may receive an abundance of emails boasting major discounts and promoting great deals on hot ticket products. In some cases, they may duplicate their website to look like a trusted brand’s online store, in order to lure you into leaving your payment information. Always exercise caution when dealing with an online store that you’re not familiar with, and double check that you’re at the correct site when placing an order with a trusted online store.

Avoid Shipping Email Scams

A common holiday scam derives from spam emails that are masked to look like they came from a shipping company. Often, they will try to get your financial details by telling you there was an issue with your order that requires payment.

  • Do not open attachments to the emails.  They may contain a computer virus.
  • Do not click links that are in the email.  Instead, type in the web site address that you know is correct.
  • Always check the tracking information from your confirmation email before giving any information to a strange company.
  • If you’re unsure if the email is legit, you can always contact the seller to confirm their shipping company.

Do Your Homework

A little research goes a long way, especially when it comes to spending money. Take some time to make sure you know all the details you need to make an educated purchasing decision.

Be Aware of Retailer’s Return Policy

Sales are usually great for shoppers – unless you try to return an item you purchased at a discount. Even trusted retail brands can have some odd return policies when it comes to sales items. Before making a purchase, make sure that you understand the return policy completely to protect yourself if you need to return the gift.

Know Your Extended Warranties

Purchasing an extended warranty seems like a smart idea, especially for expensive electronics. Except, they may not do much if your product already comes with a warranty, or if one is built into your credit card policy. Before making a large purchase, be aware of the warranties that already are applied to the product before purchasing additional protection.

Read Seller and Product Reviews

If you’re buying a product online or using an online retailer for the first time, see what others are saying about the item or service. Ratings can let you know if it’s a sound purchase or if there are any red flags you should avoid.

Protect Your Funds

A lot of money changes hands during the holiday season, and your credit card probably gets a workout. Unfortunately, hackers use the unusual purchasing activities of the holidays in their favor, and tend to target victims for identity theft this time of year. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

Check Your Bank Account Frequently

Detecting fraudulent activity early will increase chances of your bank reimbursing your account and prevent hackers from spending too much of your money. To stay on top of your activity, check your bank account at least every two to three days throughout the holiday season.

Keep Payment Information Secure

Never use wire transfers or cash when purchasing items online – otherwise, you may fall victim to a scam without any tracking or protection to be reimburse your funds. Instead, use trusted payment systems, like Paypal, to place your online orders.

 

While the holidays are filled with cheer, a credit card scam or identity theft can quickly rob you of the holiday spirit. These simple steps can help protect you during the holidays.  If you want extra protection against identity theft, be sure to contact us for more information.

 

 

 

Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

When most of us think about the holidays, we imagine gathering the loved ones together and sharing in some spectacular memories. However, for our pets, the season can be more than a little stressful, not to mention dangerous. 

The fact is that things that seem innocuous to us could be a big deal for our furry friends. Crackling fires, guests visiting at various times, and foreign plants and objects in the house can turn the holidays into a danger zone if you’re not careful. 

So, with that in mind, let’s go over some safety tips to keep your furry friends protected during the holidays. 

Stow Away Medications

Family visitors bring a lot of baggage with them, and some of it can include medicine. Even if it’s something as benign as Tylenol, it can wreak havoc on your pets if they ingest it by accident. Be sure that everyone keeps their medicine out of paw’s reach. 

Don’t Feed Them People Food

It’s tempting to want to include your dog or cat in the holiday feast, but much of the food that we eat can be troublesome (or downright toxic) to our pets. Make sure that everyone who comes over respects this rule as well. 

Have a Safe Space

Many animals can get wiry and stressed out when visitors come over. Thus, before the family arrives, make sure that your furry pals are out of harm’s way. Whether it’s a designated room in the house or somewhere else, having a safe space for them will ensure they don’t freak out (too much). 

Fire Safety

A roaring fireplace can be warm and comforting, but it can also pose threats for your pets. Not only can dogs and cats get too overheated from the flames, but they may accidentally knock something into the fire, creating a dangerous situation. Keep all flammable objects away from the fireplace, and be sure that you have a cover in front of it at all times. 

Clear and Present Danger

Neatly wrapped gifts under the tree are appealing to us, but they can be more so to your pets. Ribbons and bows may look tempting to cats, which means that they may chew them up. If ingested, these materials can make your kitty sick, so you might want to avoid them or keep them out of the reach of your purring feline friend.

Decorations 

Cats are notorious for playing with fragile objects, knocking them to the ground for no reason at all. Christmas trees can also be a hazard as your feline attempts to dismantle all of your decorations. Overall, it’s best to keep all fragile items out of reach or secure them so they can’t be destroyed. 

Candles

Yes, lighting a few scented candles can make your holidays brighter, but as with the fire, pets can turn a pleasant evening into a rendition of Backdraft if you’re not careful. Keep candles out of the way, and remove any flammable materials nearby to avoid them getting knocked over.

This season, your pets deserve to have as much fun as you, which is why you want to take steps to keep them and your home safe. Hopefully, following these tips will avoid any disasters. 

10 Ways to Honor Vets on Veterans Day

As one of the more solemn holidays that we celebrate in the US, many people want to pay their respects on Veterans Day. While Memorial Day is about remembering those we’ve lost, this holiday is all about honoring veterans both alive and dead. 

This Veterans Day, we want to help you find the best way to pay tribute to the men and women of our armed services. Here are 10 ways that you can. 

Display the Flag

It’s a simple gesture, but it highlights what they fought to protect and preserve. 

Listen

Talk to any vets you know about their experiences and let them know you care.

Say “Thank You”

Again, it’s a small gesture, but it means a lot. Any vet you see deserves your gratitude. 

Spend Time Together

Whether it’s a relative or a stranger, spending the day with a vet can be a highlight for them and show that they matter to you. 

Donate

There are many different organizations dedicated to helping veterans, and they always need support. 

Research Your Family History

Discover how many relatives have served in the armed forces, both here and abroad. 

Write a Letter

If you know a vet far away, writing a letter of thanks can mean a lot. 

Visit a Vet

Take the time to show them that you care about their experiences and sacrifices. 

Learn About Vets

Veterans face a multitude of struggles that we don’t get to see. Take the time to learn more so that you can understand their experience. 

Share

Social media is a great place to raise awareness of vets and share your love and support of them, especially any in your family. 

You can find these ideas and more at http://www.wallawalla.va.gov/Misc/Honor_Veteran.asp.  The page has a list of 45 things you can do to honor a Veteran.

At Bob Johnson Insurance, we salute all of our veterans, and we honor their sacrifices. We thank you all for your service, and we are forever in your debt. 

How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Most of us take our health for granted. However, as soon as the sniffles or coughing fits begin, we realize how vital it is to stay in good shape. Unfortunately, the holiday season can bring many different challenges that will put your health to the test. 

Colder temperatures, holiday stress, and germs getting passed around like candy are just a few of the ways that illness can derail your holiday plans. At Bob Johnson Insurance, we want to make sure that you avoid getting sick so that you can enjoy the season, rather than suffer through it. 

Get a Flu Shot

If you want to be more proactive about avoiding the flu this season, you should go in for immunization. In some cases, you may feel a little under the weather after the shot, but you should be good to go for the rest of the winter. 

Get Plenty of Rest

The end of the year can be hectic and stressful, which is why you need to make sure that your sleep schedule doesn’t suffer as a result. Yes, you may have more on your plate, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your Z’s in the process. Even a few extra naps can help mitigate illness. 

Eat Healthily

For many of us, the holidays are the perfect excuse to forgo our diets for a few weeks (or months). However, overeating unhealthy food can wreak havoc on your insides, so you want to do so in moderation. In between celebrations, be sure to gorge on fruits, veggies, and other healthy snacks. 

Protect Yourself Mentally

While our physical health is essential, so is our mental health. The stress of the season can exacerbate underlying issues like depression, which is why you need to be aware of any emotional changes that happen. If necessary, talk to someone about how you feel and see what you can do to alleviate the problem. 

Stay Active

Yes, it may be getting cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid activity until spring arrives. Whether it’s going to the gym or taking the stairs at work, be sure to include some physical activity this season. Your body (and your mind) will thank you. 

This winter, don’t let the weather bring you down. Follow these tips, and you’ll make it through unscathed (although we can’t do anything about that ugly Christmas sweater). Here at Bob Johnson Insurance, we wish you a very happy time during the entire holiday season!