Black Friday Strategies for This Shopping Season

Black Friday Strategies

For many Americans, the day after Thanksgiving is the perfect time to start thinking about getting the perfect gifts for loved ones. Black Friday is the most popular shopping day of the year, which means that many of us are hitting the mall and our favorite stores for high-quality goods. 

However, over the years, what used to be a relatively benign holiday has become more and more commercialized. Stores that used to open early in the morning now start as soon as Thanksgiving to roll out the great deals. 

With so much competition, it can be more than a little overwhelming for the average consumer, which is why we want to offer some helpful shopping tips to get the most out of this upcoming Black Friday. 

Start Earlier Than You Expect

Since stores will usually open in the wee hours of the morning, you have to plan accordingly if you want to get the doorbuster savings. It may seem like a sacrifice, but if you get your mind right, it shouldn’t be as much of a deal as you think.

Search Online for the Best Deals

Going into Black Friday without a game plan is never a good idea, so you want to take the time to do your research first. Also, keep in mind that Cyber Monday is right after Black Friday, so you may be able to forgo some of the lines altogether. 

Be Selective When Shopping

Usually, stores will only have limited quantities of their most discounted items, so you have to focus on getting what matters most since you’ll likely miss out on some of the deals offered. 

Map Out Your Shopping Route

Speed and efficiency are key, so you may need to plan a route through the store. In most cases, you’ll have to hunt for the best deals, so try to pinpoint the sections that are most valuable and spread out from there. 

At Bob Johnson Insurance, we hope that you have a fun, safe, and productive Black Friday this year! 

Traveling Safe This Holiday Season in Tennessee

Traveling Safe This Holiday Season in Tennessee

The holidays are about spending time with family and friends, which means that many of us will be traveling. However, winter weather can bring a variety of challenges, especially when driving to your next destination. Whether it’s in Knoxville or you’re going out of state, we at Bob Johnson Insurance want to help you stay safe. 

So, with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of travel tips and tricks that will ensure you spend the holidays with family, not in the hospital. 

Inspect Your Vehicle

While you probably get the oil changed and monitor the engine regularly, now is the perfect time to get a full diagnostic of your car’s internal systems. For example, how are your wiper blades? What about the tread on your tires? It’s better to inspect and repair these items now before you’re stuck in bad weather on the road. 

In addition to getting your car tuned up for the holiday season, you should pack it with some emergency gear just in case. Jumper cables, blankets, snacks, flares, and water are all essentials if you get stuck somewhere, so you want to be prepared. Remember, a flat tire or a dead battery can leave you stranded just as much as flooding or heavy snowfall. 

Prepare for Travel

Even if you’ve made the trip dozens of times before, it doesn’t hurt to have a plan in place beforehand. If you’re going through some rural areas, maybe bring along a map in case your GPS can’t get a signal. Look at the weather conditions along the road, so you know what to expect. Also, make sure that people know which route you’re taking, just in case something happens. 

Be Ready for Anything

While Tennessee doesn’t get much snow and ice compared to some locations, if you’re planning on driving out of state this winter, you want to be prepared for any kind of weather coming your way. Rain and thunderstorms can appear out of nowhere, and driving in snowy conditions can be more than a little nerve-wracking. 

Be careful on the road and drive slow if necessary. Having all-wheel or four-wheel drive helps, but it won’t prevent you from slipping or skidding on ice or wet roads. Remember safe driving tactics, like avoiding braking too sharply and maintaining a firm grip on the steering wheel. 

What if the Worst Happens?

If you do wind up stranded on the side of the road, don’t panic. If you have an emergency kit, you should be good shape until help arrives. Hopefully, you’ll have cell service and can call someone, but if not, it’s best to wait by your car and try to flag someone down. Flares and lights can also make you more visible, especially if the weather is treacherous. 

Staying safe this holiday season is all about preparation. Hope for the best, but the more you can plan just in case the worst happens, the better off you’ll be and the more peace of mind you’ll have. Happy holidays!

5 Questions to Ask to Stay Safe on Halloween

Halloween Safety Tips

For many people, Halloween is the best time of year, all thanks to dressing up as your favorite character and getting free candy (what’s not to like?). However, while trick-or-treating comes with a lot of perks, it can also be a little unsafe, especially if you’re not prepared. 

At Bob Johnson Insurance, we want you to spend more time receiving and eating candy than worrying about your ghouls and goblins, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the top questions to ask yourself before heading out this year. 

#1 Are We Visible? 

Since trick-or-treating usually happens at night, you want to make sure that you’re not going to run into any problems. While most streets will be sufficiently illuminated, some may be darker than others. Bring some flashlights or reflectors, just in case. 

#2 Are Our Costumes Safe?

One of the most prevalent issues with costumes is that they can obstruct your vision. If you have little ones wearing masks, you want to make sure that they won’t trip or fall along the way. Also, keep in mind that your clothes may be flammable, so stay away from candles or jack-o-lanterns as much as possible. Finally, check on your accessories to ensure that they won’t be a hazard. 

#3 Where are We Going? 

Having a route planned ahead of time will be the best way to spend the evening. Not only will this ensure that you don’t get lost, but it will help you make your night more efficient. Wandering around aimlessly usually doesn’t get as much candy, so avoid it as much as possible. 

#4 What are My Kids Eating?

While most reports of unsafe Halloween candy are overblown, you do want to be careful of your little one’s eating habits. Check candy before eating it. Make sure wrappers are still sealed. Too much sugar can be risky, and if your child suffers from food allergies, you have to be more vigilant than usual. 

#5 How are My Pets?

If you have a dog or cat that freaks out whenever someone comes to the door, then Halloween will be more than a little nerve-wracking for both them and you. If possible, you will want to sequester your pets for the night and try and make them as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Check on them from time to time and give them food and water as necessary. Also, allow potty breaks so that they don’t mess up your floors. 

Halloween is one of the most fun nights, so make sure to stay safe this season. With these tips, you can be enjoying candy in no time. 

Stay Fun and Safe This Football Season

Stay Fun and Safe This Football Season

With the fall underway, that means three things – changing leaves, colder temperatures, and football! Football in Knoxville is always a great time, which is why so many people look forward to this time of year. 

At Bob Johnson Insurance, we want to make sure that your time following your favorite team is both enjoyable and safe, which is why we’re offering some tried and true tips for your next outing. 

Consider Cleanliness

While tailgating is fun for the food and the camaraderie, it can also bring massive messes. From a sloppy grill to paper cups and plates everywhere, you could spend just as much time cleaning up afterward as you did cooking and eating. 

Thus, be sure to plan ahead when thinking about tailgating. Bring plenty of garbage bags, and try to minimize the mess as you go so that it doesn’t pile up too much once it’s all over. Also, avoid glass containers, as they can be a safety hazard if they fall and break. 

Be Travel Smart

Seeing a game live is an excellent way to cheer your team, but getting to and from the stadium can be a pain, especially when it comes to traffic and parking. Instead, plan a different way of getting there, such as with a carpool or public transportation. Also, memorize your route so that you don’t get lost. 

Dress Appropriately

Although Knoxville weather isn’t as crazy as other parts of the country, it can get brisk. Of course, you’ll be wearing your team’s colors and jersey, but be sure to bundle up too if you’re going to be outside for a long time. 

Only Bring Essentials

If you like to get a little wild at the game or your favorite sports restaurant, then do yourself a favor by leaving valuables at home. There’s nothing worse than having to retrace your steps because you lost something (i.e., a credit card). Also, keep an eye on your smartphone, as those can be easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. 

Check Your Insurance 

Most people don’t think about their insurance policies too much unless something terrible happens. However, now is the perfect time to check in and make sure that you have the right coverage. Some helpful hints:

Roadside Assistance – If you break down on the way to the game, will you be able to get towed? 

Umbrella Coverage – Having friends over to watch the game is great, but what happens if things get a little rowdy and someone gets hurt? 

Auto Coverage – Leaving your car unattended can always be a risk. Make sure you’re protected from accidental vandalism or theft. 

This football season, it helps to be practical. Give BJI a quick call or click here to contact us just to make sure your coverage is adequate. Planning ahead and having the right mindset will ensure that you can relax and enjoy the game more easily. From all of us at Bob Johnson Insurance, go Vols!

Seasonal Household Safety Tips

Seasonal Household Safety Tips

When the weather changes, so do our habits. Now, instead of spending time lounging in the sun and trying to stay cool from the Tennessee heat, we have to start bundling up and preparing for colder nights and brisk fall days. 

While the season brings plenty of fun activities (like football games), it can also bring some unexpected hazards. At Bob Johnson Insurance, we want to make sure that you’re prepared for anything this fall, which is why we’re offering some household safety tips this year. 

Check and Inspect Your Heating Sources

Since Knoxville isn’t known for being chilly during the spring and summer, your heater and fireplace are not going to get much use during the warmer months. However, being inactive for so long can cause problems if you’re not careful. 

So, with that in mind, you want to make sure that you inspect all of your heating sources before you use them. Fireplaces can collect flammable debris, and the chimney could become a massive fire hazard. 

Space heaters can pose a threat if they’re old and don’t have modern safety precautions. Your furnace can also be a hazard if it hasn’t been inspected in months. 

Keep Your Home Fire Resistant

Throwing some logs in the fireplace or lighting candles can make the chilly autumn nights more accommodating, but you want to be sure that you’re not putting yourself or your family at risk. 

When lighting any fires in your home, make sure to check the surrounding area for anything flammable. Keep candles away from the walls, and don’t let them burn all night while you sleep. Even a smoldering fire in the fireplace can emit sparks, so extinguish all flames before heading to bed. 

Pay Attention Outside

The fall season is time to bring out the holiday decorations, as well as prepare your plants for winter. Exercise caution when climbing up on the roof, cleaning your gutters, or pruning leaves. Falls and other accidents can happen fast, so you have to stay vigilant at all times. 

Also, keep in mind that the ground can get slippery as the weather changes. Rains and cold temperatures can create hazards, which is why you want to wear quality shoes with sufficient grip whenever you’re outdoors. 

Be Prepared in Case You Need to Use Your Insurance

Following these safety tips will ensure that your holiday season only creates fond memories for you and your family.   Our hope is that your holiday season is filled with family fun and making new memories. It’s good to be prepared just in case something happens that involves your insurance.  Give us a call at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us. It only takes a few minutes to check your policies to ensure your coverage is adequate.

10 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall

10 Ways to Prepare your Home for Fall

Summer has turned to Autumn in Knoxville, and it is time to get ready for the colder winter months (if you haven’t already). While preparing for holiday parties and celebrations should undoubtedly be on the list, we also want to make sure that your home is ready as well. 

So, with that in mind, here are 10 tips to prep your home for the season. 

Check Your Roof

As leaves and other debris start to collect on your roof and in your gutters, you want to make sure that they won’t pose any threat. Also, as the temperatures drop, critters will use any holes in the roof to get into your home. 

Inspect Your Basement

Just like your attic, bugs and vermin love to hang out in basements and crawlspaces. If you’re worried about an infestation, now is the time to call pest control and ensure that no critters will set up shop during the winter. 

Look for Leaks

Whether it’s through window cracks, door jambs, or other seals around your home, heat will invariably escape. Unfortunately, that means that your utility bills will be higher during the colder months. Now is when you want to locate and fill any of these leaks. 

Check for Water

Metal pipes can degrade over time, especially when the temperature drops. Hoses, faucets, and any other water systems outdoors are particularly susceptible to leaks, so check them first. 

Clean Your Filters

Since you’ll be spending more time indoors during the fall and winter, you want to make sure you’re breathing clean air. If you haven’t checked your filters in a few months, now’s the time. 

Inspect Your Walkways

Driveways, sidewalks, and stone pathways can develop cracks, which will only worsen as the weather gets colder. Take care of them now before they become a problem. 

Call in the Pros

Your home’s heating system, furnace or otherwise, has been out of action for most of the year. Getting it inspected by a professional will ensure that you don’t experience problems when it’s time to get warm and toasty. 

Check Your Chimney

It’s probably been a while since you’ve had a fire in your fireplace. If your chimney is dirty or clogged, it can be a significant hazard. 

Inspect Your Extinguishers

If there is a fire in the home, you want to be sure you can put it out. Extinguishers go bad over time, so check them out before you need them. 

Test Your Alarms

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can also wear down over time. While they will alert you if you need to change the battery, it helps to inspect them further, just to be safe. 

Although these 10 tips are useful, don’t forget to go over your homeowner’s insurance policy as well. It only takes a few minutes on the phone to make sure that you have the coverage you need to be safe this season.  Give us a call at 800-624-3339 or click here to use our contact form.

Insurance Tips Every College Student Should Know

Insurance Tips for College Students

Whether you are a college student getting ready to head off to college or you are a parent preparing to send your son or daughter to the university, insurance may not be something that immediately comes to mind.  There are so many other things to handle!  A percentage of people think about health insurance, but there are four other types of insurance that you definitely need to consider:

  • Personal Property / Homeowners Insurance
  • Auto / Vehicle Insurance
  • Identity Theft Insurance
  • Renters Insurance

Why Should a College Student Consider Their Coverage

College is a lot different than it used to be. Students now have expensive electronics such as tablets, phones and computers that they’ll be taking with them in addition to their clothes. It’s important to protect these items and yourself from theft. Depending on your insurance policy, students may have limited coverage under their parents’ insurance. Therefore, you need to do a quick review with your agent to make sure that you have adequate Tennessee insurance coverage while in school for both personal property as well as for car insurance.

There are additional factors that should be considered as well.  Will your student have a vehicle or not?  How does that affect your rates?  Do you have adequate coverage or too much?  What about damage to the dorm or dwelling?  What if my student’s identity is stolen?  If you wait until you need insurance to know the answers to these questions, it will be too late.

A review can be as quick as a phone call, so there’s no reason to put it off.  Come back over the next few days.  In our next few posts, we will be discussing each of the four types of insurance that you need to review and what you should consider.  We will also include some general insurance tips to help you while you (or your student) are at college.

Back to School Safety: Bullying and School Life

Back to School Safety Guide

Unfortunately, these days, there is a lot of talk about bullies and how they can impact your child’s ability to learn and enjoy school. This is an issue that has to be discussed beforehand so that your kid can be prepared if he or she experiences it.

Here are some guidelines to follow.

  • Tell a teacher when you’re being bullied.
  • Try to avoid the bully whenever possible.
  • As a parent, you may want to try talking to the bully or his/her parent to find out why he or she is acting out.
  • Don’t ignore the issue and hope that it goes away.

Another crucial element to this is letting your child know that he or she can talk to you about school problems at any time. Whether it’s bullying, classwork, or stress that comes from school experiences, it’s imperative that your kid feel comfortable talking to you about it. Now is the time when he or she will be developing a social persona, so you want to cultivate a nurturing and supportive environment. If your child feels as if he or she can’t talk to you, then it will only lead to bigger problems such as depression and anxiety.

Back to School Safety: General School Preparation Guidelines

Back to School Safety Guide

While safety and security are essential for both you and your children, there are plenty of different ways that you can make this time easier for everyone involved. Rather than getting stressed and trying to deal with problems as they arise, it’s so much better to plan ahead and stay on top of things before they get out of hand.

So, with that in mind, here are some general tips to make going to back to school as smooth a transition as possible.

  • Train your kids to wake up on time. Over the summer, it’s easy to get into bad habits with a wonky sleep schedule. Thus, a great way to minimize the pain and frustration that comes from waking up early, start your kids on a mock school routine a couple of weeks before their first class.
  • Meet their teachers. It’s always a good idea to get a sense of who will be interacting with your child on a regular basis. During these meetings, you can not only see where your kids will be learning, but you can discuss any potential concerns that you may have before classes start.
  • Keep them healthy. Most kids these days have terrible diets, and many schools can’t afford to offer nutritious lunches to make up for that fact. As a result, your child may be eating a lot of high-calorie fatty foods and sugary drinks. Teach your little one how to eat properly and plan meals ahead of time to avoid instilling bad habits.
  • Organize their clothes and school outfits. Shopping for new apparel is an essential part of the back to school process, but you don’t want to struggle to get your kids out the door because they can’t find their favorite shirt. If your children are old enough to start managing their clothes on their own, then now’s the time to show them how to stay organized. Otherwise, help them out so that you can save time and frustration in the morning.
  • Pay attention to their backpack. Unfortunately, kids will wind up having to carry tons of books around on a daily basis. If possible, get a backpack that provides additional support so that it doesn’t put too much pressure on their shoulders. Also, pay attention to how they pack it so that they don’t miss anything for class (such as homework or supplies).

More Back to School Safety to Come

Our focus this month is all about school safety. Like and Follow us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter to keep up when we release new tips!

Back to School Safety: Review Your Insurance – Auto Insurance

Back to School Safety Guide

When it comes to reviewing your policy, be sure to contact Bob Johnson Insurance today. We are more than happy to go over your coverage and see where you may need additional protection. Since your teenager likely doesn’t have his or her own policy, it’s imperative that you make sure that he or she is covered before sending him or her off to school.

When doing a review, there are two common areas that may need to be updated or amended.  Today, we are discussing auto insurance.

Reviewing Auto Insurance

Is the car your teen is using under your name? If so, then you want to be sure that any accidents or damaged are covered and won’t severely affect your rates. If your college student is earning money, it can be a good idea to have him or her pay for an individual policy. This will not only help you out financially, but it will provide your teen with valuable experience and responsibility.

Some other elements of auto insurance to pay attention to during your review can include:

  • Student discounts
  • Out of state coverage
  • Driving someone else’s car
  • Good driver discounts

In the end, it’s better to have more coverage than you think you need so that you’re prepared for any eventuality. You don’t want to wait until something happens to discover that your teen is not covered under your policy. It’s always best to be safe than sorry.

How Long Does it Take?

Reviewing your coverage takes just a few minutes on the phone.  Give us a call at 865-922-3111. We can let you know your options, answer any questions you may have and point out any discounts for which you might be able to take advantage.

More Back to School Safety to Come

Our focus this month is all about school safety. Like and Follow us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter to keep up when we release new tips!