According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are an average of 385,500 residential fires every year. While taking out a Homeowners insurance policy with fire insurance coverage will help protect you from the costs incurred from a house fire, following these fire safety tips can help prevent a fire from starting in your home. 

Fire Safety Tip #1: Don’t Smoke Indoors

Smoking indoors can cause more damage than you may realize. Over 18,000 fires are started by smoking materials annually, causing $476 million of property damage. While it’s best not to smoke indoors or on exterior balconies or porches, if you do, be sure to completely extinguish any cigarettes and never smoke when there’s a chance you might fall asleep. 

Fire Safety Tip #2: Keep Your Dryer Clean

It may surprise you but completing common household chores like cleaning the lint trap in your dryer can help prevent fires. In 2010-2014, U.S. fire departments responded to almost 16,000 home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year. In addition to keeping your washer and dryer clean, it’s best to only run them when you will be home to supervise, that way if a fire starts, you can take immediate action. 

Fire Safety Tip #3: Practice Summer Grill Safety

Over 10,000 house fires a year are attributed to grills and fire pits. Whether it’s because people use their grill too close to their home or they use the wrong fire starter to ignite the charcoal grill or fire pit, practicing summer grill safety can help prevent fires from starting. This includes everything from grill placement, making sure your grill is clean, safely disposing of charcoal briquettes, and never leaving your grill on while unattended. 

Fire Safety Tip #4: Don’t Leave Candles Unattended

Candles can create a relaxing ambiance for your home, but unattended candles can be incredibly dangerous. In fact, from 2011-2015, over 8,500 fires a year were started by candles, with $295 million in property damage. Never leave candles in a room unattended, especially if you have children or pets, and always make sure to clear the area around a candle of anything that could possibly ignite, including decorations, curtains, papers, etc. 

Fire Safety Tip # 5: Practice Firework Safety 

Fireworks and sparklers account for roughly 15,000 fires per year, including house fires, vehicle fires, and outdoor fires. To avoid injury and potential fires, it’s important to practice firework safety, including only using legal fireworks, having a designated area for setting off fireworks, only lighting off one firework at a time, only letting responsible adults use sparklers and fireworks, and properly disposing of firework remnants after they’ve been used. 

Fire Safety Tip # 6: Create a Wildfire Defensible Space

While wildfires are powerful and unpredictable, there are safety tips you can try if you live in an area threatened by wildfires to help create a wildfire defensible space, which could prevent the spread of wildfires. To do so, you might consider actions like keeping your lawn and plants watered, clearing away brush and debris, using fire-resistant shrubs and plants, storing firewood away from your home, and keeping your roof and gutters clear of leaves, needles, and debris. You’ll also want to practice additional fire safety if your area is experiencing a drought like nearly half of Washington state.

Smart technology and devices continue to revolutionize how we live. Most people want to stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies. It is estimated that there will be over 73 million smart homes by 2021. So if you want to be one of these trend setters, you will want to read this list of how you can start to make your home a smart home!

  1. The first, and most important, step to making your home a smart home is to get a smart home digital assistant. The two most popular home assistants are Amazon Echo (with Alexa) and Google Home. You can purchase either one of these at www.bestbuy.com 
  2. Adding smart light bulbs is another great way to make your home smarter. Using your smart home digital assistant you can control all the smart lights in your home via voice control or by the push of a button. You can also have different settings for the lighting in each room, and turn lights on and off when you’re not home!
  3. Installing a smart thermostat is a great way to automate the temperature throughout your home and can even save you money on your electric bill! Some smart thermostats can learn your favorite temperatures and even sense when people aren’t home to regulate the temperature.
  4. Replacing your regular doorbell with a smart doorbell is another step to making your home smarter and safer. Smart doorbells come with HD cameras so you can see who is at your door via your mobile device. You can also communicate through your smart doorbell if you need to.
  5. If you hate running the vacuum, you will definitely want a smart vacuum. High quality smart vacuums come with great sensors that allow them to navigate throughout your home and clean autonomously! Some also come with Wi-Fi connectivity so it allows you to control it via your smartphone.

Source: https://thesmarthomer.com/how-to-make-your-home-a-smart-home/

You don’t have to live in a flood-prone area to encounter flooding in your home. This can happen at any time to anyone! Flooding can be caused by more than just natural disasters. If you own a home, you need flood insurance. There are two different types of flood insurance: the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance. The area you live in will determine which type of flood insurance is best for you. 

The National Flood Insurance Program is a flood insurance that is offered through FEMA. If you are located in one of the 21,000 communities that participate in this program, you should be eligible for both types of coverage offered by the National Flood Insurance Program. The two types are building property coverage and personal property coverage. Building property coverage is “replacement cost value” coverage. This means that building property coverage covers the cost to repair or replace your home up to $250,000. Personal property coverage replaces up to $100,000 of items in your home. 

The other type of flood insurance is private flood insurance. Private flood insurance premiums vary based on the insurance companies that offer it. Speak with your insurance agent regarding cost and coverage plans. 

You may qualify for both the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance. Depending on the value of your home and contents in it, you might be better off getting both to protect yourself in the event of a flood. 

Flood Facts: 

  • Just one inch of water can cause more than $20,000 in damage. 
  • It takes just six inches of fast-moving water to sweep an adult off their feet and 12 inches of water to sweep a car away. 
  • Flash floods typically carry water between 10 and 20 feet high. 
  • If you live in a 100-year flood plain, your home has a 1% chance of flooding each year. 
  • Moving water at 10 mph carries the same pressure as wind blowing at 270 mph. 
  • If your home is in a flood plain and you have a federally backed mortgage, you are required by law to carry flood insurance.

Source: https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/need-flood-insurance

If you own a vehicle, you should own an auto insurance policy. Have you ever wondered how the cost of your policy is determined? There are a number of different factors that impact the cost of your auto insurance. While not all companies use the same parameters, we will help you understand what commonly determines the bottom line of your auto policy. 

First, your driving record – The better your record, the lower your premiums. If you have been in accidents or had serious traffic violations, it is likely you will pay higher premiums. How much you use your car is also considered while determining the cost of your premium. The more miles you drive, the more chance for an accident. Even where you park is taken into consideration. Do you park in a secure garage? Or do you park on a street?

Other factors taken into consideration while determining your auto insurance costs are: your age, your gender, the car you drive, and the amount of auto insurance you wish to carry. Mature drivers generally have fewer accidents than beginners. Statistics show that women are involved in fewer accidents, and when women are involved in an accident they tend to be less severe than men. The cost of your car and the amount of insurance coverage you want to carry are major factors in the cost of your policy as well.

Source: https://www.iii.org/article/what-determines-price-my-auto-insurance-policy

🌷Spring is here!  🌸  After a long dark and cold winter, the bright sun and warm winds of the spring are a breath of fresh air! The only downside? All that sunlight helps you see your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks, and dead plants in the flower beds. Get your home in shape for spring with this checklist!

1. Examine Roof Shingles: Examine the roof to see if any shingles were lost or damaged under the winter snow and ice.

2. Check the Gutters: Loose or leaky gutters can cause improper drainage, which can lead to water in your basement or crawlspace during the spring rain.

3. Inspect the Concrete: Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. Fill cracks with concrete crack filler or silicone caulk, power-wash, and then seal the concrete.

4. Remove Firewood: Firewood stored near the home for winter should be moved at least 18 inches off the ground and at least 2 feet from the structure.

5. Check Outside Faucets: Check outside faucets for freeze damage. While you’re at it, check your garden hose for dry rot.

6. Repair Window Screens: You will want to open the windows to let the fresh air in. Ensure small holes and tears are repaired so bugs don’t get in.

This is just a short list of items you can do to prepare your home for the spring. Winter was nice and cozy but, we are ready for the spring sunshine! While you are preparing your home for the spring, it is a great time to review your homeowners insurance! 

Source: https://www.hgtv.com/lifestyle/clean-and-organize/10-home-maintenance-tips-for-spring-pictures

winter driving

Icy weather can create challenging, and potentially dangerous, driving conditions in the winter months. Black ice forms on roadways and can produce a nearly invisible hazard. As temperatures approach freezing, icy conditions can develop, especially on roadways where elevation is higher, and bridges and overpasses. Adjusting your driving behavior for these conditions can help keep you, and others around you, safe on the road this winter.

Recognize Local Forecast

Changing winter weather can present hazards for drivers unaware of the local weather forecast. Knowing when ice may be present is an important first step. If you plan to drive in an area where snow or ice may be possible, check conditions in advance. You can sign up for weather alerts to receive text messages and optional alerts for your area. Just make sure not to use your smartphone while driving, as you will want your full concentration on the road.

Be Aware of Other Drivers

Even if you know the area and are familiar with driving on icy roads, other drivers may not be as experienced or aware of potential dangers. It’s important to increase your following distance to compensate for the increased stopping time it can take for you and other drivers to stop on slick surfaces. Be aware that larger vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, may require even longer to stop in adverse weather conditions.

Practice Caution in All Vehicle Types

While four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, Electronic Stability Control and other safety features can help you to drive more safely in the snow and ice, they may not be able to help drivers to safely drive at regular speed limits during snowy, slushy or icy conditions. The National Safety Council recommends a three-second following distance during ideal road and weather conditions, and suggests slowing down and increasing following distances during adverse weather conditions or when visibility is reduced. Depending on your vehicle and where you live, you may want to consider whether snow tires are necessary in the winter months.

Expect Changing Road Conditions

Even the day after a storm, road conditions can remain challenging as road crews work to clear snow and ice. The roads may be clear in one area and icy in another due to elevation, road treatment and other factors. Freezing and melting precipitation can create new dangers overnight. As air temperatures rise above 32 degrees, roadways may retain pockets of ice that can be dangerous to drivers.

Know Where to Stop Safely

Deciding to stay home or to get off the roads when conditions turn icy can be a smart safety decision. Make sure that you choose a safe spot to wait for conditions to improve. Rest stops and parking lots are generally safer than the side of the road, where limited visibility may create hazards from snowplows and other traffic.

Encourage Safe Driving

If you have friends or family planning to travel during the winter months, offer them a chance to opt-out of travel if conditions appear hazardous. For parents of newer drivers, consider creating rules about driving in snow and ice, and talk with your teens about the importance of changing their driving behavior during the winter months.

Icy conditions may present challenges for drivers, but there are steps that you can take to stay safer and to anticipate potential hazards. Know the local weather forecast, slow your speed, increase your following distance, allow yourself extra travel time and be prepared for unexpected icy conditions on the road. Just like other people’s driving, winter weather can be unpredictable.

But even the safest, most experienced drivers can get into an accident. That’s why it’s important to have the right insurance to protect you and your vehicle. At A.C. Marmo & Sons, Inc., your road safety is very important to us. Call us at 973-340-9100 or visit our website at https://www.acmarmo.com/ to discuss your auto insurance needs.

Source: https://www.travelers.com/resources/auto/safe-driving/how-to-drive-in-icy-conditions

animals-dog-cat-crop

The holidays are filled with joy, laughter and time spent with family and friends. In the bustle of the season, however, it’s easy to forget these festivities aren’t always pet friendly. We at A.C. Marmo & Sons, Inc. know how important our pets can be to the whole family. Here are some reminders to keep your furry friends out of the vet clinic this holiday season, and visit us at https://www.acmarmo.com/ to consider us for your pet insurance needs.

When Decorating

Many traditional holiday decorations can be toxic to your pets. Plants that are typically used such as poinsettias, lilies, ivy, pine, and mistletoe can cause harm to your pets. Christmas trees can also be dangerous. Prevent your dogs or cats from chewing on limbs or pine needle droppings from the tree. Ingested pine needles could get lodged in the intestinal tract, puncturing the lining or bunching together and causing an intestinal obstruction. When decorating the tree, position your tree’s lights and tinsel draping away from the bottom of the tree where pets can get to them. The water base of a Christmas tree contains dangerous chemicals that could harm your pet. Don’t leave candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves, or accidentally knock them over and spill wax or start a fire.

Having Guests

Spending time with family and friends is part of the holiday fun. However; if you have guests coming in and out of your home this may be stressful to pets. Though the excitement of a party may overwhelm some pets, keep your pets inside during cold weather and provide plenty of toys to keep them busy. If needed, provide your cat or dog with a quiet room or crate during holiday parties and/or prepare ahead of time to discourage barking. Inform your visitors ahead of time that you have a pet.

Dinner Time

Holiday meals are a crowd favorite. Many guests may be tempted to share the goodies with your pets. Verify with them what is and is not safe for pets before they do. If your pets will be partaking in your dinner festivities, only share pet safe foods. Foods your pet can safely eat include: pumpkin, green beans, peas, carrots, apples (never the core or seeds), spinach, winter squash, corn (no cobs, as they can cause intestinal blockage), melon, berries, and bananas. Bones should not be given because they easily splinter and can cause serious health problems (even death) for your pet. Chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol should be avoided. Keep foods containing citric acid away from your pets. Foods such as cherry pits, peach pits and apple seeds contain essential oils that have the ability to cause irritations and even central nervous system depression if a significant amount is ingested. Coffee grounds, beans and chocolate-covered espresso beans should be kept out of reach. Raw eggs, grapes and raisons, nuts, onions, and salt should also be kept out of your pet’s food dish.

We hope these tips can help you and your pets have a great holiday season. Visit us at https://www.acmarmo.com/ to view our pet insurance options for peace of mind with your pets safety all year round. Warm wishes from all of us at A.C. Marmo & Sons, Inc.

Sources: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/holiday-safety-tips-pets and https://www.purina.com/articles/dog/care/5-holiday-safety-tips-for-pets and https://www.billingsanimalfamilyhospital.com/holiday-food-for-pets/

Thanksgiving-Feast

Thanksgiving is a time to gather around the dinner table in the company of family and friends and be thankful for all that you have. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, with unattended cooking as the leading contributing factor. Keep your holiday full of laughter and fun by following these safety tips.

  1. Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stove top.
  2. Stay at home when cooking your turkey and check it frequently.
  3. Keep children at least 3 feet away from the hot stove.
  4. Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly!
  5. Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. NEVER throw water on a grease fire!
  6. Always use turkey fryers outdoors and on level ground.

In 2017 the U.S. fire department responded to an estimated 1,600 cooking fires on Thanksgiving. Keeping fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during the holiday will keep you from having a Thanksgiving disaster! A.C. Marmo & Sons, Inc. hopes you and your family have a safe and joyous Thanksgiving!

Sources:
https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Seasonal-fire-causes/Thanksgiving
https://www.dhs.gov/blog/2010/11/24/thanksgiving-safety-tips-us-fire-administration-usfa

Personal Insurance Fairfiel NJ, Vehicle Maintenance, Fall Vehicle Maintenance, Check Vehicle Fluids, Inspect Vehicle Tires

The seasons are beginning to change and before we know it, cold weather will be here! The seasonal changes affect your vehicle in many different ways. Regular vehicle maintenance along with seasonal-specific car care tasks will help your vehicle last throughout the changes.

Check Fluids: This is the most important car care routine. The fluids lubricate, cool, and perform other vital functions to keep your car running. Check all fluids under the hood including: engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid.

Inspect Tires: Tires affect the braking ability, handling performance, and overall safety of your vehicle – needless to say they are important! Measure the tread depth at the outer tread, center tread, and inner tread. If the any of the tread depths reading is 2/32” or less, the tires are a safety hazard and need replaced immediately! You should also check the tire pressure. Ensure the tires are inflated to the specification listed on the placard inside the door jamb.

Check Lights, Blades, and Brakes: Long summer days will be coming to an end soon. Since nighttime comes earlier in the fall, you’re more than likely going to be driving in the dark. Ensure all lights are in proper working order. Snow can fall at any time during the fall and winter months. You will want to ensure your wiper blades and windshield washer are ready for these conditions. We don’t have to remind you the importance of your car’s breaks. Before the snow starts to fall is the perfect time to take a peek at your breaks to ensure they are good to go!

Check Heater: You will want a warm car during the crisp fall mornings and in the winter. Now is a good time to check the heater to see if it is blowing hot air. If it’s blowing cold air, there may be an underlying issue within the cooling system.

Emergency Kit: You never know when you are going to break down on the side of the road or get stuck in traffic during the snowy weather. Having an emergency kit in your car is a great idea to keep you and your passengers safe and warm. Emergency kits should include: extra hats and gloves, blankets, a flash light and batteries, jumper cables, a multipurpose utility tool, and a first aid kit.

As we say “goodbye” to summer and “hello” to fall and winter A.C. Marmo & Sons, Inc. wants to ensure you are safe on the road. While you are making your way through your fall vehicle checklist, give us a call at 973-340-9100 or visit us online at https://www.acmarmo.com/ to review your auto insurance policy. Stay safe, stay warm, and be prepared for anything!

Sources:

https://www.carparts.com/blog/five-fall-car-care-tips/

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/safety-topics/emergency-preparedness/car-kit?

A.C. Marmo & Sons, Fairfield, Fairfield NJ, NJ, New Jersey, Insurance, Auto Insurance, Jumpstart A Car, How To Jumpstart A Car, Dead Car Battery,

Trouble happens. You left your lights on and now you’re stuck with a dead car battery. While learning how to jump start a car can be easy, there are risks in it if done so incorrectly. As your insurance agent, we care about your safety so we put together the following guide on how to properly get you and your car charged and back on the road.

What do you need to jump start a car?

Before you can recharge and get going, you need a few basics: jumper cables and a power source – either a portable jump battery (a jump box) or another vehicle.

Jumper cables are long, thickly insulated cables with toothy clips on one or both ends. These clips are called alligator clips. The clips are distinguished by color, usually red and black, to indicate positive and negative polarity. The red clip is positive. The black clip is negative.

Jump boxes are portable batteries used to jump start a vehicle without connecting to another vehicle and come with special jump cables. These cables connect the jump battery directly to the dead car battery. Road side assistance usually uses a jump box when helping stalled vehicles.

What do you need to know about car batteries to jump start a car?

Car batteries have two larger nubs, called terminals. There is a positive terminal and a negative terminal. Each should be clearly marked. Connecting cables to the right terminal is important to completing the circuit and gives power to the dead battery.

  • Positive terminal – The positive terminal is usually the bigger of the two terminals. It is marked with “POS” or “+”. It will connect to the positive clip on the jumper cable, which is usually red.
  • Negative terminal – The negative terminal on the battery is usually marked with “NEG” or “-”. This will attach to the other clip, which is usually black.

CAUTIONS WHEN JUMP STARTING A CAR: 

  • READ THE OWNER’S MANUAL. Some cars are not recommended for jump starting because they have sensitive circuitry
  • DO NOT JUMP corroded, cracked, leaking, or visibly damaged batteries
  • DO NOT JUMP frozen batteries
  • DO NOT JUMP dry batteries
  • DO NOT TOUCH CLIPS together. This is true when connected, but get in the habit by never touching the clips together.

Protect the donor battery

A quick test that there is enough voltage for the donor, be sure that the car giving the jump start headlights are steady and bright when the car is started. If the headlights dim, that can signal that the battery is low.

How do you use jumper cables to jump start a car from another vehicle?

  1. CHECK BATTERIES: Make sure that the battery giving the jump has enough voltage and is a matching voltage system type (12V, 6V, etc.)
  2. READY CARS: Put both cars in park or neutral, turn the ignitions off, and put on the parking brake.
  3. OPEN THE HOOD of each car.
  4. ATTACH ALLIGATOR CLIPS to the terminals in the following order:
    • Red to Dead – Connect red, or positive, clip to the positive terminal on the battery of the dead car.
    • Red to Donor – Connect the red, positive, clip to the positive terminal on the donor battery on the other car.
    • Black to Donor – Connect the black clip to the negative terminal of the donor car.
    • Black to Metal – Connect the black clip to an unpainted metal part of the dead car that is not directly next to the battery. One of the metal struts that hold the hood open is a good place to clip the second black, or negative, clip.
  5. START THE DONOR CAR so that the battery can supply power to the dead battery.
  6. IDLE the donor car, allowing it to run for a few minutes.
  7. TEST the interior light of the car being jump started. If it goes on, there may be enough power.
  8. START the dead car.

After the car is jump started: 

Unclip the clips in the reverse order you connected them:

    • The black clip on the unpainted metal
    • The black clip from the negative terminal
    • Red clip from the donor car
    • Red clip from the dead car’s battery

If the jump works and your car starts, don’t shut off your engine! Drive around for at least 15 minutes to recharge your battery. If the car won’t start the next time you use it, the battery isn’t holding a charge and needs to be replaced.

Watch these steps for jump starting a car from Safe2Drive.

At A.C. Marmo & Sons, Inc., your road safety is very important to us. Call us at 973-340-9100 or visit our website at https://www.acmarmo.com/ to discuss your auto insurance needs. We can provide coverage from many insurance carriers so you receive the insurance for your budget and needs!

Source: https://www.idrivesafely.com/defensive-driving/trending/how-jump-car-simple-steps-bring-your-car-battery-back-life and https://www.dummies.com/home-garden/car-repair/how-to-jump-start-a-car/