Stay Cool

Wear Appropriate Clothing: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Stay Cool Indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.

  • Keep in mind: Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.

Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.
Pace Yourself: Cut down on exercise during the heat. If you’re not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
Wear Sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.

  • Tip: Look for sunscreens that say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels- these products work best.

Do Not Leave Children in Cars: Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of getting a heat stroke or dying. When traveling with children, remember to do the following:

  • Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.

Avoid Hot and Heavy Meals: They add heat to your body!

Stay Hydrated

  • Warning: If your doctor limits the amount you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.

Replace Salt and Minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.

  • If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.

Keep Your Pets Hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.

Stay Informed

Know the Signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.
Use a Buddy System: When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
Monitor Those at High Risk: Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others:

  • Infants and young children
  • People 65 years of age or older
  • People who are overweight
  • People who overexert during work or exercise
  • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation

Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching

Whether you have a luxury in-ground pool, or plan to blow up an inflatable kiddie pool, it is important to consider the safety implications.
There are an estimated 7.4 million swimming pools and five million hot tubs in residential or public use in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Furthermore, there are over 3,400 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States each year, with more than one out of five drowning victims being a child 14 years old or younger, according to the CDC.
The Insurance Information Institute suggests taking the following steps if you own or are considering purchasing a pool or spa:
  • Contact your town or municipality
    Each town will have its own definition of what constitutes a “pool”, often based on its size and the depth of the water. If the pool you are planning to buy meets the definition, then you must comply with local safety standards and building codes. This may include installing a fence of a certain size, locks, decks and pool safety equipment.
  • Protect Yourself
    Let your insurance company know that you have a pool, since it will increase your liability risk. Pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” and it may be advisable to purchase additional liability insurance. Pool owners may want to consider increasing their liability limit amount to at least $300,000 or $500,000. You may also want to talk to your agent or company representative about purchasing an umbrella liability policy. For an additional premium of about $200 to $300 a year, you can get $1 million of liability protection over and above what you have on your home. If the pool itself is expensive, you should also have enough insurance protection to replace it in the event it is destroyed by a storm or other disaster. And, don’t forget to include the chairs, tables or other furniture around the pool deck.
If you have a pool, you should take the following safety precautions:
  1. Install a four-sided barrier such as a fence with self closing gates to completely surround the pool. If the house forms the fourth side of the barrier, install alarms on doors leading to the pool area to prevent children from wandering into the pool or spa unsupervised. In addition to the fences or other barriers required by many towns, consider creating several “layers of protection” around the pool, in other words setting up as many barriers (door alarms, locks and safety covers) as possible to the pool area when not in use.
  2. Never leave small children unsupervised—even for a few seconds. And never leave toys or floats in the pool when not in use as they may prove to be a deadly temptation for toddlers trying to reach them who might then fall into the pool.
  3. Keep children away from pool filters and other mechanical devices as the suction force may injure them or prevent them from surfacing. In case of an emergency, know how to shut off these devices and clearly post this information so others can do so too.
  4. Ask if pool users know how to swim. Learners should be accompanied by a good swimmer. If you have children, have them take swimming lessons as early as possible. And, do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  5. Check the pool area regularly for glass bottles, toys or other potential accident hazards. Also, keep CD players, radios and other electrical devices away from pools or nearby wet surfaces.
  6. Limit alcohol use around the pool, as drinking alcoholic beverages negatively impacts balance, coordination and judgment—and its effects are further heightened by sun exposure and heat. The CDC reports that alcohol use is involved in up to half of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation.
  7. Clearly post emergency numbers on the phone, in the event of an accident. Keep a first aid kit, ring buoys and reaching poles near the pool. You may also want to consider learning basic water rescue skills, including first aid and CPR training. For additional information, contact the American Red Cross.
Riding a jet ski is probably one of the most exciting things you can do on the water. But the truth of the matter is, many people don’t think before they hop on.  Courtesy of safetyresource.org, here are some tips to help you safely enjoy one of summer’s most fun water activities:
  • You need a life jacket.
  • Use the vehicle’s safety precautions. For some jet skis, that means a lanyard that is placed around the wrist, attaching you to the handlebars of the watercraft. Often referred to as a kill cord, the string operates a kill switch when the operator goes overboard, deactivating your ride. Without a kill cord, your jet ski could continue to operate with out you in control, and hurt someone else in the process.
  • Stay alert. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment once you get a hand of handling the jet ski. But other boats, skiers, divers, or swimmers could be in your general area.
  • Don’t drink and jet. This should be obvious, but it’s not always the case. The possibility of injury just isn’t worth the risk. Of course, the same rules apply while being a passenger, too. Intoxication for anyone involved is just a distraction.
  • Don’t get cocky. So you’ve noticed a passing motor boat and the waves that it has left behind. Using these waves as a ramp or launching point could send you and your jet ski flying in a bad direction, or even worse, upside down.
  • Different models make a difference. Get familiar with the specific jet ski you’re riding, and take it for a test spin with someone who knows what’s up. Never just assume that you’ll “get the swing of it.” Because the scary truth of it all is that one assumption could cost you your life.

You already know kitchen safety is important — but you might not know how frequently kitchen mishaps happen. Did you know that cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires in the U.S.?
Prevent kitchen fires.

  • Play close attention to what you’re doing and to your surroundings.
  • Keep flammable items, such as oven mitts and towels, away from the stove.
  • Store a small fire extinguisher nearby.
  • If a stove top fire starts, turn off the burner. Cover a grease stove top fire with a lid (water can spread the fire).
  • Install smoke detectors, but keep them at least 10 feet from your stove to reduce the chances of false alarms. Test detectors monthly.

Beware of burns.

  • Turn pot handles in so they won’t get knocked.
  • Let microwaved food cool for a minute or two before handling.
  • Remove any lids carefully to avoid steam burns.

Banish bacteria that can make your family sick.

  • Clean your hands before and after handling food.
  • Wash counter tops, cutting boards and utensils with hot soapy water when switching from one food to another.
  • Disinfect counter tops and cutting boards regularly. Use 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach per 1 gallon of water. Let sit for several minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

Store cleaners, soaps and sprays where children and pets can’t get to them.
If you keep them down low, lock them up or use a safety latch. Detergent pods are especially dangerous for kids, who can mistake them for food. If you have kids under age 6, use traditional detergent.

There are a number of benefits to adding a rider to your homeowners insurance policy.
Increased coverage: Most home insurance policies contain “sublimits.” A sublimit is essentially a limit within a limit. For example, you may have a $100,000 limit in personal property coverage for your belongings. But your limit on jewelry may be $2,500. That means if your piece is worth $7,000 and you don’t add a rider for it, your insurance company won’t pay out more than $2,500 on a claim involving that item.
Low or no deductibles: Your personal property coverage may have a high deductible. Riders, though, often have low deductibles or none at all. Let’s say you have a musical instrument worth $3,000, and it’s stolen. If your property deductible is $2,000, then you’ll only receive $1,000 on an insurance claim. But, if you added a rider for that instrument and the rider deductible is $50, then your insurance payout would be $2,950.
Accidental loss coverage: Many basic insurance policies won’t protect you against loss by “mysterious disappearance.” That means if you accidentally lost your wedding ring at the gym, you may not be covered. However, had you scheduled the ring, you would be covered even in the “mysterious disappearance” scenario.

Depending on its age and condition, a car that has been in a major accident generally has less resale value than the same vehicle in pre-crash condition. Even if the car repairs meet the highest quality standards, potential buyers are unwilling to pay as much for a car they know has been previously damaged.
This difference between what the pre-accident car was worth and the market value of the post-repair car is known as diminished value.
Note that diminished value doesn’t apply to all cars that have been damaged and repaired. Older model cars may actually be worth more after an accident because new parts have been substituted for many of the old parts.
Will my insurance company pay for diminished value?
A diminished value loss may or may not be covered, depending on a number of factors, including who was to blame for the accident, coverages provides by your policy and state regulations.
If the accident is your fault
Except in a very few states, the language in the collision section of the standard auto insurance policy clearly excludes coverage for diminished value when the policyholder is at fault in a crash.
That means that if your car policy includes optional collision coverage and you ram your car into a lamppost, your insurer will pay for repairs to the car, minus the deductible. However, in most cases, the company would not compensate you for diminished value.
If the accident was clearly caused by another driver
In all states except Michigan, if an accident is the fault of another driver, you would receive compensation for diminished value. This is because legally the third party has an obligation to make the victim of the accident “whole” again; in this case, to restore the victim’s car to its pre-accident fair market value.
In other words, the at-fault driver’s insurer is responsible for repairing your car and for paying you the difference between the car’s resale value before the accident and after the repair. This cost is usually covered by the liability portion of his or her insurance policy.
If the at-fault driver is uninsured and cannot pay for repairs, receipt of payment will depend on whether you have purchased uninsured motorist’s coverage. About half of the states allow recovery for diminished value under this coverage.
Proof of diminished value
In order to recover the amount by which the car’s value has been diminished (whether under the at-fault driver’s liability policy or under the policyholder’s own uninsured motorist or collision coverage), it is the policyholder’s responsibility to prove the repaired vehicle is worth less than before the accident. Payments may be reduced by the degree to which the policyholder was to blame for the accident.

If you rely on your car, rental reimbursement is an inexpensive and invaluable option that you’ll want to consider adding to your auto insurance policy.
On average, a car is in the repair shop for two weeks after an accident and renting a replacement vehicle for that amount of time can be costly. Many insured drivers are surprised to find out that their auto insurance does not automatically cover the cost of their rental because they’ve overlooked the policy option known as rental reimbursement.
Rental reimbursement coverage is available for a nominal extra amount with almost every auto insurance policy, although the option is often bypassed by those who are shopping for the lowest cost premium.
But there are a number of other ways to save money on auto insurance and, if your car is in the shop for an extended period, rental reimbursement can be a bargain. Even if your accident is another driver’s fault, the details of a claim may take time and you may have to wait get his or her insurance company to agree to pay for your rental car. With your own replacement rental coverage, there’s no waiting.

Collision is commonly confused with comprehensive. They’re both optional coverages and pay to repair or replace your car (if it’s totaled). But they cover separate events. In short, collision covers accidents (other than with animals) and comprehensive covers events that are beyond your control such as theft, vandalism, hitting an animal, fire, glass breakage or an act of nature.
Think of it this way: Collision is colliding with another vehicle or object (other than animals). Comprehensive is all other events. Accidents with animals are covered by comprehensive (and not collision) because these accidents are considered out of your control. Also, you can’t add only collision. You have to add comprehensive first and then collision.

With warmer temperatures arriving earlier than usual, water season is well underway. Whether you’re out on your boat every day or just on weekends, boat insurance should be top of mind during the summer months — and even beyond.
Boat Insurance on the Water
Naturally, you want to protect you’re boat while you’re using it. It’s important, though, to understand the associated coverages to ensure you are properly protected. Choose from standard and specialized coverages, including:
  • Liability, which protects other people and property if you’re responsible for an accident
  • Comprehensive, for incidents such as vandalism, flooding, and fires that may happen to your boat
  • Collision, for instances in which you hit another object and damage your boat
  • Fishing Equipment, which protects your gear on board or while it’s being transported on or off your insured boat
  • Uninsured Boater, which protects you in case an uninsured boat collides with yours.
Boat Insurance off the Water
Protecting your boat while it’s on the water is an easy decision, but what about when it’s not on the water? What about when it’s sitting in a slip or even in your yard?
In fact, nearly 20% of all boat claims are filed between Labor Day and Memorial Day — when boating isn’t at its peak. Most of these claims are filed due to vandalism, theft, fire, or flooding, which can happen at any time, not just during warmer months.
And what about injuries? You’re most likely responsible if someone gets hurt on your boat, but did you know you could be responsible for injuries around your boat, too? If you bypass boat insurance, you won’t have liability coverage to protect you in cases that involve injury, which means you may be responsible for paying someone’s medical bills whether you’re using your boat or it’s sitting unattended.
Whether you store your boat in a marina or in your yard, you may want to rethink any decisions to cancel your boat insurance while it’s not being used.
What to Consider before You Buy Boat Insurance
Before you make any changes, be sure to check your policy and review it with your agent to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. Remember to look at what you have, then purchase boat insurance that covers your way of life. If you own a home, cars, a business, etc., you may want to consider a higher level of boat insurance coverage or an umbrella policy to protect your assets.

The start of summer is the perfect time to gather with family and friends for good food and fun times. This year, celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in a safe way. Our 4th of July safety tips cover a few key summer safety topics to keep you and your family safe this holiday.

Sparkler and Fireworks Safety

More than 50,000 fires are caused by fireworks every year. Take the proper precautions when operating fireworks.

  • Never disassemble or try to make your own fireworks.
  • Don’t point sparklers, or fireworks at yourself or others, especially while they’re being lit.
  • Only light fireworks on the ground and in areas that are dry and fire resistant.
  • Don’t attempt to light multiple devices at the same time.
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparklers.
  • Always keep a portable fire extinguisher close by. Also keep a water hose or buckets of water nearby to put out fires.

Water Activity Safety

As July is one of the hottest months of the year, many families turn to water activities to beat the heat. However, even fun water activities have serious risks if the proper precautions aren’t taken.

  • Review safe boating practices.
  • Never consume alcohol while driving a boat.
  • Before boating, always check that there are enough life preservers on hand for every passenger.
  • Set water safety rules for your family.
  • Pools should be enclosed completely with a fence to restrict access to the area. Consider installing wireless outdoor sensors that will alert you via phone or with a chime inside your home if the sensors are activated.
  • Keep a first aid kit near the pool.

Grilling Safety

July is one of the peak months for grilling fires. Enjoy grilling your favorite meals this summer while also keeping your family safe.

  • Check gas grill hoses for cracks, holes and leaks.
  • Keep children away from grills. Gas leaks, blocked tubes, and propane tanks can be a cause of grill fires and explosions.
  • Never grill indoors, in the garage, in any enclosed area or on a surface that might catch fire.
  • Keep the grill at least two feet away from decks, siding, branches and any outdoor equipment that can catch fire quickly.