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Emergency Preparedness Winter Car Kit

Having the proper items in your car during the winter can be the difference between life and death during a critical situation. The items listed below can help provide comfort and save your life. Along with the following items, you’ll want to be sure you have a fully charged phone before hitting the road. This can also save your life should an emergency arise.

The Basic Supplies:

These are the essentials. Remember that along with these basic supplies, you’ll need an adequate amount of gas. It’s important to check that your antifreeze is at the proper level as well.

  • Blankets – Even having one extra blanket can provide much-needed warmth and protection.
  • Extra clothes such as mittens, socks, hats, and jackets
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Bottled water
  • A proper first aid kit with all the supplies that come in it. If you use something in your kit, replace it as soon as you get a chance.
  • Windshield cleaner
  • A simple multi-tool such as a Swiss Army Knife or a Leatherman Tool
  • Road flares or warning triangles

Extra Supplies:

If your area experiences extreme winter weather, it’s a good idea to keep these extra supplies on hand as well.

  • Non-clumping cat litter for gaining traction in the snow
  • A folding shovel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Small fire extinguisher (Class B or C for your car)
  • Tire changing essentials such as a jack and lug wrench
  • Paper maps
  • Compass
  • Snacks such as canned nuts or granola bars
  • Ice scraper
  • Tow strap or chain
  • Matches or lighter

 

You can pick from the many options on the market for emergency car kits, or you can take the above listed items and make your own based on your needs. Always remember to check these items and make sure they are still in working order every month. If something needs replaced, do so immediately, as you never know when you may need your emergency kit. Don’t forget to contact Spencer Insurance Agency at (215) 885-2200 or on our website to review your auto insurance policy before you hit the road!

Chimney Safety Tips

Chimney Safety Tips

Leaning toward an old wood-burning fireplace to help cut your heating bill this winter? Before you spark a log you should know, fireplaces and chimneys are involved in 42% of all home-heating fires. So before you use your fireplace, ensure you know how to properly use it and follow these safety tips.

  1. Hire a chimney sweep – The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be swept at least once a year to remove soot and debris. A professional chimney sweep should also inspect for any damages.
  2. Cap your chimney – Chimney caps will keep rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering your chimney. Repair or replace a missing or damaged cap.
  3. Burn seasoned hardwood – Choose dense wood that has been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least 6 months.
  4. Don’t overload – Small fires generate less smoke and less creosote buildup. Large, hot fires can potentially crack your chimney.
  5. Build it right – Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Use kindling instead of flammable liquids to start the fire.
  6. Use a spark guard. Spark guards will prevent embers from shooting out of the fireplace. A guard in front of the fireplace is especially important when the room is unoccupied.

Winter is coming. It will be here before we know it. Get everything prepared for the cold months now before it’s too late! Stay warm and safe all winter long. Another good tip is to contact Spencer Insurance Agency at (215) 885-2200 or online at https://spencerinsurance.com/ to review your homeowners insurance policy before you strike a match.

Source: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/fireplaces/21018422/how-to-prep-your-fireplace-for-the-cold-season

Auto Insurance Points; Everything You Need to Know

Unless you grew up in one of the 9 states that doesn’t use the points system on drivers, you are probably well aware of what points are. Points are applied to your license when you are pulled over for a driving violation and can vary depending on the infraction. Going over the speed limit? Probably a fine, and maybe a couple points on your license. Going 92 miles an hour on the highway in the middle of a rainstorm? You’re looking at a hefty fine and at least 4 points on your license. After a certain number of points, your license will be suspended.

The points system affects more than just your license, it also affects your auto insurance rates. If you go to get auto insurance and get a quote before they check your driving record, you will probably be shocked when they read off the rate you will actually be paying. This is especially true if you have a driving record that could be considered less than sterling. Fortunately, we can offer some tips on how points can affect you.

  1. Not all tickets end up on your record. Usually, a first-time, non-moving offense will not end up on your record. The police department would have to report you to the DMV and usually it is not worth their time to report someone not wearing a seatbelt. Unfortunately, unless you have only recently been driving, your first offense was probably during your teen years. That luck might be used up by the second or third offense.
  2. 9 states (as of 2018) don’t use a points system. Those nine states are Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming. You may not accumulate points in those states, but your infractions will be monitored.
  3. Driver’s License points and insurance points are not necessarily the same. Your premium may be high because of insurance points used by the company itself rather than the points on your license. This may include where you live or the kind of car you drive. Consult with your agent to learn exactly what the issue is.
  4. You can remove insurance points with an approved driving course. Traffic court can sometimes offer driving courses that keep offenses off your record. This is a great option that you should take if given the opportunity.
  5. You should know your driving record. The insurance company will probably check your driving record when putting together your policy. This is usually when the policy rate jumps up. Knowing your driving record will help you gauge whether or not you will experience a premium increase.
  6. You’d be surprised what raises your premiums. Poor credit can raise your premiums. If you live on a busy street, your premium could rise because your street is considered “high risk.” Specific cars can also increase your premiums. These cars are luxury cars, convertibles, sports cars, and vehicles that do poorly in safety tests.
  7. Major violations will definitely raise your premiums – a lot. If you have violations for racing, DUI, impaired driving, reckless driving, refusing a breath test, hit and run, failing to stop for police, or driving on a suspended license, you will experience hundreds of dollars’ difference in your premiums, an arrest on your record, and possibly being cancelled by your insurer.
  8. Small violations may not affect your premium. Minor infractions may not show up on your record, but even if they do they may not affect your rate. These include failure to yield, speeding, improper passing, expired license, no proof of insurance, broken tail lights, not displaying license plate, noise violations, texting, or tailgating. This depends on each state’s particular laws about these items.
  9. It is difficult to determine how much your premiums will increase by. There is no way to know how much your premium will increase by after a ticket. Every company is different.
  10. Some offenses can follow you for years! DUI’s can follow you for 10 years. If insurers check back that far, you may find something from your past negatively affecting you even though you are a different person entirely. It’s important to know how your insurer calculates points.

Hopefully, this list gives you a good overview of how points can affect your insurance. If you are in the market for good insurance, Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc. can help you find discounts, affordable rates and solid coverage from one of their multiple carriers! Give us a call at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online! https://spencerinsurance.com/

Check out Janet Hunt on The Balance for the inspiration behind this blog post! https://www.thebalance.com/what-you-should-know-about-insurance-points-4083258

 

 

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall is a beautiful time of year. The air is cool and crisp, and the leaves are changing colors. As homeowners, it can also be a very busy time of year! Take advantage of the moderate weather to repair any damages to your home before the first frost sets in.

Taking the time to care for the exterior of your home in the fall will help your home last through the winter. Check the foundation for cracks. If you have cracks in your foundation, repair them before it’s too late. Caulking around windows, door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your home can help prevent heat escaping in the colder months. Install storm windows and doors and remove screens. Check exterior walls for peeling or blistering paint. If left untreated, the siding itself will deteriorate. Ensure your roof is in good shape. If there are some missing or loose shingles, get them repaired or replaced!

Interior maintenance is just as important. Properly sealing and insulating your home can save you up to 10% on your annual energy bill. Applying weather stripping and caulk to windows and doors is a simple and easy way to help keep the heat in and the cold out – don’t forget about the basement windows! Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Properly working heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems. Change the direction of your ceiling fans to redistribute warm air from the ceiling. Test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep extra batteries on hand.

Now that the house is taken care of, it’s time to move back out into the yard. Prepare your yard equipment for storage by draining the fuel from all gas-operated equipment. Check to see if all your snow equipment is in proper working order and ready for the first snowfall. Drain garden hoses and store them inside. Also shut off outdoor water valves to keep them from freezing. Take some time to organize your garage. Clean and store your summer garden tools, and move your rakes, gloves, and winter equipment within easy reach.

If you are a homeowner, keeping up with home maintenance is important! This is just a short list of maintenance items that should be completed during the fall.  For more Fall tips go to our Fall Section of our website. Take the time to call Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc. at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/ to review your homeowners insurance policy so you know your home is fully protected for the next season!

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/1499-fall-home-maintenance-checklist/

Routine Vehicle Maintenance

Cars are essential to our everyday lives. When you need to head to work or the market, you walk out to your car and expect it to start right up. To keep your car running and avoid potentially costly breakdowns, you should get into the habit of conducting these regular vehicle maintenance tasks.

  1. Change the oil and oil filter. Oil lubricates the engine keeping important parts from grinding against each other. If not changed regularly, oil can also damage your engine by accumulating contaminants and causing friction.
  2. Check your tires monthly. The only thing separating your car from the road is your tires. They must be properly inflated to do their job. To find out how much air pressure your tires should have, find the placard located on the driver’s door jam or look in the owner’s manual.
  3. Regularly inspect all other fluids. Motor oil isn’t the only fluid your car uses to help run properly. Your car has brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, washer fluid, and power steering fluid. You can check the transmission fluid with the dip stick and the all other fluids should be able to be inspected manually by removing the related covers and visually inspecting the levels. (CAUTION: Never remove the radiator cap! You risk being scalded. Check the coolant in the nearby transparent refill container.)

4. Don’t forget the windshield wipers, the battery, and the air filter! If the windows streak or the wipers screech when they are used, replace them. If the battery terminals are showing some corrosion, use a wire brush with a solution of water and baking soda to remove it. Your air filter may need replaced once or twice a year. Check your air filter every time you change the oil.

This is just a short list of vehicle maintenance items. If you are uncomfortable performing these tasks, visit your local auto mechanic. They will be happy to assist you! One last item that should be inspected regularly, your auto insurance policy! Give Spencer Insurance Agency a call at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/ to review your auto insurance policy.

 

Source: https://www.idrivesafely.com/defensive-driving/trending/routine-vehicle-maintenance-101-what-you-should-know

 

Factors That Impact Life Insurance

Life insurance is a simple concept to understand. You pay the premium; your loved ones get the benefit when you die. Like all types of insurance, life insurance premiums are calculated based on the risk that you will die prematurely. This is why young people pay less than someone in their 30s or 40s. The risk is small and their premium reflects that. But besides age, what else affects your premiums? That question is bit more complicated to answer.

At the most basic level, there are two types of risk factors that will determine your premium (Note: this is for term life insurance rates only). The two are “personal risk factors” and “size, term, & type of policy.” Personal risk factors tend to be things like age and gender. The other is self-explanatory – it depends on the size and term of the policy.

Let’s focus on personal risk factors. Personal risk factors usually break down into nine categories, all of which can affect the price you pay for insurance. Those nine factors are age, gender, smoker/non-smoker, personal health conditions, personal health history, family health history, occupation, hobbies & travel, and lifestyle. Some of these may affect you, most of them may not. Some states don’t use gender to determine rates, some do. It’s important to know which ones affect you before worrying about whether or not they will. Let’s break these down in groups of three.

First three up are age, gender, and smoker/non-smoker. The younger you are, the longer your potential life will be. The biggest difference between a 20-year-old and a 50-year-old is that one of those people is going make it another 40 years and it’s probably going to be the former. This is the reason that people urge young people to buy life insurance plans: you will save tons of money in the long run. The second factor, gender, plays a significant role in premium calculations and, in many cases, works in tandem with age. Women tend to live longer than men. That’s a fact. This matters because so long as you are alive, you are paying premiums. More premiums are a good thing for the insurance company. Women live longer and can pay premiums for a longer period of time. This means they get charged less. This makes a difference when you recognize that most men live to around 75, while most women live to around 80. That means a 25-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman will have about 50 years in them before they die. That’s a big deal when it comes to insurance rates. Finally, smoking status. This is, by far, one of the biggest risk factors and the one that is most in your control. A smoker will pay two to three times more than a non-smoker when it comes to premiums.  Also, quitting does not automatically put you into the non-smoker category. You have to be tobacco-free for a couple of years to be considered a lower risk factor.

The next group is health conditions, personal health history, and family health history. Health conditions refer to current health problems you are dealing with. Examples include high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, or hypertension. Getting yourself into good health can help you avoid the costs that are incurred. Personal health history refers to problems you have had, but no longer deal with. This could be cancer, stroke, heart disease, or depression. These conditions tend to resurface, so the chance that they may return puts you at greater risk of dying sooner. The last one is family history. If one of your parents died of a health condition before the age of 60, you can expect to see your rate increase because of the chance that you may also develop the same condition.

The final group is occupation, hobbies & travel, and lifestyle. Occupation usually will not be a concern for most people. However, the occupational hazard difference between a logger and a blogger is significant. If you work a particularly dangerous job, your premiums will be higher. Up next is hobbies & travel. In most case, your hobbies will not affect you. If your hobbies include things that tend to result in accidental death, then you’re asking for someone to see you as a risk. The same goes for travel. Traveling to Italy to indulge in fine food and drink is a lot different than going to the Middle East to be a translator for the Army.

When it comes to the size and term of the policy, the larger or longer it is, the more you will pay. That’s pretty simple. The longer the policy is around, the greater chance the company will have to pay you out. That could cost them a lot of money depending on how long the policy lasts. In any case, all these factors should be taken into consideration when shopping for a policy. If you’re looking for an affordable policy from someone who can guide you through the process, look no further than Spencer Insurance Agency for all your life insurance needs.  You can give us a call at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/ and we will be happy to assist you. Go here to get an immediate term insurance quote.

 

Homeowners Insurance Facts

When you decide you want to buy your first home, homeowners insurance may not be the first thing you think about. However, most mortgage lenders require you to have homeowners insurance before they will approve your loan. There are a few things you should know about homeowners insurance.

When you decide you want to buy your first home, homeowners insurance may not be the first thing you think about. However, most mortgage lenders require you to have homeowners insurance before they will approve your loan. There are a few things you should know about homeowners insurance.

Certain losses are excluded from most homeowner’s insurance policies. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover floods or earthquakes. If you want coverage for flood or earthquake damage, you will need separate policies for those. If you are in a flood zone, your mortgage lender may require you to purchase flood insurance.

We all know that our credit score is important for many things. Did you know it can also affect your homeowner’s insurance premium? Some states have banned this practice; however, in most cases your credit score can affect your insurance premium. The better your credit rating, the lower your premium. So while you’re spiffing up your credit rating to get a good deal on your mortgage loan, you should maintain a good rating to save money on your homeowners insurance.

Poor home maintenance may cause a claim to be denied. Not all damages are covered by homeowners insurance. If the damage that occurred to your home is due to your failure to properly maintain your home, your claim may be denied. When it comes to home maintenance, don’t be a procrastinator!

While you are living in your new home, you will acquire new valuables, personal possessions, and may do some home improvements. You should always report these to us right away so we can ensure your coverage is sufficient for your investment

.

Enjoy your new home, you deserve it! If you have any questions regarding homeowners insurance, please contact Spencer Insurance Agency at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/.

 

Source: https://www.hsh.com/first-time-homebuyer/facts-about-home-insurance.html

Beat the Heat

The dog days of summer have arrived. Escaping the heat can seem impossible some days, especially if you don’t have an air conditioner! Try some of these easy hacks to beat the heat and stay cool!

  1. Chill your beverages in a hurry by running a paper towel under cold water, wrapping it around your drink, and then put it in the freezer. Within 15 minutes or less your beverage will be chilled to perfection!
  2. Get a good night’s sleep by freezing your pillow case. It may sound strange, but freezing you pillow case for 10 minutes before bed can give you a nice cool pillow to help you doze off. Keep a backup pillow case in the freezer for a quick switch if you wake up in the middle of the night!
  3. Make your own personal air conditioner by placing a bowl of ice in front of a fan. As the ice melts the fan will blow the cool air towards you!
  4. Keep your windows closed! Nearly 30% of unwanted heat enters your home through the windows. Putting shades, curtains, blinds, or shutters over your windows can reduce the indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees!
  5. If you have an air conditioner, turn on your ceiling fan while your AC is running. The ceiling fan can double the cooling effect. While the AC lowers the temperature, the fan circulates the cool air throughout the room.

We all need to keep our cool in this summer heat! Not only for comfort, but also for our safety. Visit https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html to learn the signs of heat related illnesses so you or a loved one can identify them and get the help you need! Stay cool, stay safe, and enjoy the sunshine! If you have any questions, you can contact Spencer Insurance Agency at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/ 

 

/www.bobvila.com/slideshow/12-clever-hacks-to-help-you-beat-the-summer-heat-50305#keep-doors-and-windows-closed-when-you-re-not-home

Collector Car Insurance

There is nothing more stunning than seeing a classic car rolling down the road. If you are a proud classic car owner you want to do everything you can to protect your investment. You keep it clean and well maintained, but do you have the proper insurance for your beloved classic?

Traditional auto insurance policies usually cover your car up to its actual cash value, which equals its replacement cost minus depreciation. Collector car insurance usually covers your classic vehicle for an agreed, or guaranteed, value that is mutually agreeable to you and your insurance company. Collectible cars generally increase in value, especially if they are well maintained and/or restored. Everyday automobiles generally decrease in value over time. So it is important to have the right insurance coverage for your classic car!

How do you know if your car is eligible for collector car insurance? Insurance companies require that a collectible car not be used as a primary driving vehicle. Insurance companies will also place a maximum annual mileage restriction. This restriction can vary from state to state, but generally the mileage cannot exceed 7,500 miles per year. You can only use your classic vehicle for pleasure driving or a hobby activity such as participating in a parade or attending a classic car show.

Spencer Insurance Agency loves our classic cars and we know you do too! If you have any questions regarding collector car insurance, please give us a call at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/ and we will be happy to assist you.

 

 

Source: https://www.valuepenguin.com/classic-car-insurance

ATV Safety Tips

Hitting the trails on your ATV with a group of friends or your family can be fun and stress relieving! Having fun may be your goal, but safety needs to be your priority while riding. The number of ATV related accidents and injuries in 2017 was a staggering 15,000! To help avoid being injured while using your ATV follow these safety tips     !

  1. Protective Equipment: Always were a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
  2. Trails: Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and where permitted by law. Stick to the trails!
  3. Don’t Drink and Ride: Never ride an ATV under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  4. Passengers: While on a designated single-rider ATV, never carry a passenger. Never carry more than 1 passenger on an ATV designated for 2 people.
  5. Age Appropriate: Ensure you are always riding an ATV that is right for your age.
  6. Supervise Children: Supervise any rider under the age of 16. ATVs are not toys!
  7. Safety Course: Consider taking an ATV safety course and get safety certified.

We hope you have a great riding season. Enjoy the trails and stay safe! For more information on ATV safety or on ATV insurance, please give Spencer Insurance Agency a call at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/

Sources:

https://atvsafety.org/before-they-ride/

https://www.motoshark.com/atv-accidents-injuries-statistics/