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Identity Theft- can happen to anyone!

Phones-Reveal-Identity-Theft-Infographic

Reporting Identity Theft

go to www.idtheft.gov and report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Or, you can call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261. That website is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you deter, detect and defend against identity theft.

 

Tips for Protecting Electronic Transactions

Online transactions are a great way for thieves to get your personal information. Take the following precautions to protect yourself from online thieves:

  • ·         Don’t provide personal information on any Web site unless you are certain that it is a secure site. When shopping online and entering credit card information, always make sure that the Web site begins with https:// and includes a locked padlock icon.
  • ·         When entering personal information online, even on well-known Web sites, watch for signs that you’ve been redirected to a “cloned” replica site where your data can be captured without your knowledge. Such signs include odd error messages, unexpected page design or content, or other strange site behavior.
  • ·         Never open spam and other e-mail from unknown sources — it may contain viruses or other programs that make your computer vulnerable to intrusion.
  • ·         If you receive an email from a financial institution — even your own bank — never provide personal or account data. It’s always best to contact your bank directly and provide information in person or over the phone.
  • ·         Install and activate a firewall on your home computer to keep hackers out — especially if you connect to the Internet by DSL or cable modem. Install virus protection and other security software, and keep it updated.
  • ·         Before disposing of a computer or hard drive, remove personal information data using a strong “wipe” utility program. Do not rely on the “delete” function to remove files containing sensitive information.
  • ·         Always store personal files and data securely in your home.

Identity Theft and your Social Security #- from the SS Administration: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10064.pdf

Opt-Out Options

One way to protect yourself from identity theft is to opt out of mailings, e-mails and telephone offers. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to opt-out of receiving pre-screened credit card offers. All three major credit bureaus use this same toll free number.

Remove your name from many national direct email lists through the Direct Marketing Association website or write to:

Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY11735-9008

Opt-out of national telephone marketers through the Direct Marketing Association (telephone preference) website or write to:

Direct Marketing Association Telephone Preference Service
P.O. Box 9014
Farmingdale, NY11735-9014

 

Order your Free Credit Report

Consumers can obtain free copies of their credit reports annually, one from each of the three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. You can contact the credit bureaus directly for a copy of your report:

To order a free copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus, visit annualcreditreport.com.

June 19 is Flag Day- do you know your flag etiquette?

The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. They are:

  • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
  • The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard
  • The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
  • The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.

When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

Displaying the Flag Outdoors
When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.

When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag – of a state, community, society or Scout unit – the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.

When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag’s union should be farthest from the building. http://www.usflag.org/flagetiquette.html

When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor – to its own right.
..The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.
..No other flag ever should be placed above it.
..The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.

When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.

 

More on Raising & Lowering the Flag, Displaying the Flag Indoors, Parading and Saluting the Flag, the Flag in Mourning, the Pledge of Allegiance

Home Based Business- are you covered?

Unsure whether your policy has coverage? Ask us!

 

Slightly more than half of U.S. businesses — 51.6 percent — were home-based, according to the 2007 Survey of Business Owners (SBO), conducted by the U.S. Census. Only 6.9 percent of these home-based respondent businesses had $250,000 or more in sales and receipts, while 57.1 percent brought in less than $25,000. (For further information see the U.S. Census release.)

Whether you’re doing medical billing, building birdhouses in your garage, running a day care center, auctioning art on eBay or any one of the myriad of other types of businesses people run from their homes, you may not have adequate insurance.

Many people think their homeowners policy is all they need. But a typical homeowners policy may not provide enough coverage. The usual limit is $2,500 for your business equipment while at home and $250 when it’s off the premises.

Most homeowners policies specifically exclude business liabilities. Even though your at-home business may involve only yourself working just part time, you could still have liability risk. For example, someone may come to your home for a business purpose–such as delivering materials–and sustain an injury on your premises for which they believe you are responsible. Your homeowners policy would probably not cover the damages.

http://www2.iii.org/small-business-guide/insurance-for-specific-businesses/home-based-businesses.html

Boating Safety….

“Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket,” said Virgil Chambers, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. “It’s important that everyone wears a life jacket while on the water. There’s no reason why you, your family and friends, can’t have fun on the water while also choosing to always wear a life jacket.”

  • The majority of fatalities occur involving boats of less than 26′, in calm water with waves less than 6” and in light wind (0-6 mph), during the months of June and July, on a Saturday, between 2:30pm -6:30pm.
  • In 2013 the Coast Guard counted 4,062 accidents that involved 560 deaths, 2,620 injuries and approximately $39 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. Compared to 2012, the fatality rate decreased 13%, the number of accidents decreased 10% and the number of injuries decreased 12.7%
  • 77% of all fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those, 84% were not wearing a life jacket. Eight out of every ten boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length.
  • Only 20% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction.
  • Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 16% of the deaths.
  • Twenty two children under age thirteen lost their lives while boating in 2013. 36% of the children who died in 2013 died from drowning. 62% of those who drowned were NOT wearing a life jacket as required by state and federal law.

 Safe Boating Quick Quiz

Take a boating safety class

Ensure the boat is safe

Ensure the people are safe

  • Know how to swim. If you don’t know how, learn.
  • Keep lifejackets visible and accessible.
  • A child under 13 years of agemustwear a PFD except when the child is below deck in an enclosed cabin or the vessel is docked or at anchor.
  • Each person on board a personal watercraft must wear a PFD.
  • All persons being towed behind a PWC on water skis or any other device must wear a USCG–approved PFD. Ski belts are not USCG–approved.
  • In order for a PFD to be legal, it must be: U.S. Coast Guard-approved; in good condition and of the proper size; readily accessible.
  • All vessels must carry one wearable (Type I, II, III, or V) U.S. Coast Guard–approved PFD for each person on board or being towed.
  • In addition to the above requirement, vessels 16 feet in length or longer (except a canoe or kayak) must have one Type IV USCG–approved PFD on board and readily accessible.
  • Dress appropriately (layers, avoid cotton, hat/sunglasses) (air temp + water temp <120, may want wetsuit)
  • Pack appropriate provisions- water, food, spare clothing, sunscreen, raingear, toilet paper, trash bag, first aid kit, rope, knife, whistle/horn, flashlight

Ensure the waters are safe

  • Learn “the rules of the road”….. and obey them!
  • Know the weather predictions to plan appropriately. http://www.boatingsafety.com/weather/
  • Know the water conditions. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/in/nwis/rt
  • Always have a float plan and leave it with a reliable person who can notify the Coast Guard, should you not return as scheduled.
  • Don’t overdo your boating fun. In 3 hours of normal boating, the noise, motion, sun, wind and glare can frequently double an individual’s reaction time.
  • Stay Sober While Boating- Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in all states and is a violation of Federal law. You are assumed to have consented to a field breath test of blood alcohol content if requested by a marine patrol officer whenever you: operate a boat or PWC on Indiana waters.
  • Know when/how to file an accident report- You are required to submit an accident report to the IN Department of Natural Resources if you are involved in a boating accident in the state of Indiana in which: someone dies or disappears; a person is injured or requires medical treatment; Property damage exceeds $200.

Personal Water Craft

  • According to Indiana law, while towing a person behind a boat or PWC you must: Only do so during daylight hours: Have a person in addition to the boat operator, observing the towed person(s) at all times; Make sure all persons being towed are wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD.
  • According to Indiana Code 14-15-11, effective January 1, 1996, all motorboat or PWC operators must have a valid drivers license to operate on all Indiana public waters.
  • If you operate your motorboat while intoxicated, recklessly, or break the PWC laws, you could have points assessed against your drivers license.
  • Each person on board a person water craft must wear a PFD.

 

State of Indiana specifics

  • An Indiana certificate of registration is required to operate a vessel legally on public waters unless the vessel is non-motorized (vessels using an electric trolling motor require registration).
  • All privately owned, motorized and non-motorized boats moored or operating on state park, state forest or reservoir lakes in Indiana must have a lake permit displayed on the boat.
  • Indiana law states that a person 15 years old who does not have a driver’s license must successfully complete a boater education course approved by the Department of Natural Resources and have onboard an I.D. issued by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to legally operate a motorboat greater than 10 hp or PWC.
  • On Indiana waters (including the open waters of Lake Michigan), a person who operates a boat at greater than ten miles per hour, between sunset and sunrise, commits a Class C infraction.

Our Environment -The natural beauty of our waters attracts many people to boating. Yet some boaters still dump their garbage into the water. Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Make it boat policy that no trash is discarded overboard. Federal law prohibits the discharge of any plastic trash, and restricts the overboard disposal of other shipboard trash.
  • Encourage your dock or marina to provide adequate garbage  cans and recycling bins. All ports and marinas are required by law to provide trash containers for boaters.
  • Retrieve trash encountered in the water or on shore, where possible; Participate in local beach and harbor cleanups, and leave the beach clean after your visits.
  • Share your concern with others and encourage them to help.
  • Fishing line is NOT biodegradable and should never be discarded in the water.

 

JUST FOR THE KIDS!

 

Discounts- Are you getting all the discounts you qualify for?

Let’s make sure… just in case something’s changed since we last talked. Call us so we can review together the possible ways you might save.

  • Safety Discounts — save with select safety devices.
  • Multi-car Discount — save up to 20% when you insure more than one auto.
  • Multi-policy Discount — save up to 25% when you insure your auto and home with us.
  • Life Multi-policy discount — save up to 5% on your auto premiums with a qualified life policy.
  • College Student Discount
  • Pay Plan Discounts
  • Driver Training Discount

 

  • Multi-Policy Discount – You can save on your homeowners insurance with each additional policy you add through the same company— auto, business auto, personal catastrophe liability or a qualifying life policy.
  • Fire, burglary alarm, sprinkler system credit – Install smoke alarms or a burglary alarm system in your home and take advantage of additional discounts. You could also save if your home is equipped with an automatic sprinkler system.
  • Advanced Quote Discount – You get a discount just for thinking ahead. If you get a quote seven to 60 days before your policy takes effect, you get this discount.
  • Longevity     
  • Life multi-policy discount     
  • New Home Discount    

Barbecue and Food Safety

Cooking outdoors was once only a summer activity shared with family and friends. Now more than half of Americans say they are cooking outdoors year round. So whether the snow is blowing or the sun is shining brightly, it’s important to follow food safety guidelines to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and causing foodborne illness. Use these simple guidelines for grilling food safely.

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/barbecue-and-food-safety/ct_index#.UcNncPZgb04

Don’t leave kids in cars

Last year, 43 children died from heatstroke because they were unattended in cars. So far this year, there have been zero deaths. As the weather starts to warm up, Safe Kids and the General Motors Foundation are teaming up to help families avoid these preventable tragedies. Cars heat up faster than you think so please never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Help us spread the word by sharing this message with your family, friends and neighbors. Learn more about how to prevent heatstroke.

Could It Happen To Your Child? (video)- http://www.safekids.org/video/heatstroke-could-it-happen-your-child

Safety Tips: http://www.safekids.org/tip/heatstroke-safety-tips

A Simulation of Rapid and Extreme Car Heating from Direct Sunlight – http://www.safekids.org/video/simulation-rapid-and-extreme-car-heating-direct-sunlight

Grill burgers and brats- not people and homes!

■■ Grill fires on residential properties result in an estimated average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 million in property loss each year.

■■ Almost half (49 percent) of grill fires on residential properties occur from 5 to 8 p.m.

■■ Thirty-two percent of grill fires on residential properties start on patios, terraces, screened-in porches, or courtyards, while an additional 24 percent start on exterior balconies and unenclosed porches.

■■ Roughly half of the injuries involving grills are thermal burns.

 

Check out some grill safety tips! http://ow.ly/wfz1o

Use these questions to help you and your Agent review your coverage

Annual Review- Use these questions to help you and your Agent review your coverage:

  1. Has there been a change of drivers or vehicles currently listed on your policy?
  2. Have you, or any driver, changed job or school locations?
  3. Have you paid off a loan on a vehicle?
  4. Has anyone moved in or out of the household?
  5. Have you installed a security or fire alarm system?
  6. Has any member of the household started a business in your home?
  7. Have you paid off your mortgage, refinanced or taken a second mortgage?
  8. Have you made any significant home improvements? (wiring, heating system, plumbing, renovations, roof, additions, etc.)
  9. Have you purchased a second/seasonal home, rental or investment property?
  10. Have you purchased a watercraft, motorcycle, snowmobile, RV or ATV?
  11. Have you acquired any pets?
  12. Have you installed a pool, Jacuzzi, trampoline, or wood burning stove?
  13. Have you acquired any valuable collections, artwork, jewelry, furs or guns?
  14. Have you filed an insurance claim?

 

Discounts- Are you getting all the discounts you qualify for? Let’s make sure… just in case something’s changed since we last talked. Call us so we can review together the possible ways you might save.

  • Safety Discounts — save with select safety devices.
  • Multi-car Discount — save up to 20% when you insure more than one auto.
  • Multi-policy Discount — save up to 25% when you insure your auto and home with us.
  • Life Multi-policy discount — save up to 5% on your auto premiums with a qualified life policy.
  • College Student Discount
  • Pay Plan Discounts
  • Driver Training Discount