Category Archives: Tips

Annual Insurance Review: Check Up On Your Policies

240_F_78183193_B9rMAcbdIxfWoVLdPD1u49aTgUTvTJGVWhile we all lead very busy lives, one thing we do not want to neglect is the condition of our insurance policies. Not reviewing your policies with your insurance agent is like never visiting your doctor for at least your annual checkup. You may get away with it for a while, but it could lead to serious problems in the future.  We recommend an annual insurance review and here are our 5 suggestions for you:

1.Request a current Schedule of Insurance. This will provide you with a snap shot of your coverages at the time of your request. Once you know what coverages are in place, you can discuss the need for any additions, deletions or changes with greater confidence and understanding.

2. Schedule a meeting or a telephone call with your agent to review ALL your policies. This will include an overall review of your Personal, Commercial, as well as Life and Health insurance needs. This is a great opportunity to review your entire portfolio including property values, deductibles, and any need for additional (excess) liability coverage. We recommend the best time to schedule this call or visit is at least 30 days before your renewal date or if you are thinking about purchasing a new location, vehicle, boat or any other type of major purchase.

3.Speaking to your insurance agent is another opportunity to discuss any changes that have occurred in your life, such as the purchase of a primary home, a rental property, a vacation home, the birth of a new baby, a new business venture or even a change in your current business operations, or personal status. This may be a good time to also discuss health care options, long term care insurance for you or your parents, life and/or disability insurance or retirement planning. Your agent can assist you in making the right choices for you and your family.

4. If you are a business owner, perhaps your business is in growth mode and you are expanding by hiring more employees. You may be required by law to provide Workers Compensation Insurance and Short Term Disability or face steep penalties depending on your state laws.  

5. Be sure to discuss areas where there may be opportunities for discounts such as multi-car, defensive driving, packaging auto, home and umbrella policies, non-smokers,burglar alarms and mature market discounts just to name a few. In today’s economic climate, any means of saving money is sure to help a family or business’ insurance budget.

A regular insurance “checkup” is like the old saying by Benjamin Franklin …. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  Give us a call today and let our insurance consultants here at Petschauer Insurance assist you in making good insurance decisions for you and your family.

How To Prepare Your Vehicle For Winter

Utica National, one of our insurance providers, has provided us with some safety tips to share with you on how to prepare your vehicles for the winter. We hope you take these tips seriously and put them to use before the winter hits us. Your safety is our concern, especially when operating a motor vehicle. So please take the time to read the preparation steps below and get yourself ready for the hazardous roads that come with the cold weather.car tips

How To Prevent Ice Dams and Winter Roof Damage

Here at Petschauer Insurance we feel it is important to offer good information so you can minimize property damage that may occur due to the harsh, cold and snowy weather that is just around the corner.

Ice dams, although easily preventable, happen often in the winter, and can cause a lot of damage to the exterior and interior of your property.

Aicedam_largen ice dam forms when melting snow freezes at the edge of your roof line. If you do not remove the snow, you run the risk of the ice dam growing large enough to keep the water from draining off the roof.  The water will then back up underneath the shingles and find its way to the interior. This can damage your roof, attic, and upper levels of your building.

How to you tell if you have an Ice Dam:

  • Look for large icicles hanging from the gutters and sides of the roof, as this is a sign that water may be trapped on your roof
  • Look for water stains in your attic ceiling or exterior walls

What you can do to prevent Ice Dams:

  • Remove snow from your roof after every heavy storm BEFORE it freezes by using a roof rake.
  • Make sure that leaders and gutters are clear of leaves and debris so melted snow can drain properly
  • Insulate your roof and attic.
  • Seal up any holes in the roof that can cause water to seep through
  • Make sure any vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic fans, and light fixtures are properly insulated and sealed.
  • Install a leak barrier underneath the shingles to act as an additional preventative measure, as it keeps water from seeping inside your building.

How to remove an Ice Dam:

  • Call a professional roof repairer! If done incorrectly, you may cause further damage to your roof.
  • Do NOT use rock salt to melt the ice as this will cause even more damage.
  • If you do choose to remove it yourself, make sure that you use calcium chloride to melt the ice.

Please be proactive and be prepared for the possibility of an ice dam forming on your roof. Preventing an Ice Dam from will give you peace of mind and time to enjoy the festive season with your friends and family.

Busting Your Long-Term Care Myths

Long term care mythbusters
We have heard many reasons as to why people resist purchasing insurance coverage of all kinds. Some of the resistance comes from long held notions which people consider to be factual, while others are complete fiction. It seems that most situations, for which we require insurance unless mandated by law, offer us a “choice”. However, experience really is our best teacher and Long Term Care Insurance is no exception. Anyone who has witnessed care for the elderly knows, without a doubt, just how important this coverage can be.

Here are the most common misconceptions which lead people to believe that they don’t need this very important coverage.

  1. I don’t need Long Term Care; my family will take care of me!

This is a very popular notion and one that we hear over and over again. Back in the 1950’s if an elder needed a place to live they often moved in with their children. Today; however, things have become more complicated. Often families have fewer children with the result that the responsibility for parental care may become the job of only one or two siblings assuming they are available, have the finances, the time and the room to take care of their aging parent or relative.

  1. Medicare will pay for whatever I need when I am elderly!

Medicare is not designed to pay for Long Term care costs. According to the Medicare website, “Medicare doesn’t pay for help with activities of daily living or other care which people can do themselves. Medicare will only pay for skilled nursing or home health care if one meets certain specific criteria.”

  1. Medicaid will pay for what I need if I can’t afford to pay!

This is absolutely true! However, in order for someone to qualify for Medicaid they must first meet very stringent guidelines with respect to assets. Basically, they have to prove that they are indigent. Even if you qualify for a Medicaid discount, your family may still wind up kicking in over half the amount of your monthly rent at a skilled nursing facility. Are you aware that in some metropolitan areas monthly nursing home costs are between $10,000 and $15,000 per month?

  1. I can save enough money to take care of myself in my dotage!

Paying from personal savings is one way to cover long term care expenses. However, you should consider the cost of long term care services before relying on “private pay” as a method of funding care. Here are the current national averages for long term care services:

  • $20/hour for a home health aide
  • $61/day for care in an adult day care center
  • $3,270/month for care in an assisted living facility
  • $207/day for a private room in a nursing home
  • $235/day for a private room in a nursing home

We hope that we could clear up some of your questions and uncertainties. We would like you be informed now, rather than when the time comes that you or a loved one needs home care. If we haven’t answered your specific question or concern, please give us a call!

Protecting Your Home for The Winter

house-54585_640All homeowners know that the winter brings severe weather and with it more wear and tear on their homes. In preparation for the coming winter months, what can you do ahead of time to protect your home?

  • Roofs take a beating in the winter, so this is a good time to make sure that shingles are secure, there are no missing roof parts, no bubbles, no missing tiles, holes, leaks, etc. Now is also a great time to get your roof inspected and make any necessary repairs to avoid the unwanted effects of high winds, heavy snows and pounding rainstorms. If you know there are any damage risks, attend to it now so that a small difficulty doesn’t turn into a disaster later on.
  • Check skylights, vents and chimneys to make sure that no repairs are needed and everything is tight and secure from any water leakage.
  • Check leaders and gutters and make sure that they are clear of leaves, tree branches and any other debris associated with the Fall season. Clogged downspouts often lead to freezing and ice damage later in the season.
  • Make sure that trees and branches are trimmed back and pruned so that any dead branches or tree overhangs don’t fall and damage your roof, chimney, skylights, windows and doors.
  • Make sure furnaces are cleaned and in good working order so that you don’t run the risk of being without heat on those bitter cold days that are sure to come.
  • Check carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, making sure that they are working properly and their batteries have been changed.
  • Check water pipes for any leaks. A small leak can be managed by changing a pipe or repairing a portion of a pipe. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure to contact your service company for a shut-off as well. A large leak can be a nightmare and do considerable damage to your home.
  • Chimneys need to be maintained and cleaned.
  • Make sure you clean out the lint filter in your dryer every time you use it to prevent build-up of lint which is certainly a fire hazard.
  • Check your electrical outlets, plugs and cords for any deficiencies such as wear and tear, overload, and fraying cords.

In short, maintenance is the key to preventing homeowner claims that may be caused by the elements or a lack of attention. If you are in doubt about how to protect your home, speak to your agent. “An ounce of prevention” is surely worth your time so we urge you to embrace this opportunity to safeguard your home.  Good luck and stay warm this winter!

Fireworks Safety Tips

Fireworks… we know you have them, and even if you didn’t buy them or are lighting them, you’re probably going to be around them during the Independence Day weekend. Every day in July there is an average of 240 people going to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries… please, don’t be another statistic and read these safety tips:

  • 5695559519_69d6853d18_bFirst and foremost, make sure that you are legally permitted to light those fireworks on your own
  • Make sure to keep all children away from fireworks
  • Always have an adult supervising the lighting of fireworks. Even sparklers can severely hurt children, so make sure to keep those out of reach
  • Never place any body parts over a firework when lighting a fuse.
  • Back up to a safe distance as soon as you light the firework
  • Never aim or throw a firework at another person (duh!)
  • Keep a hose in reach just in case of a fire
  • Light them one at a time
  • Do not shoot anything out of a glass or metal container

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend, and remember to be cautious around any fireworks, even if you are just there for the show!

Strategies to Relieve Stress & Anxiety at Work

Strategies to Relieve Stress & Anxiety

 It’s normal to experience moments of stress during your work day.  How do you handle this? Here at Petschauer Insurance our philosophy is to put strategies in place to help deal with our anxiety and stress so that we can be as positive, productive and feeling successful as possible. Whether your anxiety is triggered by work stress or personal stress you hold the power to overcome.  You will feel more confident and that will help you be more positive.  We believe in a work-life balance. Here are some of our strategies that work for us:  

  1. Be Self Aware: Stop and reflect on what exactly is causing your doubt, anxiety or stress.  What triggered this negative response?  What do you need to do to have a positive outcome?
  2. Be Present: honor those feelings you have. No matter what they are, do not judge them. Then put it in perspective to the situation you are in. What do you need to do to prepare yourself for a professional response?  
  3. Be Prepared and Organized: Feeling prepared enables
    you to engage the experience knowing you did the work by putting in the time and effort. Being organized helps you complete the task with a sense of purpose and focus
  4. Communicate Clearly: maintaining an open dialogue, which is positive and reflective, will lead to success of task completion and client satisfaction
  5. Collaboration: Talk about it with a co-worker you trust, or a family member. Getting it off your chest can relieve the pressure, and receiving advice and support is extremely helpful
  6. Refuel: This is coping skill we use to keep our energy level high and positive. Here are a few examples:
    • Take short breaks to breathe deeply.
    • Sit up, and slowly breathe through your nose and let the air fill your entire upper body, and then slowly breathe out. Do this 10 times and this will help give you more clarity to confront the situation head on
    • Get active by standing up and walking around. Take a short walk to clear your head or get a cup of coffee/water. You can easily escape a bad mood by moving your body.
    • A good laugh can cure the stress by boosting the brain’s endorphins which will help your mood
    • Squeeze a stress ball. By simply applying some weight to the pressure point on your palm, will relieve stress and muscle tension in your hands.


What helps you refuel from the stress of your day?  We encourage you to reflect realistically about what helps you recharge, regroup and re-balance yourself. And be willing to share this information with your colleagues so that they can reinforce it for you and WITH YOU! 

If you found this helpful, please share this with your friends on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn!

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Petschauer Insurance’s Guide To Moving

Demenagement_quebec1As most of you know, we are moving to our new office in Garden City, NY.  We have been planning our move over the last 8 months to ensure a smooth transition for us and for you as well.  We know at some point in your life you will encounter a move of some sort, whether it is personal or professional.  We want to share with you some tips we used, as well as some we learned along the way, to have your move go as easy as possible.

MOVING TIPS:

  1. Get organized by creating a checklist with time frames
  2. Start packing early.  Remember to get packing materials such as boxes, tape, etc.
  3. Donate anything you won’t need in your new place.  Get a receipt for a tax deduction.  If you can’t donate it then we suggest you throw it away!
  4. Sell other items online or have a garage sale.  Remember to check with your town as you may need to have a permit to have a garage sale.  Again start early – this option takes time
  5. Notify all utility companies
  6. Contact the post office and have your mail forwarded
  7. Notify friends, family, clients, doctors, veterinarians, etc of your new contact information
  8. Obtain references from moving companies before hiring
  9. Obtain a Certificate of Insurance from your moving company to be sure they are covered for at least Liability and Workers Compensation
  10. Discuss purchasing insurance for your belongings with your moving company as there is limited coverage for this move on your current policy.
  11. Update stationary, letterhead, business cards, etc. This is a good time to be creative and change your logo
  12.  Update your driver’s license, car registrations and vehicle titles
  13. Cancel any services- such as bottled water deliveries, newspaper deliveries, automatic deliveries, etc
  14. Notify Your Insurance Agent of your move.  Your coverage will need to be tailored to meet the needs of your new place.  You may even need to rewrite your existing policy to a new policy.

And please remember to stay calm so you are prepared for any last minute or unexpected changes.  We can guarantee that WILL happen.

Good luck with your future move!

Don’t forget to check out our Countdown to our Garden City Move on Facebook and Google+.

Petschauer’s Guide to Camping 101: Tips and Tricks

Large_Car_Camping_TentTips and Tricks

Last week we gave you some tips on how to insure your RV or camper for your next camping trip. This week we wanted to share some awesome safety and space saving tips to make your time out in the wild as amazing as possible.

And here is an article with some awesome safety tricks that you may need if you ever find yourself in an emergency while out in the wild. Some of our favorites are:

  • Use Duct tape to close a wound
  • Use tin foil to turn AAA batteries into AA batteries
  • Use Crisco and a t-shirt to make a long lasting candle
  • Cuddle with your pets if you’re cold

Take a look at this article on how to make the most out of the space you have. Here are some highlights:

  • Use bedside caddies as a makeshift night stand
  • Hanging fold up shelves are good for storing clothes and pantry items
  • Shoe hangers are also good for storing miscellaneous items
  • Attach slide out drawers under tables or beds if possible

So there you have it, another edition of Petschauer’s 101 Guide to a safe and comfortable camping trip.

And one final tip, whether you are in an RV,  a camper or just tenting it out, make sure you bring the bug spray, sunscreen, marshmallows and toilet paper!

Please feel free to contact us at INFO@JPINS.com if you have any questions about RV/ Camper coverage.  We will be glad to share more detailed information with you.  Thank you!

 

E-Mail Security: Protect Yourself From Hackers

Email SecurityEmail is an essential form of communication; however, with it comes a number of concerns you need to be aware of and it doesn’t matter if your emails are for personal or business use. Hackers are out there looking for any way to steal your information, including credit card numbers, addresses, social security numbers and more. To help you minimize your chances of becoming a victim and getting hacked here are some useful tips for prevention:

1) Don’t ever open links from someone you don’t know or trust. Links can be used to bring you to unsafe websites that can either give your computer a virus, or gather your personal information also known as phishing.

2) Even though most email services come with spam filters, do not trust them 100%. Sometimes spam messages slip through the cracks, so double check the sender’s address of any email that you may not be certain of before opening.

3) Make sure you have an anti-virus software installed to your computer, just incase you open a message with a virus in it. Here is a list of the top ten recommended anti-virus softwares.

4) Turn off the preview pane of your email service. If your email software automatically displays the message in a preview pane, you cannot avoid viewing the spam, which may lead to more spam messages.

5) Turn off the images in your emails. Images in can be tracked, and lead to more spam in the future.

6) If you do receive a scam, report it to your email service immediately. This will prevent it from happening again in the future, and hopefully get those who sent the message caught.

7) Never leave your email open and unattended. Always make sure to sign out of your account when you are done checking your email.

8) Change your password for your email at least every 90 days, especially if you’re using your email account on several different computers.

Now that you know how to be keep your personal information and computer safe, you might want to get back to those pressing emails!

Find out more about cyber crimes and liabilities here – Cyber Liability Section