Tag Archives: safety

What are the benefits of taking a defensive driving course?

Driver seatbeltWhen speaking to our clients about their auto insurance, we are often asked what determines their premium and what opportunities they may have to help lower it without jeopardizing their coverages.  In the interest of offering helpful information, we have one potential solution for you.

We’d like to share the benefits of taking a defensive driving course. Completion of a New York DMV-approved Point & Insurance Reduction Program will result in a 10% reduction of a driver’s liability, no fault and collision premiums. The discount extends over a three year period and applies to each vehicle for which you are considered the primary operator. In addition, it could result in up to a 4-point reduction on your driving record if you have previously received a traffic ticket.  The course would also be a good opportunity for young drivers who have recently received their licenses and/or more experienced drivers to benefit from a refresher, all while lowering their rate at the same time.Driving School

There are two different ways to take the course.  We offer this course online via our website to easily fit into your busy schedule.  If you prefer the in-person engagement, there are also classroom-sessions available.  You can click here for a full listing of New York state locations offering this type of option.

This is just one of the ways you can work on lowering your premium.  Feel free to contact your agent for more suggestions and/or information about your auto policy. We would be happy to answer your questions and review your options!

Helping You Prepare for the Season of Spring

Spring Cleaning

Spring is here and we can officially look forward to warmer temperatures. As we thaw out from the winter weather, the months ahead will also provide us with the opportunity to open up the windows and start our annual spring cleaning rituals.

As you look to enjoy the season, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Turning on fans, in addition to opening windows, is also a good idea when using chemicals.
  • When spraying pesticides, wear long clothing for protection and let the given areas air out for an hour or so.
  • To avoid confusion, keep chemicals in their original bottles to help you keep note of expiration dates and remain mindful not to mix things together that may create dangerous gases.
  • As the temperatures warm up, the heavy snow from the winter season will continue to melt. Spring can also lead to rainstorms. Both of these weather conditions could result in potential flooding, so you would benefit from knowing the safe routes in and out of your house. Unfortunately, flood damage is not usually covered under a homeowners policy. You may want to contact your agent about flood insurance.
  • Prepare your home with a first aid kit, flash lights, extra batteries, nonperishable food, and bottled water.
  • Keep contact information for utility and related companies handy in the event of an emergency.

Spring Flowers

Allergies are also common during springtime. Exposure to pollen can result in itchy eyes, runny noses, fatigue, and more. Here are steps you can take to remain healthy:

  • Take an opportunity to plan your seasonal outings accordingly. Going out on non-windy days will help limit your exposure so you can enjoy your day
  • Park your car inside a garage and away from trees, if possible. This will help you avoid pollen and mold spores.
  • In the interest of spring cleaning, washing your hands, vacuuming rugs, and changing sheets often will lessen the chances of pollen clinging to material in your home.

It’s easy to get excited about spring time and the changing of seasons. Keeping the above reminders in mind to ensure your health and safety will make it even easier to enjoy this fun time of year!

Celebrating “Love Your Pet Day” 2017

Heidi's dogs in winter

As we celebrate “Love Your Pet Day” on February 20th, it only seems appropriate that we recognize our President Heidi Petschauer’s love for her dogs. For years, she has demonstrated a selfless passion, donating her own time and money to the care of animals in need. Heidi has volunteered at Pets-Alive animal shelter and works closely with the Tri-State Collie Rescue to ensure a higher level of care and better overall life for dogs.

Heidi has a special place in her heart for senior Collies. Over the last twelve years, Heidi has adopted five different senior Collie rescue dogs. This stems from her belief that such animals are not only deserving, but appreciative of and receptive to the love someone like Heidi provides.

In a true act of dedication, Heidi impressively taught Vanna, a deaf dog and one of her earlier rescues, the art of sign language. She came to understand that the dog was able to communicate through sign and added vibrations as well. She was nine years old.

Heidi currently lives with and cares for two nine year old Collies that she rescued three years ago. Dobie, a gorgeous Rough Collie, is 80% blind. Gracie is a mixed Smooth Collie who maneuvers on three legs after recently going through an amputation of her front left leg. Heidi says that Gracie’s passion to live, much like her own to love and embrace her pets with open arms, has never wavered. Even prior to adopting Gracie, Heidi paid for her care and treatment while waiting for a forever home. She later drove from New York to Cleveland, Ohio to adopt Gracie herself. Heidi took a road trip to Detroit, Michigan to rescue Dobie.

We are fortunate and grateful for the special display of integrity Heidi continues to show through her passion.

Preventing Ice Dams and Winter Roof Damage

Ice Dam

We hope that everyone has remained safe through this snow storm. Now that the snow has fallen, it’s time to think about the ice dams that are likely to form and follow. In an effort to help keep you informed of some of the best practices, allow us to share some helpful tips surrounding ice dam prevention and/or removal.

An 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 could 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 do 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

Steps you can take to prevent an Ice Dam:

  • 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.

Tips for removing an Ice Dam:

  • Call a roof professional. If this is done incorrectly, you may cause further damage to your roof.
  • Do not use rock salt to melt the ice, as this could lead to even more damage.
  • If you do choose to remove it yourself, you can use calcium chloride to melt the ice.

As the cold winter months continue, please be proactive and prepare for the possibility of an ice dam forming on your roof. Doing all you can to prevent an ice dam will alleviate your stress and bring you closer to a worry-free season. We hope you all remain safe.

Having A Safe and Happy Super Bowl Party

snack food

If you’re planning to host a Super Bowl party, the entertainment is already taken care of. From the big game itself, to the famous commercials and happening half time show, there’s always something to enjoy. Of course, there’s good food and drinks to think about as well. It’s always good to stock up on chips, dip, drinks and other snack time favorites.

That’s not all there is to being a good host. As you check everything off your Super Bowl itinerary list, allow us to share some helpful party safety tips to ensure your guests enjoy themselves and everything goes smoothly.

Personal Liability: Do you have enough liability? Please keep in mind that personal liability laws vary state by state. Familiarize yourself with the laws beforehand so that you know what to pay close attention to as the party progresses.

Closest thing to a “warm” welcome: The forecast calls for “a full day of sunshine” when the Falcons and Patriots take the field in Houston, Texas. Given that the winter months in New York can sometimes lead to rain, snow, ice, and other conditions of the like, it may pay to take precautionary measures. You can make sure your walkway is shoveled and cleared of ice. As guests arrive, clean and dry an otherwise slippery floor. This will help you set the mood for a good time by avoiding any injuries.

Keeping Everyone Safe: There are many things you can do to ensure guests have a good time at your party. We understand it’s easy to get distracted while having fun. Please be mindful not to serve uncooked food. With buffalo wings a popular snack for this occasion, keep stray bones away from any pets scurrying around. The big game can lead to heated debates amongst passionate fans (and being on the losing side can be even more disappointing), so do what you can to discourage arguments and fights. There are always calm ways to diffuse these types of situations.

Go Home Happy: Even if your guests’ favorite team loses the game, you can still play a role in helping them go home without a worry. If alcohol is served, perhaps you can offer a prize to whoever volunteers to be a designated driver. Some hosts opt to stop serving alcohol toward the end of the evening and switch to soft drinks and coffee. Should guests be drinking too much, take their keys and arrange beforehand to have a cab service ready to provide rides back home.

Do you understand the Personal Liability Laws that apply to your state? Contact us today to review or increase your coverage. Enjoy the game!

Super Bowl LI Traditions and Treats From Petschauer Insurance

Chips & football

The Super Bowl is one of America’s favorite past times. Even if you aren’t the biggest football fan, the big game serves as a great opportunity for family and friends to come together. In addition to the game highlights, there are commercials and good food to enjoy, with fun activities to partake in. With Tom Brady and the Patriots set to face off against Matt Ryan and the Falcons this Sunday, our team at Petschauer Insurance would like to share some of our favorite traditions, recipes, and venues with you.


Game Day Traditions: 

We have Bourbon Tasting during half time.   Everyone brings a bottle of bourbon (we look for something special or new) to the host’s house.   During half time, we all try the different bourbon and then judge and vote for the best bourbon of the year. The host gets to keep all the bottles everyone brought.   It’s very collaborative and fun!   — Rosmarie Wyszinski, Office Manager

We play “quarters.” Each participant puts 25 cents in a bowl at the start of the big game.  The party host is the first person to hold the bowl.  Each time a play is made and no points are scored, everyone adds 25 cents to the bowl and the bowl is passed along to the next person.  When one teams scores, the person holding the bowl is the winner of the contents.  We then start the process over again, with one exception; the person to the left of the winner starts off with the bowl. – LuAnn Schook, Commercial Lines Manager


Recipes:

Office Assistant Tina Rustyak’s Spinach Dip:

INGREDIENTS and STEPS

  • 1 box (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, cooked, cooled and squeezed dry
  • 1 container (16 oz.) sour cream*
  • 1 cup Real Mayonnaise
  • 1 package Vegetable recipe mix(dry soup mix)

Serve: cold on large hollowed out bread. Enjoy!

Commercial Lines Account Executive Renee Ohms’ Chili Cheese Dip:

INGREDIENTS and STEPS

  • 2 bars cream cheese
  • 2 cans chili with beans
  • 1 extra  large  jar of medium or hot salsa (whichever you prefer)
  • 1-2 bags ( 3-6 cups ) shredded “ taco” cheese (usually Monterey Jack/Cheddar)
  • Spread cream cheese on bottom of glass or corningware baking dish
  • Spread chili on top of cream cheese
  • Strain the salsa in a colander until the excess liquid is gone and add the salsa on top of the chili layer
  • Spread the shredded cheese on top of salsa
  • Bake on 350 degrees until the cheese is melted

Serve: With taco chips. Optional: Add cut black olives &/or sour cream on top to serve.

Personal Lines Account Executive Lori Halloran’s Cherry Bombs:

INGREDIENTS and STEPS

  • Drain Maraschino cherries (keep stems)
  • Soak in vodka (or your favorite alcohol) for 24 hours
  • Drain & dry cherries
  • Dip cherries in melted chocolate
  • Then dip into colored sprinkles (optional)
  • Save cherry flavored alcohol for use later in your favorite cocktail!!

Recommended Super Bowl Venues:

Gottscheer Hall,  657 Fairview Ave. Ridgewood, New York

No cover! Great prices on game day snack favorites.

Click here for the regular menu.

Plattduetsche Park1132 Hempstead Tpke. Franklin Square, New York

Hosting an open bar, all you can eat wings, and a halftime buffet. All included for $50 dollars ($60 at the door).

Click here for more Super Bowl specials.

Paulaner NYC, 265 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

No cover! Great prices on food platters and freshly brewed German beer right in the restaurant. With two projection screens and two more flat screens, you have a great view of the game from any seat in the house!

Click here for more Super Bowl specials. 


Study Up Before The Game!

Those who aren’t huge football fans may still enjoy watching the big game. If that includes you, take a look at the video clip below for a crash course on the matchup between the Patriots and Falcons.

Keeping You and Your Family Happy and Safe This Holiday Season

christmas-gifts

The holiday season is officially here! This is an opportunity to spend quality time with your family and reflect upon the past year’s blessings. As you look forward to laughing, singing, and having fun with your loved ones, allow us to help you prepare with some safety reminders to ensure this holiday season is a happy and healthy one.

Prepare your home for travel: Whether you are logging long hours shopping for gifts at the mall or making a trip to see an out of town family member, it’s important not to tip off thieves and suggest you aren’t home. Nationwide offers various suggestions as to how you can discourage in-home theft. This will help prevent you from giving a burglar easy access or a green light to come in.

Be smart when shopping for gifts: While we may be past the Black Friday and Cyber Monday crazes, the holiday shopping continues all month long. Think Glink discusses the importance of setting (and sticking to) a budget and taking advantage of free shipping offers from notable retailers. As stores get crowded, choosing to ship will keep you off the hectic roads and help you save money on gas.

lori-christmas-rotate

Put a smile on their face with safety: In addition to being safe as the holidays near, exchanging gifts can present you and your loved ones with an opportunity to set the tone and practice safety all year round. AllState provides a comprehensive gift guide, complete with budgeted ideas for those who enjoy spending time at home, on the road, and outdoors.

Create a bright and starry display in a safe way: When getting into the holiday spirit, you may find fun in outdoing all your neighbors with a festive display outside or entertaining your family members inside. Either way, you can take precautions when putting up decorations. Travelers outlines potential solutions for you, including LED lights, battery operated candles, and more.

Wherever you go this holiday season, we also encourage you to be safe on the road. Happy Holidays!

Petschauer Insurance’s Guide To A Safe and Happy Halloween

family-pumpkins

Having spooky adventures is all part of the fun during Halloween. That said, the real scare would be not being careful on this frightful holiday. Allow us to walk you through some key safety tips to ensure a fun-filled holiday.

Halloween Parties: Gatherings can be exciting, and hosts will be worry free if they’ve reviewed their homeowners coverage before the fun begins. Taking up well known traditions can be done in a careful manner. When carving pumpkins, it’s important to keep carving tools away from young children. They can decorate with markers instead. You can supplement candles with energy efficient LED lights. The FDA recommends rinsing fruits and vegetables under cool running water before bobbing for apples. If you’re hosting a party and charge money for entry, Travelers notes that it could be considered a business opportunity and the proper insurance would come in handy.

halloween-costumes

Trick or treating: AllState recommends that children travel in groups, do so in brightly lit areas, and have a mutual place to gather should they end up getting separated. On the flip side, as a driver you’d be smart to keep an eye out for children running in the street, especially if it’s a darker area. As a parent, you can keep kids’ food allergies in mind and prepare them with a raised level of awareness around the risks of encountering strangers. On a day centered around snacks and sweets, Utica offers some healthier alternatives.

Decorations: The quickest and safest way to avoid injury for any visitors is to keep your front and back yards clean and to clear a path for trick-or-treaters. According to The Washington Post, Halloween is unfortunately a day with a higher risk/percentage of home burglaries and car vandalisms. Luckily, Nationwide offers a complete outline to keeping your home and car safe.

Costume Safety: Putting together costumes for your kids can be done in a safe manner as well. Face paint can be less restricting on a child’s eyesight than a fully covering mask. Costumes that don’t run very long will give trick-or-treaters the flexibility to walk freely without risk of tripping. The toy weapons from your child’s favorite superhero should not be able to cause legitimate harm. AllState points out that flame-resistant fabric is always best, especially if there’s still an easily accessible spot for children to keep their cell phones, in case of an emergency.

To get into the spirit of the holiday, you can also check out one of our favorite Ask Sherri videos. Happy Halloween!

Pokémon Go: The Hunter Or The Hunted?

Pokemon Go blog

If you have caught on to the latest craze, you have likely downloaded the new Pokémon Go app. The game takes players all over in hopes of catching the most virtual creatures they can. This “augmented reality” causes such Pokémon to digitally appear live in view on a user’s smartphone camera. The catch is that players are continuously drawn to different locations in order to, ironically enough, catch ‘em all and ultimately succeed in the game.

The game is uniquely interactive and increasingly popular. But if this concept is truly the future of gaming, there are plenty of safety concerns to consider. When walking around (be it late at night or earlier in the day), it’s important to remain alert at all times. Be aware of your surroundings. The game on the screen may appear real, but the unfortunate reality is that predators are on the lookout for those completely distracted and consumed by the game to take advantage of. The game’s GPS tracking access also opens the possibility of players getting lured to dangerous locations while on the hunt, if they aren’t careful enough. The sharing of information could also lead to potential breaches of cyber security.

The safety concerns continue when walking around. Players should be careful not to accidentally injure themselves or anyone else. And while the game’s quest to find that coveted Pikachu and more may require travel, it’s important not to play when driving from point A to point B. Much like texting and driving, accessing the app at the same time could lead to fatal disaster.

Of course, the game’s popularity can lead to benefits if played in an appropriate and safe manner as well. Local businesses have been cashing in with customer-friendly deals, upon realizing their locations are hot beds for popular Pokémon. Instead of turning players away, the smarter business owners have embraced the potential impact the game can have on their profit. They can even pay a small fee to specifically ensure their domain becomes a popular place in the game, luring potential customers in at the same time. Regardless of what gets them through the door, they are more likely to make a purchase once they have arrived. In most cases, this also provides players with a safer location to participate than a random dark alley-way late at night.

Either way, it’s important to have an idea of how this new game can positively and negatively impact you both personally and professionally. Be safe, be aware, and be prepared to benefit.

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