July 4th Safety Tips

June 14, 2013

54555Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as apple-pie, but did you know that two out of five fires reported on that day are started by fireworks, more than for any other cause? So you think it cannot happen to you? Here are a few facts:

In 2011 over 9,000 people went to the emergency room as a result of fireworks related injuries. There was an estimated 15,500 reported fires started by fireworks. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, and $36 million in direct property damage.

Injuries by Fireworks Type (US department of Health & Safety)

  • 17%: Sparklers
  • 14%: Reloadable Shells
  • 13%: Firecrackers
  •   7%: Roman Candles
  •   6%: Bottle Rockets
  •   6%: Novelties
  •   2%: Multiple Tubes
  •   1%: Fountains

Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Buy fireworks only from licensed vendors
  • Never combine fireworks
  • Obey all local laws
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting
  • Follow directions
  • Never relight a firework
  • Don’t smoke or drink while lighting fireworks
  • Soak used fireworks in water before placing in trash
  • Make sure there is parental supervision
  • Never experiment with homemade fireworks
  • Use fireworks outdoors, in a safe area away from dry grass and buildings
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, bucket of water, wet towels and a garden hose nearby
  • Light one firework at a time – then move back quickly!
  • Never shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never point or throw fireworks at people or animals
  • Clean up all used fireworks including debris
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With the Affordable Care Act, most Texans will be required to have health coverage after January 1, 2014. They’ll have a new way to buy health policies through insurance exchanges.

Employees will look to their employers for advice and assistance as they navigate the exchanges, so we’re providing you with information about their new options. Exchanges will provide individuals and small business owners with a place to find, compare, and purchase coverage, as well as get financial assistance to afford it.

Over the next few issues we wanted to provide answers to some of the questions we have been getting from clients and others.

Will I have to give up my current coverage?

No. When your coverage is renewed, it might contain new benefits required under federal law, but if your plan was already in effect on March 23, 2010, you can keep your current coverage as long as it is offered by your employer.

What about pre-existing conditions?

You can no longer be refused coverage for pre-existing conditions. There may be more information coming and we will advise you.

Can I maintain my primary care provider?

Yes, as long as they are part of the plan you select.

My child previously aged out of dependent coverage, but is still under 26 years old. Can I put him back on my plan?

Yes, check with your plan to determine the specific process.

Does every employer need to provide coverage?

No, Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the law requires only employers with 50 or more full time employees to offer “minimum essential coverage. For small employers please consultant with your CPA to see if you qualify for a tax rebate on premiums paid.

As Texans try to understand and navigate through all this information, it is important to use an independent agent. Here are the benefits of using Essential Insurance Concepts, Inc.

  • We don’t charge fees or service changes
  • You will pay same as if going direct to carrier
  • We will compare all insurance companies and bring you the best offer

Corncobs and meat on grill

Fire up the grill, bring on the steak, it is time to barbecue. You might think you know all you need to know about BBQ safety and grilling. But why don’t you review this page, just to make sure. We want your BBQ experience to be fun and safe for the entire family. On average there are over 9,000 home fires annually directly related to barbecuing. According to the National Fire Prevention Association; 16,000 people went to the emergency room and there was $80 million in property damage in 2011 associated with barbecuing.

Home barbecue tips:

General Safety

  • Never BBQ inside, in a garage, on the roof or on a second story deck
  • Never leave your grill unattended
  • If you’re using a charcoal grill, let the lighter fluid soak into the coals a few minutes before lighting them so that any vapors have time to evaporate. When you do light the coals, stand back
  • Open the grill lid before you light it
  • Don’t wear loose fitting clothing
  • Keep a fire extinguisher outside or close by
  • Make sure you use the grill 10 feet away from your house
  • Have the BBQ close to a water source
  • Don’t let raw meat sit out long without being chilled or cooked
  • Always wash your hands before and after handling food
  • Don’t over indulge in alcohol while barbecuing
  • Let the grill cool down before you store or cover it

Gas Grills

  • Before having an LP cylinder filled, check it for dents, gouges or other signs of disrepair
  • If you have a gas grill, make sure the connections from the propane tank to the grill are tight
  • Use porcelain rocks instead of lava rocks. Lava rocks are porous and can hold grease which can catch fire at worse and make for an uneven heating surface at best
  • When you turn off a gas grill, remember to turn off the propane tank too

Always make sure that the barbecue is in a safe place, where children and pets won’t touch or bump into it.  Remember that the barbecue will still be hot even after you finish cooking, anyone contacting the barbecue could be burned. Make sure your home owner’s policy is up to date. Have fun be safe and eat well!

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Most people insure their material possessions—their homes and cars, for example. But many of these same people don’t insure what is probably their most valuable asset — their ability to work and earn income. Disability insurance is designed to replace your income should you become unable to work at your current job. Disability insurance is important because it can ease the financial burden on a household when someone has a serious illness or injury. There are two basic kinds of disability insurance:

Short-term disability insurance covers a percentage of your lost salary should injury or illness knocks you out of work for more than a few days. Payments generally kick in when you have exhausted any available sick leave. Duration of benefits varies by policy, but six months is typical.

Long-term disability insurance is a more typical insurance product in that it protects you from catastrophic illness or injury, including tragic twists of fate that permanently end your ability to earn a paycheck.  These policies usually pick up where short-term disability policies leave off. Some last only five or 10 years, but you want one that covers you until age 65.

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Automobile accidents happen every day. Although no one wants to experience an auto accident, knowing what to do in case one happens to you could soften the impact on your life in the days and weeks to follow. You purchase insurance to help you through accidents, if and when, they happen. Here are a few suggestions to help you:

At the Scene

The first priority is to check for injuries at the scene. Call for medical help if anyone at the scene is injured. Notify the police as soon as possible.

Obtain the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all persons involved, including passengers and witnesses. It is a good idea to look at drivers licenses.     Record the license plate numbers of all cars involved. Get complete Insurance   information, including policy numbers.  Having the agents name and number is also beneficial.

Never admit an accident was your fault, even if you think it was. An apology can be construed as an admission of fault. Let the authorities determine who was responsible. Auto accidents can be disorienting even if you are not physically injured. You may not be aware of all factors leading up to the crash.

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible, even if damages were minor.

In some cases you also must report the accident to the DVM.

You have the right take your car to the   repair shop of your choice. It can be     beneficial to get two quotes as pricing and quality vary.

Use your smart phone to take pictures  before vehicles are moved. It provides   documentation.

 

 

Happy Family Laughing in Bed

Are you one of the people who think you don’t need life insurance? Please think again. Life insurance provides real security for those you care about. Life benefits can provide financial security and resources for your family or loved ones after you are gone. Let’s look at a few of the reasons to consider life insurance:

1. Payment on Debt- if you have any outstanding debt (like a mortgage) at the time of your death, it does not go away. Your estate will still be responsible to settle all accounts. Life insurance can give your family the peace of mind to know that they can still pay the mortgage if the unthinkable happens.

2. Continuation of Income- Life insurance can provide the funds to replace your income upon your passing. Family income will certainly diminish and there’s a very good chance that your family will experience a lower standard of living.

3. Unpaid Medical Expenses- It is highly likely that you will have medical expenses prior to your death. Some of which may not be covered by health insurance. Adequate life insurance proceeds ensure that these final expenses can be paid.

4. Funeral Expenses- Most people don’t plan for or fund the funeral expenses; again life insurance is there to help.

The good news is that life insurance rates are low and there are many different kinds of products from which to select. One question we often get is, “How much life insurance do I need”? That really depends on your individual situation, but here is a general guideline–We think you need to consider a life insurance limit of at least 10 times your annual gross income. For example if you earn $50,000 per year, your family would need to replace somewhere close to that amount. A $500,000 life policy could return $45,000 to $50,000 in annual interest depending on the rates.

Selecting the right insurance company is very important. Let us help you with selecting the right plan and insurer. Essential Insurance Concepts can provide competitive premiums for you today.

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Many travelers operate under the misconception that car rental rates are all about the same, and that shopping is a waste of time. But rates do vary, sometimes by quite a bit, between companies and destinations. Essential Insurance Concepts has a few tips for you.

  1. Book on-line: The web often offers the best deals.
  2. Try renting mid-week, if your travel plans allow.
  3. Avoiding unnecessary insurance: Car rental companies try to sell insurance to accompany your rental, but many homeowners or home automobile insurance policies and some premium credit cards already cover car rental insurance so it always pays to check before accepting this option. Contact Essential Insurance Concepts to make sure you have the necessary insurance.
  4. Always buy your gas away from the airport; it can be as much as .25 per gallon less.
  5. Join reward programs: Many car rental agencies, hotels and airlines offer discounts if you are a member of a travel program.
  6. Look into renting the car for longer than you need, some agencies give you better daily rates for a week, and don’t charge you for early returns.
  7. Supply your own car seat if possible, they really upcharge you for this.
  8. Many rental car companies will try to up-sell you to a bigger vehicle or ask you add other features like GPS. Don’t do it. Remember your smart phone can be your GPS.
  9. Double check all fees.
  10. Join AAA: AAA always offer great discounts.

Before you drive away from the pickup station, inspect the car carefully for damage. Be sure the lights and turn signals are working properly, and check the mileage odometer. Report any defects at once. You can always contact Essential Insurance Concepts for a review of your coverage and how it might apply when you rent a car.