Child Car Safety

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Child Car Safety

 

The image captured of a child flung out of a car still strapped to her car seat is very jarring. Over 100,000 children are injured each year due to improperly installed car seats/restraints. We wanted to share some tips on keeping your children safe while riding in your vehicle.

An article from DMV.org shares tips on properly installing a car seat in your vehicle:

  • Read the instructions. DON’T GUESS! Make sure you read the manual thoroughly and make sure you understand how to install it properly.
  • Reference your vehicle’s manual. Some vehicles have car seat anchors and other features to help you secure your child car seat properly. Older vehicles may not and will require the safety belt to secure the seat in place.
  • Lock the seat belt. Your vehicle’s manual should have information on how to lock the seatbelt once the car seat is in place.
  • Secure tightly. There should be no more than an inch of “wiggle room” in any direction.

Be sure to read the rest of the tips at DMV.org to ensure your child car seat is properly installed.

The folks at KidsHealth.org have some additional tips for older children:

– Wear your seatbelt EVERY TIME. No matter if you’re running down the street to the post office or across the country, wearing your seatbelt is important. Be sure to buckle up as soon as you get into the vehicle.

– Use a booster. Children should use a booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall or reach the weight/height limits of their car seat.

– Back seat, please. Until your child has reached the age of 12, it is recommended they remain in the back seat. There is a less-likely chance of hitting the windshield or injuries from a deployed air bag by sitting in the back.

Check out the full article at Kidshealth.org for more tips on car seat safety for older children!

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Identity Theft

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Identity Theft

 

Identity theft affected 60 million Americans last year according to an article from LifeLock, with the 2 biggest thefts being employment/tax theft (using someone’s social security number/info to gain employment or file a false income tax return) and credit card fraud. Today we shared an article from Bankrate on steps to take when you discover you are a victim of identity theft (here are a few tips from the article):

– Notify Creditors & Financial Institutions. Most credit cards have a zero-liability policy when it comes to identity fraud and the Fair Credit Billing Act allows for a maximum liability for unauthorized charges of $50. BUT you need to contact your bank/financial institution within 2 days of the discovery of the theft to qualify for the $50 liability limit, after that it jumps to $500 for up to 60 days after the statement reflecting the fraud is mailed, and after 60 days – you’re on your own.

– Put a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report. Contact one of the 3 credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion, or Equifax) and file a fraud alert. This will last 90 days and alert you if someone is applying for credit in your name. Filing a report with the FTC or a policy report can extend that fraud alert to 7 years.

– Get a Copy of Your Credit Report. Once you have filed a fraud alert on your credit report, you will be opted-out on pre-approved credit cards & insurance offers. You will also receive a free copy of your credit report so you can go through and verify if any other fraud has occurred. You should be getting a free copy of your credit report from the government once a year to verify your information.

– Consider a Freeze on Your Credit. Freezing your credit will lock down your credit report from being released to new creditors. The costs can vary from state to state, or could be free if you are a victim of ID theft.

– Contact the FTC. Though the FTC mostly deals with large-scale identity thefts, they do monitor all levels of identity theft to find patterns and break up theft rings. More importantly, you need to file an identity theft affidavit with them. Having a copy of this affidavit along with a police report will help with disputing fraudulent accounts

 

There are a few more tips on what to do if you’re a victim of identity theft, go to the full article at Bankrate to read more.

 

 

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized

Holiday Travel Tips

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Holiday Travel Tips

 

This week many are preparing to drive/fly to friends & family for the Christmas holiday. Before you head out, check out this article from The Travel Channel with 10 tips to help make your travel easier whether by plane or “Wagon Queen Family Truckster”!

 

Tip #1 – Do Research. Find alternate routes when driving to make the trip more interesting. Take frequent breaks at interesting places (rather than truck stops). If you’re flying, make sure to get info on carry-on & checked baggage.

Tip #2 – Stay Connected. There are a ton of phone/tablet apps that will help you on your travels from finding out how long the security lines are at the airport to finding the cleanest restrooms near you.

Tip #3 – Pack Light. If you can, try to travel with just a carry-on to avoid the long lines waiting for baggage. Don’t try to wear all your clothes at once to avoid baggage fees…

Tip #4 – Pack Earplugs. Using some earplugs & eye mask will help to block out the chaos on the airplane or in the back seat and may help you relax.

Tip #5 – Don’t Get Hangry. Eat something before you travel & pack snacks/drinks when on a road trip. If you’re at the airport, seek out Popeye’s for some of their “emotional support chicken“…

 

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized

Cyber Shopping Tips

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Cyber Shopping Tips

According to Forbes magazine, cyber attacks will jump by 60% this holiday season. More and more people are finding themselves staying in their warm & cozy homes doing their Christmas shopping online rather than fight the crowds and weather. Safewise has some tips to help you stay safe while shopping online and protect yourself from scams.

– Chose credit cards when possible. Debit cards are tied to your bank account and if that gets compromised you can be in some serious financial trouble. Credit cards offer more protection and less liability on average than your bank card.

– Shop secure sites only. Easiest way to check and see if a site is secure is to look for the “s” at the beginning of the web address (“https:”) or the “green lock” symbol in the address bar.

– Update your software. Make sure your OS is up-to-date as well as your virus protection software.

– Outsmart email scams. Be wary of emails from your financial institutions or credit card companies claiming that your account has been compromised. Call the bank or credit card issuer to verify the problem exists and NEVER click on links within the emails or enter ANY personal information.

– Beef up your passwords. Passwords should be a combination of letters/numbers/symbols. Use a password generator to develop potentially hack-resistant passwords.

 

Safewise has a few other tips to help you safely shop online, we encourage you to read the full article!

 

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized

Snowstorm Preparedness

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Snowstorm Preparedness

Something we in the Midwest dread, the upcoming winter season. Sure the snow is lovely, the holidays sublime, but with dropping temperatures and hazards of ice & snow it can be a bit nerve-wracking. The US government via their Ready.gov website has an article with tips to be safe during snowstorms and extreme temperature changes.

For “Winter Storm Warnings”:

  • Stay off the road if at all possible
  • Stay indoors and dress warmly
  • Prepare for power outages
  • Use generators outside and away from windows/doors
  • Look for signs of hypothermia
  • Check on neighbors

 

Prepare NOW!:

  • Know your area’s risk for winter storms and prepare accordingly
  • Make sure your caulking/insulation/weather stripping is in good repair
  • Learn how to properly keep pipes from freezing
  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery back-ups
  • Gather enough supplies for each person/pet in your home to last several days
  • Learn the signs and basic treatments for frostbite and hypothermia

 

Check out the article at Ready.gov for more info on staying safe during snowstorms!

 

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized

Deer Hunting Preparedness

Deer Hunting Preparedness

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At the time of the release of this podcast, firearm deer hunting season has begun in Michigan. Even though hunting numbers are down over previous years, many are still taking to the woods in order to bag that legendary deer. This week’s pod shares tips from the Michgan DNR in order to make your hunt safer:

  • Treat every firearm as if it were loaded & always keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction
  • Be certain of your target and what’s beyond it, don’t fire at a flat, hard surface or water
  • Don’t drink alcohol or take behavior/mind-altering substances while hunting
  • Always let someone know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return
  • Make sure your cellphone is fully-charged & carry a battery back-up with you

 

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized

Preparing Your Home for Winter

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Preparing Your Home for Winter

Halloween & Thanksgiving are fast-approaching, time to start thinking about preparing your home for the upcoming winter season. This week’s article is from thebalance.com with tips on preparing your home for winter…

– Have your furnace inspected before you start it up for the first time of the season. It’s also a good idea to stock up on furnace filters and getting a programmable thermostat.

– Call a chimney sweep to inspect & clean your fireplace/woodstove/chimney. Creosote build-up, animal debris, & other items may block the airflow in the chimney and cause issues. Having it cleaned/inspected will take care of any potential problems BEFORE you light the first fire of the season.

– Checking your home’s exterior, doors, & windows will help you find cracks or damage that needs to be addressed before the snow flies. If you have storm windows, this would be a good time to install them.

– Inspect your roof for damaged/missing shingles & “soft spots” that may indicate a leak issue. Ice dams are common and can cause severe damage, make sure the flashing is leak-proof and consider adding additional insulation.

– Making sure your snow blower (or thrower) is in good working order BEFORE you need it is an important step. Also make sure that your snow shovels/ice breakers/ice melt are ready and easy to get to.

 

There are many more good tips to be found in the article at thebalance.com, be sure to check out the full article!

 

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized