Cyber Shopping Tips

Security concept - Locks on digital screen

(photo courtesy of Stockvault.com)

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

Snowstorm

(image courtesy of dreamstime.com)

 

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

stockvault-hunter206610

(photo courtesy of Stockvault.net)

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

stockvault-old-abandoned-estate-in-winter138268

 

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

Trick or Treat Safety Tips

stockvault-halloween-party218290

(free image courtesy of Stockvault.net)

 

Trick or Treat Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again, time for the little ones to get dressed up as their favorite character and travel from house to house to get lots of candy. Many cities around the country are starting to ban kids older than 12 from trick or treating in the hopes of cutting down on vandalism and general hooliganism on Halloween.

Reader’s Digest has a great article with 10 tips to keep your kids safe during the Halloween holiday!

 

– Plan your route ahead of time. Save yourself frustration and cranky kids by mapping out where you will go trick or treating. These days, many churches and businesses hold “trunk or treat” events where kids can safely visit dozens of candy providers in a single parking lot. Keep in mind that these kinds of events can get very busy, so go early if you can…

– Use the buddy system. Many kids don’t want adults tagging along as they venture from house to house. RD recommends parents accompany kids under the age of 12 and NEVER leave a child alone.

– Stay on the sidewalk. Practicing simple safety like staying on sidewalks and using crosswalks when crossing the street. This will also prevent encountering obstacles in unfamiliar lawns that kids could trip over and it’s a sign of respect to not trample lawns.

– Wear comfortable shoes. Girls (and guys) should avoid wearing heels, all laces should be double-tied to prevent tripping.

– Stay well lit. Adding reflective tape, using glow sticks & flashlights, anything to help your child remain visible in the dark is important to their safety.

Be sure to check out the full Reader’s Digest article for many more tips on helping your little ghouls and goblins be safe this Halloween!

 

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

Pumpkin Carving Tips

halloween pumpkin on black background

 

Pumpkin Carving Tips

Yes, Halloween is right around the corner! And people are preparing to carve up some hauntingly good pumpkin creations to share on their social media. This article from Good Housekeeping shares some great tips on making your pumpkin carving experience safe and enjoyable!

  • The right pumpkin is important. Find a fresh one with a flat bottom & sturdy stem.
  • Cut the lid on an angle to prevent it from sliding inside the pumpkin.
  • Scrape all the innards out of the pumpkin & thin the walls to 1 1/4″ thick for easier carving.
  • Hold the pumpkin in your lap as carving faces/shapes are easier when you are looking down at the pumpkin.
  • Use scraps creatively by making accessories or facial features from them and attaching them to your pumpkin.

 

Be sure to check out the full article at Good Housekeeping for more great tips!

 

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

Autumn Pet Safety Tips

autumn cat

(free image courtesy of Stockvault.net)

Autumn Pet Safety Tips

Something many of us don’t think about when it comes to autumn and that is making sure our pets are safe! There are things to consider in order to make sure your pet is safe when venturing out on those cool fall days and the ASPCA has a great article with some tips to help!

– Cold weather poisons. Many people spread rodenticides and other toxic poisons to keep animals from making themselves at home inside their own homes. These poisons are obviously toxic to animals and of course can cause death. Keep your pets away from areas where poison has been applied and if at all possible, spread the poison in areas that are inaccessible to your pet.

– School supplies. With school in full swing, I am sure many homes have an abundance of school supplies laying around. While many of the items are non-toxic or low-toxic to humans/pets, smaller items can get lodged in your pet’s throat or intestines that could cause some serious issues. Keep your school supplies out of reach.

– Wild mushrooms. Fall and spring are excellent times for mushrooms to grow. With the wetter weather and available growing material, they can be found in yards and on trails. While 99% of mushrooms are non-toxic/low-toxic, there is that 1% that can be fatal. Keep an eye out while walking your pet or check your yard for mushrooms and make sure that your pet does not get access to them. The article has a link to their poisonous plants guide that is very informative…

– Wild animals. Fall is the time of year when many animals are preparing for winter hibernation. Snakes are especially active at this time as they look for a place to bed down for the winter. Pet owners should be aware of the type of wildlife they may encounter in their own backyard in order to protect their pets from injury.

Be sure to check out the full article from the ASPCA as well as that poisonous plants guide in the 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