Home Fire Escape Plans

Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Your ability to get out of your home during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. 

  • Why do you need a home escape plan?
  • Working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan can reduce your risk of injury or death in a fire.
  • Most fatal fires happen in homes.
  • When fire strikes you may have less than one minute to get out of the building. 
  • Fires double in size every minute.
  • Fires create thick, black, choking smoke which makes it impossible to see or breathe.
  • Fires produce heat, smoke and toxic gases.
  • In the event of fire, time is the biggest enemy, and every second counts. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can turn into a major fire. Having an escape plan will help you and your family to get out of your home quickly. Practice E.D.I.T.H. — Exit Drills in the Home — with your family.
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Below are guidelines on how to write your home fire escape plan. As your insurance agent, we strongly encourage you to follow these steps and create a plan for your own home. 
  • Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home. Show all doors and windows.
  • Visit each room, find two ways out, including windows and doors, and mark them.  
  • All windows and doors should open easily. You should be able to use them to get outside.
  • Push the test button on each smoke alarm to make sure each alarm is working. Replace the batteries where needed. 
  • Pick a meeting place outside. It should be in front of your home. Everyone will meet at the
  • meeting place.
  • Make sure your house or building number can be seen from the street.
  • Talk about your plan with everyone in your home.
  • Learn the emergency phone number for your fire department.
  • Practice your home fire drill!

Watch these steps to making a home fire escape plan from the National Fire Protection Agency. 

According to an NFPA survey, only one of every three American households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. While 71% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 45% of those have practiced it. One-third of American households who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!

Source: 

https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/FPW/Educate/2019/FPW19Grid.ashx  

https://fire.arlingtonva.us/safety/escape-plans/  

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe/Preparedness/Escape-planning 

https://www.gohealthuc.com/library/does-your-family-have-fire-escape-plan

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/create-and-practice-a-home-escape-plan

What is Business Owner’s Insurance and When Do You Need It?

Your company may need insurance to survive certain unexpected—but possible—challenges. Nobody likes buying insurance. It can be confusing and expensive, and you won’t see any benefit unless you have a loss, accident, or claim. But insurance can make or break your business. Without the right insurance, a theft or fire can cause devastating losses. A personal injury lawsuit can leave you struggling just to pay the legal fees and yet many small business owners don’t take the time to evaluate their needs and get appropriate coverage.

Business Owner’s Insurance, also known as a business owner policy (BOP), combines protection for all major property and liability risks in one insurance package. This type of policy assembles the basic coverages required by a business owner in one bundle. However, it is usually sold at a premium that is less than the total cost of the individual coverages. BOPs include: 

  1. Property insurance for buildings and contents owned by the company — there are two different forms, standard and special, which provides more comprehensive coverage.
  2. Business interruption insurance, which covers the loss of income resulting from a fire or other catastrophe that disrupts the operation of the business. It can also include the extra expense of operating out of a temporary location.
  3. Liability protection, which covers your company’s legal responsibility for the harm it may cause to others. This harm is a result of things that you and your employees do or fail to do in your business operations that may cause bodily injury or property damage due to defective products, faulty installations and errors in services provided.

BOPs do NOT cover professional liability, auto insurance, worker’s compensation or health and disability insurance. You’ll need separate insurance policies to cover professional services, vehicles and your employees. To decide whether you need business insurance, ask yourself two questions:

  • Does your business have property—including inventory, computers, and other equipment—that you could not easily afford to replace? If your only business property is a laptop, you may not need to insure it. But if you have tens of thousands of dollars of store inventory, insurance is a must.
  • Is there a reasonable chance your business could be sued for a substantial amount of money? For example, you might be sued if someone has an accident on your premises, if you aren’t as careful as you should be, if you suffer a data breach, or if an item you make or sell is defective and injures someone.

If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, business insurance will help you minimize your risks.

However, not all businesses qualify for business owner’s policies. Eligibility requirements differ among providers. Insurance providers may have requirements regarding business location, the size of the location, revenue, and class of business. Typically, businesses classes eligible for BOPs include retail stores, apartment buildings, small restaurants, and office-based businesses.

The key takeaways to BOPs: 

  • A business owner policy (BOP) is a package that bundles basic insurance coverages and is sold at a premium.
  • A BOP typically protects business owners against property damage, peril, business interruption, and liability.
  • While coverages vary among insurance providers, businesses can often opt-in for additional coverage, such as crime, spoilage of merchandise, forgery, fidelity, and more.
  • Insurance providers determine if a business qualifies for a BOP based on business location, the size of the location, the class of business, and revenue.
  • A business may qualify for special considerations if it meets certain eligibility qualifications.

Source: https://www.iii.org/article/what-does-businessowners-policy-bop-cover and https://www.investopedia.com/terms/business-owners-policy.asp and  https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/business-insurance-when-you-need-it-and-when-you-dont

RV Insurance, Weather, & Driving Conditions

RVing is becoming one of the most popular ways to travel. A successful and safe RV trip takes preparation and planning to make it a good experience. Whether you are new to RVing or not, these tips can help ensure that your trip will be a smooth experience.  As your insurance agent, we urge you to follow and  read through these tips for insurance coverage, adapting to weather conditons, and driving your RV. 

 

Learn How to Drive the RV You Plan to Use

If you are vacationing in an RV for the first time, practice driving first. If you don’t own your RV, then rent an RV for a day before your trip and take it driving! Keeping the RV between the lines, accelerating, braking, using only mirrors to see what’s behind you, and passing vehicles top the list of maneuvers that you will need to know while on the open road. RV’s handle very differently from a car, SUV, or pickup. Practice backing your RV up so that you can back into a campsite. If you have a passenger, it a good idea to have a spotter to help guide you.  Many accidents and claims happen due to hitting tree limbs, picnic tables or other items that were in the driver’s blind spot. 

RV Insurance and Road Service

Knowing your insurance coverages is important. Be sure to research road services that specialize in RVs. Only a few road service companies will tow the trailer, too. 

  • What does your RV insurance cover?
  • Does your motorhome policy cover your towed vehicle?
  • Do you need separate RV insurance for road service coverage?

Check Road Conditions, Construction, and Closures

Save time and frustration by checking road conditions, closures, and construction. The US DOT Federal Highway Administration website shows a map of the states. Click on the state you will be traveling in and choose a link that shows current road conditions on the following link: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/

 

You will also need to be mindful of overpasses, bridge and tunnel height restrictions. 

 

Weather

Knowing the weather forecast can help avoid problems. Rain, snow, ice, hail, wind– you might encounter all of these in one day! Below are just a few weather sites that give weather for all states. 

https://weather.com/

https://www.noaa.gov/ 

 

Motorhomes are your second home (on wheels!) and you need to have proper insurance coverage. The last thing you want to worry about is being financially liable for causing an accident and not having proper RV insurance. Most states only require minimal liability insurance that protects others if you’re at fault.

Grilling Tips for Safety

As the weather warms and summer returns,  it’s time to GRILL!   There are risks that come along with grilling, regardless of which type of grill you are using. Every year, 7,000 Americans are injured while using  barbecue grills. It’s usually a case of good products used incorrectly. You can prevent grilling accidents and insurance claims by ‘brushing up’ on these tips. 

1. Only use your grill outside and keep it at least 10 feet away from your house. Farther is even better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath wooden overhangs, as the fire could flare up into the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills. Keeping a 3-foot safe zone around your grill will also keep kids and pets safe. 

2. Clean your grill regularly and after each use to remove grease that can start a fire. If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they will provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare ups.

3. Check for gas leaks. You can check for gas leaks by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that’s a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough. Only light your gas grill with the lid OPEN!

4. Keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas look pretty AND provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today’s decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.

5. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. If you have a minor flare-up, you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won’t harm your food, so dinner won’t be ruined!

6. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill. And, KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don’t waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job. 

7. Keep an eye on your grill, fire pit or patio torches. Don’t walk away from them when they are lit.

Keep in mind that when you grill, you are playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents. The National Fire Prevention Association says an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling each year. There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking these simple precautions. The grilling safety tips above can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.

Spring Home Maintenance

🌷Spring is here!  🌸  After a long dark and cold winter, the bright sun and warm winds of the spring are a breath of fresh air! The only downside? All that sunlight helps you see your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks, and dead plants in the flower beds. Get your home in shape for spring with this checklist!

1. Examine Roof Shingles: Examine the roof to see if any shingles were lost or damaged under the winter snow and ice.

2. Check the Gutters: Loose or leaky gutters can cause improper drainage, which can lead to water in your basement or crawlspace during the spring rain.

3. Inspect the Concrete: Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. Fill cracks with concrete crack filler or silicone caulk, power-wash, and then seal the concrete.

4. Remove Firewood: Firewood stored near the home for winter should be moved at least 18 inches off the ground and at least 2 feet from the structure.

5. Check Outside Faucets: Check outside faucets for freeze damage. While you’re at it, check your garden hose for dry rot.

6. Repair Window Screens: You will want to open the windows to let the fresh air in. Ensure small holes and tears are repaired so bugs don’t get in.

This is just a short list of items you can do to prepare your home for the spring. Winter was nice and cozy but, we are ready for the spring sunshine! While you are preparing your home for the spring, it is a great time to review your homeowners insurance! 

Source: https://www.hgtv.com/lifestyle/clean-and-organize/10-home-maintenance-tips-for-spring-pictures

Why is flood insurance important?

You don’t have to live in a flood-prone area to encounter flooding in your home. This can happen at any time to anyone! Flooding can be caused by more than just natural disasters. If you own a home, you need flood insurance. There are two different types of flood insurance: the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance. The area you live in will determine which type of flood insurance is best for you.

The National Flood Insurance Program is a flood insurance that is offered through FEMA. If you are located in one of the 21,000 communities that participate in this program, you should be eligible for both types of coverage offered by the National Flood Insurance Program. The two types are building property coverage and personal property coverage. Building property coverage is “replacement cost value” coverage. This means that building property coverage covers the cost to repair or replace your home up to $250,000. Personal property coverage replaces up to $100,000 of items in your home.

The other type of flood insurance is private flood insurance. Private flood insurance premiums vary based on the insurance companies that offer it. Speak with your insurance agent regarding cost and coverage plans.

You may qualify for both the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance. Depending on the value of your home and contents in it, you might be better off getting both to protect yourself in the event of a flood.

Flood Facts:

  • Just one inch of water can cause more than $20,000 in damage.
  • It takes just six inches of fast-moving water to sweep an adult off their feet and 12 inches of water to sweep a car away.
  • Flash floods typically carry water between 10 and 20 feet high.
  • If you live in a 100-year flood plain, your home has a 1% chance of flooding each year.
  • Moving water at 10 mph carries the same pressure as wind blowing at 270 mph.
  • If your home is in a flood plain and you have a federally backed mortgage, you are required by law to carry flood insurance.

Give our office a call to discuss all your flood insurance options! (781) 762-4280   https://www.lydonmurphyinsurance.com/

Source: https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/need-flood-insurance

Tips for Sub-Zero Temperature Car Care

When the temperatures drop into the single digits, you most likely want to curl up with a good book or binge-watch the latest show – whatever you can to just stay indoors. Chances are, at some point you’ll still need to go out. When you do, you’re going to want to make sure that car starts and keeps running.

Here are 7 tips to make sure your car starts right up no matter how cold it gets:

Battery: The most common car problem when the temperatures drop is the battery not starting. Perform a volt test on your battery to get a new one if it’s needed prior to the bad weather hitting. If the car doesn’t start on the first try, let the car sit for a couple of minutes before trying again. If it still doesn’t start, you’ll likely need to get the jumper cables out to get it going.

Wipers: Even though you may be bundled so only your eyeballs are showing, you still need to make sure you can see clearly. If you are noticing that your wiper blades just aren’t cleaning the way they used to, they’re not going to do any better in the snow. You may want to consider picking up a pair of winter wipers which aren’t very expensive and will give you much better visibility when you’re on the road.

Idling: We all like to have the car toasty when we get in, but is idling the engine a good idea? In general, no. It can cause damage to your engine over time and it’s bad for the environment. When it’s below zero though, many professionals recommend idling for a minute or two just to get the fluids moving. Not for 10 minutes or more though as we mentioned before, idling is bad for your engine and it wastes gas!

Tires: Did you know a temperature change of just 10 degrees can cause a 10 percent reduction of air in your tires? So, bundle up and regularly check your tire pressure during severely cold weather. If you don’t know, you should double-check your car’s optimal tire pressure in your owner’s manual or on the sticker inside the driver’s side door.

Gas: We’ve all heard it – “It’s going to be cold out, did you put gas in the car?” You should make sure that your gas tank is at least half-filled because it will help prevent the car’s fuel line from freezing.

Frozen locks and doors: Ever get out to the car and your door won’t unlock because it’s frozen? For frozen locks, you may want to have a de-icer ready. Don’t have any? In a pinch you could try a squirt of hand sanitizer on the key. The alcohol in it can help dissolve the ice. A way to prevent your entire door from getting frozen shut to the frame is to lubricate the door’s rubber gasket with silicone. Door already frozen shut? You could try pouring lukewarm water around the seal of the door to thaw the ice. Once the door is open, make sure to dry off the inside of the seal with a towel so it doesn’t refreeze. Never ever use hot water…the temperature difference could shatter your window glass!

At Lydon & Murphy Insurance Agency, your road safety is very important to us. Call us at 781.762.4280 or visit our website at https://www.lydonmurphyinsurance.com/ to discuss your auto insurance needs.

Source: https://www.mapfreinsurance.com/blog/sub-zero-temperature-car-care/

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

 

Fall is a beautiful time of year. The air is cool and crisp, and the leaves are changing colors. As homeowners, it can also be a very busy time of year! Take advantage of the moderate weather to repair any damages to your home before the first frost sets in.

Taking the time to care for the exterior of your home in the fall will help your home last through the winter. Check the foundation for cracks. If you have cracks in your foundation repair them before it’s too late. Caulking around windows, door frames, and where pipes and wires enter, your home can help prevent heat escaping in the colder months. Install storm windows and doors and remove screens. Check exterior walls for peeling or blistering paint. If left untreated, the siding itself will deteriorate. Ensure your roof is in good shape. If there are some missing or loose shingles, get them repaired or replaced!

Interior maintenance is just as important. Properly sealing and insulating your home can save you up to 10% on your annual energy bill. Applying weather stripping and caulk to windows and doors is a simple and easy way to help keep the heat in and the cold out – don’t forget about the basement windows! Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Properly working heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems. Change the direction of your ceiling fans to redistribute warm air from the ceiling. Test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep extra batteries on hand.

Now that the house is taken care of, it’s time to move back out into the yard. Prepare your yard equipment for storage by draining the fuel from all gas-operated equipment. Check to see if all your snow equipment is in proper working order and ready for the first snowfall. Drain garden hoses and store them inside. Also shut off outdoor water valves to keep them from freezing. Take some time to organize your garage. Clean and store your summer garden tools, and move your rakes, gloves, and winter equipment within easy reach.

If you are a homeowner, keeping up with home maintenance is important! This is just a short list of maintenance items that should be completed during the fall. Take the time to call Lydon & Murphy Insurance at 781-762-4280 or visit us online at https://www.lydonmurphyinsurance.com/ to review your homeowners insurance policy so you know your home is fully protected for the next season! 

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/1499-fall-home-maintenance-checklist/