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Helpful tips, advice, information and fun facts on topics including safety, maintenance and homeowners insurance.
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From category archives: Florida Peninsula

Staying Safe on Your College Campus

When heading off to college, safety should be a priority for both parents and students. There are several ways to keep yourself and belongings secure by making good decisions and using available resources. Staying safe on your college campus doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep these safety tips in mind: Keep an eye on your belongings: When on campus, remember to keep your belongings close to you and never leave them unattended. When you are constantly surrounded by so many people, it’s hard to notice when things go missing. Lock your door: It doesn’t matter if you are just running down the hall. Always keep your dorm or apartment door locked for your protection. Keep your room keys on you at all times and if you ever misplace them, report it and get your locks changed. Keep emergency numbers handy: Be sure to save your school’s security and emergency numbers in case you ever need them. It doesn’t help much to have to Google search your school’s numbers during an eme ...

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How to Prepare for a Flood

The most common natural disaster in the United States is flooding. It can occur at any time during any season. Of course, certain areas (flood zones) are at greater risk in certain times of the year, but even if you are not in a flood zone, your home can still be at risk for a flood. “Flooding is an overflowing of water onto land which is normally dry. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop.” (FEMA) Here are some tips on how to protect yourself and your property in the case of a flood: Personal: To avoid being trapped when floodwaters threaten your area, the best course of action is to protect yourself and your family, and to evacuate before flooding starts. Be sure to follow evacuation directions from local officials. It is important to discuss a solid evacuation plan with your family, and to write down emergency numbers you may need during your time away from home. Property: Before a flood occurs, you should take steps to reduce the ri ...

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Warning Signs of Plumbing Failure

While your home’s plumbing system appears to be working, there are many warning signs of an underlying issue. In order to reduce your chances of major water damage in your home, you must be aware of these signs and identify them to avoid having to file a claim.  After a while, it is easy to get used to the sound of rattling pipes, a leaky kitchen faucet and a slow flushing toilet. By ignoring these signs, you are creating the headache you could have easily avoided. Here are some warning signs of plumbing failure: A slow, gradual leak coming from a pipe Pipes rattle and make noise An increase in your water bill Persistent sound of running water in toilet Slow drainage in the sink or shower Low water pressure Water backs up in the sink when running the dishwasher Toilet begins to make a “bubbling” sound  If you notice any of these signs, it is important to call a plumber right away and take care of any necessary repairs, to avoi ...

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AOB Abuse Leads to Increases in Premiums

Assignment of Benefits (AOB) fraud is a fast growing problem for Florida homeowners. Unfortunately, as the result of this problem, it has lead to an increase in homeowners’ insurance premiums for a vast majority of carriers doing business in our State. Most commonly, AOB fraud occurs during an emergency, such as a plumbing or roof leak. When homeowners sign an AOB contract, it puts a third party in direct control, and claims are inflated with unnecessary costs and fees. It doesn’t end there – these costs are then passed on to policyholders when insurance companies calculate and adjust their rates.  Large areas of the state, particularly the tri-county area of Southeast Florida, have already been hit with double-digit property insurance rate hikes, with more increases on the horizon if something isn’t done. State-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has calculated what will happen if lawmakers do not fix the problem. In Palm Beach, for example, coverage for a residenti ...

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Natural Sunburn Remedies

If you’ve ever had a sunburn, you should know it’s nothing to mess around with. Most sunburns occur when people accidentally fall asleep on the beach or by the pool, not noticing they are baking in the sun. Other times, sunburns occur when people forget to re-apply throughout the day, assuming one application in the morning is enough.   Here are 5 quick and easy tips to help with both immediate and long-term sunburn relief: 1. Place a cool compress on irritated skin   2. Drink a lot of water and sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade. Once you are sunburned, your skin will be extremely dry and dehydrated. By replacing your lost body fluids, you are helping your skin to heal quicker. 3. After washing all affected areas with plain water, take a cup of cold milk and let sit out for about 5 minutes. Dip a cotton pad in the milk and apply gently on the skin. By letting it dry on your skin, it will form a thin protective layer which seals moisture in. After a few ho ...

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The Dangers of Leaving Children and Pets in Hot Cars

Every year, there are heartbreaking and preventable deaths due to children and pets being left alone in hot, parked cars. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes, and a child’s body temperature can rise up to 5 times faster than an adult’s, and will succumb to death with a 107 degree body temperature.   In 2016, 39 children died from heatstroke due to being left in a hot car, and 5 have suffered the same fate in 2017. The total number of U.S. heatstroke deaths since 1998 is 705, all due to people leaving their children in hot cars (an average of 37 deaths a year). Here are some things you should consider before leaving your child or pet unattended in a hot car:   No Exceptions, No Excuses: No matter how brief, it is never okay to leave your children or pets alone in a car, even with the windows cracked open. You might think you’re doing them a favor by letting them have some shut-eye while you quickly run into the store, but by leav ...

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Dehydration in Children and Pets

When it comes to spotting the signs of dehydration, adults are typically better informed and independent enough to recognize warning signs on their own, while younger children and pets tend to need some assistance in this area. The hottest days of the summer could be the most dangerous for your children and pets. It is important to keep a close eye on them and be aware of the red flags. What causes dehydration? Loss of water through sweat, tears and urine will typically cause dehydration, if not replaced by drinking fluids and eating foods which contain water. Illness could also cause dehydration due to vomiting, fever or diarrhea. Children who are overexposed to the sun and are not drinking enough water are especially susceptible to dehydration. What are the symptoms of dehydration? The most common symptom of dehydration is thirst. Thirst is a sign your body needs hydrating. Other symptoms are less-frequent urination, dry skin, fatigue, headache, light-headedness, dizziness, dry mouth, increased breat ...

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Quick Camping Safety Tips

When warmer weather approaches, there’s nothing like spending time in the great outdoors. Camping it can be a lot of fun, but typically holds greater dangers than what you would experience in the city or suburbs, such as wildlife, altitude, weather, and more. Before you pack your sleeping bags and tents, here are some things you should consider: Stay up to date on vaccinations: Vaccinations protect people of all ages from certain diseases. It is very important to use bug spray to protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is currently no vaccine to prevent Zika virus, which is what some mosquitos carry. Remember to spray yourself a few times each day and follow the instructions on the back of the product to avoid being bitten. Check the weather: Before you leave for your camping trip, check the weather forecast. Pack alternative clothing in case mother nature decides to provide you with a shower. Warm blankets, sweaters, rain jackets and rain boots are great options for unexpected weather. Gear up ...

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Hurricane Food Shopping List

  You’ve just heard word a hurricane is approaching and your first instinct is to head to the store to fill up the pantry. Remember, you should plan for the worst possible outcome; purchase food items which do not require a refrigerator, microwave, stove or oven, as electricity may not be available for a few days should you lose power. Here are the best foods to stockpile in the case of an emergency:   Drinks: Bottled water is a must-have item during a hurricane. You can also purchase Gatorade or Powerade, which are great sources of electrolytes and carbohydrates and can help rehydrate. Powdered milk is a great substitution for fresh milk if you have no power to your refrigerator. Energy: Children can get very cranky, especially when all their resources are cut off, such as the TV and radio. Stock up on items like fruit, peanut butter, nuts, trail mix, granola and power bars to keep their moods and spirits alive. Vitamins: Even though you have access to food, not eating nor ...

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Basic Boating Safety

Boating can be a wonderful recreational activity for the entire family, if you follow basic boating safety guidelines. No matter how much experience you have, reviewing these guidelines before departure is always a great idea. Here are some simple ways to ensure a terrific boating experience:  Use a pre-departure checklist. It is important to prepare for any scenario on the water. Following a checklist ensures nothing has been forgotten or overlooked. A few things to consider are: ·         Disconnect all utility lines, such as power cords and water lines ·         Go over rules with passengers (keep all hands and feet inside the boat, no running, etc.) ·         Watch for other boats and people in the water before leaving the dock ·         Proceed slowly when leaving and approaching the dock · ...

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