Guns, Homeowners, and Insurance

When it comes to insuring firearms, Homeowners coverage offers some clear guidelines. We understand gun control remains a controversial issue, but we are here to help.

If you have rifles and pistols in your home, your policy will insure them against fire damage or theft, usually up to $2,500. Although a Homeowners application might not ask specifically about firearms, the higher liability risk that guns present means that failing to inform your agent or insurance company in advance about them could result in denial of a claim for loss or damage to them.

Because of this greater liability exposure, your insurer might require you to show that you’ve taken such sensible precautions as installing trigger locks, securing firearms properly in locked gun cases, and keeping them away from children. If you have a collection of guns that’s particularly valuable (for example, antique sidearms), you might need to buy a policy rider that ensures their replacement or reimbursement — much as with other big-ticket items, such as jewelry and fine art.

If you shoot someone else or yourself accidentally while in the home, your policy might pay for some or all of the damages, (medical bills, property damage, liability claims, and so forth), depending on the amount of coverage. However, to guarantee full protection, you would need additional policy riders, such as “Sporting Firearm insurance,” “Collector’s Firearm insurance,” or “Gun Club Liability insurance.”

To learn more about firearms coverage in your home, please give your Protection Coach a call 877-994-6787.

Protect Yourself Against Data Losses!

It used to be said “a chicken in every pot,” however a more accurate modern equivalent may be “a laptop in every home.” You can find these devices have spread into every corner of our lives, personal information stored in them has increased exponentially. Credit cards, bank accounts, financial records, legal documents, work projects, home businesses, and our kids’ pictures reside as digital data in smartphones and tablets. As the amount of such stored data has exploded, has our ability to protect ourselves from the fallout from the damage or destruction of this data kept pace?

As professional insurance agents, we recognize our responsibility to protect clients from losses. After all, the best claim is the one that never happens. When the possible loss involves electronic data, insurance might be among the least effective solutions. Talk with one of our personal risk staff about protecting your digital valuables through other alternatives, such as anti-virus software, firewalls for your home network, and updated backup procedures. For example, did you know that the DVD disks offer a high capacity backup for storing copies of your most valuable data?

Don’t risk deleting by delaying — call our Total Protection Team today!

What Parents Can Do to Keep Kids Safe at School

Source:  National Crime Prevention Council

For most of the year, children spend more time at school than anywhere else other than their own home. At school, children need a secure, positive, and comfortable environment to help them learn.

Overall, schools are one of the safest places children can be. However, some schools have problems, such as bullying and theft, which make them less secure. These problems make students and educators feel less safe, and it makes it harder for students to learn and for teachers to do their jobs.

But there are specific ways that parents can make going to school a safer and more valuable learning experience for their children.

In the Classroom

Kids need a safe and comfortable environment to learn to the best of their capabilities. This means they have to feel safe in their school and be able to positively interact with their teachers and classmates. By doing the following, parents and other adults can help make sure children have a positive school experience.

  • Talk to your children about their day. Sometimes children won’t tell you right away if they are having problems at school. Ask your children if they see anyone bullied, if they are bullied, or if anything else makes them feel uncomfortable. Look for warning signs, such as a sudden drop in grades, loss of friends, or torn clothing.
  • Teach children to resolve problems without fighting. Explain that fighting could lead to them getting hurt, hurting someone else, or earning a reputation as a bully. Talk to them about other ways they can work out a problem, such as talking it out, walking away, sticking with friends, or telling a trusted adult.
  • Keep an eye on your children’s Internet use. Many elementary schools have computers with Internet access. Ask your children’s school if students are monitored when they use the Internet or if there is a blocking device installed to prevent children from finding explicit websites. Talk to your children about what they do online – what sites they visit, who they email, and who they chat with. Let them know they can talk to you if anything they see online makes them uncomfortable, whether it’s an explicit website or a classmate bullying them or someone else through email, chat, or websites.
  • Ask about the safety and emergency plans for your children’s school. How are local police involved? How are students and parents involved? What emergencies have been considered and planned for?

Traveling To and From School

  • Map out with your children a safe way for them to walk to school or to the bus stop. Avoid busy roads and intersections. Do a trial run with them to point out places they should avoid along the way, such as vacant lots, construction areas, and parks where there aren’t many people.
  • Teach children to follow traffic signals and rules when walking or biking. Stress that they should cross the street at crosswalks or intersections with crossing guards when they can.
  • Encourage children to walk to school or the bus stop with a sibling or friend, and to wait at bus stops with other children.
  • Teach children not to talk to strangers, go anywhere with them, or accept gifts from them without your permission. Tell them that if they see a suspicious stranger hanging around or in their school they should tell an adult.
  • Help children memorize their phone number and full address, including area code and zip code. Write down other important phone numbers such as your work and cell phone on a card for your children to carry with them.

On the bus

  • Have your children arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to pick them up.
  • Make sure children know to stand on the sidewalk or on the grass while waiting for the bus.
  • Teach children to make sure they can see the bus driver and the bus driver can see them before crossing in front of the bus. Tell them to never walk behind the bus.
  • Be aware that often bullying takes place on the school bus. Ask children about their bus – who they sit with, who they talk to, and what the other kids do. Let them know that if they see someone being bullied, or are bullied themselves, they can talk to you, the bus driver, or another trusted adult.

If you’d like to work towards making your children’s schools safer on a larger scale, consider implementing Be Safe and Sound. This campaign provides a model for how parents, students, and school staff can work together to make schools safer and more secure.

We hope this provides you with some meaningful and useful information on how to keep your kids safe at school and provide them with the greatest opportunity for success.