Navigating Social Distancing & Boating

Social Distancing & Boating

COVID-19 is forcing everyone to navigate uncharted waters, including boaters. Many people are wondering if they can go boating, who they can boat with, and where they can go once they leave the dock. In many areas, the water is open, however, it’s more important than ever that boaters are responsible to limit unnecessary risk not only to themselves, but to other boaters, law enforcement, and first responders.

The Safe Boating Campaign, led by the National Safe Boating Council, offers these tips for practicing social distancing and safety while boating:

  1. Sailing at Newport, Rhode Island, photo by SallyAnne SantosFollow state and local guidance from public health officials, marine law enforcement agencies, department of natural resources, park services and others. For example, some areas prohibit powerboating while allowing paddling (e.g. kayak, SUP, canoe) as exercise.
  2. Stay in your local community.
  3. Limit the people aboard your boat to people in your immediate household. No guests, no friends, no grandparents that don’t live in your house.
  4. File a float plan. Make sure a loved one or friend knows the details of your trip in the event of an emergency.
  5. Everyone should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when you’re on the water. You never know when an accident may happen, and a life jacket can help save you until search and rescue assets can arrive.
  6. Stay at least six feet away from other people who do not live in your house.
  7. Maintain safe distance at the fuel dock or loading up at the marina.
  8. Wash hands frequently or use a hand sanitizer, such as after touching a marina gate or fuel pump.
  9. Don’t raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others.
  10. Go right from your house to the boat and back so that you don’t have unnecessary contact with anyone.
  11. Carry all required boating safety equipment such as flares, navigation light, a horn or whistle, a first aid kit.
  12. Pack food, water and other things you may need as restaurants and marina stores may not be open.
  13. Be sure to have at least two communication devices that work when wet, such as satellite phones, emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB), VHF radios and personal locator beacons (PLB). Cell phones are not reliable in an emergency situation.
  14. Don’t go boating if someone in your household is sick.
  15. Don’t drink and boat.

By following these tips, you can enjoy your boat, the water, sunshine and fresh air responsibly.

Content: SafeBoatingCampaign.com

Vacation & Staycation Safety Tips to Help Prevent Home Burglary

Planning a road trip

Although fly-away vacations will likely be on hold this summer, you may still get-away to the great outdoors with a family road-trip or pleasure-cruise. But, before you pull out of your driveway or cast off of the dock, check out these tips to prevent burglary and ensure that you’ll have a happy homecoming! 

Deter Burglars All Year Long, Install the Following:

  • Home Security System
  • Strong Exterior Doors (made of solid wood or steel)
  • Deadbolt Locks
  • Motion-Activated Sensors on Outdoor Floodlights
  • Block Basement Windows
  • Lock Pet Doors

Planning a pleasure cruiseAnd Prior to Traveling:

  • Don’t share about your trip on social media or in public until after you have returned home
  • Make an Inventory of valuables w/ serial numbers and photos
  • Stop the newspaper, mail and other deliveries or ask a trusted neighbor to pick them up
  • Put at least one light on a timer
  • Arrange for your lawn to stay trimmed

Make It Difficult for Burglars:

  • Don’t store expensive flatware in the dining room hutch
  • Don’t keep expensive jewelry on your bedroom dresser
  • Keep important documents, financial information and small valuables in a fireproof safe, discreetly hidden in your house.

Have the Right Home Insurance Policy:

No matter the precautions taken to prevent theft, sometimes the unexpected still happens. In the event thieves break into your house, steal your personal items or damage your home, home insurance may be able to help you.

Call us at 401-846-9629 for a free policy review.
We’re always here to help!
Source: Nationwide Insurance ©2020

Stem to Stern: Know Your Boat’s Insurance Coverage

Social Distancing & Boating

Boat Owners Should Review Three Often Overlooked Policy Issues

With National Safe Boating Week (May 16-22) days away, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) reminds boat owners to secure the right type and amount of coverage for their recreational vessel.

Beyond covering a boat owner in the event of theft, boat insurance policies typically provide coverage to repair a boat if it is accidentally damaged or destroyed due to a collision or because the boat struck a submerged object.  Property damage to a boat caused by vandalism, a windstorm, or lightning are also covered under most boat insurance policies.

Boat insurers typically assess risk and price their policies based on differing factors. For instance, a boat owner’s operational experience can play a large role in determining a prospective policyholder’s eligibility for coverage and what they will pay for a policy.  The boat’s make, model, age and value often influence the cost of a boat insurance policy, too. In addition, boat insurers want to know the boat’s primary cruising areas, also known as navigational territories.

Boats in storageThe I.I.I. counsels boat owners to focus on three lesser-known but important issues when either buying or renewing a boat insurance policy.

  • Agreed Value versus Actual Cash Value policies: Ask your insurance professional if your policy provides either Agreed Value (AV) or Actual Cash Value (ACV) coverage. An AV policy means you and your boat’s insurer have agreed on the value of your recreational vessel. In the event of a total loss, you will be paid that amount. ACV coverage is typically less expensive than an AV policy but only pays up to the value of the boat at the time the boat was either lost or damaged. Depreciation and wear and tear are factored into the claim payout’s amount if you have an ACV policy.
  • Lay-up period: Make sure your boat is covered during the off-season. Even when a boat isn’t in the water, there is still the risk of property damage. For example, if a major storm hits and a tree falls on your boat, you may be exposed if you are without insurance coverage.
  • Navigational territory: Ask your insurance professional if this issue is specifically addressed in your boat insurance policy. If you are navigating the boat in a territory not specified in your policy, you may not be covered if something were to happen there.

Sailing off of Castle Hill, Newport, Rhode Island, photo by SallyAnne Santos

Other coverages incorporated into boat insurance policies may include:

  • Damage your boat caused to someone else’s property.
  • Medical payments for injuries incurred by either the boat’s owner or its passengers.
  • Hurricane haul-out provisions to keep the boat out of harm’s way before a windstorm.
  • On-water towing and assistance for unexpected breakdowns or running aground.
  • Fuel spill liability protection for damages caused by a boat’s accidental discharge.
  • Personal effects coverage for expensive equipment (e.g., fishing gear).
  • Ice and freeze coverage for damage to a boat’s engine and water systems.

With a basic knowledge of how boat insurance may help protect you, your boat and others, you can set sail knowing you have the best policy in place.

Content Source: Insurance Information Institute (iii.org)

7 Healthy Benefits of Gardening

Health Benefits of Gardening

An abundance of scientific research suggests that caring for plants can also do wonders for your own wellbeing. The physical exercise can contribute to a healthy weight and blood pressure levels, and just interacting with flora can improve your mood and mental health. Below are 7 known health benefits of gardening:

      1. Gardening Burns A Lot of Calories: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) you can burn about 330 calories doing 1 hour of light gardening and yard work– more than walking at a moderate pace for the same amount of time.
      2. It Can Lower Your Blood Pressure: Just 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity most days of the week can prevent and control high-blood pressure. Gardening or raking leaves for 30-45 minutes is among the activities recommended by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
      3. Spending Time Outside is Good for Your Bones: When you are outdoors your skin is exposed to the sun which prompts your body to make vitamin D. This vitamin– also found in fish and fortified foods like milk– help your body to absorb calcium, a mineral essential for bone formation according to the National Institute of Health. (Just don’t forget the sunscreen!)
      4. Growing Your Own Food Can Help You to Eat Healthier: Besides the physical exercise you’ll get tending to a vegetable garden, a productive plot can also promote a better diet by supplying fresh, healthy produce. According to the CDC only 1 in 10 Americans eat the recommended 2 cups of veggies and 1-1/2 cups of fruits per day for necessary nutrients and to reduce risk of chronic disease. Gardening helps to develop a lasting habit of eating fresh produce and the American Society for Horticultural Science theorizes that it may also make it more likely for children to try foods they may not have eaten before.
      5. Gardening Can Relieve Stress: A 2017 Preventive Medicine Report looked at 22 different case studies that positively correlated gardening with a reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms. Some hospitals use planting and flower arranging as a type of rehabilitation for people recovering from injuries, strokes, surgeries and other conditions. It gives a sense of control over a situation when they might otherwise feel helpless– and for most of us, nature provides a respite from stress.
      6. It Can Provide A Sense of Community: People who worked in allotment gardens had significantly better self-esteem, total mood disturbance, and general health compared to those who did not garden, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Public Health.
      7. Gardening Can Make You Happier:  The act of growing plants may also help boost your mood. Gwenn Fried, manager of Horticulture Therapy at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation said:  “The thing about gardening is that you have to have faith in the future. Growing something green, something real, something alive, is a hopeful thing to do.”

So, let’s all roll up our sleeves– there is no better time than Spring 2020 to get digging, planting and weeding!

some content: Good Housekeeping

Focus-Up; Delete Driving Distractions

Delete Distracted Driving

We have all seen a driver distracted by a cell phone, but when you are the one distracted, you often don’t realize that driver is YOU.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month –now more than ever it is crucial to #JustDrive and eliminate all distractions that might lead to a crash that lands you or others in the E.R.

Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds and at 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Distracted driving includes any activity that diverts your attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to other passengers, and anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

Delete Distracted Driving

Top 10 Driving Distractions

  1. Generally distracted or “lost in thought”
  2. Cell phone use
  3. Outside person, object or event
  4. Other occupants
  5. Using a device brought into the car
  6. Eating or drinking
  7. Adjusting audio or climate controls
  8. Using devices or controls to operate the vehicle
  9. Moving objects
  10. Smoking-related

Most people think that hands-free devices and in-dash infotainment systems are safe because they are provided by vehicle manufacturers, but research shows that these technologies lead to cognitive distraction and inattention blindness.

Make no mistake multitasking technology is about convenience, not safety.

Delete Distracted DrivingDelete Distractions

  • Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive
  • Adjust your seat, mirrors, climate control, GPS, radio/music playback and click-in your seatbelt before shifting into drive or reverse
  • Talk with young drivers about responsible driving and be a good role model
  • Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving—offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task
  • Always wear your seat belt, the best defense against unsafe drivers

Be a focused driver and contact us at 401-846-9629 for a free auto policy review.
We Are Always Here To Help!

Get Lucky & Save Money with Green Insurance

Green Insurance may save you money
Adopting practices that are known to be safe for the environment—aka “going green”—might also help you save on your insurance costs. Whether you’re considering an eco-friendlier car, a more sustainable home or “green” business practices, check out this sampling of insurance benefits and products for the environmentally conscientious.
Green Auto Insurance may save you moneyGreen Insurance Incentives for Motor Vehicles

Fossil fuels deplete our resources and contribute to pollution—and many insurers offer discounts for vehicles that don’t gas guzzle.

  • Hybrid vehicle premium discounts are offered by a number of auto insurance companies (and similar discounts may also be available on boat insurance for hybrid-electric boats and yachts).
  • Endorsements that allow hybrid replacement—that is, optional coverage whereby, after a total car loss, the insured can replace his or her traditional automobile with a comparable hybrid vehicle.
  • Alternative fuel premium discounts, which apply if your car uses an alternative energy source such as biodiesel, electricity, natural gas, hydrogen or ethanol.
  • Pay as You Drive (PAYD) programs, which require the installation of a device to track the miles driven in your car. The PAYD offers policy discounts to drivers who, according to their sensor, drive fewer miles than the average—thus saving consumers money while reducing accidents, congestion and air pollution.
Green Homeowners Insurance may save you moneyGreen Insurance for Homes

Insurers are helping to promote sustainable building practices by offering eco-friendly policies to homeowners, which include options such as:

  • Premium discounts for LEED certified homes. LEED is short for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System. This system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, is a recognized environmental standard in the building world and has high efficiency and sustainability standards.
  • Eco-friendly replacement materials endorsements, which are offered on some standard homeowners policies. After a loss, these allow the insured to replace or rebuild with more sustainable materials, practices and products.
    For example, some companies will pay homeowners extra if they recycle debris rather than send destroyed materials straight to a landfill, and replace old kilowatt-hungry appliances with Energy Star machines, which meet an energy-savings rating created by a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.
  • Broad coverage for alternative energy sources. For homeowners who generate their own geothermal, solar or wind power and sell any surplus energy back to the local power grid, there are now policies that cover both the extra expense of temporarily buying electricity from another source and for the income lost during a power outage (as long as the outage is caused by a covered peril). Policies also generally cover the cost of getting back online, such as utility charges for inspection and reconnection.
Green Commercial Insurance may save you moneyGreen Insurance for Business

There are many green commercial property insurance policies and endorsements directed at specific segments of the business community such as manufacturers. Examples of these include policies that:

  • Cover installing “green” building systems and materials to replace the standard ones, after a loss. These eco-friendly replacements would include energy efficient electrical equipment and interior lighting, water conserving plumbing and nontoxic, low odor paints and carpeting.
  • Allow “green certified” rebuilding in the event of a total loss. In addition to the building itself, this coverage may pay for engineering inspections of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning systems, building recertification fees, replacement of vegetative or plant covered roofs and debris recycling and loss of income and costs incurred when alternative energy generating equipment is damaged.

Call us at 401-846-9629; to discuss “greening-up” your policies. We’ll look to save you money, and you’ll be helping to save the planet.

Source: Nationwide®

What’s Your “Whether” Forecast?

Umbrella Insurance

Whether you call it a Bumpershoot, Brolly, Gamp, Parasol or Parapluie… before you can determine if you need a personal Umbrella policy, it’s important to understand exactly what umbrella coverage is, how it works and how much it costs.

What Is Umbrella Insurance?

Personal Umbrella Insurance is extra liability insurance designed to help protect you from claims and lawsuits beyond your standard policy limits. It also covers claims that may not be covered under your other liability policies, such as false arrest, imprisonment or slander.

What Does An Umbrella Policy Cover?

An umbrella insurance policy can cover a number of situations, for example if a guest in your home falls down a flight of stairs and is seriously injured, you may be liable for the medical costs, plus a lawsuit if you are sued as a result of the accident. Your personal liability insurance will cover these costs up to your policy limits, but if the medical bills and legal fees are greater than your coverage limit, you are then responsible for paying that amount out of pocket. However, if you have personal umbrella insurance, it will kick in and cover the extra payments.

While you may not believe your particular lifestyle warrants additional coverage, the truth is, you just never know when a significant accident or situation could arise. If you find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit, your savings, assets, and even retirement funds could be at risk. Knowing you have the coverage and protection you need to avoid a future of financial headaches could be well worth it.

Umbrella Insurance

Benefits of Having Personal Umbrella Insurance

Now that you’ve had a refresher on what umbrella insurance is and how it works, you may find that having supplemental protection is the right fit for you. Here are some other advantages:

    • Serves as additional coverage – Umbrella insurance will only kick in once you have exhausted coverage from your other liability policies. If you are found to be responsible for $400,000 in damages due to an accident in your home, but your homeowners insurance only covers $300,000, your umbrella policy will cover the $100,000 difference.
    • Provides protection for your assets – Without umbrella insurance, the court could go after your assets or your personal property to cover damages associated with an accident.
    • Affordable – Personal umbrella coverage is typically low in cost, providing you with the peace of mind you deserve at a price you can afford. Many find that being financially prepared to deal with an unexpected circumstance makes up for the extra cost.

How Much Is Umbrella Insurance?

The cost of umbrella insurance policy varies depending on the amount of coverage you need to adequately cover your assets. Call us at 401-846-9629; let’s look at your personal “whether” forecast together and discuss the level of umbrella coverage that’s right for you.

Source: Nationwide®

10 Questions

Change Ahead, Homeowners and Renters Insurance

As your family, home and career status change, it is crucial that your insurance reflect these changes in your coverage.

We are here to help YOU with a FREE Policy Review.

First, please consider the 10 questions below. Then give us a call at 401-846-9629 to book a convenient appointment by telephone or at either of our two offices. Following our discussion, we will present you with the very best options at the most cost-effective prices. In fact many of our clients enjoy lower annual premiums based on updated information and our customized recommendations.

  1. Have You Gotten Married or Divorced?
    Auto Insurance: Couples may have 2 cars with 2 different underwriters, we’ll find the best combination of price and service for both of you.
    Homeowners Insurance: If you are merging 2Newly Wed Couple households, adjustments will be needed as well as increased coverage for new valuables received such as wedding gifts and jewelry including engagement and wedding rings.
    Life Insurance: If both spouses are working, couples often make financial commitments based on both incomes so the loss of one spouse’s income due to death or disability could be financially devastating without adequate insurance.
    Conversely, if you were divorced last year, you will likely need separate auto and homeowners policies going forward.
  2. Have You Had A Baby?
    Life Insurance & Disability Income Protection: If you have recently added a child to your family whether by birth or adoption, it is important to review your coverage. If you are planning for your life insurance to match your survivors’ expenses after your death, the new child will no doubt add to those expenses, requiring more life insurance to keep your family secure. If you plan to save for your child’s college education, life insurance can assure completion of that plan. And if you keep your current life insurance policy, don’t forget to update the beneficiary designations to include the new child.
  3. D.F. Dwyer Automobile InsuranceDid Your Teenager Get A Driver’s License?
    Auto Insurance: It is generally cheaper to add your teenagers to your policy than for them to purchase their own. If they are going to be driving their own car, consider insuring it with your company so you can get a multi-car discount. And choose the car carefully—the type of car a young person drives can dramatically affect the price of insurance. You and your teens should choose a car that is easy to drive and would offer protection in the event of a crash. Also, encourage your kids to get good grades and to take a driver training course. Most companies will give discounts for getting at least a “B” average in school and for taking recognized driving courses. If your teenagers move at least 100 miles from home—for example, to go to college—you can get a discount for the time they are not around to drive the car (assuming they leave the car at home).
  4. Have You Switched Jobs or Experienced A Significant Change in Your Income
    Life & Disability Insurance: In the case of an income increase, you may additional financial commitments that your survivors will depend upon. If your income decreased, you may want to reduce your life insurance premiums. Term life insurance is a good option, as the premium rates are very reasonable. And if you already have two or more policies you might be able to replace both with a single policy at a lower rate because you may reach a “milestone” amount of insurance. However, don’t drop existing life insurance until after you have a new policy in place!
  5. Dwyer Insurance for Home RenovationsHave You Done Extensive Renovations On Your Home?
    Homeowners Insurance: If you have made major improvements to your home, an increase in the value of the structure of the home may require an increase to your coverage limits. Don’t overlook the added value of new outdoor structures, furniture, exercise equipment or electronics– keep receipts and add any new items to your home inventory.
  6. Have You Decided To Buy A Second Home?
    Homeowners & Flood Insurance: If you are searching for a vacation home or a second home you might retire to, make sure you research the availability and cost of homeowners insurance before you commit to the purchase. The very factors that make a vacation home seem ideal, whether it is a waterfront property or a mountain retreat, can often introduce risks that make it costly and difficult to insure, such as proximity to the coast and the likelihood that it will be vacant for long periods of time.
    In the event you have already bought a vacation home, don’t skimp on the insurance. The risk of theft or disaster is just as significant, if not more so, in a second home as in your primary residence. If your new property is close to the water, be sure to ask us about flood insurance options.
  7. D.F. Dwyer Insurance endorsement for valuablesHave You Acquired Any New Valuables Such As Jewelry, Electronic Equipment, Fine Art, Antiques?
    Endorsement / Floater: A standard homeowners policy offers only limited coverage for highly valuable items. If you have made purchases or received gifts that exceed these limits, you should consider supplementing your policy with a floater or endorsement, a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them for perils not included in your policy, such as accidental loss. Before purchasing a floater, the items covered must be professionally appraised. Keep receipts and add the new items to your home inventory.
  8. Have You Signed A Lease On A House or Apartment?
    Renter’s Insurance: Your landlord is responsible for insuring the structure of the building, but not for insuring your possessions—that is up to you. If you want to be covered against losses from theft and catastrophes such as fire, lightning and windstorm damage, renters insurance is a good investment. Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance includes liability, which covers your responsibility to other people injured at your home, or elsewhere, by you and pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court.
    Regardless of whether you are a renter or an owner, you will have the following options when it comes to insuring your possessions:
    • Actual cash value pays to replace your home or possessions minus a deduction for depreciation.
    • Replacement cost pays the cost of rebuilding or repairing your home or replacing your possessions without a deduction for depreciation.
    Think carefully about what your financial position would be in the aftermath of a disaster, and make sure you have the type of policy that is right for you.
  9. Have You Joined A Carpool?
    CarpoolAuto / Liability Insurance: If you are a frequent carpool driver, whether it is to work, or ferrying kids to school and other activities, your insurance should reflect the increased risk of additional passengers in the automobile. Check with your insurance professional to make sure your coverage is adequate.
  10. Have You Retired?
    If you commuted regularly to your job, in retirement your mileage has likely plummeted. If so, you should report it to your auto insurer as it could significantly lower the cost of your auto insurance premiums. Furthermore, drivers over the age of 50-55 may get a discount, depending on the insurance company.

Despite what you might think an insurance review doesn’t have to be an involved, time-consuming endeavor. After a FREE POLICY REVIEW with us, we are confident that you will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with customized insurance coverage for you, your family, home, auto and all of your possessions. Additionally, many of our clients benefit from lower annual premium costs with our custom options!

Call us at 401-846-9629 to schedule your FREE 2020 Insurance Review today.

some content: iii.org

6 Credit Card Tips for Smart Users

Credit Cards

Used responsibly, a credit card can be a very helpful financial tool. Making consistent, on-time payments can boost your credit rating. Keep your credit under control by following these 6 Credit Card Tips for Smart Users. Read More

10 Holiday Spending Tips

Homemade Holiday Gifts

Keep Your Holiday Spending on Budget by Finding the Perfect Gift at the Right Price

There is such a thing as being too generous, especially during the holidays. In 2018, the average American household spent $1536* on Holiday shopping. Here are some holiday spending tips to help get you through the season with your wallet intact. Read More

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