Watch Out For Those Potholes!
It’s pothole season! That’s nothing to celebrate, we know — but as we move into the aftermath of wintry-wet road conditions, it’s wise to know about it and to be on the alert for new potholes in virtually every part of the country. They cause millions of dollars of damage every year.
If you have collision coverage in your auto insurance policy, you’re likely covered against the cost of this type of damage (but not for wear-and-tear damage to tires caused by potholes). But if you have a fairly high deductible on your policy or if making a claim results in an increase in your premium, you may still decide against doing this.
Then, of course, since collision coverage is not mandatory, you may not even have the right insurance in place.
Far better to take steps to avoid potholes in the first place, especially if you’re driving on unfamiliar roads. Actually, there are lots of things you can do to give them a wide berth.
- Don’t drive too close to the vehicle in front of you. That way, you’ll have a better chance of spotting holes and avoiding them.
- But don’t stare too much at the road directly in front of your car. Keep your eyes ahead, allowing yourself to keep glancing down for a fraction of a second.
- Reduce or eliminate driving distractions. Quiet noisy passengers, keep pets properly tethered and switch off the phone. Murphy’s Law says that the hazard will show up right at the moment you’re distracted.
- Hold the steering wheel correctly, which means positioning your hands at the midpoint on either side. This gives you the most control.
- Reduce your speed, especially on well-worn roads with ruts or stud or chain damage.
- Beware of puddles! They may be deeper and more jagged than you think.
If you’re about to hit a pothole, it can be dangerous to make last-minute swerves. You could lose control or move into the path of another car.
And if there are just too many potholes to be able to avoid them all, reduce your speed, if you can, to a point where you can move through them safely. Taking your foot off the brakes before you hit them will reduce the risk of impact damage.
With the best will and skill in the world, you may still drive into a pothole. If you don’t have collision insurance, why not get in touch with us to discuss?
3 Critical Factors for Seasonal Employers
Worker’s Compensation Insurance and Beyond
With the month of May quickly approaching many small business owners relying on seasonal employees, such as landscapers, roofing companies, paving companies and farmers, begin to interview and hire for the upcoming season. It can be a challenge to find good help, especially for temporary positions. But, once these employees are hired it is critical that they are covered on the job site in case of accident or injury. Be sure your worker compensation policy is brought up to date and that coverage is in place for this new group.
Provide the Right Coverage
In the state of New Hampshire, it is required that all employers engaging worker’s that are not owners of the business be covered by worker compensation insurance. The laws vary from state-to-state but failing to carry a policy of this type could result in fines or levies, and an on the job injury may significantly impact the business as medical bills may need to be paid out of the owner’s pocket.
Keep in mind that worker compensation insurance is separate from your general business policy but can be purchased through your commercial insurance provider.
Make Policies Clear
No matter what type of employees you hire, it is essential to have written policies and procedures in place. These policies must be applied to, share with and enforced thru all employees whether full-time permanent, part-time or contract workers. It can be difficult to determine who is at fault when on-the-job injuries occur if there are not written procedures and company policies in place.
Ensure that all policies comply with Labor Law regulations, for most labor laws, including those addressing harassment, discrimination, and workplace health and safety apply to temp and seasonal employees just the same as with any other employee. The same applies to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), covering minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor.
Reduce Workplace Injury
Besides covering employees with workers’ compensation insurance, the best way to keep the workplace safe is by enforcing safety rules and training.
There are several ways to maintain a safe workplace:
- Perform regular safety inspections to eliminate r prevent hazards
- Keep the workspace clear of materials, tools or equipment that could cause a worker to trip
- Provide employees with necessary protective gear
- Schedule thorough safety training for new employees, and have refreshers for seasoned employees
- Display posters, brochures, etc. with safety reminders and tips
If you are unsure about whether or not you are required to provide worker compensation insurance, or the number of employees, or compensation amounts that may change your status, always speak to a professional for guidance. Your commercial insurance agent should be able to advise you of the current laws surrounding this, and business policy types. For additional information or inquiry please email Rick Brownell Jr., at email@example.com
Avoid Home Repair and Cleanup Scams this Spring
Spring cleanups are well underway for most of us. Some homeowners contract with a lawn care or landscaping company to assist in the heavy lifting that comes from a long and windy winter season, but many attempt the task alone. If you are like many New Englanders, there is much to be done. Perhaps you are even considering some touchups to the house, or a small remodeling project too. If so, beware of fraudulent “contractors.” According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) there are many home repair scams out there, and recent severe weather has allowed thieves to take advantage of those in most need. Here are some tips from the BBB to help avoid this type of con.
- Be wary of door-to-door workers who show up unsolicited offering to make repairs. This includes companies offering to remove fallen trees and branches.
- Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements and keep copies of receipts for emergency repairs for reimbursement later.
- Take time to shop around for contractors and check to make sure any contractors you are considering hiring are properly licensed and have up-to-date workers compensation and liability insurance. Also, make sure they are approved by your insurance company.
- Get everything in writing. Require a written agreement from anyone you hire that outlines the work to be done, the materials to be used, and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Review it carefully before signing.
- Never pay the full amount for repairs in advance. Follow the rule of thirds. Pay one third up front, one third at the halfway mark and the final third at the completion of the project. Pay with a credit card if possible.
- Check licensing. While licensing requirements may vary by state, most reputable companies will be licensed and ensured. It is your right to ask for proof. Licensed contractors are subject to laws designed to protect the consumer.
- Some tree maintenance may not require a license. Some states do not regulate minor tree services such as stump grinding and branch trimming. A license is required if the tree is being excavated from the property.
- Start with trust. Go to www.bbb.org to check the company’s BBB Business Review before doing business and find a BBB accredited business.
For policy information please call any one of our agents at Brownell Insurance. We are here to assist. 603-437-1992.
Pet Safety: Are You Thinking What She’s Thinking?
In an emergency, most of us can lay our hands on first aid and other supplies to provide an immediate response. But your favorite pet wants to know if you’re as well prepared to deal with an emergency situation for him or her.
According to the Humane Society, everyone who shares a home with a pet should have a basic pet emergency kit on hand.
You can buy them ready-made online or at pet stores but, because every pet’s needs are different, you may want to think about building one from scratch.
This, says the society, should include a pet first aid book specific to your animal/breed, phone numbers for your veterinarian and emergency clinic, paperwork in a waterproof container, a self-cling bandage and a muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting.
You might want to add a full range of first aid supplies plus ear-cleaning solution, non-prescription antibiotic ointment, a temporary identification tag and some form of restraint appropriate to the pet, such as a leash or carrier.
Keep the kit in your home and take it with you when you travel with your pet, says the society. If traveling, you should also take medication supplies and copies of any prescriptions and vaccination certificates — plus any other products your vet recommends.
Check items in the kit regularly and replace as necessary if they’ve expired.
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