We hope you had a happy and relaxing Thanksgiving. Now that November is over, we begin bracing ourselves for winter’s chill. During these cold and icy months it is important to take extra care while driving. Check out this month’s issue for some handy winter driving tips to refresh your memory.
Do you have health insurance questions? Brownell Insurance offers free consultations to make sure your health insurance plan meets your needs and ACA requirements to avoid fines.
Check out our Facebook page to see what we are up to this November!
Marie Brownell and The Brownell Insurance Team
Remember – we offer free quotes for all of our insurance products. Please don’t hesitate to “Dare to Compare” the insurance coverages you might have elsewhere to see if “bundling” them might save you a few hundred dollars. You just might find the service and savings you have been looking for!
Dates & Deadlines for 2017 Health Insurance
Open Enrollment for 2017 health plans starts November 1, 2016. Important dates to note:
- November 1, 2016: Open Enrollment starts – first day you can enroll, re-enroll, or change a 2017 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2017.
- December 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start January 1, 2017.
- January 1, 2017: 2017 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15.
- January 31, 2017: Last day to enroll in or change a 2017 health plan. After this date, you can enroll or change plans only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Read More at Healthcare.gov
How Smart Thermostats Can Help Protect Your Home
Did you ever leave for work without turning down the heat on a blustery winter day? Or head out for a day trip in the middle of summer without dialing down the air conditioning for your dog? A smart thermostat can help you heat and cool your home more efficiently, monitor your energy consumption and let you control your home’s heating and AC systems from your smartphone, wherever you may be. These devices can help protect your home from damage caused by frozen pipes by alerting you if your home is getting dangerously cold. But there are also some important safety considerations.
How Smart Thermostats Work
Unlike traditional and programmable thermostats, many smart thermostats learn and adapt based on temperature, humidity and your family’s behavior, including when you and your family are likely to be home, awake and asleep. Your smartphone acts as a remote control for your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, allowing you to change the temperature from wherever you have a signal. Another benefit includes automated notifications if the temperature in your home rises or falls above or below a set threshold. For homeowners who travel frequently or who own a second home, these devices offer the ability to remotely monitor their property.
Key Considerations for Using Your Smart Thermostat
During cold temperatures, with a more traditional thermostat, you turn down the temperature when you leave your home and dial it back up when you return. With a smart thermostat app controlled by your phone, you are able, and might be more motivated, to turn down your system to a low temperature to conserve energy from wherever you may be. But be wary as turning the thermostat down too low could result in frozen pipes, Travelers Risk Control professionals warn. Be sure to keep the temperature at 55°F or higher to help keep the interior of the floor and wall cavities, where water piping can be located, above freezing temperatures.
As part of the Internet of Things, smart thermostats are also subject to hacking and privacy concerns. You may think there is less of a safety concern than with smart locks or other security-related smart devices, as there is less incentive for hackers to target these devices. However, smart thermostats can provide details about your daily comings and goings, which a thief could find insightful.
A prudent step would be for homeowners to make sure their devices are hard-wired to the Internet, rather than relying on a Wi-Fi connection. Choose a strong password and evaluate any specific safety concerns before you decide to buy a smart thermostat. As with any smart device, make sure it is compatible with your other devices or hub because not all devices communicate well with each other. The packaging for these smart devices may not offer detailed installation instructions, so you may want to consult a professional to help install them properly.
Read more at Travelers.com
Safe Driving Tips in Winter Conditions
- When it snows, use your head not your feet. Slow down for wet, snowy, or icy conditions, when visibility is poor, or when conditions are changing or unpredictable. Stay alert!
- Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady spots. These are all candidates for developing “black ice” – a thin coating of clear ice that forms on pavement surfaces and is difficult to see.
- Drivers should allow additional space between their vehicles and others. Winter road conditions often result in longer stopping distances.
- Don’t take chances when pulling out in front of approaching vehicles. Remember, they may not be able to slow down, and you may not be able to accelerate as quickly as on dry pavement.
- Avoid using cruise control in winter driving conditions. You need to be in control of when your vehicle accelerates based on road conditions – don’t let cruise control make a bad decision for you.
- Stopping on snow and ice without skidding requires extra time and distance so use your brakes carefully. If you have anti-lock brakes, press the pedal down firmly and hold it. If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, gently pump the pedal. Either way, give yourself plenty of room to stop. Brake early, brake slowly, brake correctly, and never slam on the brakes
- On snow and ice, go slowly, no matter what type of vehicle you drive. Even if you drive an SUV with four-wheel drive, you may not be able to stop any faster, or maintain control any better, once you lose traction. Four-wheel drive may get you going faster, but it won’t help you stop sooner.
- When you’re driving on snow, accelerate gradually. Avoid abrupt steering maneuvers.
- When you’re driving on snow, ice or wet roads, merge slowly, since sudden movements can cause your vehicle to slide.
- Look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by other vehicles will alert you to problems more quickly, and give you that split-second of extra time to react safely.
- Avoid distracted driving – texting, eating, handheld devices, etc.
- Winter conditions call for different driving tactics. Ice and snow, take it slow – slower speed, slower acceleration, slower steering, and slower braking.
Safe Travel Around Snowplows
- Don’t crowd the plow. Snowplows plow far and wide – sometimes very wide. The front plow extends several feet in front of the truck and may cross the center-line and shoulders during plowing operations.
- Don’t tailgate or stop too close behind snowplows. Snowplows are usually spreading deicing materials from the back of the truck and may need to stop or take evasive action to avoid stranded vehicles. If you find yourself behind a snowplow, stay behind it, leaving a safe distance. The road behind a snowplow will be safer to drive on.
- On multi-lane roads, watch for several snowplows plowing in tandem. This type of plowing clears all the lanes of a multi-lane highway quickly and effectively with one pass.
- Snowplows throw up a cloud of snow that can reduce your visibility to zero in less time than you can react. Drive smart. Never drive into a snow cloud – it could conceal a snowplow.
- Snowplows travel much slower than posted speeds while removing snow and ice from the roads. When you spot a plow, allow plenty of time to slow down.
- A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them but they may not see you
- Plows turn and exit the road frequently. Give them plenty of room.
Read full article at NH.gov
Left-Over Turkey Pot Pie
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 cups prepared turkey gravy
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 (14 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained
3 cups cooked turkey, cubed
salt and ground black pepper to taste (optional)
1 pastry for a 10-inch double crust pie
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onions, mushrooms, and garlic; cook until tender, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, sage, and thyme until blended. Pour in the gravy, water, and milk, stirring to blend. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the turkey and vegetables, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Line a 10 inch pie plate with the bottom crust. Pour in the turkey mixture. Cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges. Pierce top crust in a few places with a fork. Cover the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil strips, and bake until crust is golden, about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, and rest 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe courtesy of: AllRecipes.com