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Prepare Your Home For Winter: Keep Out The Cold

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Winter is here to stay. If the frigid temperatures in the morning are not enough to remind you, then the increase in the number of blankets you want at night certainly should be a hint. Here in Massachusetts, we know a thing or two about winter: New England winters can be long and cold. While you can bundle up and dive under the covers to keep warm, when it comes to your entire home, it isn’t exactly that easy.

When wrapping up your home’s shutters in a comforter isn’t an option, try some other cost-efficient ways to prepare your home for winter.

Here are some tips to help you winterize your home as you are preparing for winter:

  • Be sure that your heating system is working to the best of its ability. Schedule an annual tune-up and replace anything necessary to keep it working. This will help with energy efficiency and in the long-run, save you money on home heating costs.
  • Always be sure that all of your home’s windows and doors are well sealed to keep out any unwanted drafts.
  • Consider insulating you water heater. This has been shown to save homeowners up to 9 percent on home water heating costs.
  • During the day, consider opening south-facing shades and curtains to let in the sun – this will increase the amount of heat your home gains naturally.

Keep in mind that when it comes to oil and gas, you should shop around the way you would for any other purchase. Different companies may provide different services and different prices. Before you sign up for a long-term contract, consider your options. The winter will be long, and you want to keep your wallet feeling warm, too!

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National Drunk And Drugged Driving Prevention Month

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Did you know that every day, nearly 30 people in the United States will die in a car accident that involves drunk driving?

Do you know all of these statistics about drunk driving?

  • Every 48-minutes, one death occurs as a result of drunk driving
  • The annual cost of drunk driving totals more than $51 billion
  • The risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than for older people – at all levels of BAC
  • Drivers with a BAC of .08% or higher involved in fatal crashes were four times more likely to have a prior conviction for DWI
  • In 2010, 10,228 people were killed as a result of alcohol-impaired driving crashes
  • In 2010, adults got behind the wheel after drinking 112 million times
  • Alcohol-impaired drivers are involved in 1 in 3 motor vehicle crash deaths

When it comes to drunk driving, who is most at risk?

  1. Young people
  2. Motorcyclists
  3. Drivers with previous DWI convictions

Annually, December is honored as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. At Paul Murphy Insurance, we urge all of our Massachusetts drivers to always stay safe behind the wheel.  Keep these safety measures in mind.

  • Prior to any drinking, if transportation involves driving, always designate a non-drinking driver within your group.
  • If you have been drinking, and you were previously driving, always call a taxi or get a ride home from someone else – your car will be safe until the morning.
  • Never let your friends or family members drive after they have been drinking – take their keys away.
  • If you are hosting a party where alcohol is being served, remind your guests to plan ahead and not plan to drive home after drinking. In Massachusetts, social host laws exist and you could be held liable should there be property damage or bodily injury as a result of drinking at your party.

Above all, always put safety first. With the holiday season upon us, parties are frequent- keep these tips in minds now more than ever!

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What Do Homeless People Need During the Holiday Season?

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Around Christmas time and through the holiday season, there are many ways to show your festive spirit by helping out the homeless and needy throughout Boston and the [astStateFull] community. So what do homeless people need exactly around this time of year? Here are some ways you can be charitable and care for your community around this area.

Giving Your Time

One of the best ways to show your holiday spirit this winter is to find a way to give up some of your time to help the needy and homeless. There are many local pantries throughout [astCompanyName], especially in the Boston area, so go ahead and find one. Volunteering at your local food pantry or other charitable organization will help people and make you feel good, too!

Greater Boston Food Bank

As New England’s largest hunger-relief organization, the Greater Boston Food Bank is feeding and doing a lot of good for countless homeless and needy throughout Boston and the state of [astStateFull]. Additionally, over 90% of the monetary donations received by the Great Boston Food Bank go directly to hunger-relief efforts in the community. Learn more about how you can donate to this particular organization’s good work; after all, your charitable efforts can mean all the difference!

Donating to the Community

Having a charitable spirit around Christmas and throughout the holiday season is all well and good, but put that spirit into action! Why not go through your home to gather up items and clothes that you no longer have use for? Put together a box or two, and make a trip to your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, or other charity to donate! Making a donation to the homeless or needy will help to keep people warm and fed this holiday season. And what is more festive than that?

To find out more about [astCompanyName]’s involvement with the [astStateFull] community, or to learn more about the agency’s products and services, don’t hesitate to call us today at [astPhone]. Enjoy the season, and happy holidays!
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Insurance Policies Explained: Are Home Based Businesses Covered Through Home Insurance?

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If you have a home based business, you may be confused about what type of insurance policy you require. For example, some people wonder if their home based business is completely covered through their homeowners insurance policy.

However, if you run a business out of your home, you most likely need a business insurance policy in addition to your homeowners policy in order to be covered. Why? Homeowners insurance policies weren’t built to cover all of the needs and liabilities of businesses. Learn more by checking out these facts about these two policies, and why you may need a Massachusetts business insurance policy.

  • First, check your homeowners insurance coverage or speak with your insurance agent for more details. Sometimes, your home insurance policy may offer a small amount of coverage for your business, however it is typically inadequate. For example, certain business equipment such as computers, printers, fax machines, or other basic office items are typically included through home insurance but only come along with a small replacement cost limit that is much less than you will actually need.
  • Typically, the limited coverage that home insurance provides for business purposes was only designed for employees who bring home some of his work or some of the business’ property home after work.
  • Your home insurance policy won’t cover any business activities that you do away from your home.
  • Your business activities at home may actually be negatively impacting our home insurance coverage. For example, if you run your business out of a detached outbuilding, such as a garage, you’re homeowners insurance will actually no longer apply to that detached outbuilding. Or, if you are trying to claim business and personal losses both onto the same policy, your insurer may not want to re-new your policy.
  • Your home insurance won’t cover injuries of clients or employees that occur on your property, as a business insurance policy would. Businesses typically require much higher liability coverage than homes do, so using your homeowners policy could leave you paying high costs in certain situations for losses, injuries, or damages!

If you have been thinking that your Massachusetts homeowners insurance coverage is sufficient to also protect your home based business, you’re most likely left exposed! Contact a local Massachusetts independent agent to discuss your insurance options before you need to make a claim.

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How To Change A Flat Tire

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Changing a tire is actually easier than you think. It’s important for any driver to know how to properly change a flat tire in case of an emergency. While having a cell phone with you or being a member of a roadside assistance program can get you out of this situation as well, you never know what may occur while on the road, so it’s best to over-prepare!

How to change a flat tire:

1. Park as far off the road as you can, on solid and level ground so you are in a safe location.
2. Place the jack under the frame of your car close to the flat tire. Make sure that the jack is coming into direct contact with the metal section of the car frame, since it can crack the plastic area of your car.
3. Begin to raise the jack, and stop when it is fully supporting your vehicle. Make sure that the car isn’t actually lifted off of the ground, and that the jack is perpendicular to the ground.
4. After taking off your hub cap, loosen the nuts on the tire. (Remember “righty tighty, lefty loosey”!). Don’t completely remove the nuts yet.
5. Use the jack to lift the car up more, so that there is a big enough gap between the car and the ground to replace the tire. As you lift, make sure that the car seems stable and is not shaking and leaning to one side.
6. Now, take all the nuts off of the tire.
7. Take the tire off your car. If it seems to be stuck, try hitting it with a rubber mallet or even the spare tire in order to loosen it from your car.
8. Place the spare tire on your car’s hub, making sure everything (including the nuts and bolts) are all properly aligned.
9. Begin to tighten all of the nuts, making sure they are equal to ensure the tire is balanced.
10. Lower the car back down to the ground using the jack, and tighten the nuts the rest of the way.
11. Remove the jack from your car, and replace the hubcap!

As a driver, you never know what kind of emergencies you may encounter while on the road. That’s why taking proper precautions and preparations such as auto insurance and roadside assistance is necessary. However, these things won’t always be able to immediately help you in some emergencies, especially if you are unable to get cell phone service. That’s why every driver should know how to change a flat tire!