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Canton, OH 44718

You’ve got an emergency plan for your family in case extreme weather or a natural disaster forces you to live without power, or worse, evacuate your home. (If not, learn how to create one at Ready.gov/make-a-plan.) But, what about planning for your pets?

They’re likely to be frightened and in need of some special care. Here are four tips for helping your furry friends weather an emergency:

  1.       Set aside emergency pet supplies. Include bottled water, medications, vet records (a boarding facility may require them), a carrier, a blanket, food and a food dish, and other items, depending on your pets’ needs. Don’t forget newspapers in case they are unable to go outside to do their business.
  1.       Plan for their shelter. If the safest place for you during a severe storm is the basement, then that’s the safest place for your pets, too. Don’t leave them outside or corral too many pets into a small area. Even if they typically get along, the stress of the situation may cause them to act out.
  1.       Identify places to go in case of evacuation. Think of hotels that accept pets, or of friends and family who are nearby. Make a list of their phone numbers and addresses, as well as those of a local boarding facility in case you need to stay in a shelter that doesn’t allow pets. Work out a buddy system with neighbors to see that animals are evacuated in the event one of you is not home.
  1.       Don’t let pets roam free, even after things calm down. Fences could be down, as well as power lines, and there could be other hazards on the ground. Pets may still be frightened enough to run off, so keep them close and keep an eye on them. Furthermore, changes in their environment and routine could cause them to act unexpectedly, such as going to the bathroom inside.

For more specialized or larger pets, talk to your veterinarian about their needs during an emergency. And be sure all pets have proper identification. Your current phone number and/or address should be on their collars or tags, as well as on microchips. Because, if your pets get loose, you want to find them and bring them home again.

Most people would say their car is one of the most valuable assets they own — if not the most valuable. Despite that, however, some people make it downright easy for thieves to drive off in their pride and joy.

At DeWees Insurance Partners, we don’t want you walking out your door to an empty driveway or leaving somewhere only to find some broken glass left behind in your parking space. So take care to avoid these five mistakes.

  1.     Leave your car running … and unattended. We know it can be chilly in the mornings, and who wants to wait in a cold car while it warms up? Well, a thief certainly won’t mind the chill — as he’s driving away in your car while you’re finishing that cup of coffee in your kitchen. If your car is running, you should be in it. Period. Even if you’re just running over to the ATM to get some cash or dropping off some mail.
  2.     Keep a spare set of keys inside the car. Law enforcement agencies say this is a great way to turn a car prowler into a car thief. They’re already breaking into your car to get a phone, or a laptop, etc. What do you think they’re going to do when they find a set of keys? They’re not going to drop them off on your porch with a nice note, that’s for sure.
  3.     Put valuables in plain sight. Seems simple, but we’ve all made this mistake. You’ll just be in the store for a second, after all, so who cares if you leave your smartphone on the front seat? Or items from your other errands in the back seat? Be smart — if you have to leave items in your car, put them in the trunk, or at least hide them as best you can. And do it before you get to your next destination.
  4.     Leave your car unsecured. The best thieves can work wonders with a window that’s left open even just a crack. And even the worst thieves can steal a car that’s been left unlocked, with no alarm set.
  5.     Assume nobody would want to steal your car. Think your car is too old or too undesirable for a thief to bother? Scrap metal is worth money, so never assume that your car is safe — even if you think it’s just a “junker.”

Keeping thieves away helps to keep everyone’s insurance costs down, so avoiding these mistakes not only will save you hassle, it will save you money as well. So stay safe, not only on the roads, but in the parking lots as well!

Contact Us!

At DeWees Insurance Partners, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Most people have an idea of what’s covered and not covered under their various insurance policies. But at DeWees Insurance Partners, we get a lot of questions about borrowing or loaning a car.

Now that summer is here, and you might be looking to borrow your neighbor’s truck for a home-improvement project or a trip to the local landfill, we thought it was a great time to provide a little more information.

Generally, insurance coverage follows the vehicle rather than the driver. So in most instances, as long as the owner of the car has insurance, it’s covered even if someone other than the owner is driving it — as long as they have the owner’s permission.

The borrower’s insurance is considered secondary, meaning that in the event of an accident, it could apply if the owner’s insurance is insufficient to fully cover the damage.

It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to what is called “permissive use” coverage. For example, permission must be given by the owner, unless the borrower has a reasonable belief that they are allowed to use the car. However, the borrower cannot give permission to someone else. So if your teenager allows one of his or her friends to drive your car, your coverage likely won’t apply.

Coverage might also be denied if the borrower operates the vehicle in a negligent or criminal manner. And if the borrower is using your car for business purposes, your personal auto policy likely won’t cover that.

If you have a regular long-term arrangement to either borrow or lend a car, the borrower should probably be added to the owner’s personal auto policy. Those who don’t own a car, but often borrow one, might also consider “named non-owner coverage,” an endorsement that provides bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorists coverage and more.

Ultimately, it’s usually safe to loan your friend your car for occasional errands or projects. And the same goes for borrowing a car. Just make sure it’s for “normal” use. You’ll want to confirm that the car has coverage and that your insurance, whether you’re the owner or borrower, will apply.

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions — after all, you don’t want to wait until after an accident to get answers!

Parents, March 2 is Read Across America Day! We here at DeWees Insurance Partners believe there are so many reasons to encourage children to read.

First of all, it’s fun! It’s also an activity that promotes learning and independent thought. But, perhaps most important, becoming a reader can mean the difference between success and difficulty later in life.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, children who read proficiently by the end of third grade are more likely to graduate from high school than those who don’t. They also are more likely to be economically successful as adults.

The National Education Association (NEA) is well aware of the impact that literacy can have on a young person’s life. That’s why the organization started Read Across America in 1998. Held on the school day closest to the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss (March 2), the event goes beyond promoting reading for just one day. It also provides tools for educators and parents to create lifelong readers.

We here at DeWees Insurance Partners want you to have a few tricks up your sleeve to promote reading at home. After all, one of the most crucial factors for the success of young readers is parental involvement. According to the U.S. Department of Education, when involvement is low, reading scores are 46 points below the national average.

So how can you encourage your child to read? Here are some tips from the NEA and the Public Broadcasting Service’s “Between the Lions” show:

    • Be a reader yourself. Set a good example by letting your kids see you reading every day.
    • Make reading and literacy fun. Have the family read together, and encourage a love of words by playing rhyming and word games and singing silly songs. You can even write poems and stories as a family.
    • Take part in Read Across America on March 2 every year. Check in with your local school, education association, library or bookstore to find out what they have planned. Or plan your own event for the families in your neighborhood.
    • Make it convenient. Carry a few children’s books or magazines wherever you go, whether it’s a car ride, the doctor’s office, etc.
    • Go to the library. And make sure you let your children choose some of their own books.
    • Find used materials. Inexpensive books and magazines are often available at yard sales and secondhand stores. Dedicate a small corner of your home to creating your own library.
    • Give (or get) the gift of reading. Try to incorporate reading into gifts for birthdays and other events. If relatives or friends ask for gift ideas, suggest magazine subscriptions and books.
  • Show why reading is important in everyday life. Read other things with your child, from street signs to restaurant menus, so they see what reading means in the “real world.”

Too often, our hectic schedules mean we take less time to do the things we enjoy. So, remember, reading with children isn’t just fun for them — it should be fun for you, too! After all, as Dr. Seuss himself wrote, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”

There are an estimated 300 million firearms in U.S. homes. And, with a lot of guns comes the potential for a lot of gun-related accidents. So, ask yourself these questions to help prevent your household from experiencing one.

  1.    How secure are my guns? Nobody — especially kids — should be able to access your firearms without your permission or knowledge. Keep them in a gun safe or locked cabinet, and consider a gun-locking device as a second layer of security.
  1.    Are my firearms loaded? Whenever they aren’t in use, keep guns unloaded. And, every time you access a gun, check again that it isn’t loaded.
  1.    Where’s the ammo? Keeping ammunition separate from firearms, in a locked location, is yet another layer of security.
  1.    How much does my family know? Everyone should be aware that you keep guns in your house. And, remind kids regularly not to touch any firearms, anywhere – even if they find one in someone else’s home.
  1.    What does my insurance cover? Homeowners policies may cover accidental and negligent acts, but typically not intentional ones, which means you might not have liability protection even if you take action in self-defense. We can advise you on whether an umbrella policy is appropriate and also make sure all of your guns are covered. Many policies have limits on property coverage for firearms. Give us a call to learn more.

Keeping firearms in your home is a personal choice. And, if it’s one you make, be sure you do so safely. Because we here at DeWees Insurance Partners care about your family and our community, and we know you do, too.

Solar panels can be economically and environmentally sound, and they’re more accessible than ever. According to one research firm, U.S. homes and businesses installed a new system every four minutes in 2013.

But, is solar power right for you? To help you address the question, here are five things to think about before making the switch:

  1.       The different options for installing a solar system. Oftentimes you don’t have to foot the full cost of going solar yourself. Instead, you may be able to lease a system from a company that installs and maintains it, or enter into an agreement where a third party actually owns the system and bills you (likely at a reduced rate) for electricity. Just keep in mind that installing and owning your own system may provide the best long-term return, and tax credits or rebates may help to lower upfront costs.

 

  1.       Your current energy costs — and your future needs. Depending on your situation, you could have relatively low energy bills now and not be as motivated to pursue solar as someone with higher costs. But what does the future look like? If your family is growing, your energy costs are probably about to grow, too, and investing in solar might be worth your while.

 

  1.       The power a system would generate. Have a reputable solar company measure the amount of sun your home gets, taking into account things such as shade, trees, etc., so you can make an informed decision about expected savings.

 

  1.       What your homeowners policy says. With any improvement that increases the value of your home, you need to make sure your insurance policy reflects the change. Give us a call to see if your policy already covers solar panels. If it doesn’t, we can help you amend it.

 

  1.       Your goals. Are you mainly looking to save money? Help the environment? Both? Knowing your goals will help you determine whether solar is the right choice for you, as well as which option makes the most sense. No matter what you choose, even considering solar means you’re thinking about energy a little differently. And that’s a good thing.

 

Renewable power – it can help protect your from rising energy costs and even power outages, not to mention the good it does for the environment. Just be sure to consider your options and all the costs involved before making the leap.

Motor vehicle corrosion is a billion-dollar problem in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration. And, no wonder. Road salt, tree sap, mud, pollution and even dead bugs and bird poop all contribute to a year-round assault on your vehicle here, potentially leading to serious damage and pre-mature aging.

Safety is also an issue. Grime across your windshield and windows restricts visibility in all directions, and even a light coating of dust or pollen can impair your vision, especially at night or when driving into the sun’s glare.

That’s why we here at DeWees Insurance Partners encourage you to visit your local car wash regularly. Washing your car removes dirt, residues and pollutants that degrade your paint finish and corrode the underlying metal. It’s like anti-aging cosmetics for your automobile!

But, is hand washing at home or visiting a commercial car wash your best bet? While both lead to a clean vehicle, you’ll cut your water usage in half by going to a commercial facility and help keep toxins and soap away from street drains, which can lead to local waterways. As a bonus, some commercial facilities recycle their water.

No matter which method you choose, these five tips will help you get the most out of your car-cleaning routine:

  1.       Wash often. The longer tree sap, dead bugs and other gunk sit atop your paint, the more damage they can cause.
  1.       Avoid abrasive soaps, cloths and sponges that can grind dirt deeper into your paint finish.
  1.       Wash the undercarriage thoroughly to help prevent rust, especially after driving on road salt in the winter.
  1.       Don’t forget the headlights. When you’re driving at night, in the rain or through an unfamiliar neighborhood, you want every lumen of illumination you can muster.
  1.       Consider eco-friendly car soaps, such as biodegradable or waterless products, to help lighten the environmental impact of washing your car more often.

And, when you’re all done? Finish up with a good waxing to give your car extra protection and shine.

Thieves love tourists. It’s nothing personal. They’re just looking for an easy target – someone who’s carrying cash and credit cards, tablets and cameras, passports and other identification, all while being distracted by the new sights and sounds all around them.

So how do you take it all in without allowing a thief to take off with your money, identity and other valuables? These five travel tips should help:

  1.       Stay aware of your surroundings. This applies to all situations, from your hotel room to crowded public spaces. If a stranger bumps you, check your belongings immediately, even if it seemed accidental. Also use caution if you notice a public disturbance or other commotion – thieves appreciate a good distraction.
  2.       Watch out for digital thieves, too. If you use public wi-fi, only visit secure sites (addresses starting with “https”), and log out of accounts after each session. Need cash from an ATM? Paying for gas at the pump? Watch for “skimmer” devices designed to steal your information. They can be hard to detect, so look for card readers that don’t seem to match the rest of the machine.

 

  1.       Lock up your devices. Make sure your smartphone, computer and tablet all require secure passwords for access. Otherwise, a thief who makes off with your electronics could also make off with your personal information. Leaving devices behind at the hotel? Store them in your hotel room safe.
  2.       Always have some cash. There are situations where cash is just better than credit. If a merchant or barista just doesn’t seem trustworthy, use cash. Credit cards are best when you know the location is secure, such as at an airport or chain store, or when you want the purchase protection your card offers for a big-ticket item.
  3.       Think about home. Don’t let burglars ruin your return from vacation. Stop your mail and newspaper delivery, put some lights on timers and make your {city, state or region} home looks occupied. Just in case someone does get in, keep your documents and valuables in a secure area.

Remember, travel is supposed to be fun! Taking just a few common sense precautions will help make sure you’re free to wander without worry.  

 

Leaving your lights on — is it really a good way to keep burglars away from your home, or can it actually attract them? Or, is it just a “good” way to increase your electricity bill?

As with so many questions in life, there isn’t one “right” answer. Using lights to enhance your home security can be effective, especially as part of a larger overall strategy. With that in mind, here are five things to consider:

  1.       Remember that variety is key. If your exterior lights are always on, even during the day, that can be a signal to burglars that nobody is home. Otherwise, you’d probably turn off the lights after sunrise, right? Don’t leave your lights on constantly while you’re on vacation or at work. Use timers or lights that can be turned on and off remotely to create different looks.

 

  1.       Try motion-detecting lights. These allow you to leave your lights off while you’re away or asleep, but, if someone is lurking around your house, the lights will come on. This often will scare off a burglar.

 

  1.       Consider your home’s surroundings. If you have overgrown bushes or trees on your property, burglars might be able to take cover even in the light. And, if you live in a rural area, with nobody around to notice uninvited guests on your property, lights may not do much to thwart them.

 

  1.       Connect with the neighbors. Even if you do have neighbors nearby, would they know when something – or someone – was out of place? Build a relationship with them, so they’ll know when you’re at work or on vacation, and so they can tell when something doesn’t look right.

 

  1.       Switch up your interior lights. A house that’s dark inside for a few days looks unoccupied, no matter how many outside lights are on. So, remember to set timers or turn lights on in different rooms of your house occasionally as well. This can help create the illusion that someone is home.

Of course, there’s no one perfect way to keep your home safe. The best strategies oftentimes involve a number of different deterrents. So, mix it up, with your lights and other things, to keep burglars guessing whether or not anyone’s home.

 

You keep your car filled up with gas so you don’t get stranded on the side of the road. And, your phone charged so your loved ones can reach you. But, what kind of safety measures do you have in place for more extreme scenarios?

What if you lost everything you owned in a fire at your house or your apartment? What if your car were stolen? These situations are scary, but your insurance can help you through them, and much more, so long as you have the right coverage in place.

So, what’s right for you? Whether you’re starting out on your own or starting a family, these tips can help you begin to understand the level of insurance you may need.

Consider What You Own – And What It’s All Worth

Could you imagine having to replace all of your personal belongings at once? What about having to do so from memory and on your own dime? It would be both a difficult and a costly task. So, make an inventory of your belongings and their value to minimize the former – the free Safeco Home Inventory app can help. And, be sure you have enough insurance coverage, whether you rent or own a home, to minimize the latter. It’s known as “personal property coverage,” and you want enough of it to replace all of your belongings if it were to come to that.

Take Your Lifestyle Into Account

Drive an expensive car? Repairs are likely costly, so be sure to carry full coverage. Own a home with a lot of custom features? Be sure your homeowners policy takes them into account. The way you live can help you save, too. For example, if you take public transportation to and from work even though you own a car, you may pay less for your insurance.

Talk to Your Independent Agent for Ease, Choice and Advice

As an independent agency, DeWees Insurance Partners offers a choice of carriers and options, plus personalized advice to help make sense of it all. And, we make it easy by doing the research and the work for you. We know you value that – a recent study by Safeco Insurance says so!

Remember, we’re here to help. Contact us today with your insurance questions and needs.