South Carolina

907 Elmwood Avenue
Columbia, SC 29201

Ohio

4652 Belden Village St NW
Canton, OH 44718

Motorcyclists know that riding gives them a freedom that driving a car just can’t match. But the best riders also know that motorcycles require more focus to operate and don’t provide the same protections cars do in the event of a crash. The best riders also take great care in all situations, whether they’re in heavy traffic, stuck in the rain or just taking a quick ride on a perfect day.

If your habits aren’t as safe as they could be, or if you’re new to motorcycling, don’t worry! Instead, take time to improve. The quick safety tips below are a great place to start.

Want more? Check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (http://www.msf-usa.org) or the American Motorcyclist Association (www.americanmotorcyclist.com). And remember to give us at DeWees Insurance Partners a call when you need to get coverage for your bike (or your home or auto, boat or more)!

First things first

  •         Wear proper safety gear and, most importantly, a helmet – no matter how short your trip may be.
  •         Make sure you can be seen by other motorists. Make it easier for them by wearing reflective clothing, always using turn signals (and perhaps hand signals as well) and keeping your headlight on.
  •         Even when taking the above precautions, stay alert and assume that other drivers don’t see you — especially at intersections and when making lane changes or passing.
  •         Be patient. Don’t tailgate, and if someone is tailgating you, get out of their way.
  •         Don’t ride after drinking or taking any medications that could impair your abilities.

Riding at night

  •         Again, make sure you’re visible — particularly at dusk. Consider upgrading your headlight or adding other lights to your ride. Is your bike black? What about your clothing? Both will make you more difficult to see at night.
  •         Your vision needs to be clear, so keep your visor or goggles clean and free from scratches. If you don’t use face or eye protection, consider it.
  •         Carry a flashlight or other emergency gear with you so a mechanical problem doesn’t leave you stranded — and invisible — on the side of a dark road.

Bad weather?

  •         Keep rain and cold-weather gear handy. Riding isn’t just more enjoyable when you’re warm and dry — it’s safer, too.
  •         Use extreme caution when it first begins to rain, as the roads are most slick at that point. Pull over and wait if necessary. It’s better to be late than ride in unsafe conditions.

We wish that all of your rides could be on sunny days with wide-open roads, but we know that’s not going to happen. So think about safety every time you start up your bike!

Spring is here in Columbia, and summer is right around the corner. It’s time to think about getting your boat out on the water.

Actually, first things first: It’s time to think about getting your boat ready to get out on the water. From the engine and propeller down to your trailer, a little preparation as you get your boat out of winter storage can help you start off the season right — and get the most out of your time on board.

Here are 10 tips from Discover Boating to get you started:

  1. Check your safety gear. Do you have enough life jackets? Are they in good shape? What about onboard fire extinguishers? Are your navigation lights working?
  2. Consider adding safety items. Should disaster strike, an emergency position indicating radio beacon can help rescuers find you and your boat. And, if you have an enclosed space on the boat, you should have a carbon-monoxide detector.
  3. Examine your fuel system. Any leaks or damage should be addressed immediately.
  4. Look at all belts, hoses and cables. Those that appear brittle or cracked most likely need to be replaced.
  5. Check fluid levels, such as engine oil. Change or add as needed.
  6. Have your battery and electrical system checked. Look for corrosion on your electrical connections.
  7. Make sure your propeller isn’t banged up. Dings and distortion can cause vibration, as well as damage your drive train.
  8. Look at the hull for blisters and cracks. Repair or patch damage, and make sure to use an environmentally safe solution when washing the exterior and interior.
  9. Don’t forget the trailer. Treat your trailer with as much care as you show your boat. Inspect the hubs occasionally, and check your lights before every trip. If you go boating in salt water, give the trailer a very good rinse afterward.
  10. Don’t forget insurance, either! It’s a good idea to check your coverage as you head into boating season, too. Just give us a call here at DeWees Insurance Partners, and we can help you with a quick insurance review.

There’s nothing quite like a sunny – and safe – day on our local lakes and rivers. We’ll see you out there!

The next time you see or hear a thunderstorm, you might want to take a moment to review what you know about lightning safety. Strikes are most common during the summer thunderstorm season, but they can happen at any time of the year. And, a lot of less-than-accurate ideas about lightning have found a place in the popular imagination over the years. Here’s a look at current knowledge.

Indoor Safety

  •         The safest place to be during a storm is typically indoors, but it is important to avoid anything that conducts electricity – metal, landline phones, appliances, wires, TV cables and plumbing.

 

  •         Automobiles can be safe havens thanks to the metal frame that diverts the electrical charge. Don’t lean on the doors during a storm, though.

Outdoor Safety

  •         Don’t look for shelter under a tree. If lightning hits its branches, a “ground charge” could spread out in all directions.

 

  •         Don’t lie flat on the ground. This makes you even more vulnerable to a ground charge.

 

  •         Don’t crouch down. Once recommended, the “lightning crouch” has been discredited – it’s not likely any safer than standing if you’re outside during a storm. Instead, get inside or into a car.

Where Strikes Will Happen

  •         Contrary to folk wisdom, lightning does indeed strike twice in the same place. The best example is New York City’s Empire State Building. It was once a lightning laboratory due to being struck scores of times every year.

 

  •         Lightning doesn’t only strike the tallest objects. Although tall, pointy, isolated objects are often hit, lightning has been known to hit the ground instead of buildings and parking lots instead of telephone poles.

 

  •         The presence of metal doesn’t affect where and if lightning will strike. Neither mountains nor trees contain metal, and both get struck. However, metal is a conductor of electricity, so avoid it during any storm.

 

  •         Strikes don’t just happen in areas where rain is falling. Even if you’re miles away from a thunderstorm, lightning can still occur.

Finally, it’s important to remember that you won’t be electrocuted if you touch someone who has been struck – the human body doesn’t store electricity. So, by all means, give a lightning strike victim first aid. You might just save a life.

Of course, because spring is a time for new beginnings, cleaning and organization around the house are very popular this time of year. If you’re ready to tackle that monumental chore, read on for some helpful information. (And if you’re so tidy and organized throughout the year that spring cleaning isn’t a big chore for you, well, keep that to yourself! Unless you want your friends and neighbors to be jealous, that is.)

Take it one room at a time. Deciding to clean or organize your entire home can quickly get overwhelming. If you focus on just one area or room, then move to another only when you’re finished, you’ll likely work more efficiently.

Follow the six-month rule. Generally, if you haven’t used something in six months (with the exception of seasonal items), it’s a good idea to consider throwing it away or donating it.

Don’t forget the kitchen. Just like other rooms, your kitchen likely has things that haven’t been used in some time — and this includes food in the refrigerator or freezer. Give those appliances a thorough cleaning and get rid of anything you won’t be eating.

Set yourself up for success. Paper clutter is something we all could probably cut back on pretty easily. Setting up a few recycling bins throughout the house gives you a convenient alternative to just setting that old magazine or paperwork down somewhere and watching the pile grow.

Make some money! Of course, the spring cleaning garage sale is a tradition for many homeowners, and can be a great way to bring in some extra income. Talk about a win-win situation — you get rid of stuff you don’t need, and someone pays you for it!

Stay safe. When you’re cleaning or maintaining your home, be mindful of the physical risks involved. Lift with your leg muscles, not your back. Avoid prolonged repetitive motions. Use ladders, lawnmowers and other dangerous tools with caution.

If you’re like most people, there are certain items you own that you can’t imagine ever losing—possessions you deeply cherish or those that would be impossible to replace due to the cost of re-purchasing them or simply because they’re irreplaceable.

While your homeowners insurance is invaluable for covering the loss or destruction of many of your belongings (as well as damage to your home’s structure), your policy might provide only partial coverage for your most cherished items.

The good news is that you can still protect the things that matter to you most, even if they’re not fully covered under your homeowners, with a scheduled personal property endorsement that is tailored to meet your specific needs.

Not an easy name, but it can help you sleep better at night

A scheduled personal property endorsement is not something that everyone talks about, but we at DeWees Insurance Partners can help you determine if it would be a good fit for you. The first step begins with you. Look around your home and make a list of your cherished possessions. Be sure to consider the following:

Ø  Jewelry

Ø  Antiques

Ø  Art

Ø  Collections

Ø  Musical instruments

Ø  Silverware/China

Ø  Autographed items

Ø  Rare or one-of-a-kind items

Once you have taken an inventory, make the time to talk with us. We are always here to help you determine whether if your prized possessions need more coverage than your current policy provides.

Please keep in mind that it is wise to complete an inventory every year or so, because it’s easy to acquire new items over time that should be added to a scheduled personal property endorsement. It could be tragic to find yourself in a situation rendering you unable to replace what matters most to you.

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. Just give us a call at (803) 386-0003. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

One of the most disheartening experiences is to find flooding or extreme water damage to your treasured home in South Carolina.

At DeWees Insurance Partners, we know you want to protect what’s important. That’s why we’re offering these tips to help you prevent many of the most common causes of water damage.

Just a little time and some effort can prevent a lot of heartache and hassle.

Ø  Make sure your water pressure is not set too high. For just $6 or so, you can purchase a gauge that will help you test your pressure for the appropriate level, which should be set between 60 and 80 PSI.

Ø  Standard hoses on new appliances are not as durable as they used to be. So check your appliances. If they’re rubber, either replace them with longer lasting stainless steel braided hoses or replace them every three years.

Ø  Keep water from leaking into the walls or floor of your bathroom by replacing cracked tiles and re-grouting when it’s needed.

Ø  Examine the shingles on your roof. Worn, curled or missing shingles allow water in, so replace them as soon as noticed.

Ø  Consider buying a water alarm, which can help you find leaks, or automatic shut-off mechanisms, which can help avoid bursts.

Ø  A lot of water damage occurs when you and your family are away from home.  Make a practice to avoid running the washing machine or dishwasher while you’re out.

Ø  When you leave for vacations, turn off the water supply to appliances.

Ø  Keep up maintenance on all appliance hoses, because slow leaks from worn out hoses can cause major damage (and they are not covered under Homeowners insurance).

At DeWees Insurance Partners, we hope these pointers will ensure your house stays nice and dry this year!

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. Just give us a call at (803) 386-0003. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Advertisements for home-security companies are all over the place — TV, newspapers, radio, online. But with so many companies out there, how do you know which one is right for you? And how do you know they’ll keep your home safe?

At DeWees Insurance Partners, we think that purchasing a home monitoring system can help give you peace of mind when you’re at home or away. Of course, there are a number of precautions you can take yourself to increase safety and make your home uninviting to burglars. But if you’re considering hiring a company, here are some tips, including guidance from the Electronic Security Association (ESA), a nonprofit trade association for the industry.

  1. Get advice. You wouldn’t buy a car without asking your family, friends or neighbors for input. So why would you shop for a security system without their help? You also can look to the Better Business Bureau or online for reviews of the companies you’re considering — but keep in mind that you’ll want to check several different sites to make sure you’re getting a fair cross-section. Some reviews could be fake, especially if they’re overwhelmingly positive or negative.
  2. Check credentials. The ESA has a certification program through its National Training School, which provides extensive training in electronic security. In addition, ESA member companies must adhere to a code of ethics and standards of conduct.
  3. Ask about licensing. Some states require security system installers to be licensed, so ask companies if it’s a requirement in your state. If it is, the company should provide proof that its licenses are in good standing.
  4. Meet with several companies. Narrow your search, and then speak with representatives of two or three companies. They should inspect your home (always ask for identification before letting them in) and provide recommendations. Be sure to get any quotes in writing.
  5. Read your contract before signing! Don’t let a company representative pressure you into signing a contract you haven’t read or don’t understand. In fact, if you are receiving any pressure at all, proceed very cautiously with that particular company.

Having an alarm system can help you sleep easier at night — but only if you choose the system and company that’s right for you. So take your time, ask plenty of questions, and don’t be afraid to say no!

There could be a discount!

Getting a home security system could make you eligible for a discount on your insurance. Give us a call today at (803) 386-0003 to find out how we can save you money.

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

You’ve taken the plunge and opted for condo life.  Now that the papers are signed, it seems like everything is taken care of for you—building maintenance, roof repairs, landscaping, insurance, etc.  It’s time to relax because everything is covered, right?

Not quite.  The insurance policy provided by the condo association covers the building structure and common areas, but what about potential structural damage to your unit and covering your belongings?  Without a personal condo insurance policy, you could be left high and dry if your unit floods, is damaged in a fire, etc.

Most condos need two insurance policies.

Master Policy:  Generally provided by your condo association, this policy covers the physical structure of the building, including basement, roof, walls, elevators, lobbies, etc.  Coverage usually includes both physical damage and liability. Get a copy of the policy so you know what’s covered.

Personal Condo Policy:  This will cover additional structural damage to your unit, including cabinets, appliances, personal belongings, and more.  This also covers living expenses if you fall victim to a fire, theft, or other covered disaster. Many insurance carriers, such as Safeco InsuranceTM, offer enhancements that include personal property protection in your condo insurance policy. Safeco’s Full Value Contents® protection will pay the full replacement cost of your belongings, not just what they are worth today.

Other coverage to consider:

Umbrella Policy:   If someone were to trip and fall inside or near your condo, they could sue both you and the condo association.  Umbrella provides additional layers of liability protection and can protect against lawsuits that target both your current and future earnings.

Flood or Earthquake:  Read the fine print on your policy.  They often won’t cover damage due to these disasters.  Additional coverage may be required if you live in a prone area.

Even a small leak can become a major problem, so knowing what you’re covered for and how to prevent water damage are equally important.  The below tips should help uncover any potential water problems down the road and keep your property dry.

Check appliance hoses.  Standard hoses are not as durable as they used to be.  Replace rubber hoses with steel-braided hoses. This is a low cost fix that can save thousands in water damage.

Broken tiles in the shower can allow water to leak into the walls or on the floor. Replace cracked tiles and re-grout when needed.

Run dishwasher and washing machine only when you are home.  If a leak occurs, you can turn the appliance off right away.

When on vacation, turn off the main water supply to your house.

Keep storm drains near your house clear of leaves.

Install a gutter guard.  This can prevent a rooftop disaster caused by drain clogs, and also prevents flooding by water that isn’t carried away from the house.

Install a water pressure gauge.  An inexpensive gauge can prevent damage caused by water pressure that’s too high.  Pressure should be between 60 and 80 PSI.

Drafty windows. Leaky faucets. Dirty air filters.

All are common issues and they’re not only annoying — they also cost you money in decreased energy efficiency and higher utility bills.

Would you like to save $200 to $400 a year on your energy costs? That’s how much the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program estimates that homeowners can save by incorporating technologies to make their homes operate more efficiently.

Of course, helping to protect you and your family is our goal at DeWees Insurance Partners, and keeping your home well-maintained usually means your home will be safer as well. Those are goals we all should share. Several of the tips below from the National Association of Home Builders will help you accomplish both.

Do a home-energy audit

Making your home more efficient can seem like an overwhelming task. But “auditing” your energy efficiency is something you can do yourself, and it’s relatively simple. This will show you where your home loses energy, how efficient your heating and cooling systems are, and ways you can decrease your electricity use. Just inspect the areas listed here and note the problems you find.

Where’s the air? Air commonly “leaks” from homes through gaps around baseboards, electrical outlets and windows or doors. Stopping these drafts can save up to 30 percent of your yearly energy costs. Be sure to check your home’s exterior as well, paying particular attention to areas where two different building materials meet. When you find leaks, seal them with caulk or weather stripping.

Don’t wait … insulate! Check to see if the amount of insulation in the ceiling and walls is sufficient. Your attic door should be insulated and close tightly. For walls, make a small hole in a closet or other inconspicuous place and probe into the wall with a screwdriver — the area should be completely filled with insulation.

Do a systems check. Efficient heating and cooling systems can save you frustration as well as money. Make sure ducts and pipes are insulated properly, and have your equipment checked and cleaned by a professional each year. Filters for forced-air furnaces should be replaced as soon as they are dirty, or every 30 to 60 days.

Let there be (efficient) light. Lighting can account for up to 20 percent of your home’s total electricity use, so consider compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs, which last longer and use far less energy than incandescent bulbs.

The only thing left to do after you complete your audit (and make any necessary changes)? Figuring out how to spend the money you’ll save each year!