How to Protect Your Home from Summertime Burglaries

July 19, 2017

Protect Your Home from Summertime Burglaries

It’s an unfortunate truth: summer vacation season is also prime break-in season. Both here in Maine and throughout the United States. Learn how to protect your home with these great tips. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice published a report that identified a recurring pattern in the number of home burglaries that occurred throughout the year. From 1993 to 2010, national crime statistics showed that the rates of home burglaries rose and fell at the same time(s) each year. “For household property crimes [our] data indicates that there are seasonal patterns in household burglary and larceny, with higher rates in the summer and lower rates during other seasons of the year.” (Seasonal Patterns in Criminal Victimization Trends, June 2014 U.S. Department of Justice|Office of Justice Programs|Bureau of Justice Statistics) On average, the research found that throughout the country, household burglary rates were approximately 11% lower in winter then they were during the summer months. ‘V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N’ Spells Opportunity for Thieves During the months of June, July and August, a combination of several factors – unique to the season – often create the ‘perfect storm’ of conditions that can give criminals both more opportunities and easier access to your home....

Read More

Casco Bay Boat Safety Tips – Don’t Leave Port Without These 8 Items on Board

June 14, 2017

Last year (2016) the U.S Coast Guard documented 4,463 recreational boating accidents, resulting in 701 deaths, 2,903 injuries and approximately $49 million dollars of damage to property – all due to boat safety. In 2016, the fatality rates of people killed in recreational boating accidents rose by more than 11% to 5.9 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels (from 5.3 per 100,000 in 2015) Sadly, here in Maine, the numbers are worse. In 2016, 9 deaths were reported from the 111,116 registered watercraft in the state – a rate of 8.1%. Now, as temperatures (finally) start warming up, many Portland area boaters will be casting off in boats, dinghies and family-friendly yachts of all types and launching into the waters of Casco Bay, Maine’s lake regions and beyond. Whether it’s simply to enjoy a brief respite from the heat and humidity or to wet a line with the hopes of hooking a bass, trout or striper, soon thousands of people will escape their otherwise terrestrial existence and enter an environment where different rules apply. Water: Different world. Different rules for boat safety. Simply put, staying safe on the water comes down to limiting the possibility of you and your...

Read More

Help! What do I do with my life? Life insurance that is…

March 29, 2017

Graduate, now what

As your typical 20 something year old I know that I’ll be out of the nest and off my parents’ insurance plan soon, but then what? I am getting my life started, renting an apartment, buying a car, finding a job in my career field, possibly getting married? …Well, maybe not the married part, but like most of my peers I want my assets to be protected while I’m “alone” in the world. We’re all familiar with that little green gecko, the “we are farmers” jingle, Flo from Progressive, but remain so unfamiliar with what they are actually trying to sell us. So I’ll start with the easy questions that I’m shy about asking, because in a world where we are all trying to adult I feel like an infant when it comes to understanding insurance. What is insurance? Put simply, insurance is an exchange of a small loss in the form of a payment to protect you from a much larger financial loss in the form of an accident. More concisely, it is a transfer of risk. An insurance claim is when you utilize the “insurance product” you pay for to help cover your costs. Everyone has a...

Read More

How to Survive Graduation Day

June 9, 2016

It’s an exciting day for students and families seeing your son or daughter on the stage, all dressed up and smiling from ear to ear. So many dreams are being made. So many plans for the future are being discussed. So how do you make it easier emotionally and physically? Here are 8 tips on Surviving Graduation day: Arrive early to the venue. Your child will most likely have to be there at a certain time, but you should arrive at least an hour early to secure good seats to view where your child is sitting on stage. Eat and drink plenty before you go. Some graduations will take an hour and a half and others can go as long as 4 hours. The later being colleges, but some high school graduations could be 2 plus hours depending on the number of students. Bring tissues. It’s a happy day, but you don’t know what your emotions will be like on that day. So proud and excited for them, but the memories of when they were younger will pop into your mind. Bring your camera and phone. You don’t want to risk missing this exciting time. I left my phone...

Read More

8 tips to stay alert while driving

January 21, 2016

Squirrel! Driving down the road we often look around to see what’s going on. Sometimes we see animals, sometimes we see pretty houses but most of the time we really don’t take in what we see. Driving is a habit and something we do almost every day. We don’t have to really think about it unless we are learning how to drive and have to pass a test. So what happens when you do see something? Like a squirrel? It’s like we get a slap in the face and it wakes us up. We have a quick response to either jump – if it’s running out in front of us – or we quickly look at it as it scampers on the side of the road trying not to get hit.  Whatever our reaction is, we do something. This something becomes the distraction to our driving or train of thought. We have so many distractions while we drive now. How can we help ourselves to really pay attention to our driving? Here are 8 tips to stay alert while driving When we get into the car, make all adjustments to seats, mirrors, GPS and climate controls so you are...

Read More

5 Easy Steps and Apps to create a Home Inventory

January 15, 2016

It’s hard to remember every little thing you own in your home. Things are given to you or your buy them, then you put them aside for when you may need them. What would you do if you had a fire in your home and everything was destroyed? Having a home inventory will help you remember everything you have lost, will help with any insurance claims you may file and help verify losses for your income tax return. To start a home inventory: 1. Decide what will make it easier for you to remember, e.g. photos, lists, sales receipts, etc. There are many ways to record the inventory too, e.g. photos with written descriptions, video recorded on a thumb drive or files created with both photos and video saved onto the cloud. 2. Start with one room. Take a picture or video of the room. Make sure you open all cabinets and drawers so you capture everything in the picture. 3. List all items in the picture or describing what they are, including the make and model and where/when you purchased them. 4. If you have sales receipts, put them with this page. You will also need to know...

Read More

5 Tips To Stay Safe During The Holidays

December 23, 2015

Having a fun and safe Holiday season may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s what everyone wants. Here are some quick things to keep in mind during this festive Holiday season: Tree Safety. Choose the right tree for looks but also quality. Make sure your tree is freshly cut so it will last longer, but also not dry out. Look for needles that do not fall off the branches or break. Live trees need to be watered every day. Christmas tree fires are not common, but when they do, they tend to be more serious. Most are caused by electrical problems. Keep away from electrical outlets and any heat source. Home Safety. When people are entertaining, more cooking is taking place and more distractions are too. Unattended cooking is one of the leading causes of fires in the home, according to the National Fire Protection Association. People often use their fireplaces to create a nice setting for their guests. Be sure your home is safe from any embers and clear anything dry (boughs, decorations) from the fireplace area to prevent any unattended fires from starting. Holiday Travel Safety. Before the rush of the Holiday season, have your...

Read More

How To Approach A Cyber Attack

September 14, 2015

No one is safe from a cyber-attack. It doesn’t matter the size of your business or personal accounts. Data breaches are happening every day. Hackers get into point-of-sale devices and servers that contain vital records and credit card information. This information is then sent to a remote server so the data is available. Cyber-attacks are becoming more and more common. So what can I do about a cyber-attack? Businesses: Focus on prevention and risk management. Know what information you have and where you have it. Know who has access to this information. Don’t keep information longer than you need to. Don’t rely on just the IT department. Everyone has a role in recognizing potential risks. Have a plan of protection in place. Update and test security programs. Audit your business. Have a plan of recovery in place. All employees play a role. They should know what they need to do. Have this plan spelled out and printed out. If a breach occurs, take these steps: Stop the attack by making servers and computers unusable (pull the plug) Change passwords Identify the technical malicious access Correct the technical access with new software and security Report the breach to your State’s...

Read More

Your Dog and Neighbors: Preventing Biting

What happens if your dog bites your neighbor? Our dogs are our pets. No, not pets – family members. They keep us company, they entertain us, and they protect us. So, what are our neighbors? Most people consider their neighbors to be friends or at least cordial acquaintances. When something happens between neighbors, things can be strained. You want to repair this relationship as fast as you can or it will be uncomfortable living near each other. So what happens when your dog bites your neighbor? The obvious thing is to first get your dog under control and away from your neighbor. Then make sure your neighbor is OK. But wait, it’s usually so much more than that! We are talking about the liability of owning a dog. It is up to you to have proper control of your dog in any situation. When indoors, your dog should never be in front of you when answering the door. You should also pay attention to how your dog is behaving when someone does come to the door. Is he wagging his tail? Is he excited to see the person? Is he protecting you and acting aggressively? If he is wagging...

Read More