New MA Headlight Law

There will be a new Massachusetts state law that you must put on your headlights if you are using your windshield wipers. This law will be in effect starting April 7, 2015. This is a smart law that will help avoid accidents on darkly lit streets while it is raining.

car headlight in the rain

If you are pulled over for this infraction, you will receive a ticket. The ticket price is not the big issue. The larger picture is that the citation for violating the statute is one of the surchargeable traffic law violations. So it will affect your premium for your car insurance.

Massachusetts and several other states have this law. It is helpful to check out this list of headlight laws in other states if you plan on traveling.

Remember windshield wipers on…lights on!

Poison Prevention

This week is Poison Prevention Week. It is a perfect time to re-evaluate our homes to make sure they are a safe place for our children. Children are curious by nature. The world is new and amazing to them. They want to see, touch, and taste everything! With their budding curiosity it is important that parents keep the hazardous items out of their reach.

prescription pills

Here are a few things to review in your house to make sure it is not an accident waiting to happen:

  • Make sure all your medicine has child safety caps
  • Keep all your medicine (prescription and non-prescription) in high cabinets or cabinets that lock
  • Never buy poisonous plants to keep in the house, they are too tempting
  • If your house was built before 1979 make sure it has been tested for lead
  • All cleaning products should be safely locked away
  • Even if the cleaning products are in a locked cabinet, you should turn the spray function to ‘Off’
  • Have a carbon monoxide detector located on each of the floors in your house
  • Keep all pocketbooks out of sight. There are lots of items such as pills, lotions, antibacterial cleaners founds in pocketbooks.
  • Post the poison control number on the fridge and in your wallet: 1-800-222-1222
  • It is always important to remind children that they do not put anything in their mouths, unless it is food specifically given to them, without asking an adult.

Keep everyone safe with these tips!

Be Safe and Have Fun on Spring Break

Spring Break is a part of college life. Many kids like to take road trips with their friends during spring break. As a parent you want to make sure your child is safe and they take the necessary precautions to avoid accidents. Here are some items to go over with your children before they leave:beach

– Check the Auto Policy. Is it active? Have you/him/her paid the premium? Are your children listed as users on your policy if they are driving your car? Do you have sufficient limits of liability? We recommend a minimum of $100K/$300K for line items #3, #5 and #12 on the policy.

– Have a tune up done on the car at least a week prior to departure. A tune up should find any issues with the car and make sure all fluids are sufficient.

– Check the tires. Use a pressure gauge to check the pressure. The recommended tire pressure is different for each car so check on the front door panel when you open the door or the owner’s manual.

– Know the cell phone laws in each state that the child would be driving through. Some states require hands free devices such as CT while other states don’t have a restriction as MA.

– Have a windshield/dashboard GPS or a factory installed GPS, make sure the child is not using his/her cell phone GPS as it is not safe to try to read a small phone while driving.

– No texting while driving!

– When your child reaches his/her destination make sure he/she remembers to lock up all valuables. Hotels have safes, use them!

– No crazy Facebook/Twitter/Instagram posts. They will come back to haunt. Think before posting.

– Always have a designated driver or a reliable taxi service in the area to get everyone home safely.

Keeping safety in mind during spring break will benefit both college kids and parents. Everyone will have more fun!

Home Flooding Due to Snow Melting

All this snow on the ground has to go somewhere. It will melt (hopefully!) and this water will seep in to the ground. Normally when snow melts the ground does not have a difficult time absorbing it, since it usually does so over a period of time. However, with the feet of snow we have outside there may be issues of the groundwater level rising and flooding into your basement. If you have only lived in your house for a short period of time and do not know if the water table is an issue in your neighborhood, contact the town.

Now is the time to check your basement and do some preventative work. Seal all of the cracks in the foundation floor and walls. Using polyurethane masonry caulk to fix the cracks, should be sufficient. If the cracks are larger than 1/4 inch use hydraulic cement, since it expands as it dries. Also address the windows in the basement and make sure they are properly sealed, as water cold leak through these also. After sealing all the cracks make sure you do not have any items that could be destroyed by water located on the basement floor. Good solutions for storing items in your basement: buy large durable shelving units, buy large plastic storage bins. Keep all goods in waterproof containers. Do not keep rugs, paper supplies or mattresses in the basement, as they will need to be thrown out if flooding occurs. If your house is known to flood, it would be a good idea to have a sump pump installed.

flooded cellar

If your basement floods this spring, first do not walk through the water without making sure all the electricity to the area is shut off. When you have properly assessed the area, start getting the water out! A submergible surface pump can be used to get the water out and then use a wet vac to clean up the remaining water.

A homeowners policy does not cover flood damage, which is why it is in your best interest to try and prevent flooding. If you are in a flood zone or are prone to flooding, you may want to look into flood insurance. This is a separate policy you will have to buy. There is a 30 day waiting period for flood insurance to become active, so don’t try to get a policy right before a big storm or predicted heavy snow melting. There is an endorsement for your homeowners policy if you have a sump pump already installed at your house. This endorsement provides coverage for loss to property as a result of water which backs up or overflows from a sump pump.

Call us to find out more information on flood insurance or the Water Back-Up And Sump Pump Overflow Endorsement.