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You might already know that home fires cause more property damage and deaths in the United States annually than hurricanes, tornadoes or floods. Perhaps you are also aware that most home fires start from home heating equipment. But there are likely some newer facts about how fire spreads during a home fire that you did not know.

According to Jeff Rossen (of the TODAY Show), his research concludes that the time you have to escape a house fire today is 3-4 minutes compared to 17 minutes in 1985. Check out Rossen’s report – complete with video proof, and learn the reason.

To learn more about home fire safety including steps to take to avoid a fire, what to do if a fire breaks out and what to do just after a fire, visit the American Red Cross Fire Safety website. You will also find checklists for fire safety and developing a fire escape plan.

In “Protect Yourself From Home Fires”, ErieSense.com offers fire prevention safety tips about home heaters, electrical hazards and kitchen hazards as well as advice on selecting fire alarms and protecting your possessions.  Read the entire article to learn how to best protect yourself and your family from home fires.

Home Insurance Tip

The responsible thing to do is to take all precautions to prevent a fire and prepare your family with a plan of escape in case the unexpected does occur. However, you will also want to be sure that your Homeowners, Renters or Condo insurance policy provides strong coverage for fire damage long before you ever need it. A brief visit with your agent should assure you that you are sufficiently covered for your circumstances.

Relates to: Home insurance, homeowners, renters, condominium, fire prevention, fire safety, house

The Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency in Rockville, MD, is a full-service insurance agency offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD) and Virginia (VA) since 1969. Our experienced insurance agents welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time.


Winter Home Protection Tip: Heavy Snow Threat

Ol’ Man Winter can take his toll on your home and business unless you take steps to protect your buildings from snow and ice damage.

Heavy snow accumulation can do damage even as it melts. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Blowing snow will typically accumulate on the leeward side of many roofs and should be removed to avoid damage to your roof. If you are unsure, consult a roofing contractor. 
  • Melting snow can result in costly moisture damage. See that snow is removed from outside stairwells, windows, and walls.
  • When snow melts on the roof and water runs down and refreezes at the much cooler roof's edge, it may cause damage to your roof. This is often caused by a warm attic. To be sure the attic stays cold in the winter, check the insulation level.

Insurance Tip

Well before damage occurs, be sure that your home is protected adequately with home owners insurance. Why not call your insurance agent for a policy review if you have any question.

Here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency in Rockville, MD, we are ready to help you review your home owners insurance policy at your convenience.  

The first issue in the Springtime Auto Maintenance Series.

This Series is especially for those vehicle owners located in the vicinity of Maryland and Virginia who understand the value of keeping their car safe and protect their investment through on-going maintenance. As seasons change from the harshness of Winter to the renewal that Spring offers, assuring that your vehicle is road ready for spring and summer driving is important.

Maintaining your windshield wipers and changing the wiper blades on your vehicle regularly is more important than you might think.  Being a safe driver means being aware of your surroundings.  But, when the weather takes a turn for the worse bringing rain or when darkness sets in, you must be able to rely on wipers that leave your windshield with a consistent, clean clear wipe.  Otherwise, your obscured vision could cause you to collide with another vehicle or even drive off the road.

Your windshield wipers not only offer you clear vision during rain and darkness.  You must also rely on them to keep your windshield clear of road tar, mud spattering or other messy deposits like insects or bird droppings.  Worn wiper blades will not remove such debris.  Instead, they smear the mess and obscure your vision even more.  If you begin switching out your wipers regularly, you can avoid these problems and keep your eyes clearly on the road.

When to Change Your Windshield Wipers

When your blades are past their physical prime, inspection will show signs of wear such as cracking or discoloration, and they will not perform well – causing streaking or skipping.  The blades might squeak or chatter when they need to be replaced.  Some newer wiper blades come with a wear-indicator which will show  when they need to be replaced.   If your wipers don’t have a special indicator, the rule of thumb is to change them at least once per year, and every six months is preferable. So if you have been procrastinating about changing wiper blades, take a few minutes to make this a priority.  It could mean the difference in your family’s safety.

Here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency in Rockville, PA, we want you to be safe and accident-free.  As you prepare your vehicle for spring and summer driving, don’t forget to assure that your auto insurance coverage is up to date.  If you have had changes in vehicles or drivers recently, check with your insurance agent to be sure that you are fully covered and are receiving the best rates available.

Are you one of those lucky people with some extra cash on hand – perhaps several thousand dollars from some windfall like an inheritance or a bonus? Perhaps you're thinking of how to best make it work for you? Have you thought about how your choice might impact your insurance?

If you don’t need it for high-interest debt or to create that emergency fund you’ve always wanted, then you might consider paying off an auto loan, student loan, or even your mortgage. Since these are likely lower interest loans, you won’t save a lot on interest, but you could free up cash in your monthly budget that you can put to better use. But even if you can’t pay if off, the next best thing could be to pay it down. By reducing the loan principal, you can likely reduce your monthly payments.  For much more on this, read Jean Chatzky’s (Fortune Magazine), to learn why you should pay off loans sooner rather than later.

And if you do pay off your car loan or mortgage, then don’t leave your insurance agent out of the loop. You’ll need to remove the lender from your auto insurance or home insurance policy. Just as important is to let your agent know if you get a new loan for a car or a home. Get all the details in this article from ERIE Insurance.

Insurance Tip

If it has been some time since you sat down with your insurance agent to review your auto and home insurance policies, then why not arrange a meeting now? Among other things, it will let you be sure that your policies are not listing outdated information such as lenders on paid-off loans. This will help you avoid having a payment for an insurance claim go to the wrong party.

Tags:  Insurance claims, auto insurance, home insurance, mortgage, auto loan

The Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency in Rockville, MD, is a full-service insurance agency offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD) and Virginia (VA) since 1969. Our experienced insurance agents welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time.


 

 

The world’s favorite irrational number, known as Pi (3.141592653) has a “day” devoted to it. That’s right, each March 14th, we devoted geeks celebrate Pi Day – 3/14 – make sense? If that’s not irrational enough, then how’s this: this year on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m. we don’t just get to match the first three digits of Pi but all TEN digits. If that’s not grand enough to impress you, then consider that this is the only moment in this century when that occurs.

If that still doesn’t pique your interest, then maybe you’d rather know about the new infographic by the Insurance Information Institute (III.ORG) showing 10 irrational insurance figures and facts.

One of the III’s irrational insurance facts relates to the use of motorcycle helmets: even though the use of a helmet has been proven to be 37% effective in preventing deaths among cyclists and about 67% effective in preventing brain injuries, the use of a motorcycle helmet is not universally required in the U.S. In fact, use of a helmet by a rider is only mandated in 19 states and D.C.

You’ll find the other nine Irrational Insurance Facts and Figures just as interesting. You can find the infographic,Irrational… Any Way You Slice It – Pi Day by the Numbers” on the III.ORG website.

Motorcycle Insurance Tip

Although using a helmet when you ride your bike is by most standards a prudent decision, it might also be a cost-saving decision. As with most types of insurance, motorcycle insurance offers certain discounts and options. If you have not done so lately, you’ll want to check with your insurance agent to explore your options and assure that you are receiving any discounts available and the best rate for your circumstances, whether wearing a helmet makes a difference or not.

Tags: motorcycle insurance, helmets, motorcycle helmet

We are always glad to help with any insurance questions or needs, here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency in Rockville, MD.  Why not contact us to discuss your options for motorcycle insurance or perhaps to review your current policy to be sure you have the best coverage at the best rate for your circumstances.


 

 

If you own a business, then you probably already know that states require that business owners take action if the nonpublic, personal information of their customers is lost or stolen. This is not something to be ignored, when you know that a recent study showed that 55% of small businesses surveyed stated they had experienced a business data breach. So have you taken steps to mitigate the damage in case your business is targeted?

ErieSense.com says: “The personal information of customers, employees and/or tenants entrusted to you is critical to the day-to-day functioning of your business… Whether it’s a misplaced computer, an improperly shredded document or a hacked database, business data can easily become exposed. If it does, a business data breach could occur.”

Read the entire article to learn what you should do to avoid a data breach.

Commercial Insurance Tip

Being ready before you suffer a data breach is the important first step. So ask your insurance agent about Commercial Insurance coverage and services that might be available to help you if/when private personal information of others in your care has been lost, stolen or inadvertently released. You might also wish to inquire about coverage that will help cover your company’s legal expenses in the event of a lawsuit related to a data breach.

Here at Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are a full service insurance agency, offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to Rockville MD, all of Maryland and Virginia. Our experienced insurance agents welcome the opportunity to discuss your coverage needs and questions at any time.

 


 

Planning a Great Summer Road Trip

We have all heard of the “Nightmare Road Trip” – where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Chances are that much of the trouble could have been avoided through advance planning. If you’re planning to take to the road this summer, then make a list and check it more than twice to be sure you have a safe, checked-out vehicle, well-packed bags, safety items and all those travel comforts to keep your passengers stress free.

ErieSense.com says: “A week or two before the big day arrives, make a list of everything you need to do and pack (and be sure you leave enough room so you can see out of your rear-view mirror). Here are some ideas to help…”

Read the entire article for a full list of tips and tricks to make your road trip a complete success every time.

Auto Insurance Tip

Just as important as a visit to your auto shop for a check-up of your car is a visit to your insurance agent for a check-up of your Auto Insurance to be sure you are properly covered for any problem before you hit the road. And, if you’ll be traveling in a rented vehicle, special insurance issues apply. So be sure to discuss your plans with your insurance agent to get the proper protection.

Here at Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are a full service insurance agency, offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to Rockville MD, all of Maryland and Virginia. Our experienced insurance agents welcome the opportunity to discuss your coverage needs and questions at any time.

 


Two new state laws became effective on October 1, 2013, that will change how people drive in Maryland.

Seat Belt and Child Safety Seat Use

An expanded seat belt law dictates that everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt including all back seat passengers.

Also included is the provision that all children under eight years old and under 57 inches tall must be secured into a child safety seat, regardless of their weight. These are both secondary offenses. So a police officer must have some other primary reason for stopping you. But, citations can be costly – up to $50 for each unrestrained person inside the vehicle at the time.

Hand Held Mobile Phones

Starting on October 1st, holding a cell phone in hand to talk while driving is no longer a secondary offense and the police may perform a traffic stop for no other reason than seeing you holding a phone while driving. Although Maryland became a hands-free state in 2010, it was then a secondary offense to drive with a cell phone in hand, meaning that a driver could not be pulled over exclusively for talking on a hand held phone. To be able to ticket for a secondary offense, a police officer would have had to have some other primary reason to pull you over.

Now, drivers who are ticketed for using a handheld phone will face a fine of $75 for a first offense, with second and third offenses coming with fines of $125 and $175, respectively.

Auto Insurance Tip

If you have not done so recently, this might be a perfect time to contact your insurance agent to review your auto insurance policy. This assures that you will have the best coverage at the best rate available as you take to the road.

Here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are always available to help you explore your auto insurance options.  Why not contact us at your convenience?

Young, Single and Buying a Home

It has usually been accepted in the past that two incomes are better than one when entering the housing market since more money buys more of a house.

However, according to CreditSesame.com, many young, single people are both able and willing to become homeowners these days. Many millenials who began their careers during the current recession are skipping the stock market and opting to become homeowners. This is partially because it is easier in recent years to afford a home because of the lowering of interest rates. Actually, a 2013 Time.com study shows that the wealthiest 10% of millennials will account for 20% of all the spending on primary home purchases over the next few years.

Now is the Time to Buy

One might ask, why are millenials buying homes now? It’s likely because it pays to take advantage of a good deal when it comes along. Trends are showing that the real estate market is bottoming out, prices are going up, and mortgage interest rates are rising. The time is right if one is to buy a home before prices and rates go up.

While many of these young, single millenials can afford a home on their own, some are opting to take the homeownership plunge as an unmarried couple before tying the knot.

Unmarried Couples as Homeowners

Conventional wisdom advises that you consider contingencies. You must at least consider the possibility that your relationship may not last since there is nothing binding it prior to marriage. If you’re buying a home with a partner you’re not married to, you might wish to consider a prenuptial agreement to at least address both parties’ interests in such a large commitment. Such a legal document should specify the details of home ownership, including the financial responsibilities of each partner as well as a detailed plan of action in the event that the relationship ends. In a case such as this, it is always best to consult an attorney before taking any action.

Homeowners Insurance Tip

As you make plans to purchase your home, whether on your own or as a couple, don’t forget to add Homeowners Insurance to your list of things to handle.

Here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are experienced in all facets of Homeowners Insurance and we can help you explore your options and make the best decisions in terms of coverage and rates that meet your needs. Why not contact our office to discuss your questions, and/or request a Homeowners Insurance quote.

 


 

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Maryland’s highest ranked area on the NICB’s Hot Spot list of vehicle thefts is the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area, ranking 93rd with 6,736 thefts in 2012.

Now Maryland is offering assistance to its residents who want to take steps to protect against auto theft. Any Maryland resident who is concerned about the rate of vehicle theft in their area and who does not typically drive their vehicle between 1AM and 5AM may now take advantage of the state’s “Watch Your Car” Program. This program is aimed at preventing vehicle theft and apprehending auto thieves.

To participate, you would register your vehicle for this program with the Maryland State Police. You will then receive decals to be placed on both the front and rear windows of the vehicle. Having these decals in place gives officers permission to stop the car to verify whether the driver is the actual owner or an owner-authorized driver. The “Watch Your Car” program is free public service administered by the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council; and, once registered, you may opt out at any time.

Learn more about the Watch your Car Program

Auto Insurance Tip

What sort of insurance protection do you have in the event your car is stolen? If you don’t know the details, you will want to check with your insurance agent to be sure that your vehicles are fully covered for theft and other claims by your current Auto Insurance policy. Auto theft can happen to anyone even if precautions are taken.

Here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency in Rockville, MD, we pleased to answer all your auto insurance questions and assist you with a review of your policy to be sure that you have the coverage and rates that best benefit you. Why not contact our office at your convenience to speak with a professional insurance agent who can help?

 


 

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