Preparing a Household for a Disaster

Homeowners throughout Canada face a variety of natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods and wildfires.

If you are unprepared for one of these disasters, you and your family could be left without food, electricity or even shelter.

To prepare your household for a disaster, consider the following tips:

  1. Know the risks. Depending on where you live, your home could be impacted by any number of unique hazards like landslides or hazardous material spills. Familiarize yourself with the risks that are most likely to occur near your home to guide your preparation.
  2. Create a phone list. Create a master list of family and emergency contacts. Ensure that every member of your family has a copy of this list and stores it in a safe and easy-to-access area.
  3. Pick a meeting place. If you get separated from your loved ones during a disaster, it’s important to have a meeting place set up. This could be a neighbour’s house, library or community centre.
  4. Stay informed. Once impacted by a disaster, you will want to know how to receive updates on the situation. You and your family should know how to get this information ahead of time. Contact your local government to learn the best ways to receive alerts.
  5. Know how to turn off utilities. If you suspect a leak, knowing how to turn off your home’s gas and electricity can protect your family from fires or explosions. Locate and label your electrical panel as well as your water and gas valves.
  6. Store emergency supplies. Above all, in the event of a disaster, you will need access to clean water. You will need at least 4 litres (1 gallon) of water per person, per day. In addition, emergency supplies like first-aid kits, whistles, flashlights and cellphones will be critical to have on hand. Keep all of these items in a safe area or create an easy grab-and-go bag for quick access.
Advertisements

How to Avoid Distractions While Driving

Driver distractions have joined alcohol and speeding as leading factors in crashes that cause fatal and serious injuries. However, cellphones aren’t solely to blame. Anything that takes any of your attention away from driving is a distractions. There are three main types of distractions:

  • Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – Taking your mind off of driving

Sending or reading a text while driving is the equivalent of driving blindfolded for 5 seconds.

Whether driving for work or for personal reasons, it is important to remember that any activity that you engage in while driving is a potential distraction that increases your risk of crashing. Taking the following precautions can help you avoid distractions while driving.

  • Silence your mobile devices and keep them away from you while driving to avoid being distracted by notifications. If you must receive phone calls while on the road, pull over before answering, even if using a hands-free device.
  • Set destinations in GPS devices before you depart.
  • Make a playlist on your phone before you leave to avoid the temptation of selecting songs or changing radio stations.
  • Avoid eating while driving. Take proper breaks to allow yourself time for meals.
  • Speak up if you’re a passenger of a distracted driver. Offer to take over the driving responsibilities.

Using and Maintaining Headlights

Your vehicle’s headlights are an essential part of staying aware of your surroundings on the road. Bright, well-maintained headlights can be the difference between seeing a pedestrian and a fatal crash. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t use or maintain their headlights properly.

You should always turn your vehicle’s headlights on as soon as you get into the driver’s seat. Even if it’s bright outside, your headlights can help pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers see you more easily. Some experts also recommend that drivers always use their headlights’ high beams at night to increase visibility, and to turn them off only when there’s an oncoming vehicle.

It’s always best to check your headlights regularly to ensure they’re clean and aren’t in danger of burning out. Because headlights dim over time, it’s always best to replace them both at the same time in order to create an even field of vision when driving.

Are you looking for a car insurance quote? Get one online in 5 minutes!

Home-Based Business Coverage

What Protection Does it Offer

Common coverages for home-based businesses include personal business property, professional liability, business income, personal and advertising injury, loss of business data, crime, theft, and auto coverage. Depending on the type of home-based business you have, not all coverages apply, and other coverage options may be available.

Coverage Options

Based on your business needs, you have three basic coverage options to choose from, depending on your level of risk:

Homeowners Policy Endorsement

This provides the least amount of coverage and, therefore, is not ideal for most home-based businesses (depending on the level of risk). While it may provide enough coverage for a freelance writer with one computer and no business foot traffic, it’s not enough for someone who employs others, has clients visiting his or her home or has valuable business equipment and/or inventory.

In-Home Business Policy

More comprehensive than a homeowners policy endorsement, in-home business coverage is a stand-alone policy that provides higher amounts of coverage for business equipment and liability.

Business Owners Policy (or BOP)

A BOP bundles property and liability insurance into one policy. Created specifically for the small- to mid-size business, a BOP covers your business property and equipment, loss of income, extra expense, and liability. It is the most comprehensive property and liability option. It does not include health or disability insurance, which are available as separate policies.

What’s Your Risk?

While most homeowners insurance policies do cover a limited amount of business equipment – computers, copiers, and printers, to name a few – it’s likely that what you own is worth more than your policy’s limits. Also, your homeowners liability insurance probably won’t cover any injuries that may occur to the employees or clients that you have on your premises. What’s a home-based businessperson to do?

Scrivens is Here to Help!

Properly insuring your home-based business is crucial to protecting both your business and your home. At Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions, we understand the small business owner’s personal and business needs, and can help you tailor coverage that’s as unique as the products and services you provide. Contact us today at 613-236-9101 to learn more about how we can help you insure your livelihood.

Simple Summer Activities in Ottawa Your Children Are Sure to Love

Summer is often filled with outdoor parties, warm weather, and no school. Unfortunately, the arrival of summer can bring stress for many parents as they search for ways to keep their children happy, healthy, engaged, and safe without breaking the bank.

Listed below are a few simple – and inexpensive – summer activities that you and your children can do together this summer.

Go berry picking.

  • Many berries come into season in the summer. Take your children to your local berry farm to pick your own delicious strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Here’s a list of 17 berry farms around Ottawa.

Make homemade frozen treats.

  • Cooking together is a great way to create memories that will last a lifetime and to instill healthy habits in your children. After picking all the berries, check out this Pinterest board for loads of recipes.

Take a hike.

  • Enjoy the summer weather and your local scenery, and get some exercise by taking a family hike at your nearest hiking trail. The National Capital Region has some beautiful trails and Gatineau Park has over 15km of trails.

Catch a show at the NAC.

  • This summer, the NAC is offering free family programming daily at 11am. Perfect indoor activity for the rainy days we continue to enjoy.

Watch a movie outside.

  • There are a number of free outdoor movies around the city for you and your kids to enjoy under the stars. Here’s a list of outdoor movies until August 26.

Visit one of the many Ottawa Valley fairs.

Or one of the MANY Ottawa Valley festivals.

It’s a special year in Canada.

There are so many added events in Ottawa this year thanks to Canada 150! Here is a list of some of the summer events you can enjoy with your family!

Experience the amazing museums in the National Capital Region.

This post is brought to you by Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions. If we missed a fair, festival, or event, please let us know so we can have the most complete list possible!! Please share this post to be sure nobody misses an event!

Let the good times roll!

The 10 Most Common Life Insurance Myths

Life Insurance. Just the term itself can put people on edge. You might think you are wasting time and money if you sign up for life insurance if you don’t consider it necessary.

However, you should purchase life insurance because it will be essential sometime in the future. Life insurance protects your loved ones in case something happens to you by designating beneficiaries who will collect financial benefits upon your death.

Term life insurance is generally the simplest and cheapest form – you buy coverage for a specific time period, and it can usually be renewed, but premiums will increase based on age and health factors. All other types of life insurance are permanent, but there are a few varieties – whole life, universal life, and variable life. Each type is slightly different, making each one ideal for certain types of people.

The ten myths listed below are some of the largest misconceptions individuals have regarding the necessity of life insurance. Read on to learn why life insurance is important to purchase.

Myth 1: I just simply don’t see the need for life insurance.

No on is immune to having to pay back his or her financial obligations after death. If you have a vehicle to pay off, or credit card or student loan debt that has accumulated, life insurance is a very beneficial option for you. If you die unexpectedly, no one waves a magic wand and makes those responsibilities disappear – you have to make the preparations to take care of them, or your family members will be stuck with the bills.

Myth 2: I’m young. Why would I start spending my money on life insurance now?

Being young also usually means you’re more active and probably putting yourself at risk more often than the older generation by travelling, clubbing, hiking, boating, driving longer distances, and staying out later. Your body may be younger and less likely to break down on you, but your high-risk activities put you in the same boat as older, less healthy people.

Myth 3: I’m a stay-at-home parent. There isn’t a need to replace my income, since there isn’t an income to replace.

If you’re a stay-at-home parent and you pass away, your spouse may not be able to afford childcare for your kids. Or, if there is no partner in the picture, your relatives or friends might not be able to take care of your children in a way that allows them to attend the same school, with the same parenting style you used, etc. Also, when the time comes for college, you will want your children to have the option of affording the education they desire.

Not having an income and staying at home means you are saving money you would be spending from a spouse’s income (or from any other source of income) on childcare and even on tending to your home. When you’re gone, those things still need to be covered, and life insurance can do that for you.

Myth 4: My kids are all adults and my house has been paid off, so what do I need life insurance for?

Everyone has daily living expenses. Just because the home is paid off doesn’t mean there aren’t other financial obligations for which your spouse would be responsible, such as owning multiple cars, a boat, an RV, or another large purchase you both made later on in your lives.

Also, consider this: if your spouse outlives you by 10, 20, or even 30 years, he or she might not be able to afford to stay in an assisted living centre when he or she can no longer take care of him- or herself.

You need to ensure that your spouse continues living with the same financial security he or she has with you now. You don’t want your spouse to fear having to take care of daily expenses with only half the income.

Myth 5: I’m a smoker. Insurance companies won’t even consider me.

Being a smoker doesn’t mean you can’t get coverage. Your premium will be a bit higher than the premium for someone who doesn’t smoke, but it is more affordable than you may think.

Myth 6: Even if I quit smoking, I’ll always be considered a smoker to insurance companies and be stuck paying a higher premium.

Most insurance companies consider you a nonsmoker if you’ve stayed away from cigarettes for at least a year. Even if the first six months were an accident because your spouse hid your cigarette packs, you can most likely get your premium lowered after a year.

Myth 7: Life insurance seems too good to be true.

It can seem that way, but it’s not. Life insurance isn’t like one of those free vacation spam emails – it’s the real deal. As long as you keep paying the premium, you’re covered, whether that is until your kids move out or until your home is paid off.

Myth 8: It is too much of a hassle to obtain life insurance.

Finding life insurance isn’t as hard as you think. Getting a life insurance quote is quick and painless. All you need to do is provide basic information about yourself, including height, weight, age, and gender. Once you have a quote, you can choose the right coverage for you.

Myth 9: I get life insurance through my job. Why would I need more?

The life insurance you get through your job might not be adequate coverage. You should compare your family’s living expenses with your coverage to see if it’s sufficient to cover all of your family’s needs. You should be thinking about future responsibilities as well, like being able to pay for your children’s education after you’re gone.

Also keep in mind, like all good things, your employer-paid coverage ends when the coverage limit is met – which is the maximum amount your employer will pay out upon your death. Most experts suggest obtaining coverage five to eight times your yearly salary. If you are only covered for half of that amount, what will your family do when their living expenses exceed that amount?

Myth 10: My mortgage lender provides me with coverage. Isn’t that enough for me?

Your mortgage isn’t the only expense your spouse or children will have to take care of if you pass away – there are cars, college education, food, medical expenses, funeral costs – the list goes on. Life insurance can cover those for you.

Getting started with life insurance starts with a conversation with a life insurance professional. Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions has dedicated life insurance advisors who advise you on the best life insurance plan for your individual needs. Give us a call at 613-236-9101 or request a life insurance quote.

Golf Cart Safety Tips

As surprising as it may be, there are many golf cart accidents annually, which result in personal injury, property damage, and even death. Since golfing is intended to be a fun, relaxing, and enjoyable outdoor activity, review the following safety tips to keep you and your fellow golfers safe.

  • Drivers and passengers should remain seated while the vehicle is moving at all times.
  • Never exceed the maximum capacity for a golf cart – everyone needs his or her own seat.
  • Slow down and honk when reaching an intersection to alert other drivers and pedestrians of your presence.
  • Reduce your speed when approaching pedestrians; they always have the right-of-way.
  • Reduce your speed when turning and passing other carts.
  • Use the safety mirrors when approaching intersections.
  • Keep all body parts inside the golf cart when it is in motion.
  • When it is not in use, place the golf cart’s control lever in the neutral position and remove the key.
  • Do not shift gears while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Maintain an adequate distance between you and other drivers.
  • Your maximum speed will depend on the terrain and weather conditions. Generally, you should operate a golf cart at the same speed as a well-paced walk.