McCurdy Group - Insurance and Financial Consultants

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Clean Your Gutters!

Here’s some advice from Ed Nowack, president of JEES in Charlton, MA.

With the onset of winter and below-freezing temperatures, one area of trouble that homeowners often overlook is gutters. If a gutter is not cleaned properly and becomes plugged by leaves and pine needles, any water that remains in the gutters can freeze. The weight of the ice in the gutters can caused the gutters to pull away from the exterior of the house causing damage to both the gutters and the exterior of the house. Any perforations in the home’s exterior can then allow precipitation to enter the home. The end result can be water damage and possibly associated mold contamination inside the exterior wall. 

The other issued with plugged gutters and the ice build-up is ice dam damage. When the gutters are filled with ice, snowfall can more readily build-up on the edge of the roof. Any snow melt on the edge of the roof tends to “dam-up” when the water hits the full gutters instead of travelling down the gutter and away from the home. With several freeze/thaw cycles, this can cause ice dams to form on the roof. The weight of the ice can cause damage to the shingles, attic sheathing and ice shield membrane. This damage will allow water to enter the attic space once the ice dam melts causing water damage and the likely formation of mold growth.
Be proactive and have your gutters cleaned prior to the start of December and/or the first snow fall.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Driving Defensively

You may be a skilled driver but at one point or another you may run into equipment failures, bad weather, inexperienced drivers, unpredictable pedestrians, and drivers who ignore traffic laws. Here are some tips from the Registry of Motor Vehicles that could save you and your family’s lives.

To prepare for unpredictable events, you should always drive defensively.
• Always have clear visibility in front and around your vehicle.  Clean your windows and remove all snow.
• Stay alert and prepared for the unexpected.
• Keep a safe distance around your vehicle.
• Drive at the right speed and know when to slow down and stop.
• Always wear your safety belt.
• Do not drive if you have been drinking, are on medication, or are very tired.
• Keep your vehicle in good working order.
• Obey the rules of the road and give the right-of-way when appropriate.

Always look ahead of and around you, and check your mirrors often. Be aware of road
conditions and possible hazards in front, to the sides, and behind you.

• Look at everything in front of you. Look for vehicles stopping and watch for people
getting in or out of parked vehicles. Pay close attention to pedestrians or bicyclists
sharing the road with you.
• Expect mistakes from other drivers.
• Watch for back-up lights of vehicles ahead of you.
• Pay close attention to crosswalks. Don’t rely on traffic signals. Other drivers, bicyclists,
and pedestrians may ignore traffic signals.
• Always pay close attention near playgrounds, schoolyards, and shopping centers.
Children, pedestrians, and bicyclists may be hidden from sight.
• A big part of driving defensively is giving the right-of-way to prevent unsafe traffic situations.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Does My Homeowner’s Policy Cover My Housekeeper, Nanny or Home Health Aide?

If you have a housekeeper, nanny or any kind of Home Health Aide who cares for an ill family member coming to work at your home, there are some things you need to know. Your homeowner’s policy does not cover employees so you should make sure that the housekeeper, nanny or aide provide you with some proof that they are bonded and have Worker’s Compensation insurance - or you should provide the Worker’s Compensation coverage yourself. Domestic employees get hurt or steal from their employers more than you think and you need to protect yourself. If you decide against getting the coverage for your employees, you may want to hire someone who has their own coverage to avoid costly issues should a claim occur.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Those Beautiful Autumn Leaves can be Dangerous

Autumn is here and the leaves are brilliant, but did you know that those same leaves can be dangerous? Leaves pile up on the road and can cause the roads to become slippery, causing your tires to lose traction. When the temperature dips below freezing, the leaves can be as dangerous as driving on icy roads. Here are some tips for safe autumn driving:
o       Slow down if you are driving on a road covered with leaves, especially when driving around turns.
o       Allow yourself plenty of room to stop in an emergency. Keep a greater distance between you and the car in front of you.
o       Leaves make it difficult to see potholes and bumps in the road.  Stay alert!
o       A pile of leaves raked to the side of the road is an inviting place for a child. Children enjoy jumping into the leaf piles or burrowing down into them and hiding. Never drive through a leaf pile. Use caution going around turns and where children are playing.
o       Keep your windshield leaf -free to avoid wet leaves getting stuck under the windshield wiper blades.
o       In order to avoid the possibility of a fire hazard from the exhaust system or catalytic converter, never park your vehicle over a pile of leaves.