Category: Safety Concerns

21 Jan 2021

Essential Tips to Keep You Safe While Using a Patio Heater

Despite falling temperatures, you can comfortably enjoy some outdoor time in the winter thanks to patio heaters. However, a patio heater is also a potential fire hazard. Between 2012 and 2016 alone, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) responded to an annual average of over 52,000 domestic fires caused by heating equipment and at least 490 deaths per year. This shows just how dangerous your patio heater can get and why you should put safety measures into place before using them. Here are five patio heater safety tips to get you started.

Choose a Safe Location

Patio heaters are only suitable for outdoor use because they are mostly gas-fueled, emitting carbon-monoxide gas which is lethal to human beings. Always use your heater in a wide outdoor space where there is enough oxygen to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. You should place it firmly on the ground and add some support for stability purposes. Additionally, since 54% of domestic fires result from placing heaters near combustible materials, ensure you don’t place your patio heater near anything that can burn, says the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). Position it away from buildings, entrances, and exits, and only use it when the weather is calm.

Be Careful with Gas Cylinders

Though rare, gas cylinder explosions can happen and cause devastating effects in your home or workplace. This means that you should only use cylinders that meet the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. Ensure you always replace the gas cylinder on your patio heater when there are no people present. When not in use, store the gas cylinders outdoors and away from exits such as doors, windows, and stairways.

Double-Check the Design Features

Sophisticated safety features play a large role in minimizing the risk of using a patio heater. That’s why you should first ensure that the heater meets safety standards before using it. For instance, some heaters have an automatic shutoff system that turns off the gas supply in case the levels of oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere drop below a certain threshold, as reported by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Some of the safety features you should check include:

  • Shield covering the heating element to prevent contact
  • Tip-over switch to cut the gas supply in case the heater tilts beyond a certain angle
  • Condition of the parts to look for damaged or excessive weathering

With all parts in good condition and the safety features functional, you will be able to use your patio heater more safely. Ensure that only responsible adults operate the patio heater. Finally, conduct preventive maintenance on the heater to ensure that any possible problem is solved in time to prevent hazards.

Avoid Electric Patio Heaters in a Restaurant Setting

Patio heaters also come in handy in providing warmth to restaurant users. If you intend to use one this winter, it is often best to avoid electric heaters since the cords can be a potential tripping hazard. Alternatively, you could suspend smaller electric heaters that don’t pose a risk to the people around you.

Follow these five patio heater safety tips to enjoy your patio heater safety this winter. Additionally, purchase the right home coverage for your needs and property. At CAV Insurance in Wellesley, MA, we work with companies like Chubb and Pure who offer a broad range of protection to help keep your home and family safe with reliable homeowners insurance. Contact us on 781-237-4107 to get started.

14 Jan 2021
Frozen water pipe burst

5 Ways to Prevent Frozen and Bursting Pipes in MA

Massachusetts is among the top 20 coldest states in the U.S., with temperatures dropping to 16 degrees Fahrenheit and below in winter, as reported by the World Population Review. Considering that pipes begin to freeze at 20 degrees Fahrenheit, you should practice safety measures to keep the temperatures in your plumbing system significantly higher. This will not only help prevent the freezing of pipes but will also save your home from the possible water damage that may occur from burst pipes. Here are five handy ways to prevent frozen pipes in MA.

Insulate Your Outdoor Water Pipes

Since outdoor pipes are more vulnerable to low temperatures, you may need to do some extra work when it comes to preventing freezing. To prevent frozen pipes, ensure you insulate all exterior pipes, including the walls that hold them. If there are any cracks in the walls, be sure to seal them using the right insulating materials. You can also insulate the pipes using foam pipe sleeves or pipe wraps, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Set Thermostats at 65 degrees and above

To help protect your water pipes from freezing and bursting, it is recommended that you maintain your thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit and above. This will help in keeping your house warm and prevent water damage that may occur in winter from frozen pipes. While setting the thermostat lower when you’re asleep or away helps save money on your energy bills, it can cause your pipes to freeze, says the Consumer Reports National Research Center (CRNRC).

Automate Your Plumbing System

No matter what safety measures you put in place in winter, the temperatures in your pipes may, at some point, drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that you should have more sophisticated measures in place such as installing a smart plumbing system. Some of the gadgets that you can use to achieve this goal include:

  • Temperature sensors to alert you whenever temperatures in pipes approach the minimum allowable point
  • Thermostats that you can control remotely
  • Automatic shut-off in case of a water leakage
  • Backup power supply to keep the heating system running in the event of an outage

Although it may seem expensive to install smart technology in your plumbing system, the overall long-term costs will be lower considering it will help protect your home from water damage.

Disconnect Outdoor Hoses

Outdoor hoses are also at risk of freezing, which may in turn cause an increase in internal pressure and result in bursting. If connected to the indoor pipes, such hoses can transfer the pressure into the indoor pipes and cause them to burst too. To prevent all this, ensure you drain and disconnect outdoor hoses and insulate the outdoor spigots.

Keep Faucets Trickling

Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that at higher temperatures, water in the pipes will stay in liquid form until the temperatures drop significantly. The good news is that you can help prevent your pipes from freezing by running water through them, especially those that are in the exterior parts of your home. Even a little trickling from a faucet connected to a vulnerable pipe can go a long way in keeping the temperatures stable, per the Department of Fire Services, MA. To help prevent waste, collect the trickling water, and store it for later use.

Freezing temperatures can create major issues with your plumbing system due to frozen and burst pipes. Use these tips to avoid frozen pipes and water damage during winter. For extra peace of mind, purchase the right home insurance coverage. For more information on homeowners insurance coverage, contact the team at CAV Insurance, serving Wellesley, Weston, and neighboring cities in Massachusetts.

07 Jan 2021
Employee workplace safety

Employee Safety Concerns Challenge Office Reopenings During COVID-19

As the citizens of Massachusetts gradually adjust to the new normal, companies are cautiously resuming operations. The bad news is that the “new normal” has come with lots of special conditions for businesses that intend to resume in-person operations. For instance, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires companies to comply with rules such as social distancing, limiting occupancy, sophisticated cleaning, and operational modifications. So far, these measures have proved to be hectic for most businesses in MA, and many of them may face lawsuits due to non-compliance.

Because employee workplace safety is a major concern for companies in MA, some companies have decided to maintain the work-from-home model to avoid liability issues and keep their workers safe. With only a small portion of the workforce reporting physically to work, compliance should be easier. With this in mind, here is a look at some specific employee safety concerns that relate to COVID and the new regulations that have been put in effect.

COVID-19-Related Claims

As of December 2020, more than 12,900MA residents had succumbed to COVID-19, as reported by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Oftentimes these people have been exposed to the virus while at work. Such deaths have compelled some families of the victims to sue the employers for negligence over their COVID-19 safety measures. Despite the safety measures put in place by companies, this trend is likely to continue, according to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). This means that there may be more claims from employees infected at the workplace, lawsuits resulting from purported negligence, and worker’s compensation lawsuits.

Some insurance companies may not accept claims resulting from the virus since it is impossible to determine where an employee contracted the virus. This may also cause some legal battles between the employers and insurance providers since worker’s compensation insurance only pays for sicknesses and injuries that occur at the workplace.

Safety Compliance Issues

The World Health Organization (WHO) advises the public to wear masks, maintain social distance, sanitize hands, and stay at home. While such measures are easy for an individual to follow, employers are finding it difficult to implement all of these safety measures effectively at the workplace. Since some companies have many employees and limited space, reconstructing to accommodate social distancing can be non-viable. Additionally, installing new facilities such as no-touch taps and COVID-19 testing equipment may be difficult for some businesses, especially businesses that are experiencing finance-related problems due to COVID-19. Companies that do not meet these safety conditions should be ready to face lawsuits and pay fines to the authorities. If an employee falls sick at the workplace, employers should also brace themselves for lawsuits and claims.

Privacy Concerns

Apart from health safety, data safety is also a concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most businesses in MA are requiring testing their employees for COVID-19 before allowing them back to work. During the testing process, the employee gives out personal information such as demographics, medical history, and diagnoses, which should be safe under HIPAA compliance. A COVID-19 test also gives your employer access to your DNA, which is one more reason why the information should be private. In the case of HIPAA non-compliance, employers will not only face lawsuits from the regulatory authorities but also the affected employees, says the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

To avoid possible lawsuits when you reopen, protect your employee’s safety during COVID-19 by ensuring your workplace complies with all COVID-19 precautionary measures and guidelines. Additionally, purchase the right business insurance to protect your business finances against potential COVID-19-related lawsuits. Contact CAV Insurance to learn about your options for business insurance in Wellesley and surrounding cities in MA. We can help you assess your insurance needs and determine ways for you to cut your insurance costs.

15 Oct 2020
a two car garage

Tips for Safely Storing Your High-Value Vehicle

Whether you own a vintage vehicle, supercar, or an antique truck, it’s likely you want to protect your beloved auto as much as possible. It may have been a sizeable investment, and keeping it well-maintained is at the top of your priority list. It’s essential to protect it from theft or damage by storing it in a safe, dry, and protected storage facility or garage. However, it’s not just any ordinary vehicle. It’s your extraordinary vehicle that requires special care and attention when storing away. Keep these tips in mind when deciding where to leave your high-value vehicle.

Storing Away Your Valuable Vehicle

 Make sure it has an alarm system

When choosing a place to store your vehicle, you want to be sure that the space has a centrally-monitored alarm system for top security. The system should include magnetic contact sensors on all exterior doors and windows, glass breakage sensors, heat sensors, and smoke alarms. A cellular backup communication device for signal continuity offers additional protection in case the connection is disabled. The more security, the better. To prevent your vehicle from getting damaged by a fire or stolen by a crafty thief, the space should have top-rated alarms in place.

Keep a fire extinguisher nearby

Regular fire extinguishers use a fine powder spray to put out the flames. While these are highly effective and come as standard, they can have a detrimental cosmetic effect on your vehicle. Fire damage can be damaging enough without hurting your vehicle’s paint job. To protect your vehicle from cosmetic damage and to effectively put out a fire, opt for a ‘clean agent’ fire extinguisher that uses inert gas to put out small fires.

Ensure it has sufficient space

Ideally, your vehicle should have plenty of clearance room around all of its sides. Avoid parking it right up against walls or cabinets that restrict the air circulation. Try not to put items on shelves or racks above your classic car, either. Leave room between cars if you are storing more than one in your garage.

Choose a climate-controlled facility

Although cars are tolerant of all the elements, if you’re looking to keep your car in the best condition, you should control the temperature and humidity in the storage facility. Temperature swings and damp air can hurt your car in more ways than one. Determine the best cool and dry climate conditions for your vehicle and keep them steady.

Frequently update the appraisal and review your auto insurance coverage

With time, your high-end vehicle may become significantly more valuable. Having an up-to-date appraisal and Agreed Value insurance coverage will help to ensure that your vehicle can be replaced or repaired if something happens to it in the garage. Without keeping on top of your vehicle’s value, you could be left without sufficient coverage if the worst does happen. With the right insurance, you will be able to restore your special vehicle to its classic condition both quickly and efficiently.

At CAV Insurance Agency, protecting your classic car comes naturally. We have access to specialty companies such as Hagerty, Grundy, and AIG. These carriers offer policies designed specifically for your car, helping you to streamline the coverage and the price. We serve motorists from Dover and Sherborn to Wellesley, Needham and Weston and neighboring towns. Contact us today and let us put our decades of high-value car insurance expertise to work for you!

08 Oct 2020
handing over keys to buyers

Cyber Security During Real Estate Transactions

Thanks to the rise of useful technology and precautions due to COVID-19, more and more transactions are taking place online. For the real estate world, there have always been online transactions, but now more information is passed digitally. If you’re buying or selling a home, you not only have to consider all the expenses and paperwork that comes with real estate transactions, but you must ensure that your digital data is kept safe throughout the entire process. When buying or selling a home, you are presented with a unique set of fraud and cyber-security risks that many home buyers and sellers overlook. Protect yourself by understanding these real estate transaction risks and exercising caution.

Real Estate Transaction Risks

Cyber criminals are highly tempted by real estate transactions for several reasons:

 

It is rich with public information.

When you list a home online, it is designed to be seen by a lot of people. Unfortunately, this information can fall into the wrong hands. Listing details that are publicly available online show pictures of the house, list the floor plan, identity the listing agent, and key parties involved in the transaction such as legal and escrow teams. This information can then be used by criminals as they impersonate these individuals in an attempt to trick you into sending them money. If a home buyer or seller is not careful, they could be persuaded into these false, malicious transactions.

There are multiple unknown parties.

When you purchase a home, you will likely engage with the seller’s legal and/or escrow firms. In many cases, you are not familiar with these firms or the individuals who work for them. This presents a great opportunity for cyber criminals to send out false emails and obtain valuable transaction details. When relationships are new, it is a good idea to conduct a ‘call back’ to ensure that the person you are working with is genuine.

It has high monetary value.

Cyber criminals target high-value deals because they earn a greater return on their time and effort – if they are successful. Real estate transactions are often the most expensive transactions a person can make, so it is often a top priority for criminals to get this right.

 

Top Ways to Protect Yourself in Real Estate Transactions

 

Take technical precautions.

If you receive an email regarding a transaction, especially if it instructs you to transfer funds, then be on the lookout for potential red flags that could signal it is malicious. First, check the sender’s email address. Is their username genuine and is it a business-based address? Is every character correct? Is there anything out of place in the language they use? Call the sender to be sure they are who they say they are, and enable multifactor authentication for all email accounts used by you.

Double-check information.

Before any funds leave your account, always pick up the phone to double-check the information associated with the transaction. Even one wrong digit in the account number could result in you sending the funds to someone else. Always call to get verbal confirmation. Ideally, speak with two separate people associated with the deal with whom you have spoken with before.

If you’re involved in real estate transactions, be sure to keep these cyber security tips in mind. With the right insurance, you can feel rest assured that you have the protection in place if the worst happens. If you would like to speak with a Massachusetts insurance expert from CAV Insurance Agency, call us on 781-237-4107. Remember that it only takes a few minutes to get an insurance quote from CAV Insurance.

20 Aug 2020
emergency evacuation packing list

Emergency Evacuation Packing List

No matter where you live in the world, you need a plan in place and your evacuation kit ready to go. When a natural disaster comes your way and authorities instruct you to leave, it’s important that you evacuate immediately. Departing right away can help you avoid being caught in the fire, floods, or road congestion. Take a look at this list for emergency evacuation to get your bag packed and ready to go – it could make all the difference when disaster strikes.

 

What should I pack for an emergency evacuation?

 

  • Get a bag that easily stores everything you need to carry. You may choose to have one bag in the house and one bag in the car, both full of supplies.
  • Include food and water for everyone in the household.
  • Pack a change of clothes for up to a week as well as toiletries and personal hygiene items. Include blankets incase the temperature starts to drop.
  • Don’t forget about the pet. Pack up a spare toy, bed, blanket, leashes, and litter boxes, as well as their food, medication, and water.
  • Remember medication. Pack a supply of any necessary prescription medicine as well as contact lens solution and glasses, if needed.

 

  • Include a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, flashlights, and cash.
  • Pack your cellphone charger and extra batteries incase.
  • Carry your ID, important documents, and cards. Having paper and digital copies of health insurance cards, your passport, legal documents, vehicle registration papers, and more can help.
  • If evacuating by car, ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas or that there’s a spare canister in the back with fresh gas.
  • Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit with supplies to treat injuries.

 

Being prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice is essential, and these tips can help to protect your loved ones. At CAV insurance we provide insurance to combat unpredictable forces of nature. We help protect your home’s specific needs with a policy that will be there when you need it most. Give us a call today to learn more!

05 Sep 2019

How to Better Protect Your Personal Information

When was the last time you sat in a coffee shop or airport and used the free Wi-Fi? We all do, but did you know that by doing this you could be compromising your personal information? Here are a few recommendations from the University of Michigan on how you can better protect your personal information:

 

  1. Don’t access personal or financial data with public Wi-Fi –

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people check their bank accounts or make purchases with a credit card while using public Wi-Fi. It’s best to do those things on a secure connection.

  1. Turn off anything you don’t need –

Hackers can use certain features on your phone to get at your information, location or connection. So, instead of keeping your GPS, wireless connection and geo-tracking on all the time, just turn them on when you need them.

  1. Choose your apps wisely –

Only download apps from trustworthy sources that have established a good reputation. Make sure you update your software and apps regularly and get rid of old apps you don’t use.

  1. Use a password, lock code or encryption –

Make sure your passwords are at least eight characters long, with a mix of upper and lower case, and include numbers or other characters, and never use the auto-complete feature for passwords. You can use the storage encryption feature on your phone to protect your private data and set your screen to timeout after five minutes or less.

  1. Be skeptical about links and attachments –

If you’re not sure about the source, don’t use the link or open the attachment.

  1. Trace or erase. Make sure your data is secure if your mobile device is stolen or lost. You can set up your device to lock itself after a pre-set number of failed log-in attempts.

 

At CAV Insurance in Wellesley, MA wework with companies like Chubb who offer a broad range of protection to help keep you and your family safe.

27 Jun 2019
jewelry appraisal for insurance

5 Reasons to Have a Jewelry Appraisal for Insurance Purposes

You’d probably prefer not to think about your jewelry being damaged, destroyed or lost during a catastrophe, but it’s prudent to be prepared.

 

Whether you’ve spent years building your fine jewelry collection or have recently acquired your first exquisite piece, you should insure each item of value, just in case the unexpected happens. To do that properly, you must have your jewelry appraised for insurance purposes.

 

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider a jewelry appraisal for insurance purposes:

 

  1. Appraisals Are Important to the Insurance Process

 

If you have a sentimental attachment to your most cherished jewelry pieces, you’ll love them no matter what they’re worth. Still determining the value is important, especially when you’re purchasing insurance.

  • You need to know if your Homeowners Policy jewelry limit will cover them, or if you need a valuable items endorsement or a separate policy.
  • If you need a special endorsement or policy, underwriters will base your coverage amount on the appraised value of your jewelry.
  • Your insurance premium will be based on that same value.

 

  1. Personal Property Vs. Scheduled Property

A homeowner’s policy does not insure Jewelry under the personal property section of your policy. In order to insure jewelry correctly, you either have to get it listed as a scheduled item on your homeowner’s policy, or acquire a specific valuable articles policy for such items. Both coverage options will require you to have a detailed appraisal of the items that is not more than 3 years old.

Advantages of Scheduling your Jewelry Appraisal for Insurance:

  • Broader Coverage: Scheduled items will be covered for additional risks, including accidentally losing your scheduled jewelry (for example, losing your engagement ring while on vacation) which would not be covered under a standard homeowner’s policy.
  • Replacement Cost Coverage: The insurance company pays what it costs to replace your damaged property without reducing the payment with the amount of depreciation.
  • No deductible: If you file a claim for a scheduled item no deductible will apply.

 

  1. A Sales Receipt Isn’t Enough

Insurance companies won’t accept a receipt of purchase as a legitimate measure of value. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for your jewelry. When writing a policy or paying a claim, the insurance company relies on the actual appraised value and not on the cost.

  1. The Insurance Company Might Require Updated Appraisals

Even if your insurance company doesn’t require regular appraisal updates, you might want to get them anyway.

  • It’s the best way to make certain you are insuring your jewelry to at proper value.
  • If the market prices of precious metals, diamonds, and fine jewels rise or fall, it could affect the value of your jewelry.
  • Vintage, antique, and collectible jewelry styles go in and out of trend, causing the values to fluctuate.
  • Values rarely remain constant, and your policies should change accordingly.

 

 

  1. You May Still Have to Prove the Value In the Event of Loss

When you file a claim, the insurance company won’t simply write a check for the amount of coverage stated. They will verify the details before settling your claim.

 

If a thief stole your jewelry, they will want to see a police report. If you lost it or it simply disappears, they will want to know how and why. If you have no witnesses, they may decide to inquire with your friends and relatives about the same.

 

Regular appraisals can help you prove an insurance claim. An appraiser can attest to the quality, design, condition, and valuation of your jewelry. If a jewelry professional has inspected your collection a number of times over the years, the dated documentation can verify ownership and custody.

 

Before you take steps to insure your jewelry, contact an appraiser to properly evaluate your collection. Make sure the professional you choose is well-trained and can handle the task with confidence.

 

Do you have jewelry that you haven’t had appraised in a while? Contact guest blogger and independent jewelry appraiser Aimee Berrent to set up an appointment – 617-304-0174 – aimee@ambappraisal.com – ambappraisal.com

 

CAV Insurance has access to carriers like Chubb, AIG and other companies that specialize in insuring jewelry and other valuble articles. Whether you have a single item or a large collection, CAV Insurance will help find you a policy that fits your needs. CAV Insurance has been insuring jewelry in Weston, Wellesley and the Metro-West area since 1955.

 

19 Oct 2017
Top Tips for Trick-or-Treating Safety This Halloween

Safety Essentials for Trick-or-Treaters This Halloween

Parents, it’s time for some last-minute Halloween safety prep! 

Kids love Halloween night with the free candy, dressing up in costumes, and enjoying a night with their friends, it’s easy enough to forget about precautions. Safety measures often fall by the wayside during the midst of selecting a costume, trick-or-treating, and enjoying sweets! However, parents, while Halloween is all fun and games, you don’t want to end up with a mishap or kid catastrophe on the night.

Parents, ensure the safety of your children with these safety steps:

  • Opt for face paints: Masks can obstruct your child’s breathing, and make it hard to see oncoming traffic or backing up vehicles. Choose non-toxic face paints instead.
  • Fitting costume: Choose a bright colored costume to make your child more visible in the dark, that there is no dragging material that could cause trips, and that all props are flexible and soft!
  • Illuminate the way: Add reflective tape to their bag or costume, and insist that your child carry a flashlight during the dark night. Add caution tape around the flashlight handle so that it fits with their costume!
  • Adult advisory: Any child under 12 should be accompanied by an adult whilst trick-or-treating. If your child is over 12 years of age, establish a pre-planned walking route and a curfew.
  • Walk the talk: Remind your child of road safety like looking left, right, left again before crossing the street, walking on sidewalks at all times, and crossing busy roads as designated crosswalks only.
  • Candy police: Inspect all candy before allowing your children to eat it. If your child is particularly excited, unwrap a few sweets for them so that they don’t choke on the casing.

CAV Insurance wish your and your family a safe and happy Halloween night! For all of your personal and commercial needs in Wellesley Hills and neighboring cities in Massachusetts, contact us today.

14 Jan 2013

Fire Safety Tips for Kids and Adults

Fire Safety Tips for Kids and Adults

  • Make sure all family members know how to dial 911 in case of an emergency.
  • Have at least two exits from every room in your home. Invest in fire escape ladders for upstairs bedrooms.
  • Go through a practice drill every six months. With the whole family, practice what to do in a fire emergency.
  • Assign a tree or other landmark where family members can meet after they escape the burning house.
  • Teach children to never go back in the house.
  • Train children not to hide from fire under beds, in closets or other places where rescuers cannot easily find them.
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