Friday, December 10, 2010

David Yates–Farmers Insurance soccer team is a winner

Franklin, TN-- The David Yates–Farmers Insurance soccer team recently wrapped-up a successful season in Williamson County Soccer Association Fall play.

The team, consisting of 8- and 9-year old girls, finished with 6 wins and 2 lossesAnother winning season! during the season, which lasted from September to November.  Games were held at the Williamson County Soccer Complex in Franklin, at the intersection of Downs Boulevard and Boyd Mill Avenue.

Congratulations to Coach Clark and his players for their outstanding play and sportsmanship!

David Yates Insurance Agency is a long-term sponsor and supporter of  Williamson County Soccer Association, which offers a tremendous opportunity for Williamson County youth (ages 5 to 18) to learn and excel in the game.

WCSA’s Winter Indoor Soccer registration is currently in progress, and the 2011 Spring Outdoor season begins March 5, 2011, with registration ending on January 16, 2011.

 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Don’t let a fire turn your Thanksgiving Day into a real turkey…

Did you know that cooking equipment fires are the leading cause of house fires in the U.S.? And guess which day of the year typically has three times as many cooking fires than any other? Yep, it’s good ol’ Thanksgiving. Have a safe and tasty Thanksgiving!

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), unattended cooking was by far the greatest contributor to cooking equipment fires. We’ve all been guilty of walking away from something cooking on the stove for ‘just a second”, but that really isn’t wise.

“Thanksgiving is a holiday of feasting, but it’s also a day of intense cooking, when stovetops and ovens are working overtime,” says Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of communications. “These culinary activities bring an increased risk of fire particularly when people are trying to prepare several dishes while entertaining friends and family.”

Here are some tips from the NFPA to help make your Thanksgiving Day a safe one:

Cook with caution:

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire:

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

I hope these tips are helpful and that your Thanksgiving Day is truly one to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

 

 

 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Am I covered if my expensive watch or ring is stolen? Yes, but…

Your basic home insurance policy will typically replace a piece of jewelry for its full value if it’s destroyed in a fire (assuming you can prove its existence and replacement value). If it’s stolen, however, there are strict limits what your insurance company will pay for the loss -- usually $1,000 per piece and $5,000 total for all jewelry – maybe less. Say you have 50 pieces of miscellaneous jewelry you’ve acquired over the years, worth $15,000, and it’s all stolen. In this instance, the most you’ll likely get from insurance for everything is $5,000 or even less, on some policies - minus any deductible, of course. What’s more, your regular homeowners policy likely won’t pay you if you just happen to lose that article, and don’t know where it is (called “mysterious disappearance”).

Your best defense is, at minimum, having Do you have proper coverage for your jewelry?a recent appraisal of your more valuable jewelry, so you can easily prove its existence and value to an insurance adjustor.

In addition, if you also wish to insure your jewelry for “mysterious disappearance” and for its full, replacement value, you ought to consider adding a jewelry “Floater” to your policy, also known as a “Scheduled Personal Articles Endorsement”. That way, you’re sure to receive full value for your piece, regardless of how it was destroyed or how it disappeared.

Okay, you say, I have the original appraisal for my wife’s engagement ring when I bought it in 1980. Isn’t this good enough? Well, no. Many insurance companies wouldn’t blindly accept an appraisal this ancient, but even if they did, the value of the ring has likely jumped far higher than you realize. Just think about the price of gold these days, selling at record levels. You don’t want to be underinsured.

You don’t want to be overinsured, either. According to Susan Schwartz, a highly respected independent Graduate Gemologist in Franklin TN, says jewelry values in general, are sometimes quite fluid, with wide swings from year to year. She suggests that jewelry owners periodically ask their appraiser to “update and reissue” their previous appraisal to reflect the current cost to replace the piece. This can be done at a very modest cost, and will help protect you from market fluctuations.

Given that most jewelry is of sentimental and emotional value, not having a good idea of its value in the time of a loss is something neither you, nor your insurance company, wants to face. Don’t be caught off guard if something happens to your engagement ring or expensive watch. Prepare yourself for this possibility with a proper appraisal and by adding a jewelry floater to your homeowners policy.

 

 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Playing it safe: What’s the best set of wheels for your teen driver?

Time for true confessions. My first car was a pea-green 6-year-old 1971 Ford Pinto, purchased from my uncle for $600. Legend has it that the Pinto was considered “sporty’ for a few minutes back in the early seventies. 

What could make a better first car for your teenager than a 1971 Pinto?  Well, everything!As a 16-year old with a new toy, I used to rev it up in neutral and drop the automatic transmission into “Drive” to experience the thrill of squealing tires and a brief sensation of speed. Problem was, this feeling of speed was mostly in my mind. Stomp on the gas and the engine seemed to say, in a sleepy voice, “let’s do this later, when I’m better rested”. This Pinto never galloped, preferring a polite trot along the San Diego freeways.

This car did serve a noble purpose, however. Because it would never deliver on my need for a little speed and excitement, it probably saved me from a big-time crash. And although the alleged exploding gas tank did offer the possibility of some excitement, it was the wrong kind, so was of little comfort to me.

This situation was soon remedied. After saving up enough money to buy the coolest, bluest 1967 Barracuda, I gleefully put my Pinto out to pasture.   After a few months, I promptly totaled my Barracuda by taking a turn too fast. Lessons were learned.

With that as my backdrop, I’d like to help you, my fellow parents, in choosing an appropriate vehicle for your teen (or teens – God bless you!). Whether new or used, we all want our kid’s car or truck to be a great combination of safety, reliability, and fuel economy, with a look that won’t totally embarrass them each day as they cruise into the high school parking lot.

I’ve been doing some digging around, and want to share the brands and models that are most recommended for teens and are considered “safer” than others. I’ll use the same approach in a couple of years, when my oldest daughter gets her license.

My previous thinking was that a large, slow, older car was best bet for a teen driver. These vehicles may be great for providing a huge barrier around the occupants, but they don’t have the safety features that may help a teen avoid an accident in the first place. David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports magazine’s automotive test center, say that the ideal teen car is reasonably sized, good crash-test results, has a 4-cylinder engine without too much power, and safety features including electronic stability control and curtain air bags.

With these parameters in mind, he recommends:

Small sedans:

Hyundai Elantra SE (2008-2010), Mazda3 (2007 - ), Scion xB (2008 – )

Mid-sized sedans:

Acura TSX (2004-), Honda Accord (2008 - ), Kia Optima (2007 – )

Small SUVs:

Honda CR-V (2005 - ), Nissan Rogue (2008 – )

 

When budget is a larger part of the equation, here are more affordable options that show up on other experts’ lists: Acura Integra, Toyota Corolla (1999+), Honda Civic EX (1998+), Honda Accord EX (1998+), Infiniti G20, Ford Focus (2002+), Subaru Forester 2.5X, Toyota Camry XLE (6 cylinder), Toyota Camry LE (4 cylinder), Mazda 3, Mazda Protégé ((1999-2003), Nissan Altima 2.55 (4 cylinder, 2003+)

For more ideas, the following are vehicles that received the 2006 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Award. Now four years old, these used cars might offer the best combination of safety and affordability for your teen driver:

Large Cars

Ford Five Hundred (with optional side airbags)

Mercury Montego (with optional side airbags)

Audi A6

Minivans

Hyundai Entourage (2007)

Kia Sedona

Midsize cars

Saab 9-3

Subaru Legacy

Audi A3

Audi A4

BMW 3 series (4-door models)

Chevrolet Malibu (with optional side airbags)

Lexus IS

Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen Rabbit (4-door models)

Volkswagen Passat

Small cars

Honda Civic (4-door models)

Saab 9-2X

Subaru Impreza (except WRX models)

 

Click here for a current list of the 2010 top picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

 

I hope these suggestions are helpful to you in your quest to keep your teen driver as safe as possible. If you’re ever interested in what it might cost to insure one of these vehicles, just give me a shout.

 

 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Here’s a text you don’t want near a school…

Well, the leaves haven’t turned, and the air hasn’t turned cold and crisp, but school is now in session in Franklin TN and much of Middle Tennessee.  Please remember the speed limit in a school zone is 15 miles Please be careful in school zones!per hour when children are present.

I believe it is far more dangerous to be a kid walking to school these days. Children don’t always pay attention to their surroundings, and we all know that drivers have more distractions these days, some of which they make the choice to burden themselves with -- like texting while driving.  If you’re tempted to text occasionally, consider a couple of sobering statistics:

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers who text and receive texts take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds for every 6 seconds of travel.  Here’s what that means in real-world terms:  If you’re going 55 mph and texting, every time you look down to text, you’ll travel further than the length of a football field, without looking at the road.

It’s no surprise that if you text while driving, you’re 20 times more likely to have an accident than someone who’s not distracted.  If you add this to the fact that school is now back in session, and more children are out there walking to school, well, that’s an equation that no one wants to find out the answer to.

 

 

 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Does your auto policy include Med Pay?

It’s happened again.  It happened yesterday afternoon while reviewing a prospective customer’s current auto insurance, which she had purchased through a “1-800”-type of insurance company years ago.  I noticed her policy was missing a very important coverage that I won’t let my clients do without. It’s called “Medical Payments” or “Med Pay”.  I’ve noticed this coverage missing more than a few times during the past year alone, when reviewing prospective client policies here in Franklin, TN.

Quite simply, Med Pay pays for medical (and funeral ) expenses for you and other passengers if injured in an accident while driving/riding in your car.  You can choose Does your auto policy have Medical Payments coverage?different limits up to which this coverage will pay (usually $5,000 or more, per person).  It pays no matter who’s at fault. Pays for things like doctor fees, hospital charges, X-rays, tests, etc..

Wouldn’t it be nice to know that if you’re driving your friend around town, and have an accident, that your insurance will help pay for their medical expenses, as well as your own?  Med Pay is not an expensive part of your policy by any means, so there’s no reason not to have it.  Do you have it?

My prospective customer was convinced she had always had this important coverage, and was very upset to learn she hadn’t. Needless to say, she’s switching to Famers and my agency.  To me, this is just another example of the extra value and protection you get by having a local insurance agent, not someone in a cubicle 1000 miles away!

 

 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Have you found your Tennessee home on the FEMA flood map yet?

Our hearts and prayers continue to go out to all affected by recent devastating floods in Middle Tennessee and other areas.  Flood signIf you haven’t reviewed the location of your home in relation to the 100- and 500-year flood plains, it would be wise to do so, so you can either sleep better at night, or plan accordingly.

The maps are available on the FEMA website. Just go to www.msc.fema.gov and, on the left-hand side, type in your home address, and click ”search”.  On the next page, click on the magnifying-glass icon in the “View” column.  This should take you to the actual flood map that shows your area in relation to where flooding is more likely to occur.  Much of the time, you’ll be able to zoom in to your actual home’s location (just like on a real estate map), enabling you to pinpoint exactly how far away, or how close you are, to potential flooding.  If you’re in a rural area, your actual home location may not be delineated on the map, but at least you’ll be able to get an idea as to your level of risk.  You should also pan over to the key on the right of the map for explanation about flood plains.

Have any trouble finding your location?  Please feel free to call me, and I’ll be glad to help.

If you need flood insurance, you may be surprised to learn that NEW government-sponsored flood insurance policies for private homeowners have not been available since June 1, 2010.  The Federal Flood program had been suspended, in regard to issuing new flood policies, because continuing funding had not been approved by Congress.  Existing flood policies were, and are, valid, of course.

Just last night, however, the U.S. House and Senate approved funding a temporary 3-month extension of the program through September 30, 2010.  As soon as President Obama signs off on it and instructs FEMA to move ahead, new policies can be issued.

Our lawmakers still need to act to fund the program past September 30th, however.  I’ll keep you informed as this issue evolves in the months ahead.  In the meantime, give me a call if you have any questions about flood insurance.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Have you made your list and checked it twice? Taking inventory of your stuff at home might come in real handy some day.

It’s yard sale time in Franklin TN. While preparing for our Fieldstone Farms neighborhood yard sale last week, I once again realized how much stuff (or junk) we all have. It also made me think about if there were a catastrophe, would I be able to produce a list of all our household possessions, so we can receive proper compensation by our insurance company?Make a list...and make it easier

You probably have thousands of “things”. If it all suddenly disappeared, could you make a comprehensive list of what you had and what it would cost to replace it?  If your whole house went up in flames, or was blown away by a tornado, your insurance adjustor may ask you to do just that. How prepared are you?

Ideally, an inventory of your household items, consisting of words, receipts, and photos, is essential to getting all the benefits that are due you. If this sounds like a whole bunch of work to do, at least start out with taking video of all contents in your house, narrating facts and values about your stuff as you go from room to room. There are even video services that will do this for you. Put your tape or DVD in a secure place other than your home, like a safe deposit box at your bank.

Then, make a commitment to prepare a written inventory of your things, starting with the highest value items, and work your way down. Keep this list with your video. Of course, you save your receipts/appraisals for major purchases, right??? Good! Don’t forget to update your list as you add or purge items through the years. I’ve got inventory forms and home organizer software that I’ll be glad to give you – just call me.

Let’s hope you never have to make use of your inventory list, but getting this done should help you sleep better at night!

 

 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Did you know this was illegal in Franklin TN?

Ok, I must admit that since putting my Farmers Insurance sign on my car, I’ve been even more careful with my driving. Having your kids with you in the car will do it, too! And in being more careful, I’ve also been observing other drivers. Like you, I occasionally see people speeding, running red lights, and other “obvious” violations.

But I also see many drivers make a move that is definitely illegal here in Franklin TN. Can’t do it in Brentwood, for that matter. I see it so many times that I think most people don’t realize they can get a ticket for it. What is it? The beloved U-turn.

No U-TurnDecide you’re going the wrong direction on Mack Hatcher Parkway? What’s the harm is making a quick U-turn at the Franklin Road/Mack Hatcher intersection? Well, possibly a lot of harm. You might be misjudging the speed of an on-coming car, or not seeing that guy making a right turn onto Mack Hatcher. Even if you avoid an accident, you may not notice the City of Franklin Police officer conveniently parked nearby, watching for just such things. Do yourself a favor and just drive that extra minute or two until you can legally get going in the other direction. Here’s link to the code, in case you’re interested:

http://library.municode.com/HTML/14633/level3/PII_T15_C4.html#PII_T15_C4_s15-405

Any guesses on another popular move that might also make you popular with the Franklin police? Yep, passing on the right. If you’re on a two-lane road (one lane going in each direction), and someone ahead of you is stopped to make a left turn, you’re not supposed to go around them on the right. I know it’s tempting to do, but you’ll get a ticket for it. And maybe much worse – I saw someone passing on the right the other day. After just missing a mailbox, his two right tires went off the asphalt and came very close to skidding down a steep embankment!

Municipal Minutia department: While looking through the municipal code, I noticed how close you need to be when parking next to a city street curb. Any guesses? In Franklin we have an 18” limit, which seems pretty generous to me. Watch out when parking in Brentwood though -- they only allow 12”.

What’s your driving pet peeve? What do wish your fellow drivers would do, or not do? Feel free to respond here, and get it off your chest!

 

 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Free Child I.D. Kits to be given away at upcoming Williamson County Soccer Association Picture Day Event

I’ll be giving away free child I.D. kits on Saturday, March 27, 2010, during the Picture Day event at the Williamson County Soccer Association soccer complex, located at 1877 Downs Blvd in Franklin TN. Time is 7:00 am – 2:00 pm. Picture Day is Saturday, March 27, 2010This is a big day for the WCSA youth soccer league, when all teams come to play and also have their team and individual pictures taken inside the arena.

As a sponsor of several WCSA youth teams, I enjoy participating on Picture Day, handing out free child I.D. kits to parents who stop by my tent, located just outside the main entrance to the indoor arena. These kits allow you to maintain your child’s fingerprints, a recent photo, and crucial information (height, weight, hair color, etc.).  If ever needed, you can instantly e-mail the photo and information to the proper authorities, and forward to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  If you’d like, I’ll even take your child’s photo, put it on a CD, and give it to you on the spot! All for no cost. Just look for my Farmers Insurance tent.Stop by my tent for your free child I.D. Kit!

Over 2,000 kids across America are reported missing every day. In the event of a missing child, having a recent photo and info that can be quickly distributed is crucial to a fast recovery. What I can give you will help you be more prepared for something we all hope never happens!

If you’d like more information about the free child I.D. Kits, please call me at 778-1816. If you can’t make it that Saturday, you are welcome to pick up a kit at my office in Cool Springs. I hope to see you March 27th!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Join Youth Spring Soccer in Williamson County TN

It’s not too late to sign your kid or kids up for Spring soccer with the Williamson County Soccer Association.   Soccer's a great sport for kids!

I can’t think of a better activity for young folks.  It’s also a great way to meet other families, particularly if you’re new to Franklin TN.  Both of my daughters played in this league, and I coached their teams for several years.  We thoroughly enjoyed all our experiences.  Let me know if your child joins one of the WCSA teams I sponsor!

On WCSA soccer picture day, when all the teams have their team pictures taken, I’ll be there too, providing free Child I.D. Kits to parents, free for the asking.  Please look for my tent and allow me to provide you with a free, personalized kit for each one of your kids.   You can also call or drop by my office.

For more information about Youth Soccer in Williamson County TN, check out the WCSA Website.

 

 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Middle Tennessee Freezedown: Protect your home’s pipes and your wallet

Here in Franklin TN, we may not get as much snow as, say, Buffalo, but it does get pretty cold!  Cool Springs has been more like Cold Springs (okay, lame joke!).  Every winter season, the pipes in your home are at risk of damage from freezing conditions. This can happen here in Franklin TN too! Low temperatures can cause your water pipes to freeze, and in some cases burst. The following tips can help you safeguard your home before, during, and after a pipe freezes.

Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

· Disconnect all gardening hoses.
· Most outside faucets have an interior shut of valve. Close this line at the shutoff valve.
· Keep your house temperature at 68 degrees or higher, even if you're leaving the house for an extended period of time.
· Open cabinet doors below sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate.
· Identify the location of the main water valve and the valve on your water heater. (Learning the location of these valves may come in handy during an emergency.)
· Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that run along outside walls.
· Close all windows near water pipes; cover or close open-air vents. Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to
freeze more frequently.
· Heat your basement and consider weather sealing your windows.
· Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.
· If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time during the winter months, shut off the main water supply valve. Then open up the faucets and allow the water in the lines to drain out.

Monitor Freezing Pipe Conditions

· Allow a faucet to drip slightly (lukewarm water) in order to minimize freezing.
· The first sign of freezing is reduced water flow from a faucet.
· Check your faucets for water flow and pressure before you go to sleep and again when you wake up.
· Check pipes around your water meter, in unheated areas, near exterior walls and in crawl spaces.
· Identify cold air drafts coming in from a flue or chimney chase and caulk gaps that are near pipes. 

If a Pipe Freezes

· If a faucet or pipe inside your house freezes, you can thaw it using a good hair dryer. (For safety purposes, avoid operating a hair dryer around standing water.)
· To thaw a frozen pipe, heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipes.
· When thawing a pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet. Make sure the faucet is turned on so that melted water can drip out. 

If a Pipe Bursts

You don't want to see this! · Shut off water at the main valve. (Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shut-off valve is and how to open and close it.)
· If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.
· Call a plumber. Keep an emergency number nearby for quick access.
· Call your insurance company’s claims office.