Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tips for Storing Your Summer Toys


As much as we might dislike it, summer eventually comes to an end and it’s time to start thinking about cooler weather. For those of us who own seasonal “toys” like motorcycles, boats, or ATVs, the end of summer means putting these vehicles into storage for the winter. It’s just as important to take care of your toy when you’re not using it as when you are. You want it in good condition when you’re ready to get back on the road, trail, or water in the spring.

Below are a few tips to get your summer toys ready for fall:

Motorcycles
  •          Top off your fuel tank.
  •          Check all fluids.
  •          Check your tire pressure and add air if necessary. Check your tires every few weeks throughout the fall and winter and pump them up as needed.
  •          Prevent rust and corrosion. Give your bike a good waxing to minimize moisture, which can cause severe damage to the body of the bike.
  •          Give the whole bike a thorough going-over before your first ride of the spring.

Boats


  •           Wash it thoroughly and apply a coat of wax to minimize moisture.
  •           Change the oil.  Replace the filter, flush out any lingering oil, and add the new oil.
  •           Top off your fuel tank.
  •           Refresh your coolant system. Drain the coolant in the system, flush with water, and replace with fresh antifreeze.
  •          Spray the carburetor with anti-fogger to protect your engine’s moving parts.
  •          Remove any on-board equipment and essentials (life jackets, fire extinguishers, GPS devices, etc.) and store them in a cool, dry location through the winter. Don’t leave any sensitive electronics onboard and exposed to the elements.

ATVs
  •         Wash your ride thoroughly.
  •          Check your coolant. Top it off or change it completely if it’s more than two years old.
  •          Add fresh fuel to your tank.
  •          Change the oil and oil filter.
  •          Remove and charge the battery. Store it in a cool, dry location and connect it to a trickle charger.
  •          Block up any holes or pipes to discourage rodents and other critters from building a home inside your machine!

Take the time to do a few simple maintenance tasks that will keep your toy in good condition throughout the winter. When the warm weather arrives, you should be ready to go in no time!

ETA Insurance Group can help you protect all of your summer (and winter!) toys. From boats and ATVs to snowmobiles, we can shop around to find you the best coverage for your needs and budget. Contact us today for more information. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Why a Home Fire Evacuation Plan is Important


October 7-13, 2018, is Fire Prevention Week, which is the perfect opportunity to practice (or devise) a fire evacuation plan for your household.

A fire can be devastating, easily causing thousands of dollars in property damage, not to mention the lasting physical, emotional or psychological effects it can have on a family. An evacuation plan can help everyone in the house understand what to do and where to go if a fire breaks out. You may not be able to save your home or all the contents, but if you have a plan in place, you significantly increase the odds of getting all family members out safely. Remember—timing is everything, as you may literally only have a few minutes to get out.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a great resource for developing an evacuation plan for your home. According to an NFPA study, only one of every three households in America has developed and utilized a fire evacuation plan. Every member of your family should be involved in creating one for your home and understand how to use it. Below are some general fire safety tips:
  • Make sure your home has smoke detectors in every bedroom, kitchen (away from the stove), and living room—ideally every floor in your home should have at least one smoke detector.
  • Encourage everyone to know two ways out of every room in the house.
  • Designate a meeting place in front of your house for everyone to gather when they leave the house.
  • Test your smoke detectors at least twice a year (a good rule of thumb is to test them when the clocks are changed during Daylight Savings Time).
  • Once your escape plan is developed, test its effectiveness with a drill once or twice a year—once at night and once during the day.
  • If your smoke detector does go off, leave immediately and don’t go back in for any reason. You may not make it out a second time.
  • Call the fire department from a safe space outside your home.
Practicing good fire safety is everyone’s responsibility. It only takes a few minutes to develop a plan that could prevent a tragedy.

Most homeowners' insurance includes coverage for loss or damage related to fire. You can also purchase fire insurance for additional protection. This extra coverage helps with the costs of repair, replacement, or reconstruction of property above and beyond what your homeowners' policy covers. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

How to Keep Your Home Pest-Free This Fall

Photo: Pennington
As the seasons change and the temperatures drop, everyone will be spending more time indoors, and that includes furry little pests. Unfortunately, critters might be cute (who doesn’t like watching a little squirrel or chipmunk in the wild?), but once they invade your property, they can be downright annoying, if not destructive. Besides the obvious areas like garbage cans, sheds, and garages, critters can invade your actual home and cause quite a bit of damage.

Below are a few tips for securing your home against these unwanted visitors. Get more tips and advice from the National Pest Management Association's website.

·        Try to locate the animals’ point of entry and seal it. Holes or cracks in a building’s foundation, a door that’s not quite closed, unsecured attic windows, and a whole host of other neglected spots in your home’s physical frame can invite little vermin.  Do a close inspection of your home’s exterior and look for any spots where small creatures could fit through, and seal them with expanding foam, caulking, or other sealant (ask your local hardware or pest control professional for the best products to use).
        
 Check your doors and windows.  Seal any loose weather stripping, repair ripped or missing screens, and check the door hinges (to make sure the door is hung and can close properly) and window closures to make sure the window closes tightly. Animals like mice or even bats can fit through very small openings, so keep everything shut to deter their entry into your house.

  Don’t store pet food in the original bag. Your dog or cat aren’t the only ones who like dried kibble—wildlife will eat it, too.  Rather than keep the food in its original paper bag, store it in a metal garbage can (mice can’t climb up the slippery sides—although they’d also have some real trouble removing the lid!) or a plastic bin with a snap-top lid.

  Clean up yard debris. Maintaining our yards is a lot of work, but if you have a stacked woodpile, excessive piles of leaves, or grass clippings strewn about, these are all perfect materials for critters to use for building nests either on your property or elsewhere and generally creating a bigger mess for you to clean up.  Raking and bagging leaves is a big job, but it’s necessary to keep pests out of your yard. Another tip: keep your tree and shrub branches trimmed. Pests can easily use long branches to enter your attic or basement.

Set traps. If you’re seeing a lot of mouse droppings or other signs of infestation (chewed boxes or other possessions) in your basement or attic, set traps in different locations around the area. If you can’t seem to catch the critter but they’re still leaving their mark, call a pest control company if your DIY methods aren’t working.

Pests can chew through wiring, nest in your attic’s insulation, or simply spread disease through the germs they carry (yes, even those cute little squirrels and chipmunks can make you sick!)  Protect your family and property by doing a few simple maintenance tips and keep unwanted critters out of your home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Growth, New Staff, and Name Change for ETA Benefits Group


There have been some big, positive changes in our agency recently! 

ETA Benefits Group is pleased to announce a record year of growth since expanding its line of benefits and insurance to encompass the availability of Medicare plans and Medicare advisory services.  “This was a natural benefit expansion for us,” says agency president Joseph Pilla. “Healthcare insurance is among our core strengths. We’ve grown considerably over the last year and have added two new professional staff members and promoted a third to better handle Medicare services.”

ETA Benefits Group is also changing its name to ETA Insurance Group, effective immediately. Pilla says that the name change makes sense as the company nears its 20-year anniversary in business. The agency’s commercial insurance services have steadily grown in recent years, making the agency a one-stop shop for all business needs, from benefits to risk management and insurance. The agency’s growth and strength in the property-casualty market also encompasses personal lines of insurance such as auto, homeowners, and more available through partnerships with several dozen of the nation’s premier insurance companies.  “At one time, we primarily served employer groups throughout the state, but now with a full line of insurance programs for families and individuals too, it makes sense to change our name to more clearly indicate the insurance availability.”

“You’ll be seeing a new sign over our signature Main Street marquee,” says Pilla. “We’re the same people with a new name, still dedicated to providing friendly, reliable service to our neighbors.”

Pilla also announces the appointment of two new staff members and the promotion of a third:
  •         Sharon Ford, Insurance Sales Specialist.  With more than 25 years in the insurance industry, Ford’s primary focus is Medicare sales and service.
  •          Michelle Antiga, Receptionist.  In this role, Antiga’s primary focus will be customer service. 
  •          Joann Chickilly, promoted to Insurance Sales Specialist focusing on the senior market for Medicare and personal lines.  

Give us a call for all your insurance needs! ETA Insurance Group is an independent, locally-owned, full service insurance agency and employee benefit consulting firm comprised of dedicated and experienced insurance advisors. Since 1999, we have proudly served businesses, families, and individuals throughout Pennsylvania, with a strong presence in the Northeast, Central, and Lehigh Valley.