TMIB Blog

Loaded Mashed Potato Recipe

Loaded Mash Potato RecipeThis year we thought it would be fun to ask our staff to share their favorite Thanksgiving side dish or dessert with the office and participate in a contest to determine the tastiest dish.   

 There were multiple entries and each of the dishes was tasted by the staff.  (Yum!! We had LOTS of volunteer judges sampling each dish), we had 2 winning recipes this year. 

 The winners were Loaded Mashed Potatoes by Claudia in our personal insurance department, the recipe is below, and Sweet Potato Pie made by Tana in our benefits department – this recipe can be found at our Restaurant and Bar insurance website: www.barrestaurantinsurance.com.

 Please try out our favorites and be sure to let us know what you think.

 TMIB wishes you and your family a safe and healthy Thanksgiving!

 Loaded Mashed Potatoes

  •  3 lbs. of Russet potatoes (about 10)
  • 6 oz. of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 TBSP. of unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch raw green onions-chopped (green part only)
  • 16 oz pack bacon- cooked and broken into small pieces
  • 1 cup of Half & Half
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Peel potatoes and cut each into quarters

In a large pot, rinse and bring them to a boil until soft.

Drain potatoes (do not rinse) and return to pot.

Mash potatoes and mix in butter until melted

Gradually add half & half, salt and pepper (to taste) until potatoes are smooth and fluffy.

Mix in bacon, onions and cheese

Preparing for Winter and Fall

fall tree websiteWith the first day of winter just around the corner, you are likely already planning your holiday season. Whether you are mulling your holiday travel options, or possibly even beginning your Christmas shopping, the responsibilities of fall and winter are already creeping up on you. However, with the rush of the holidays, you might not be preparing your home for fall and winter. To help you out, Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers has compiled the following checklist to ensure that your home is ready for fall and winter:

 Clean and repair rain gutters: Even in Southern California, certain trees (like the California sycamore) will shed a majority of their leaves during the fall and winter seasons. These leaves, along with pine needles and other detritus, can clog up your rain gutters, leading to drainage problems during the winter rainy season. Be sure to inspect your gutters throughout the fall and clean out any potential blockages.

  • In the same note, have you ever wondered what to do with all of those leaves? Large piles of leaves can be a fire hazard in your backyard. One option is to mow over your leaves, shredding them into small pieces. These small pieces can then be used as mulch to nourish your yard during the winter season.
  • Clean your fireplace/chimney: Sweep out your fireplace before the season starts to reduce the risk of fire spilling out of your hearth. If you haven’t had the chimney inspected recently, bring in a professional chimney sweep to clean the flue and prevent fire and smoke damage.
  • Save energy! In some parts of LA County, temperatures can dip into the low 40s and high 30s at night, necessitating heating. Heating can be expensive, so be sure to spend the extra time to reduce your heating bills. Cold air can seep into your home through cracks in windows and doorframes. Inspect all of your windows and doors and seal up any cracks with caulk if necessary.

 If you have any questions or need assistance, please call us at 310-828-9662.

Did YOU know: Other Structures Coverage

did you know color arrows websiteImagine that you just purchased your home insurance policy then, disaster strikes. Your property is destroyed, but you are totally covered, right?  Maybe not…..

 Unfortunately, many people who have purchased homeowners’ insurance do not fully understand the scope of the coverage they have purchased. Particularly perplexing for many people is how homeowners’ insurance policies address buildings on the property that are not physically attached to the home.

 If a building or fixture on the property does not share a foundation, roof or wall with the dwelling, it is not covered under the dwelling portion of a typical home insurance policy.  The “dwelling” is the actual home and any structure physically attached to it.

 This is where Other Structures coverage comes into play. This type of coverage is incorporated into most Homeowners’ policies and helps cover the cost of damage to other structures on the property. “Other Structures” may include buildings such as tool sheds and detached garages, as well as fixtures such as fences, sidewalks and patios. While this coverage is included in most Homeowners’ policies and might seem straightforward, you might need to adjust your coverage based on the value and function of the additional structures on your property.

 Below are a few conditions that Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers suggests you consider when evaluating your Other Structures coverage.

  •  The typical amount of Other Structures coverage included in a homeowners’ policy is 10% of the dwelling limit. For example, if your home is insured for $400,000, the policy will typically include $40,000 of Other Structures coverage. This limit may or may not be sufficient to protect your property.  If you have a detached garage or tool shed, the 10% limit might not adequately cover your losses and you may need to purchase additional coverage for these buildings.
  • Do you have a guest house or rental property on your property?  If you do, you should speak to your Tegner-Miller broker for additional assistance so you can determine if you are properly protected.  
  • Do TMIB and the insurance company know about your other structures?  If you have recently added a patio, tool shed, garage or other structure on your property, you will need to let us know right away

As always, be sure to speak with your broker at TMIB to get more information on this type of coverage and understand how it applies to your needs.  Please call us at 310-828-9662 if you have any questions.

Daylight Savings

Daylight Savings TMIBTegner-Miller Insurance Brokers would like to remind you that November 3rd marks the end of daylight savings time for 2013, meaning the start of longer evenings and darker afternoons until March. Daylight savings officially ends at 2:00 am on November 3rd, so be sure to turn your clocks back one hour before going to bed on Saturday, November 2nd.

 While turning your clocks back, you should also consider checking your smoke detectors and fire alarms. No, these alarms don’t have anything to do with daylight savings however, because smoke detectors and fire alarms should be checked twice a year, the beginning and end of daylight savings can serve as helpful reminders to check batteries and replace broken machines.

 Below are a few ways you can ensure that your fire alarms and smoke detectors are in good working order: 

  • Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors at least twice a year. Changing the batteries in conjunction with the beginning and end of daylight savings time can make it easier to remember to do this regularly.
  • Make sure you have enough smoke detectors. You should have a smoke detector in every bedroom and at least one on each floor. You should also place smoke detectors in your kitchen and in hallways.
  • Test your smoke detectors monthly and immediately replace the batteries or unit if it is not working.

 If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 310-828-9662.

Happy Pumpkin Day! October 26th

Happy Pumpkin Day TMIBPerhaps no other item is more emblematic of autumn in the US as the venerable pumpkin. Originally grown across North America, the pumpkin is now harvested on every continent except Antarctica. Below, Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers provides some tips on pumpkin activities you can enjoy this fall season. 

  • Visit a pumpkin patch- Relating back to the ancient Irish tradition of carving turnips on All Saint’s Day, jack-o-lanterns are the most prominent icon of Halloween. Why not skip the market this year and take your kids to a traditional pumpkin patch? Other than the ability to pick your pumpkin right out of the field, pumpkin patches offer petting zoos, hay mazes and all sorts of harvest-themed activities.
  • Make your own pumpkin pie- Perhaps the most delicious of pumpkin’s many uses, pumpkin pies are readily available at any market or store. But have you ever tried concocting your own out of a fresh pumpkin? Recipes abound online for this relatively easy to make dessert. A word of warning: do NOT use a regular jack-o-lantern pumpkin for your pie. Instead, buy a “pie pumpkin.”
  • Make a “no knives” jack-o-lantern- Want your child to make a jack-o-lantern, but are concerned about your toddler wielding a knife? If so, you can make awesome jack-o-lanterns using just washable markers. These jack-o-lanterns won’t shine with a candle in them, but they do have the added bonus of being “erasable” in case your child makes a mistake.

 TMIB wishes you fun filled pumpkin day!

 

Water Damage

Water DamageWhile you might think that a majority of home insurance claims are the result of fires, water damage is actually the most common cause for claims. In fact, around 65% of all property damage is caused by broken pipes, hoses, and malfunctioning plumbing fixtures. Additionally, the most common cause of water-related property damage is broken or malfunctioning washing machine hoses. Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers recommends that you review the following tips for preventing water damage at your home.

  •  Develop a plan for checking your washing machine hoses. You should generally check or replace your hoses at least every 5 years. But how do you remember when to replace it? One tip is to replace your hoses every leap year.
  • Try to turn off your water when the washer is not in use. Water puts pressure on the hoses, increasing the likelihood of a break.
  • Place water pans under your washers/hoses. Even a small leak can cause major damage over time. Water pans can reduce the likelihood of long-term water damage.
  • Purchase high-quality hoses for your washers. Shop around to find washing machine hoses with the longest guarantee and best consumer reviews. Some hoses are guaranteed to function for up to 20 years. Be cautious about metal-braided hoses. While these are advertised as “burst proof”, a crimp in the hose can cause the sharp metal sides to puncture the rubber interior.

 Make sure that your home insurance policy is up-to-date and includes coverage for water damage.   Speak with your knowledgeable broker at TMIB about water damage on your home insurance policy.  Feel free to call us at 310-828-9662.

What is Contents Replacement Cost Coverage?

Personal Property InsuranceWhen you have an insurance claim related to your home or personal belongings you will want to replace your destroyed valuables as completely as possible. However, your homeowner’s insurance policy will usually only cover the actual cash value (ACV) of the items destroyed.

 For example, if you have a 5-year-old TV, your insurance policy will factor the television’s depreciation into the payout, leaving you with not enough money to replace the destroyed item with a comparable new one. However, if your policy includes the contents replacement coverage endorsement, the insurance company will give you the amount needed to replace the TV with a new comparable replacement.

 Contents replacement cost coverage can be purchased as an endorsement on your homeowner’s policy.

 Be sure to speak with your knowledgeable broker at Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers to make sure your policy includes this valuable coverage.  We can be reached at 310-828-9662.

Did YOU Know? What is Loss of Use on my homeowners policy?

What is “Loss of Use” and “Additional Living Expenses” on my Homeowner’s Insurance policy?

While we might not experience nature’s fury as frequently as other parts of the country, Southern California does occasionally have to contend with some pretty hellacious natural disasters. From wildfires to mudslides to earthquakes, crises can be unpredictable, forcing you to flee your home and seek shelter for an unknown period of time.did you know color arrows website

 How will you pay for a hotel room if you are evacuated? How will you afford a rental dwelling if your home is damaged during the disaster?

 This is where “Loss of Use” or “Additional Living Expenses” (ALE) comes into play. This provision in your homeowner’s insurance policy can help you cope with the cost of living away from your home after a disaster or accident. This coverage typically pays for “extra” expenses incurred as a result of a covered insurance claim.  Importantly, ALE only covers reasonable expenses that help you maintain your current standard of living.

 Insurance policies vary greatly.  There can be a set dollar amount with a set amount of time for this coverage or an unlimited amount and/or unlimited timeframe for coverage.

 Most earthquake policies include loss of use and typically have very specific limits available. In some cases you can decide how much coverage you want (up to a certain limit).

 Most homeowner’s insurance policies include some amount of Loss of Use or ALE, but determining the proper amount can be tricky.  Speak to your knowledgeable broker at Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers. We can help you pick the right home insurance policy for your needs.  Please call us at (310) 828-9662.

Comprehensive Auto Coverage

window-in-carMost people think of car insurance as only protection against collisions and liability claims. However, comprehensive coverage pays for claims resulting from non-accident related claims.

When buying comprehensive coverage, be sure to speak to your broker at Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers about your particular situation.  For example, if you have an older or previously damaged car, when you evaluate the cost of the comprehensive coverage as well as the deductible amount you might not want comprehensive coverage.

So, what type of damage is covered under the comprehensive portion of your automobile policy? Below, Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers has compiled a short list of some of the most common types of claims covered by comprehensive coverage:

  • Storms and Natural Disasters:  In Southern California, this generally means earthquakes and wildfires, but if the damage is caused by other calamities, like flooding, strong winds and hail and you have comprehensive coverage you will be covered (less your deductible).
  • Vandalism:  Nothing aggravates a car owner more than a keyed car. While you might not be able to prevent vandals from scratching your paint or breaking your windows at least this damage would be covered under the comprehensive portion of your policy (less the deductible).
  • Theft: Comprehensive auto insurance covers not only the cost of the stolen car (less the deductible), but also may include coverage for items permanently attached to your car, like stereos or GPS systems.

Please call TMIB, (310) 828-9662, if you have any questions regarding comprehensive coverage on your automobile policy.

It Can Wait

Woman TextingTexting while driving is the newest epidemic that is causing car crashes across the US. According to AT&T, more than 100,000 accidents are caused by texting drivers annually. And the numbers are rising. To counter this disturbing new trend, AT&T has partnered with Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and more than 200 other companies to launch its “It Can Wait” campaign, which urges drivers to avoid texting while driving.

While the campaign was specifically designed to run from Memorial Day through Labor Day (the deadliest 100 days of the year for teenage drivers), September 19 will mark the “It Can Wait” day of action. Followers of the campaign are encouraged to spread the word on the dangers of texting and driving on September 19th, and collect pledges from drivers that they will not text and drive.

Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers encourages all of its clients to sign the pledge and speak with their friends, family and loved ones about the dangers of texting while driving. Below are a few statistics on texting and driving from AT&T and the “It Can Wait” webpage.

  • Nearly half of all teenagers (43%) text while driving, even though 97% of the teenagers surveyed know that texting while driving is dangerous.
    • Around 75% of teens say that they have friends who text and drive.
    • 49% of drivers admit to texting while driving.
      • More than 40% of those who admitted to texting and driving claim that they do so habitually.

You can learn more about the campaign and sign the pledge here: http://www.itcanwait.com

Or watch this moving documentary by Werner Herzog on texting and driving: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BqFkRwdFZ0

 

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