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With Christmas over your once green and verdant Christmas tree is likely turning brown and dry.
While fallen needles and a browning tree can be an eyesore, a dried-out tree can also be a significant fire hazard. Because of the dangers of a dry Christmas tree, it is important to follow proper procedure when disposing of your Christmas tree.
Angelenos are fortunate to have one of the nation’s best and most eco-friendly tree removal services. In Los Angeles County, nearly 100,000 trees are recycled each year, providing mulch and compost for the city. You can saw your tree into pieces and place it in your green compost bin or drop off your tree at one of 21 citywide drop-off sites. To find your local drop-site check http://www.lacitysan.org/tree-recycle.htm.
While recycling and composting are both viable options for tree disposal, you should never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace, stove or outside. Evergreens and firs are highly flammable and can quickly get out of control while burning. Furthermore, these types of trees can release massive amounts of flammable creosote when they burn. A build-up of creosote in your fireplace can lead to chimney fires, which account for 25% of all residential fires.
If you are planning to keep your tree up until after the New Year., make sure it has plenty of water to keep it fresh as long as possible. Sweep up any fallen needles and make sure dry branches are away from any heat sources to prevent fires.
There are many advantages to living in sunny Southern California. Although we enjoy perpetually mild temperatures and warm, sunny winters, there are some winter safety tips that even Angelinos should take heed of. Because tomorrow is the first day of winter, you should prepare for colder weather and potential hazards that are unique to this season. Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers has compiled the following list to help you stay safe and comfortable during the winter months.
- Trim those trees: Winter storms can bring heavy winds, rain, ice, and even snow to some parts of Los Angeles County that can weaken and snap tree branches, which can damage property or injure bystanders. If you live on a property with trees or large shrubbery, do an inspection for large or broken branches. Trimming your trees now can save you the headache of major damage caused by a fallen branch.
- Beware of black ice: Black ice refers to thin layers of translucent ice that can appear on roads or pathways in low temperatures. On chilly mornings, always carefully inspect your property for black ice. If a visitor slips on black ice on your property, you might be liable for their injuries. Spreading rock salt, sand, or even kitty litter on black ice can add traction and reduce accidents. Remember that black ice can form even when temperatures are above freezing, and it often forms on bridges before other surfaces.
- Close those doors and windows: While temperatures in Los Angeles County rarely drop below freezing, turning on a heater at night can keep your home comfortable. If you turn on a heater, check that all doors and windows in your home are closed. This can greatly reduce your heating bill.
- Safe winter driving: Whether you are planning to hit the slopes in Big Bear or Mammoth Mountain, or travel somewhere further afield, you should be aware of safe winter driving tips. Always have tire-chains handy and make sure you know how to use them BEFORE your trip. . Chains can be purchased for about $50-100 at most automobile shops. Also, always keep a cold-weather kit in your car that includes: a warm blanket, first aid kit, flashlight, and plenty of food and water in case you get stranded. Finally, be sure to check with your broker at Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers, (800) 775-TMIB (8642), to be sure that you are completely up-to-date on your collision and liability auto insurance.
Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers wants to thank all of its employees who participated in this year’s Holiday Desk Decorating Contest. The office has never looked more festive. Some employees are already gearing up for next year’s competition. If you are in the Santa Monica area, please drop by to see the great decorations. Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers wishes you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas and Hanukkah!
December and January are some of the busiest travel months for Americans. While Angelinos hit the slopes at ski resorts in Northern California, Colorado, and abroad, those in colder climates flee to sunny California, Florida, or the Caribbean. Before you go on your adventure, consult Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers’ tips.
- Before you leave, check your house to be sure you have turned off all lights and appliances. Especially check stoves, burners, and ovens to be sure they are turned off.
If leaving for more than a couple days, you may want to consider having a trusted neighbor pick up your mail or even have the post office stop delivering mail until you return (this can be done easily on-line).
- If you are driving in a location with snow or ice, always bring tire chains. These chains can provide much-needed friction on slippery roads. Applying tire chains can be tricky for beginners, so before you leave, test out the chains in your driveway to make sure you can put them on properly.
- Always tell a friend, family member, or neighbor your itinerary.
- If traveling abroad, leave copies of your passport, credit cards (front and back) and other important documents with a trusted person. This will facilitate getting help if documents are lost or stolen. (Many 800 numbers only work in the US)
- Do not post your vacation plans on social media sites, this may lead to unwanted attention to your empty home
If you have any questions or need assistance with your insurance, please don’t hesitate to call use at 800-775-TMIB (8642).
Hanukkah is an ancient and joyous holiday, characterized by a celebration of the Jewish identity and unique seasonal dishes. While Hanukkah is a great time to spend with family and friends, there are a few things to keep in mind during your Festival of Lights celebration.
Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers has provided the following tips to ensure that your Hanukkah is safe and joyous.
- Make Sure Your Insurance Is Up-To-Date: As we have pointed out in other blog posts, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is wrought with seasonal hazards. Be sure to check with your experienced broker at TMIB to make sure your Auto and Homeowners’ Insurance are completely up-to-date before the holiday season begins.
- Candle Tips: An integral part of Hanukkah is the lighting of the nine-branched Menorah. While the lighting of the candles or oil is an important symbol of Jewish identity and heritage, it can also be a fire hazard. Be sure to place your Menorah far away from any flammable objects like curtains, drapes or indoor plants and refrain from wearing long, loose sleeves when lighting the Menorah. Keep your Menorah on a sturdy, flat surface where it cannot tip over.
- Frying Tips: Many of the traditional and delicious Hanukkah foods are cooked in oil. When cooking your latkes (potato pancakes) or loukoumades (fried dough puffs), be extremely careful with your frying oil. Always set up your deep-fryer away from any flammable objects. Never let children or pets near the deep-fryer. Never leave pan-frying foods unattended.
- Other Cooking Tips: In the hustle and bustle of a busy Hanukkah dinner, it is easy to forget to turn off a stove or oven after you are done using it. Gas stoves or ovens, can be a fire and carbon monoxide hazard. Always double-check kitchen appliances after use to make sure they are turned off. Keep flammable objects like dish towels and rags are far away from stoves, candles and other open flames.
We wish you a safe and happy Hanukkah! If you have any questions or need assistance with your insurance, please don’t hesitate to call use at 800-775-TMIB (8642).
Holiday parties can be a great way to reward your employees for a hard year’s work and boost morale for the coming year.
Many employees enjoy these events as a way of getting to know their coworkers in a social environment. However, there are risks to holding these parties. In some states, businesses that provide alcohol to their employees during holiday parties can be liable for the actions of an intoxicated employee. These liquor liability laws once only affected bars and venues that served alcohol, but they are increasingly being applied to “social hosts” If you serve alcohol to an intoxicated person or a minor, you could be held liable.
Before you serve alcohol at a holiday party, be sure to check with your broker at TMIB to see if your current policy will provide protection. A Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy may protect your business from liquor liability claims. However, you might want to consider purchasing Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) to provide coverage for your business from harassment or discrimination claims if one of your employees harasses a customer or client while intoxicated.
Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers has compiled the following tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable holiday party.
- Be sure to advise both employees and managers to drink responsibly.
- Hold the party offsite, preferably at a location with trained bartenders.
- If you are holding your party offsite, consider a cash bar. Employees will be less likely to over-consume if they are footing the bill. If you are paying for drinks, consider a voucher system to limit the number of drinks each employee can consume.
- Always offer food and non-alcoholic beverages. Drinking on an empty stomach can easily lead to intoxication.
- Never serve alcohol to minors.
- Provide transportation for your employees who have been drinking.
For most of us, Black Friday inconveniences are restricted to bad traffic or long lines at the mall. However, Internet users have more to worry about this Black Friday. Entrepreneurial scammers use this perennial search for the best deals to rip off unsuspecting Internet users. Often, these scammers will post ads on a website advertising an incredible sale, like a “Free iPad!” or “Ford Dealership Fire Sale!” While clicking some of these ads redirects to harmless websites, others can link to surveys designed to steal personal information.
While these types of fake ads are omnipresent on the Internet, the increase in online shopping and the quest for the best deals makes them particularly virulent this time of year. Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers has compiled a few tips to help make your Black Friday a day full of savings, not scams.
- The first step is also the easiest and most effective: don’t click on any suspicious links! Like the old adage says, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Be particularly vigilant about:
— Any ad promising free items. No website will grant a free iphone to the 50,000th visitor, so leave these ads alone.
- If you do see an ad that interests you and appears legitimate, visit the company’s official website instead of clicking on the ad.
- If you do click on an ad and are redirected to something other than what was advertised, click out immediately. Do not fill out any surveys or any requests for information.
- Make sure that your antivirus software is completely up-to-date. Additionally, licensed ad blocking software like Adblock for Google Chrome can reduce the number of malicious ads you are exposed to.
Tegner-Miller wishes you a happy and safe Black Friday!
Thanksgiving is a day for family, football, and, of course, food. However, according to a recent press release from State Farm, Thanksgiving is the number one day for fire insurance claims across America with California ranking 6th. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are approximately 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires annually, causing $21 million in property damage. Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers has compiled a few tips to help keep your Thanksgiving happy and safe:
Deep fried turkey While this is a tasty and fun way to prepare a turkey, it is also the number one cause of Thanksgiving Day fires. To help prevent frying accidents:
- Always use your turkey fryer outdoors and away from any flammable objects,
- Always completely thaw your turkey before frying it. The water in a frozen or partially frozen bird can react violently with the hot oil, causing oil to spill out of the fryer.
- Make sure that the oil in the pot is at the appropriate level
- Lower the turkey into the pot slowly to prevent excess spillage.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer
- If a fire does occur, never use water to extinguish it. Grease fires should only be put out with an all-purpose fire extinguisher.
Have an all-purpose fire extinguisher in the kitchen
Don’t leave cooking/baking food unattended
Don’t leave dishcloths or other flammables near or on the stove
Never wear long, loose sleeves while cooking
We are excited about our new logo and website.
We hope our redesigned site will allow our current and future customers to easily view the many types of insurance that Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers is able to assist them with.
Our blog will provide timely information about various insurance coverages that are important to our customers as well as reminders and tips to our customers as they relate to insurance and risk management. One of our top goals is to help our customers prevent a claim from ever happening. But if one does, make sure our customer is prepared and be there to assist them.
Don’t forget to visit our Fun Stuff page where we will post contests and other fun things!
We have been in Santa Monica for over 110 years helping Southern Californians with their insurance. In these days of call centers and outsourcing, TMIB prides itself on being your neighborhood insurance agent. We even make house calls!