What to do if your identity is stolen

If you're the victim of identity theft, you need to act quickly to minimize the damage.

If you're the victim of identity theft, you need to act quickly to minimize the damage.

Have you ever known someone who has been the victim of identity theft or credit card fraud? It can be a highly frustrating experience, and it can take a long time to get the situation resolved. All that aside, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to what to do if your identity is stolen. Being the victim of identity theft or credit card fraud is not fun, but here are a few things you can do to start to set things right.

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How to protect your identity and prevent identity theft

Protect your personal information and prevent identity theft.

Take steps to protect your identity and prevent identity theft.Identity theft is a scary thing. The havoc that one crafty hacker or scammer can wreak is not to be underestimated. You’ve probably known someone who’s had their identity stolen, or perhaps you’ve even been the victim yourself. It can be such a headache. But we’ve got some tips to help you prevent identity theft and protect your personal information.

1. Be on the alert for identity theft.

There are a few signs that you should be aware of that could signify someone has stolen your identity. If this is the case, it’s best to handle the situation as quickly as possible, which means being aware of the problem in the first place.

Look out for the following:

  • Not getting your bills on time
  • Receiving credit cards you didn’t apply for
  • Having a poor credit score that is unexpected or unexplainable
  • Debt collectors asking (none-too-politely) for money
  • Accounts you didn’t sign for
  • Debts that you can’t explain

2. Be wise to phishing scams.

Phishing is when a hacker or scammer pretends to be a reputable institution, such as your bank, so that you’ll give them your personal information. They impersonate someone you trust, ask for your information, and voila – your identity is gone. Whoops. (If you’re wondering, an example of phishing is the Google Docs scam that went around a while back and tricked a lot of people.)

Be aware of any suspicious emails, or emails asking you to “verify your account information” or password. Reputable organizations wouldn’t reach out like that to sort out a problem with your account. Basically, be skeptical when going through emails. If you doubt that it’s a real email, it probably is not.

A general rule of thumb is not to give out personal information unless you were the one to reach out to a business or organization.

3. Step up your password game.

Make your passwords difficult to guess. They need to be strong so that no one can easily crack them. So, you might not want to choose something like “password” or 123456 to serve as your password.

Instead, choose a password that’s at least 8 characters long, has a mix of letters and numbers, and includes symbols (like !@#$&.) That’ll give a hacker a bit more trouble if they’re trying to break into your account.

Also, use a different password for every account. Yes, it’s tempting to use the same one for everything because it’s easier to remember, but that means that a sneaky hacker has a key to all of your accounts and not just one of them if they crack your password.

4. Don’t fall for pop-ups or spam emails.

Don’t click links in pop-up messages online or in spam emails. Those could give a hacker access to your computer and cause an identity theft situation. Not good.

Pro tip: When in doubt, don’t click.

5. Be smart on social media.

It’s important that you don’t overshare on social media. Of course, social media is great and has its perks. But the problem is that identity thieves can use the personal information you post against you. For instance, they can use it to create a scam designed just for you (which is called spear phishing) by impersonating a friend or family member using details you’ve posted to social media.

So, don’t be your own downfall by posting too much information online. Yes, there is such a thing as too much sharing.

Pro tip: Be especially cautious on social media when you’re on vacation. If you post about your plans, a tech-savvy burglar could find out and realize that your home will be unprotected.

6. Keep an eye on your credit card bills and bank statements.

It’s important that you open your credit card bills and bank statements ASAP. Okay, it’s probably not something you particularly want to do and you might do it with one eye closed and the letter held as far away from you as possible, but you need to check that all the charges and numbers look right. Everything should check out. If it doesn’t, you need to handle the situation as quickly as possible.

Also, if your credit card bill is late, call and ask about it immediately. Chances are the people wanting money aren’t going to dilly-dally about asking for it. If the bill doesn’t show up when it’s supposed to, someone could have changed the address to conceal their wrongdoing – a.k.a. fraudulent charges.

7. Be careful when you’re shopping online.

Shopping online is great…except if your identity gets stolen.

When you’re shopping online, be sure to check that the URL of the website you’re on begins with https:// and has a padlock icon next to it. This means that the site is secure and that your personal information (like your credit card number) is being encrypted, or protected from hackers.

You might also want to look at the website’s privacy policy to check how your personal information will be used and how it is protected.

8. Cancel pre-screened credit card offers.

We’ve probably all gotten those thick envelopes containing a pre-screened or approved credit offer. But if a thief were to steal your mail, they could cause a lot of trouble with one of those. It’s best just to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers. And you should remove your name from credit bureau lists.

9. Keep your Social Security Number safe.

You definitely don’t want anyone to get ahold of your Social Security Number (SSN.) So, you need to keep it safe. Don’t carry around your SSN card in your purse or wallet, and don’t carry anything with your Social Security Number written on it. Be careful whenever any institution asks for your SSN – ask why they want it, what it will be used for, and whether it’s truly necessary for you to provide it. Take a moment to really consider if the people asking should have it.

10. Shred any documents with personal information.

Buy yourself an early birthday present and get a paper shredder. Shred any documents that you don’t need to keep if they have personal information on it. For example, ATM receipts should be shredded. It’s kind of fun to watch the paper get turned into teeny tiny pieces, actually.

11. Check your credit report.

You can request a free – that’s right, free! – copy of your credit report from each of the three credit-reporting bureaus every year (meaning Equifax, Experion, and TransUnion.) If there are any strange charges or unexplainable numbers, you need to raise the alarm. It’s important to monitor your credit report – your credit score and your home insurance rates are related.

12. Ask a lot of questions.

Whenever you have to give personal information, be sure to ask a lot of questions before just handing it over. Ask why they need it. Ask how it will be used. Ask how it will be protected and if it will be shared. These are all things you need to know about. It may seem a little paranoid, but you can’t be too careful. Just be polite about it and explain that you’re asking because you’re worried about identity theft.

Having your identity stolen can turn into a real mess, which is why everyone considers the possibility with a certain amount of dread. Take care to protect your identity with the above tips. The best strategy when it comes to identity theft is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Are you looking for home insurance? Do you want to save money on your home insurance? We would be happy to help you get multiple quotes for your insurance so you can compare rates and save money. All you have to do to get started with Atlanta home insurance quotes is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today.



14 steps to secure your home and prevent burglary while you’re on vacation

It's important to keep your home safe while you're on vacation.

It's important to keep your home safe while you're on vacation.If you’re planning a family vacation this summer, you’re probably looking forward to getting out of town for a little while. But in all the excitement, don’t forget to take some steps to secure your house before you leave. When you’re not there to keep an eye on things, your home can be susceptible to burglary. That’s why you need to outsmart the burglars and amp up the security around your house. The following tips can help you get your home ready for your vacation and prevent a burglary.

14 tips for home safety while you’re on vacation

1. Consider getting a home security system.

Monitored home security systems can help deter burglars from attempting to break into your house. They can also alert the police to a burglary and send them to your house quickly. If you don’t already have a security system, you may want to consider having one installed. And if you do have one, check that everything’s working properly before you head out on your trip.

The benefits of a home security system don’t stop at the added protection for your home. A home security system can help you save money on your home insurance because many insurance companies offer a discount if you have one. So, you can protect your home and save money on your insurance at the same time – it’s a win-win.

2. Know where all your keys are (and don’t hide a key outside.)

It’s important to know where each key to the house is so that none of them get misplaced or lost. Keep track of all keys.

Also, don’t leave a key hidden outside. Burglars know the best hiding places for house keys. Under the mat? Yep. In the potted plant? Yep. On the eaves? Yep. The burglars think that same way you do. So, if you think you’re outsmarting them…you might just be outsmarting yourself.

3. Lock everything.

Okay, we know this one’s a little “no duh.” But it’s still very important to double check that all windows and doors are securely locked before you leave for your trip. Don’t forget to do one last check that your home is locked up tight. Otherwise, you may as well yell, “Come on in, burglars!”

4. Do what you can to make sure your home looks occupied.

If your house looks dark and empty for a long period of time, it won’t take long for a burglar to figure out you’re not home. And they’re also looking for an easy target, which your home could be if you’re not home. To a burglar, they see a home that they can break into and skedaddle from with no one the wiser, perhaps for quite a while – long enough to make a clean getaway.

One way to make your home look lived-in is to get timers for your lights. The timers can turn the lights on and off at specific times so that it appears that someone’s moving around in the house. It makes it look like someone’s home, so your house becomes less of an easy mark.

5. Get someone to tend to your lawn.

An overgrown, slightly shaggy lawn can be a dead giveaway that no one’s home. Ask a neighbor or friend to mow your lawn and tend to any other landscaping tasks. It may seem like a small detail, but why not? It’s better to play it safe.

6. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for any flyers, packages, and so on.

Ask a trusted neighbor to look out for anything suspicious around your home. Advertisements stuck to the mailbox or flyers handing from the doorknob can indicate that there’s no one home to throw them away. You can stop your paper and your mail, but sometimes people come and leave annoying ads on the mailbox or on the driveway. It’s not a bad idea to have someone looking out for your place.

7. Put a hold on your mail.

You may want to stop your mail while you’re away so that it’s not piling up and doesn’t turn into Mount Mail outside your house. Or if you’ve got someone coming over to check on your house or feed the cat, you can ask them to bring the mail in every day.

8. Stop your newspapers.

Hmm…a pile of newspapers outside your house, dotting the driveway…That house looks like a good one to rob.

Newspapers piling up can be another sign that you’re not home. Either stop your newspaper or have your pet-sitter/house-sitter pick them up and bring them inside.

9. Move your valuables out of sight.

If you can, it’s not a bad plan to move your valuables so they’re out of sight. May as well not leave your expensive electronics in plain sight where potential burglars would be tempted. If you have jewelry and such, you might want to consider getting a hidden safe to keep those things super secure.

10. Be smart when you’re talking about your vacation plans.

It’s not the best plan to go broadcasting your vacation plans and blabbing about when you’re not going to be in town. You never know who could be listening to your conversation. Only tell people who need to know about the details of your travels and be discreet when you do. Tell your kids to be careful about it, too.

And another thing:

Don’t talk about your travel plans on social media, and try to refrain from posting pictures while you’re on your trip. It’s best to not inform the whole world where you are. Wait until you’re back to post your vacation pictures.

11. Consider getting outdoor automatic lights.

Light can be a major deterrent to burglars. You can think about getting exterior lights that run on timers so that they’ll come on every night and flood your yard with light.

12. Get a neighbor to pull your trashcan to the curb on trash pickup day.

Ask a neighbor to take your trashcan and recycling to the curb for pickup day and then put them away. That will help it look like you’re home. And then the trash won’t get too stinky either.

13. Unplug your electronics.

You can save money on your electrical bill by unplugging any electronics that aren’t necessary while you’re away (the fridge, of course, will have to stay on unless you want to come home to spoiled food.) This will also help you prevent an electrical fire while you’re away.

14. Consider getting a pet-sitter or house-sitter to stay at your house while you’re gone.

Asking someone that you trust to stay at your house can help you keep your house safe. Besides, if you have pets, you’ll need someone to check on them anyway. They’ll be able to keep an eye on your home – and check that no pipes have burst, no fires have started, and no disasters have happened. They can also get the mail, pick up the papers, take out the trash, and so on. And if you have cats or dogs, you’ll feel better knowing they have someone to keep them company and look after them.

Going on vacation is great, but you have to take steps to protect your home if you’re going on a road trip or traveling somewhere. Before you leave, take some time to ensure that everything is shipshape at home.

Another way to protect your home is to get home insurance. Our team can help you get Atlanta home insurance quotes from some of the top carriers in the country. We’ll help you get the best coverage at the best rate so you can get the insurance that’s right for you and save money. To get in touch with our team, all you have to do is fill out our online form or give us a call.

8 tips to stay safe with social media when you’re on vacation

When you're on vacation, it's important to be smart with social media.

When you're on vacation, it's important to be smart with social media.

When you’re super excited about a trip or vacation, it’s really easy to get carried away when it comes to posting on social media. But whether your preferred platform is Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, it’s important that you take proper precautions when it comes to your social media habits. If you’re not careful online, you could make your home a target for burglary. Believe it or not, burglars use social media to figure out which houses to burgle. When you post about being away from this date to that date, you’re telling the world that your house will be empty and unprotected. However, with these tips, you can help prevent a home burglary while you’re on vacation.

1. Don’t post about your travel plans.

If you put your travel dates, flight info, or vacation plans online, you’re opening yourself up to a world of trouble.

A tech-savvy burglar trolling Facebook could easily realize that you’re not going to be home, as we said, and what better time to strike than when no one’s home and they can take their time? They can break in, steal your stuff, and be gone before anyone’s the wiser. And they’ll have lots of time to make their getaway since no one’s going to be home to alert the police for a while.

Don’t announce your travel plans to the world. You don’t want to give a thief an invitation to your home.

2. Disable location services on your phone.

Location services on your phone often runs in the background unless you turn it off. Go to your settings and disable your location services so no one can figure out where you are. Usually, it’s as simple as hitting a button.

3. Tighten up your tagging settings.

Change your social media settings so that posts that people tag you in won’t automatically pop up on your page. Your traveling companions might tag you in a photo, and this is another way that thieves can figure out that you’re not home. Unfortunately, burglars are pretty clever. Take some time to check out your social media settings and make sure that posts you’re tagged in won’t appear on your page.

While you’re playing around with your settings, amp up your privacy and make it so that the entire world can’t look at your page. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. Don’t check-in at various locations.

You might have the option to “Check-In” on social media when you’re at certain locations. Resist the urge to check-in, as tempting as it might be. Checking-in can also be a dead giveaway if you’re not at home, as you’re essentially telling everyone, “Look at me, in this city that I don’t live in at this place that I’m on vacation in!” Whether you’re going on a road trip or flying, don’t holler about your whereabouts online.

If you're on social media, be careful and don't post your whereabouts.

5. Take a break from social media while you’re on vacation.

Just take a break from your social media accounts while you’re vacationing. Vacation is time for relaxing, experiencing new places, and spending time with family or friends. Don’t let the time fly by as you’re too busy looking at your phone to take in your surroundings or enjoy your time with your traveling companions. Yes, you might fear the unpleasant symptoms of social media withdrawal, but you will survive. You are strong. You can put the phone aside for your trip and simply live in the moment, absorbing all there is to see and relaxing.

6. Post about your trip after you’re back.

If you must take to social media to chronicle your escapades, wait until you’re home. This will give you the opportunity to go through all your pictures and choose your favorite ones to share, anyways, and that way you’re not bombarding people with photo and post overload.

If you want, you can even consider using a scheduling software to create posts and set them to post at a later time – after you’ve returned. There are multiple platforms you can use to schedule and manage your posts. That way you can write or compose your post while the experience is still fresh, but your post won’t go live until you’re home.

7. Be aware of how secure the Wi-Fi connection you’re using is.

When you’re traveling, the available Wi-Fi might not be the most secure. Consider how secure the network you’re using is and let that guide the actions you take online.

8. Go over social media safety with your whole family.

Make sure that everyone’s on the same page when it comes to being smart with social media when you’re on vacation. Ask your teenagers to wait to post pictures and so on until you’ve returned from vacation and make sure they understand the importance of not posting details about your family’s travel plans online. Teenagers often seem glued to their phones, so make sure that they’re aware of what not to post while on vacation.

Don't post about your travel plans on social media.

Vacation is meant to be a relaxing, stress-free time for you and your family or friends. Be social media savvy this summer and don’t give away your whereabouts, as cool or envy-inducing those whereabouts might be. Traveling is great and of course, you want to capture the memories with photos. Just be careful on social media and don’t broadcast your location to everyone. Focus on being in the moment instead of flooding the Internet with pictures and posts about your vacation.

Want to save money on home insurance? We would be happy to help you shop your rates and get multiple quotes for your Atlanta homeowners insurance. All you have to do to get in touch with our insurance experts is fill out our online form or give us a call today.

Swimming safety tips for fun in the sun this summer

Making sure that kids have the proper supervision is essential to swimming safety.

Making sure that kids have the proper supervision is essential to swimming safety.Swimming is high up on the list of fun things to do during the summer. It’s a great way to cool off and stay refreshed throughout the dog days of the summer months when the Atlanta humidity and high temperatures make it very unpleasant to be outside. Although swimming is tons of fun, it also comes with lots of risks. Whether you’ve got your own pool or you take your kids to the neighborhood pool, it’s important to teach your kids swimming safety and to keep an eye on them. We’ll go over some pool safety tips to help you keep your young charges from getting hurt when they’re swimming.

Check out these swimming safety tips:

1. Have your kids take age-appropriate swim lessons.

Sign your children up for swimming lessons taught by a qualified teacher. If your kids are comfortable in the water, they can become strong swimmers. Plus, you’ll give yourself some peace of mind, too, knowing that your kids know how to swim and that they’ve had plenty of practice.

2. Never leave a child unsupervised around water.

This is a swimming safety essential.

Children should never be unsupervised around water. Make sure that you or a trusted grown-up is keeping an eye on the kids at all times. If you’re responsible for supervising, avoid any distractions and keep your attention on the kids. Stay alert for any signs of trouble. Small children should be kept within arm’s reach.

To help you keep track of the kids, teach them to ask permission to go in the water. They should know that they have to ask you before they get in the pool so that you’re aware. They need to know that they can’t swim unless you say it’s okay.

3. Lay down some ground rules.

If you’re planning a day at the pool, lay down some ground rules ahead of time. The pool itself probably has some posted rules, which your kids need to follow, but you might want to take some time to go over them and set some rules of your own. For example…

  • No playing around the filters, grates, or drains.
  • No running.
  • No breath-holding contests.
  • No diving in shallow water.
  • Ask permission before getting in the water.
  • No roughhousing.

4. Use the buddy system.

Nobody should swim alone. Teach kids to swim together and have a swim buddy. Although children need to be supervised by adults, not other children, you can still establish a buddy system and ask them to look out for each other.

5. Make sure there’s a certified lifeguard.

Swim only where there is a qualified lifeguard. Lifeguards are great. They know a lot of stuff that could come in handy if there’s an emergency.

6. Check that life jackets are US-Coast Guard approved.

If you have young kids who need to wear life jackets or other swim safety accessories, check that the life jackets are US-Coast Guard approved. And remember, don’t rely on only the life jacket – you still have to keep swimming safety in mind. Kids still need appropriate supervision and shouldn’t go in water that’s too deep for them.

7. If a child is missing, check the water first.

Should a child go missing, check the water first. Don’t waste any time. In drowning situations, every bit of time counts.

8. Keep an eye on the weather.

As you can imagine, thunder and lightning and swimming pools don’t mix well. If you hear thunder or see lightning, everyone needs to get out of the water for thirty minutes. If there’s another flash of lightning or another boom of thunder, start the thirty minutes over again. This is a severe thunderstorm safety must.

(Oh, and speaking of weather – well, sunshine – don’t forget to wear sunscreen and protect your family from the sun.)

Safety tips for your home swimming pool…

If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, it’s your responsibility to make it as safe as possible. Keep the following tips in mind.

1. Keep the pool secure.

Make sure that you prevent people (and children) from getting to your pool without your permission. Swimmers should never be unsupervised, so you need to make sure that no one swims without your knowledge.

To lock up your pool…

  • Have a fence that’s at least 4 feet high around the entire pool area.
  • Have gates that are self-closing and self-locking. The gates should open away from the pool.
  • Make sure any latches or locks are well out of the reach of kids.
  • Clear away the area around the fence so there’s nothing anyone could use as stairs to climb over it.
  • If you have an above-ground pool, be sure to remove the ladder and cover the pool when it’s not being used.

2. Make sure that your fence is sturdy.

If your fence or gate is broken or has a hole in it, that doesn’t exactly make your pool very secure. You have to properly maintain your pool – if you don’t and the lack of maintenance allows something bad to happen, your insurance claim could be denied.

3. Learn first-aid and CPR.

To be responsible for the pool, it’s a good idea to get proper training. Consider getting lifeguard certified, first-aid certified, and CPR-certified. Be prepared for emergencies by getting the right training.

4. Clean the pool.

Pools can get icky and germy. Check out the following tips for keeping your pool clean.

  • Change the filters in the pool when needed.
  • Treat the pool with the proper chemicals and follow the instructions carefully. Store the chemicals properly.
  • Don’t allow anyone to drink the water.
  • Don’t allow pets in the water.
  • Don’t let people swim if they have wounds or if they’re sick.
  • Make sure all babies wear appropriate swim diapers.

5. Have swimming safety equipment in an easily-accessible place.

Keep life jackets and floatation devices near the pool. It’s also a good idea to have a phone by the pool so you can call 911 if there’s an injury or if there’s a drowning incident.

6. Get the right insurance coverage for your pool.

If you’ve got a pool, you need to have enough property and liability insurance to fully protect you from the risks that come along with it. You need to let your agent know if you’re thinking of having a pool installed. You may also want to think about getting personal umbrella insurance to add liability insurance to protect yourself from any potential lawsuits.

It's important to have swimming safety rules in place for your kids.

If you’re planning on swimming this summer, it’s important that you keep everyone safe. Pool safety is a must if you and your family are going to be around the water to beat the Atlanta heat. Minimize the chances of injury or drowning by employing the above swimming safety tips.

Are you looking for home insurance? Are you trying to save money on home insurance? We can help. Our team can shop for the best rate for the best coverage so that you know your home is protected from whatever life can throw at you. Get started with your home insurance quotes by filling out our form or giving us a call today.



Stay safe with these summer flash flood safety tips

A flash flood can happen with little warning.

Flash floods can happen with little warning.

When you get a lot of rain, like we do in Atlanta during the summer, it’s not uncommon to have flash floods. Flash floods happen fast, and they can strike without a lot of warning. Summer months often come with the highest risk of flash floods because a lot of rain can fall in a short amount of time. The ground and rivers just can’t keep up. So, when it starts deluging outside and it rains so hard it’s difficult to see, it’s important to know what to do to stay safe during a flash flood.

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Top 10 tips to save water this summer in Atlanta

Check out these ten tips to save water this summer.

Check out these ten tips to save water this summer.

Atlanta summers are well-known for being very hot and very humid. Along with protecting your family from the summer sun and hiding indoors with the air-conditioning turned up, you also have to remember to be conscious of the environment, especially your water consumption. The heat causes water to evaporate at hyper-speed, so we need to think about our water use and how to save water. And here’s the thing – saving water isn’t just good for the environment. It’s good for your bank account!

So, without further ado, here are our top tips for how to save water this summer – and how to lower your water bill.

1. Think about when you’re watering your lawn/plants.

Here’s the thing:

The sun is strongest in the middle of the day. Sunlight causes water to evaporate quickly. So, if you’re spraying water on your lawn at high noon, chances are your grass won’t be getting as much of that H2O as you were hoping. The water just disappears into the air so quickly, especially with the Atlanta sun.

The ideal time to water? The morning or the evening when the sun is a little weaker. Or, you could just not water your lawn. That’s the pro way to save money!

(Oh, and another tip – when you set up your sprinkler, make sure it’s actually angled at your lawn and plants and not the driveway. Concrete doesn’t need to be watered.)

2. Shower smarter.

Nothing feels better than a nice, refreshing shower in the summer. But there are a few things you can do to save water as part of your shower routine.

  • Take a shorter shower. Shorter shower, less water.
  • Turn off the water when you’re shampooing your hair or shaving.
  • Get a big bucket and use it to collect the water as you wait for the shower to warm up. Then you can take this water and toss it on your plants to give them a drink. This is a super easy way to reuse water.
  • If you want to save your soapy water, make sure you’re using an eco-friendly soap that’s safe for plants.

3. Check the toilets.

Your toilets could be wasting a lot of water if they’re broken. If the tank is leaking water into the toilet bowl, you’re practically flushing money down the drain.

Test your toilets for leakage by putting some food coloring into the tank. Wait a while. Then check and see if the water in the toilet bowl is the same color as the food coloring. If it is, you need to get your toilet fixed. It may be time to call in a professional.

(While you’re at it, you may as well go on the hunt for other leaks from pipes and faucets around the house. Get any leaks repaired – leaks can cause water damage to your home.)

4. Think about getting water-saving appliances.

There are a lot of new products nowadays that are designed to save water, and the other cool trick they do is save you money on your water bill. For example, showerheads, faucets, dishwashers, and washing machines can be switched for water-saving versions.

5. Don’t hand-wash your dishes or car.

So, here’s a surprising fact:

It actually takes less water to run your dishwasher than to wash all of your dishes by hand every day. The dishwasher exists for a reason. Just make sure to only run it when it’s completely full.

And it’s the same thing for your car. If you really must get your car washed (which, since we’re in Atlanta, might be a little silly in the summer with all the rain and pollen making it dirty two seconds after you get it washed anyways), go to a car wash instead of dragging out your hose, buckets, and sponges.

Save water by being smart about when you water your plants or lawn.

6. Get rain barrels to save the rain.

Collect rainwater by getting rain barrels. Set them up under your gutters and catch the rainwater that pours off your roof. Then you can take that water and use it to water plants or your lawn. May as well take advantage of the perfectly good – and perfectly free – water that falls from the sky!

7. Think about your drinking water.

Here’s a tip:

Instead of grabbing a glass and waiting for the tap water to get cold enough – and watching the water flow down the drain – fill up a pitcher of water from the tap and stick it in the fridge. It’ll be cold and ready to drink instantly, and you won’t have to waste water while you wait for the tap water to get cool.

Oh, and another thing. Rather than using disposable plastic water bottles, get a refillable bottle and use that instead. You’ll be saving energy and consuming less plastic. Consider getting a water filtration system so you don’t have to buy water bottles.

And since we’re on the topic of consuming less, be sure to recycle your paper. It takes a lot of water to make paper, so by recycling, you can help save water.

8. Wash your veggies in a bowl.

Summer is a great time to eat fruits and veggies. But, of course, these foods have to be rinsed before you eat them or cook them. Instead of running the water in your sink and rinsing all those carrots one by one, fill up a bowl and give your carrots a bath. It’s an easy way to get your veggies clean and save water at the same time.

Or, an alternative is to rinse the veggies and collect the water in a big bowl. Then you can use this water for your plants.

9. Wait to do your laundry.

A lot of our water consumption comes from doing laundry. If you wait to run the washer until you have a full load, you minimize the water you’re using to wash clothes.

10. Use native plants in your garden.

Plants native to the area where you live will actually need less water than a species or plant that is not. Plus, they require fewer chemicals and less attention to keep them alive.

We need to be especially conscious of saving water in the summer when it’s so hot outside. Try these simple tips to help the environment and conserve water. You’ll also be able to lower your water bill – a major plus! It’s quite easy to make a few quick changes around the house so you can do your part to save water.

Looking to save money on home insurance? We can help. Our team can help you shop your home insurance rates so you can get the best coverage at the best price. All you have to do to get started with multiple home insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today.





11 summer road trip tips for Memorial Day Weekend

If you're going on a road trip this summer, check out these tips.

If you're going on a road trip this summer, check out these tips.

School is almost out for the summer for the kids, Memorial Day is coming right up, and it’s time for vacation. You might be planning a road trip for the family this summer. Maybe you’re going sight-seeing, or maybe you’re going to visit extended family. Wherever your destination may be, it’s important to be safe on your trip. Check out the following tips to have the funnest (we may be making up words) and best road trip ever.

1. Get your car a checkup.

If you’re going to be going on a long trip, it’s important that your car is up to the task. You’re kind of asking it to run a marathon, so be sure to take it to a trustworthy mechanic for a quick tune-up. Check over things like your tire pressure, tire tread depth, oil, wiper blades, and wiper fluid.

Your car is a faithful friend. Give it some TLC before you ask it to traverse hundreds of miles. It’s the nice thing to do.

2. Plan your route.

It’s kind of nice to know where you’re going. Plan out your route and have a plan for GPS/navigation. It might be a good idea to go old-school and print out a set of directions so that you have something to go by in case your GPS or navigation conks out. Never hurts to be prepared! Your trip could take a very unexpected turn (literally) if your GPS dies.

3. Pack your car carefully.

Yes, your car might resemble a carefully planned puzzle, but you need to pack all of the suitcases and gear in such a way that the car is balanced. So, send your car to yoga class and help it find its inner balance.

Also, make sure that your view is not obstructed. Being able to see through the rear-view mirror is kind of important.

4. Have a flat-tire emergency plan.

Flat tires happen. It’s a tenet of Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong will go wrong. It’s important to have your spare tire ready to go in case you need it…and to know how to use it. Make sure you’ve got the proper tools to change a tire. And if no one who will be in the car knows how to get the job done, make sure to have the number of a roadside assistance service handy (or get a roadside assistance membership and be sure to bring the card with you.)

5. Bring snacks. Lots of snacks.

Sharing a car with cranky, grouchy, hungry passengers…stressful. Pack plenty of snacks. Try to bring a variety of foods – sweet, salty, and healthy – to keep everyone appeased. Especially the kids. Hungry children are not happy children.

And speaking of snacks – well, fuel…

Don’t forget to be mindful of your gas gauge. If you’ll have to go long stretches without passing a gas station over the course of your road trip, plan accordingly. Know how much mileage your car gets per gallon.

6. Pack a car emergency kit.

You can put together a car emergency kit prior to your trip. It should include car-related items you may need, like jumper cables, but other practical items, too. For starters…

  • Rain poncho
  • Flashlight
  • Reflective vest and reflective triangle
  • First-aid kit
  • Food and water

Of course, there are ready-made kits that you can buy online. You might want to do some research to find out if there’s a reasonably-priced one that will work for you.

7. Bring or plan entertainment for the kids.

Bored, squealing, shouting, or crying children can be a distraction to the driver. Yes, you love your kids, but it’s vital that you have plenty of things to do to occupy them so they’re quiet, calm, and happy throughout the trip. Figure out fun things for them to do. Whether that’s downloading movies on your tablet or playing car road trip games, plan accordingly and let the good times roll.

8. Stay tuned to the weather forecast.

Summer can bring some crazy weather, and things can get so intense that it might be downright unsafe to drive. Heavy rains and storms are common for the summer months, so keep tabs on the weather and adjust your route/plans accordingly. Hopefully, you won’t have any rain on your parade, but use your smartphone or listen to the radio to get important weather updates.

9. Be on the watch for distracted or drunk drivers.

Stay alert and watch the road carefully. Scan your surroundings and be prepared to take action if something happens. Distracted driving is really dangerous, as is drunk driving, so you have to be alert for other drivers who are not behaving safely.

A tip if you’re driving down a highway –

Stay in the middle or right lanes of traffic. If someone traveling the opposite direction crosses the solid yellow lines onto your side of the road, this will give you more time to react and prevent an accident.

10. Get lots of sleep.

Driving while drowsy is not a good idea. It’s downright dangerous. As you get more and more tired, you lose your ability to react fast to dangers, hold the car steady, and make quick decisions. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before the road trip.

But keep in mind that boredom from the road and certain medications can also cause drowsiness. If you need to, take a break. Stretch, walk around, and switch with someone who is not mentally fatigued from driving. (Remember, being a safe driver can help you save money on car insurance.)

Being overly tired can be like driving drunk. Your reaction times and decision-making are that impaired. Making sure everyone gets plenty of rest is generally a road-trip best practice. Tiredness usually goes hand-in-hand with grouchiness…and that’s no fun for anyone.

11. Make sure everyone buckles up.

Seatbelts are a must. Seatbelts save lives by stopping people from flying forward in the event of a crash. If a car is traveling 65 miles per hour, that means everything in the car is also traveling at 65 mph. Which means that if the car stops, all passengers will continue forward at 65 mph until something stops them. And it’s better if that something is a seatbelt than a windshield or the back of a seat. The seatbelt will distribute the force of the crash over a wide, strong area of the body.

Anyways. Remember that seatbelts are for the cool kids. Buckle up, everyone.

So, there are our top road trip tips for the summer. And of course, we wish you safe travels to wherever your summer adventures take you.

Are you looking to save money on auto insurance? We can help you get multiple quotes for your Atlanta car insurance. By shopping your rates, you can compare pricing and coverage options. To get in touch, fill out our quote form or give us a call today.



7 sun safety tips to protect your family from the Atlanta summer sun

It's important to practice good sun safety in the summer.

It's important to be safe in the sun this summer.It’s no secret that Atlanta summers can be brutal. The heat and sunlight can get very intense – not to mention the humidity. The intensity of Atlanta summers makes sun safety (and severe weather safety) super important. Since summer is right around the corner, now seems to be an appropriate time to review sun safety. In between all of the picnics, barbeques (grill safety is also important, by the way), swimming excursions, and sports events, don’t forget to take the time to protect your family from the sun. Check out the following tips.

7 sun safety tips

1. Try to prevent sunburns.

This one is super important.

Sunburns and too much time in the sun can increase your chances of getting skin cancer (which is actually the most common type of cancer in the US.) Skin cancer can be serious. According to the CDC, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause damage to your skin in fifteen minutes.

So, do yourself a favor – prevent your skin from turning a shade of lobster red by staying in the shade, staying indoors, or putting on a lot of sunscreen. Beat the Georgia heat and protect your skin from ouch-worthy sunburns.

2. Apply sunscreen. A lot.

Make sure that you and your kids slather on the sunscreen. Sunscreen is kind of like an invisible sun shield – it will either absorb the sunlight or bounce it off your skin to protect you from ultraviolet (UV) rays, so it’s a sun safety must. Adults should use at least SPF 15 (sun protection factor) and children should have sunscreen of at least SPF 30.

Now, here’s the trick to sunscreen success:

You have to keep applying it throughout the day. This is especially important if you’re swimming or sweating. It will wash off. So, make sure to wrangle the kids and ply them with sunscreen, even if they wiggle and giggle. Put on sunscreen wherever your skin is exposed to the sun. Reapply every two hours or after swimming, seating, or toweling off.

Oh, and be mindful of the expiration date. Sunscreen doesn’t last forever, and it lasts for less time if it’s exposed to high temperatures.

3. Stay inside from about 10 am – 4 pm.

The sun is particularly strong in the middle of the day. If you’re planning to be outside, try to arrange your schedule so you’re outside in the morning or evening when the sun isn’t quite as powerful.

Sun safety goes hand in hand with preventing skin cancer.

And at any rate, it’s Georgia during the summer. Embrace the air-conditioning and stay comfortable. The middle of the day is an ideal time for inside chores, anyways. Take a break and have the kids play inside for a little while. Sun safety can be fun!

4. Dress appropriately.

No, that doesn’t mean shorts and a T-shirt, tempting as that is in the heat. If possible, wear lightweight, loose, long-sleeved clothes made with a tight weave to cover your skin. Top off your outfit with a wide-brimmed hat, which will protect your hand, face, and neck. Pick a hat that’s made of a tight weave, too, to really block out those UV rays. If you’re at the pool or beach, at least throw on a cover-up or a T-shirt for some extra protection.

Now – keep in mind that this is not a substitute for sunscreen. You still need that.

5. Be aware if you’re at a higher risk.

Anyone can get skin cancer, but there are some people who may be more susceptible to it and who need to take extra care to protect themselves from the sun.

  • People with light hair, light eyes, pale skin, and freckles
  • People who simply burn easily whose skin doesn’t tan
  • People with lots of beauty marks or moles
  • People who are on medication that could make them more sensitive to the sun

6. Keep an eye on any suspicious moles.

It’s not a bad idea to see a dermatologist if you notice any moles that look strange. If you have any new moles or any moles that have started to look different, you may want to get them checked out.

7. Don’t go tanning.

Tanning beds can be very bad for your skin. In fact, it can be just as harmful as going out into the sun. Indoor tanning exposes the person to high levels of UV rays (which are known to cause cancer.) Besides, tanning beds can spread icky germs and cause skin infections.

Sunscreen is a key part of sun safety.

Summer is prime time for outdoor fun and games, but don’t forget to follow sun safety practices. Apply and reapply sunscreen. Wear long-sleeved, tightly-woven clothing to cover your skin. Chill out inside during the middle of the day when the sun is strong. Don’t underestimate how dangerous the sun can be and take steps to stay safe.

Do you want to get multiple home insurance quotes so you can save money on your premium? We would be happy to help you with your insurance shopping. We work with several of the top-rated carriers in the country, so we can help you get the best coverage at the best rate. All you have to do to get started with your quotes is fill out our form or give us a call.



What kinds of water damage are covered by Atlanta home insurance?

Certain types of water damage are not covered by home insurance.

Certain types of water damage are not covered by home insurance.

Okay, so you have a slight problem: your kitchen is underwater. As much as you enjoy swimming, you would rather not swim…inside your house. In the kitchen. There’s something not quite right about that. At any rate, the question you’ve got now is what types of water damage are covered by home insurance?

We’ll explain what types of water nightmares are and are not covered by home insurance.

Read more