Surpising Causes of Traffic Jams and How Each Driver can Prevent Them

Traffic jams and congested lanes, they are a harsh reality for many drivers. These daily inconveniences are almost seen as the norm, but they don’t need to be. Many people think that slow traffic is caused by accidents, but in reality, there does not have to be an accident to bring traffic to a crawl and even the best city planning cannot avoid congestion at times. There have been several scientific studies on the science of the traffic jam, and the results are very informative. At StateChoice insurance we want our clients to know all they can about the causes of traffic jams to ensure a safe and convenient commute.

Scientific Causes of a Traffic Jam

  • Being too polite or cautious. Yep, being rude may prevent a traffic jam. This is because being too hesitant to move forward when traffic around you slows contributes to the problem. Always put safety first but recognize that sometimes it is okay to be rude and move on even if others are rubbernecking or moving too cautiously.
  • Not using the "zipper merge." Think of this, if you were walking in a group and the hallway narrowed each person would merge, often seamlessly, and continue. When the same happens on the road many times, people inside of vehicles do not merge as easily. If people could accomplish what they can do on foot in vehicles, many traffic jams could be prevented altogether. 

StateChoice serves West Hartford, CT, and the surrounding areas, if you want an insurance quote today, you won’t get jammed up with us.

West Hartford, CT Insurance Tips

There are a variety of reasons you will need insurance in a place like West Hartford, CT, and much of it has to do with the Northern environments of Connecticut. While the state is quite beautiful in the summer months, it is one of the coldest areas in America in the winter, which can lead to a whole host of lifestyle issues that necessitate having various insurance policies. Below are some reasons why you might want to set up different types of insurance policies with a local Connecticut Insurance broker like StateChoice to make sure you are fully protected in the event of the unpredictable occurring.

AUTO INSURANCE

Driving in West Hartford, CT, especially in the constantly inclement weather of the winter months, is a difficult task for even the best icy road driver. So having insurance is an absolute must because there are higher odds here than in most other places that you will end up hitting an icy patch and slide your vehicle off the road or into other vehicles or property, causing damage to both. Not only do you legally need at least liability insurance if you plan on legally driving in West Hartford, CT, but you may also want to be covered for other policies within a standard auto insurance policy so that you don’t end up in debt paying medical or property damage bills.

HOME INSURANCE

If you own a home in West Hartford, CT, having insurance on it is an absolute must. That’s to protect against some different small time disasters that could occur and cost you a lot of money or leave you homeless. These range from burst pipes to fire to winter storms causing part of your home to be irreparably damaged. With a home insurance policy from a local broker like StateChoice you will be in good hands.

Car Maintenance Tips to Keep you Driving in West Hartford, CT

You will undoubtedly need a car in West Hartford, CT as well as car insurance from a local broker like StateChoice, who serves the local West Hartford area. However, if your car doesn’t run properly on a regular basis, all of this expense of insurance and the vehicle itself will be a waste. So you want to keep your vehicle up and running by maintaining it properly. Below are some car maintenance tips to keep you driving in West Hartford, CT so that you can get around and you’re not throwing away money.

CHANGE THE OIL REGULARLY

Oil is the life blood of your vehicle, so when it gets dirty it will very quickly damage or kill your car. It should be changed every 5,000 miles at the latest and the more often the better. If you don’t change the oil, you’re asking for car trouble in the future.

CORRECT INSURANCE

Make sure you have the right types of insurance coverage. Nothing will keep you from driving like an accident that your insurance company won’t pay to fix because you weren’t covered for it. While it’s a little money up front every month, it will give you piece of mind that your insurance company will completely pay for the damage if and when it occurs.

KEEP UP WITH THE TIRES

Low tires or tires that have all their tread worn down are another leading cause of accidents or dangerous blowouts that can damage the car itself. So keep an eye on your car’s tires, as they usually last 40 to 50 thousand miles before they need to be replaced. While this one-time cost may be a little pricey, it will be worth it in the long run when it avoids an accident.

Ensuring Your Home is Emergency Ready

In some cases, there is no way to tell when an emergency is going to happen. Instead of hoping that it will not happen to you in your home in West Hartford, CT, you should prepare for one. If your home is not emergency ready and you do not have an emergency kit prepped, be sure to use this list from StateChoice to get you started.

  • Water. In case of an emergency, you need to make sure you have enough water on hand for at least three days. Determining the right amount of water to keep in your home depends on how many people live there. You should aim to have at least one gallon of water per person per day. 
  • Food. Food is something else you need to make sure you have in your house for basic survival. However, you should purchase non-perishable food as well as food that does not require cooking in case you lose power. Make sure you have at least enough for three days. 
  • First aid kit. This is something you need in your home regardless of whether or not it is an emergency. You can pick up a stocked one at your local store.
  • Candles, matches, flashlights, and batteries. In case you do lose power, you need a way to see around your home after dark and this is the best way to do so.

Besides having a great emergency kit in your home for all kinds of emergencies, you should also have a great home insurance policy. If you do not have one already, be sure to contact StateChoice serving West Hartford, CT to get a free quote and explore your options. If you do already have one, they can help you make sure that you are not overpaying and that you do not have any gaps in coverage. 

What to do If Your Home Insurance Needs Change

Home insurance is something that not only gives us peace of mind but that also helps to protect us should something happen to our homes. It is crucial that we keep coverage up to date and up to code with the individual needs of our specific homes. So what do you do if your coverage needs change? Have no fear, the process is simpler than you think. For those in the West Hartford, CT area, StateChoice agents can help you through the process.

For starters, your coverage needs might change without your ever knowing it but if you have an agent, they can keep an eye on possible changes and can help you keep your coverage updated. The first step to changing coverage if your needs change is to contact your agent. They will have answers to any questions that you might have and can start the change process.

Things like home renovation or buying large items can change coverage needs. Talking with your agent can help you find out just what coverage you need to change and how much you really need. The next step of the process is to meet with an adjuster and have them see just what your home is worth and how much your home needs to be covered for.

You can then meet again with your agent to hammer out the details of your policy and to figure out just how much coverage you really need to be protected. It is important that you check your coverage often and that you take the time to update as often as necessary to stay fully covered. For those in the West Hartford, CT area, the agents with StateChoice insurance can help you find the perfect policy for your changing needs.  

Ways to Get Home Safely After Drinking This Year

Many parties and events include drinking. However, you should not attempt to drive home after you have been drinking. Consuming even one drink can drastically slow down your reaction time, increasing the likelihood you will be involved in a car accident. And if you over indulge and attempt to drive home, you could find yourself facing a driving while under the influence criminal charge. Here are a few tips from State Insurance Solutions on various ways to get home safely after drinking in Arlington, TX this holiday season.

Find a Designated Driver Before Drinking

If you are going to an event with others, select one designated driver before anyone begins to drink. This ensures that one person will remain alcohol free and be able to safely drive you home at the end of the evening.

Use a Ride Sharing Service

Using a ride sharing service, like Uber or Lyft, allows you to get a ride home after you have been drinking. However, keep in mind that these services can deny you a ride if you are belligerent and there is a hefty cleaning fee if you throw up in their car.

Call a Cab

If you have had too much to drink and are unsure if you can drive home safely, pick up the phone and call a cab. They can help ensure you make it home safe and sound.

Find a Sober Ride Program

Lastly, if you have had too much to drink, look for a sober ride program in your area. The availability of these programs changes from day to day, based on funding and volunteer availability. However, many of these are free or low-cost ways to get home and the majority of them operate nightly during the holiday season.

At State Insurance Solutions, serving the Arlington, TX area, we want to wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. The New Year is also a great time to take a look at your insurance policies and ensure they still meet your needs. If you are looking to save some money on a policy this year or increase your coverage, give us a call. We can help you find the policy that best meets your needs today.

4 Wood Burning Fireplace Safety Tips

There is nothing better than sitting in front of a cozy fireplace on a cold winter night in West Hartford, CT. However, the benefits of enjoying a warm fire come with a variety of responsibilities. One of the most common causes of house fires is the unsafe use of a fireplace, so it is important to ensure the fireplace is safe for use. StateChoice offers the following safety tips to help keep your family safe this winter while you enjoy the warmth of a fire.

Use a Fireplace Grate

Although concrete is an extremely durable surface, if it is exposed to fire over a prolonged period of time, it may get damaged. Fireplace grates are designed to give you better protection from the fireplace by reducing the direct heat of the fire on the floor. Not only will this help to extend the heat, but can also lengthen the life of the fireplace, saving you money on repairs.

Closing the Damper

The embers in a fireplace can remain hot for as long as two days after the fire is extinguished. Even if you do not have a fire burning, it is important to leave the damper open to help prevent carbon monoxide from remaining in your home. It is also critical that you remember to never leave a fire unattended.

Cleaning Out the Ashes

After the fire is extinguished you should allow the ashes to cool down for at least 24-hours before you remove them from the fireplace. Always store the ashes outside of the house and in a non-combustible container until you can properly and safely dispose of them.

Routine Inspection

One of the most important things you can do to prevent the risk of a house fire resulting from the fireplace is to have a yearly inspection. Yearly maintenance and professional inspections will allow you to know ahead of time if there is a problem, including the chimney cap that should be replaced or if the flue is damaged. A clean chimney can help prevent fire damage and costly repairs.

Residents of West Hartford, CT interested in reviewing the current homeowner’s insurance policy, upgrading their policy or purchasing a home, auto or other insurance should contact StateChoice.

How To Find The Right Life Insurance Policy

When you live in West Hartford, CT, life is good. However, you can never be too sure of what is around the corner. This is why you want to have life insurance. Finding the right policy may be easier than you think.

One thing to know is that life insurance can come in many types. This includes:

–           Term

–           Whole

–           Universal

Take the time to explore the kind of life insurance that is right for you and your family. Much of this is going to be based upon your current age, your financial position, as well as how much you want to leave your family.

Determining Your Needs

Life insurance is not something you want to guess at. Instead, it’s something that needs to be carefully calculated so that you are providing the best possible benefit to your family as possible. When you need help determining your needs, you can work with an experienced agent who will ask you questions.

Choose the Right Company

There’s a lot to know about choosing the right company. One wrong move and you could end up with a company that is charging you more than necessary. Plus, you may not have the full level of coverage you need to offer financial protection to your loved ones.

You don’t have to be responsible for choosing the right company. Independent insurance agents can provide you with guidance every step of the way. They will tell you which companies write policies in Connecticut, tell you which ones to look at based upon the type of insurance that you need, and help you to find discounts so that you can get the most affordable policy possible.

Call one of our independent insurance agents at StateChoice today to find out how we can help you find the right life insurance policy.

 

 

Avoid Pricey Home Repairs by Using a Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall is the time to prepare for winter weather. It is easier to do the outside maintenance chores before the weather gets bad. Many things are do-it-yourself (DIY) tasks. Other items are best done by professionals who have the correct equipment.

Here is a checklist of things to do:

  • Have a snow and de-icing plan – The DIY method is to buy or service snow-blowing equipment. Also, have enough snow shovels and de-icing chemicals on hand to clear walkways and driveways. The professional method is to make a contract for automatic snow removal with a company that specializes in this work. Usually, these contracts have performance clauses that require snow and ice removal within a certain time, depending on the amount of snow that fell.
  • Check furnace, air ducts, fireplaces, clean chimneys, and flues – Having heat in winter is important, so checking the furnace for proper operation and replacing the filter is a good idea. Also, a professional company can clean air ducts for the central heating system and sweep the chimneys to clean the flues.
  • Check the roof for damage, clean the gutters and downspouts, and look for cracks in the foundation – Make any repairs necessary before the weather gets bad.
  • Consult with your insurance agent at StateChoice to make sure your insurance is up-to-date with adequate coverage and sufficient replacement cost estimates.
  • Prune back trees and landscaping, rake the yard to clean up debris – Pay careful attention to any tree branches that might break in winter storms and cause damage.
  • Turn off the sprinkler system, drain it and drain the garden hoses. Put the hoses along with any garden equipment, like a mower, away in storage. Use a fuel stabilizer for the gasoline or drain all the gasoline in the mower.
  • Remove any window air-conditioning units or cover them. Cover any centralized units that are outside.
  • Check weather-stripping and use caulking to fill any cracks around windows and doors that may cause air leaks, letting heat escape.

If you follow these simple tips, you will avoid having to do pricey home repairs in the middle of the severe winter weather. Contact StateChoice for home insurance quotes.

Being Prepared for Accidental Rage

Rational thought is never easy in the midst of a car accident, but a bit of mental preparation for the possibility of one can help keep you from being overcome by road rage.

  • Driving Is Inherently Stressful for Everyone

Although driving is a part of daily life for many people, there is a real danger to barreling along at over 100 feet per second on the highway. The rules of the road help mitigate the risk enough to make it a reliable form of transportation, but that doesn’t change the fact that every driver and passenger faces the risk of death if anything goes awry. This threat of injury has people on high alert from the start, increasing the likelihood of emotions like road rage.

  • Most Drivers Are Doing Their Best

Barring the few exceptions, the other drivers on the road are doing their best to arrive at their destination without incident. Despite this, they will make poor decisions based on incomplete or inaccurate information, which may cause them to change lanes, step on the brakes, or make other sudden movements that increase the risk of an accident.

  • Accidents Happen

Even when all of the involved drivers are following traffic laws and driving safely, there will be times when fate convenes to send a bursting tire or a distracting bout of sickness while at the wheel. The other people involved are likely stressed from being on the road and attempting to avoid accidents just as much as you are, which means there are likely to be raised voices and tempers at the scene of an accident. Just remember that exhibiting road rage yourself will only exacerbate the tenseness of the situation.

This is also why it is vital and legally necessary to have automobile insurance if you intend to drive on the road. Hopefully, the people involved in the accident will have a quality insurance company like StateChoice to stand beside them in their time of need.