June 1st and the 2011 Hurricane season has arrived; Are You Prepared?

NOAA hurricane outlook indicates an above-normal Atlantic season

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is predicting the following ranges this year:

  • §  12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:
  • §  6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:
  • §  3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)

Each of these ranges has a 70 percent likelihood, and indicate that activity will exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

We at Dakkak Insurance want to help you prepare for this year’s potential storms! We have listed some valuable tips below to help you be better prepared!

As always our staff is here to help you with any questions or concerns about your insurance policies and how they protect what’s important to you! We are only a call away at 941-921-6630.

  • §  Create a Family Disaster Plan
  • §  Prepare a Disaster Supply Kit
  • §  Protect your Property
  • §  Have a Place to Go (include your Pet Plan if applicable)

Creating a Family Disaster Plan

Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.

Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.

Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. These should be measured in tens of miles rather than hundreds of miles.

Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.

Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.

Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.

Check your insurance coverage – flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.

Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Disaster Supply Kit.

Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors.

Take First Aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.

Preparing a Disaster Supply Kit to include:

Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days;
— non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
— foods for infants or the elderly
— snack foods
— non-electric can opener
— cooking tools / fuel
— paper plates / plastic utensils
Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3-7 days
Blankets / Pillows, etc.
Clothing
– seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
Special Items
– for babies and the elderly
Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
Flashlight / Batteries
Radio –
Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
Telephones – Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards – Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
Keys
Toys, Books and Games
Important documents
– in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag- insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
Tools – keep a set with you during the storm
Vehicle fuel tanks filled
Pet care items
— proper identification / immunization records / medications
— ample supply of food and water
— a carrier or cage
— muzzle and leash

Protecting your Property

The most important precaution you can take to reduce damage to your home and property is to protect the areas where wind can enter. According to recent wind technology research, it’s important to strengthen the exterior of your house so wind and debris do not tear large openings in it. You can do this by protecting and reinforcing these five critical areas:

ROOF | STRAPS | SHUTTERS | DOORS | GARAGE DOORS

FLOOD INSURANCE
The National Flood Insurance Program, is a pre-disaster flood mitigation and insurance protection program designed to reduce the escalating cost of disasters. The National Flood Insurance Program makes federally backed flood insurance available to residents and business owners

Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.  Do not make assumptions.  Check your policy and contact us for assistance. 25% of all flood claims are from “low risk” areas where homeowners weren’t required to carry flood insurance and also thought their homeowners insurance would cover the damage. It cost less than a $1.00 per day. Don’t be caught without proper coverage. (30 day waiting period required)

In case of a disaster you may want to inventory, photograph or video your house and belongings, gather receipts, serial and model numbers of large items such as TV’s, cameras, appliances; store this offsite either with a relative or a safe deposit box. In the event of property damage this will help to process your claim.  

Have a Place to Go (include your Pet Plan if applicable)

Develop a family hurricane preparedness plan before an actual storm threatens your area. If your family hurricane preparedness plan includes evacuation to a safer location for any of the reason, then it is important to consider the following points:

If ordered to evacuate, do not wait or delay your departure. If possible, leave before local officials issue an evacuation order for your area. Even a slight delay in starting your evacuation will result in significantly longer travel times as traffic congestion worsens.

Select an evacuation destination that is nearest to your home, preferably in the same county, or at least minimize the distance over which you must travel in order to reach your intended shelter location.  In choosing your destination, keep in mind that the hotels and other sheltering options in most inland metropolitan areas are likely to be filled very quickly in a large, multi-county hurricane evacuation event.

If you decide to evacuate to another county or region, be prepared to wait in traffic. The large number of people in this state who must evacuate during a hurricane will probably cause massive delays and major congestion along most designated evacuation routes; the larger the storm, the greater the probability of traffic jams and extended travel times.

If a hotel or motel is your final intended destination during an evacuation, make reservations before you leave.  Most hotel and motels will fill quickly once evacuations begin. The longer you wait to make reservations, even if an official evacuation order has not been issued for your area or county, the less likely you are to find hotel/motel room vacancies, especially along interstate highways and in major metropolitan areas.

If you are unable to stay with friends or family and no hotels/motels rooms are available, then as a last resort go to a shelter.   Remember, shelters are not designed for comfort and do not usually accept pets.  Bring your disaster supply kit with you to the shelter. Find Pet-Friendly hotels and motels.

Make sure that you fill up your car with gas, before you leave.

  *information was obtained from http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ website

“Did you Know…25% of ALL Flood Claims are from a Low Risk Zone?”

Did you know…

  • Everyone lives in a flood zone in Florida.
  • Customers in lower risk areas can purchase lower cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRP).
  • Flood insurance is affordable.
  • Flood insurance is easy to get – there is a  30 day waiting period.
  • Contents coverage can be purchased by renters to protect their belongings.
  • Property (Homeowners) Policies do NOT usually include coverage for Flooding, surface waters, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water or spray, rising water or wind-driven water from storms!

Why should I purchase flood insurance?

  • Floods are the most common natural disaster.
  • Most homeowners, condominium, manufactured home, renters and business insurance policies exclude losses due to flood.
  • Flooding is the most costly natural disaster in the U.S., causing nearly $24 billion of property damage over the last 10 years.
  • Just an inch of water can cause costly damage to your property.
  • A car can easily be carried away by just two feet of flood water.
  • A customer’s home has a 26 percent chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage.
  • Government assistance is sometimes available, but only if the disaster is declared a state or federal disaster, and the assistance is usually in the form of a loan.
  • A federal disaster loan of $50,000 will be paid back at $240 a month at four percent interest while the average flood insurance policy costs no more than $365 a year.

What if my flood risk appears to be low?

  • Everyone lives in a flood zone – anywhere it rains, it can flood.
  • Flooding is not limited to coastal areas. Floods and flash floods happen in all 50 states.
  • Approximately 25 percent of all flooding events occur outside Standard (High Risk) Flood Hazard Areas.
  • If customers live in a low-to-moderate risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, their flood insurance premium may be as low as $129 a year, including coverage for their property’s contents.
  • Just because customers haven’t experienced a flood in the past, doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. Flood risk isn’t just based on history; it’s also based on a number of factors: rainfall, river-flow and tidal-surge data, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to building and development.

What causes flooding?

  • Many conditions can result in a flood: hurricanes, broken levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and rapid accumulation of rainfall.
  • New land development can also increase flood risk, especially if the construction changes natural run-off paths.
  • Floods often happen when bodies of water overflow or tides rise due to heavy rainfall (Tropical storms or hurricanes). Flash floods may occur without warning when a large volume of water falls in a short time.

 What flood insurance is available?

  • In 1968, Congress issued the National Flood Insurance Act and created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to make affordable flood insurance available to the general public and to encourage communities to adopt sound land use regulations to reduce losses caused by floods.
  • Under the NFIP, customers can purchase flood insurance for up to $250,000 for their dwelling and $100,000 for its contents. A non-residential building and its contents can be insured for a maximum of $500,000 each.
  • Federal disaster assistance is usually a loan that must be paid back with interest. For a $50,000 loan at four percent interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month ($2,880 a year) for 30 years. Compare that to the average flood insurance premium for a low risk policy, which is about $365 a year ($30 a month).
  • It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it’s important to buy insurance before the floodwaters start to rise. Hurricane season is less than 65 days away.
  • As of November 2010, more than 5.5 million people currently hold flood insurance policies in more than 20,500 communities across the U.S.
  • Federally backed flood insurance policies are available through Dakkak Insurance.
  • For more information about flood insurance and a detailed definition of the phenomenon, check out www.floodsmart.gov.

CONTACT US TODAY at 941-921-6630 to begin the application for this critical insurance; don’t be left standing in the water without Flood insurance. Remember your homeowners policy usually doesn’t cover flooding, surface waters, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water or spray, rising water or wind-driven water from storms!

WIth knowledge comes POWER – At Dakkak Insurance we want you to be aware if there are “gaps” in your coverage. Call us for more information or go to our webiste and request a free quote TODAY!

March 13, 2011 – Time to Move the Clock Forward

A Reminder from Dakkak Insurance: March 13, 2011 Daylight Savings Time Change

It’s once again time to move your clocks forward 1 hour this Sunday at 2 am.

This is also an excellent time to remember to:

  • Change the batteries in your smoke detector.                                                                                                                    
  • Prepare for your taxes - Tax season ends April 18, have you files your taxes yet?                                   

We would also like to give you a brief look at how daylight savings time got started.

It is generally assumed that Benjamin Franklin – along with inventing lightning rods, bifocal lenses and medical catheters – was responsible for proposing the idea of “adjusting the time” to allow for more daylight. Franklin actually suggested in a letter to the Journal of Paris written in 1784 that people go to bed earlier and wake up earlier, thus being more productive – although the article was not meant to be taken seriously.

The idea was actually contrived in 1907 by William Willet, an English house builder. Willett was riding his horse through the almost deserted streets of London in the early hours of the morning when he wondered why so many people were still asleep while the sun was already shining. Willett thought people would be healthier – and happier – if exposed to another hour of sunlight every day, and he also worked out the economic implications – according to him, the United States alone could save $25 million in energy costs every year.

Despite extensive lobbying and the support of prominent Britons, including Winston Churchill, Willet’s idea was never taken seriously until after his death. In 1917, the decision was made under the “Defense of the Realm Act” to advance the clocks in the UK by an hour every year, partly because of the need to save coal during the First World War. In the UK, the new “time” became known – perhaps optimistically – as British Summer Time. Britain’s enemy, Germany, had already successfully adopted the concept of adjusting the clocks in order to save energy. Within a few years, most countries in Europe had adopted some version of Daylight Savings Time. In 1917 parts of Canada and Australia also initiated it.

Today, Willett whose far reaching contribution to history is often overlooked, is buried in the picturesque London cemetery of Petts Wood, with a memorial in the form of a sundial set permanently to Daylight Savings Time. A nearby pub named “The Daylight Inn” also commemorates Willet’s achievement.

In 1918, the US House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming majority to pass a “daylight savings” bill in the United States, adjusting the clocks twice a year, as much of Europe was already doing. After the war ended, the practice became optional; most states discontinued the practice, although some states – even individual cities – still observed Daylight Savings. This led to regular confusion over bus and train times, opening hours and other scheduled events.

During World War II, President Roosevelt established year round Daylight Savings, which became known as “War Time”. After the war, states and localities were again free to choose whether they observed the practice or not, leading to more and more confusion over the time. It was discovered that on one 35 mile stretch of highway between Ohio and West Virginia, buses and their passengers went through 7 official time changes on their journey! In some parts of Texas, people discovered they were 2 hours ahead of or behind their neighbors.

In 1966, Congress decided to end the confusion and the Uniform Time Act created the system that was in place until recently, with the time being changed on the last Sunday of April, and the last Sunday of October. The law does not actually require that anyone observes Daylight Saving – it just states that it must be done uniformly, making it somewhat difficult not to comply with the law! Three states still refused to observe the new system by passing their own state laws – Indiana, Hawaii and Arizona. If you are traveling in Arizona, it can become even more confusing; the Navajo Indian Reservation, which covers a large part of the state, does observe Daylight Savings. However, the Hopi Indian Reservation, which is contained entirely within the Navajo reservation, does not observe time changes!

Today, over 70 countries throughout the world practice daylight Savings; Japan is the only major industrialized nation not to do so. Even research stations in Antarctica observe the practice, where the concept is virtually meaningless as there is no daylight in the winter and there are months of constant daylight during the summer.

And there is the question of what to do with the extra hour. Some people maintain that it takes almost an hour to actually change the time on all the watches, clocks and electronic devices in their home! And not forgetting the timer on your VCR or the clock in your car, and the “time-stamp” message that’s recorded on your telephone answering machine. Fortunately, the time displayed on your home computer is usually programmed to change automatically twice a year.

What about the hour you lose, when the clocks go forward? As the English writer, Richard Whately put it – “Lose an hour in the morning and you will spend all day looking for it”. Officially, the time changes at 2 am on the day in question – the time being chosen as the one that would cause least disruption. Most people adjust their clocks sometime the day before, in order not to forget to do it, and most of us of course are asleep at 2 am anyway. It has been suggested many times that when we change the clocks, we should also change the batteries in our smoke detectors – an estimated 30% of homes in the United States have missing or worn out batteries.

Regardless of whether we agree with it or not, we have learnt to accept the change in our routine and to adjust our schedule and our life around the concept of having another hour of daylight. And there is no doubt that the tiny act of adjusting the clock hands forwards or backwards means improvements in health, the economy and productivity. Some studies have also demonstrated a decrease in crime and traffic accidents due to the changing of the time – it is statistically safer to travel home from work or school in the daylight. The Department of Transportation estimated that around $30 million is saved annually in traffic accident costs.

And the have been even greater since 2007, when Congress voted to extend the period of Daylight Savings Time for an extra four weeks. Since then, the time has been changed in March and November, rather than April and October, with a resulting significant reduction in energy usage. If you want to learn more about Daylight Savings Time – and time in general – a great place to visit is the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania. In addition to displaying over 12,000 timepieces of every conceivable kind, on the two days each year when the time changes, the museum has a full program of events celebrating Daylight Savings.

Let’s Talk Money Newsletter has arrived…

Dakkak Insurance would like to invite you to view our March / April 2011 edition of Let’s Talk Money Newsletter filled with great information. Some of the issue highlights are “Time to get serious about retirement”, “Reassess your money habits” and “Understanding life insurance premiums”.  

But there are many informative articles that might be just what you were looking for but didn’t know it. We would normally just invite you to take a tour by clicking on the link below; but this month we’re going to list out some interesting articles and ideas for you to ponder. 

  • Social Security and Work – taking into consideration taxes and possible penalties is it worth working while collecting social security?
  • The new austerity: using coupons -coupon savings can add up to a sizeable sum, want to learn how?
  • Smart pre-marriage money moves – when planning to get married money habits and financial goals are the last thing to talk about, but maybe it should be one of the first…learn why!
  • Kids and identity theft – identity issues aren’t just for adults, it can strike your children also. Help protect them now.
  • Prepare for retirement while reducing income tax – it’s tax season, how can you benefit from some simple tax advice?
  • The high cost of Alzheimer’s disease – how this disease can not only be a financial drain but an emotional one on loved ones.
  • Six ways to increase your retirement funds – in this difficult economical time it’s hard to think about putting more money away for your retirement. Take the steps to learn how to achieve your goals.

You can view all the articles in this issue by clicking on www.ltmonline.com/DakkakInsurance and be directed to the online edition.

Dakkak Insurance has staff ready to assist you with any question that you may have.  Feel free to contact us at 941-921-6630 or visit our site at www.dakkakinsurance.com for our services.

Don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter on our website and keep informed.

Financial Checkup Time!

Dakkak Insurance wants to make sure that you’re properly prepared and our goal is to provide you with information in order to help get you on the road to financial security.

Check out the most recent articles in our “Let’s Talk Money” Newsletter – there are so many informative links to help ensure that you’re on the road to a sound financial retirement.  www.ltmonline.com/DakkakInsurance

Don’t miss the article Make the New Year a Financial Success!

We hope you enjoy our most recent issue of “Let’s Talk Money” newsletter…let us know if we can help you on your road to Financial Success. 

Feel free to contact us at 941-921-6630 or visit our site at www.dakkakinsurance.com for our many services.  SIGN UP for our email newsletter on our website and keep informed.

Dakkak Insurance Launches New Website

Happy New Year! We know that January is almost over; oh my where has the time gone? We’ve been very busy getting ready to launch our new website today. We’d like for you to visit us at www.DakkakInsurance.com; share the link with your family and friends.

Our plan this year is to update you weekly on various insurance products that you may or may not have heard of in the past, but that might be of value to you in the future.  We’ll also be bringing back the series “Did You Know” geared toward Baby Boomers and our “Let’s Talk Money Newsletter”.  Check back regularly…

Dakkak Insurance wishes you all the best in 2011.  Have a wonderful Monday!

Back again with our continuation of “Did You Know” series geared toward the Baby Boomer generation …

In a previous post I mentioned that we would discuss the various types and levels of Long Term Care. There are basically 3 types – Acute, Physical and Cognitive.

Acute is caused from a medical condition resulting from a serious accident injury, pneumonia or heart attack that strikes suddenly but from which the patient may fully recover and care is generally in a hospital. Acute conditions don’t necessarily require long term care unless the situation results in some type of physical or cognitive condition which then creates the need for long term care. For example: someone has a stroke and it affects their ability to physically care for themselves resulting in a chronic condition; it’s manageable but not curable and they need assistance with daily living activities.

Physical is a treatable but generally not curable chronic illness. Some examples would be the side effects of a stroke (as discussed above) arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension or hypotension. Physical care is usually because of the difficulty in performing activities of daily living (ADLs) – needing assistance or supervision with Eating, Bathing, Dressing, Toileting, Continence, Transferring (from bed to chair, etc.).

Cognitive is generally defined as deterioration or loss of intellectual capacity. This is usually determined by a doctor and measured by clinical evidence and standardized testing that determines short- or long-term memory loss; the ability to determine where they are, time and place, deductive or abstract reasoning along with safety judgment.  A person with cognitive impairment may be able to perform activities of daily living but require supervision. Typical causes are Alzheimer’s, various forms of dementia and possibly Parkinson’s disease. Cognitive care usually requires long term care permanently.

As for the levels of Long-term care, they are almost exclusively custodial or non-skilled. Long Term care usually doesn’t provide skilled medical care (normally a nursing home situation). Custodial or non skilled care is usually for individuals who require supervisory or hands-on services for chronic illnesses caused by a physical or cognitive impairment. There is formal care, usually by trained professionals in the health care field and then informal which is by family and friends with no training in health care.  Most times custodial care consist of services such as cleaning, cooking and assistance with the activities of daily living (described above).

Just a bit of additional information: According to U.S government data, this year 9 million American men and women over the age of 65 will need long-term care. By 2020, 12 million older Americans will need long-term care. And, Medicare only pays for “medically necessary” skilled nursing found in a facility (a nursing home, for example) or hired to provide home health care. Medicare does not pay for custodial care (the activities of daily living with which someone may need assistance).

Our hope for continuing these blog posts is to help you think about and begin planning for your future. We can offer you options and would like to be your specialist in planning your long term care. Call us 941-921-6630 or send an email to contact@dakkakinsurance.com; we’re here to answer your questions.

Until next time…