September, 2020 | Boizelle Insurance Partnership

Grilling Safety Tips

Steak. Fish. Chicken. Shrimp. Peppers and sausages—what do you like to grill? Enjoying grilling with friends and family is something we all can appreciate. While we enjoy these moments with our loved ones, it’s important to take certain safety measures:

  • Whether you have a portable grill or one that is built-in on your patio, it’s important that your grill is stationed at least 10 feet away from any structures. Flames have a tendency to flare up on occasion, so your grill should never be placed under wooden overhangs. This rule applies to both gas and charcoal grills. Plants and other forms of vegetation should be a safe distance away from your grill.
  • Make it a habit to clean your grill regularly. It is possible for grease and fat to build up to a substantial amount if you avoid cleaning your grill routinely. And since grease tends to be a major source of flames flaring up, a fun social event can quickly turn to disaster if you’re not careful.
  • Be certain that your grill is stable.
  • Check for any gas leaks. In order to safely check your grill for gas leaks, formulate a solution consisting of half liquid dish soap and half water. Rub it on the hoses and connections. Once you complete this step, turn the gas on (with the lid of your grill open). If you see large bubbles forming, you may have a leak. This is because the hoses may have holes or the connections may not be secured tightly enough.
  • Setting up your grill on a flat surface is essential. You don’t want any chance of your grill tipping over.
  • Any decorations should be placed far away from your grill. Items such as hanging baskets, pillows, or umbrellas may be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but they also provide fuel for a potential fire. Furthermore, a lot of what you can buy in stores today is made from artificial fibers that tend to burn fast and hot.
  • Keep a spray bottle of water nearby at all times. In the event of a flare-up, water can instantly tame the flames of the fire. Even more important is the water will not affect your food in any negative way. All of the time and money you’ve invested in preparing your meal will not go to waste!
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by. Having a fire extinguisher close to you while grill is a good idea. But, even more so is knowing how to properly use it. If a fire does break out and you do not know how to use it safely, dial 911 immediately. It’s better to be safe than to suffer bodily injuries.
  • Never leave your grill unattended. Fires can expand more rapidly than you might think. Preparation and planning ahead is an essential part of grilling safely. You want to minimize distractions as best you can, so you can focus on cooking for your food.
  • Never pour lighter fluid on a gas grill. This should really go without saying, but any fluids that contain chemicals that mix with gas have the potential to create an enormous, uncontainable disaster!
  • Grills should never be used indoors. Grills release carbon monoxide into the air which is a potentially lethal, odorless, and colorless gas. It needs to have the ability to vent in fresh air. It has the ability to kill you, your family members, or your pets. We don’t want any tragedies to occur,
  • When you are finished using your grill, make sure to completely close the valve of your gas grill.


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Why You Should Never Ignore a Vehicle Recall Notice


How often do you watch the news? Hidden within the hours of broadcasts may be something extremely important and something that should never be overlooked. We’ll explain…

Stories of vehicle recalls may pop up in the headlines and it’s important to pay attention. More important is to not ignore these warnings as they could pose a potential threat to the safety of yourself and your family. Hundreds of people have been either injured or killed by defective air bags. This statistic has brought on the largest and most perplexing vehicle recall in our country’s history. Seventy million vehicles have been affected from 19 automobile makers.

A vehicle recall is a manufacturer’s effort to remove faulty, potentially hazardous vehicles from our roads. Typically, a recall involves a piece of equipment from the car that does not meet the safety standards and regulations at the federal level. Tens of millions of vehicles are recalled every single year. So, once again, it’s extremely important to pay attention and be aware.

Recall notices are typically sent by your vehicle’s manufacturer via mail. Make sure you’re always checking your mailbox, so you don’t miss an important recall notice. If you’re at all concerned about the possibility of missing a notice, there are alternative methods to get the information. You can sign up for notification emails from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.

Your vehicle’s VIN number can help you see if your vehicle has a recall notice. In addition, the NHTSA’s website has useful information regarding vehicle-related products i.e. car seats, tires, and equipment. Your vehicle’s VIN number can be located on the lower left of your vehicle’s windshield. Your vehicle’s registration also has this information.

It is understandable that receiving a recall notice for your vehicle can be stressful. Here’s the good news: It’s free to get the problem fixed! That’s right! Your vehicle’s manufacturer is required by law to fix the problem free of charge. It is not uncommon for manufacturer’s to issue refunds for the labor.

If you ever suspect something faulty with your vehicle, you should report it to NHTSA immediately. You can either report the problem on their website or call their vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or toll-free at 1-800-424-9393.

By staying up to date on your vehicle’s functionality, we can all work together in making our roads a lot safer! We’re here for you!


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The Do’s and Don’ts of Bonfire Safety

Bonfires are a fun, popular way to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family on those cooler days and nights. It’s important to remain educated about bonfire safety. What are some of the Do’s and Don’ts of bonfire safety? Let’s explore…


  • In order to have a fun, safe experience with bonfires, you’ll want to make sure that your set-up is a far enough distance away from any structure. Use enough wood to build a substantial fire that everyone can gather around, but keep in mind that it must be small enough to be controlled. Always keep water or an extinguisher close by.
  • It’s not safe to start a fire of any kind on dry land. Make sure that any area surrounding the fire are nice and damp.
  • Keep a water source nearby.
  • Choose a location that is away from trees, bushes, and structures.
  • Don’t build your fire near dead grass, any dry leaves, branches, or bark.
  • Keep children a safe distance away from the fire at all times (this includes our furry friends!)
  • Only use dry, untreated wood for your fire. Wood that is covered with paint may be dangerous because paint can have flammable chemicals in it. This can be dangerous.
  • Have the appropriate tools available to adjust burning wood as needed.



  • Never start a fire with lighter fluid, gasoline, or kerosene.
  • Never throw anything into a bonfire. Roasting marshmellows is different because they are usually attached to a stick or a long pole, so you’re able to roast them while maintaining a safe distance from the flames.
  • Fumes from aluminum are toxic, so be sure to keep soda cans a beer cans away from the fire at all times.
  • Moist wood like cedar and pine have the potential to create dangerous situations like sparks. Do not use them.
  • If your wood bends, but doesn’t break, this means it is too wet to use for the fire. Plus, wet wood can cause irritating smoke that can bother your eyes.
  • Never leave the fire location until it is properly and sufficiently put out. In order to know when it’s safe to leave the location, place your hand about a foot away from the embers. If you can still feel heat, it’s still too hot to leave. To put out of the fire, add more water and dirt.

It’s important to note that consuming alcohol has contributed to over 60% of burns suffered at campfires, beaches, and bonfires. Always have a sober adult present to act as overwatch.

As temperatures drop, the idea of a bonfire is most certainly an attractive one. Being surrounded by family and our closest friends is definitely something we want to be able to do. At the end of the day, we all want to have an enjoyable, memorable experience. Practicing these Do’s and Don’ts will help you do just that.

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Do I Need to Buy Separate Insurance for My Rental Car?

Picture this. You were just involved in an accident. Your car is damaged enough to the point where it’s not drivable, so you’re going to need a rental car. When you go to the rental car place, the person behind the counter asks you if you want to buy rental car insurance. Confused? You may or may not need to get rental car coverage. We’ll explain…

At the end of the day, the choice is going to be yours and yours alone. Just remember that not all rental car companies offer the exact same coverage for their rented vehicles. It’s best to discuss your options with your insurance agent first.

Now, every time you’re involved in an auto accident, you will be responsible for paying your deductible. Your deductible is an agreed upon amount of money that you may out of your own pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in to cover the remaining costs to repair your vehicle. The purpose of your auto insurance coverage is to make you whole. In the case of an auto collision, your vehicle will be restored to its original state before the time of the accident.

When you speak to your insurance agent, consider the following questions:

  1. If I have a claim after I purchase coverage from the rental car company, will I have to pay a surcharge on my personal auto insurance policy?
  2. If I’m involved in an accident, will the coverage provided by the rental car company help me pay for a rental car while my vehicle is getting repaired?
  3. If I elect not to get the coverage from the rental car company and experience a total loss, am I in danger of having the rental car company max out my credit card in order to pay for its lost vehicle?

Getting coverage from your rental car company IS NOT mandatory. It’s important to understand that. Your own personal auto insurance policy can cover you when you’re driving your rental car. A typical auto insurance policy automatically covers liability (that’s the coverage that applies in cases when you’re the at-fault party). Collision and Comprehensive coverage, although not required, are certainly recommended to have on your auto policy. This kind of coverage will cover the costs to repair your vehicle. It’s important to note that in cases where you are leasing a vehicle, this kind of coverage is usually required. If you are in a situation where you are not making monthly payments for your car, this coverage is optional. Comprehensive coverage would handle everything that is not considered a collision i.e. fire and explosions, vandalism, damaged related to theft, storms, falling objects, windshield cracks or chips, and damage caused by an animal i.e. hitting a deer.

Before you agree to the terms of the rental car company, under the following:

Some rental car companies charge for loss-of-use: This charge would apply in cases when you are in possession of the rental car and it becomes damaged to the point where you can longer drive it. Typically speaking, loss-of-use is not covered under ERIE Insurance policies. Your rental car company may or may not offer additional insurance to cover this situation. Call us if you have your auto insurance through one of our other carriers.

Rental car companies oftentimes charge for diminished value and have other administrative fees: If the rental car is damaged while in your care, custody, and control, the rental car company may claim that the vehicle is less valuable now because it had to be repaired. You may be subject to additional fees from the rental company as well.

Think about who else may be driving the vehicle: If someone in your household will be driving the rental car, your own auto policy will cover them. If anyone other than your family members will be driving the vehicle, coverage from the rental company may be something to consider.

Read the rental car agreement very carefully: Potential loss of use, diminished value and administrative fees may be covered by the rental car company. However, it is extremely important to understand that the rental car company may limit who can actually drive the vehicle. If the vehicle is damaged or deemed a total loss when someone who does not fall under the extended family category is driving the vehicle, the rental car company may deny coverage.

We have one final note to consider: Before you drive off the rental car company’s lot, conduct a thorough examination of the exterior of the vehicle, checking for any dents or scrapes. Notify the company of anything you see right away, so they do not come after you when you return it, saying you are responsible for the damage.

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