Prepping your teen for auto what-ifs (April 2018)

Two people work on changing a tire.

Learning to drive can be an exciting time for teenagers. While they’re experiencing new freedom and responsibilities, your focus may be more on making sure they’re prepared for whatever they encounter down the road. While driver’s ed can teach them about road signs and speed limits, you can help teach them what to do when things don’t go as planned.

What to keep in the car

Make sure your teens know where their license, registration, owner’s manual and proof of insurance are at all times. If something happens when they’re on the road, odds are they’ll need at least one of these items. Insurance is vital, so no matter where in the world you hail from you should check out car insurance companies before even setting foot in the driver’s seat. Its not just first time drivers, its workers like van drivers that need insurance too. If you’re someone that needs van insurance then take a look at Money Expert for more information. But there are plenty of other insurance companies out there to suit your vehicle and needs.

Auto safety kits are affordable and compact, and can help protect your teens in the event of a breakdown or accident. They often contain:

— Road flares

— Jumper cables

— Seatbelt cutters

— Blankets

— Safety class breaker

— First aid kit

— Flashlight

Plus, in case your teens get stuck on the road and are waiting for assistance to arrive, keeping water and non-perishable food on hand can be helpful.

Important things to know

Share information with your teens about good driving habits, and that the safer they are, the more fun they’ll have behind the wheel.

— Develop a plan with your teens on what to do in the event of an accident, including exchanging information with other drivers, documenting damage with a cell phone, and contacting the police and your insurance company.

— Let them know what helpful insurance benefits and services they have access to, like 24-7 Roadside Assistance from Liberty Mutual.

— Have your teen choose a designated spot for their cell phone while they are driving to avoid distractions. And be sure they keep a cell phone charger in the car in case their battery gets low while they’re on the road.

— Discuss the dangers of texting and talking on the phone while driving. Other distractions like eating or putting on makeup should be avoided too.

— Be sure they understand how dangerous drinking and driving can be—to themselves, others and their future.

— Teach your teens how to perform common roadside fixes like changing a tire and jump-starting a car.

— Encourage them to call you if they have any questions or concerns, or need help.

Walk the walk

Another way to keep your teens prepared is to set a good example. Use small problems you encounter together as teaching moments, so they know how to handle it if it happens again. You can also take your teen to the repair shop to see the importance of regular auto maintenance.

For even more protection for your teens when they’re on the road, it helps to have a trusted ally that has their back. Get your free, no-obligation quote on Liberty Mutual home and auto insurance by calling 844-652-2354or by visiting libertymutual.com/murraystate.

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Garage safety tips for the whole family (May 2018)

A child is on a scooter in a garage.

Whether your garage is home to a gear-head’s paradise, extra stuff, or just your car, it’s important to keep it safe, clean, and easy to navigate. No matter how you use your garage space, here are some tips for you and your kids to keep it functional, organized and safe.

Keeping it clean

Just like around the house, it’s important for your kids to know what’s what in the garage. Organization and safety go hand in hand, so it’s helpful to keep everything in its designated place.

Avoid mishaps in the garage by making sure you keep the area walkable and free of clutter. All items, such as tools and cords, should be properly stowed in a spot where you or your child won’t trip on them. And keep an eye out for leaks and spills so no one is the victim of a slip-and-fall situation.

Chemicals like cleaners and car products can go in a cabinet or bin to keep them out of the way. If you have smaller children, it’s a good idea to keep these potentially hazardous items locked up.

Safety and security

One way to prevent accidents in the garage is with bright lighting that’s easy to turn on as you walk in from any direction – even if that means multiple switches. Put the switch at a height that your kids can reach for a little extra safety.

To prevent fires, keep flammable items securely closed and empty the tanks of your gas-powered tools when you’re not using them. The garage is also a great place to keep a fire extinguisher (or two) handy – just in case. Plus, smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring is as essential to garage safety as it is in your home.

Whether you have an attached or unattached garage, locked doors are key. If your garage is unattached, make sure you and your kids keep a clear path to it, including removing snow to reduce your chance of slipping.

With an attached garage, make sure to lock the door that leads into your home as well. Even if you keep your cars in the garage, clear valuables from your car and leave the doors locked – just in case you forget to close the door for the night.

If you have electric garage doors, make sure your kids are out of the way when opening and closing them. Sensors and cameras can be helpful, but it’s still important to be aware of your surroundings. Don’t store items behind your car, and make sure your kids are standing clear when you pull your car out of the garage. This will help avoid damage to your car, some of your belongings and, most importantly, your family.

Lastly, be sure to not run the car in a closed garage – even if you only plan on warming the car up for a few minutes. The fumes accumulate quickly and can be deadly to anyone exposed to them for too long.

Liberty stands with you to protect your cars, your garage, and the rest of your home. Get your free, no-obligation quote on Liberty Mutual home and auto insurance by calling 844-652-2354or by visiting libertymutual.com/murraystate.

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Family moving tips (June 2018)

A couple sits on a couch while two children play in boxes.

Moving can be quite an undertaking for you and your family, but it’s also an exciting time: a new home, a new start, and new adventures for everyone. It’s something that has an effect not just on you as parents but on your kids as well. When you’re making the big move, there are some great ways to get your kids involved and psyched for the new place.

Making the move

When you’re dealing with the logistics of the move, it really helps to avoid boxing up certain items your kids love, so they feel more comfortable while they’re making the transition. It can be as simple as a couple of toys, a book, or a game they like. Of course, moving is also a good time to go through your stuff and get rid of clothes, toys, and other items that your kids may have outgrown or stopped using.

Packing up non-fragile items like clothes and stuffed animals is a good task to give the kids, so they feel involved in the process. And allowing them to draw on or decorate the boxes with their things will help them stay occupied and flex their creative muscles.

What’s new and different

Moving comes with a lot of changes for the whole family, some that may be a little difficult to cope with. So before you move, have the kids help research places in your new neighborhood or town. Whether it’s a grocery store, an ice cream parlor, or a park, knowing there are new things to discover is a great way to build anticipation for the move.

When you get into your new place, give your kids a spot that’s all theirs to help them get acclimated to living somewhere they’ve never stayed. You can even go around the house once you’re moved in and discover different things about your home that you and your kids can enjoy together.

Once you’ve settled in, arranging meet-ups with the neighbors and their kids will help your family feel more at home and can be the beginning of new friendships. That can make the adjustment process a lot smoother.

Once you’re settled in your new place, keep your home and your car protected with insurance from Liberty Mutual. Get your free, no-obligation quote on Liberty Mutual home and auto insurance by calling 844-652-2354or by visiting libertymutual.com/murraystate.

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Your teens grilling safely (July 2018)

Two men grill outside.

Everyone looks forward to spending quality time with friends and family during grilling season. Learning to grill is also a rite of passage for many teenagers, and a chance for you and them to bond. By practicing good grill and fire safety, you can minimize risk and focus on having a good time. Here are some handy tips for you and your teen to handle your grill safely:

Where to grill

Keeping your grill away from your house and other structures is a great way to stay safe while you’re teaching your teens how to grill. Only 1% of home fires caused by grills occur on the lawn, so make sure it stays in the yard, on the deck or in your driveway.

Make sure the area surrounding the grill is clear of flammable items – or items that may melt at high temperatures. Get your teen involved by asking them to make sure the grill is on stable ground so you can avoid tipping. And once you get the fire going, leave the grill where it is. Moving it may cause the grill to fall over.

Charcoal vs. gas

Whether you’re looking for the char-grilled flavor of food cooked on a charcoal grill or the convenience of cooking on a gas grill, there are things to consider when teaching your teen to use each one.

On a charcoal grill, go easy on the lighter fluid. It only takes a bit to get the fire started. And be sure to let the bricks cool completely before handling them or moving the grill.

Gas grills are usually quick and easy to light, but have a higher risk of fire or explosion. If you have trouble getting your gas grill to light, give it a couple of minutes to let the gas dissipate before trying again. And be sure to check your fuel line regularly to make sure it’s still intact.

Grilling basics

Whether it’s your first time grilling with your teen or you both already own “License to Grill” aprons, keep the following things in mind when you fire things up. Start your teens off slow when they’re first learning. Supervise them a few times and communicate good safety strategies.

Show them how to use the longer grilling tools to keep the flames out of reach. In addition to having a fire safety kit handy, fire extinguishers, boxes of baking soda and other fire-stoppers are helpful to have around just in case. But staying safe around the grill isn’t just about fire. Practicing good food safety and avoiding cross-contamination will ensure a good time is had by all.

Once the fire’s out, and everyone’s enjoying their meal, you should still be protected from the unexpected. Get your free, no-obligation quote on Liberty Mutual home and auto insurance by calling 844-652-2354or by visiting libertymutual.com/murraystate.

Source: http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/outdoors-and-seasonal/grilling.

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Safe and smart for back to school (August 2018)

A woman kneels and holds a child's hand in front of a door.

Whether it’s your kids’ first year in school or they’re ready to go back, safety is always a top priority. Schools often have a number of safety precautions in place to keep kids safe to and from school, but you can also build on those and develop your own strategies.

To and from school

The routes your child takes to school are very important. Whether they walk or take the bus, making sure they know where they are and supposed to be at all times can help them stay safe. Teach them the right way to walk home from school and the bus stop, including staying on sidewalks, how to cross the street, obeying crossing guards, and following traffic lights and signs.

If your kids are old enough to ride their bike to school, be sure to equip them with the appropriate safety gear. And teach them the rules of the roads and sidewalks, so they can seamlessly coexist with cars and pedestrians.

If they’re taking the bus, remind your children to keep an eye on the bus route, teach them their bus number, and put a plan in place if they accidentally get on the wrong bus. And if they ever encounter strangers or bullies, you can give them a plan of action to get out of those situations, such as alerting an adult. Give your kids a password to use with people they don’t know. That’ll help them figure out when it’s ok to go with a stranger and when it isn’t.

Staying in touch

You can also keep your kids safer by knowing the people your child will come into contact with every day. Get to know their teachers, school administrators, friends, and friends’ parents—even crossing guards—so they know your child by name and know they can contact you if necessary.

Whether you’re at work or at home, it’s good for your kids to know how to contact you. Make sure they know personal information like your phone number, address, and where you work. That way, if they get lost and someone is trying to help them, they can get in touch with you. You can even include your contact info inside their backpack just in case they forget.

Once you’ve prepared your kids to be safe and smart, be sure to properly protect some of the other important things in life your family relies on every day. Get your free, no-obligation quote on Liberty Mutual home and auto insurance by calling 844-652-2354or by visiting libertymutual.com/murraystate.

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Getting your teens ready to be on their own (September 2018)

Two women stand together in front of a dryer.

Your teens have always had you there for them as a great support system while they prepare for the next chapter in their lives—being on their own. Whether they’re going to college or moving into their own place for the first time, these tips can help them get ready to make the most of their exciting and independent adventure.

Teaching the fundamentals

Make sure your teens know how to do the things they may have relied on you to do for their entire lives, like laundry, cleaning, or making a good grilled cheese sandwich. Have them help you with these tasks until they feel comfortable giving it a shot on their own. If they already know some of that stuff, great; you’re both off to a great start.

Taking charge of their own financial situation can be scary for them, and for you. Teaching them to budget correctly and not spend beyond their means is something that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. And helping your teens set up checking, savings, and other financial accounts is a good opportunity to explain the purpose of each one.

As for bills, try stressing the importance of paying on time and how their actions may affect their credit score down the road. There are plenty of online and mobile tools that make it easy to automate paying bills.

Ramping up

When they’re getting closer to the move, give them a hand stocking up on essentials like cleaning and school supplies, or common kitchen ingredients and utensils—either for the school year or for their new place. This can be a great opportunity to teach your teens how to budget, too. Give them a spending limit to furnish their place or get school supplies as practice.

It’s also a good time to talk about the expectations and guidelines you have for them as they go out on their own. Whether it’s about checking in, coming back to visit, or letting them know how much financial support you’ll be providing, clear communication is important.

And before they head out, check in with them to ensure they’re both physically and mentally healthy. That could mean anything from getting a physical to sitting down and talking about their anxieties around the move. Either way, be sure to let them know that even though they’re taking a major step toward independence, you’ll still be there when you need them.

Another important life lesson every teen can use is understanding the importance of living life with less worry. And that begins with protecting your home, belongings and car. For a free, no-obligation quote on Liberty Mutual home, renters or auto insurance, call 844-652-2354or visit libertymutual.com/murraystate.

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Making the most of the family fireplace (October 2018)

A man and child look at a fireplace.

During the colder months, a fireplace can be a beautiful and functional part of your home. It provides warmth to the whole house, and can serve as a great background for the whole family to relax, read a book, or simply enjoy a quiet night in. However, anything involving fire comes with some risk. Here are some tips and tricks to help you enjoy it and keep your kids safe.

Tools and tips

Before it gets cold out every year, you should prepare for using your fireplace by giving it a thorough cleaning. Use a shovel and broom to get the big stuff out, and give the floor and walls a quick vacuum with the stiff brush attachment. You may also need to have your chimney cleaned. Check with a chimney sweep to see how often they recommend a chimney cleaning and to schedule an appointment.

Before you’re ready to start your fire, you’ll need the right tools. Standard fireplace tool sets typically come with a poker to tend the fire, a spade (shovel) and broom for cleanup, and tongs to help you move logs. You may also want a stand to keep your logs organized. Fireplace sets with all these tools are available at home and hardware stores. You can also invest in a bellows, which helps get things going by providing oxygen to the fire.

Safety

To make it easier and safer to start your fire, ensure that your flue is open. That’ll keep the room from filling up with smoke and help provide more oxygen for the fire. When you’re ready to go, stack kindling (smaller sticks) underneath your logs to provide a good base for the fire. You can also use a small amount of newspaper, but keep it to a minimum. There are starter logs that are another option for getting your fire started.

Once you get it going, make sure you remain a safe distance from the fire. You should feel a pleasant warmth, but the smallest amount of discomfort is a signal to move farther away. It’s important to give your children good guidelines for being close to the fire, and set a good example. Practice staying beyond an established distance from the fireplace, unless you’re tending to the fire. And if your young children are in the room, make sure you stay with them to help prevent mishaps like touching a hot screen or throwing anything in the fire.

Be sure to keep a clear area in front of the fire to prevent tripping. Plus, keep anything that can melt and flammable items a safe distance from the fireplace.

Just in case the fire gets out of hand, be sure to keep a fire extinguisher and a fireproof blanket in an easy-to-reach spot. Adults should use the fire extinguisher, but as a precaution, it may be helpful to teach your children how to use it as well.

Practicing good fire safety is one way to reduce your worry around the house. To feel even more at ease, protect your home and car with Liberty Mutual Insurance. Get your free, no-obligation quote on home and auto insurance by calling 844-652-2354or by visiting libertymutual.com/murraystate.

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Keeping kids safe in the Kitchen (November 2018)

A woman and a child load a dishwasher.

When it comes to keeping your kids safe in the kitchen, there are more ways to do it than just fancy child locks or expensive safety consultants. By communicating with your kids and taking certain precautions, your family time in the kitchen can be more enjoyable, with less worry.

Education is key

Knowing what items are and do can help young kids understand what dangers may be looming. A great way to teach them about these items is by taking them on a trip around the kitchen.

You can give them a quick demo of how hot the oven can get and how sharp the blender blades are. And show them how heavy certain items are that sit on countertops or in your lower cabinets to help them avoid dropping anything on their toes.

Make sure everything is clearly labeled. If your kids aren’t reading yet, explain what’s on the warning labels of various cleaning products, and let them know what cabinets and drawers are off limits.

Kids are curious, and the more information you give them, the less likely they are to learn things the hard way.

Extra precautions

There are always steps you can take to keep your little ones out of harm’s way.

For example, when you’re done using appliances, turn them off or unplug them – and you can put smaller ones away. Keep knives and other sharp items in a place that’s locked or out of reach – an open dishwasher is a place people often forget about. While you’re cooking, remember to turn handles inward to protect children from burns.

There are many spots that can benefit from childproofing, but the area under the kitchen sink where cleaning supplies are often kept, should be at the top of your list. Beyond keeping that area locked, keep your cleaning supplies in containers that don’t look like food or drink containers. And take special care with single-use dish detergent packets, which children may mistake for candy.

Most importantly, use your instincts to keep your kids safe, erring on the side of caution. If an accident were to happen, keep emergency numbers handy, just in case.

Liberty stands with you, whether you’re protecting your kids in the kitchen or your vehicle on the road. Get your free, no-obligation quote on Liberty Mutual home and auto insurance by calling 844-652-2354or by visiting libertymutual.com/murraystate.

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Teaching your kids how to keep the house safe (December 2018) A child tries to open a door.

Home safety is more than just protecting your home from outside factors. With outside threats, you can simply take a look at a load of home security cameras reviews and deter any potential criminal activity by making good use of a home security camera system. However, true home safety is about protecting it from mishaps within the home as well. With the day-to-day hustle of family life, it can be easy to forget to take steps to make your home safer. Getting your kids involved is one way to feel secure around the house and can teach them the importance of a safe home. And it’s never too early to start; there are simple ways your kids can do their part every day.

Keeping an eye out

Teaching your kids to be mindful of everyday risks will help them know what to look for. Things like loose cords and liquids on the kitchen floor can cause falls that may result in injury, so make sure they know to clean up spills and tuck cords back where they don’t stick out. Putting other items away like toys, shoes, and backpacks can also help everyone avoid tripping or stepping on them.

Show your kids how electricity works, and make sure they’re careful around lamps, sockets, and outlets. Also, help them practice good kitchen safety by showing them the dos and don’ts of heat, blades, and appliances. Plus, while you want your kids to be independent, it’s useful to set boundaries for what they shouldn’t try to do by themselves. And let them know that if they need your help with a task, you’ll be there to help them out.

Preparing for the unexpected

In addition to helping your kids get a good grasp on what to do to keep your home safe, you can teach them how to keep it secure. Remind them to come get you if someone they don’t recognize comes to the door, and make sure they know to say you “can’t come to the phone” if someone calls for you while you’re unavailable. So they know they’re secure, show them what the doors and windows look like both locked and unlocked.

Another important thing to teach your kids is what to do in case of an emergency like a fire or if a parent gets hurt. Teach them how to dial 911 as well as what to say, and if your kids are old enough, practice dialing emergency contacts – just in case.

Let us help you keep your family safe and secure, inside your home and your car. Get your free, no-obligation quote on Liberty Mutual home and auto insurance by calling 844-652-2354or by visiting libertymutual.com/murraystate.

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