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Tips for Closing Your Business Over the Holidays

Tips for Closing Your Business Over the Holidays

Shut down your business diligently over the festive period.  

Preparing your office before you close for the holidays requires careful preparation. Proper communication will ensure that your customers, vendors, and employees can plan around the shutdown, and that means you won’t have to deal with complaints before and after the break. You may be thinking that you have enough to think about with the holidays, but these tips can help you to streamline closing your business for a couple of days or weeks effectively.

Notify Employees, Customers, and Vendors

Make sure that you communicate the dates in which your offices will be closed over the holiday period. Employees can be notified and reminded through emails, in-office calendar systems, and signs around the office. You can notify customers through your website and newsletters, and vendors should be notified via email, phone, or postal mail.

Back Up Servers

You must make sure you have your disaster recovery plan in place (and that it has been tested) before shutting your doors for the holidays. Imagine there is a power cut, flood or another natural disaster during this time – could your business easily recover? It’s best to be prepared for the unexpected.

Protect Data and Devices

Store all portable devices in a locked drawer or store cupboard, as this will be one of the first items thieves go for. Another way to ensure your data is safe is to encrypt it on the device so that only those with an encryption key can access it.

Follow Up Invoice Payments

Lots of businesses find themselves tight with cash flow in the New Year, so it pays to be on top of your accounts and follow up on any due payments ahead of the holiday shutdown.

Record a New Voicemail

This task is often overlooked when closing up shop for the year. Be sure that you record a new voicemail with specific dates about when your business will be closed and emergency contact information.

Unplug Appliances (Where Possible)

As well as turning off appliances, you should also unplug the unnecessary devices. This reduces the risk of fire, reduces the risk of devices being damaged in a power surge, and helps to cut down electricity costs!

Plan for 2018

Finally, it’s a good idea to do some prep work before the New Year about your business’s goals and plans. Writing down key aspirations will help you return to work in the New Year with more focus and purpose.

Is your business ready for the New Year ahead? Find the right business insurance that will protect your company throughout the festive season and beyond! Contact Chambers & Company Insurance Brokers to get started.

How to Shut Off Utilities in an Emergency

How to Shut Off Utilities in an Emergency

Know how to react in an emergency by shutting off utilities quickly.

With storm season upon us, it’s important for homeowners to be prepared. In case of a disaster of any type, it may be necessary to learn how to shut off utilities to avoid further damage to your family or your home.

How to Shut Off Natural Gas

It’s wise to be familiar with the look and sound of your gas meter under everyday conditions, as this will help to determine what is unusual. Ensure that you also know where the shut-off valve is located. Because of different homes and different gas meter configurations, shut-off procedures vary. However, it is likely that you’ll need an adjustable pipe or crescent wrench to perform the task.

Contact your gas company in advance to help you determine what your home requires, along with the procedure to shut off the gas. It may be a good idea to have easy-to-read instructions somewhere near the gas meter. If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, get everyone out of your house immediately and contact your gas company.

How to Shut Off Water

The water line that enters your home will likely have an easily recognizable shut-off value. It will typically be in the basement, on an exterior wall, or near your water meter. Shut it off by turning the valve clockwise until it can’t turn anymore. If you have trouble, contact a local plumber or your area water utility for assistance. Consider labeling the water valve with a colored identification tab to ensure the right valve is clear.

How to Shut Off Electricity

Electrical sparks have the potential of igniting natural gas if it is leaking. To shut off the electricity, locate your electrical circuit box, and flip the ‘main’ circuit breaker located inside the electrical panel (this is usually at the top).

Knowing how to locate and turn off the utilities in your home can stand you in good stead in the event of an emergency. For the right protection your home needs and deserves in the form of a homeowners insurance policy, contact Chambers & Company Insurance Brokers.

Tips for Driving at Night

Tips for Driving at Night-Time

Use these tips and secure the right auto insurance to ensure a safe drive after dark.  

Now that the nights and mornings are getting darker, we find ourselves driving to and from work in the dark. Driving at night doesn’t have to be dangerous if you prepare properly. While visibility is severely reduced and the road conditions in winter aren’t ideal, it doesn’t take much to reduce your speed and be extra vigilant. For tips on how to drive in the dark, read on.

Be Bright, Be Seen

When it’s grey, raining, or dusk, you need to turn your headlights on. Ensure that your car can be seen easily by other road users. Check all the bulbs in exterior lights regularly, and clean the lenses at the same time. It doesn’t take much in the way of dirt and road grime to significantly reduce the brightness of your lights. Keep your headlights dipped when overtaking vehicles and approaching oncoming vehicles.

Slow Down

Even if you know the road like the back of your hand, driving the route in the dark won’t be the same as driving it with full visibility in the daylight. Slow down and try to take in as much information about the road as possible. You’ll still need to concentrate on the road, motorists, and driving conditions. If you don’t know the road, follow the curves of the road.

Clean Your Windows

Make sure your car windows are clean, inside and out, because dirty glass increases glare from other vehicles and is also more likely to steam up.

Don’t Drive Drowsy

Driving in the dark can go against our natural instincts, as we associate nighttime with sleep. To prevent drowsy driving, make sure you’re well rested before you head off, and don’t push yourself to drive further than you’re comfortable with. If you start to feel tired, pull over.

Auto insurance coverage can help to keep your nighttime journey a safe one. Contact Chambers & Company Insurance Brokers to get started on tailored coverage that can see you through the winter and beyond.

How to Save on Electricity Costs as Temperatures Drop

How to Save on Electricity Costs as Temperatures Drop

Keep your house warm and cozy this winter without breaking the bank.

With winter on its way, there is probably no bigger financial headache for millions of Americans than keeping a lid on energy bills. With cold snaps and rising gas prices, the future can look bleak for homeowners. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to heat your home – and you don’t have to freeze either! Simply making a few switches to improve your home’s energy efficiency can help your property to stay warm, and your wallet to stay safe.

Add Attic Insulation

For a relatively cheap cost, adding fiberglass insulation in your home is a great way to stop your house from losing that previous, expensive hot air. You can save up to 20 percent on your heating and cooling costs by effectively insulating your home!

Draught-Proof the Home

Don’t overlook the importance of draught-proofing your home, as this is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to save money. You can use draught excluder strips and expanding foam fillers to block any gaps in the window frames, doors, loft hatches, pipework, and floorboards.

Pull on More Layers

Instead of turning on (or up) the heat when you feel cold, simply put on a warm layer, such as a thermal fleece. By not using your heating as much as you could, you’ll save money. When you do use it, put it one degree lower than what you would usually. Experts say that even lowering your thermostat by 1 degree could reduce your heating bills by up to 10 percent.

Get Curtain Savvy

Make the most of the elements! During the day, when the sun is shining, open your curtains so that the sunshine can warm the room. As soon as dusk comes, close the curtain to retain the heat in your home.

Better your savings even further and learn how to get the right homeowners insurance rate for your home and budget. Contact the professionals at Chambers & Company Insurance Brokers to get started today.

How to Prepare for a Power Outage

How to Prepare for a Power Outage

Power outages are everything but convenient – Are you prepared for one?

You usually don’t expect a power outage before it happens. You never know when disaster may strike your home. They are frustrating and troublesome, especially when they last a while with no power in sight. Because of this, it is important to prepare for a power outage before it happens. Just a little time spent getting prepared now means that you won’t be stumbling around in the dark later on!

Here are a few tips on how you can prepare for a power outage.

Gather Emergency Supplies

Your best bet is to buy emergency supplies before the power goes out. If you wait, other homeowners may get to last supplies before you do. Here are a few things to consider for a long-term outage:

  • Water – One gallon per person per day.
  • Food – Non-perishable and easy-to-fix foods.
  • Flashlight – It will provide light while the technicians work on fixing the power.
  • Hand-crank radio – Tune to the NOAA Weather Radio Station if possible.
  • Extra batteries – If any of your supplies require batteries, the last thing you want is for the batteries to die.
  • First-aid kit – If anyone receives any cuts or bruises, the first-aid kit can help take care of them.
  • Multi-purpose tool – There are many advantages a multi-purpose tool has that are not found in other tools.
  • Cash – If the power outage takes a long time and has affected a large area, ATMs will be without power as well. Make sure you have extra cash in case you need to purchase more necessary things.

Pack an Emergency Bag

If a power outage strikes at 3 a.m., you don’t want to try to pack a bag in the dark. Do this now so that you are prepared for the future, just in case! Remember to pack personal hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, a toothbrush, and toothpaste, as well as medicines and vitamins.

Don’t Forget Your Pets

All pets, whether feathered, finned, or furry, require special care during a power outage. Keep your pets calm, warm, and fed during a power outage, and be sure to pack their own little bag beforehand so that you have toys, food, blankets, and any necessary medications ready.

The only way you can protect yourself against any accidents that happen is by knowing that you have the right home coverage. Talk to the professional team at Chambers & Company Insurance Brokers to determine the right homeowners insurance policy to suit your needs and home today.

Protecting Your Thanksgiving Holiday with These Safety Tips

Thanksgiving Home Safety Tips

Have a safe holiday with these Thanksgiving home safety tips.

Thanksgiving is almost here (a week away!) and, if you’re hosting, then you may already have some food in stock and the fine china pulled out. Thanksgiving Day is a time to give thanks for all of the blessings in your life, as well as spending quality time with family. However, as you prepare for the big meal, ensure that your holiday runs smoothly without any home mishaps.

Check out these Thanksgiving home safety tips so that you can enjoy the day!

Keep Pets and Children Out of the Kitchen

Both kids and pets are curious creatures. However, with so many kitchen dangers, it’s best that they say out of this area on Thanksgiving. From hot liquids to sharp tools, there is a lot of possibility for serious injury. As an extra safety precaution, keep dangerous items out of reach, just in case prying hands or paws make it into the kitchen.

Practice Fire Safety

With hot stoves and ovens, there’s an increased risk of fire. Ensure that you take the necessary precautions to reduce your risk for a kitchen blaze, such as not wearing loose clothing while cooking, never leaving the oven and stovetop unattended, and keeping candles out of reach of children. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand for added safety.

Leave Your Home Safe

If you’re heading out of town for the weekend, remember to lock all of the doors and windows before you go and leave lights on a timer to make it look like you’re home. Avoid leaving messages on your phone answering machine that lets callers know you’ll be away, and remove the key that’s hiding under the plant pot – you’re not fooling anyone with that hiding place.

Ensure that your holiday runs smoothly. Take extra safety precautions, and invest in the right homeowners insurance. Chambers & Company Insurance Brokers has you covered. Contact us for all your personal and commercial insurance needs.

Is Your Home Safe From Carbon Monoxide?

Is Your Home Safe From Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real threat – Ensure you address it immediately.  

Now that the cooler weather is coming, that means more time is spent indoors cooking up hearty meals and turning on the heating (now and again). While our winter homes should be places of comfort, there is one silent killer that could be lurking in your home – carbon monoxide (CO).

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced when fuels such as wood, oil, natural gas, and propane are not efficiently burned. In essence, your generators, lawn mowers, barbeques, furnace, and cooker could be harboring a deadly gas.

Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pains
  • Confusion

As the symptoms can be mistaken for other concerns such as a cold or the flu, it’s important to stay on top of when you feel these symptoms coming on. If you leave your home for a couple of hours and the symptoms subside, only to come back when you return home, it is well worth getting your home checked for a carbon monoxide leak.

To help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, follow these tips:

  • Hire a professional to check all of your gas-run systems in the house before using them regularly for the winter. A professional will ensure the appliance is burning properly and is suitably vented.
  • Never leave a car idling in a garage (even if the garage door is open).
  • Keep portable generators at least 20 feet from an open window.
  • Never use a charcoal barbeque inside a home or tent.
  • Never use a gas oven to heat a home.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home. For an extra level of protection, consider installing a CO alarm in every bedroom of your house.

With a little preparation, your home can stay safe from CO! Fortunately, it takes just a simple phone call to secure the right homeowners insurance protection for your property. Talk to the professional team at Chambers & Company Insurance Brokers to determine the right homeowners insurance policy to suit your needs and home today.

How to Honor Our Heroes on Veteran’s Day

How to Honor Our Heroes on Veteran’s Day

Get active for America this November 11th.

Every November 11, America comes together to honor the brave men and women who fearlessly dedicated their lives to defending our great country.

It is the one day of the year dedicated to commemorating the years of service made by so many men and women around the nation. Military personnel put their country before themselves and fight to keep our country free and brave. There are some ways to get active to show your support for the veterans, fallen and alive, today.

Here are just a few things that you can do to honor heroes on Veterans Day.

Volunteer to lay flowers or plant flags at your local veteran cemetery.

By dressing the cemeteries, it helps remind communities and passers by to spare a moment to think of those who fought for our country. Although they may be out of people’s minds more often than not, this day is dedicated to taking the time to thank those for all that they did.

Provide financial support for families of the fallen.

The USO and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) provide financial and emotional support to bereaved spouses and children of troops who have died serving their country.

Visit a military memorial, museum, or monument.

Take a day trip to learn about our military history or to pay your respects.

Attend the Salute to Veterans Gala

Join the Ventura County Military Collaborative under the stars to support the Veterans of Ventura County. First, you’ll dine in Camarillo Ranch House to celebrate those who have served, advocated, and celebrate those among you who have sacrificed. Afterwards, there will be dancing, a silent auction, and a chance to learn more about the pressing issues facing Veterans in Ventura County. Get your tickets for this charity mixer here.

Honor veterans year-round.

You can show your support beyond November 11th. Support veteran-owned businesses, express thanks to those in uniform when you see them, and consider donating to a veteran’s charity.

Honoring veterans is part of our American culture. To fully protect your financial future with the right insurance policies, contact the team at Chambers & Company Insurance Brokers, serving Camarillo and neighboring cities in California.

It’s American Diabetes Month! Here’s What You Should Know

It’s American Diabetes Month! Here’s What You Should Know

November is American Diabetes Month. How are you getting involved? 

Currently, in the United States, 29.1 million people have diabetes, with a further 86 million being pre-diabetic. As one of the nation’s top killers, diabetes is a serious disease that can affect anyone. As November is American Diabetes Month, this gives you the opportunity to read up on the facts of this disease, how you can prevent it, and how you can support those suffering from it.

Type 1 diabetes means that the body is failing to produce insulin. Five to ten percent of diabetes patient have this type, and it is usually diagnosed during childhood, but it can develop at any age. There is no known way to prevent it.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type, and it occurs when insulin is being produced, but the body isn’t using it naturally. This, again, can develop at any age and most cases can be prevented.

There are certain risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Being overweight
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Having diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes)

Diabetes prevention is as basic as eating a healthy diet and becoming more physically active. Remember that it’s never too late to start! Here are some ways to get started:

  • Get more physical activity
  • Get plenty of fiber
  • Opt for whole grains
  • Lose extra weight
  • Reduce your consumption of meat, dairy, and processed foods.
  • Aim to eat wholesome foods complete with fruits and vegetables.

If you have diabetes or know someone who does, you can help to manage the condition by working with a health professional, eating healthy, and staying active.

We can use this month to raise awareness about diabetes risks factors and encourage people to make healthy changes! Get involved by:

  • Tweeting about American Diabetes Month
  • Hosting a community event where families can be active while learning about local health resources.
  • Joining the American Diabetes Association in celebrating American Diabetes Month!

Most people equate November with Thanksgiving – and that usually means spending time with loved ones over a feast of food. If you or a loved one has diabetes or is at a high risk for the disease, this should be a reminder to eat slowly, don’t pile up on the pumpkin pie, and get some exercise in over the long weekend.

Most people equate November with Thanksgiving – and that usually means spending time with loved ones over a feast of food. If you or a loved one has diabetes or is at a high risk for the disease, this should be a reminder to eat slowly, don’t pile up on the pumpkin pie, and get some exercise in over the long weekend.

 

So that you can focus on your family and health, let the professionals take care of your insurance policies. Contact Chambers & Company Insurance Brokers to learn about suitable coverage for your needs.

Does Your Business Have Flood Insurance?

Does Your Business Have Flood Insurance?

Your business insurance isn’t your flood insurance coverage.

When it rains, it pours. When it pours over your building and business, it can be hard, or even impossible, to recover. Flood damage will affect your business as well as the premises, threatening the survival of your shop, warehouse, restaurant, office, or other commercial business. Dealing with the effects of flooding means more than just clearing up the flood damage, you also need to get the business operating as quickly as possible. When time is money, you have no spare minutes to waste.

Many small business owners are under the mistaken impression that their business insurance policies cover them for damages arising from floods. While your policy may cover water damage, flood coverage is entirely different. Just like homeowners flood insurance, commercial flood coverage must be purchased separately in a dedicated policy.

Most flood insurance is sold through the National Flood Insurance Program, which has a standard set of coverage available. Commercial customers in low or moderate risk areas can choose building and contents coverage or a contents only policy. Those in higher risk areas naturally pay more, and may not have the option to cover contents only.

Generally, the NFIP covers:

  • Damage to the building and foundation
  • Plumbing and electrical system damage
  • HVAC, water heater, and furnace damage
  • Built-in appliances such as dishwashers and fridges
  • Permanently installed carpeting
  • Permanently installed paneling
  • Window blinds
  • Inventory/merchandise
  • Computers
  • Machinery
  • Business interruption
  • Cash, currency, and stock certificates
  • Most automobiles

Does your business have the right protection in place? Stay safe throughout the storms by securing your commercial flood insurance policy today. Visit Chambers & Company Insurance Brokers to get started!