Tag Archives: Safety Tips

Back To School Driving Tips 101

School is back in session! The summer is over, and we are heading straight into a new school year. Back to school means there are more drivers on the road than usual during your morning commute. Most will purposely take alternate routes during the school year to avoid the additional slow down time. However, if you are dropping off a kiddo, there isn’t any other choice.

Here is our Back to School Driving tips from TXDOT.GOV to help make the commute a little easier and avoid fines.

Tips for Driving in School Zones

  • Put away your cell phone. Cell phone use is banned in active school zones, and violators face fines of up to $200 in school zones where signs are posted.

Take this tip very seriously. Don’t be the parent that completely forgot you entered a school zone and up getting a ticket for being on the phone. Check your city requirements- as some city ordinances have banned cell phone use while driving altogether.  

  • Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Remember, traffic fines usually double in school zones.

Even when you think there aren’t any police officers around, they’re there!  

  • Drop off and pick up your children in your school’s designated areas, not the middle of the street.

This is a hard one to follow, especially at the beginning of the school year. The pickup and drop-off line will get better. It always starts out rocky, but the process does get smoother. Avoid parking down the road and encouraging your schooler to meet you elsewhere. Your tax dollars pay for the cross guard and the necessary crosswalk to ensure your child’s safety, utilize it.

  • Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.

We all know how dreadful it is to be stuck behind a school bus as they make each stop, but remember it is unlawful to pass a school bus when they have their flashing lights on.

  • Be alert for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles on their way to school.

Be cautious of that Wilding!

Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School

  • Always cross at intersections and designated crosswalks. Look left, right and then left again before proceeding.
  • Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Always obey crossing guards.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.

Remember these safety tips as you approach a school zone. Don’t end up in a situation that could cost you hundreds of dollars in fines and possibly injure someone. School is just beginning, and we wish everyone a great and safe year!

Your Local Independent Agent,

Al Boenker Insurance

 

5 Summer Weekend Getaways

Say, “Hello” all across Texas this summer. A nice weekend exploring one or all of these destinations will have your family eager to pack up the car and hit the road!

Garner State Park, Concan
Garner State Park is a must! The cool temps of the Frio River will keep you cooled off all day. There are several activities to do including hiking, camping, tube floating, kayaking and paddle boarding. Get this trip on the calendar soon as campsite and cabins begin to fill up for the remaining summer months. To make reservations and check out the complete list of activities, click here.

Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs
Take a dive into the 12-foot-wide cove at Hamilton Pool Reserve in Dripping Springs. Reservations are required as they only allow a limited number in from 9-12pm and 1-5pm.
Call ahead or visit them online to reserve your time spot. The oasis has public bathrooms and hiking trails. However, there is not any food or drink stops, so pack a light bag of snacks and water. Hamilton Pool only excepts cash when paying on site. This refreshing hole is the perfect getaway right outside of Austin city limits. Will your gang make that jump?

Houston Museum District, Houston
The Child’s Museum of Houston, voted “America’s No. 1 Children’s Museum”, by Parents Magazine, is the ultimate kids getaway. With 19 museums in the area, your gang will have a ton to do! Stop by the Houston Zoo and wander onto Waugh Street Bridge to watch the bats emerge at nightfall! Get all the details here.

BSR Cable Park, Waco
Want an adult weekend getaway? Barefoot Ski Ranch is the new hot spot this summer! The Cable Park just opened Summer 2018 and is home to America’s longest lazy river at nearly one-mile long. Take a plunge on the Royal Flush slides or enjoy the surf wave cable park. If your kids are dare-devils and can hang, bring ’em along for the fun at the adventure park. Want to slow down a little? Spend Sunday afternoon at Magnolia Markets, wondering through the Silos and shops. Regardless of your preference, Waco has grown into a popular weekend destination spot for all.

Krause Springs, Spicewood
Krause Springs is privately owned by the Krause family and was founded in 1955. The well-known camping and swimming site is located in the hill country about 30 miles west of Austin. Reserve a camp spot for a weekend stay and visit the 32 springs on the property. Did I mention there are a beautiful waterfall, grotto, and natural pools? Explore the butterfly garden, hike through trails or take a dip in the manmade pool that is fed by the springs. This weekend getaway will be one for the books! Book a camping site here.

Where ever your family goes this summer, remember to give your car a quick checkup (check tire pressure, oil level, and coolant levels) to ensure your safety. Go with confidence with auto, RV, boat or ATV insurance today! Contact your Al Boenker Insurance at 1-800-thanksal or online at thanksal.com.

Summers Buys to Boost Your Backyard

Want to keep the kiddos outside this summer? School is coming to an end and it’s time to start thinking about how you and your family are going to enjoy those summer nights. Here are a few ideas that will have the whole family excited to hang out in the backyard!

 

  1. Update that same ol’ swing set- Change out that baby swing the kids have outgrown, and give them a place to hide out. The hammock pods from Amazon; $29.45, give your kiddo the perfect space to hang out- outside! The set includes are the tools necessary to be hung from a swing set or tree.

  1. Zipline across the backyard. Turn your backyard into an adventure park! Everyone ages 8 and up can enjoy the complete zip line kit from Slackers Zipline; $76.94. Suspend the zip line cable from two trees and watch your child soar through the backyard, safely.

  1. Nothing beats a classic game of corn hole. Find these portable PVC pipe cornhole boards on Amazon for the perfect summer game. Everyone can enjoy them, whether in the pool or out in the lawn. Available for $36.99.

  1. Here’s a new approach to s’mores. Don’t have a fire pit? No problem! Roast some s’mores after burgers- on the grill, in the oven when your backyard picnic gets rained out or atop a portable grill at a tailgate. The S’more to Love Basket, cooks the dessert evenly, making for the best s’mores experience! Forget about the marshmallow catching fire or falling in. Available from Amazon; $13.99.

  1. Can’t forget the old faithful sprinkler- This year, be the talk of the neighborhood with the coolest water sprinkler on the block! The Ginormous Unicorn Sprinkler will keep the kids cooled off and running around the backyard all day. How could one not love a giant 6ft unicorn with water spewing out the horn?! Available at Target, $50.

  1. How cool is this 2-in1 extender table?! This is a must-have for all backyard entertainers. Serve snacks on the top and keep drinks cold on the bottom. Use either fully extended for the perfect cocktail table height or collapsed for the ideal side table.

  1. Who will be the magician of the bunch? Take the fire pit up a notch and throw in the Magic Flame Pocket. Watch your youngster get excited as the flames change colors. The 12-pack from Amazon is available for $7.99.

 

  1. Take dinner outside. Enjoy a pizza -fireside. The Pizza Stone, $14.90 turns dinner time all around. Have the family hand make individual pizzas and cook them over the fire or on the grill. Just like that, the kids didn’t even know they prepped their own meal. Win-Win! If you decide to cook over the fire pit, make sure you have a rack to set your stone on.

These small buys get the whole family outside and enjoying the summer sun. Pick a few items and plan to spend as much time enjoying your yard this summer. Don’t forget the fresh watermelon, sunblock and unlimited popsicles to top the day off!

6 Tips to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat

 

In Texas, we can never be certain what type of weather we are going to get. But one thing we do know is Texas heat is no joke!!
Here are a few tips to help prepare your home for those HOT summer days.

1. Give Your Air Condition a Check Up
Now is the perfect time to make sure your air conditioner unit is functioning at its best. It would be horrible to find out in the dead of summer you’re a/c is going out. First, replace your air filter. Clean any debris from the vent and the exhaust and dust off any dirt from your main unit. Turn you’re a/c on while you leave and test how it regulates the temperature to ensure it is working properly. If something doesn’t seem right, it may be time to contact a professional. Some companies offer a free service check and can tell you of any necessary fixes. This may also be the best time to invest in a programmable thermostat if you do not have one. Programmable thermostats help regulate the use of your air condition and offer energy saving solutions. Look for a blog on Smart Thermostats.
2. Clean and Inspect your Gutters and Roof
During the winter months, your gutters suffer a lot, from freezing rain to fallen debris. Take this time to inspect your gutters for leaks, give them a thorough clean and check for any damage. Inspect your downspouts and ensure they are flowing away from your house. This is also a great opportunity to check the roof for any damages or possible leaks. With the heat comes the rain. Check exteriors and take note of any water build up or cracks that can cause water to seep in. Cleaning the gutters and checking the roof, may not be possible for everyone, especially those in a two-story home. Contact a professional if you need assistance.
3. Change Your Ceiling Fan Direction
Did you know that your ceiling fan is meant to run in different directions based on the season? During the winters months, it should run clockwise to help distribute heat that rises. As for the summer months, your fan should run counter-clockwise at a higher speed to get a breeze flowing. Check to see which direction the fans in your home are moving, and, if necessary, hit the small black switch near the base to change directions.
4. Clean Windows & Screens: Check for Ventilation
It’s time to wash away the winter build up on your windows and screens. Take some vinegar and water and scrub away the winter grime from the exterior of your windows. Rinse off all your screens and replace the old torn ones. Check your window seals and weather stripping during this time to ensure there are not any leaks in the ventilation. Replace or re-caulk where necessary. This keeps the cool air in and the hot air out.
5. Inspect Outdoor Plumbing
The water hose hasn’t seen the daylight in quite some time. Begin checking your outdoor plumbing before the summer heat is in full force. Run your sprinklers and test the system to make sure everything is running smoothly. A slow trickle may be a sign something is not functioning properly. Finding out you have a busted pipe right when your kiddos are ready to run the sprinkler, is no fun! If you are unable to find the cause, call a professional to come out and take a look.

6. Prepare for Summer Bugs
With the hot summer days and the rain comes bug heaven. During the winter months, you may not notice more bugs making their way in. However, most of these insects stay cooped up in the walls or attic. Enter summer months- bugs wake up and began to head back outdoors. The hot, humid weather also makes for a great combination of insects. Find a DIY pest control solution here and begin to treat all your baseboards, exterior exits, and windows. If you checked for ventilation in the windows- you are one step ahead!

In Texas, we can never guarantee any type of weather. But we can guarantee our home will be ready to take on the heat. Contact your Al Boenker Insurance agent today to see how they can help you save on your home insurance.

Boating Insurance 101

 

With spring in full swing, it’s time to get the boat uncovered and ready for the lake. There is nothing more exhilarating than taking on the open water with the wind blowing and rays beaming. One thing that is not so appealing is Boat Insurance. What is it? and how do you begin to know what the right coverage is? When it comes to insurance coverage for your boat, you can imagine that an everyday runaround boat is similar to getting auto insurance versus a large yacht, which would resemble a small home insurance policy.

Here are a few tips on finding the right coverage and getting your boat ready for the water!

Why do I need boat insurance?

Unfortunately, your home insurance does not cover your boat. There is a slight possibility that your home coverage could stretch to a very small boat- most likely without an engine but not likely. Just like your vehicle is not covered by your home policy, neither are watersport vehicles. Why may you ask? A boat is a portable vehicle- not stationary. Your home policy is covering things that don’t necessarily move. If you are new boat owner there is a possibility you could save on your boat coverage by bundling with your home insurance provider.

What is boat insurance?

Boat insurance can be looked at like a combination of auto and home insurance. There a few main things you need coverage for, then you have the extras. Similar to a home policy, you will be covered if there is an accident or someone gets injured while riding in or operating your boat. Protection for the boat owner is there, similar to a homeowner. Like auto insurance, boat coverage typically includes coverage for bodily injury that your boat inflicts on others, property damage your boat inflicts on docks and other boats, and physical damage to your boat should you hit something. You can also add comprehensive coverage that offers theft protection, damage against fire or flood, personal property coverage for any equipment on the boat, uninsured boaters, damage to the trailer, and roadside assistance if you need to be towed. Consider these additional coverages if your boat is stored off-site or if you have a large quantity of gear or equipment. Check out a list of coverage here.

When is my boat covered?

So, your boat is covered regardless if you are in the water or not. The amount of coverage is what comes into play. If you are pulling the boat down the highway and are in an accident or back end to someone your auto policy takes over- but only the limits on that policy. There is a chance your homeowner’s policy will cover some accidents if the boat is parked on your property. If you plan to travel far out into the ocean there can be limitations on the distance you are covered. Check with your insurance agent if off-shore boating is going to be your main source of travel. In the meantime, a one-time policy can be purchased if you need to move your boat or if there is an indication of a natural disaster coming that will require the boat to move.

Know that you have a couple of boating insurance questions answered, download your spring boating checklist from DISOVERBOATING.COM and get ready to have a safe and fun boating season! 7914_DB14_Spring_Startup_Checklist

Give us a call at 1-800-THANKSAL or visit us online at www.thanksal.com to get a free quote and see how you can save while bundling your insurance.