The Perzel Agency Blog

Feb 11 - 2014 Safest Vehicles

Safest Vehicles 


CONTACT: The Perzel Agency, 800-440-3480, http://www.PerzelAgency.com/


Feb 07 - Seven Things to Teach Your Teen -

Mother and Daughter

Being a parent is about providing for and loving your children. But it’s also about teaching: teaching them colors when they’re toddlers, not to do drugs when they’re school age and more grown-up things when they’re teenagers. For example, how to balance a checkbook and how to understand life’s risks are things to teach your teens.

I think about this a lot because I live with my soon-to-be-16-year-old daughter, who thinks she knows everything. Much to her dismay, she really doesn’t know everything. This became abundantly clear when she recently asked, “How do I pay my bills? I mean, I just don’t get the whole credit card, debit card thing. And isn’t there an app that can just balance my checkbook?”

Here it was—my window of opportunity to talk to my daughter and for her to want to listen to me. (I think most parents of teens realize this opportunity doesn’t arise very often.)

I proceeded to explain banking and online bill pay and assure her that when she gets a job, she’ll have the opportunity for more hands-on training.

That got me thinking: What other important, yet possibly overlooked, things should parents teach their teens about money, insurance and life in general? Here’s my list:

  1. How to pump gas and put air in tires. The last thing anyone wants is to be stranded.
  2. Clip coupons for things you buy all the time. But don’t become fanatic about it—because, really, who has time for that?

  3. Always clean out your refrigerator and microwave on a regular basis. Because it’s just
    gross if you don’t.
  4. Change your furnace filter every other month. This lets your furnace work more efficiently and helps prevent fires.

  5. Thaw your turkey in the fridge for four days before you attempt to cook it. (Yes, I learned this the hard way.)

  6. Know where the water shut-off valve is located. You never know when you might find yourself at midnight with a burst under-the-kitchen-sink pipe. (Yes, another mishap yours truly experienced.)

  7. Make sure your stuff is covered by insurance. Having an insurance policy means that if something bad happens to your car, house, boat, things in your house, that new engagement ring, whatever, you can get back to normal.

My daughter already knew the last one because I work for an insurance company and had explained to her and her 12-year-old brother very early on the concept of insurance. I always told them that people may complain about paying for insurance, but when something bad happens, it’s their saving grace.

I also told them that you don’t just buy the cheapest policy because insurance is complicated. You want to work with an independent agent who has your back. A knowledgeable Agent to help you figure out all your insurance needs.

It was a good talk that I was surprised to realize both my daughter and I enjoyed. Just like teaching your baby to play peek-a-boo, there is joy in schooling your teen in Life 101.
My daughter may never master a turkey dinner, but at least she’ll have the tools to try, and the right insurance protection should something go wrong. (Luckily, that’s one thing I didn’t have to experience firsthand.)

CONTACT: The Perzel Agency, 800-440-3480, http://www.PerzelAgency.com/


Jan 30 - Sidewalk Safety For All Seasons -


Remember the  old childhood rhyme, “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back?” Hopefully, no  one will ever break anything on your sidewalk. But if you don’t maintain your  sidewalk, it can become very dangerous to pedestrians — and to you.

 “Anytime  someone gets hurt on your property as a result of dangerous conditions present  on the property, you potentially can be held negligent,” said Terry McConnell,  vice president and manager of Personal Lines Underwriting at Erie Insurance.

So you need  to be proactive–and vigilant. Follow these steps every season.


Once the  snow and ice have finally disappeared (at last!), you might think you’re home  free. But alas, the harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on concrete. In the  spring, sidewalks get cracked and uneven, which can be hazardous to passersby,  who could trip and fall.

It doesn’t  even have to be a large change to be problematic; the Americans with  Disabilities Act considers a vertical change greater than 1/4” a trip hazard.

 “If it looks  dangerous, then you ought to do something about it,” said Alan Pepicelli, an  attorney in Meadville, Pa.

So if you  notice that your formerly flat sidewalk is starting to look a little uneven,  it’s probably time to repair the damage. You may be able to just seal the  sidewalk and fill in some gaps, but for larger problems, you may need to call  in the professionals.


You love the  shade afforded by the beautiful old trees in your front yard. Unfortunately,  old trees often have big roots that threaten to uproot sections of your  sidewalk.

You may be  able to shave down the concrete on the areas that have been lifted if the  damage isn’t too severe. “But in more serious cases, you may have to remove the  sidewalk, dig up and remove the tree roots, and then lay a new sidewalk,”  McConnell said.


It’s  important at this time of year to use the rake or leafblower to keep sidewalks  clear.

 “When leaves  fall and they’re wet, they are a big slip-and-fall hazard,”

Don’t forget  to put away your rake after clearing away the leaves and other debris. That can  be a tripping hazard, too.


Clearly, ice  and snow are the big hazards to monitor.

How early do  you have to shovel after a freak snowstorm drops 10 inches of snow on your  property overnight? That depends. Some places, such as Baltimore County in  Maryland, require sidewalks to be cleared within 24 hours.

Otherwise,  consider what a jury would deem reasonable precautions and do your best to  address the situation as soon as possible, McConnell said. See what your  neighbors are doing, too. He recommended stocking up on salt for the  sidewalk before a storm hits.

When in  doubt, check your city’s ordinances to find out exactly what’s required of  property owners. Some ordinances just provide general guidance, but others are  much more specific. Check with your homeowners’ association, too.

The bottom line: keep the sidewalks clear and in  good condition. It can prevent injuries and save you money. “Liability  claims against a homeowner could increase premiums,” he explained.

CONTACT: The Perzel Agency, 800-440-3480, http://www.PerzelAgency.com/


Jan 22 - The Age Of The Brain -

Three Generations of Women

How the brain reacts to distraction at different stages of life

Statistics on crashes and scientific studies of the brain present conflicting data on whether younger or older drivers are more affected by distracted driving.

 The worst offenders of distracted driving, according to the NHTSA, are also youngest and the least experienced: men and women under 20. The under-20 age group had the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes (16 percent), followed by drivers 20 to 29 years old (12 percent).

 But when it comes to cognition, older drivers are naturally more distractible. “Internal thoughts may be particularly hard for older adults to filter, starting in middle age but increasingly after age 65. We have some evidence that auditory stimuli are hard for them, too, to tune out during visual tasks,” reports neuroscientist Dr. Cheryl Grady of the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto.

“I would advise any driver, but particularly an older one, to avoid distraction as much as possible—not using the cell phone, programming GPS systems, fiddling with the radio and CD player, and so on,” she says.

 But experience may already be helping older drivers understand that, since the younger, less experienced drivers have the highest crash rates. Teens and young adults are more likely to carry their mobile devices into the car, using MP3 players and texting – which means the temptation for distraction could be more prevalent.

 The solution? Stay safe at any age and keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

 By Rachel Adelson


CONTACT: The Perzel Agency, 800-440-3480, http://www.PerzelAgency.com/


Recent Posts

2014 Safest Vehicles

Seven Things to Teach Your Teen

Sidewalk Safety For All Seasons

The Age Of The Brain