Friday the 13th – 13 Hidden Risks

Many people are afraid of or superstitious of black cats, broken mirrors and walking under ladders around Friday the 13th, which will take place this December. However, what’s even more cause for caution is all the hidden risks that can be present in daily life. Check out these top 13 risks to be aware of: 

Eating while driving

Next to texting and driving, eating while driving is one of the most common forms of distracted driving. Reaction time drops by nearly 50% while eating. Next time you pick up food, make sure to wait until arrival before eating. 

Car maintenance

Without proper vehicle maintenance, driving a car can pose some risks. Change the oil in the vehicle as recommended, get tires checked regularly and make sure to have roadside assistance as part of your insurance policy. 

Lightning

While not extremely common, lightning can strike your car or home and cause damage that may require repairs. Make sure your insurance plan covers damage caused by lightning and help prevent damage by installing a lightning rod or other protection.

Cyber security

As the internet increasingly becomes part of the daily routine, cyber security is a necessity. Take steps to protect your information online from hackers or data breaches, including using complex passwords and being aware of email phishing scams. 

Texting 

Texting while doing other things is a huge distraction. Whether walking across the street or driving down the road, avoid texting and pay better attention to surroundings. 

Home security

Make sure to lock all doors and windows when leaving and consider installing an alarm system. If you’re an OKFB member, you may be eligible for a discount for installing a home security system. 

Fire 

It’s nice to have the fireplace crackling or a candle burning to provide warmth and comfort, but make sure to take the proper safety precautions. Always extinguish candles and fires before leaving a room, and make sure to keep them out of reach of children.  

Food storage

Improper food storage can result in spoiled foods, and if these foods are consumed they can result in illness. Hold cold foods at 40°F or below, and keep hot foods at 140°F or above. Regularly monitor your refrigerator and freezer to ensure they are at the right temperature. 

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless flammable gas that can be deadly. CO can accumulate wherever fuel is burned, whether by a kitchen stove or a car in the garage. Help avoid CO poisoning by installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home. 

Appliances

Appliances, especially those in the kitchen can pose some safety risks. Stay nearby appliances when cooking and always check that appliances are off before leaving the kitchen.  

Screens

Staring at a screen all day, whether via a phone or a computer, can pose some health risks. Excessive use can result in a decrease in vision abilities, and it can also lead to back pain, joint pain and headaches. If possible, try reducing daily screen time.

Going to work 

From farming to construction, some jobs require working with dangerous equipment or substances. Make sure to be aware of and follow workplace safety guidelines to help prevent accident and injury.

Showering 

Slippery floors in the shower can lead to injury or even death. Showers can be especially risky for the elderly and children, who often require help to enter and exit the shower safely. Install a support bar, clean up wet floors and be extra vigilant in the bathroom.

Car Maintenance for Fall and Winter

As temperatures drop heading into fall and winter, a mechanical failure can be a pain and can also put you and your passengers in a risky situation. Luckily, you can help reduce your chances of running into vehicle failures by taking preventative steps now. Check out this list of maintenance tips to prepare your car for the upcoming seasons. 

Engine

Renew/replace items within your engine as recommended, this includes oil, oil filters, air filters, fuel filters and more. Oil should be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on the age and fuel efficiency of the vehicle. You also replace your oil filters at the same time. For specifics on when to replace other items, refer to your vehicle owner’s manual. 

Windshield Wipers

If your current wipers leave your windshield streaky and limit your visibility, it is time to swap them out. Worn windshield wipers make driving riskier, especially during rain and snow. Always ensure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid as well. Consider getting fluid that has antifreeze properties made for winter months. Most importantly, don’t forget to have an ice scraper on hand! 

Tires

Check your tire pressure frequently, as the colder weather can have an impact on air pressure and may require more air to be added. Make sure you’re examining your tire tread – without proper tread, it can make driving through snow or ice more dangerous. You should rotate your tires every 7,500 to 10,000 miles – your vehicle owner’s manual will have the specific mileage recommendation for you.

Emergency Gear

In addition to routine maintenance, it’s a good idea to always carry emergency gear in your car. There are items you should have year-round and several items that should be added for the colder months. Gloves, boots, blankets, snacks, water, first-aid kit and a flashlight will come in handy if your car does experience mechanical failure or another issue this fall or winter.

Roadside Assistance

In case of car failure, you’ll want to know if your insurance covers roadside assistance. Roadside assistance can be added to your auto insurance policy, and it can help pay for some of the costs associated with towing your vehicle, providing gas for an empty tank, jumping a battery or changing a flat tire. Your agent can tell you if roadside assistance requires additional physical damage coverage. Contact your agent today to see about adding this coverage.

Taking a spring break trip? Prepare your home for your absence.

Your bags are packed, tickets are purchased and adventure is on the horizon for you and your family. Before you leave for another exciting vacation, ensure you have protected your home for while you are away. These tips can help keep your home and assets safe, so you can relax and enjoy your getaway.

Have someone check on things while you are away

Whether it’s a family member, neighbor or friend, arrange for someone to keep an eye on your house while you are traveling. Ask this trusted individual to drive by daily to check on the place, and consider giving them a key to feed your pets, bring in the mail or water your plants. In case of an emergency, make sure they have a copy of your itinerary and your contact information.

Get a home monitoring system

Consider investing in or upgrading your security system, as the presence of an alarm can influence a burglar’s decision to target your empty home. Plus, OKFB policyholders with an active burglar alarm may be eligible for a discount based on the type of system they have installed.

Turn off or unplug appliances and electronics

TVs, toasters and phone chargers can use electricity even when they are not in use. Before you leave for vacation, be sure to protect your belongings from power surges and save on the electric bill by turning off or unplugging these items. Make sure all lights are off when you leave your home, adjust the thermostat for your absence and unplug small appliances.

Stay off social media

Refrain from posting about your trip on social media until after your vacation is over, as this may advertise to potential burglars that your home is empty. Instead, wait until you are safely home to share photos and travel memories with your Facebook friends.

Looking for peace of mind your home is protected 365 days a year? Contact your local OKFB agent today.

Protect Your Identity with These Easy Tips

Last year, more than 1,200 security breaches exposed almost one-half million sensitive records, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, reminding us all of the importance of keeping our personal and financial information safe. Here are a few tips to help you stay on alert when it comes to data breaches, scammers and others who may put your personal information at risk:

Be smart about passwords

When establishing accounts online, create complex passwords that would be hard to guess. If possible, include capital and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Be weary of using the same password for multiple online accounts; if a breach exposes your password on one site, hackers may be able to access other accounts using that same password. When possible, sign up for two-factor authentication, which requires a second verification from you (usually via phone, email or another method) that a scammer couldn’t replicate, even if they have your login and password information.

Verify requests

It’s unlikely a major company will randomly call or email to directly request personal information. Any requests for this information that seem outside of routine communication you expect from that company should be verified. If you receive a phone call or email request for this information, turn the tables and directly call or email an official representative to verify the request, and never share social security numbers or other sensitive information via unsecure email.

Beware of unknown links

If you encounter a suspicious looking email or text, don’t open it, don’t click on any unknown links and especially don’t send funds through it. If you do open and follow through with a phishing email, your computer or smartphone may be infected with malware and your personal information and funds could be stolen. A phishing email may appear to come from an official organization, but it will often include a spoof email address, urgent language or spelling errors.

Stay vigilant

Just like for your personal safety, simply staying aware of your surroundings is helpful in protecting your financial safety. Set up fraud alerts and check statements at least monthly to monitor for any unrecognized charges. If possible, enable mobile notifications for credit card charges, so you’ll know right away if one of your accounts has become compromised online.

To learn more about how OKFB Insurance protects our customers, talk with an agent today.