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There are two basic types of smoke detectors on the market, ionization and photoelectric.  Sometimes the two are combined into one smoke detector.  This doesn’t exactly mean that it is the best. (ie. in placing a detector close to a kitchen, you may opt for ionization only).   You should know the difference and decide which smoke alarm is best for each room.
According to the National Fire Protection Association the technological breakdown between ionization and photoelectric is as the following:
Ionization detectors tend to work better with flame fires.  The detector has a very small amount of radioactive material that floats between two electrically charged plates.  When smoke from the fire enters the the space between the plates, the ions are reduced which sets the alarms off.

Photoelectric detectors tend to work better with smoldering fires.  A light is set within the detector which aims at a sensor.  Once the smoke enters the detector, it interferes with the light which causes a break in the communication to the sensor in turn setting the alarm into action.

Unfortunately you are unable to predict which type of fire has potential to break out and thus it is recommended that you have both types of alarms installed in your home.  

Placing smoke detectors and keeping them up to date does not have to be challenging.
The NFPA recommends that we place smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, to have them on every level of the home as well as the basement.  Be cautious of placing a smoke detector too close to the kitchen as cooking can set them off quite easily.  You may want to consider a ionization detector near the kitchen as cooking can lend to ‘safe’ smoke which cooking.  

According to the US Fire Administration (USFA), it is recommended that smoke detectors be replaced every ten years and batteries changed twice a year.

A tip in remembering to swap your smoke detector out every ten years is to take a marker and write the date you installed it to the ceiling.  You can also make a reminder in your smart phone to change the batteries twice a year and set those reminders repeat yearly.

To stay on the safe side, do not remove the smoke detector when beeping.  This problem is usually solved by changing the batteries, swapping an old smoke detector out or changing the location of detector in your home.  The beeping sound can also occur when the power to your home is restored after an outage.  Note: the chirping sound is typically need of fresh batteries.

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The roaring ten-alarm, six-alarm and 5 alarm fires that broke out in Massachusetts over the past month serves an eye opener for those without home or renters insurance.  The holiday season will be very difficult for all the displaced people facing these hardships.

What happened:
Cambridge:
On December 3rd a massive ten-alarm blazing fire broke out in Cambridge just before 3:00pm and ripped through the neighborhood claiming 16 buildings.  The raging fire rolled through an entire row of vehicles as well.  Approximately 125 people have been displaced from this blaze.  “To me, that’s nothing short of a miracle,” said Assistant Fire Chief Gerry Mahoney.  “If that fire had been in the middle of the night, it would be an whole different story.”  

Charlestown:
In the early morning of December 16th a 6 alarm fire engulfed a 3 story building.  No one was injured and twenty people were displaced.  The arctic temperatures filled the air making the efforts of the firefighters challenging as the steam was easily confused with smoke.

The North End:
A five alarm fire broke out early Christmas morning at approximately 4:15 am.  No residents were injured though two firemen sustained minor injuries. There were six residents in the building that made it out safely.

Thankfully all fires occurred in the early morning and daytime, had it been nightfall there may have been devastation in loss of life.  


Why are home and renters insurance so important?
No one expects tragedy to strike, and when it does, you want to have been as prepared as possible, especially since house fires increase in winter.   According to CAFA “During winter months, heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires.  About two-thirds of home heating fire deaths are caused by portable or fixed space heaters.”  Other common causes leading to house fires include deep fryers, candles, unattended cooking and Christmas trees.


People have come together to help others this holiday season.
Cambridge:
Mayor E. Denise Simmons launched a fundraiser for the displaced families with the goal of 500,000 and they have already exceeded the goal.  
Not all survivors of the fire had insurance so this money will be needed for day to day needs being clothes, food and shelter.
Two places to donate for Cambridge:
1: https://www.gofundme.com/cambridge-mayors-fire-relief-fund?ssid=841990250&pos=1
2: http://www.Cambridgema.gov/firefund

 Please be safe and call A-Affordable Insurance for a free renters or homeowners quote.
1-800-89 SAVES

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U Drive  -  U Text  -  U Pay

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A new Massachusetts campaign has been launched April 8th, 2016 and running until April 29th.
Texting while driving had been outlawed in Massachusetts September 30th, 2010.  Ticketing texting violators had been somewhat on a back burner and assigned mainly towards teenagers until now.  Accidents have increased greatly and Massachusetts has deemed texting to be a cause they would like to address for ultimate safety for all citizens while on the road.

Offenses and Fines:
Adults:  The law stands that no driver should be on their phone texting, writing or sending a message or simply browsing the internet.  Should the driver be stopped at a traffic light, they are still held liable and fined just the same.
1st Offense:  $100 fine
2nd Offense:  $250 fine
3rd and subs offense:  $500 fine

Juveniles:  
1st offense: $100 fine, license suspended for 60 days, and the driver is required to complete a driver attitudinal course.  
2nd offense:  $250 fine and license suspended for180 days
3rd or subs offense:  $500 fine and one year license suspension

ie. Massachusetts teen, Aaron Deveau was found guitly in the vehicular homicide of Donald Bowley in 2011. He was sentenced two years to prison and will serve one. In addition, his license had been suspended for 15 years.
Please read A-Affordable blog posted in August 2012.

Photo compliments of The Boston Herald:
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Bus Drivers: Bus drivers can be fined $500 for using their cell phones while driving.  Bus drivers are not permitted to use their phones in either hands-free or handheld manors.  
ie. On an early Sunday May 18th, 2014 an MBTA bus crashed into a guardrail hospitalizing 7 people.

Photo compliments of CBS local.

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Please click to read the Distracted Driving Law.


Jeff Larason Director of The Safety Bureau.  Quote compliments of Boston.com
“It's a big problem, across the country in the past year, the crash rates have been increasing.  It’s very likely that the increasing levels of distraction on the vehicle are a big part of that.”

Statistics:
National Safety Council has stated that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
According to USA Today, 1 out of every 4 car accident in US is caused by texting while driving. 
According to Alcohol Problems and Solutions, texting is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
The CDC reports that each day in the US over 8 people are killed and 1061 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

According to DRIVING LAWS, published by NOLO, Massachusetts text messaging and cell phone laws are considered ‘primary’ laws.  A primary law means that an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness some other violation.

 

Stay on the safe side.

DO NOT WRITE, READ, OR SEND from your phones. 

It is dangerous and can place you, your loved ones, your neighbors & strangers at great risk.


  

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Holiday season is upon us which means we will be spending quality time with friends and family while eating delicious food.  Holiday season also notes that it’s wintertime and, as we all know, weather can play quite a large role in our lives.
There is much to check in on for the seasons to run smoothly.  


In order to make winter slide by with ease, A-Affordable Insurance Agency has created a checklist that can help you to weather the season.  Simply use this A-Affordable checkoff list in order to keep your home and autos in tip top shape so you can spend you time and money on more important holiday items.


A-Affordable Winter Wonderland List:

1st and most important, make sure that your auto and renters/homeowners policies are up to date.  You can accomplish this by calling your local agent to review your payment information.  Feel free to save time and learn how to make payments online and over the phone.
double check details of your policy and be confident that you have the level of coverage you desire.  You may want to consider adding collision and comprehensive should you not already have these options on your policy.  Veterans of the northeast are well aware of the effects of snow, sleet and hail can do a number on autos and homes!

Auto (according to CarCare.org)
-check tires treads and tire pressure
-keep up to date with fluids (antifreeze)
-check your batteries and make sure they are functional.
-check your brakes
-check your exhaust system for leaks
-make sure your heater and wipers are functinal
-do not leave your auto with a low gas tank to sit through winter.  It is best to have more than 1/4 tank of gas in your tank.
-keep jumper cables in you vehicle through winter.

Home (according to Houzz.com
-check that your gutters are cleaned out and free from blockage
-for those that have attics, make sure they are well insulated and have the appropriate amount of ventilation
-consider purchasing a roof rake.
-remove snow in it’s fresh stage.  It becomes difficult to remove when the fluffy stage changes to a thick ice.
-keep pipes from cracking by running water.
-know where the trees are around your home.
-keep paths clear after a fresh snow.
-keep your heating system running.  The more you shut it off and on, they higher your bill.  
-canned foods and water in case of a blizzard.
-hot chocolate, candles and comic books.


According to Property Casualty 360, there tends to be an increase in house fires during wintertime.  Between Christmas trees and increase in fireplace usage, the lighting of candles and high usage of space heaters, wintertime has proven to have an increased number in household fires.
If you do not already have renters or homeowners insurance, we urge you to call for a free quote and start a policy immediately.  Renters Insurance is fairly inexpensive and can have your back in an unexpected situation.  

The best way to welcome winter is to take the time to be prepared.  A-Affordable Insurance Agency is ready to help you with all your insurance needs.  Please give a call and our friendly staff will be more than happy to assist you.

1-800-89 SAVES     |     Have a WONDERFUL winter!

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Superstorm Sandy Three Years Later

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Superstorm Sandy- Three Years Later.
As Hurricane Joaquin took aim at New Jersey in the beginning of October, we reflect on the travesty that took place three years ago.

It is amazing - as some look back, many are still looking forward to the unbelievable damage that Superstorm Sandy had created three years ago.  Vice, media coverage via documentaries and news stories, released an episode on reasons superstorms may originate from as well as the status of New Jersey. Click here to check our the episode.

One of the greatest problems the victims of Hurricane Sandy attained was the sheer magnitude of the storm.  When a storm at such an incredible size strikes, all forces are stressed beyond their means.  The police and firemen are pulled in too many directions in assisting citizens.  When a storm like Sandy side swipes an area, it is up to the neighboring cities and states to bring relief.  

So many challenges are faced in the eye of tragedy and basic needs are just the start.
The levels of stress are so high in each town with justified reasons.  Once basic needs are attained and the locals begin to manage on a day to day basis, the next major need then becomes INSURANCE INSURANCE INSURANCE- and the most important question... When does it kick in?

With so many people effected in one main area, insurance companies have much to do in order to release finances to their policyholders.  The insurance companies become strained as estimates must be collected and evaluations of the devastation accumulated which places the victim in a holding pattern.  And to make things worse, the toughest of all insurance topics is FLOOD insurance.  Many agents are not well versed in flood and the policyholders are not even sure the level of coverage they have purchased.  This causes serious confusion and yet another level of stress.

When A-Affordable Insurance Agency first heard of the tragic news, we knew we were close enough to help and large enough, as an agency, to effect.  A-Affordable is a family based business and stands by our employees, customers and now neighboring states in times of trouble.  A-Affordable has eleven locations across Massachusetts and thousands upon thousands of customers along with three box trucks.  We knew that we had the resources to help and so it had begun.  

Social media had become a greatest resource in reaching locals who wanted to help fill the box trucks with donations.  We mainly utilized facebook, twitter, and instagram.  Many employees and customers stepped up and brought so many donations helping us to stay connected to our communities and one another.  The owners of A-Affordable Insurance Agency were extrelemy generous in offering finances, donations, the use of their box trucks and paid for trip to help us deliver.

I was to drive the first completely loaded box truck on Saturday December 22nd to a church in Brooklyn on Clinton Street.  Due to traffic and the height of the box truck, I was unable to get to the church by the requested time to drop off donations and so I was sent to a second location.  I parked and found a hotel for the night since it was too late to drop any donations at any location.  

Come early morning I met at the second drop spot which was an empty restaurant which was to one day be coffeehouse.  The owner was kind enough to donate the space and put off his business to help the community.  When I arrived on the scene, I introduced myself and explained that I had some donations.  They were kind to ask if I needed help with the boxes.  “Yes”, I replied. “Can I drive my truck around the front?”  Once I opened the back, they were in shock and extremely thankful.  It took six volunteers to help empty the truck and we filled one entire room in the restaurant.  

The craziest part to this story was that the original drop spot I was supposed to unload at the previous day had a fire in the church early that morning...all our donations would have been in that church had I not gotten so lost and shown up on time.  We were all in disbelief and very thankful for my knack for getting turned around on those New York roads.

A-Affordable is honored to have assisted one of the many effected neighborhoods of New Jersey in such a time of tragedy.  We wish the victims of Superstorm Sandy safety, health and continued recovery from such a difficult time.

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Ride-Sharing & The Unknown Territories.

Let’s start with the breakdown of what ride-sharing actually is!
Ride-Sharing is the exchange of a ride for money without involvement of business... ie. a taxi service.  
The next question is logical.  How does the driver find the person needing the ride?  There are apps that help facilitate people finding one another for ride-sharing.  
With that said, where does insurance come in?

One HUGE problem with ride-sharing is insurance coverage... and the lack there of!
Many people ride-share and are unaware of the consequences they will attain in the unlikely event of an accident.  There are two aspects to insurance when it comes to ride-sharing. 1- your personal policy  2- service policies provided for ride-sharing.
Things to consider with YOUR PERSONAL POLICY:
1- If you are involved in an accident and your ride-sharing app is in the ON position, there is a good chance that you will NOT be covered by your personal policy.
(if you are in an accident and the app is on because you forgot to turn it off...your insurance company won’t cover your accident. -ALWAYS TURN THE APP OFF WHEN NOT USING IT!)
2- Most insurance companies will not cover any damage or loss when your vehicle is used for any form of Ride-Sharing.
3- In the unlikely event of an accident when ride-sharing, expect your personal insurance rate to increase.

Things to consider with a Ride-Sharing Service Policy:
1- Ride-Sharing polices are set up with substantial gaps in coverage which leads the owner responsible for the damages.  
2- There is no urgency when processing a claim due to the fact that the ride-sharing policy will be delayed in assisting while awaiting your personal policy to deny the claim.
3- Insurance limits vary and will possibly bellower than needed.
4- There is a chance less coverage is attained due to the fact that the app was in the ON position.

LISTEN- when it comes down to is, there are many dangerous distractions that come into play for a ride-sharing driver.  Not only must the take the wheel and get you from point A to point B, they are also addressing the GPS, locating passengers and looking for the next ride to pick up all while navigating unfamiliar roads.  

So as you can see, this can be a pretty dangerous endeavor.  Play it safe if you are going to play the game.  Check into your insurance and ask your agents questions about coverage if you choose to be a part of the Ride-Sharing Services.  Make sure that the app is in the off position when you are not participating in the Ride-Sharing Service.  Don’t be left in the dark on this...it could cost you BIGTIME!

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A-Affordable would like to offer some simple steps that can keep you far from this dangerous flu. It is important to take proactive steps towards keeping your home and vehicle sanitary, as these are the places that you spend a great deal of time.

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Help
A-Affordable fill 3 box trucks with donations and we will drive them to the towns of New York that NEED our neighborly help!

Make sure to check out our facebook page and BLOG as well as website for updates!
Please drop off all donations to any of our ten locations. The trucks will take their Relief Run on the weekend of Dec 22nd and DELIVERED BY 25th. Please have all donations delivered to any A-Affordable location by December 20th.

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It is that time again. Tomorrow we will gather around the table with family and friends. We will break bread, enjoy libations, talk of good times.... and then, most likely,some turkey is going to open his or her mouth and ignite the fire.

Yes, we are talking about family and friend feuding at the Thanksgiving Table!

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Taking care of Earth is a lot like taking care of our own bodies... if we choose not to, we will breakdown. Here are some tips that will help you to become more proactive with the safety of our planet.