Monthly Archives: October 2013

Fines for not removing snow and ice from a motor vehicle

remove ice and snow lawWe’ve all seen it happen.  You’re driving down the highway and up ahead is a vehicle whose roof is piled high with snow.  Within minutes the snow is flying of their roof and headed in your direction.  You switch lanes to avoid it hitting your windshield.  SNOW & ICE-it’s part of living in New England.  We need to be more careful about making sure our vehicles are clear of snow and ice, as not to potentially cause damage to other vehicles while driving.

As of October 1st, 2013 the Senate and House of Representatives passed a new law concerning just this. Below is the new law in effective, so that you are informed.


(a) The operator of any noncommercial motor vehicle, as defined in section 14-1, shall remove any accumulated ice or snow from such motor vehicle, including the hood, trunk and roof of such motor vehicle, so that any ice or snow accumulated on such vehicle does not pose a threat to persons or property while the vehicle is being operated on any street or highway of this state. Any such operator who fails to remove accumulated ice or snow that poses such a threat shall be fined seventy-five dollars and shall be deemed to have committed an infraction.

(b) If the operator of a noncommercial motor vehicle violates the provisions of subsection (a) of this section and snow or ice is dislodged from such vehicle and causes personal injury or property damage, such operator shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars but not more than one thousand dollars for each offense.

(c) On and after December 31, 2013, the operator of any commercial motor vehicle, as defined in section 14-1, shall remove any accumulated ice or snow from such motor vehicle, including the hood, trunk and roof of such motor vehicle, so that any ice or snow accumulated on such vehicle does not pose a threat to persons or property while the vehicle is being operated on any street or highway of this state. Any such operator who fails to remove accumulated ice or snow that poses such a threat shall be fined seventy-five dollars and shall be deemed to have committed an infraction.

(d) On and after December 31, 2013, if the operator of a commercial motor vehicle violates the provisions of subsection (c) of this section and snow or ice is dislodged from such vehicle and causes personal injury or property damage, such operator shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars but not more than twelve hundred fifty dollars for each offense.

(e) This section shall not apply to (1) any operator of a motor vehicle during a period of snow, sleet or freezing rain if such period began and continued during the period of the motor vehicle’s operation, or (2) any operator of a motor vehicle during the time such vehicle is parked.

Approved June 6, 2013

Keep this in mind as winter is just around the corner.  Avoid getting fined, keep your car free of snow and ice.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

Are you and your home prepared for a long, cold winter?

winter weatherThe Farmer’s Almanac has predicted frigid cold and heavy snow across the U.S. for the 2013-2014 winter seasons.  You can prevent winter-related disasters to your home with a few simple steps that can protect your home from freezing temperatures, snow and wind, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Standard homeowners policies cover winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams and wind damage caused by weight of ice or snow, as well as fire-related losses. Melting snow can inflict significant damage to property and winter storms are the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, noted the I.I.I. Winter storms caused $38 million in insured losses in 2012, according to Munich Re. An ISO study shows that from 1992-2011, winter storms resulted in about $28 billion in insured catastrophe losses (in 2011 dollars), or more than $1 billion a year on average.

Here are some steps from you can take outside and inside your home to prepare for winter.

Outside Your Home

  • Clean out gutters.
  • Install gutter guards.
  • Trim trees and remove dead branches.
  • Repair steps and handrails.
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations.

Inside Your Home

  • Keep the house warm.
  • Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces.
  • Have the heating system serviced.
  • Check pipes.
  • Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system.
  • Make sure that smoke and fire alarms are working properly.
  • Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located.
  • Hire a licensed contractor to look for structural damage.

If you are going to be away for an extended period, take special care. Turn the water off and/or have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting. Also, hire someone to check your home on a regular basis so that, if there is a problem, it can be fixed quickly, lessening any damage.

Penny Hanley and Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

Preventing Water Damage in Your Home or Business

avoid water damageWater damage to your home or business can cause a variety of issues that no one ever wants to deal with.  Our partners are Travelers has some great suggestions on preventing water damage to your home or business.

Water damage can come from different non-weather related sources, such as leaky baseboard heating, plugged air conditioning unit condensation drains, furnaces/boilers, water heaters, washing machines, and leaky plumbing.

How can you help prevent water from leaking inside your home or business?

No matter the source of damage-causing water, you can minimize or help prevent water damage from sources from within the home through home maintenance steps, including:

  • Inspect washing machine hoses annually and replace every three–five years–or immediately, if there are any signs of cracking or bulging.
  • Inspect plumbing around water heaters, showers, tubs, toilets, sinks, and dishwashers annually and repair if there are any signs of leaks or corrosion. When possible, install water heaters in an area with floor drains to help minimize damage if leaks should occur.
  • Inspect refrigerator icemaker connections, usually located behind the refrigerator, annually and replace hoses if they appear cracked or corroded.
  • Check air conditioning drain lines yearly and clean if clogged.

Also consider taking regular routine maintenance steps to help prevent water from entering your home or business, including:

  • Keep drains, gutters and downspouts clear of leaves and other debris.
  • Maintain your roof to help prevent water from seeping into your home.
  • Move downspouts minimally three feet away from the base of your home.
  • Inspect and repair foundation wall cracks.
  • Grade your landscape away from your building so water is directed away from the basement.

In addition to taking steps to help maintain your property, homeowners should also consider purchasing insurance coverage. If you have any questions, contact one of our helpful agents.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job



Trick or Treat on Main Street 2013

So instead of a blog today we decided to share with everyone our Trick or Treat on Main Street event this past Saturday.  This is the 2nd Annual Trick or Treat on Main Street, sponsored by the Main Street Business Association of Stafford Springs.  A lot of hard work and time is spent in preparation for this event.  The local Stafford Civics and Community Commission also participated with their pumpkin carving contest. With help of the local and state authorities this year they were able to have the main street shut down to make a safe and fun environment for the residents.  They also had a free raffle for the children, as well as music provided by Jeff Giglio of Studio 85.

The downtown businesses of Stafford really did a fantastic job again this year.  Here is a video we put together of the event to share with you.  We hope you enjoy.

Happy Halloween from Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Crime Prevention Month & Halloween Safety

crime prevention monthAs October is Crime Prevention Month we thought we would focus on Halloween Safety.

To ensure that trick-or-treaters, you, and your house stay safe, remember the following tips.

  • Clear your yard and sidewalk of any obstacles or decorations that may be hard to see in the dark, lest someone go bump in the night.
  • Keep your house well lighted, both inside and out; you wouldn’t want to miss any particularly good costumes, would you?
  • Ask your Neighborhood Watch or local citizen’s group to haunt (patrol) your community.
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to your police or sheriff’s department.

To make sure even the scariest costumes are safe, keep the following in mind when buying or designing one.

  • Try makeup instead of masks; it’s more comfortable and doesn’t obstruct vision the way masks can.
  • Check to ensure that costumes are flame-retardant so that young ones are safe around jack-o’-lanterns, candles, and other flames.
  • Keep costumes short to ensure that the only trip taken is the one around the neighborhood.
  • Look for brightly colored costumes, attach reflector strips to costumes and bags, and remind trick-or-treaters to carry glow sticks and flashlights.
  • If a costume involves any sort of fake weapon, make sure that it is made of a flexible material such as cardboard or foam. Or, avoid the whole problem of weapons by challenging your child to design a costume that is scary without one.

Keep in mind the next few tips to make sure your trick-or-treater’s night in the neighborhood will be safe and fun.

  • Older kids should trick-or-treat in groups; kids walking around alone are never as safe as those in groups, and especially not at night. Younger kids should be accompanied by a parent or trusted neighbor.
  • Review the route for trick-or-treating beforehand and set a time set when kids should be home. Also, have a plan if your child gets separated from his or her friends or from you.
  • Remind your children not to enter strange houses or cars.

After a successful and safe night around the neighborhood, remember that the treats still need scrutiny before anyone eats them.

  • Remind your children not to eat treats until they’ve come home. To help ensure this, feed them a meal or a substantial snack before they go out.
  • Check all treats at home in a well-lighted place. Be especially wary of anything that is not wrapped by the factory or that is no longer sealed.
  • Remind kids not to eat everything at once, lest they be green even without the makeup.

And don’t forget about Trick or Treat on Main St this Saturday, October 26th, 4-6pm.  A great safe family night.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

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Insurance: Cheaper isn’t always better

connecticut insuranceIn today’s economy we are all looking for ways to cut costs.  From our electric bills, phone bills and insurance bills.  It’s important though to realize that choosing a cheaper auto or home insurance may not always be the best decision.  Will that cheaper policy protect you properly? Will you get the service you need when you have an accident? If you have a house fire, will your claim be handled properly?  These are questions you need to stop and ask yourself when you are looking to cut costs on your insurance. You need to be educated on what insurance policy is best for your situation.

In this age of the internet many are starting to look at the numerous online insurance companies popping up, with hopes to save money. Many of these companies will offer good rates and service, but many may not. You need to do your research and analyze your needs.

But it’s not just about the rates.

Looking for the right insurance shouldn’t be just about the cost.  You have to consider the service that comes with that cheaper policy.

Having a trusted insurance agent that provides you quality service when you have a claim, knows their customers personally and educates you on what policies are best for your situation is what may make the difference for you. So you need to consider what you need as the insured.  Are you looking for just the cheapest price or online convenience or are you looking for service, knowledge and choices? Your local agents know the need to have convenience online and many now have the option for you to get fast quotes right from their websites but are still available at a local office as well.

Another thing to consider is location.  Having a local insurance agent may be what you want.  A local office that you can stop into when you have questions vs. sitting on hold waiting for your call to be answered.

We know everyone needs to save money somewhere, but choosing the wrong auto or home policy may cost you more in the longer run. When considering your options, feel free to give Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance a call and we will be happy to educate you on the many options available to you.


Don’t be a Distracted Driver

distracted drivingWe live in an era where we move quickly through our days, multi-tasking trying to get all we can squeeze into a 12 hour period.  But we can’t allow ourselves the same distractions when we are driving.  We need to find a way to not worry about the phone ringing or the emails coming through and fiddling with the radio station.  These are all distractions that can cause an accident in a split second. My experience yesterday has brought this even closer to my attention. As a pedestrian trying to cross in the crosswalk, the car approaching distracted by his phone and doesn’t see me.  I pull back closer to the sidewalk trying to avoid getting hit.  He continues on like I wasn’t even there. Had I not reacted so quickly I would have been the victim of distracted driving.

Our focus needs to be driving, not all the distractions around us.  Yes it’s seems difficult, but if you think back even 10 years we didn’t have half the distractions we have now, mainly our smart phones.  Regardless of the laws of no texting while driving and hands free talking, we are still doing it.  I see it daily walking just from my home to work daily. People with their phone to their ear, fiddling to try and answer it, and trying to text while driving.  It’s down right scary when you think about it.  Our eyes are not on the road.  We can’t put all the blame on the teenagers, as the adults are just as guilty.  We need to be the one’s that are role models for our children and show them the importance of safe driving.

So let’s stop and think for a few seconds next time the phone rings, or a text comes through your phone.  Is it so urgent to return that text or call, that you could potentially kill someone or yourself?  Really it’s not.  Let’s set a good example for our children and teach them how important it is to drive safely.

Don’t be a distracted driver. Make a pledge to yourself and family to not answer the phone or text while driving.

Protecting YOU is our Job

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance