Archive | November, 2011

True or false: You can still legally text even if you are stopped at red light?

Texting while at a stoplight is NOT legal!

If you answered “true”, you’re not the only one who believes so. Unfortunately, for you and for California resident Carl Nelson, the answer is “false”.

In 2009, a police officer issued Nelson a ticket after witnessing him using his cell phone at a red light. Nelson argued that despite being in a car, he was not in transit, therefore he was technically not driving while using his phone.  Nelson believed that he was not breaking any laws.

Like Nelson, many other people wonder whether the cell phone ban applies to drivers who are not in motion—that is, drivers who are stopped at a light or are stuck in gridlock freeway traffic. It might seem logical that drivers who are stopped would be able to use their phone, but the California state senate disagrees.  Unfortunately, according to a ruling just last Monday, if you are operating a running vehicle, then you are considered to be driving.

The ban on cell phone usage while driving initially took effect in 2008, and three years later the California state senate decided to further the ban by hiking up the ticket charges and fees. However, accidents caused by texting while on the road are still pervasive.

We know that the temptation to use your cellphone is great while you are stuck in gridlock on the 405, but think of the repercussions if you get pulled over! Is a $328 ticket (yes, that’s a cell phone citation after final fees!)  worth sending a text or checking your email while on the road?

And not only that, driving and texting can also hurt your insurance record. Repeat offenders will be fined up to $528, and any subsequent violations will count towards one point on the driver’s record, which could consequently increase insurance premium prices.

BMR Insurance promotes safe driving and encourages all of our readers to put their phones down while behind on the wheel, or to safely pull over on the side of the road if they feel they must take the call.  Remember, by using your cell phone while driving you are not only putting your life at risk but are also endangering the lives of others.

Need to check your auto insurance coverage? For a free 30-Minute Insurance Makeover, or any other information on coverage for home, auto or business, please call BMR Insurance Agency right away. We’ve got you covered! (714) 838-1911.

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Deep-Frying Your Turkey? Follow These Tips!

Here's an example of how to deep-fry your turkey properly.

We’ve already blogged about how kitchen fires are responsible for most residential fires, but this is a special Thanksgiving edition. Whether you’re hosting or visiting family this Thanksgiving, there’s a lot of cooking going on in Southern California. We’re hoping these simple tips will help make sure that your Black Friday has everything to do with shopping, and nothing to do with black walls in your kitchen after a cooking fire.

Even William Shatner wants to you be safe when cooking your Thanksgiving turkey in a deep-fat fryer! Check out our Facebook page for a video on how dangerous deep-frying your turkey can be, featuring the original Captain James T. Kirk himself. (And don’t forget to Like us while you’re there!)

General kitchen safety tips:

  • Be sure to keep pot handles and electrical appliance cords out of the reach of children
  • Put a lid on a pot or pan to extinguish a food or grease fire – never use water
  • If you use an extinguisher, make sure it’s the right one for kitchen/cooking fires
  • In the event of an oven fire, turn off the heat and close the oven door
  • Avoid wearing loose or baggy clothing
  • Always use potholders while working in the kitchen

Safety tips for deep-frying a turkey:

Deep-frying a turkey uses oil over an open flame, and therefore it presents several hazards. The operation must be considered hazardous from the time the flame is lit to the time the turkey is removed and the oil is cooled.

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and other material that can burn.
  • Never use on wooden decks or in garages.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Never place a frozen turkey in the fryer. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and drain off excess marinades before placing it in the pot.
  • Lower and remove the turkey carefully and slowly to avoid oil splashes or spillage.
  • Always measure the amount of oil needed and never overfill the pot. How to measure what oil you’ll need: Place the turkey in the empty pot and fill with water to just cover the turkey. Remove the turkey and use a ruler to measure the depth of the water.
  • Keep children and pets away from the fryer during and after operation.
  • Ensure a fire extinguisher rated for flammable liquids is readily available.
  • Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil during operation and keep the temperature at 350 °F (175 °C). Reduce the heat immediately if the oil begins to smoke.
  • Use heavy gloves or well-insulated potholders when touching pot or lid handles.

If you do start a fire in your home, you will be covered, but please don’t let that stop you from being careful! If you watch the video that we’ve posted on our Facebook page, you’ll see how quickly a fire can start with a turkey deep-fryer—immediately. Even if you’re using an actual turkey fryer! Do call us if you have to claim, but we’d rather you didn’t have to. Not sure if your insurance is covering you completely? Call us for a 30-Minute Insurance Makeover. It’s free: (714) 838-1911

At BMR Insurance, we know we have a lot to be thankful for. We are thankful for you, our loyal customers, our families, our friends, our health. Please be careful and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Tips to Avoid Driving Dangers on Thanksgiving

The turkey, and your family, will wait. BMR Insurance asks that you drive safely this Thanksgiving!

It’s not just about texting while driving—Thanksgiving is a day where families strive to be together to share a turkey, memories and frankly, alcohol. It has been called the most dangerous driving day of the year. No surprise—a big meal combined with alcohol can definitely cause sleepiness for even the most experienced drivers. And now with the economy, many family members will attempt to drive this year rather than fly, especially amid the rumors that airlines will be raising fares for the holidays.

Thanksgiving is already one of the busiest travel days of the year, and to add insult to injury, this year has provided some fairly crazy weather so far. What will November 24th hold in store for us this year? We had hail in Laguna Beach a few months ago, torrential rain across the county, fires started by lightning…This winter, who knows what will happen! And everyone knows that Californians have no idea how to drive in bad weather. Continue Reading →

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Beware: Space Heaters Cause Orange County Fires

Firefighters rush to save residents of an apartment complex in Buena Park that burned on Monday. Photo courtesy of O.C. Register.

Just this week there have been at least two residential fires in Orange County—after 6AM Wednesday morning, firefighters put out a blaze in a motor home near a salvage yard in Santa Ana, and sadly, a body was found inside. On Monday, an apartment fire in Buena Park was most likely was caused by a space heater; luckily, everyone survived that fire, although one woman is still being treated for extensive burns on her body. Everyone wants to save on their monthly heating bills, and people are looking to alternative sources of heat for their homes, offices and workspaces. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), home fires spike in winter months. Continue Reading →

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Manufacturers: What Do You Do When Your Product is Recalled

Do you have insurance if one of your products needs to be recalled?

Remember Toyota a few years back? All of those brake problems and people getting injured for faulty manufacturing? What about that Tylenol recall? Even with the liability issues and damage to their image and brand aside, how much do you think that product recall cost these companies? You’re right—it wasn’t cheap.

But even if you aren’t manufacturing cars, a product recall can be devastating for any company, especially in this economy. And in Orange County, we still have many areas where manufacturing is predominant: Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin, Anaheim, Lake Forest, even Huntington Beach and Irvine. Continue Reading →

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