Safely Sharing the Road with Motorcycles and Bicycles

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 27, 2018. It has 0 comments.

With the weather warming up, cold snaps notwithstanding, bicycles and motorcycles are being pulled out of garages and hitting the roads. We all have to share the road with each other, so it’s important to look out for anyone on two wheels.

Here are a few tips to safely share the road with bicycles and motorcycles.


When you live near a park, riding trail, or school, you’re used to seeing kids and adults on bikes more often. But after the winter, it’s easy to forget what to do so everyone stays safe. The biggest rule to remember is to slow down, especially when a bicyclist is in the bike lane on the road with you. Get into the other lane if you can or swing wide and give them a few extra feet of space.

The other thing you need to do is to pay attention. Yield to bikes in crosswalks and in school zones. If they’re turning too, let them go first. When you’re making a turn, look closely for bikes. Younger riders don’t always think about the potential danger and will zip right across a street. If you turn at the same time, the results could be catastrophic.


If motorcycles make you a bit nervous, you’re not alone. Because they’re smaller and are sometimes ridden at high speeds, it’s hard to know where they are or what they’ll do next. Because they’re so small, though, even a safe rider can get into a nasty accident. Always physically check your blind spots before changing lanes. Sometimes the only way to see anyone, car or motorcycle, is by turning your head instead of relying on your mirrors.

Riders, even when wearing a helmet, are extremely vulnerable out on the road. Stay at least four seconds behind a motorcycle on the road so that you have time if traffic comes to an abrupt stop or if there’s a sudden turn. Also, take your time when turning in front of a motorcycle. Make sure they truly are turning the other way or coming to a stop. Sometimes, they’re heading at you full speed and may not catch themselves in time.

The easiest way to keep everyone safe on the road is to stay patient. Slow down, keep your eyes open, and try not to be in as big of a hurry as you might normally be. The worst accidents happen when drivers are in a rush.

Even with precautions, accidents still happen. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have plenty of auto insurance that can cover you in almost any situation. Increase your liability limits in case you’re at fault for an accident. When people get hurt on bicycles or motorcycles, injuries are expensive. Sadly, death is a real possibility. Make sure you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, too, in case someone else is at fault for the accident. In North Carolina, motorcycle riders are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, but that may not be enough in a big accident.

Do your part to make the roads a safer place, but also make sure you’re protected in an accident. Contact Charlotte Insurance today to check your auto insurance coverage or get a quote for a new policy.

Protecting your Home from Flooding

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 22, 2018. It has 0 comments.

Anywhere it rains, it can flood. You don’t have to live right on the coast or near on a lake to be in danger of flooding. We can’t always prevent flooding from impacting our home, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to prevent as much damage as possible.

Here are a few ways to protect your home from flood damage.


It sounds simple but it’s one of the most overlooked precautions you can take. Well-functioning gutters move water away from your home. Dirty, clogged gutters don’t, which leads to erosion, basement flooding, and even foundation damage.


Retaining walls are designed to hold soil in place and prevent erosion. They’re commonly used to build flower beds, but they can also deter some flood water and act as a barrier between your home and rising water. You can DIY it with supplies from a local home improvement store or hire someone to do it for you.


Many driveways are made of conventional asphalt or concrete pavement blocks. They look nice, but they’re awful for flooding because they don’t allow water to seep into the ground. Consider permeable pavement, paving stones, grass pave, or gravel instead to give excess water a place to go.


A sump pump is designed to divert water away from your home. It kicks on once the ground water rises to a certain level. While it can’t take on all flooding situations, it can prevent minor floods from causing extensive and expensive damage.


When we think of flood damage, we usually imagine gutted homes needing new drywall, studs, and all new furniture. But HVAC units are vulnerable even in minor flooding. Move your HVAC unit to higher ground or install it on an elevated platform to keep it safe from rising waters and prevent an expensive repair or replacement later.


Now that spring has arrived, you may be ready to get out into the yard and work. This year, do a few things differently to guard against flooding. Use more mulch which can absorb some excess water. Dig swales, or depressions, around your yard to channel stormwater runoff away from your home. Put a rain barrel under your gutter downspout to catch water and reduce basement flooding.


If buying a new home is on your list this year, protect yourself from flooding by finding out what kind of flood risk the property you’re looking at has. Remember, it can flood anywhere, but if you’re considering a home that floods during every rainstorm, you might want to look elsewhere. Check FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps and ask the sellers or neighbors about flooding.


Your standard North Carolina home insurance policy does not protect you from flooding. When even your best efforts fail, and your home floods, you need a policy that will help you repair and rebuild. And yes, even if you’re outside of high risk areas, you still need coverage. There’s a 30 day waiting period before it goes into effect so buying it sooner rather than later is always best. If you’re buying a new home in a high risk area with a federally-backed mortgage lender, the waiting period is waived when you purchase your home.

Flood insurance policies are backed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and you can purchase a policy through your independent insurance agent. At Charlotte Insurance, we want to help you protect what matters most. Call us today for a flood insurance policy quote.

How Seasonal Workers can Impact your Business

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 20, 2018. It has 0 comments.

The weather is warming up, spring has nearly sprung, and people are doing more outside of their home again. Is this your business’s busy time of the year? If so, hiring a few seasonal workers may be a great way to help you get through it. Before you hire anyone, there are a few things you need to know first.


If your seasonal workers are classified as employees, meaning they work directly for you, all labor laws apply. This includes the requirements and regulations governing harassment and discrimination as well as workplace health and safety. You also have to follow minimum wage and overtime pay requirements as well as recordkeeping and child labor laws. Keep your seasonal hires by the books to avoid any problems later.


An employee, seasonal or not, reports directly to you or your business and works for you. You have control over their schedule as well as the type of work they do for you. When someone is an employee, you’re required to provide unemployment benefits, withhold social security and Medicare taxes from their pay, and provide workers compensation coverage.

An independent contractor or freelancer works with you, not for you. They set their own hours and you hire them to do specific tasks for which they’re paid based on rates you negotiate. But they aren’t subject to the same policies or requirements you have for your employees. You also don’t have to provide unemployment or workers’ comp or withhold social security or Medicare from their pay.


Because you’re saving money with a seasonal worker by not having to pay benefits, it may be tempting to save even more and offer lower pay than you normally would. It’s better to offer the same amount you’d pay any other new hire, especially if it’s a competitive wage. When you pay more, you tend to have more applicants to choose from in the hiring process. This lets you pick the absolute best people who are worth the extra money.


Offering competitive pay isn’t the only way to get good candidates. You can work with a staffing agency who will look for people who match exactly what you need. What you spend in fees is more than made up for with the time you save and the speed in which they can fill your open positions. Whether you use a staffing agency or you do the hiring yourself, check references and hire the best people you can find. They may only be seasonal workers but poor employees can hurt your reputation with your customers and your business will suffer.

If this is the year you hire seasonal workers to get you through the busy season, make sure you do it right. Not only will it help your business grow and succeed, it’ll keep you out of legal and financial hot water later.

Once you make the decision for your first seasonal hire, contact Charlotte Insurance so we can make sure you have the right kind and amount of business insurance coverage.

A (Digital) Spring Cleaning

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 15, 2018. It has 0 comments.

Spring is a great time to clean your home, and it might be the first type of spring cleaning that comes to mind. But it’s also important to clean and organize your digital life, too — especially with data breaches and identity theft becoming so rampant.

If, by some miracle, you weren’t one of the 140-plus million Americans impacted by the Equifax data breach, the odds are good you’ll be caught up in one eventually. Identity theft, stolen data, and viruses happen all the time.

Keep yourself and your family a little safer this year with a digital spring cleaning.


Just like you organize your home during your annual spring cleaning, you can organize and secure your digital life, too.

Check your internet router. Make sure the password is strong and that your name or address aren’t used as part of the router’s name. A weak password can be hacked, and your name/address give away too much personal information.

Turn on two-step authentication/verification wherever possible. Some online accounts like bank accounts, social media, and email programs give you the option to use two-step authentication to login. You enter your ID and password, and then enter in a special code that you receive as the second step. This makes sure it’s really you logging in to the account.

Have a better password system. Every account you use should have it’s own password. Yes, it’s a hassle but if a hacker figures out your password, they can only get into that one site. With the same password for everything, they can go wherever they want. Also, make your password longer and use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Keep a written list, in a secure place, so you don’t have to try and remember all those passwords.


Viruses and malware might enter through an email or because you went to a compromised website, but once they get in your equipment and files, things get worse.

  • Update software. Many new updates are done to fix security issues. Using the old, outdated version makes you vulnerable. This includes operating systems, web browsers, apps, and document readers.
  • Delete unused apps on your mobile device. If you’re not using them, let them go. Check how your remaining apps use location services, camera, microphone, and Bluetooth. Turn those things off if you’re not using them in the app.
  • Unsubscribe to emails you don’t read or want.
  • Delete or archive old emails. Clean up your inbox and get rid of what you don’t need anymore.
  • Delete or archive old files. Get rid of any duplicates or things you haven’t thought about in years.
  • Backup the data on your computer and keep it backed up regularly. You can save it to the cloud or on an external drive.
  • Empty the trash/recycle bin on your computer and other devices to permanently delete old files.
  • Get rid of old electronic devices safely. It’s not enough to wipe the data. The memory card/hard drive needs to be destroyed too. Make sure you’re dropping off old equipment at a facility that does that.


While you’re securing your digital life, take a few minutes for some social media cleaning.

  • Check your privacy settings and make sure you’re not sharing information you don’t want people (especially strangers) to know.
  • Update your information to current details or to remove info you don’t want anyone to know.
  • Delete old images that you’d rather not have available to the public.
  • Unfriend people you don’t know or haven’t met. Sometimes we friend or follow people just because, but we have no idea who they are, giving them access to our personal lives.

With the world becoming more digital every moment, there’s no way to prevent every attempt at identity theft or hacking. But that doesn’t mean we have to make it easy on anyone. Skip your home spring cleaning for a weekend and focus on your digital life to better protect yourself and your family. When you want to protect your home and family with a good insurance policy that fits your budget, contact us at Charlotte Insurance.

National Nutrition Month: Encourage Workplace Wellness By Promoting Healthy Habits on and off the Job

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 13, 2018. It has 0 comments.

You know that your employees’ health impacts their ability to work. When they get sick, they can’t come in — or they come in and productivity suffers. In office environments, a lot of people are sedentary and don’t always eat as healthy as they should. Accidents happen and people get sick.

March is National Nutrition Month, and this is a great time to encourage healthier habits in the workplace. Your employees will be healthier and happier as a result. Here are a few ways to promote healthy habits on and off the job.


Instead of the potluck of creamy or fried foods, plan a healthy food event instead. Encourage everyone to bring their favorite healthy dish. People can try new foods and swap recipes to try at home.


Create a workplace challenge to see who can eat more fruits and vegetables or see who can try the most different types in a given timeframe – at work or at home. To make this easy for them, replace snacks in the breakroom with healthier options.


Whether you try the challenge and enjoy it or you just want to give your employees better options, you can start with the breakroom. Replace the junk in the vending machine with fruit bars. Put fruit bowls on the tables filled with apples and bananas or stash grapes and other fruit in the refrigerator.


Afterwork drinks can be fun but it’s not always the healthiest option. To help employees create healthier habits, start or encourage your employees to start a fitness group that meets after work. They’ll get some exercise in and, with fruit in the breakroom, may eat healthier.


Hand out coupons or small gift cards to healthy restaurants and grocery stores. You can do this as a reward system for participating in events or just because. Making it free or inexpensive to eat healthier may be all the encouragement some people need.


Invite in a dietician or nutritionist to educate your employees about eating healthy. This could be a table set up to offer advice or answer questions. You can plan a healthy lunch with a seminar on healthy nutrition — like buying fruits and vegetables on a budget. Or plan a demo and teach your employees how to cook healthier recipes.

Happy, healthy employees are more productive, are absent less, and are often less likely to make mistakes – which can lead to reduced insurance premiums.

Preventing Heat Stress in Restaurants

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 8, 2018. It has 0 comments.

Ask anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant at the height of summer, and they’ll tell you the kitchen gets molten hot. You’ve known it since before you bought your current restaurant. It’s the nature of the business. As a restaurant owners, it’s important to take proper precautions in your own kitchens to avoid heat stress among your employees. When you do, you avoid unnecessary accidents, illnesses, and workers’ comp claims.


Heat stress occurs when someone is exposed to high heat and humidity far beyond their own tolerance. The impact can be as mild as a heat rash, become more severe with heat exhaustion, or end in a heat stroke or even death. Too much exposure to heat and poor indoor air quality can make employees extremely sick. Signs of heat stress can vary but all should be cause for alarm.

  • Loss of focus and concentration
  • Unable to perform their typical duties
  • Irritable
  • Feeling sick or nauseous
  • No desire to drink fluids
  • Fainting
  • If not treated, death.


You can’t make the heat go away in the kitchen, of course, but you can minimize the risk to your employees.

  • If possible, install an air-conditioned hood. This is an expensive fix for most restaurants and requires extra cooking effort in the winter, but it can be a lifesaver during the summer.
  • Make sure employees stay hydrated. Keep plenty of water or Gatorade available for kitchen staff throughout their shift, not just during meal breaks.
  • Don’t mind if someone spends a few extra minutes in the walk-in coolers. During the warm months, you’ll probably notice that it’s much cleaner as everyone wants some time in there.
  • Rotate grill or stove duty as often as you can. You can do this within a shift or over the course of a few days. Give people a break from the extra heat.
  • Encourage employees to put cool moist towels around their neck. Pop them in the freezer to get nice and cold and then use them to cool off while working over the grill.
  • Create a solid system of work and rest cycles so everyone gets a break from the heat for a while. Encourage hydration during this time.
  • Be on the lookout for symptoms of heat stress. Everyone should know what it looks like and what to do if someone gets sick. Have a plan in case the worst happens.


Coming down with heat exhaustion or heat stroke could land an employee in the hospital. In the meantime, they may unintentionally cause an accident. It all leads to one place — a workers’ compensation claim. Have too many and your insurance costs will go through the roof.

Avoid all of that with prevention. Make sure your employees have what they need, and train them in proper safety techniques. They can’t avoid the heat of the kitchen, but they don’t have to get sick from it, either.

Looking for a new, more affordable workers’ comp insurance policy? Have questions about your current insurance coverage or looking for ways to save? Contact Charlotte Insurance today. We’re here to help.