Fire safety, insurance and financial tips assist consumers all year long
NASHVILLE – A new school year is traditionally a hectic time for educators, parents and students. To assist consumers, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) is sharing education tips from our divisions to remind Tennesseans to stay focused on their home’s fire safety, insurance coverage and financial planning all year long.
“The start of a new school year is a good opportunity to take an assessment of your home’s fire safety as well as your insurance coverage and financial planning,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “By following these tips, consumers can gain greater peace of mind during the school year and beyond. Consumers who have questions should remember they can contact our divisions via our website, email or by phone and our team will assist them.”
HOME FIRE SAFETY
- Working smoke alarms. Most fire fatalities occur at night while victims are sleeping. Working smoke alarms can alert a home’s sleeping residents and increase the chances of survival by giving residents more time to escape a house fire. The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office’s (SFMO) “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” program provides working smoke alarms to participating fire departments and outreach partners. To date, 314 lives have been documented as saved by smoke alarms installed through this program. Need working smoke alarms? Contact your local fire department and ask if they participate in “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!”
- Create and practice a fire escape plan. During a fire, just a few seconds can be the difference between life and death. The SFMO urges residents to create a home fire escape plan that has a designated meeting place outside a home and practice the plan at least twice a year with everyone who lives in the home. To aid consumers, the SFMO has created a home fire safety tip sheet with escape grid and instructions.
- Close the door. A closed door can hinder flames and smoke from spreading to other rooms and can help deprive a fire of the oxygen it needs to grow, limiting the structural damage a fire can cause and, most importantly, saving lives. In fact, closing doors to quarantine a fire is a common technique used by firefighters that homeowners should always remember. Closing a bedroom door can stop the spread of fire in a home allowing time to find alternate escape routes or shelter in place until help arrives. To learn more fire safety tips, visit tn.gov/fire today.
- Review your coverage. A lot can happen in a year’s time. That’s why it’s important for consumers to conduct an annual assessment of your family’s insurance coverage to assess if you have enough coverage or not. Review your policy with your licensed Tennessee insurance agent to ensure your coverage adequately meets your needs.
- Make a home inventory. Creating an annual home inventory should be an important part of every homeowner’s to-do list when it comes to emergency preparedness. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ new Home Inventory App makes it easy for consumers to make a safe, secure record of their home’s contents in the event they ever need to file an insurance claim after an emergency.
- Teen drivers. When adding a teenage driver to your insurance policy, consider revising your coverage and deductibles. Review your current deductibles to determine whether you can afford to absorb a larger portion of your loss in the event of an accident. Raising the deductible and allowing the teen to drive your oldest vehicle can help lower your costs.
- File a complaint. Tennessee insurance consumers who were unfairly denied a claim or who have questions about their policies should contact TDCI’s Consumer Insurance Services team at (615) 741-2218 or 800-342-4029 or visit tn.gov/commerce.
- Make a plan. Regardless of your age or life situation, creating a sound financial investment/savings plan is among the most important decisions that Tennesseans can make when it comes to their future. Get started by estimating your income and expenses. Then set short-term and long-term financial goals. Finally, determine what you have to save in order to reach those goals.
- Do your research. Make sure you know who you’re dealing with when investing. Research all aspects of the company, and ensure your broker is properly licensed by checking BrokerCheck, a free tool to research the background and experience of financial brokers, advisers and firms.
- Be watchful. Monitor your bank accounts, investments and financial plan closely. As life changes, so do your financial needs and plans. Doing a quarterly or bi-annual check of your financial portfolio is a great way to ensure your profile is up-to-date and is keeping pace with your needs.
- Questions about an investment? An informed and skeptical investor is the best tool to prevent fraud. If you questions, contact TDCI’s Securities Division by phone at 615-741-2947 or 800-863-9117 (Toll Free) or by email firstname.lastname@example.org today.