Winter Maintenance for Your Home and Auto

Winter Maintenance for Your Home and Auto

During the winter months, snow, sleet, ice, and freezing temperatures can really take a toll on your home and vehicle. Fortunately, there are some relatively easy things you can do to help protect your car and home from any serious damage from the effects of winter weather.


Winter Home Maintenance Tips:

  1. Check Your Pipes

Colder winter temperatures can cause frozen pipes in your home which has the potential to cause major damage. So, it’s important to make sure your home is properly heated and you take the necessary steps to prevent your pipes from bursting.

  1. Clean the Gutters

Remove all leaves and debris that have collected in gutters. This allows water from rain, snow, and ice run off to properly drain away from your home. Not only will this extend the life of the gutters, it also helps protect the foundation of your home.

  1. Seal Windows and Cracks

Drafts from cool air from outside can cause your heating bill to skyrocket.  If the cold air is getting in, that means the warm air is getting out. Heated air escaping your home may create an ice dam on your roof! Make sure you seal all cracks and leaks (especially in the attic), windows, and doors with caulk or weather stripping. And, don’t forget to cover air conditioning units.

  1. Winterize or Cover All Outdoor Items

Disconnect and drain hoses for winter storage and install a faucet cover to protect from freezing. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure it’s properly winterized. Place any lawn equipment or patio furniture in a safe place where they will not be harmed by weather – or critters looking to make a warm home for winter.

  1. Clean the Fireplace

Fireplaces and chimneys should be cleaned and inspected by a professional once a year before use. Blocked or dirty chimneys cause millions of dollars in damages annually. To prevent a house fire, follow these chimney safety tips. Don’t forget to make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.


Winter Auto Maintenance Tips

  1. Do Routine Maintenance

In cold weather tire pressure decreases. With every 10 degree drop in temperature, tires lose about a pound of pressure. Be sure to monitor and adjust tire pressure regularly. Additionally, batteries lose power and motor-oil thickens up, so it is important to get your car fully serviced and inspected before extended periods of cooler temperatures.

  1. Make Necessary Changes

 You don’t want to get stuck in the snow and ice, so it’s a good idea to check road conditions before getting behind the wheel. Consider switching to snow tires or using tire chains. If you have a new driver at home, be sure to help them get acclimated to the differences in the way the vehicle handles in winter weather conditions.  

  1. Keep Fuels Full

Keep coolant (anti-freeze) and gasoline as full as possible. The more gasoline in your tank, the less water can get in and freeze. This is beneficial, especially if you get stuck. Coolant will help your engine from freezing up and prevent corrosion. It is recommended to use a 50/50-mix of anti-freeze and water.

  1. Invest in a Winter Wiper Fluid

During the winter you need a wiper fluid that will not only keep your windshield clean, but will also help it defrost. A  De-Icer wiper fluid is designed specifically for winter, removes frost and ice quickly, and protects against freezing down to -27 degrees F. Of course, make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and replace if needed.

  1. Have an Emergency Kit

Even with maintenance and taking every safety precaution, you can’t predict the unpredictable. That is why you should keep an emergency kit full of helpful supplies with you in your car at all times. The kit should include a flashlight, blanket, lighter, food, water, windshield scraper, wireless charger, and other supplies you would need to survive for an extended period of time.


Related Articles:

Winter Driving Safety

8 Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers

Getting More Traction: Best Tires for Winter


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

10 Auto Insurance Tips that Could Help You Save

10 Auto Insurance Tips that Could Help You Save

Did you know there is actually a way to save money on your insurance policy?

These 10 Auto Insurance Tips could help you save and keep more money in your pocket each month

Combine your insurance.

Insurance companies like California Casualty offer discounts when your home or renters insurance is combined with your auto insurance.

Increase your deductibles.

Sure, the amount you will pay will be a little more if something happens to your vehicle, but the amount you’ll save each month could add up to much more, especially if you are incident-free for a number of years. Just make sure you have an emergency fund to cover that higher deductible.

Check for good driver/good student discounts.

Speaking of incident-free, when’s the last time you had an accident or a moving violation. Most insurance companies will give you a good driver discount, but make sure you tell them. The same goes for students who get good grades.

Take a defensive driving course.

When’s the last time you refreshed your skills? You may qualify for a discount after showing proof that you have completed a safe driving program.

Check insurance costs when buying a new vehicle.

Many vehicles will cost you less; others will increase your premiums. It depends on numerous criteria from the power of the engine, its safety rating and the loss history of the vehicle.

Clean up your credit.

Many companies look at your credit score and how well you do in paying your bills. The better your credit score, the better rate you are likely to receive. Clean credit also helps when you want to buy a new car, rent or buy a home, etc.

Cut your driving.

Ride a bike, join a carpool or move closer to work. How many miles you drive each year can affect your rates; the less you drive, the greater the possible discount.

Pay your premium in full each year.

Not only can you get a discount but you will avoid monthly service charges.

Get a policy review.

Has your commute changed? Did you install a security device? Did you get married? All of these can lower your rates. Talking with your insurance advisor at least once a year is the best way to make sure you get the discounts you’re entitled to. Follow this insurance coverage checklist.

Compare your current insurance to California Casualty.

We are pretty certain that when you stop and compare benefits and prices, California Casualty will be right there with the best of them. Why? We are a 100-year-old, policyholder owned company that provides auto and home insurance to educators, firefighters, LEOs and nurses with exclusive benefits not available to the general public.


Related Articles:

Insurance Tips for Newlyweds

It’s Time for a Policy Review

4 Ways to Save with a Teen Driver


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


15 Thanksgiving-Themed Games & Activities for Teachers

15 Thanksgiving-Themed Games & Activities for Teachers

Thanksgiving is upon us, and that means it’s time to switch up our lesson plans! Don’t stress out trying to find the perfect fun-yet-educational activity to do with your class this holiday, incorporating Thanksgiving into many of your classes such as Reading, Writing, Math, or Art will be easy with these fun lessons and printables.

Here are 15 Thanksgiving Classroom Activities Teachers can incorporate into their lesson plans.


Keep it Clean by Making Thanksgiving Placemats


thanksgiving activities


Color a Turkey and Say What You’re Thankful For


thanksgiving activities


Blow Their Minds by Making Pumpkin Pie in a Cup


thanksgiving activities


Play a Game of Thanksgiving Roll-A-Story


thanksgiving activities


Build Some Beaded Pipe Cleaner Indian Corn


thanksgiving activities


Write a Fun Story with These Thanksgiving Writing Prompts


thanksgiving acvitythanksgiving activities

Test Their Skills With Some Turkey Trivia


Thanksgiving Activities


Bring Geometry Into the Mix With These Coloring Worksheets


thanksgiving activities


Let them Know the True Meaning of Thanksgiving by Playing the Gratitude Game


thanksgiving activities


Get Your Snack On With These Candy Turkeys


Thanksgiving Activities


Play a Game of Thanksgiving-themed Mad Libs


Thanksgiving Activities


Or a Game of Feed the Turkey


Thanksgiving Activities


Make Some Yummy Thanksgiving Story Mix


Thanksgiving Activities


Get Them Thinking With a Thanksgiving “Whodunnit” Class Experience


thanksgiving activities


Or have the Whole Class Participate in a Classic Game of Charades


thanksgiving activities


Check out our Pinterest board Thanksgiving Classroom Activities  for more fun holiday ideas! While you’re there, don’t forget to give us a follow at California Casualty to stay up to date on every new Thanksgiving classroom game and activity we discover! Scan our Pincode with your Pinterest camera to follow:


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. California Casualty does not own any of the photos in this post, all are sourced to their original owners. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

10 Easy Random Acts of Kindness

10 Easy Random Acts of Kindness

In a world where you can be anything, always be kind. There a million different ways to make someone smile, but the easiest way is to just simply be kind. When you show someone an act of kindness like, tipping your server generously or even just striking up a friendly conversation, it can change a person’s entire mood.

It is important for us, as people, to recognize that we don’t know what someone else is going through in life or how they are feeling; but we can make their day a little better by simply showing them kindness. That is why we should always be kind to everyone we meet.

Showing kindness is easy and can even put you in a better mood! Here are 10 Random Acts of Kindness that you can do today and every day:

  1. Give a Stranger a Compliment
  2. Volunteer or Donate to a Fundraiser/Charity
  3. Hold the Door or Elevator
  4. Pay for Someone Else’s Meal
  5. Write a “Thank You” or Encouraging Note
  6. Do a Favor Without Asking for Anything in Return
  7. Send a Care Package to a Soldier
  8. Donate Blood
  9. Visit a Nursing Home
  10. Bake Cookies for Your Office

Want some more ideas? Click here.


Related Articles:

10 Kindness Week Ideas for Schools

Random Acts of Kindness Resources for Educators


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


Buying vs. Leasing a Vehicle

Buying vs. Leasing a Vehicle

What is the smarter choice, buying or leasing a car? It’s a tough question with no wrong or right answer. The truth is this major financial decision ultimately depends on your lifestyle and budget.


Traditionally, financing the purchase of a vehicle often means your monthly payment may be more than what you could expect to pay by leasing. However, once the car is paid off, it’s yours to keep for as long as you’d like. You’ll no longer have the expense of a monthly car payment, but you should factor in costs related to upkeep, maintenance and repairs.


With a lease, you’re essentially paying for the portion of the cost of the vehicle for the duration of the lease term. Often, this can result in a lower monthly payment. At the end of the lease, the vehicle is returned. You then have the option to lease a new vehicle and begin making payments on the new lease. Here are some major differences to consider when you are looking into buying or leasing a car.


  • Ownership
  • Personal Customization               
  • Builds Long-Term Equity
  • Wear & Tear t Isn’t Penalized
  • Unlimited Mileage
  • Loan Payments
  • Can Sell/Trade Whenever You Want
  • Same Car for X-Number of Years
  • Must Pay For Repairs Out-of-Pocket Once Warranty Expires


  • Must Return
  • Returned in the Same Condition
  • Can Finance to Purchase
  • Pay for Excessive Wear & Tear
  • Mileage Limitations
  • Lease Payments
  • Must Completely Finish Lease
  • New Car with Newer Technology Every Few Years
  • Repairs Usually Covered by Warranty

There is no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to leasing or buying a car. So when it is time to make the important decision there are a few factors that you need to look at.

Cost and Lifestyle

Your lifestyle and what you would like to have in the future are both major factors that play into the decision on leasing or buying. Do lower or higher payments work best with your budget? Would you like to own your car in the end and be able to sell in the future? Or would you rather continue making small payments on different vehicles? Remember both vehicles will also require a down payment along with other fees.

You should also consider the cost of regular auto insurance, that you would need if you purchased a vehicle, compared to gap and collision coverage, you would need when you lease a vehicle. To discuss auto coverage speak to a California Casualty advisor.


Figuring out how flexible you are when it comes to contracts is helpful in determining if you should lease or buy. If you tend to regularly want a new car with the newest technology, leasing may be your best option. However, if owning a vehicle outright is more appealing and you plan on keeping it long after that new car smell has worn off, you might consider buying. Just like cost, all is dependent upon you and your lifestyle.  


Related Articles:

10 Safest Used Cars for Teens

Buying a Car? Avoid a Flood of Tears

Car Insurance Does More Than Fix Your Car


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Steps to Take After Hitting a Deer

Collisions involving deer and elk spike across the United States from October through December, as the animals are continuously moving to seek new habitats to breed and forage for food. More than 1.5 million accidents involving deer take place every year in the U.S., causing over $1 billion in vehicle damage. hitting a deer

Accidents happen, even to the most vigilant driver, so if a deer jumps out in front of you, here’s what you can do.

Steps to Take After Hitting a Deer

  • Attempt to move your vehicle to the side of the road
  • Use your hazard lights
  • Call local law enforcement or the state patrol
  • Don’t approach or attempt to move an injured animal
  • Take photos of the crash, the damage to your vehicle, and the roadway where it occurred
  • Fill out an accident report
  • Contact your California Casualty agent as soon as possible at 1.800.800.9410

Deer can be found in many different landscapes and are on the move from dusk until dawn. So much so, there is no real way to avoid them. However, you can reduce your chances of hitting a deer by following these steps:

  • Don’t drive distracted
  • Don’t speed, especially in rural/wooded areas
  • Use high beams at night when there is no oncoming traffic
  • Continuously scan the road for movement on the sides
  • Pay attention to wildlife warning signs
  • Honk your horn if you see a deer, to scare them away from the road (they often travel together)
  • If a deer runs out in front of you, hit your breaks immediately, do not swerve

In the event of an accident, make sure you have the correct coverage, call a representative today to review your policy.

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Pin It on Pinterest