Top Pool Safety Tips

Pools are essential for many Californians. However, many pool owners are not aware of basic pool safety. Here are some tips from Poolsaftey.gov and Access West Inc. insurance.

Keep A Phone Within Reach

In emergencies, every second counts. Make sure a phone is nearby. Take a mobile out to the poolside, especially if children are using the pool.

Fence It

Install fences around pools to keep out curious children and pets.

For Portable Pools

Small children can drown in only a few inches of water. They often wander into portable pools left full in yards. If you have a portable pool, always drain it or put it away when you cannot supervise it.

For Dog Owners

Dogs do not instinctively know how to swim. They must be taught. Always supervise dogs when they visit pools. Life jackets for clumsy dogs like bulldogs are highly recommended. Keep a ramp in the pool when it is not in use. That way if animals fall in, they have a way to get out.

If you live in the Murrieta, California area, find out how insurance can help protect you, please contact Access West Inc. today.

Hunt Down Those Drips With These Tips

When leaks go undetected for too long, you can experience serious rot and spend a lot of unnecessary money. Paying attention to the signs and signals of a leak will help you avoid extra expenses and damage to the property due to a lapse in plumbing or pool safety.

Bill Check

Keep an eye on your water bills. If you suddenly notice a spike in spending, you may have a burst pipe or a leaky water heater. You need to know to go looking for leaks in order to spot most of them in the first place.

Use The Main Value

Find the water main for your home and use its emergency valve to shut it off. Go check the water meter while it’s off and see if it’s still rolling over with no incoming connection. This is one of the most concrete indicators of a major leak.

Homeowners that have added a pool or new water heater should consider contacting Access West Inc. for expanded home insurance in Murrieta, California.

Delicious and Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches

Although they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, try telling that to your body when lunchtime rolls around. Try these healthy alternatives to burgers and fries.

Herbs, Cheese and Tomato Sandwich

Combine the high protein of cottage cheese with the antioxidant power of tomatoes and the tasty zest of chopped chives or a pinch of garlic powder. Mix cottage cheese and herbs. Spread this mixture on an English muffin or pita bread. Top it with a leaf of lettuce and two slices of tomato, or mix it up with avocado slices.

The TBLT

Use turkey bacon to make a healthier version of the traditional BLT. Substitute whole-wheat bread for calorie-rich white bread. Use low-fat mayo or spicy brown mustard as a condiment. Use pretzels instead of potato chips as a side. They go great with mustard.

Eating healthy is a great way to invest in your future. However, you cannot prevent everything from happening. If you live in the area of Murrieta, California, find out how insurance can help protect you, and please contact Access West Inc. today.

This Time for Real: 2014 Covered California Deadline Has Passed

The delays and exceptions surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) make it a little hard to tell when a firm deadline has been reached. In fact, the deadline for individual Open Enrollment has passed.

Most people who did not sign up will have to wait until next October to sign up for 2015. In the meantime, individuals without medical insurance may have to pay a fine to the IRS under the individual mandate.

Covered California has indicated two exceptions to the March 31 deadline:

1. People who started an application before March 31, but did not complete it can take until April 15, 2014 to select a plan. In order to take advantage of the extension, you must have created a website account and completed the information page.

2. People who experience a qualifying event can request enrollment up to 90 days after the event. Qualifying events including having a child, adoption, job loss, insurance loss. One important note — getting sick or injured is not a qualifying event.

During 2014, you may apply for insurance from private insurers, though you will not receive any subsidies. Access West Inc. can help you review your options and choose the coverage you’ll need. To learn more about health insurance in the Murrieta area, contact Access West Inc.

Spring cleaning: Get your RV ready

motorcoach,motorhome,rvFor those who own an RV, know they have one more item to add to their spring cleaning list. That is getting the RV ready to hit the road. Spring is the ideal time to get the RV ready, because it is warm enough to get outside, but yet cool enough to make cleaning the RV bearable. Before getting started, gather all of your cleaning tools together and make a list of everything inside and outside of the RV that needs to be cleaned.

Here are some spring tips to help ensure your RV is cleaned and ready for any and all of your upcoming road trips.

Exterior

  • Examine the exterior checking for any damage, cracks or leaks
  • Wash the outside using an RV formulated soap
  • Work in the shade to prevent streaks

Inside

  • Wash all appliances inside and out
  • Wipe down all surfaces
  • Vacuum carpet, upholstery and door panels
  • Remove and wash all curtains
  • Clean off dash area

Things to check:

  • Fluids
  • Tire pressure
  • Connections
  • Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

In addition to checking everything inside and outside of the RV, do not forget to thoroughly check the emergency kit. Ensure everything is in the kit and nothing has expired. Also, contact your insurance agent to update any home insurance and RV insurance coverage before you hit the road on vacation.

For more information about your insurance needs in the Murrieta, California area contact Access West Inc. today.

Easy Chili Recipe for the Busy Spring Season

mexican chili con carne in black plate with ingredientsAs school is in full swing, the weather is warming up, and outdoor activities are taking more of your time, it’s helpful to have an easy meal to prepare on a busy night. Here’s a 30 minute recipe that is perfect for busy moms!

You will need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 30 oz can of Bush’s Cocina Latina beans, Pintos a la Diabla flavor
  • 1 15 oz can of corn
  • 2 15 oz cans of Rotel tomatoes with diced green chili peppers
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, and drain off the fat. Add the beans, corn, and tomatoes, mix thoroughly, and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve the chili in large bowls with shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips available to sprinkle on as toppings.

When you have a few spare moments this spring after preparing an easy recipe, take the time to evaluate your insurance coverage. Contact Access West Inc. in Murrieta, California to learn more about getting the right insurance for your needs.

Tax Saving Tips for Small Business

During the tax season, many businesses focus their attention on just simply getting their documents in on time. While this is a good practice, in your mad dash you could miss some important information that could result in significant tax savings. You are probably aware that there are activities associated with running your business that are deductible. Are you sure you have captured all of these for your business on your tax forms? Being able to answer this question in the affirmative can mean the difference in a small or sizeable tax savings.

Here are some deductible items that many businesses overlook:

  • Expenses you incurred to start your business
  • Taxes you incurred while running your business (e.g. sales and excise taxes)
  • Expenses associated with moving your business
  • Routine items, such as office supplies

The Internal Revenue Service website includes a ‘Deducting Business Expenses” page that lists items you can deduct.

In addition to discussing your insurance coverage needs, you can contact Access West Inc. located in Murrieta, California for assistance with getting the most out of your business expenses.

Healthcare Plan Sign-up Window Is Closing

Stethoscope on medical billing statement on tableThe open enrollment window for you to sign-up for required healthcare insurance is closing rapidly.  As the March 31 deadline approaches, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is proving to be a misnomer for many people. However, the government’s health insurance marketplace, although having online problems in many states, still provides for penalties for Obamacare sign-up failures.

Since the October 2013 official inception of online open enrollment, healthcare.gov has had serious computer issues, including some major crashes. Yet, around four million people have still completed enrollment. The government has made numerous improvements to the website, with more reliable uptime for online selection of healthcare plans.

Even with the four million people who’ve picked up coverage, this number isn’t close to the  seven million people the government and the White House predicted to have healthcare insurance before March 31, 2014. There is still hope that millions of “last-minute shoppers” will get coverage.

Since the sign-up deadline has already been extended a few times, there could be another change before the end of March. Although website problems have lessened, according to a Bankrate survey, around 62 percent of Americans believe the deadline will change again.

To avoid penalties for non-compliance with the healthcare reform law, contact Access West Inc., your healthcare insurance experts in the Murrieta, California area. Access West Inc. independent agents are a trusted source for valuable advice and information for all individuals and businesses wanting to get the required healthcare coverage before deadlines.

What’s Up Wednesday: April!

counter daysApril looks like a fun month for some Spring events! Access West Inc. brings a few highlights so you can mark your calendar.

April Kids Club at Moreno Valley Mall

  • April 2: The Easter Bunny appears at the Dollar Book Fair.

Easter Egg Hunt, Temecula

  • April 19: For children age 1 to 12, the hunt begins at 10:00 AM sharp. The Easter Bunny will be available for pictures with the kids.

Tom Sawyer, The Musical,Temecula

  • April 18: The Temecula Valley Players bring you this classic work of Mark Twain at the Temecula Theater, thrilling audiences with eight live musical numbers.

IVBCF Spring Fashion Show 2014, Temecula

  • April 26: The Pechanga Resort & Casino comes alive with the annual Spring Fashion Show presented by the Inland Valley Business and Community Foundation (IVBCF).

Run or Dye, Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium

  • May 3: Dubbed the “World’s Most Colorful 5K’ run, walk or jog, you’ll be blasted with eco-friendly cornstarch dye every kilometer for fun.

This is but a sampling of the early Spring events in the Murrieta, Temecula and Moreno Valley area. Enjoy!

When you want more valuable “fun,” such as saving money or better protecting your assets, contact Access West Inc., your trusted independent insurance agency in the Murrieta, Moreno Valley area. Access West Inc. represents many different companies. Our professionals will help you find the best and most affordable coverage to you and/or your business.

St. Patrick’s Day Safety

St. Patrick's day card with hanging stickersSt. Patrick’s Day offers a variety of events to get you into the Irish spirit. While the large crowds and toasts can be fun, it’s important to stay safe. Keep the following tips in mind as you go out partying with the leprechauns.

Breathalyzers Don’t Lie

While you may not feel like you’ve had too much to drink, a police officer’s breathalyzer may disagree. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the state’s legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%. To ensure that you don’t exceed that limit, consider getting a personal breathalyzer. If you don’t have a way to test your level, don’t drive.

Find a Ride Before You Need It

Some cab companies and local businesses offer free rides to prevent impaired driving. Since remembering the phone number once you’ve had a few can be the ultimate sobriety test, enter it into your phone before you go out. You can also download a phone app that does the work for you.

Be Alert for Other Tipsy Partygoers

Even if you haven’t had a drop to drink, don’t let your guard down. Other tipsy partygoers may have decided to drive anyway. Practice defensive driving to prevent crashes, and watch out for those leprechauns on foot who may step out in front of your vehicle.

For more information about keeping your family and property safe with insurance coverage in California, please contact Access West Inc., located in Murrieta.