Insure Yourself Against These 5 Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Summer Mishaps

Summer is a special time that makes the inner romantic in all of us swoon, the poets drool, the songwriters croon. After all, who doesn’t love sand in their toes, mason jars filled with fireflies, and the knowledge that the sun won’t set until 9:00 p.m.?

And yet, even sodas and pretzels and beer start to get a little old after a while. As beautiful as summer is, here are 5 end-of-summer mishaps that might actually make you glad for the upcoming change of season.

1.  Your AC unit blows

The scenario:  You’re at home, pleasantly basking in the artificial breeze of the air conditioning. Finally, you can curl up on the couch fully clothed without feeling like you’re being baked in Lucifer’s oven. But, alas, something terrible happens — your air conditioning unit gives out with a sad whimper.

The solution: Weep gently, producing just enough tears to keep you cool (but not so many that you overexert yourself and break an even bigger sweat). Then call an AC repairperson to fix the problem ASAP. Another tip: to help save on your electricity bill, keep your thermostat at a solid 78 degrees when you’re at home, but let the temperature rise during the hours you’re away and don’t need cooling.

2.  You’re covered in bug bites

The scenario: You’re outside, enjoying a brewski with your buddies. You’re enjoying yourself so much, in fact, that you fail to notice the swarm of mosquitoes feasting on your face. When you wake up in the middle of the night, scratching yourself with the ferocity of a wild mountain cat, you look in the mirror and find a constellation of angry welts large enough to make a leper feel like a newborn babe.

The solution: Avoid marshy spaces or other dark, swamp-like places that might attract mosquitoes. And keep the bug spray handy. Once you’ve been bitten, run an oatmeal bath. If you have an antihistamine stick or cream, apply that on the spot. If not, a green tea bag can help with the inflammation and itching.

3.    The burn to end all sunburns

The scenario: You’re on the beach. There are certain errrr, exposed parts that haven’t seen the sun since last summer. But, you don’t need to put on sunscreen just yet, right? How else will you get the color you so desperately need? Then you hear a crack and a sizzle. You smell something burning. Hold on, you’re burning ….

The solution: Aloe vera, ice packs, and a (friendly) reminder to always use sunscreen — the tan is so not worth the skin damage or the lobster belly. Read up on these home remedies for sunburn (spuds to the rescue!).

4.  Your million-degree car

The scenario: Not to beat a dead horse, but you’re sweating. You’re rushing across the parking lot, anxious to open your car door and taste that sweet nectar of AC. But, before this euphoria can begin, you must endure the fires of Mordor that is your car.

The solution: Remember that aluminum-foil window shield that’s been rolling around under your seat forever? Use it! And, of course, try to park in the shade if you can. Also, keep a small towel in your car to place over the steering wheel while you’re parked (it’s even great for unexpected spills).

5.    The overly crispy BBQ mishap

The scenario: You’re hanging out with your aforementioned buddies (and the aforementioned brewski) and you decide that the time is ripe for a good old-fashioned summer BBQ complete with tri-tip, hot dogs, hamburgers, and the works. All of a sudden, you notice that your burgers are a bit more flame broiled than you’d imagined. Oh wait, that’s because the entire BBQ is up in flames.

The solution: Controlled flare-ups are one thing, but when your flare-ups have a mind of their own, they can be downright scary. Remember to keep an eye on your grill at all times and to make sure it’s extra clean before you start so you can avoid unwanted crispiness (on your burgers and your hair). Have some baking soda on hand before you start grilling, just in case. And always have a fire extinguisher at the ready in the event things get really out of control.

Summer’s a magical time of year, especially when you know how to protect yourself from those pesky summer mishaps. Also worth protecting? Your home, your car, your motorcycle, and all those summer toys like jet skis and boats. Then you really can have a carefree summer.

Thunderstorm Survival 101: 6 Things You Must Know

Your chances of getting struck by lightning are 1 in 600,000. But that doesn’t mean you want to take that chance — especially with summer thunderstorms making headlines these past few weeks.

When confronting the awesome power of nature’s tempests, knowing what to do can literally be a lifesaver. To avoid coming face-to-face with a lightning bolt and its million volts of electricity, here’s what you need to know.

1. Your (hardtop) car is the second safest place to be 

It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true. If you can’t make it indoors, seek shelter inside an enclosed vehicle.

During a lightning storm, your car is protected — but not because rubber tires insulate it (that’s a myth). Rather, it’s because the metal acts as a conductor, channeling the energy around the surface of the vehicle into the ground.

If you’re waiting out the storm in your ride, pull over to the side of the road, unbuckle your seat belt, turn off the engine, and avoid touching the steering wheel, door handle, gears — anything with metal — until the storm passes.

2. Don’t handle any electrical equipment or power cords

Lightning can travel long distances through electrical wires and enter your home. To avoid an electrical surge, unplug your electronics (TV, computer, microwave, etc.) if you know a storm is coming.

While corded phones are going the way of the dodo in most households, if you have one, don’t use it a storm. Believe it or not, talking on a landline is the leading cause of indoor lightning injury in the U.S.

3. Postpone showering if a storm is raging around you

Just as lightning can travel through your home’s electrical wires, it can also run through your plumbing system.

So if there’s an electrical charge and you turn on your shower, you could bathe in a million volts of electricity. (Ouch!)

4. Don’t lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls

Since concrete is generally reinforced with steel, it can conduct electricity. Avoid direct contact with concrete if a storm is raging near you.

5. Seek shelter immediately if you can feel your hair stand on end

Thunderstorms can be hair-raising — literally.

In fact, if you’re outside and you can feel your hair rise, there’s a good chance that lightning is about to strike (positive charges are rising through you, reaching for the negative charge of the lightning bolt). If this happens, seek safe shelter ASAP.

If there’s nothing around, squat low to the ground on your toes, cover your ears, and tuck your head between your knees. Your goal is to be the lowest thing around and minimize contact with the ground.

6. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after the last thunderclap

The storm blasted through. Now, the sky’s blue and the sun is shining. All’s quiet on the western front, right?

Well, not quite. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from rainfall, which means you should wait awhile before heading outside.

Thunderstorm survival in a nutshell

If there’s one thing you need to know about avoiding danger, it’s this: if you hear thunder, then get indoors as soon as you can.

Of course, if the thunderstorm should happen to damage your car, home, or apartment, you’ll be glad to know that your auto, homeowners, or renters policy can step in to help. Get a quote today.

Related links

How to drive in a hurricane

Are you living in a natural disaster zone?

US Open Dictionary: A Complete Guide to Tennis Terms

Brute physicality, ferocious competition, socially acceptable grunting … these are just a few of the things that make the US Open one of sport’s grandest spectacles. Of course, there’s another element that also happens to make it one of the strangest: its language.

Tennis uses an offbeat lingo all its own, a bizarre collection of terms that can send a grammarian’s brain spinning like a wicked slice. And nowhere is this fascinating lexicon more on display than under the bright lights of New York City in America’s biggest tournament: the US Open.

Thankfully, as insurance experts, we’re no stranger to demystifying confusing terminology. And as a proud sponsor of the 2014 US Open, we at Esurance are also the perfect candidate to clear up the tennis terms you’ve long wondered about. After all, whether you’re enjoying the tourney in-person or from the couch, you deserve to know just what in the blazes is going on!

Here are the essential tennis terms you need to embrace the US Open like a pro:

Ace: noun. A serve that the returner can’t hit back. Instant source of joy and confidence for the server, at least according to all my former JV tennis opponents.

Ad court: noun. The left side of the court when facing the net.

Arthur Ashe Stadium: noun. Holds the largest court of the US Open. Generally reserved for the biggest matches and most inspiring fist-pumps.

Break: verb. To win a game on the opponent’s serve.

Chair umpire: noun. The lead umpire. Sits center-court atop a towering chair and is tasked with enforcing the rules, making final decisions on “in” or “out” calls, and discreetly letting male players know if they’re starting to go bald.

Deuce: noun. The score when a game’s tied at 3 points apiece (or “40-40”). Players must score 2 consecutive points after deuce to win. If they trade off points, the score reverts to “Deuce” again.

Deuce court: noun. The right side of the court when facing the net.

Fault: noun. A serve that lands out of bounds or goes into the net. Two faults in a row (or a “double fault”) results in a point for the opponent.

Flushing Meadows: noun. Public park in Queens, NY, that’s home to all courts of the US Open. Less notably, a pretty cool cologne name, right?

Garghhh!: interj. What you’ll scream while sitting in traffic on the way to the US Open, realizing you should’ve listened to the hotel concierge and just taken the subway.

Grand Slam: noun. The highest order of tennis tournament. There are 4 Grand Slams every calendar year, with the US Open coming last. (The Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon are the others).

Ground stroke: noun. When a player hits the ball after it’s bounced on the ground.

Heat index: noun. Precise measure of human misery as a result of temperature and humidity. By all accounts, the single most popular phrase one will hear in New York in late August.

Hustle: noun. Impossibly rare and concentrated form of energy that allows ball boys and ball girls to track down errant green spheres with the reflexes of a baby puma.

Love: noun. Another word for zero points. For example, if your opponent scored the first point in a game, you would be down “15 to Love.” Which, really, sounds rather charming.

Mrpphthmpurhhp: noun. The only muffled sound you’ll be able to hear from anyone’s mouth as yet another plane takes off from (very) nearby LaGuardia Airport.     

Poach: verb. In doubles, to intercept a shot at the net that would otherwise be your partner’s to hit. And, like stealing Christmas gifts during cutthroat rounds of White Elephant, it was the most common argument-starter in the Bryan Brothers’ household.

Shank: noun. A badly misplayed shot that comes off the frame of the racket. Its loud thwacking sound signals a player on the verge of collapse, at least according to all my former JV tennis opponents.

Slamboni: noun. Mini hockey Zamboni with squeegee and vacuum technology for quickly drying the courts after rain. Visit to get trusted protection for your personal slamboni today (just kidding).

Unisphere: Iconic, giant globe statue from the 1964 World’s Fair sitting just outside the US Open grounds. Also, the most useful “remember where we parked” benchmark possibly ever.

Volley: verb. To hit a ball without letting it first touch the ground.

More about Esurance at the 2014 US Open

And here’s one more term for you: the modern world. What does this mean? Simply put, it means that Esurance will be back in New York as a proud sponsor of the US Open for our fifth consecutive year. And as usual we’ll be bringing a modern approach to everything we do.

Not only are we using cool technology to help the Bryan Brothers get a taste of the Big Apple (without leaving the locker room),we’re also using social media and a digital presence onsite to allow fans to share their US Open tips and experiences (in a big way). Plus, we’ll offer Beat the Pros tennis trivia and lots of chances to score autographs from some of the biggest names in tennis.

So, if you’re heading to Flushing Meadows this week, don’t forget to stop by the Esurance booth in the South Plaza for your chance to win cool prizes and meet awesome players.*

Can’t make it to the tourny? No problem. Follow us on Twitter and be on the look out for your shot at an exclusive one-on-one video chat with some of today’s top tennis talent. (Been dying to get tennis tips from Grand Slam Champ, Victoria Azarenka? This might be your chance!)

*Subject to rules.

Esurance Homeowners Insurance is Ready to Rock and Roll in Ohio

Folks in the Buckeye State have always been protection minded. Ohio lays claim to the first motorized police car, the first professional city fire department, and the first hospital-affiliated ambulance service in the country.

So residents will be glad to know that they can now protect their homes with our first-rate Ohio homeowners insurance.

If you don’t own a home in Ohio, now might be the time to start looking. Of the 20 metro areas lists as the most affordable cities in America, 5 are in Ohio. And though home values have increased 8.3 percent since last year, the median home price is still only $115,300.

Plus, you’ll get to live in the state that’s home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What’s cooler than that?

Homeowners insurance in Ohio

Good homeowners coverage isn’t only about your house — it’s about the people and possessions inside it as well. That’s why Esurance coverage protects against so much.

Structural damage

We’ll help you repair your home and other structures on your property if they’re damaged by an incident like a fire, tornado, or hail. We’ll also help pay to replace your lawn or trees if those are harmed.

Property theft and damage

If someone breaks into your house and steals all your worldly goods, or your stuff is damaged in a fire, we’ll help pay to replace it. And if the items are stolen from your car or a hotel room, we’ll usually cover that too.

Personal liability

If a guest is injured while they’re at your home, or if you accidentally cause injury or property damage away from home, your homeowners coverage will typically help pay the legal and medical bills.

And that’s just for starters. We offer a whole range of other coverages you can choose from, from additional living expenses if you have to relocate while repairs are being made, to water damage coverage if a drain backs up. Get a quote today and find out how affordable it could be to safeguard your castle with Esurance.

Bundling homeowners and car insurance in Ohio

Since Esurance also offers car insurance in Ohio, customers who choose to bundle their policies together can save on both types of insurance with the Multi-Policy discount. Bundling discounts also apply with our motorcycle coverage.

Esurance across the country

If you don’t live in the Buckeye State, fear not — our homeowners coverage is available in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, and Wisconsin as well.

We’ve also been rolling out our motorcycle insurance across the land. Esurance now covers bikes, trikes, scooters, and more in 9 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

And with the recent addition of Maine, Esurance car insurance is now available in  43 states!

We’ll be launching in still more states in the months to come, so if we aren’t in your home state yet, keep an eye out for us.

4 Things You Need To Know Right Now About Hurricanes

Though hurricane prediction models have improved in recent years, it’s still hard to know how strong a given storm will be. And despite growing concern over recent extreme weather events, an Esurance survey found that the vast majority of us are ill-prepared for them.

But when a mild tropical storm escalates to hurricane level, we can never be too prepared. (A tropical storm is named when its wind speeds reach 39 mph and becomes a hurricane at 74 mph.)

Here are 4 reasons to take every hurricane season seriously.

1. Fewer storms doesn’t necessarily mean fewer U.S. landfalls

Because hurricane forecasts include the total number of storms predicted for the entire Atlantic Ocean, there’s no telling how many might hit the U.S. Of the 12 hurricane-level storms in 2010, none made landfall on U.S. soil. On the other hand, 1983 had just 4 named storms — but one was Hurricane Alicia (a Category 3), which struck the Houston area with surprising quickness.

2. Even a “slow” season can be a destructive one

A quiet hurricane season is good news for most of the Atlantic. But the number of major hurricanes isn’t the real issue — it’s whether you’re affected by the ones that do strike. Hurricane Alicia, for example, caused $4.5 billion in damage.

3. The greatest threat to safety and property is storm surge

Abnormally high waves and water levels are the biggest causes of hurricane devastation, particularly if combined with a high tide. Storm surge can rise to over 20 feet in height, affect hundreds of miles of shoreline, and penetrate tens of miles inland. It’s also been known to occur hours before or after landfall, causing unexpected flooding.

Because many variables affect it, surge is not included in the Saffir-Simpson wind scale (meaning a Category 2 hurricane may be less destructive in terms of wind than a Category 4, but could be equally or more devastating in terms of surge).

4. A typical homeowners policy covers wind and water damage, but not flood damage

Most standard homeowners or renters policies will cover damage caused by windstorms, including hurricanes. If a strong gale or an uprooted tree were to destroy your roof, you’d likely be protected. Water damage caused by things like a backed-up drain or broken pipe is also generally covered.

Flood damage, however, is another story. Though it’s easy to assume that “water damage” would cover any water-related incident, “flood damage” is considered a separate category and typically requires a separate policy. It’s wise to check your policy before hurricane season begins so you can see what’s covered and make sure your coverage limits are adequate.

How to prepare for hurricane season

If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your property is to make preparations well in advance. Here are a few things you can do.


Make an emergency plan. Review your community’s evacuation routes. Discuss where you’ll meet your family, how to get to a safe place, and how you’ll get in touch if you’re separated.

Include your pet in your plans. Make sure your pet has been microchipped or has ID tags with a current phone number. Track down a pet-friendly hotel or emergency shelter and keep a sturdy carrier on hand so you can bring your pet with you.

Stock up on supplies. Put together a kit to keep in your car. It should contain enough nonperishable food and water for several days, along with flashlights (and batteries), a first-aid kit, and a weather radio.

Do a home inventory. Make a list of your household items and their estimated value. Store the list and your insurance policy in a safe place either online or somewhere outside your home.

Fortify your home against wind damage. Install building code-approved hurricane shutters or plywood window covers. Reinforce door hinges, screws, and seals.

Secure your outdoor property. Loose items in your yard can be swept up by high winds and cause damage. Make sure trash cans, grills, swing sets, and patio furniture are stored indoors or tied down.

Here’s hoping this season holds fewer (and less scary) surprises than your average State Fair fun house. And just in case, it’s always good to be prepared.

Source: Property Casualty Insurers Association of America