Staying Safe on Black Friday

With Halloween behind us, it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. While we make plans for Thanksgiving with our family, many of us are also making shopping plans for Black Friday. Black Friday is one of the largest shopping days of the year.  It seems that more stores are opening earlier each year; some even open their doors to the crowds on Thanksgiving. 

The day after Thanksgiving used to be the day my mom and I would wake up before the sun came out, grab tea or coffee, and head out to join the madness at our favorite stores.  At that time, it was so exciting to be one of the first people to get to the store and get our hands on the best deals for the holidays. In recent years, the scene has changed!  Black Friday deals are bringing out larger crowds than ever, which means higher risk of accidents, injuries, and theft.  I still love a good Black Friday shopping trip, but I live by the following tips and tricks to make sure that I make the most out of the madness that has become Black Friday Shopping.

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Research deals ahead of time

The less time you spend on the roads and in the stores the less of a chance you have of getting into an unfavorable situation, like a car accident. Black Friday ads are usually posted on each stores website. It’s helpful to research and narrow down the number of stores you visit.  You can also visit the store of your choice a few days ahead of time and map out where their items are shelved. This can make your shopping more efficient and helps you avoid confusion in large crowds.

Leave kids at home

Taking kids shopping with you not only slows you down but also puts you at risk. Most kids don’t like going shopping, but if you find yourself having to take your little ones with you during this busy shopping season, make sure to be cautious of your surroundings.  Parents with kids spend more time loading their car which makes them an easier target for someone to grab items out of their cart or trunk while they attend to their kids.  

Parked vehicles

Try to find a parking space close to the store so you are in view of others and in better range of parking lot cameras. If it’s dark outside park near a light as thieves are less likely to break into vehicles that are in spotlights. Put shopping bags in the trunk or in areas of the car that are not visible to avoid theft. 

Keep your purse and wallets secure

Wear a cross-body bag to avoid leaving your purse unattended as you are shopping. Wallets shouldn’t be kept in back pockets as it will make it easier for someone to grab it.

Use one credit card for all purchases

Keep only one credit card on you just in case your wallet or purse is stolen. This way you only have to cancel one card if needed.

Wishing you a happy shopping season! As always, don’t forget to reach out to your personal lines agent to insure those valuable articles that you acquire during the holidays!


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Pardis Garzon is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. Pardis is experienced in all lines of personal insurance. | Connect on LinkedIn

Common Home Insurance Mistakes That May Be Costing You Money

Buying a house is not only one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in life but also one of your largest assets. A home requires protection and the most common form of protection is your home insurance. If you’re not careful, you might make one of these costly mistakes when protecting your home.

Being captivated by the lowest price

Have you ever heard the saying, “it’s too good to be true?” Well, in the case of home insurance, many home owners can get stuck on getting the lowest price. However, what they don’t see is the coverages and/or quality may be taking a big hit to get you there. This can cost you BIG if there is a home claim!

Using multiple insurance agents for your insurance

It’s better when they’re together. In addition to having one point of contact, your agency will be better equipped to review your entire portfolio “holistically”, identify gaps in coverage, and make more personalized recommendations.

Not keeping your home insurance agent in the loop

If you’ve added a bathroom, screened in your pool, or gave your kitchen a facelift, you need to ensure your insurance agent is aware!  Not doing so could jeopardize the settlement amount in the event of a claim.

Not understanding the restrictions on your policy

I’m sure the first thing you do when your home policy comes up for renewal is sit down and read through it, right? Not everyone has time to do that, but not being aware of the restrictions or exclusions on your policy can be a costly mistake.

Keeping your deductible too high or too low

Determine your out of pocket threshold and select your deductibles accordingly.   Deductibles are not one size fits all. Too low of a deductible could result in paying unnecessarily high premiums. Too high of a deductible could put you in an uncomfortable position if you do have to file a claim.

Not getting an updated Wind Mitigation

Missing out on getting a Wind Mitigation may be one of the costlier mistakes. Wind Mitigations are what allow us to add credits to your home policy for your roof and other items. When you get a new roof, always think about getting a new Wind Mitigation so you receive the credits you’ve earned!

Ignoring flood insurance

Many people feel that if they don’t live in a high-risk flood zone, they don’t need flood insurance. But according to the Insurance Information Institute, 25% of flood claims come from people in low-risk or “no” flood insurance areas. It can be a costly mistake to not evaluate your flood risk.

As always, the team at Bouchard is here to help you with any questions you may have about insurance. Be sure to speak with your agent to make sure you’re getting the most out of not only your homeowners insurance, but all of your insurance.


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Christin Snow is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. Christin is experienced in all lines of personal insurance. | Connect on LinkedIn

Does My Credit Affect My Car Insurance Premium?

When it comes to auto insurance, there is never a one-price-fits-all scenario. While there are many factors that cause the costs to vary from driver to driver, carrier to carrier, and state to state; did you know that your credit history can impact your car insurance premium?

Insurance companies will only use a soft inquiry when pricing your coverage. These types of inquiries will not affect your credit score and you can shop your coverage around until you find the policy that fits you just right. Using a credit-based insurance score when determining premiums helps to better predict insurance losses. It has been shown that individuals with higher credit-based insurance scores typically have fewer claims over time.

While several factors contribute to determining an individual premium, some factors related to your credit that may be used are your payment history (including delinquencies or late payments), the length of your credit history, and the types of credits (e.g. credit cards or loans).  Using a credit-based insurance score allows you to possibly even pay a lower premium than if your credit wasn’t used as a factor during the quoting process.

Being that your credit score often changes, it is important that you talk to your agent on a yearly basis to make sure you are getting the most out of a credit-based insurance premium.

About the Author

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Lisa Jewell is an Advisor in the Private Client division of Bouchard. Lisa specializes in high net worth personal insurance that focuses on successful individuals with more complex insurance portfolios and exposures in all 50 states.  | Connect on LinkedIn

Annual Employee Appreciation Outing

We love celebrating our employees. Each year, we host a family outing to show them our appreciation of their hard work, commitment, and dedication to the agency. It started years ago as a picnic, but with Florida’s temperamental weather we’ve since moved it inside.


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This year, our employees brought their families to Maple Lanes for an afternoon of fun (and air conditioning). We enjoyed a few games of bowling and lunch together. It’s always nice to see everyone outside of the office and getting everyone’s families together to socialize is always a lot of fun.

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Year after year, our employees continue to put our client’s first and we will always continue to put our employees first.



Crysta Miller is a Brand Coordinator at Bouchard Insurance. Crysta assists in the presentation of the agency in the communities we serve through digital marketing, community partnerships, graphic design, and events. | Connect on LinkedIn

Have a Spooky & Safe Halloween

It’s that time of year already. Pumpkin spice is back and the stores have all their Halloween decorations and costumes on display. Do you remember how much fun it was to get dressed up as your favorite action hero, cartoon character, or princess and go door to door for Halloween treats? Well, your children can now experience that same joy. Just as your parents did for you, now it’s your turn to prevent Halloween accidents and injuries by supervising your children closely. Here are some of our tips to help you plan ahead for the big night.


  • Don’t wear baggy or costumes that are too long. They are difficult to walk in and can be tripping hazards.

  • Face paint, wigs, and accessories are safer than masks, as they can obstruct a child’s vision.

  • Make sure makeup and face paint is non-toxic. Test on a small area before applying to their face.

  • Stick some reflective tape on trick or treat bags so they can be easily spotted by motorists. There are also flashing lights available that can attach to their shoes. You could also keep the fun going and let them wear some glow sticks as necklaces or bracelets!


  • Trick-or-treating is safer (and more fun!) in groups. Children of any age should always be supervised. See if you can coordinate a group of their friends and parents to go out as one big group!

  • Stay on sidewalks and use crosswalks.

  • Remind children to never approach or get into a car with a stranger offering them candy.

  • Carefully inspect the candy and throw away anything not sealed; especially avoiding handmade treats.


  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Kids are excited and move quickly and in unpredictable ways.

  • Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully.

  • Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn on your headlights earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.

About the Author

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Lori Whitesell is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. Lori is experienced in all lines of personal insurance.