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Insurance Tips

  • Creating a home inventory list can be immensely helpful in case of disaster. You should list your personal belongings and their value and store it in a safe place or online. Using your smartphone to take video of each room and then list the contents would help you remember everything if your home was completely destroyed in a fire, storm, or tornado.
  • Owning a home-based business requires a separate commercial insurance policy. Without it, you may not have coverage on inventory, special equipment, or mishaps with customers in your home.
  • If you turn your home into a rental or vacation property, you will need a different type of homeowners insurance policy.
  • Lesser-known coverages such as additional living expenses or ALE pays a certain amount of lodging and meals when you’re forced to move out of your home while repairs are made after a covered disaster.
  • You should have liability coverage to stay safe from a lawsuit if someone is injured on your property, or if you injure someone or their property in or outside of your home.

Safety Tips

Insurance companies want to make sure your property is in good shape so deferred maintenance doesn’t make your home unsafe or more vulnerable to damage.

In & Around The Home

  • Be sure to keep your trees trimmed, have regular roof inspections, and watch for any signs of leaks. Unusual spikes in your water bill may indicate that you have a plumbing leak that should be located and repaired right away.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter on a regular basis to reduce any fire hazard. Likewise with your dryer vent and lint trap, as well as the space under your dryer.
  • Check electrical outlets and cords for potential fire hazards, such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. To avoid a potential fire, be sure not to overload electrical outlets, fuse boxes, extension cords or any other power service.
  • Chimneys must be inspected frequently.  Creosote buildup varies greatly, depending on such things as frequency of usage, type of fires, stove model, and wood variety. Use short hot fires rather than long smoldering ones.
  • Stove connector pipes and chimney should be inspected by competent professionals at least annually for possible defects that may develop.

Halloween

  • If you’re driving during trick-or-treat hours, keep your eyes on the road and stay distraction-free. Continually scan crosswalks and intersections.
  • If your dog or cat loves Halloween as much as you do, please refrain from giving your pet a chocolate treat. Chocolate can be deadly!
  • If trick-or-treaters will be going upstairs to your front door, make sure handrails are secured and loose floorboards are tightened. Kids wearing costumes may have trouble moving up and down the stairs and will rely on a handrail.

Deer Season

  • Ask permission. Just because you live near the woods doesn’t mean you can hunt in the woods. Always ask permission from landowners before hunting on their land since it can create many liability exposures for them. If you talk to the landowner beforehand, he/she can keep track of who’s hunting on the land and share any safety tips specific to the property. The last thing you want is a heated confrontation in the woods.
  • If you’re venturing into the woods, tell family or friends where you’re going and when you’ll be home.
  • Pack a first aid kit. Create a small kit specifically for you. Don’t be unprepared.

Prepare for Winter

  • First things first, no matter what kind of hose bibs you have, freeze proof or not, it is very important to remove hoses, splitters or connections from the spigot during the winter. Not removing hoses or any other connections from the hose bib can trap water and can therefore surely cause the fixture to freeze. This is always a difficult step to take because most people will want to use the outside water until the very point when the freezing weather begins. It’s best to preempt the cold weather by disconnecting hoses early since even one night of freezing weather can cause a break in the pipes.

Summer Safety

  • Once you pull your grill out from its hiding place, make sure to thoroughly clean any old grease or dust that may have accumulated over time. Do NOT grill in a garage, carport or an enclosed porch. Position the grill at least 2 feet away from the garage, house, patio, or anything that you would not want catching on fire.Trim branches that hang low and could be a fire hazard. NEVER leave the grill unattended. (If you do, you run the risk of burning more than your food) Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Hopefully, you won’t have to use it, but you should never grill without it) Make sure debris (leaves, buckets, extra propane tanks) is not within 2 feet of grill. Embers can pop out sometimes.
  • Secure your pool by a fence at least four feet tall around the perimeter. Use self-closing and self-latching gates. Install a child-proof locked safety cover on hot tubs to keep children out. Ensure all pools and spas have compliant drain covers. Assign at least one adult to the exclusive task of watching young swimmers, and make sure they refrain from drinking alcohol when supervising. Have life-saving equipment on hands such as a safety ring life preserver and a long reaching pole. Take a class in CPR. Consider waiting until you return from vacation before sharing pictures on social media – Burglars can cross reference social media to confirm you are away!

Insurance Terms Glossary

Mutual Insurance Company:

An insurance company that is owned by its policyholders also referred to as ‘members’. The sole purpose of a mutual insurance company is to provide insurance coverage for its members. Operations are controlled by a board of directors elected by the policyholders.

Deductible:

The amount of money that you are responsible for paying an insured loss that is subtracted from your claim payment. Generally speaking, the larger the deductible, the less you pay in premiums for an insurance policy.

Depreciation:

A reduction in value of the covered property as the result of wear and tear, age, or technological or economic obsolescence.

Actual Cash Value:

The amount it would cost repair or replace covered property, at the time of loss or damage, with material of like kind and quality, less depreciation.

Replacement Cost:

The amount it would cost to repair or replace covered property, at the time of the loss or damage, with material of like kind and quality. The actual cash value is paid first and then once repairs or replacement have been made and documentation is provided, the remaining amount that was withheld is paid.

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