On the heels of the last weekend’s storms and wide power outages in and around #KansasCity, here are some food safety tips from Duane Daugherty (MrDoggity, the Safety guy)
Most modern refrigerators will hold temp in a power outage for about four to six hours if the door isn’t opened. Nearly all refrigerated foods will withstand a few hours out of range. However, if your power is out more than six to eight hours, even with a high efficiency rating, and nobody opening the door, you’ll need to toss some stuff – but NOT everything!
Here’s a handy guide:
Foods to Pitch:
Soups, Stews, Casseroles, any Pre-cooked leftovers
Meat, Poultry, and Seafood: Cooked, uncooked, or any other foods like casseroles that contain these things
Cheese: cream cheese, shredded soft cheese or anything “low-fat”
Dairy: Milk, cream, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, canned whipped cream
Soy and Nut Milks or products made from these oils (tofu, hummus)
Eggs: Cooked, uncooked, and any foods containing eggs
Fruit: Cut fruit
Condiments: Fish sauce, oyster sauce, creamy dressings, spaghetti sauce, salsa, mayonnaise (if 8 hours or more)
Breads: Refrigerator biscuits, any unbaked canned dough, cookie dough
Pasta: Cooked pasta, salads
Sweets: Cheesecake, cream or custard pies, cream-filled pastries and pies
Vegetables: Pre-washed greens, cooked vegetables, vegetable juice, garlic in oil, anything made with cooked beans.
Foods to Keep:
Cheese: Hard, processed, grated hard cheeses like Parmesan and Romano, wrapped block cheeses (may require trimming), processed cheeses like “American singles” or “Velveeta”
Dairy: Butter and margarine
Fruit: Fruit juice, canned fruit, fresh whole (uncut) fruits, dried fruits
Condiments: Peanut butter, jams, jellies, ketchup, olives, pickles, mustard, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, relish, vinegar-based dressings, Worcestershire, soy sauce, hoisin sauce
Breads: Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas, bagels, waffles, pancakes
Sweets: Fruit pies
Herbs: dried or unwilted
Freezers will usually keep food safely frozen for 24 to 48 hours. The more food you have in the freezer, the longer it will keep. Check your ice tray and your ground meats. If your ice tray has loose ice to the bottom and your ground meat is solid, you’re fine. Any meats that have some “give” to them in the freezer should be cooked within a few days, and can be refrozen once cooked. NEVER refreeze raw meats that have begun to thaw.
RULE OF THUMB: IF YOU’RE IN DOUBT – PITCH IT OUT!
I am an environmentalist, too, and I don’t believe in wasting food. But nothing is worth making yourself or your family sick.
#StormDamage #InsuranceTips #HomeownersInsurance #InsuranceKC
|Unoccupied buildings are susceptible to damage especially when Mother Nature sends an unpredictable wave of frigid air across the country.
We usually associate freezing pipes with cold climate states, but temperatures low enough to freeze or damage pipes can happen anywhere in the country. The water damage can be more severe when pipes burst in areas considered to be “warm” because proper precautions and action plans are not in place.
Here are some tips to aid policyholders in protecting their properties:
When small problems go undetected, they become big problems. Business and rental property owners should prepare for events or seasons when buildings may go unoccupied for a planned or unplanned period of time.
For many people, the convenience of buying insurance online from the provider or from an 800 number is appealing; but when a CRISIS hits, it is in YOUR BEST INTEREST to have an agent who is LOCAL, whom you know personally and can serve as a liaison between yourself and the insurance carrier. It is always most beneficial to have your auto-home-life insurance, all with the same company.
At our agency, we know YOU personally, you never have to confirm your name, address, or give a policy number when you call. We take the time to meet and sit down with our clients and to do a review of all their policies. If you talk with an “800 Insurance Company” you’ll never speak to the same person twice and they have no idea who you are as a person and what coverage you need. If there is a serious claim, it’s doubtful that you could ever find the employee of the “800 Insurance Company” to ask them why they sold you the coverage that they did.
In times of trouble, our agency goes to bat for you. We help file the claim, we can speak the adjusters, and help out with any unforeseen situations related to the claim. This is especially important, especially with weather-related incidents where there can be quite a large area off affected clients. We’re here to be an advocate YOU, if something is not being addressed promptly or if there is a communication issue, we’ll help you resolve it quickly and get you back where you belong.
Another great attribute of having Farmers Insurance is that we only work with our own adjusters, meaning the adjuster inspecting the damage is someone who is knowledgeable with Farmers Insurance policies. Many online insurers (as well as independent insurance agencies) use independent adjusters, who may not be as familiar with each insurer’s claims. This can cause larges delays as well as unfavorable outcomes when you have a claim.
For a review of your coverage, give us a call anytime 816-795-5977.
In last month or so, I’ve had 2 vastly difference scenarios with 2 different insurance carriers, both “name brands.” I’ve changed the name to protect the guilty! It’s sad that the scenario happened, but the claims service you receive from your insurance carrier can be vastly different from one carrier to another.
Insurance Company A-Client files a home claim Oct 5. They drag their feet and finally send out an adjuster on Oct 31. However this adjuster is not an employee of Brand A, they are a ‘independent adjuster’ who is not allowed to bring the claim to completion (and submit payment to the insured). They are allowed (by law) to take 10 days to complete the claim after inspection. The took the entire 10 days to process the claim and the check. Claim closed Nov 9
**Process time from claim filing to claim closed—-
**35(THIRTY FIVE DAYS)
Farmers client (my insured). Files home claim Nov 8th. Due to high claims volume from the Liberty hail storms 2 weeks ago, our adjuster (who is a FARMERS employee), works OVERTIME on a SUNDAY. Client gets their check in hand before the adjuster leaves their home on Sunday Nov 13.
**Process time from claim filing to claim closed—-
**5 (FIVE) DAYS.
If you know of someone who has had a claims ‘runaround’ those are great referrals for me. We are proud of our company, offer great service, take care of our clients, and most importantly proud of our claims service. #WeAreFarmers
The FBI reports that nearly 400,000 burglaries occur between November and December each year in the United States, but some burglars can be deterred; here are some tips:
- Do not hide spare keys under flowerpots or doormats.
- Use a timer to turn household lights on and off even if you’re not home. Burglars watch for occupancy cues especially unlit homes.
- Do not display your Christmas tree and presents in front of easy-access windows.
- Keep your windows and doors, including sliding doors, secured and locked.
- Make sure you’re home to accept any packages that are scheduled for delivery. If not, request that the packages are left with a trusted neighbor, the post office, or shipped to your work address.
- Request to suspend your mail if you are going out of town or on vacation.
- Do not leave notes on your door announcing that you’re away from home.
- Do not leave empty boxes from high-priced items outside your home for trash collection. Burglars would love nothing more to swipe your brand new flat screen TV, your children’s newest game system, and your computer.
- Ask a trusted neighbor to check up on your home if you’re out of town.
- Arm your security system if you have one installed and monitored. Studies show that homeowners with security systems only arm them 50% of the time.
Selling your home can be a stressful process, especially when it doesn’t move quickly. With a new job looming, you may have no choice but to leave the home vacant for a short time until it sells.
So is there a problem? Truthfully there can be. When you have a homeowner’s policy, on of the insurance company’s requirement is that the property is “Owner Occupied.” Since you no longer occupy the property, generally these now vacant homes fall under different insurance rules and can leave you at risk. Homes are typically considered vacant when the utilities are shut off and/or furniture has been removed.
Insurance companies view a vacant home as a higher risk. There are more opportunities for vandalism and no one living there to protect the home from fire or storm damage should they occur.
So what should you do when moving?
First you need to talk to your insurance agent and get the details on your policy. Since policies vary by state and insurance company, there is no single right answer.
Explain the situation to your agent. Ask what coverage is included and what is excluded (specifically for vandalism as well as water damage). And find out what changes can be made to protect your home.
Selling a home doesn’t always follow a quick timeline. If you’re facing the possibility of leaving your home vacant, contact us first and find out how to best protect yourself and your property.
We are always here to answer your questions. Call 816-795-5977 or email email@example.com
Everybody who owns a home and has a mortgage has to have home insurance—but understanding the policy in it’s entirety? Well as your agent and insurance adviser we know you’re not wizards at this stuff and that’s why we have such an important job. It’s truly about education.
Here are seven things that smart homeowners need to understand when shopping and comparing policies.
1. Insurance companies look at replacement cost, not market value
Did you get a ‘good deal’ when you bought your current home? Did it appraise for $325,000 but you only paid $305,000? Do you think your home insurance policy should list the coverage on your home for exactly $305,000 then since that’s what you just paid for the house? Not so fast, my friend. In the event of a claim what do you want your policy to do? The answer of course is to REPLACE/REPAIR the damage whether it was to the structure or your contents after your deductible is met.
When you buy a house here are factors that affect the house value: age of the house, size of the lot, school district, local neighborhood–just to name a few.
There are a myriad of factors that go into determining a homes replacement cost including but not limited to: age of the house, square footage, style of the house, number of bathrooms, if there’s a basement and if the basement is finished, number of garages, square footage of the deck. I think you get the idea.
2. You should never, ever ignore water or flood risk
Planning to skip flood coverage because you’re in the middle of the high plains? Think again. Lakes, rivers, and oceans aren’t your only watery concerns. Forgetting about your sump pump or sewer can be a catastrophic mistake.
Back up of sewer or drain is NOT COVERED under any company’s base home insurance policy. You have to select additional coverage (typically from $5,000-$25,000) and pay and additional premium for coverage. The #1 cause of this type of claim is a failed sump pump. Even brand new ones can fail if you have heavy rains for several days or if you lose power during a storm.
If there is a power failure and it causes the pumps to fail and you have flooding in the basement this is the ONLY way that you’ll have coverage; otherwise you’re on your own to clean up the mess and repair any damage.
3. Don’t use insurance for maintenance issues
Making a claim on your home insurance will likely cause your premium to rise. That’s no fun for anyone, so unless you have a major catastrophe it’s always best to contact the agent first to discuss the situation to see if it merits filing a claim.
Also, too many claims could result in cancellation of your policy. So keep your claim activity to a minimum. As a general rule of thumb I would suggest not turning in a claim unless the total amount of damage is twice your deductible or more.
Gone are the days of using your home insurance for maintenance issues that arise from daily wear and tear. Insurance should only be used for larger claims or catastrophic incidents. If you do have multiple claims in a short time period (2 claims in 3 years; 3 claims in 5 years) it will be very difficult to move your insurance when you choose to shop. No insurance carrier wants a client who is “claim happy.”
Want another way to think about your home insurance? Here is another thought– When you use your home insurance, it should be with a sense of “Thank God I have insurance.”
4. Tell us before remodeling your home
Very seldom do our clients tell us about home renovations until well after the fact. But letting us know what you thinking or planning on doing can help eliminate some surprises down the road. If you don’t, otherwise you might find yourself paying some big bucks in either premiums or lack of proper coverage down the road.
Not only do you want to ensure any possible mishaps are covered under your policy, but your insurer likely will need to reassess your property, especially if renovations affect the value of your house.
Some renovations—like a new roof—can lower your premiums by as much as 25%. But others, like putting in a pool or trampoline, can cause your premiums increase due to liability concerns. In fact some insurance carriers will cancel or non renew your policy if you have an unfenced pool or unfenced trampoline. Double check with us before finalizing construction plans.
5. Buying insurance isn’t “like shopping for gas”
Understanding the intricacies of your policy can be immensely overwhelming, tempting many homeowners to shop exclusively for the lowest price. But being more methodical can make a huge difference.
Don’t view buying insurance like shopping for gas. You are buying coverage for the MOST EXPENSIVE possessions that you own. Make sure to ask plenty of questions, such as ‘Is this replacement cost policy or actual cash value?’ and ‘what are limits on my personal property (jewelry, guns, etc)?’
Go through your policy with us every 1-2 years, asking questions whenever you’re confused. We do this for all our clients; it’s called a Farmers Friendly Review. Don’t feel bad about asking questions, that’s what we’re here for.
Insurance can scare even the most educated consumer. So take your time, ask questions, and don’t just go with the cheapest price because seldom is that the best decision.
6. Insurance is not a conspiracy theory.. No, seriously.
Believe it or not, we (your insurance company) don’t set out to smash your dreams of reimbursement with an iron hammer. And we are not the type of company to cancel your insurance if you have a claim or two.
One area that makes things very difficult as an agent are people who think the insurance companies are out to deny every possible legitimate claim. There is not a vast conspiracy against the clients.
You might not want to believe it but we (the insurance company) do want to keep you happy. And sure, we also want to protect the bottom line as well.
7. Don’t get frustrated about increasing premiums
As your agent and adviser of choice we are your ally. Remember: We are not the ones setting the rates or raising your premiums. You might be upset, but just give us a call to understand what exactly is happening with your policy.
Remember we are NOT the the insurance company, but we understand that we are your liaison between the insurance company and yourself as the client. We understand that increases are difficult on you as the insured.
If you have an issue with your coverage or rate, remain calm during discussions. What we do is to go over the coverage line by line and see if you’re eligible for any new discounts or if dropping a coverage or raising a deductible might be a good fit for your situation.
If you’re a client and it’s time for a review call 816-795-5977 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.