Tag Archive | Home Safety

Homeowners and Renters–Tips for Holiday Security

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.

Preparing Your Home For Winter Freezes 

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With winter arriving soon, now is a great time to prepare your home for freezing temperatures.  Use the checklist below to give you ideas for keeping warm, preventing fires, and saving money.

Have your furnace inspected and serviced by a professional at least once a year. Catching an issue early can save you thousands and if you’re a preferred customer of a local HVAC company, most will put you at the top of the list should you have a furnace issue during the extremely cold times.

Have chimneys and vents cleaned and inspected.  (Built up creosote is the leading cause of chimney fires!)

Stock up on dry, seasoned wood for the fireplace or wood stove.

Check the condition of your fireplace screen.  Is it in good condition and secure?

Get a covered metal container ready to dispose of cooled ashes.  (And keep it at least 15 feet from your home.)

Review fireplace safety with your kids!

Halloween Insurance Tips

It’s October and that means that Halloween is on it’s way!  We love any excuse to celebrate around the office. However, I wouldn’t be a good insurance agent if I didn’t give a few good liability insurance tips too. 🙂

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You’ve heard most Halloween advice over and over.

**Pack a flashlight for when it gets dark.
**Put reflective tape on children’s costumes.
**Check the kid’s candy before letting them eat any.

But what about the risks at your home? Your Homeowners Insurance covers you if someone is injured on your property. But there are a few things you can do to prevent accidents before they happen!

  1. Change your light bulbs. Is your porch light burned out? What about lights along sidewalks? Good lightning will help prevent children (and adults) from tripping.
  1. Clear hazards. Tree limbs in your yard? A hole you’ve been meaning to fill? These are all potential hazards that could cause an injury and subject you to a liability claim. Clean them up before you have people trick-or-treating at your home!
  1. No open flames. While candle filled pumpkins are fun to make, they can be dangerous too. If you use any open flame candles, make sure they are up high and away from any loose costume pieces.

And the easiest way to protect yourself? Make sure you have plenty of liability insurance! Call us today to schedule a free review and detailed explanation of how we can keep your home and family protected.

October Is Fire Prevention Month

October is officially Fire Prevention Month. As your insurance agency, this is an issue that is very important to us! Unfortunately, we’ve seen clients suffer from home fires, and we want to share some things you can do to prevent a disaster.

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Beyond basic fire prevention, like checking electrical cords and not leaving a pot unattended on the stove, there are several important things to do with your children or grandchildren to make sure they’re safe.

First, create a PLAN. When children know what to expect, they can remain calm, even during an emergency. Help your child know exactly what to do if a fire occurs.

Stress the importance of getting out of the house and to your family meeting spot.  Choose an area a safe distance from the house where children should go if making a fire escape. It could be a street light, mailbox, or neighbor’s tree.

If you have pets, tell your kids that your pets will find their own way out safely and that they should never go back to rescue the pet on their own.

As a family, go through each room of the house and discuss TWO different ways to get out if a fire occurs. Let children practice opening a latch and unlocking doors too.

Now host a fire drill! Make the practice drills fun and informative. Create sample scenarios and build up your kid’s confidence. They’ll be better prepared for a fire and you will too!

When it comes to any sort of emergency situation, people are what matter most. Take precautions to protect your loved ones and let your professional insurance agents take care of protecting your home and belongings! Call us for a free quote on your Homeowner’s Insurance today!

Don’t Leave Home For Vacation Without Doing This…

Ready to head out of town on vacation?  Temperatures are climbing, school is ending, and everyone is eager for a break.  But there are a few things to keep in mind before you leave town in order to keep your possessions protected.

Don’t Advertise That You’ll Be Out Of Town
Think about the things that happen around your home on a daily basis, so that your home doesn’t look empty when you leave.

First, contact the Post Office (and the newspaper) and put your services on hold.  A full mailbox and a driveway full of newspapers are a sign to thieves that you’re an easy target!

Can you put a few lights on a timer so that your home isn’t dark all night?  Even leaving on a few lamps will help.  Motion sensitive lights on your porch and driveway are a great idea too.

Do you have a neighbor that you trust?  Let them know of your plans, share your contact number, and consider leaving a spare key just in case.

What if a severe thunderstorm hits while you’re out of town?  It could knock out power or even cause a tree in your yard to fall.  Your neighbor can make sure that your freezer is back on when the power restores or verify that there aren’t any leaks in the roof from the storm damage!  This can help prevent some bad surprises when you get home. Here at our agency we call this YOUR Key Neighbor. Your Key Neighbor should also have our office phone number should any emergency claims arise.

When You’re On The Road
The biggest tip I share with my clients is to avoid leaving valuables in the car! 

Many people believe that their belongings are covered by car insurance, but that is not the case.  The only coverage for your luggage and computer would be on your Homeowners Insurance and it’s subject to your deductible and possibly other limits.

Also, most policies offer coverage for road side assistance and towing.  This can be invaluable when you are stranded (or accidentally lock your keys in the car in an unfamiliar town).  This coverage is inexpensive and quick to add to your policy. Just call 1-800-435-7764 or 800-FARM TOW.

Have questions about your insurance before your next trip?  Give us a call anytime to discuss your policy or to get a quote!

Are You Prepared For A Flood?

March is the time of year when we talk about severe weather.  That can mean hail, tornadoes, and even floods!

Flood safety is extremely important. That’s why it’s a good idea to review these basic flood safety tips, provided by http://www.ready.gov, with your children every year.

If a flood is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or television for information.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.

If you need to evacuate:

  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:

  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If flood waters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, when water is not moving or not more than a few inches deep. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.  If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay in the vehicle. If the water is rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.

 

With a little bit of preparation, you can keep your family safe!  Review these tips for flood safety and contact us if you have questions about flood insurance coverage.

March Home Maintenance Tips

What do you need to do this month to keep your home running smoothly and your family protected?  Read below to find out! 

Change Batteries In Smoke Detectors – When the time changes, it’s a great idea to change the batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  This way you always know that they are working and in good order!

Make A Severe Weather Plan – Designate a safe place in your home in case of bad weather.  Stock it with basic emergency supplies and throw in an extra flashlight and batteries too!

Check Your Credit Report – March is Credit Education Month.  When was the last time you checked to see that your credit reports were accurate?  If it’s been over a year, stop by www.annualcreditreport.com and order a free copy today.

Review Your Insurance Discounts – Are you getting all the discounts you qualify for?  Call us to review your policy and see if there are any changes that need to be made.

 

And as always, give us a call if you have any questions or need assistance with auto, home, business, or life insurance.