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Winter checklist for your homePosted By Tom Sawyer In Home Insurance | 0 Comments | Permalink |
It's that time of year again....WINTER!
As with any other season, preparation is key.
Here is a simple exterior checklist we recommend to keep your home in good working order..... starting from the roof and working your way down:
1. Chimney cap, be sure your chimney has a chimney cap of some sort, preventing water entry into the chimney and conversely preventing hot embers from escaping the chimney.
2. Roof, if your roof is over eight to ten years old, consider having it inspected by a qualified roofer to ensure it is still in good working order. $30 spent on this inspection now, can prevent a huge headache in the midst of winter.
3. Gutters, be sure gutters are clean, fully connected and that they have adequate downspouts/ splash-guards, guiding water downhill and away from the dwelling.
4. Siding and window trim, a simple walk around the home can end up saving thousands. Check for cracked, buckled or missing siding and replace/repair accordingly. With any siding or window issues, we always encourage homeowners to seek the help of a licensed professional.
5. Water spigots and hoses, be sure to cover spigots with an insulated wrap ( can be found at any local hardware store for less than three dollars) and be sure to unhook , drain and coil all hoses.
6. Crawl space and pipes, this may be a job for your local licensed handyman. Be sure all exposed pipes in your crawl space are wrapped with pipe insulation to prevent freezing or bursting. To prevent ground moisture, mold, and water from building up in the crawl space, make sure the crawl space floor is lined with 6ml plastic.
7. Property grounds, when the inevitable freeze and snow arrives, consider salting your walkways, driveways, and stairways. It may cause a bit of a mess, but preventing any major slip and fall is well worth the cleanup time in the spring.
7 Tips To Help Prevent Identity TheftPosted By Andy Kosick In Home Insurance | 1 Comments | Permalink |
We have all heard about the dangers of identity theft. It is a crime that can go unseen and occur within seconds, but the ramifications could be felt throughout the rest of your life. Unfortunately, most people aren’t even aware that their identity has been stolen until it’s too late. Identity Theft may go undiscovered for weeks, months, or years, only to be revealed in the midst of buying a car, a home, applying for a loan, just to name a few. Basically, think of the time you’d least want to have financial troubles, and those are the times identity theft can come to light. However, there are ways in which we can protect ourselves. Following are 7 tips that we can all do to protect ourselves…..
- Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED.”
- When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card Accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the “For” line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. This will prevent anyone who might handle your check from having unnecessary access to your account.
- Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone number. Also, use a PO Box address if applicable, and NEVER have your Social Security Number printed on your checks.
- Make sure to keep a photocopy of all the important documents you keep in your wallet somewhere safe. Copy both sides of each license and credit card, as the back side is where all of the contact/reporting information is located. In case of an emergency you will be able to call and cancel all your credit cards, and will still be able to have proof of ID.
- Keep the toll free numbers to your bank and credit cards handy so that you may inform your companies and have your cards cancelled IMMEDIATELY. The sooner you call, the more damage you can prevent.
- File a police report IMMEDIATELY in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc, were stolen.
- Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations IMMEDIATELY to place a fraud alert on your name. Also call the Social Security fraud line number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
When it comes to reporting Identity Theft time is of the essence. The faster you report a stolen wallet, purse, or mail, the more likely you are to prevent or decrease the damage from occurring. Along with the phone numbers for your bank and credit card companies, you will also need the phone numbers for the 3 credit reporting agencies and the social security administration. For your convenience we have provided those numbers below.
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
- Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
When Your Source of Joy Becomes Your Source of StrifePosted By Andy Kosick In Home Insurance | 0 Comments | Permalink |
Fall is fast approaching. Can’t you hear the sound of leaves crunching beneath you feet, as you make your way home after a long day at work? You pour yourself a cup of cocoa, snuggle up in your favorite comfy chair, and before you know it you hear the familiar jingle of your cat’s collar as she jumps up to join you in your relaxation. The sound of her soft purrs begins to drown out the sounds of your busy day, and your mind finally begins to relax.
You make it home after your hectic day at the office, climb out of the car, and drag yourself into the house. As you walk in the door you are greeted by your 10 year son, 8 year old daughter, and your golden retriever. They beg you to go outside, and you have the privilege of ending your day playing ball with “the gang.”
Pets grow into our families, and become a part of them. They are a source of joy for all of us. But if we are not careful, they can also become a source of strife. The news is heavy with people who have raised aggressive dogs for their own personal gain. What happens when these animals have fulfilled their use? They end up in animal shelters, where families are looking to adopt a new member of the family. There are certain breeds that can be more dangerous than others; Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, English Bull Terriers, German Shepherds, Dobermans, and St. Bernard’s can all have aggressive tendencies. But more important than the breed is who owned the dog before and what was the dog’s purpose? These are questions that can’t always be answered at a human society or animal shelter. However, it is very important to understand the dog’s temperament before you commit to claiming it as part of your family. Watch the dog play with other people and dogs. Ask the workers who feed and walk it on a daily basis. Does it shy in a corner, or cuddle up to your feet looking for attention?
It is also important to protect your family and neighbors in the event your pet has a change in temperament. By securing liability insurance you can protect yourself from the unthinkable. As pet owners we are responsible for the actions of our pet. If your dog was to bite someone, destroy property, or knock over a biker, you will be held liable for the damage of property and health. It could only happen once, it could just be an accident, but the bottom line is that it could happen, and are you going to be prepared when it does? Statistics from the New York Times and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that, “each year, roughly 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs and about 800,000, half of them children, seek medical attention.” If you own pets, or are thinking of getting a pet, we highly recommend you talk with your local insurance agent to make sure your insurance company is aware you have a dog, and that you have the coverage you need in the event that your source of joy becomes your source of strife.
Welcome Summer!Posted By Andy Kosick In Home Insurance | 0 Comments | Permalink |
Andy, Tom, and Cynthia
Summer Sun & Water ProtectionPosted By Andy Kosick In Home Insurance | 0 Comments | Permalink |
Summer is coming and we are all starting to prepare our families; switching out the winter wardrobes for summer, pulling out the sandals, and stocking up on sun block. When the weather turns warm the first thing we think of is how to get our families near any type of water; beaches, pools, lakes, oceans, and of course water parks. There are so many ways to enjoy cool water in warm weather. It’s the one activity that the entire family can enjoy together. But there’s one type of water that no one is interested in being around, and that is water damage in your home caused by the back up of sewers, drains, or sump-pumps. There’s nothing worse than coming home from a relaxing day at the beach only to find yourself ankle deep in sewer water. The damage caused by this type of back-up is extensive, and could include replacing carpets, floors, and even walls. The scary thing is that your homeowner’s coverage does not provide coverage for any type of water damage or sump-pump overflow. This means that if you do experience this type of damage, you will be the one footing the bill.
There is a very simple way to avoid this extra cost. By adding a Water Backup and Sump Pump Overflow Endorsement to your homeowner’s policy, you can prevent yourself from stepping into a very sticky situation. A Water Backup and Sump Pump Overflow Endorsement provides coverage for the back-up of internal drains in your home (including kitchens, bathrooms, sinks, tubs, and toilets), as well as coverage in the event your sump-pump overflows. This Endorsement costs between $15-50, and can provide you $5,000-15,000 dollars in coverage. This is a simple and easy way to protect yourself from the damage, stress, cost, and repairs of water damage inside your home.
Homeowner's Insurance Can Give You Peace of Mind at the Next Seahawk's GamePosted By Andy Kosick In Home Insurance | 3 Comments | Permalink |
Congratulations Seahawks! That was a great game on Saturday! If you’re going to follow the Seahawks to their next game against the Chicago Bears at the “new” Soldier field in Chicago then there are a few things you’ll want to know about your homeowner’s policy. When most people think of their homeowner’s policy they are usually thinking about coverage for their home. But, surprisingly enough a good homeowner’s policy covers so much more than just your house! It also covers your personal property. 10% of your personal property coverage (applicable to the deductible) follows you everywhere you go. For example, you go on a trip to Chicago, and your personal belongings are stolen from your hotel room. The hotel may not cover the loss of such things as your laptop computer, jewelry, clothes, etc, BUT, your homeowner’s policy will! The same benefits also apply to those who have renter’s insurance.
Personal liability is another coverage that follows you everywhere you go. What that means for you is this: Let’s say you decide to go skiing, and on the slopes you accidentally injure another skier. Your homeowner’s policy will provide coverage for the accident. Also covered are optional endorsements such as personal injury, which will cover such things as liable, slander, defamation of character, and wrongful arrest.
Another amazing benefit is that if your homeowner’s policy includes fraud and identity coverage, that coverage also follows you wherever you go. For example, you are at the big Seahawks game in Chicago, and after we win you get mugged on your way home, and the mugger then uses the personal information in your wallet to steal your identity. Your homeowner’s policy will cover that as well!
It is extremely important to have an independent local insurance agent you can trust, with whom you can talk these options over, and make sure your insurance plan includes these benefits. The other plus to having a local agent, is that they know your name, and will be there to take care of any problems for you, whether you are at home or on vacation. A large insurance company may offer a cheap price, but when you have a claim will they be there with you, or just keep putting you on hold? Great deals are important when choosing an insurance plan, but even more important is making sure you have a plan that will cover you through those unexpected emergencies. The peace of mind that comes with knowing your family is protected, and there is a friendly voice on the other end of the phone, is worth every penny.
Consumer Home Insurance InformationPosted By Andy Kosick In Home Insurance | 2 Comments | Permalink |
Whether you are a homeowner or renter, home insurance offers important protection.
For homeowners, insurance protects your home's physical structure, as well as your personal property.
In contrast, renter's insurance only protects your personal property. Never assume that the landlord's insurance covers you or your belongings. Landlord's insurance only protects the building.
Both homeowners and renters may need protection against liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their property.
Let's be more specific about homeowners insurance and the different types of protection it can provide:
Damage to House. Covers damages to the house itself up to the face amount of the policy. For example, if the face amount is $100,000, that's the most you will receive if your house is totally destroyed, less any deductible.
Other Structures. Covers damage to other structures or buildings, such as a detached garage, work shed or fencing.
Personal Property. Covers damage to - or loss of - personal property. Personal property includes household contents and other belongings used, owned or worn by you and your family. Be aware that certain personal property items like jewelry, antiques and artwork may need special added coverage.
Additional Living Expenses. Covers the necessary living expenses, up to the stated limit, incurred by the insured to continue, as nearly as possible, the normal standard of living when the house cannot be occupied due to a covered loss.
Comprehensive Personal Liability. Protects you against claims arising from accidents to others on property that you own or rent. With a few exceptions, such as auto or boating accidents, it is an all-purpose liability coverage that follows you wherever you go.
Medical Expenses. Covers medical expenses, but is limited to an amount per person and per accident for injuries occurring on your premises to persons other than an insured. It also may cover medical expenses away from your premises if caused by you, a member of your family or your pets.
You have the option to insure your home and belongings for either replacement cost or actual cash value.
Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to your home after depreciation.
Replacement cost is the amount it would take to replace or rebuild your home or repair damages with materials of similar kind and quality, without deducting for depreciation. A good rule of thumb is to insure your home for at least 80 percent of its replacement value, recognizing that in most instances, the value of the land doesn't need to be included.
Be aware that coverage for damage caused by flooding is NOT included in your homeowners policy. If you live in an area prone to flooding from any cause - for example, hurricanes, rivers or streams - be sure to inquire about purchasing flood insurance, which is available through the federal government's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Here's an important tip: It's a good idea to make an inventory of all of your personal property, along with a photograph or video of each room. Also, save your receipts for major items and keep them in a safe place away from your house or apartment. That will make it easier if you ever need to file a claim.
Your home insurance premiums are affected by a number of factors, for example:
Your home's specific characteristics are important...
Its age; older homes typically cost more to insure.
Its type of structure; for example, brick, frame, stone or synthetic siding
Whether it has a garage
Your home's location also has an impact on your premiums. For example...
Its proximity to a fire station
Its exposure to extreme weather - hurricanes, tornados or earthquakes
Whether it's in a neighborhood that's more prone to theft than others
Protective devices can also make a difference. For example...
Burglar alarm systems
Dead bolt locks
Having these items throughout your home definitely helps lower your premiums. And, of course, they also greatly help reduce potential damage and injuries.
There are some personal characteristics that affect insurance premiums:
Non-smokers might pay less for homeowners insurance than smokers.
And remember, it's important to maintain a good credit history because many insurance companies consider credit history when determining how much to charge you for insurance.
Your previous claim history has a big impact on your premiums. Consider not putting in claims for smaller amounts/events to avoid being tagged for a premium increase. You may want to consider a higher deductible if you are unlikely to file a claim for a loss that is less than $500 or even $1000.
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