When you buy an engagement ring or expensive jewelry, know what your policy says.
Most homeowners and renter's insurance include jewelry as personal property, but that coverage may not be enough to cover your purchase.
Many policies set a limit and might not protect against all losses. Given the sentimental value of some heirlooms, think about coverage for all situations.
Wherever you go and whatever you do this Thanksgiving, I wish you the best. Being able to work with you is something I’m truly grateful for.
1. Inspect electrical decorations for damage before use.
Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
2. Do not overload electrical outlets.
Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires. Avoid overloading outlets and plug only one high-wattage into each outlet at a time.
3. Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights.
More than three strands may not only blow a fuse, but can also cause a fire.
4. Keep trees fresh by watering daily.
Dry trees are a serious fire hazard.
5. Use battery-operated candles.
Candles start almost half of home decoration fires (NFPA).
6. Keep combustibles at least three feet from heat sources.
A heat sources that was too close to the decoration was a factor in half of home fires that began with decorations (NFPA).
7. Protect cords from damage.
To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors and windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources, or attached by nails or staples.
8. Check decorations for certification label.
Decorations not bearing a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Intertek (ETL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.
9. Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking.
Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires (NFPA).
10. Turn off, unplug, and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house.
Unattended candles are the cause of one in five home candle fires. Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11pm and 7am (NFPA).
The definition of “commercial use” varies by company. Our agency can help you determine your needs.
If you are ever sued, your standard homeowners or auto policy will provide you with some liability coverage, paying for judgments against you and your attorney's fees, up to a limit set in the policy. However, in our litigious society, you may want to have an extra layer of liability protection. That's what a personal umbrella liability policy provides.
With freezing weather bearing down on most of the country this week, it's a great time to make sure you're ready for cold weather. Winter can be unpredictable as temperatures drop quickly and it is important to remember to protect your home. Burst pipes and the subsequent water damage that follows can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your most prized and expensive investment. Please take this opportunity to protect that investment and hopefully to avoid costly water damage. Here are a few tips that can help:
Temperatures are expected to fall into the mid-twenties across the state this week, which will spark an uptick in purchases of home heating equipment. It is important to keep safety in mind if you are planning on purchasing or activating a space heater or other heating equipment for your home.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is the second-leading cause of U.S. residential fires and the third-leading cause of residential fire deaths. 53% of all home heating fire deaths resulted from fires that began when heating equipment was too close to flammable items.
Our agency offers the following space heater tips to ensure safety while staying warm:
It happens every year when it suddenly turns cold.
You switch your HVAC system over to Heat for the first time since Spring.
Nothing happens or, even worse, it starts a fire that's out of control.
Check the following list to be sure your furnace is ready for the coming winter.
1. Turn on the thermostat.
Switch from cooling to heating and set the temperature a couple of degrees higher than the current room temperature. If you don’t hear the heat kick on within a minute, pull off the cover and make sure the wire connections are secure (if you feel comfortable doing so). If the connections are snug, make sure the power source to the HVAC system is turned on. If it’s still not working, you could check the furnace fan, blower or heat pump — but it likely makes better sense to call in a professional.
2. Change the air filters.
You probably have air filters behind a vent grill in the wall or ceiling, or a single filter in the HVAC system itself. Change these filters every few months. Or, if you have a permanent electrostatic filter, you can wash and reuse it. Cleaning or replacing your filters regularly keeps particles out of your HVAC system and can prolong its life. While you’re at it, change your humidifier filter and set the humidistat, if your HVAC includes a humidifier.
3. Cover the AC condenser.
Unless your HVAC is a heat pump (in which case, don’t cover it at all because it runs all year), cover the condenser to protect it from falling icicles. A large trash can lid secured with bungee cords works quite well for this function. You can also use a board to cover the fan — but don’t wrap it in a moisture-trapping plastic tarp.
4. Clean the heat exchanger.
The heat exchanger should be brushed and vacuumed out annually by a trained professional while the unit is disabled. While it’s being cleaned, your technician will look for cracks, which could lead to a dangerous carbon monoxide leak into your home.
5. Lubricate and clean the blower motor.
First check the owner’s manual to see if your motor is the kind that needs lubricating. If it does, turn off the power, open the cover and clean the caps covering the bearings. Then remove the caps and lubricate the bearings.
6. Test the igniter switch.
On an old system, you might have to relight the pilot. Newer systems have electronic ignitors. If the ignitor isn’t working, push the reset button. If that doesn’t do the trick, check your breaker. Still not working? Call in a professional.
7. Inspect the chimney and carbon monoxide detectors.
Chimneys can house carbon buildup or even small animals. A professional should inspect them periodically. Routinely test or replace carbon monoxide detectors as well, as they help protect you from the “silent killer.”
8. If you have an oil-powered furnace, replace your filter and nozzle and check the tank level.
Unlike gas-fired systems, oil units require oil filter changes, burner nozzle cleaning and a pretty thorough heat-exchanger brushing to keep them running efficient since oil doesn’t burn as cleanly as gas.
9. It’s also a good time to check up on your home or renter’s insurance.
We invite you to contact our agency for a no-obligation review so you can rest easy and enjoy the cozy days and nights of the coming Winter season.
Operating a motor vehicle is the most dangerous and potentially deadly activity we do every day. While a necessary task, it takes focus, practice and skill to safely operate a vehicle moving 80 feet per second (55 mph). In a vehicle, anything distracting a driver's hands, eyes, or mind — phones, food, friends, or control dials — becomes deadly. Ten-percent of fatal accidents in the U.S. involve at least one distracted driver, killing approximately 3,500 people each year.1
Younger drivers and passengers — those more likely to be using smartphones — face the highest risk. The tragic consequences are piling up and impacting more of our friends and families.
As we rush through our daily lives, the temptation to eat a meal while behind the wheel can be strong. Eating, changing clothes or putting on make-up are routinely identified as the cause of accidents. While most states prohibit texting while driving, only a few have laws specifically forbidding eating and grooming. But with or without these laws, police can still determine your behavior or driving to be unsafe and pull you over because they know distracted driving can be deadly.
Some distractions or cognitive impairments occur before the driver gets in a vehicle. While not the epidemic it once was, alcohol- and/or drug-impaired drivers still causes more than 10,000 deaths per year.1
Passengers: Friends or Foes?
State laws limiting or prohibiting passengers in cars driven by young drivers affirm the risk they can pose as distractors. That is why it is important, regardless of the driver's age, for passengers to partner with drivers to reach their destination safely.
Speak up if a driver is doing anything to put you at risk. Take control of the driver's phone, radio or climate control dials and be sure the driver is attentive, focused and alert. Never let a friend drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs. And always buckle up.
Take the Keep the Road Code pledge and commit to being a focused, responsible driver.