Heavy rains, floods, hurricanes can all threaten your home and family this spring. While no amount of preparation prevents volatile spring weather, a home emergency kit helps you prepare to be safe and survive.
A warm blanket, spare set of clothes and matches could make the difference in your survival. Pack these and all other essential supplies you might need in an airtight container that’s easily accessible.
Food and Water
The Red Cross suggests families store two weeks’ worth of food and water, which means you’ll need one gallon of water per person per day and a variety of easily prepared, non-perishable foods. Don’t forget to stock baby and pet food if necessary, too.
Minor bumps and bruises can occur as your family rushes to safety. Your first aid kit should include basic first aid supplies like bandages, antibacterial cream, burn cream and pain reliever. Pack prescription medications, hearing aid batteries and other specialized medications if needed.
Toilet paper, toothbrushes and diapers are essential. Hand sanitizer and bleach should also be included in your emergency kit.
You’ll want to stay connected to the outside world and signal for help, so include a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, your cell phone and chargers in your emergency kit. A flashlight and whistle for each person is also a good idea.
Whether you have to dig out of the basement or open a soup can, tools come in handy. Stock a multipurpose tool, work gloves, scissors, shovel, screwdriver set, hammer and manual can opener in your kit.
In the rush of an evacuation, you may forget to grab your purse or wallet. Copy important papers like your driver’s license, birth certificate, insurance policies and medical information. Store them, extra cash and your family’s emergency contact information in a waterproof bag to keep them safe.
This home emergency kit will play a big role in keeping you safe when volatile spring weather strikes. Update your insurance policies, too, as you stay protected and prepared.
Is your house going to be filled with guests this holiday season? Is your pantry filled? Are you ready? Do you have a dog? Do you need more insurance in case someone gets hurt while on your property?
What Does Homeowner’s Insurance Usually Cover?
Most homeowners buy insurance to cover property damages from storms or accidents. It also covers personal property that’s lost, damaged or stolen. Plus, homeowner’s insurance pays for medical treatment or lawsuits associated with injuries people sustain while visiting you.
Make Sure you Have Enough Liability Coverage
You don’t expect accidents to happen in your house, but a visitor could trip over frayed carpet, get food poisoning or fall off the backyard trampoline. Or maybe the traditional Thanksgiving day football game gets rough, and your cousin’s expensive watch breaks, a seasonal storm blows a branch on your friend’s vehicle or the toilet overflows on your uncle’s expensive leather shoes. These injuries and damages are all examples of accidents that liability insurance covers.
Increase Your Coverage Limit
To ensure you have enough liability coverage, check out your policy and talk to your insurance agent. Most policies include a liability coverage limit of $100,000, but you should consider increasing that limit to $300,000 or even $500,000. An accident that affects more than one guest could quickly use up that coverage and leave you with a big bill. The increased coverage limit ensures everyone can receive medical treatment, and it reduces your out-of-pocket expenses if you’re sued.
Buy an Umbrella Policy
An umbrella policy is another insurance product to consider. It adds additional coverage that could be very beneficial as you entertain guests this holiday season. It’s an inexpensive way to cover additional expenses (not covered by your home owners).
Because you plan to host holiday guests this year, do more than stock the pantry. Update your homeowner’s insurance policy. It gives you peace of mind and prepares you for anything that might happen. Get in touch with us if you have questions.
Are you planning to welcome trick or treaters to your home this month? Here are some suggestions to prepare your property for safe Halloween fun.
1. Clean your walkways.
Jack-o-lanterns are cute, but they are also tripping hazards. Remove decorations and all clutter or debris such as toys, yard tools or twigs from your sidewalks, steps and walkways.
2. Clear the yard.
Ideally, kids will stay on the walkway and front porch as they retrieve their candy. However, you will want to clear your yard so curious and excited kids don’t trip on any toys, branches or yard tools.
3. Repair broken sidewalks and steps.
Inspect your entryway and steps carefully. Then repair any broken stepping stones, loose railings or other hazards.
4. Install lighting.
Your front porch light is turned on to welcome trick or treaters, but you may also need additional lighting to ensure safety. Solar-powered walkway lights or a string of lights can illuminate your walkway and porch.
5. Change your location.
Instead of making kids walk up your long driveway or steep steps, stand or sit in a location that’s easy for them to access.
6. Lock doors and windows.
On trick or treat night, your attention is focused on your front door. Lock all the other doors and windows in your house so no one can gain access to your home while you’re out front. Remember to lock your garage and car, too.
7. Secure valuables.
Move your grill, mower and other valuables to the shed or another secure location. With this tip, you prevent potential burglars from adding your home to their future target list.
8. Protect your pets.
Some kids are scared of animals. Also, pets can become startled and bolt or bite when they see strange costumes or dozens of noisy kids. Always secure your pets so they and the kids are safe.
9. Extinguish candles.
Open flames pose a fire hazard. As an alternative, try battery-powered bulbs, or install Halloween-themed covers on your flashlights.
10. Consider allergies when choosing candy.
Many kids are allergic to nuts or dairy. Place a teal pumpkin on your step to show trick or treaters that you offer safe alternatives like books, stickers or toys.
11. Update your property and homeowners’ insurance policies.
Despite your best efforts to promote safety, someone could be injured while on your property (ask about Personal Umbrella Insurance – a surprising low annual cost for protection). Be sure your property and homeowners’ insurance policies are updated and include adequate coverage.
Trick or treating is a fun family activity. As you give out treats this year, follow these safety tips. They secure your property and reduce your liability risks.
October, Adopt a Shelter Dog month, is a great time to add a dog to your family. Be careful which breed you adopt, though. Insurance companies use data from insurance claims and public health studies to create a high risk dog breed list, and your homeowners insurance premiums can increase based on the type of dog you adopt. You can save money when you choose a dog that’s not on the high risk list.
Working Breed Dogs
Agile, powerful and intelligent, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers and Siberian Huskies are also fiercely protective. If they’re not trained properly, these breeds could be potentially dangerous, especially to young children and small pets.
Loyal and protective, American Pitbull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers have been bred to hunt. These traits mean they can become aggressive and tenacious if they’re cornered or frightened by one of your family members or guests.
Police departments, military personnel and ranch hands appreciate this breed because the dogs are intelligent, hard-working and powerful. They’re also suspicious of strangers and won’t back down, which makes them a challenging breed for inexperienced owners to handle.
Independent and strong Chow Chows are often kept as companions. These fluffy dogs can be aloof and stubborn, though, and should only be adopted by experienced dog owners.
Wolf Hybrid and Presa Canarios dogs exhibit strength and protective characteristics. However, they can also be unpredictable and quick to attack, making them potentially dangerous breeds. Friendly and docile Great Danes are listed on the high risk list, too, because of their size.
A dog adds fun and companionship to your home and family, and adopting a shelter dog is socially responsible. Before you choose a new pet, though, consider whether or not it will increase your homeowners insurance cost. If so, you may choose a different breed or reduce your home insurance premiums by installing a dog fence or raising your deductible.
Roughly 374,000 fires occur in homes across the U.S. each year. Protect your home and family from being a statistic when you create a fire emergency plan.
1. Discuss Fire Safety Tips
Obviously, you want to extinguish candles, cigarettes and other open flames immediately. You also need to supervise meal prep in the kitchen to ensure nothing catches on fire. However, did you know that fabric can be flammable when it lies near the heater? Teach your family to prevent these and other fire hazards.
2. Install Smoke Detectors
To ensure everyone can safely escape a fire, place smoke detectors on every floor of your home where you can hear them day and night. Since smoke rises, place them on the ceiling or high on the walls.
3. Locate Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers need to be accessible. Place one in the kitchen under the sink or in the pantry. Other smart locations include near the entrance and exit doors and at least one on each floor. Once they’re securely attached to the wall, ensure your adult and teen family members know how to use them.
4. Choose the Exits
Your home’s layout determines where you can safely exit. In each room, choose two door or window exits that assist your family in safely escaping a house fire. If you have a second story, store an escape ladder near the window, and make sure you know how to use it properly.
5. Designate an Outdoor Meeting Spot
Whether your family meets at a neighbor’s house or a tree across the street, designate an outdoor base camp. Call 911 from this spot after everyone safely escapes the fire.
6. Practice the Plan
Even the best fire emergency plan will be ineffective if your family members don’t know what to do when a fire starts. Test the fire alarms and teach your kids what they sound like. Then, practice escaping out of the nearest exit and meeting at your designated spot.
Additionally, talk to your insurance agent and ensure you have adequate home insurance for your house and possessions. Insurance won’t prevent fires, but it will give you peace of mind.
Valued at $46.2 million, the Graff Pink diamond is one of the most expensive pieces of jewelry in the world. Your jewelry box might not hold anything that priceless, but you certainly want to insure your valuable or sentimental pieces, including the diamond cufflinks you wore at your wedding or your grandmother’s ruby brooch. November is Real Jewelry Month and the perfect time to make sure your necklaces, bracelets, rings and other real jewelry are insured.
1. Hire an Independent Appraiser
An independent appraiser will carefully and thoroughly inspect each piece of jewelry you own, and he or she will then determine the exact value of your works of art. Be sure to obtain a signed document that includes a detailed description and appraiser’s value for each piece.
2. Check Your Current Insurance Policy
Most homeowner or renter insurance policies include cash value or replacement coverage for personal belongings. As long as that figure is high enough to cover everything you own, including your real jewelry, you’re set.
3. Purchase a Rider
If your current policy does not cover your valuable gems, purchase a rider. It offers additional coverage for your precious collection.
4. Take Pictures of all Your Pieces
The police need detailed descriptions of your jewelry if a piece is lost or stolen. Take detailed pictures of each piece to increase the likelihood of recovery.
5. Update Your Inventory Regularly
Once you’re sure your jewelry is adequately insured, mark your calendar for an annual inventory review. Add new pieces you recently purchased and remove pieces you sold or gave away to ensure your collection is completely covered.
6. Inspect Your Jewelry
As part of your annual review; take your jewelry for an inspection. The jeweler will look for loose settings, chips or scratches. Take new pictures after any needed repairs are made.
7. Store Your Jewelry in a Safe Place
Insurance will replace your real jewelry if it’s lost, stolen or damaged, but don’t take chances. A fireproof safe hidden in your home or a safety deposit box at the bank protects your gems, especially if you own expensive pieces that you wear only on rare occasions.
You do not want to file a claim for stolen jewelry and find out it wasn’t insured. Follow these tips and talk to your insurance agent today as you protect your valuable collection and celebrate Real Jewelry Month.