With the upcoming holidays, your house is going to be filled with guests. Is your pantry filled and your bathroom clean? Even more importantly, update your home insurance policy as you prepare to welcome guests to your home for the holidays.
What Does Homeowner’s Insurance 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.
Because you plan to host holiday guests this year, do more than stock the pantry and clean the bathroom. Update your homeowner’s insurance policy. It gives you peace of mind and prepares you for anything that might happen.
Are you planning to welcome trick or treaters to your home this month? Follow 11 steps that 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. 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 11 safety tips. They secure your property and reduce your liability risks.
Summertime fun often includes swimming in the pool. Whether you already have a pool in your backyard or are thinking about putting one in this year, you may wonder if your home insurance will cover your pool.
Personal Liability Coverage
If someone is injured while swimming in your pool, the personal liability coverage on your homeowners insurance policy will pay for it. Update this coverage amount when you install your pool to ensure it’s sufficient.
Related Structure Coverage
Your insurance company may classify your new in-ground pool as a related structure, similar to a storage shed or detached garage. Increase the related structure coverage on your homeowners insurance policy to cover damage to your pool. Keep in mind that this coverage won’t pay for pool maintenance.
Find the majority of backyard pools in warm climates. Based on this fact, insurance costs for your pool may be cheaper if you live in the warmer southern states and more expensive if you live in cooler northern states.
Erect a Fence
To prevent accidents in the pool, many insurance companies stipulate that you surround your pool with a fence that includes a self-latching gate. Consider whether or not you have the space and ability to erect a fence before you install a pool.
Consider the Diving Board or Slide
Some insurance companies won’t cover accidents that happen on the diving board or slide. That policy will influence whether or not you install one of those pool accessories.
Consider an Umbrella Policy
Even if your homeowners insurance policy covers your pool, consider an umbrella policy. It provides extra coverage after your homeowners insurance limits are met. The extra protection gives you peace of mind if you need to file any pool-related claims.
A backyard pool provides hours of fun every summer. Before you install one, though, talk to your insurance agent. Get all the facts.
10 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
Home invasions and vandalism is on the rise. As many as one in five homes are invaded annually in the United States. One tool thieves use is lock bumping. They use a bump or rapping key to unlock pin tumbler locks and gain access to your home. Learn about lock bumping as you take steps to secure your home and peace of mind.
How Lock Bumping Works
Typically, you can only open a door with a key that’s specific to that lock. The key’s design aligns with the lock, pushes the pins into place above the shear line and unlocks the door. A bump key is designed to also unlock a door except the thief inserts it into the keyhole and taps the key with a screwdriver or hammer. The bumping pushes the pins in the lock above the shear line and pops the lock.
Thieves can easily learn how to make a bump key thanks to numerous online how-to videos and instructions. With a collection of 10 different bump keys, they can open 90 percent of the doors in the U.S., and the entire process takes a few seconds. Tips That Protect Your Home From Lock Bumping
Protect your home and prevent lock bumping with several steps.
- Buy a different pin tumbler lock. Certain locks are harder to bump. When shopping for new locks, look for ones that are:
- Made with security pins
- Not made from hardened steel
- Designed with programmable side bars and not top pins
- Equipped with a trap pin
- Shallow drilled where one of the interior pins is slightly shallower than the others
- Change the spring tension. Stronger top springs in the lock make bumping harder, so ask a locksmith to make at least two of the top springs firmer.
- Replace the traditional pin tumbler lock. Instead, invest in a disk tumbler, time, combination, electronic or electromagnetic lock. They don’t contain pins and are less vulnerable to bumping.
- Reinforce existing locks. If you don’t want to replace all the locks in your home, replace the door’s metal strike plates. It mounts on the doorjamb and costs about $10.
- Lock your door always. Whether you’re hanging out at home, working in the yard or garage, going to work or taking an extended vacation, lock your doors. Don’t make it easy for a thief to enter your home!
Purchase adequate insurance. Homeowners and renters insurance won’t prevent lock bumping, but it can give you peace of mind. With the right insurance, you can replace any of your possessions that are lost, stolen or vandalized.
Your home’s security and peace of mind are vital. Understand and prevent lock bumping as you protect your home and family.
11 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
With the arrival of spring, you might be itching to start home improvement projects. Certain projects can reduce your home insurance costs, so consider focusing on those as you save money and improve your home.
Replace Washer Hoses
An inexpensive no-burst stainless steel hose from your local hardware store can reduce your home insurance premium by 10 percent. Attach it to your washing machine and reduce one of the most common causes of water damage.
Install a Sturdy Garage Door
Because strong seasonal winds and other stormy weather can destroy your garage door and everything in this structure, install a sturdy garage door. One that’s hurricane-resistant or fitted with horizontal and vertical braces can save you 10 percent on your insurance premium and potentially pay for itself within five years.
Hang Storm Shutters
Wind-resistant shutters could reduce your insurance costs by as much as 20 percent, and they’re particularly important if you live in a hurricane zone. Both metal and roll-down shutters protect your home.
Purchase Trouble Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are two investments that reduce your home insurance premiums, but consider other trouble detectors, too. They provide plumbing failure warnings, detect furnace failure or alert you to frozen water pipes. Find leak detectors and other trouble detectors online or at your local hardware store.
Invest in Fire Extinguishers
For a savings of five percent, invest in fire extinguishers. Place one in the kitchen and on every floor or your home.
Invest in Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Place one in the kitchen and on every floor or your home.
Choose Fire-Resistant Siding
Save 20 percent on your insurance premium and give your home a new exterior appearance when you install fire-resistant siding. Metal, clapboard, fiber-cement and clapboards are all Class A fire-resistant materials that are available in a variety of colors and finish styles that meet your needs.
Inspect and Repair or Replace Your Roof
Because worn shingles on your current roof won’t do much to protect your home when windy weather arrive, consider replacing your roof. Select sturdy roofing materials like metal, shake or Class 4 modified asphalt shingles. Use six instead of four staples or nails per shingle for additional savings.
These spring home improvement projects can decrease your premium. You’ll also save money when you drop additional structure coverage, increase your deductible, make automatic payments and combine home and auto policies. Discuss the details with your insurance agent as you save money and protect yourself this season and throughout the year.
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.