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.
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.
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.
February is the month of love. Millions of couples will get engaged on Valentine’s Day or get married this month, and couples spend an average of $260 on cards, flowers, jewelry and other gifts. Those gifts could include life insurance. It’s not the first gift you think of when you consider romance, but it’s a good way to express your love to the important people in your life. In fact, you could think of life insurance as love insurance. Seventy-five percent of life insurance purchasers buy a policy because of love. This February, show your love with a life insurance policy, too.
Life Insurance for Yourself
When you buy a life insurance policy for yourself, you give your loved ones financial security and peace of mind. While life insurance benefits don’t replace you, they are a small way you can continue to provide for your loved ones after you’re gone. Your beneficiaries can use the money for miscellaneous purposes, including daily living expenses, an emergency fund for the future, debt repayment, school tuition or retirement account funding.
Life Insurance for Your Fiancé or Spouse
Maybe you won’t give your fiancé a life insurance policy along with the engagement ring, and a policy is probably not the first thing you buy together as a newly married couple. However, life insurance is an expression of your love and care. Your partner can choose the beneficiary and provide financial assistance to children or aging parents. The policy payout could also repay your partner’s outstanding debts, fund a favorite charity, cover end of life expenses or boost your retirement savings.
Life Insurance for Your Children
Kids have their whole lives in front of them, but they aren’t immune to birth defects, accidents and diseases like cancer. You can’t protect your kids from everything, but you can give them life insurance. A child’s life insurance policy can pay for medical expenses, funeral expenses and other end of life arrangements. It can also be donated in your child memory to his or her favorite charity or be used for the educational costs of surviving siblings. Whole life insurance policies also grow with your child. When they turn 21, they take over the policy and keep the same coverage or purchase additional insurance for their future.
This February, purchase life Insurance for your loved ones. A policy can cost less per day than your daily coffee, and it provides peace of mind. It’s a loving gift that keeps on giving. Discuss available policies with your insurance agent today.
Whether you’re driving in the summer or winter, you want to maximize your vehicle’s gas mileage. Cold weather can reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy, though. Use these tips to maximize your gas mileage this winter.
Why does Winter Fuel Economy Fall?
When temperatures drop from 70 degrees F to 20 degrees F, your vehicle’s fuel economy can drop by as much as 12 percent. Short trips of less than four miles also cause a fuel economy loss of as much as 22 percent. If you drive a hybrid vehicle, you could experience a 34 percent drop in fuel economy.
These drops occur for several reasons.
- The engine takes longer to reach a fuel-efficient temperature, a factor in fuel economy during shorter trips.
- Idling reduces overall fuel economy.
- Window defrosters, the heater fan and heated seats require extra power.
- Tire pressure decreases, which increases your vehicle’s rolling resistance and reduces fuel economy.
- Cold engine and transmission fluids increase friction.
- Battery performance decreases and affects the battery charge.
- Cold air and snow mounds on your vehicle create a higher aerodynamic drag as you drive at highway speeds.
- Winter grade gasoline blends are lower in energy than summer grade gasoline blends.
- Severe weather reduces tire grip and wastes energy, and slower but safer driving practices lower fuel economy.
How can you Improve Fuel Economy?
If possible, take several proactive steps that increase your vehicle’s gas mileage.
- Park in a garage or other warm location to increase your engine and cabin temperature and reduce the amount of time and effort required to warm the vehicle.
- Allow your vehicle to idle for only 30 seconds. It will warm up almost two times faster and use less fuel as you drive.
- Use defrosters and seat warmers only when necessary. An ice scraper and warmer clothing can help.
- Choose winter tires with low resistance and keep them inflated to the proper pressure as you improve traction and fuel economy.
- Use the cold weather oil recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
- Charge your battery before winter at an automotive store, car dealer or your mechanic.
- Remove accessories like the luggage or ski rack plus accumulated snow since these factors increase wind resistance and reduce your vehicle’s aerodynamics and fuel economy.
- Toss sandbags into the trunk to increase traction.
- Complete as many errands as possible in one trip. Also, check the traffic before your trip and avoid congested or slow areas.
This winter, your car may use more fuel than usual, but you can maximize your vehicle’s fuel economy with these tips.
We wish you and yours a safe and prosperous new year – from all of us at Scurich Insurance Services!
Although you might not be aware of it, there are far-reaching benefits to positive thinking that can improve your health and help you with stress management. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies show that the personality traits of optimism and pessimism can have a direct impact on your well-being.
The good news is that, even if you are a pessimist by nature, you can take steps to improve positive thinking techniques in your life, and reap the resulting health and well-being benefits. Health Benefits of Positive Thinking. Over time, researchers have explored the effects of optimistic thinking on health, and have found many correlations between well being and positive thought processes. These include:
- Longer life span
- Better resistance to the common cold
- Lower rates of depression
- Reduced rates of cardiovascular disease
- Improved coping skills during times of stress and hardship
- Better physical and psychological well-being
Get on the Road to Positive Thought Processes.
There are some simple steps to take to move away from negative thinking, and create a new habit of positive self-talk. Monitor yourself: During the day, stop and take note of your thoughts. If thoughts are mainly negative, make a conscious effort to put a positive spin on things.
Be open to good humor: Give yourself permission to be happy, to smile, and to laugh, even when the chips are down. Seek humor in everyday events.
Lead a healthy lifestyle: Follow a healthy diet and exercise at least three times per week. Eating right and exercising both have positive effects on mood and stress management.
Surround yourself with people who focus on the positive: Choose to spend time with family and friends who are cheerful, supportive, and offer helpful feedback. Avoid spending time with negative people who have a “glass half empty” attitude.
Practice positive self talk: Be gentle and encouraging with yourself, and never tell yourself something that you would not say to another person. If a negative thought enters your mind, try to think about it rationally, and follow up with positive affirmations about yourself and your circumstances.
Practice Every Day!
If you have had a past tendency to have a negative outlook on life, don’t despair. While you may not become an optimist overnight, with everyday practice, you will begin to replace negativity with productive, positive thoughts.
You may find that you become, not only less critical of yourself, but more accepting of the world around you. As your general attitude improves, you will begin to reap the physical and emotional benefits of a positive outlook on life!