Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is for many a time to gather with family, friends and loved ones and enjoy each others company. Many reflect on what good things have happened in their lives over the last year and what they have to be thankful for.

We all have the humor of the holidays to share too. Like the time mom dropped the turkey on the floor and the dog took off with it. Or when the oven broke and you had to move everyone to another family members house on short notice.

As you celebrate this great time of year, please remember to be cautious too. We all know that traveling can be dangerous and to watch out on the road, know when to say when, and maybe preparing for a few overnight guests is a good idea.

From 2006 to 2008 there were on average 2,000 fires nationwide on Thanksgiving day. Many of these were caused by carelessness and open flames. Horsing around the Turkey deep fryer is not a good idea. Setting the deep fryer up in the garage is asking for trouble too. Here are a couple of ideas to make the holiday's a little safer:

Keep children and pets away from candles, fireplaces, stoves and ovens.

Make sure that smoke detectors are working properly. 20% of residential dwellings that caught fire did not have working smoke detectors.

If you are deep frying your bird, read the instructions or go on line to sites like Food Network to find video on how to deep fry a turkey and please, make sure it's thawed first!

Also, since it's getting colder now, make sure your heater is working properly. Change the filters, and if you have a space heater have it serviced. Malfunctioning space heaters are one of the top causes of fires in the winter time.

Check out the holiday safety tips at CAL FIRE. They also have a great video on you tube.

Remember, the holidays should be fun. A little caution may not avoid  Aunt Wilma renewing her feud with Cousin Mary, but it can help keep everyone safe.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Do You Need Disaster Insurance For Your Home?

Your home is your greatest investment, and your family your greatest priority; making sure they are both protected should a natural disaster hit your home is important in keeping your loved ones and your home safe. Here are a few things to consider when determining if your home and family are protected, and how to determine what type of disaster insurance you need.

What Does Your Current Policy Cover?

Many homeowners are surprised to discover that their current home insurance policies do not cover natural disasters. There are some comprehensive home insurance policies that do cover occurrences such as flood and earthquake, but if you have a basic policy, odds are you are not covered. Separate disaster insurance can be costly, but in general there are three considerations to take into account when deciding whether disaster insurance is right for you-location, financial situation, and comfort level with the risk.

Location - Depending on where you live, there may be a large or a small chance of encountering any particular type of natural disaster. If you live in the Midwest you may not need to worry about earthquakes, but you may want to consider covering your home for tornado damage. Most areas of the country are at risk for some type of natural disaster, and covering your home for that particular type of disaster is a good idea.

Financial Situation - In most cases there are larger deductibles for disaster insurance, but considering the potential damage that a natural disaster can cause, what may seem like a high deductible can quickly be put into perspective when your entire home is destroyed.

Comfort With Risk - The actual chance that your home may be affected by any particular natural disaster may be rather low, but assessing the actual risk and whether you would be able to handle the worst, should it happen, is an important issue for your peace of mind. The point of insurance is really to create a more stress-free life, and if the risk associated with damage due to a natural disaster is high then insurance may definitely be worth the price.

Overall, determining whether you need disaster insurance will depend on a number of variables, and seeking the advice of an insurance expert can help make the decision easier and stress free.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Top Things You Didn't Know About Your Homeowner's Insurance

You know that you need homeowner's insurance to protect your home from catastrophic events and other perils, but there are some little-known facts about homeowner's insurance that can save you a lot of money and stress if you know how to use them. Take advantage of everything your homeowner's insurance has to offer with these common but not popularly known coverage tricks.

Your Liability Is Transferable

If you are hosting an event away from your home such as a party, wedding, or other gathering, you might be asked by the venue to provide liability insurance so that they won't be held responsible in the event of an injury or loss on the premises. Most insurance companies will let you transfer the liability coverage on your policy to another location for a one-time event. All you have to do is call your insurance agent or company and request that they issue proof of insurance to the venue in question. Remember that your insurance company must know about the event in advance for the coverage to apply.

Your Personal Property Is Covered Anywhere

If your car is broken into and a large quantity of personal property is stolen, your auto insurance probably has limited coverage for property in the vehicle. But your homeowner's insurance can pick up the slack. In fact, your homeowner's policy will cover all of your personal property anywhere in the world. That means if your expensive camera is stolen while you are on vacation, you are covered. If your bags are stolen at the airport, again, homeowner's will cover you. Everything that is covered under your homeowner's policy is covered anywhere you go. Just be sure you have a floater on your policy for valuable items like jewelry.

You Are Covered If Sued

If someone sues you and you don't believe you are at fault, your homeowner's insurance will help defend you in court. That is part of the reason you have liability insurance! Whether or not the particular lawsuit is one that homeowner's insurance will cover must first be determined. If the insurance company agrees that you were not negligent in the incident, they will make sure you can fight it in court.

Your Rent Is Covered

If you home is damaged and you cannot live there or if you are forced to evacuate due to a fire or other emergency situation, your homeowners policy can pay for your hotel or property rental while you are away.

Your homeowner's insurance does much more than protect your home. Be sure you get the most out of those monthly premiums you pay by taking advantage of all the perks of your policy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Keeping Good Records For Insurance

You have homeowner's insurance to protect your home and everything in it from an accidental and unexpected incident that causes a major loss. If something catastrophic like a fire should occur, you will be called upon to provide a list of everything that was in the house, and in some cases, even proof. To protect the insurance company from paying out fraudulent claims, an insured may be asked for photographic or other evidence of valuable possessions. It's a good idea to document even if you rent. Here are some easy ways to be sure you keep good records of your home and its contents.

Documented Evidence

For expensive and valuable possessions, it's a good idea to keep purchase receipts and appraisals where appropriate. These things, being paper, won't survive something like a fire, so purchase a fireproof box in which to keep them or arrange for storage off-site. Ask a friend or relative to hold onto them for you, or place them in a safety deposit box if you have one. Some insurance companies will also scan these items for you and keep them in their computer system for future reference.

Photographic Evidence

One of the most popular ways to keep records of your personal property is to take photographs, and again, keep them somewhere safe. When taking photos of your items, bee sure they are clear and where possible get close-up shots of model and serial numbers, especially on electronics. Digital cameras have made it easier than ever to store large numbers of photographs, and you can back up your photos to a server where they can be kept safe in case they are needed and the original files have been lost or destroyed.
Photographs can also be used to document the features of your home so that should it need to be rebuilt, you can return it back to its original state.

Video Evidence

Video cameras are also a popular choice for documenting your home, as you don't need to snap a picture of each individual item, but can pan the room, zoom in where necessary, and just keep one file with all of the evidence you need. Again, digital video makes it easy to store the files in a safe place where even a total loss of your home won't damage it.

A good record of the things inside and outside of your home helps your insurance company to restore you to your position prior to the loss. The more information they have, the easier it will be to reconstruct your home and replace your possessions. It's up to you to create and store this evidence, so take the time to make sure the records are created and kept safe.