Friday, April 19, 2013

Homeowners vs Flood Insurance

Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage – federal flood insurance does. Flood insurance also covers damage from mud flow, dirt and debris resulting from moving water.  A homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for many types of water damage including damage from broken pipes, heavy rains and storms due to exterior damage to the home, but it usually does not provide coverage for damage from flood.  Flood insurance is available in all 50 states, as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program and your home is not in a Coastal Barrier Resource System Area. Don’t wait for an imminent flood to obtain flood insurance. Most flood policies have a 30-day waiting period before coverage begins.   There is no waiting period if you are in the flood zone and the policy is being mandated by your mortgage company.  You don’t need to live by water to be at risk. Anywhere it rains, it can flood. Over 20% of all flood claims occur in low- to moderate-risk areas.  A home in a high-risk flood area has a 26% chance of being damaged by flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage. That same home only has a 9% chance of a fire.  Some insurance companies offer a coverage called water backup of sewer and drain or sump pump over flow endorsement.  This coverage applies if the water backs up from the sewer due to a sump failure or deluge that the city drainage cannot handle.  A typical limit is $5000 with a $1000 deductible.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dont Let the Bed Bugs Come Home

Here are some tips to avoid bed bugs while traveling:

Know what to look for. If you’ve never seen them, check out for some detailed (and gross!) pictures of what bed bugs look like and what to look for.

Pack like a pro. Seal items and clothing in plastic bags before traveling. Remember to bring extra bags for dirty laundry. Also bring a large bag to seal up your suitcase when you get to your destination. The bag will ensure bed bugs can’t take residence in your luggage while you’re away.

Research before you go. On websites like, you can enter a hotel name and location and the site will search through a user-submitted database to see if there are any bedbug reports on file for that hotel.

Inspect your room. Before you get too comfy where you are staying, check the bed, pull back the linens, and inspect the mattresses, box springs and in cracks of the headboard. If you spot any bed bugs, or signs of bed bugs, like dots of blood or brown dots, change rooms far from the room you found them in, or change establishments.

Be meticulous when you unpack. Unpack your belongings and sort them before you go in your home. Take all your clothing and/or bedding and immediately wash and dry them. The heat from the dryer, for 20 minutes or more, will get rid of any bed bugs that may have hitched a ride on your clothes. Thoroughly check and wipe down your luggage carrier, toiletries, shoes and other belongings before bringing them into your house.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Is it a Flood or not?

  The National Flood Insurance Program and the Federal Emergency Management Agency defines a flood as: "A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder's property) from:
--Overflow of inland or tidal waters; or
--Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
--Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above."
Notice that water that backs up thru the sewer/drain or a malfunctioning sump pump is not in the definition.  Make sure the water backup/sump pump endorsement is added to the home owners policy to pick up this coverage.  Most companies offer a minimum of $5000 with the option to increase this limit to $50,000 and in some high value home owners policies, up to the policy limits.  It is worth the time to review your policy to determine if this coverage exists, especially if you have a basement that is partially to fully finished!

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Homeowners Halloween Safety List

There's a lot of information out there on how to keep your little ones safe on the spookiest night of the year. Here are few tips on making your property as safe as possible for all those visitors.

• Keep your house walking area well lit.

• Clear all tripping hazards on your porch and walkway.

• Remove flower pots, branches, clotheslines and garden hoses from your entire front yard (if the kids in your neighborhood are like mine, they tend to run from house-to-house, right over the lawn).

• Keep walkways and steps clean of leaves so they are easily navigatable.

• Keep your pets indoors for their protection, as well as for the protection of those curious and unfamiliar visitors. Even the nicest dog can be stressed out by all the activity on their property and react in unpredictable ways.

• Keep lit pumpkins on stable surfaces and well away from the trick or treaters. (Use battery-powered jack-o-lantern candles instead of real candles.)

• Best not to let anyone - big or small - into your house, keep 'em on the porch.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mobile Devices in the Workplace

It is becoming more and more common for companies to allow their worker to use their mobile devise to service their clients and access company data bases.  Make sure the proper precautions are taken to avoid data breach, virus infection and malware attachment.  Click on the attached link for an article on how to secure your systems.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Motorcycle Tire Safety & Training Courses

For optimum performance and fuel economy, make sure your tires are not over inflated or under inflated.  Don’t overload your bike! It can place stress on the tires  and cause poor handling and gas mileage.  Inspect your tires for excessive or uneven wear. Bald tires can cause skidding or blow outs.  Get your wheels properly mounted and aligned. Improper mounting can cause accidents.  New tires should not be run at high speeds, or pushed into leans or hard cornering until after 100 miles.

Taking a motorcycle safety course can teach you about tire safety and can make you a better rider, but you might also get a discount on your insurance. Find courses at this link:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Storing Your Snowmobile For Summer

Snowmobiles are becoming big investments that should be protected year round.  Here are a few basic tips to keep your sled in tip top shape while it is being stored.

Clean your sled thoroughly before packing it away for the season – a little bit of dirt or gunk can cause rust or damage.
Wax your sled before putting it away to keep it from drying out and cracking in the summer heat.
Cover your sled with an old sheet or drop cloth and tuck it around the body to keep out dust and grease.
Store your clean, waxed and covered sled in a cool, dry place on blocks, if possible.
Drain the gas tank or put stabilizer in the fuel.