Did you add new items to your home in 2011? New TV? New computer? New jewelry? Take the time to update or create a home inventory.
Replacing our homes after a loss is very important but replacing our contents is one the most important aspects of picking up the pieces and putting our lives back together. Be prepared. We suggest using an online website such as www.knowyourstuff.org to inventory all of your possessions. We also recommend you take digital photos and/or videos and upload them to a secure website such as www.box.net.
And we will be there when you need us. The process of building trust and peace of mind begins the first time you sit down with one of our agents. It’s not about selling you a policy it’s about you knowing what to do and who to turn to for advice and assistance in the event the unthinkable happens.
From the National Fire Protection Association: Christmas tree fires likely to be more serious than average home fires
December 1, 2011 – Festive lighting, windowsill candles and ornamented Christmas trees are staples of the holidays, but these decorative items also pose a fire risk if handled improperly. In 2005-2009, on average, one of every 18 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 141 total home fires.
Holiday lights and other decorative lighting were involved in an estimated average of 150 home fires per year during the same time. These fires caused an average of eight civilian deaths, 14 injuries, and $8.5 million in direct property damage per year.
“December is an exciting time where almost every home on the block is accented with decorations and seasonal lighting,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). “Though decorations such as candles or Christmas trees certainly spread holiday cheer, it is important to follow basic safety steps so celebrations go off without a hitch.”
Here are NFPA’s tips for safe holiday decorating:
- Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
- Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Check the packaging; some lights are only for indoor use.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
- Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
- Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
For proper Christmas tree safety:
- Keep your tree well watered. A dry tree can be extremely dangerous. See how flammable a dry Christmas tree can be in comparison to a well-watered tree in a demonstration by NFPA.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Get rid of the tree when it is dry. Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
- Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
Cutting The Cost Of Teen Driving might not be as difficult as you think. Find out if your teenage driver is eligible for these policy discounts.
With high unemployment, plus concerns over rising gas prices and inflation, parents are seeking ways to cut the costs associated with getting teen drivers on the road.
A recent Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company survey shows that households with teen drivers shell out an average of nearly $3,100 each year to allow their teens to drive. While other factors are involved, the cost of having a teen driver is a major one.
On average, parents of teens pay or will pay nearly two-thirds or more of all costs associated with their child driving, ranging from auto insurance to gasoline. Further, 40 percent of parents will pay for all the costs associated with their child driving, while 33 percent will share these costs with their teen. Only one in six parents of teens say that their teen will pay for all the driving expenses.
To help offset the cost, here are a few tips to manage the cost of car insurance:
Good Student Discounts:
Nationwide Insurance offer discounts for young drivers who excel academically. These good student discounts reflect that responsibility in the classroom often leads to responsibility behind the wheel. Nationwide offers a 25 percent reduction in premium for drivers under age 21 who maintain a B average or better.
Education Pays Off:
Some insurers provide a discount to families that register their teen to participate in a driver certification program.
Check to see if your insurer provides a family plan that provides discounts earned by the adults in a household to their teen driver(s). Discounts extended to teens as a part of the family plan include multicar, multipolicy and financial responsibility. These reductions can help save up to 25 percent on auto insurance premiums.
Bundling policies—such as home, auto and life insurance products—with one company is a great way to save money on the overall cost of insurance.
Having a higher deductible on an auto policy, combined with programs such as Vanishing Deductible and Accident Forgiveness, can keep out-of-pocket expenses stable. For example, those who can afford to pay $500 when a claim occurs may want to select this as their deductible amount in order to lower insurance premiums.
Having your payments made electronically can save you up to $48 annually.
My home is only worth $120,000. Why does my insurance company want me to insure it for $175,000. Why?
One of the biggest questions consumers have regarding homeowner’s insurance revolves around the amount of insurance to place on their dwelling (home). When purchasing a house, the mortgage company requires the homeowner to obtain insurance prior to closing. Most consumers assume the amount of dwelling coverage will be equal to the amount they paid for their house. This is incorrect in some cases.
Many homeowners equate the “worth” of a home to its market value, especially if the home was a recent purchase. While market value is a valid calculation of a home’s worth for buying and selling, it has little to do with the cost of rebuilding. The estimate you are providing is the amount to reconstruct the home at today’s costs.
Why is reconstruction cost more expensive than new construction?
Rebuilding a home includes many factors and expenses not considered in new construction.
Economies of scale: It costs more for a contractor to build one home at a time because materials are not purchased in bulk. A single household item that matches the one that’s been destroyed will nearly always cost more than if it had been part of a larger purchase.
Top-down versus bottom-up: Repair work for a partially destroyed home is done from the top of the home down. This is more time consuming and labor-intensive. Continue reading
You’ve insured your car and your home, but what if?
What if you fall asleep at the wheel when driving home and cause an accident that seriously injures several people?
What if you have been meaning to fix the deck in your backyard, but a guest walks over it and falls through?
In these cases, the injured parties may sue you for amounts above one million dollars. Your auto insurance will offer you some liability and will pay up to the amount of liability you posses. Likewise, your homeowner’s policy will pay out at the liability rate you have purchased. In these cases, a Personal Umbrella Liability (PUL) policy can help you survive a lawsuit without losing everything you own.
Personal umbrella insurance acts as protection once your other policies have been exhausted. In cases where personal umbrella insurance is not purchased, causing an accident can result in your surrender of all your material goods in order to assess their value. Most often the property assessed is your home, cars and boating goods. Other property like jewelry and assets may also be part of the pot a person in a lawsuit can claim. Additionally, a portion of your salary may need to go to any successful claimants for many years, if not for the rest of your life.
Even if a lawsuit does not result in a huge reward, court costs are frequently high and exceed amounts an auto or home insurance will allow. Personal umbrella insurance will also step in to allow for repayment of court costs without your needing to sell assets to meet these costs.
Contact us today for a Personal Umbrella Liability quote. We think you’ll be surprised at the affordability for the protection it provides!
Your Security is Our Responsibility!
As a client of the Ray LaMora agency you more than likely have one or more policies with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. The word “mutual” has significance. This means that you and the rest of Nationwide’s policyholders have ownership of Nationwide Insurance. Did you know that?
This differs from insurance companies that are owned by shareholders. These are “stock” owned insurance companies.
One major difference between a mutual insurance company and a stock insurance company is that you do not have to own an insurance policy to be a partial owner of a stock insurance company. Acquiring ownership of a stock insurance company is as easy as placing a trade for shares of that company’s stock. On the other hand, if you want to own a portion of a mutual insurance company, you must become a policyholder.
Stock companies are obligated to focus on the wishes and desires of the shareholders, which may not always be in line with what is actually best for the consumers and policyholders of the insurance company.
Each type of company has a Board of Directors. A stock company’s Board of Directors must answer to the shareholders for its actions and decisions. On the contrary, a mutual company’s Board of Directors represents the policyholders. To see who the Nationwide Board of Directors are Click Here.
- Abandon mobile homes — they are not safe even when tied down. Go to a designated shelter
- Go to a basement or interior room on the lowest floor (bathroom or closet without windows, under stairs). Get under a sturdy piece of furniture.
- Cover yourself with a mattress or blanket
- Put bicycle helmets on kids
- Put on sturdy shoes
- Put infants in car seats (indoors!)
- If you have time, gather prescription medications, wallet and keys.
- DO NOT open your windows!
In a vehicle:
- Leave the vehicle for sturdy shelter or drive out of the tornado’s path
- DO NOT hide under overpasses — they provide no shelter
- Last resort actions – stay in your vehicle or abandon for a roadside ditch
- Find a culvert or cave.
- Find something to hang onto.
- Lie flat in a ditch.
- Cover your head.
You don’t have to live near water to become a flood victim. In fact, everyone lives in a flood zone. It’s just a matter of how likely it is that a flood will hit your home. And unfortunately, floods are the most common natural disaster.
Heavy snow fall, heavy rainstorms, and the aftermath that follows causes flooding. Record precipitation and massive snowfall this winter in most parts of the United States has already led to spring flooding in many areas. The national news has recently featured several stories of unsuspecting property owners who suffered damages as a result of quick snow melt, rising waters and flooding. Coastal areas should begin preparing for the hurricane season as well.
Give us a call and we’ll talk to see if your coverage suits your needs. Remember, your homeowners insurance DOES NOT cover you for flood OR (in most cases) hurricanes! Wind damage is covered, but NOT if they are due to a named hurricane!
Your Security is Our Responsibility – (304) 636-0364