How to Protect Your Home While on Vacation

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Summertime often means leaving your home whether to take a family vacation, visit a second home or close up a winter home.  Here are some important tips for keeping your home secure and safe while you are gone so that you can enjoy yourself and not worry about what is happening at your house. 

Tips for protecting your home when you are away​​

• Don’t post your vacation on social media. Criminals often scan social media to see when people are away.

• Make it look like you are home.  Use timers for exterior lights, park your car where you normally would, have someone mow your lawn, put a hold on mail and newspaper deliveries.

• Set your home alarm and let the alarm company know you will be away.

• Turn off your washing machine, dryer and dishwashers to avoid a water problem.  Shut off water lines if you will be gone for a long period of time. 

• Lock your doors with deadbolt locks; close and latch all windows.

• Store jewelry in a safe or safety deposit box.

• Unplug computers, TV’s and other electronics to prevent damage from a power surge.

• Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to keep a watchful eye on your house and stop by periodically to check on things.   Be sure to give that person the contact information for the account manager who handles your Homeowners insurance just in case something does happen. 

Swimming Pool Safety Tips

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While pools provide much summertime fun and relief from the heat, unfortunately they can also be dangerous and even deadly.   To help prevent injury, below are some safety tips that pool owners should follow. In addition, to protect yourself financially if you own a pool, be sure to talk to your account manager about how much liability insurance you have and consider a personal umbrella policy which will provide even more financial protection. 

1. Put fencing around the pool area.  In addition to the fences required by your town, consider creating as many barriers to the pool as possible when not in use such as locks on gates and safety covers. 
2. Never leave small children unsupervised, even for a few seconds.
3. Do not leave toys or floats in the pool when not in use as they may tempt toddlers into reaching for them.
4. Be sure all pool users know how to swim or are accompanied by someone who does.
5. Do not allow anyone to swim alone.
6. Keep people away from pool filters and other mechanisms as the suction force may cause injury. Know how to shut those devises off in case of an emergency.
7. Do not allow glass around pools.
8. Keep electrical devices away from pools and nearby wet areas.
9. Do not allow anyone who has been drinking to use the pool.
10. Never use the pool during lightning storms.
11. Do not allow anyone to dive into an above-ground pool or into the shallow end of the pool.
12. Keep a first aid kit, ring buoys, and reaching poles near the pool.  Consider taking CPR training

OMG…My jewelry is worth that much!!!

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Usually finding out your jewelry is worth more than you thought it was is a happy surprise…like when you are having it appraised to give to your children, or when you are selling certain pieces, or just when you want to know what it is worth.  But imagine what a huge disappointment it is to find out you could not replace that favorite ring you just lost because you did not have it properly insured. 

How could this happen?

You were so diligent in getting the appraisal and proper limit of insurance when you first purchased it several years ago.  Either unaware that the value of jewelry has been increasing steadily over the past few years or knowing it has but not giving another thought about how that would affect your coverage.  After all you insured the ring so you should be all set.

Unfortunately this is a common mistake made by most people with scheduled valuable articles, especially jewelry…not getting updated appraisals every few years and adjusting your coverage accordingly.  Until that awful day when you lose that ring and you find out you have it insured for half of what it is going to cost you to get a comparable ring.

What can I do to prevent this from happening to me?

Don’t wait until it is too late….be sure to get your jewelry appraisals updated regularly and notify your account manager of any changes in value.

And remember unscheduled jewelry has limited coverage. All Homeowner policies have a maximum limit they will pay for the theft of unscheduled jewelry. The standard limit is $1,000. In addition the standard Homeowners policy does not cover lost jewelry at all.   If you have pieces of jewelry that are valued under $10,000 and want to cover but them but don’t want the hassle of itemizing the values and keeping track of what items are being insured, you can now schedule jewelry on a blanket basis, i.e. you don’t have to list each item. You determine how much coverage you want in total for your jewelry and that amount will be your blanket limit. Blanket coverage is subject to a maximum per item limit…usually $10,000 (some companies have a higher limit). For those pieces that fall under that value, this is an easy way to cover them – same broad coverage. For those valued in excess of that value, you will need to schedule on an itemized basis with regularly updated appraisals.

Again, don’t wait until it is too late…if you have jewelry that is not currently scheduled either on a blanket basis or itemized, contact your account manager to discuss your options.