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Homeowners Insurance: 5 Fire Protection Tips

Posted by David Ross on Thu, May 18, 2017

Fire insurance protection tips. Reduce your homeowners insurance costs in Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, State College, Altoona, Harrisburgh, Lehigh Valley, Allentown, PA and beyond.When people think of homeowner's insurance the first thing that often comes to mind is fire in the home. We can’t think of many scenarios that are scarier than a home fire. Fire can spread very quickly. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.

There’s an estimated $7.3 billion in property loss due to home fires each year. More importantly, more than 2,500 people die, and 12,600 people are injured in fires every year.

Most fires occur in the kitchen. Other common causes include carelessly discarded cigarettes, sparks from fireplaces, and heating appliances that are too close to furniture and other combustibles.

Heat and smoke are often more dangerous than flames. Breathing in super-hot air can sear your lungs, and poisonous gasses produced by a fire can make you disoriented and drowsy. More fire deaths are caused by asphyxiation than burns (a three-to-one ratio).

The good news is that home fires are preventable, but you need to be aware of potential hazards, and you need to be diligent about eliminating those risks. As a bonus, you'll reduce the likelihood of a homeowners insurance claim and potentially lower your long term house insurance costs.

 

Here are five tips to prevent fires and help keep your family, your home, and your possessions safe from fire

  1. Cooking
    Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking. Create a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around your stove. Keep outside grills at least 10 feet from siding and deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

  2. Portable space heaters
    Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heaters and only use heaters that have been evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Before purchasing a kerosene heater, check on the legality of a kerosene heater with your local fire department.

  3. Fireplaces and woodstoves
    Inspect and clean fireplaces and woodstoves annually. Use a fireplace screen and make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

  4. Smoking
    If you smoke, do it outside (especially if oxygen is used inside the house) and make sure your cigarettes are completely extinguished in an ashtray or can filled with sand. Soak butts and ashes in water before placing them in a trash can.

  5. Electrical
    Use products that have been evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Check for and replace worn or damaged cords, and never try to force a three-prong plug into a two-slot outlet. Don’t overload extension cords or wall sockets.

A few more practical tips

Finally, check your smoke detectors and replace the batteries regularly. A simple way to remember to check them is to do it in the spring and fall when we change our clocks for Daylight Saving Time.

You should also have a professional inspect your home - electric wiring, plumbing (gas), heating, and air conditioning – regularly for potential hazards.

You may also want to consider installing a fire alarm system and a home sprinkler system that can help detect and extinguish fires even if you aren’t home.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” couldn’t be truer than when you’re protecting your home and family from fire. To learn more about fires and how to prevent them, go to https://www.ready.gov/home-fires

For related information on protecting your home, see our blog post: How to Recover Quickly From Water Damage.

 

Avoid Regrets - Get a Free Homeowners Insurance Checkup

Your home is your castle and the source of many fond memories. Don't take a chance with your safety or your memories. Contact American Insuring Group online or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to review your home owner’s policy.

We're experts at finding the right policy at the right price by searching for you among many competing insurance providers. Contact us today to start saving and for your peace of mind.

Tags: Homeowners Insurance, House Insurance, Homeowners Insurance Berks County, Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Homeowners Insurance Allentown Pa

6 Things to Know About Your Homeowners Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Aug 10, 2016

6 helpful Homeowners insurance tips you should know. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Harrisburg, Erie, Pittsburgh, State College, PA and beyond.Like most homeowners, you’ve spent thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of dollars to purchase your home, most likely making it the largest purchase you will ever make. In order to protect your investment, you (hopefully) bought a homeowner’s insurance policy that will provide funds to replace your house if it is destroyed or to repair it if it is damaged.

But are you aware of everything that is covered and not covered (exclusions)? Are you confident that the amount that your homeowners insurance will pay out in the event of a claim is sufficient to cover all damage or loss?

Few consumers actually know what their policies cover or the limits of that coverage. Avoid costly homeowners insurance surprises with these 6 tips:

 

 

#1. Know what your homeowners policy covers and
what is excluded

A policy generally will pay for damage to your property and your possessions in the event of fire, storms, theft or vandalism. It also provides liability coverage if someone gets hurt on your property. Homeowner’s insurance also covers shelter costs for you and your family while your house is being repaired or rebuilt. It can protect belongings outside the home, too. For instance, items stolen from your car or lost on an airline would be replaced by your homeowner’s coverage.

There are some typical exclusions:

  • Earth movements, like earthquakes and landslides
  • Power failure
  • War
  • Faulty zoning
  • Poor workmanship
  • Flooding
  • Some water damage

#2. Take preventive measures to reduce your premiums

Installing a burglar alarm system could reduce your premiums by 15-20%. Even something as simple as a deadbolt installation could save you 5%. If you have a pool, surrounding it with a fence and using a pool cover can substantially reduce your liability risk. Remember, insurance companies establish your premium based on how much risk they anticipate. You will reduce your premium by reducing your liability risk with some preventive measures.

#3. If you have a homeowners insurance claim, file it promptly

Homeowner’s policies might come with time limits for reporting a claim. Be sure to ask about time limits when buying your policy, and then abide by them. If you wait too long, you may not be eligible for benefits—especially if the problem becomes worse while you delay. For example, if you fail to submit a timely claim for water damage and it turns into a mold problem, your insurer could refuse to pay.

#4. Keep good records

Don’t allow a valid insurance claim to be denied because your recordkeeping is shoddy. Writing everything down that occurs during a loss may feel like an inconvenience, but it will help to mitigate your losses with documentation. Receipts, appraisals, and contracts are a good starting point, but you should also write down any conversations, to whom you spoke, and when. Keep your documents in a safe place or save digital copies on a program like Dropbox.

#5. Understand how jewelry is covered under your insurance policy

Save yourself an expensive surprise by checking the limits that your homeowner’s policy places on jewelry. Items like engagement and wedding rings will probably not be covered under the basic limits of your policy, and you could end up with a $3000 check from your insurer for a lost ring worth twice that amount. Best advice: Stop by a jeweler and get your pieces appraised. Then, talk to your insurer about purchasing a supplemental policy to cover your expensive items.

#6. Bundle your homeowners insurance policy with other policies

Another way to save money is to bundle your homeowners insurance with other policies that you already own. It makes financial sense to have your car and homeowners policies with the same company because they’ll usually offer you some kind of discount. But don’t go buying insurance because the agent says you’ll save money on other policies. After all, if you’re spending money on something that you don’t need, what are you actually saving?

 

Get Ready to Save on the Best Homeowners Insurance! 

Contact us for tips and savings on homeowners insurance in Philadelphia, PA and beyond.Want to save on homeowners insurance? As independent agents, we're well qualified to find you the best homeowners insurance at the right price because we represent MANY competing insurance carriers.

Why settle for a single insurance brand when we can shop and compare for you? Contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. You'll be glad you did!

Tags: Homeowners Insurance, House Insurance, Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Homeowners Insurance Reading Pa, Homeowners Insurance Berks County