Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fall Home Maintenance - Things to Do Before the Weather Turns Bad

As the warm summer days begin to give way to the chllly, wet fall weather, it’s time to think about home maintenance again!  Keeping your home and vehicles in great shape makes them last longer, look great, and can prevent accidents and claims in the future.

Here are a few things you can do this fall to keep everything in tip-top shape! 

- Gather firewood – If you plan to build fires in the winter, then now is the time to start gathering up that firewood.  You’ll be glad you did when you’re nice and warm in front of the fireplace! 

- Close or install storm windows. Make sure they are sealed well to keep the cold from seeping in (and the heat from escaping).

- Store outdoor furniture and cushions.  They’ll last longer if you protect them during seasons they aren’t being used.  Plus, it will keep pesky squirrels and birds out of your outdoor cushions! 

- Have furnace professionally inspected now! The furnace has been idle most of the summer, so when it has to start working frequently now that it's getting cold, that's when the trouble could start.

- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you set clocks back in the fall!  Change the batteries, too.

- Clean gutters and downspouts.  This can protect the exterior of your home as well as your roof! Leaves and needles may have accumulated during the summer, and when the rains hit, it can cause downspouts to backup and spill water down your siding and weaken your home's foundation.
- Rake leaves and shred to use as mulch. Wet leaves on sidewalks and driveways can cause falls.

- Check windows and doors for weather-tightness and install weather stripping where needed.

- Clean the oven & stove drip pans.

- Have problem trees trimmed. Winter can bring cold windstorms or even ice storms. A old or overgrown tree can be a danger to fall in this inclement weather and cause extensive property damage!

- Winterize outside faucets, put away hoses and store indoors, coiled and flat. Also, wrap your outside spigots with insulation to keep them from freezing and snapping in cold weather.

Regular maintenance of your home (and vehicles) helps prevent BIG issues later!  What other items do you like to take care of in the fall?  Leave a comment and let us know. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

What's the Difference Between Home and Fire Insurance?

Many times, someone will decide to purchase a new home, but keep the old home as an investment property and rent it out.  This can be a great investment strategy but there are a few things you need to know about your insurance before you make the change.

A Fire or Landlord Policy

First things first: You’ll need to update to a new insurance policy.  Your homeowners policy only covers a property that is owner occupied.  These policies are designed to package several different coverages together, including the structure itself, the contents inside the home, and provide liability coverage to the homeowner.

If the property is going to be vacant or occupied by a renter, then a different policy is needed. These are sometimes called Fire policies or Landlord policies. These policies cover the house only and do not provide coverage for the contents inside. You’ll need to discuss with one of our agents what kind of liability coverage is included and if you’ll need to purchase additional liability coverage to protect your assets.

Be aware that If you rent out your home and neglect to switch your coverage to the correct policy, any claims could be denied!  It’s very important that the property be insured correctly and you’ll want to start by meeting with your SAV-ON Insurance agent to review the different options.

Renters Insurance

The next thing to consider is renters Insurance.  Many landlords require their tenants to purchase renter’s coverage. This is a very good idea. Renters Insurance covers ONLY the contents inside the home, which is great for the renters.  However, it also provides liability coverage for the renters.  How does this help you? 

Let’s say that your renter leaves the stove on and burns down the house.  You could receive compensation for their negligence through the liability portion of their renters Insurance.  It’s also a good protection if you allow pets.  If the tenant’s dog bites a visitor, their coverage would kick in to cover it, avoiding potential liability issues for you.

Personal Liability Coverage

The last thing you’ll want to look at is your own personal liability coverage.  You’ll want to make sure that you are carrying the maximum amount of liability coverage on your auto and home insurance, since your risk for being sued increases.  You may also need to look at an umbrella liability policy for additional coverage.

This may sound complicated, but we can make it very quick and easy!  Schedule an appointment with SAV-ON Insurance Agencies today and we’ll look at all of your needs as a new landlord. Call us at 888-867-2866.