Five Things To Do For Fall Maintenance For Your Home

With winter season approaching, now is the time to do a few simple tasks around your home. Not only can this prevent damage from occurring, but it can help keep your home exterior clean. Instead of giving you a long laundry list of things to check off, we go over the five most important.

Is My Home Safe?

This is simple question to ask yourself every spring and fall.

  • Do you have one smoke detector on each floor of your home? Do I need to change the batteries?
  • Do I own a fire extinguisher? If so, is it up to date?
  • Where is my first aid/at home emergency kit? Do I need to make any changes?
  • Can our family be okay if there is a major event like an earthquake, flood, tornado or other natural disaster?

Am I Protecting My Home From Water Damage?

Water damage can be a root cause of home problems. Sometimes they can be covered by your home insurance, but other times they are not. Regardless if they are covered, they are a terrible to deal with. Here are a few areas to check to lower your risk of water damage in your home.

  • Check your gutters & downspouts

Once most of your leaves have fallen from your trees, simply look for debris that could be collecting in your gutters. If you see leaves collecting, remove them in order to prevent clogged gutters. If your gutters are clogged during a rainstorm, it could cause damage to your roof or siding. Also, check if your gutters are damaged & are still attached to your home. Lastly, check your downspouts. Ensure they are draining properly instead of being clogged and pooling water near your home.

  • Check your roof

Loose or missing shingles on your roof can increase your risk for water damage. Make sure your shingles are in good condition before that winter storm hits. If you have a home with a flat roof, ensure it doesn’t have any buildup of leaves. When in doubt, refer out. If you aren’t sure what to look for, ask a professional.

  • Are exposed pipes still insulated?

Check the exposed pipes around your home to ensure the insulation isn’t ripped or torn. Uninsulated garages are very important to check. Many people assume it is “inside” but uninsulated garages can get as cold as the outdoor temperatures. Check there for pipes that need to be insulated.

Is Air Escaping My Home?

Check door and window seals for signs of deterioration. Use weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to help keep warm air in and cold air out. You’ll also lower your energy bill. On another note, if air can get into your home, water can too.

Did I Replace My Furnace Filter?

To keep your furnace running efficiently, you need to replace the filter often. Some filters may need to be changed every month.

Are Rodents Nesting In My Home?

Rodents tend to nest in your crawlspace, attic and even in your walls. Walk the perimeter of your home & any access points in your garage to make sure you do not have any cracks or holes for rodents to enter. Also, check your vents along your foundation for holes or deterioration. As the weather gets colder, rodents are always looking for a warmer place to live.

Also, remember rodents love a food source. If you are storing food or bird seed in your garage, make sure it’s properly stored in a sealed container.

While preventative maintenance can get easily get pushed on the back burner when life gets busy, it’s still important to make the time to do it.

If you have questions about your home or condo insurance, call Gila Insurance.

Everything You Should Know About Insurance For First Time Home Buyers

Home Insurance Policy Safford, AZOwning your first home is one of the most exciting and biggest accomplishments in life. It is a memorable time and something to be proud of. With this excitement comes the responsibilities of maintaining and insuring the home. While we can’t help with the maintenance, we can help you understand and properly insure your new home.

What Does Home Insurance Cover: Homeowners insurance is a broad policy that covers the structure of your home against losses like fire, theft, vandalism and other weather related losses. You also have coverage for liability for injuries to others while visiting your property such as slip and fall claims or even dog bites. It is important to understand that losses from floods and earthquakes are typically excluded from the standard homeowner’s insurance policy. You can get a separate policy for these types of losses.

What Does Home Insurance Cost: The cost of a homeowner’s insurance policy varies on several factors including your credit history, your previous loss history (dog bites or liability, or property loss claims), the value of your home and any scheduled property like jewelry and art. Our agency can give you exact numbers and because we’re an independent insurance agency, we can compare several home insurance companies at once for you to find the right coverage at the right price.

Does Home Insurance Cover Detached Structures? If your home has a detached garage or other detached structure like a home office or art studio, your policy can include things like “Other Structures Coverage.” Talk to an agent to learn more about insuring your detached structures.

Are My Personal Items Covered? Homeowners policies come with personal property coverage. This amount varies by company and can be increased with most companies. Be sure that the amount of coverage you select for personal property is sufficient for the items you own.

Are Dogs okay? Most dog breeds are okay to be covered under the liability portion of your home insurance policy. Some dog breeds such as Pit Bulls, Akitas and other dogs are classified as dangerous and may be excluded from coverage. Check with your insurance carrier for a list of breeds they will not insure.

Many options and additional coverages are available for home insurance that are not included in a standard home insurance policy. Check with a licensed agent in our office for additional coverages you may want to include with your new home. Again, congratulations on your new home purchase and if we can help you in anyway, please let us know. We appreciate the opportunity to be your homeowners insurance agent.

Things to Consider For Vacation Property Ownership

Owning a secondary home or vacation property can be a rewarding experience and allow you to build so many memories! While owning a vacation home can have countless advantages, it does bring some unique responsibility and maintenance.

Regardless of whether you’re buying a cabin just a few miles away on the lake or an oceanfront condo in Hawaii, you’ll use twice per year, you’ll want to make sure your property remains adequately protected. Renting the property adds an entirely new level of complexity to secondary home ownership and yet a better reason to review your coverages with your licensed insurance agent.

Consider these items when talking to your agent:

  1. Will you need a separate insurance policy for your vacation property liability?
  2. What liability limits are adequate for a home that is vacant more often than is occupied?
  3. If you’ll be renting the property, consider purchasing additional liability limits as well as an umbrella insurance policy to protect you.
  4. Is your vacation home in an area that is affected by natural disasters such as forest fires, hurricanes, floods or earthquakes? You may need a separate additional policy for these.

Follow these insurance tips to reduce the risk of having a claim:

  1. Keep valuables out of your vacation home. Take them with you when you leave.
  2. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for any unusual activity at your home.
  3. Consider getting a video surveillance camera such as a Canary or Ring to alert you if someone enters your home. These do not require service contracts and alert you by phone.
  4. Keep your heater set to 60 to prevent any pipes from freezing.
  5. Turn off your water if you plan to leave for extended periods of time. This takes only a few seconds.
  6. Consider a management company if you want to rent the property. They will help keep an eye on things.
  7. Check for obvious liability concerns if you plan to rent the property such as rotten decking, trip hazards, or other deferred maintenance.

We wish you years of memories and relaxation with your secondary home or vacation property. When you’re ready to insure your property, give us a call.