How To: Avoid Holiday Hazards at Home

Keep your holiday merry by avoiding these home holiday hazards.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We don’t want to dampen your holiday season in any way, but we do want to remind you that this time of year is also filled with hazards. The good news is that if you take steps to avoid holiday hazards at home, you can keep this time of year merry, bright, and safe! Here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Theft claims increase by 7 percent during the holiday season. Make sure you’re home isn’t targeted by keeping valuables out of the way of windows and having your mail collected if you’ll be heading out of town.
  • Home fire claims also heat in the coming weeks, and by a shocking 15 percent! Choose flame-resistant decorations, avoid stringing more than the manufacturer-recommended number of light strands together and overloading outlets, and make sure all candles are blown out and lights are turned off when you go to bed. Your décor might not be the spark, though. When you’re in the kitchen, keep a close eye on all your items. If you know you’re cooking on a hectic day, set timers for yourself so you don’t forget!
  • Sewer back-up claims climb up by 19 percent during the holidays. Be careful about how you dispose of your kitchen waste. If you’re completely confident your garbage disposal can handle the job, dispose of it in the garbage. Also, keep plungers where guests can easily find them. Better a slight eyesore than a major cleanup!

We hope this guide helps you stay safe, but it’s not the only protection we want to offer.  Contact Stromsoe Insurance Agency in California to put a homeowners insurance policy to protect your home for the holidays and throughout the rest of the year.

Can I Insure My Vacant Property While I Wait To Sell?

Selling a home is a notoriously stressful and overwhelming process. The experience becomes even more trying if the home does not move quickly. You have landed a job near your new primary residence, therefore, you have no choice but to leave the home vacant until it sells. However, there are a variety of insurance implications that change when you leave a home vacant for a period of time, factors that leave you at risk. Compiled is a list of what you must know when it comes to leaving a home vacant:

  • There are a variety of factors that classify a home as vacant. Whenever the utilities have been shut off, the home is classified as vacant. Additionally, when there is not enough furniture for a reasonable person to reside in the home, the home is categorized as vacant.
  • Depending on your specific insurance provider, you may be denied of claims for a vacant property. Some insurance companies will even drop your policy altogether.
  • Since there are more opportunities for vandalism, theft, and fire when the home is vacant, insurance companies view this vacant property as a high risk.
  • In the event that your vacant property is vandalized, your insurance company may require you to pay out of pocket for the repairs.
  • Since requirements and details vary across insurance carriers, you must contact your agent to determine your next course of action when it comes to handling your vacant home. You will want to know exactly what coverage is included and what is excluded. Some companies will provide you with coverage at an escalated premium.
  • Your best course of action may be to purchase an endorsement for your homeowners’ insurance policy, extending coverage to your vacant property.

Often, selling a home does not follow the quick timeline you were planning for. If you may be forced to leave your home vacant for a period of time, contact the insurance experts at Stromsoe Insurance Agency to find out how we can best protect you, and your property.

Protect Your Home From A Garage Door Break In

How well do you lock up your house before leaving in the mornings? Do you check all the windows and doors? What about your garage door? If not, then you should because your garage door is one of the easiest points of entry into your home. Thieves are aware of this, and have already mastered how to get inside in less than 8 seconds, using only a wire coat hanger. Homeowners rarely take the steps needed to protect their home from the infamous garage door break in. The steps are relatively simple, and can protect you from losing your valuable possessions. But first, let’s examine how exactly a robber would go about breaking into your home through the garage door:

  • Step 1: Loop the wire hangar through the release mechanism cord, or the mechanism itself, and open the door.
  • Step 2: If an alarm system is installed, go inside and hide in the garage, and close the door.
  • Step 3: Wait for the authorities to come investigate the scene, while a friend plays look-out in a car up the street. Security will find nothing out of the ordinary, and will only do a quick inspection.
  • Step 4: The friend tells you when security has left, reopen the garage door, and load up the car with someone else’s belongings.

This is how easy it is for a stranger to get inside your home. Luckily there are only a few things you need to do to protect home:

  • Acquire a piece of wire cable. Hook it through the top and bottom holes of the release mechanism and disable it.
  • Or secure a zip tie around the entire mechanism, also disabling it.
  • Detach the release cord entirely.

Garage doors with windows are the most easily targeted. The robbers can see into your garage and examine how your release mechanism works, but your home is still at risk if it doesn’t have windows. Keep your home safe, and ensure that you will never become a victim of a garage door break in. If you have any insurance related questions, Stromsoe Insurance Agency! Stromsoe Insurance Agency is sure to meet all of your insurance needs!

Renters Insurance – A Small Price to Pay for Financial Security

If you’re currently renting a house or apartment, you should strongly consider an investment in Renters insurance. No one likes to think about the possibility of a fire or a burglary, but these are real possibilities. Burglars can break in while you’re away and steal your computer, entertainment system, jewelry, and other valuable items. Without Renters insurance, you will have thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs to replace the stolen items. By contrast, if you have Renters insurance, you will promptly receive a check that covers either the replacement costs for the stolen items or the current value of the items — depending on which type of insurance policy you’ve purchased.

Maybe you believe there is little risk of a burglary in your geographic area, but what about the risk of fire? Fires strike randomly and can begin in electrical wiring over which you have no control. It’s unpleasant to contemplate, but you could come home to find that everything you own has been destroyed. With Renters insurance, you would have a check in hand quite soon to begin refurnishing your life. Yet another scenario for which Renters insurance can be of enormous benefit is personal liability. If a visitor is injured in your home, for example, by falling down the steps, you could be liable for her medical bills. Renters insurance would cover this liability. Some renters are under the impression that their possessions are covered by their landlord’s insurance. This is rarely true. Typically, the landlord’s insurance covers loss or damage to his property, not yours. Your landlord’s insurance also covers his liability in case anyone is injured on the property, though not always injuries inside your apartment.

Most renters can get comprehensive coverage for a few hundred dollars per year, depending on where they live. Considering the risks covered by Renters policies, this is a low cost for the potential benefits. Look around your house or apartment and take an inventory of items you would need to replace in the event of a catastrophe. Take note of high value or difficult to replace items such as antiques, furs, jewelry, or expensive art. Before you get a policy or immediately thereafter, you should record information on all your high value items, including details about the make, model, serial number, age, and costs (both purchase and current replacement). It might also help to have photos of these items for identification purposes.

A basic policy usually pays only for the actual cash value of your items at the time they were lost. In other words, they would be valued not at what you paid for them originally or what it would cost to replace them, but at their actual value as used items. So a 3-year-old computer would be covered for its initial cost minus depreciation. Since computers depreciate quickly, yours might be worth little by the time it’s 3 years old, so your insurance proceeds will be limited.

If you have expensive items like electronics that are subject to depreciation, you should consider replacement cost coverage. With this type of policy, you would be reimbursed for the current cost of buying a new equivalent item. Thus, in our example of the $2,000 computer at 3 years old, you would receive a check that would enable you to buy a new computer. Of course, replacement cost coverage is more expensive. It’s up to you to decide which type of coverage — actual value or replacement cost — best fits your needs and budget. Like most other insurance policies, your Renters policy will have deductibles. A deductible is an amount of loss you will have to absorb yourself before receiving any money from the insurance company. For example, let’s say you have a policy with a $500 deductible. You have cameras you bought for $2,000 several years ago. If you have replacement cost coverage and the cameras are lost in a fire, you would receive a check for $1,500 from the insurance company. Of course, you can lower your insurance premium by accepting a higher deductible, but this means if there is a loss, you must absorb more of it from your own pocket.

Renters insurance usually does not cover damage from floods or earthquakes, but you might be able to get endorsements for these and other “acts of God.” An endorsement extends the perils covered by your policy. Obviously, you must pay an extra premium for the extra coverage. Be sure to discuss any special high value items, such as antiques, furs, and jewelry with our protection coaches®, since you might need extra coverage for these. As mentioned, a basic Renters policy includes liability coverage should someone be injured in your rented home or apartment. As with Auto insurance, there is a per-incident limit on this coverage, and you should make sure this is high enough to protect your assets.

Give us a call today for your free insurance quote at 951-600-5751 or email us at insure@siaonline.com.