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If your home is left unoccupied for weeks or months at a time, your standard homeowners insurance policy might not provide coverage in the event of a claim. Any damages or losses that occur would have to be paid out of pocket unless you have vacant property insurance. 

Unoccupied and vacant homes present a greater insurance risk than an occupied home. The emergency response time is slower and there is an increased probability of a break-in occurring. This increased risk has resulted in the exclusion of these properties in a standard homeowners insurance policy. If you own an empty or vacant house, you should purchase vacant property insurance to protect yourself and your home.

Generally speaking, if your home is left unattended for 30 days or more you’ll want to purchase vacant property insurance. Before leaving your home vacant for an extended period of time, you should contact your insurance agent and discuss how your insurance carrier defines vacancy. Below are some scenarios where a homeowner might find the need for vacant property insurance.

  • You own a vacant home that you only visit a few times per year.
  • You’ve purchased a home, but won’t be moving in for several weeks.
  • You’re constantly traveling for weeks at a time.
  • You’re remodeling your home and won’t be living there during renovations.
  • You’re renting out your home and you’re in between tenants.

Source: https://www.valuepenguin.com/unoccupied-and-vacant-home-insurance

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are an average of 385,500 residential fires every year. While taking out a Homeowners insurance policy with fire insurance coverage will help protect you from the costs incurred from a house fire, following these fire safety tips can help prevent a fire from starting in your home. 

Fire Safety Tip #1: Don’t Smoke Indoors

Smoking indoors can cause more damage than you may realize. Over 18,000 fires are started by smoking materials annually, causing $476 million of property damage. While it’s best not to smoke indoors or on exterior balconies or porches, if you do, be sure to completely extinguish any cigarettes and never smoke when there’s a chance you might fall asleep. 

Fire Safety Tip #2: Keep Your Dryer Clean

It may surprise you but completing common household chores like cleaning the lint trap in your dryer can help prevent fires. In 2010-2014, U.S. fire departments responded to almost 16,000 home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year. In addition to keeping your washer and dryer clean, it’s best to only run them when you will be home to supervise, that way if a fire starts, you can take immediate action. 

Fire Safety Tip #3: Practice Summer Grill Safety

Over 10,000 house fires a year are attributed to grills and fire pits. Whether it’s because people use their grill too close to their home or they use the wrong fire starter to ignite the charcoal grill or fire pit, practicing summer grill safety can help prevent fires from starting. This includes everything from grill placement, making sure your grill is clean, safely disposing of charcoal briquettes, and never leaving your grill on while unattended. 

Fire Safety Tip #4: Don’t Leave Candles Unattended

Candles can create a relaxing ambiance for your home, but unattended candles can be incredibly dangerous. In fact, from 2011-2015, over 8,500 fires a year were started by candles, with $295 million in property damage. Never leave candles in a room unattended, especially if you have children or pets, and always make sure to clear the area around a candle of anything that could possibly ignite, including decorations, curtains, papers, etc. 

Fire Safety Tip # 5: Practice Firework Safety 

Fireworks and sparklers account for roughly 15,000 fires per year, including house fires, vehicle fires, and outdoor fires. To avoid injury and potential fires, it’s important to practice firework safety, including only using legal fireworks, having a designated area for setting off fireworks, only lighting off one firework at a time, only letting responsible adults use sparklers and fireworks, and properly disposing of firework remnants after they’ve been used. 

Fire Safety Tip # 6: Create a Wildfire Defensible Space

While wildfires are powerful and unpredictable, there are safety tips you can try if you live in an area threatened by wildfires to help create a wildfire defensible space, which could prevent the spread of wildfires. To do so, you might consider actions like keeping your lawn and plants watered, clearing away brush and debris, using fire-resistant shrubs and plants, storing firewood away from your home, and keeping your roof and gutters clear of leaves, needles, and debris. You’ll also want to practice additional fire safety if your area is experiencing a drought like nearly half of Washington state.

Smart technology and devices continue to revolutionize how we live. Most people want to stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies. It is estimated that there will be over 73 million smart homes by 2021. So if you want to be one of these trend setters, you will want to read this list of how you can start to make your home a smart home!

  1. The first, and most important, step to making your home a smart home is to get a smart home digital assistant. The two most popular home assistants are Amazon Echo (with Alexa) and Google Home. You can purchase either one of these at www.bestbuy.com 
  2. Adding smart light bulbs is another great way to make your home smarter. Using your smart home digital assistant you can control all the smart lights in your home via voice control or by the push of a button. You can also have different settings for the lighting in each room, and turn lights on and off when you’re not home!
  3. Installing a smart thermostat is a great way to automate the temperature throughout your home and can even save you money on your electric bill! Some smart thermostats can learn your favorite temperatures and even sense when people aren’t home to regulate the temperature.
  4. Replacing your regular doorbell with a smart doorbell is another step to making your home smarter and safer. Smart doorbells come with HD cameras so you can see who is at your door via your mobile device. You can also communicate through your smart doorbell if you need to.
  5. If you hate running the vacuum, you will definitely want a smart vacuum. High quality smart vacuums come with great sensors that allow them to navigate throughout your home and clean autonomously! Some also come with Wi-Fi connectivity so it allows you to control it via your smartphone.

Source: https://thesmarthomer.com/how-to-make-your-home-a-smart-home/

If you own a vehicle, you should own an auto insurance policy. Have you ever wondered how the cost of your policy is determined? There are a number of different factors that impact the cost of your auto insurance. While not all companies use the same parameters, we will help you understand what commonly determines the bottom line of your auto policy. 

First, your driving record – The better your record, the lower your premiums. If you have been in accidents or had serious traffic violations, it is likely you will pay higher premiums. How much you use your car is also considered while determining the cost of your premium. The more miles you drive, the more chance for an accident. Even where you park is taken into consideration. Do you park in a secure garage? Or do you park on a street?

Other factors taken into consideration while determining your auto insurance costs are: your age, your gender, the car you drive, and the amount of auto insurance you wish to carry. Mature drivers generally have fewer accidents than beginners. Statistics show that women are involved in fewer accidents, and when women are involved in an accident they tend to be less severe than men. The cost of your car and the amount of insurance coverage you want to carry are major factors in the cost of your policy as well.

Source: https://www.iii.org/article/what-determines-price-my-auto-insurance-policy

🌷Spring is here!  🌸  After a long dark and cold winter, the bright sun and warm winds of the spring are a breath of fresh air! The only downside? All that sunlight helps you see your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks, and dead plants in the flower beds. Get your home in shape for spring with this checklist!

1. Examine Roof Shingles: Examine the roof to see if any shingles were lost or damaged under the winter snow and ice.

2. Check the Gutters: Loose or leaky gutters can cause improper drainage, which can lead to water in your basement or crawlspace during the spring rain.

3. Inspect the Concrete: Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. Fill cracks with concrete crack filler or silicone caulk, power-wash, and then seal the concrete.

4. Remove Firewood: Firewood stored near the home for winter should be moved at least 18 inches off the ground and at least 2 feet from the structure.

5. Check Outside Faucets: Check outside faucets for freeze damage. While you’re at it, check your garden hose for dry rot.

6. Repair Window Screens: You will want to open the windows to let the fresh air in. Ensure small holes and tears are repaired so bugs don’t get in.

This is just a short list of items you can do to prepare your home for the spring. Winter was nice and cozy but, we are ready for the spring sunshine! While you are preparing your home for the spring, it is a great time to review your homeowners insurance! 

Source: https://www.hgtv.com/lifestyle/clean-and-organize/10-home-maintenance-tips-for-spring-pictures

In an exclusive interview with Practicomm, professional John Tahmoosh provides valuable answers to controversial insurance issues… Read more