Category Archives: Mobile Home

Is Your Home a Target to Thieves This Holiday Season?

 

Thieves Thrive During Holiday Travel

An article from Property Casualty 360.

 

Joe Pesci's character attempts to rob a home on Christmas Eve in "Home Alone (1990)." (20th Century Fox)
Joe Pesci’s character attempts to rob a home on Christmas Eve in “Home Alone (1990).” (20th Century Fox)

 

In “Home Alone,” Kevin McCallister is left to defend his family’s home when two thugs attempt to break in on Christmas Eve, while the rest of the family is traveling overseas. While the likelihood of an eight-year-old being left home alone for the holidays is a stretch, a home robbery during holiday travel is more likely than you’d think.

 

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Statistics, the number of long-distance trips by Americans increases by 54 percent during the Thanksgiving travel period. The number rises by 23 percent during Christmas and New Year’s.

 

Burglars can take advantage of this to break into homes. According to Nationwide claims data over the past three years, there were almost 15,000 home thefts in the peak holiday travel months of November, December and January. As homeowners travel across long distances and for extended periods of time, they leave themselves more vulnerable to the occurrence of home theft.

 

Locking doors, installing a home security system, refraining from promoting your travel online, putting a hold on newspaper and mail delivery, and informing your neighborhood watch program are all good advice from Nationwide to deter a burglary. But, it’s important to recognize that even if one takes all these precautions, a theft can still occur.

 

Nationwide encourages consumers to account for their possessions before leaving on trips by creating a home inventory. Here are a few simple tips on taking inventory of your home before embarking on your holiday travels.

 

Use home inventory software. The Insurance Information Institute has a free online program that allows consumers to catalog all of their belongings. It is available here.

Move from room to room, listing items as you go. This method should be used every time you update your inventory. Don’t forget to include the items in the basement, attic, garage, and any detached structures, such as a tool or storage shed.

**Remember, the Reno Agency offers a free Home Inventory Documenting Service to all our current customers. If you would like to take advantage of this, please call us at 269.792.2232 to schedule.

Use credit card and checking account statements to confirm purchases if needed. Also, create a list of each credit card you have with the corresponding customer service number in case your purse or wallet is stolen. This way, you have the number to contact to report a stolen card(s).

Look for manuals on the items that will help with model numbers and verification of ownership.

Work with your agent to complete the inventory. If you are unsure if an item is covered by your insurance policy, call or visit with your agent.

Keep a copy of your home inventory list elsewhere. Share the list with a trusted friend or family member, keep a copy in a bank safe deposit box, or store an electronic version in the cloud using a provider such as Dropbox. Free cloud storage of up to 2GB is available through Dropbox, which allows you to access your files anywhere with internet access.

Update your coverage. Make sure you update your current inventory list with your insurance agent if you’ve recently received new gifts, or purchased new household items such as furniture, appliances, etc.

 

 

Hot Off the Grange Insurance Press: Putting Together the Pieces of your Insurance Policy Puzzle

Grange Insurance Hi Res Version

Grange Insurance shares steps to reading insurance policies

Columbus, Ohio – According to Punxsutawney Phil, spring is just around the corner. For those of you who live in colder climates, this might be a welcome change. However, this also means that the sometimes volatile weather is right around the corner, making now a good time to review your insurance policy to make sure you have the coverage you need as we approach storm season.

Similar to putting together a 1,000-piece puzzle, reading an insurance policy can seem daunting at first glance. This can make it hard to determine what you’re looking at and how much coverage you have. To cut through the clutter, Grange Insurance offers five tips to quickly understand the pieces of your insurance policy puzzle:

Start with the Declarations Page

The Declarations Page is typically the first page of an insurance policy, but policy holders might also receive this as a standalone document. “The Declarations Page is like the four corners of your puzzle, and it serves as a roadmap for your policy,” says Larry Tamasovich, manager of policy forms and compliance, Grange Insurance.

The Declarations Page includes a list of form numbers that apply to your policy, and it provides basic information such as name and address of the insurance agency, what is insured, for how much, under what circumstances, and for how long. It might also include additions to the policy beyond basic coverage.

Assemble your Policy

Once you’ve reviewed the Declarations Page, you can begin piecing it together. The first step is to identify the policy form numbers on your Declarations Page and match them up with the form numbers of your policy. You should also look for the edition dates of the policy forms shown on the Declarations Page and compare them to the edition dates of the forms received for your policy. This will help you determine if you have a complete, up-to-date policy. If you’re missing anything, contact your independent insurance agent or insurance company.

Identify your Coverage

With the Declarations Page and policy in-hand, you have the proper forms to start filling in the middle pieces of your policy puzzle. Each policy is typically broken out into broad coverage sections identified by titles that include an insuring agreement and an exclusions section. The policy itself should have an index page to make it easier to identify sections within the policy. To identify your coverage, follow these four steps:

1.  Turn to the section in your policy that you want to review, such as homeowners property protection.
2.  Refer to the insuring agreement section to see your broad coverage.
3.  Turn back to your Declarations Page to verify if that coverage applies to your specific policy, what your limit and/or premium is, and if you have a deductible.
4.  Once you’ve determined that this coverage applies to you, refer back to your policy and read the exclusions page for that section to get an understanding of what is not included.

“For example, maybe you’re concerned your basement might flood during the upcoming rainy season,” said Tamasovich. “The insuring agreement will tell you what is covered in your house, but the exclusions section might tell you that floods are not covered unless you have a separate flood policy. If flooding is truly a concern, this would be a red flag to contact your agent about a flood policy to make sure that you have the proper coverage in place to fully protect your home.”

Refer to the Definitions Section

Insurance policies can be loaded with legal language and industry jargon, and that can make the meat of your policy hard to digest at times. Every policy should include a Definitions Section. If ay any time you are unsure of what the policy is stating, refer to the Definitions Section to see if you can find an explanation.

Call your Agent

Even after these steps, your insurance policy may still be overwhelming, says Tamasovich. At that point, it may be time to call your independent agent.

“We’re coming up on the most volatile time of the year in terms of weather, making now a good time to get your ducks in a row before bad weather hits,” said Tamasovich. “If ay any time you’re unsure of what you’re reading or what your coverage is, call your agent. He or she can help explain what’s in your policy, and more importantly, help make sure that you’re appropriately protected for the future.”

For more information about insurance policies and the types of insurance available to you, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com or call your independent agent today.

 

About Grange

Grange Insurance, with $2 billion in assets and in excess of $1 billion in annual revenue, is an insurance provider based in Columbus, Ohio. Through its network of independent agents, Grange offers auto, home, life, and business insurance protection. Established in 1935, the company and its affiliates serve policyholders in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com.

 

New Home Inventory Documenting Service to Reno Agency Homeowners Insurance Customers

Based on the photos of what we’ve seen on the news of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the late season hurricane that affected numerous residents along the east coast, it has been made very clear how devastating a major homeowners claim can be. As a result, The Reno Agency is stepping up by offering a free service to all of our new and existing Homeowners Insurance customers. This service includes visiting your home to video tape the inside of your entire house, which we will then save that video on our cloud-based servers.

“Cloud-based” technology is a term that refers to applications, services or resources that are made available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud computing provider’s servers. (Source: webopedia.com)

By The Reno Agency utilizing this technology, it will ensure that when you are in shock about how your home looks after a disaster, we will have a video to send to your claims representative of what your home looked like prior to any damage.

To our existing clients, please call us at 269.792.2232 to schedule your appointment.

To those of you who are not currently with The Reno Agency for your insurance, but would like a proposal comparing your company to our companies, please call us at 269.792.2232 (toll free at 877.774.7366), or email a copy of your current declarations page to mike@renoagency.com.

Fire Protection Tips for Businesses and Residents

As the weather gets colder, it’s likely that we’ll turn up our heat and brace ourselves for the winter ahead. But because the use of heating systems increases during the cold weather months, so does the frequency of residential and business fires. In fact, more than 50,000 heating fires in residential buildings occur each year in the United States, a majority of which happen from November through March, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

It is important that business owners and homeowners alike prepare their employees and families for potential fires, and practice important prevention habits. Grange Insurance, a Columbus, Ohio-based insurance company, offers advice on how to play it safe when it comes to fire.

1. Make sure you’re covered.

Homeowners, renters and business owners should ensure they have the proper insurance coverage in place in case of a fire. Most policies cover fire damage to residences or businesses, as well as personal belongings, but may have some limitations. In addition, most commercial insurance will protect business owners from liability if an employee is injured or loss of life occurs during a fire.

“Review your policy to ensure your personal property is covered, especially expensive items such as machinery or jewelry. It’s also important to understand whether or not your policy provides additional living expense coverage, which can help pay for you to stay in a hotel or temporary housing while your home is rebuilt or repaired,” said Ken Kozek, Vice President of Claims at Grange Insurance. “If you do not already have a homeowner, condo or renter’s policy in place, consider investing in one. As a business owner, it is imperative that you have a proper policy to protect against liability and property damage or loss.”

2. Practice makes perfect.

It only takes minutes for a house or business to become engulfed in flames, making a planned escape route a necessity. Plan an escape route and post it where everyone can easily find it. Practice your route at least twice per year at different times during the day, especially with children or people with disabilities.

Designate a meeting spot a safe distance from your home or business, such as a tree across the street, so you can assure everyone made it out safely. Alert the fire

department if someone is missing or if pets are trapped so they can perform a rescue safely.

3. Fire-proof your home or business.

Stop the fire before it starts by eliminating potential hazards in your home or business. Equip yourself with fire extinguishers, regularly tested smoke alarms and sprinklers. Keep curtains, towels or any items that can easily catch fire at least three feet from heaters. Business owners should also consider posting “No Smoking” signs around machinery and flammable materials to alert employees of potential danger.

It is also important to protect important papers including birth certificates, property inventory and proof of its value, such as receipts, titles and appraisals.

“In the case of a fire, business owners may be required to show proof of property value to ensure full coverage from their insurance policy,” said Kozek. “Make copies of all your important documents, and keep the originals in a bank safe deposit box outside of your business.”

4. Memorize emergency contact information.

Make sure that everyone in your home knows how to dial 9-1-1. Business owners and families should also post emergency phone numbers in a central place such as on the refrigerator or in the break room so they are easily accessible.

What you need to know about “ice dams”

http://www.disastersafety.org/projects/?id=2445&category=1068

Avoid the costly collision of hot and cold and reduce the risk that ice dams will form and create a soggy mess. When heat from the interior of a building with a sloped roof escapes into the attic space, it warms the underside of the roof.  Meanwhile, the roof eave outside the heated space remains a colder temperature.  As snow accumulates on the rooftop, it melts over the warmer portion of the attic and runs down the roof. When it encounters the cold edge of the roof it refreezes. The refrozen water along the roof edge creates an “ice damming” condition, and consequently, the melted snow running down the roof begins to back up underneath the roof covering.  This water will soak the roof sheathing and leak into the attic unless there is a barrier above the sheathing.  An appropriately installed secondary moisture barrier will help prevent the water from entering your business and damaging your structure and its contents.

Consider the following recommendations to help prevent your business from experiencing damage from freezing temperatures:

  • If your roof covering is going to be replaced in the near future, ensure that a secondary moisture barrier is installed using at least two layers of underlayment cemented together or a self-adhering polymer modified bitumen sheet (similar to underlayment).  The moisture barrier should extend from the edge of the eaves to at least 24″ beyond the inside of the exterior wall.
  • To help prevent ice damming, remove or relocate heat sources that are installed in open areas directly under the roof, such as an attic or mechanical room.
  • Light fixtures in the ceiling below the open area that is directly under your roof, such as attic space or a mechanical room, should be insulated.
    • Recessed light fixtures release heat if they are not insulated.  Check to see if there is any visible light from these fixtures in the attic. 
    • If there is, they probably are not adequately sealed or insulated.  You should seal or insulate those light fixtures immediately.
  • If you have penetrations into the attic (e.g. partition walls, stack vents, electric chase, etc.), seal and insulate them so that daylight cannot be seen and airflow is minimal. Also, insulate, seal, weatherstrip or gasket all attic access doors. 
    • Attic penetrations and access doors that are not properly sealed and insulated allow for heated air to escape into the attic and can contribute to an ice damming condition. 

Hastings Mutual Insurance Company Recognized Again For Financial Strength

Hastings, Michigan, October 13, 2010: For more than 125 years Hastings Mutual Insurance Company has focused on financial strength and responsible management of its assets. The company’s dedication to excellence has paid off as reflected in their recent results. This year Hastings Mutual Insurance Company is again awarded the highest honors by Weiss Ratings (formerly TheStreet.com) and by Demotech, Inc.

Weiss is an independent research and ratings company that has been in operation since 1971. Melissa Gannon, vice president at Weiss Ratings, states, “Unlike most other rating agencies, Weiss Ratings accepts no compensation of any kind from the companies it rates.” Weiss announced on October 4, 2010, that Hastings Mutual is again rated “A+” based on the company’s strong financial solvency.

The Weiss score is based on the current and future financial stability offered to customers, vendors and employees. Less than 1 percent of financial companies reviewed meet the criteria for this exceptional rating.

This latest honor follows a recent Demotech, Inc. announcement that Hastings Mutual is again a “Super Regional™” carrier. Published in the May 17, 2010 issue of Insurance Journal, Demotech Inc. revealed their list of Super Regional™ P/C insurers. Of the 2,700 companies analyzed, only 165 qualified as a Super Regional™.

Joseph Petrelli, president at Demotech states, “These companies are strong, stable markets that have been working hard for their agents and insureds.”

“This recognition is an honor, and we know that the partnership we share with our agents is integral to our success,” remarked Bill Wallace, president and CEO at Hastings Mutual Insurance Company. “We look forward to our Company’s future and Hastings Mutual’s continued success with our agents.”

About Hastings Mutual Insurance Company

Hastings Mutual is an award winning, A. M. Best: A+ rated, regional Property Casualty insurance company. Hastings Mutual operates in six Midwestern states. The company, based in Hastings, Michigan, has been writing commercial, farm, and personal lines business through independent agents since 1885. For more information about Hastings Mutual and their 125th anniversary, access the company web site: www.hastingsmutual.com.

State Fire Marshal Reminds Consumers: Water Your Tree Daily Don’t Risk the Fire Danger of a Dry Christmas Tree

Contact:  Mario L. Morrow 517-373-9280
Agency: Energy, Labor & Economic Growth
December 7, 2010 – To reduce the chance of a holiday tragedy, the Bureau of Fire Services is urging consumers to thoroughly water their Christmas tree daily. If a tree has already become too dry, State Fire Marshal Ronald R. Farr says to remove the tree from the home.

“When a Christmas tree catches fire there are literally only seconds to escape safely,” said Farr. “Removing a dry tree and subsequently the chance for a deadly fire to occur is easier to live with than the consequences such as the loss of your home, or even worse, family members. A Christmas tree is replaceable, but your loved ones are not, so don’t take the risks.”

Each year, an average of 260 home fires start with Christmas trees causing 14 deaths, 26 injuries and more than $13.8 million in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Farr said shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires.

The Bureau of Fire Services asks consumers to follow these important guidelines for holiday tree safety: 

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean the tree will not catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly. 
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. 
  • When setting up a tree at home cut one or two inches off the bottom and place the tree in water as soon as possible. Keep the stand filled water because heated rooms dry out live trees rapidly. 
  • When choosing a spot in your home to place your Christmas tree make sure it does not block an exit that may be needed in an emergency. 
  • Place the tree away from fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, heating vents, and other sources of heat. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways. 
  • Christmas trees should be checked daily and at the first sign of dryness be removed from the home. The drier the tree, the greater the fire hazard. 
  • Position the tree solidly in the tree stand. If the tree seems wobbly, center it in the stand more securely and redo the bolts or screws. 
  • Place the tree near an electrical outlet if possible so that cords are not running long distances. Do not place rugs over cords to disguise them; this can become an increased fire hazard. 
  • Don’t use any strings of lights that are frayed or broken. 
  • Don’t leave lit trees unattended. Unplug all lights on the Christmas tree before leaving home or going to bed. 
  • Watch small children closely when they are around the tree; many small decorations and ornaments are sharp, breakable and can be swallowed. 
  • When Christmas is over or when the tree starts to drop needles, dispose of it. Don’t leave it in the house or garage.

To see a video of how a holiday tree fire can spread in a matter of seconds, click on this link from the National Institute of Standards and Technology: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/all_citizens/home_fire_prev/holiday-seasonal/treefire.shtm

For more information about DELEG, please visit www.michigan.gov/deleg. Follow DELEG at http://twitter.com/MIDELEG, visit the “DELEG” page on Facebook and Become a Fan or visit the Michigan Government channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/michigangovernment