Figures that Matter to Your Home Insurance

Learn about some of the figures and values that affect your homeowners insurance.Figures that Matter to Your Home Insurance

As a homeowner, it’s important that you have the right insurance protections in place. However, with all the different policy types out there, it can be difficult to figure out which coverage options best fit your needs. Part of choosing the right insurance is understanding the various values that are relevant to your coverage. Here are two of the figures that are important to your homeowners insurance coverage.

Replacement Cost Value

This term refers to the amount of money it would take to rebuild your home if it was completely destroyed. This value takes into account the cost of labor, the cost of building materials, and the cost associated with bringing your home up to code. This value also represents the maximum amount of compensation that your insurance policy will offer for your home. This is why it’s incredibly important to correctly estimate your home’s replacement cost value. If you estimate this figure too low, you will be financially responsible for any claim that exceeds your policy limit.

Value of Your Personal Belongings

Most standard homeowners insurance policies offer coverage for damaged or stolen personal possessions. Generally, you should try to find a policy that will cover about half of the value of all your belongings. The best way to determine the value of your possessions is by completing a detailed home inventory that lists the replacement values of all of the possessions inside your home. Once you have a clearer understanding of how much your personal belongings are worth, you can determine if your homeowners insurance policy is offering you the coverage that you need.

These are two of the important figures that are relevant to your homeowners insurance.  Do you have further questions regarding your home insurance?  Direct them to the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our highly-trained professionals are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs.  Contact us to get started today.

Using Smart Home Technology to Secure Your House

Here are some of the new smart technologies that can help you protect your home.Using Smart Home Technology to Secure Your House

New technologies have been revolutionizing the home security industry.  From smart home security systems to mobile applications that allow you to control your home remotely, homeowners have quite a few options at their disposal.  Here are some of the new technologies and how they can help you better protect your home.

Home Security Systems

New smart home security systems are a great way to protect against risks such as intruders and fire.  Not only will they set off an alarm when an unauthorized person attempts to enter your home, but they can also contact the authorities if an emergency situation arises.  Additionally, most of these new systems are equipped with surveillance capabilities that allow you to monitor your home even while you are away.

Doorbell Cameras

Another system that can help you take care of your home is a doorbell camera.  These are motion activated cameras that are placed near your doorbell.  These cameras allow you to screen who is at your front door before you answer it.  Additionally, because these cameras usually work in tandem with your smart phone, you can investigate any suspicious activity at your front door no matter where you are.

Mobile Applications

Finally, there are many new mobile applications that allow you to control your home’s various functions.  For instance, there are apps that allow you to lock your doors, turn on your lights, or even adjust your home’s temperature.  These apps can be used to employ emergency security actions (such as locking your door) and can even be used to give the impression that you are home even when you are away.  This will ensure that your home does not become an easy target for opportunistic criminals.

These are some of the smart technologies that will make it easier to protect your home.  Want another way to keep your home safe?  Make sure you have the proper home insurance protections in place.  To find the right policies to fit your needs, contact the team at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our highly-trained professionals are ready to get you the coverage you need today.

Common Insurance Terms Made Easy

Here are some of the most commonly used insurance terms defined for your benefit.Common Insurance Terms Made Easy

Trying to make sense of your insurance is hard enough without the added confusion of industry-specific jargon.  If you’ve struggled with unfamiliar insurance terms in the past, you are certainly not alone.  Here are the definitions to some of the most commonly used terms to help you out.

Additional Insured – Any person or party, aside from the policyholder, who is added to the policy so that they will receive coverage under the policy.

Claim – A request by the policyholder for insurance compensation.  For instance, if you got into a car accident, you would file a claim requesting your auto insurance to kick in.

Conditions – The portion(s) of an insurance policy that explains the responsibilities of the insured and the insurance provider.

Deductible – The amount the policyholder agrees to pay before insurance coverage kicks in for an insured loss.  For instance, if you assume a $500 deductible on your homeowners insurance and your home was damaged, you would have to pay this amount before your insurance coverage kicked in.

Endorsement – Also known as a “policy rider,” this is any change made to an existing policy that alters, deletes, or adds coverage.

Exclusion – A provision in a policy that excludes or limits certain coverages.

Named Insured – The person or entity specifically covered by an insurance policy.  This person is also referred to as the policyholder.

Named Perils – Also known as specified perils, these are covered hazards that are specifically listed in an insurance policy.

Premium – The amount of money an insurance provider charges in exchange for providing coverage.

Use these definitions to make your insurance easier to understand.  Do you still have questions regarding your coverage?  Don’t hesitate to turn to us at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our highly-trained team is ready to assist you with all your insurance needs.  Contact us to get started today.

Surprising Fire Hazards Around Your Home

Watch out for these unexpected home fire hazards.Surprising Fire Hazards Around Your Home

While you probably know about major fire hazards like an unattended stove or a precariously placed candle, there are many other threats that can increase your chances of a house fire.  Keep your home, belongings, and loved ones safe by watching out for these unexpected fire hazards.

Dust Accumulation

Piles of dust make for extremely flammable fire kindling.  This is why dust build up around your home constitutes a serious fire risk.  You should be especially concerned about accumulations of dust near electrical outlets.  All it takes is one rogue spark to set a dust bunny aflame.  Luckily, it’s very easy to mitigate this risk.  All you need to do is clean your home thoroughly and be especially careful to clear away the dust in hard-to-reach places such as behind your fridge or washer and dryer.

Oil-Stained Linens

While rare, clothes that are stained with cooking oil, grease, or gasoline have been known to catch on fire when going through the dryer.  Normally, running oil-stained linens through the wash a couple of times is enough to mitigate this risk.  However, you can also just throw away these linens if you want to be on the safe side.

Stacks of Newspaper/Magazines

Finally, if you have stacks of old newspapers lying around your home, these can increase your risk of fire.  In fact, stacks of newspapers placed near gas tanks, vents, space heaters, and electrical outlets have been the cause of more house fires than you would think.  To prevent this from becoming an issue, make sure that you recycle old periodicals to stop them from accumulating in your home.

Protect against the risk of fire by watching out for these unexpected fire hazards.  Want another way to protect your home?  Make sure you have the proper home insurance protections in place.  To find the right policies to fit your needs, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, our dedicated team is ready to assist you with all your insurance needs.

Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Take these steps to reduce your chances of frozen pipes this winter.Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Unfortunately, your chance of frozen pipes increases as temperatures drop.  In many cases, frozen pipes can burst, causing extensive and costly damage to your home.  If you are worried about your pipes freezing over this winter, try out these tips to help prevent this issue.

Leave Your Heat On

One of the best ways to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze over is by leaving the heat on in your home, even when no one is home.  Setting your thermostat at about 55° F, should be enough to ensure that the water in your pipes stays liquid.  While the idea of leaving your heat on might seem like a waste, the money you spend on heating will be far less than the amount of money you would have to spend on repairs if your pipes froze and burst.

Open Up Cabinet Doors

In most homes, piping is hidden behind the cabinetry.  By opening up your cabinet doors, you can ensure that the heat is reaching your pipes and keeping them warm enough to prevent freezing.  Additionally, by opening up the doors inside your home, you can also encourage the flow of heat throughout your home.  This will also help protect against frozen pipes.

Let Your Faucets Drip

When pipes freeze, it’s actually the pressure that builds up behind the blockage that causes your pipes to burst.  If you are worried that your pipes will freeze despite your best efforts, letting the faucets in your home drip will help to relieve the pressure on your plumbing system.  This way, even if your pipes do freeze, you will reduce your chances of them actually bursting.

Try out these tips to protect against frozen pipes this winter.  Remember, another way to protect against serious damages to your home is by having the right home insurance.  To get the coverage you need this winter, contact the experts at Miller Insurance in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  We are ready to assist you with all your insurance needs.

New Homeowners: Take These Steps to Secure Your Home

Try out these safety tips for new homeowners.New Homeowners: Take These Steps to Secure Your Home

If you are moving into a new home, the security of your belongings and your loved ones is probably a major concern.  However, with all the stress and excitement of moving, it can be difficult to protect the things you love.  Here are some easy but effective ways to safeguard your new home.

  • Change Your Locks

You never know who might have a spare key to your home.  That’s why changing all the locks on your home is one of the first things you should do after purchasing a new home.  As an additional safety measure, you should also consider installing deadbolts and security doors on your home as well.

  • Hide Your Valuables

When you’re moving in, it can be difficult to keep track of where you put everything.  However, you should always know where your most valuable possessions are.  Take care to hide your valuables throughout your home.  This way they will be more difficult to find if a burglar breaks in.  Once you are more settled, make sure you find a more secure place to keep your valuables.

  • Install a Security System

Finally, one of the best ways to secure your home is by installing a home security system.  Not only will a security system protect against the risk of thieves and vandals, but it will also allow you to keep an eye on your home even when you’re away.  Additionally, if you upgrade to a system that offers 24-hour watch, you can also protect your home against the risk of fire.

These are some of the precautions you can take to protect your new home.  Remember, another way to stay safe is by having the right home insurance protections in place.  To find the right policies to fit your needs, contact the team at Miller Insurance in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  Our professionals are ready to assist you with all your insurance needs.

Winter Fireplace and Chimney Care

Learn more about caring for your fireplace and chimney this winter.Winter Fireplace and Chimney Care

When temperatures drop, there’s nothing better than cuddling up before a roaring fire.  However, before lighting up your first fire of the year, there are certain steps you must take to ensure your fireplace and chimney are safe to use.  Here are some of the precautions you should take.

1) Clean Your Chimney

Before you use your fireplace or chimney this winter, it’s important that you call a chimney sweep.  A professional chimney sweep will conduct a visual inspection of your fireplace and chimney, and will clean away build-up of a substance called creosote.  Creosote is a highly flammable substance that could lead to a house fire if not properly cleared out of your chimney.  You should have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a chimney sweep every year before using your fireplace.

2) Clear the Area

Before lighting a fire, make sure that the area around your fireplace is clear on any flammable materials.  Furniture should be at least 36 inches away from the fireplace to avoid contact with a rogue spark.  Even with a fireplace screen to catch sparks, you should keep paper products, cloth items, and wooden things away from the opening of your fireplace.

3) Close the Damper

A damper is a hinged flap in your chimney that controls the amount of air that passes through your chimney.  Opening up the damper before lighting a fire prevents smoke from accumulating inside your home.  Once your fire has burned out, make sure you close up your damper.  Leaving your damper open could result in heat loss.

4) Leave Some Ash

While it’s important to clean your fireplace, you should leave an inch-thick layer of ash behind.  Leaving a little ash in your fireplace will help your coals better retain heat.  Additionally, you can use residual ash to ensure that your fire is put out completely.  When you wish to put out your fire, simply scoop some of the ash over the logs to kill the flames.  When handling ash, be careful; they can remain very hot long after the fire has gone out.

Use these tips to help you safely use your chimney and fireplace this winter.  For another way to stay safe, make sure your home has the insurance coverage it needs.  To find the best policies to fit your needs, contact the experts at Miller Insurance Associates Inc. in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  We are eager to assist you with all your insurance needs.