Storm Preparation Tips for Your Home

How you can prevent storm damage to your home.hands protecting chalk drawing of a home from rain

As a homeowner, news of an incoming storm can be a terrifying prospect.  Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to keep storm damages at a minimum.  Here are some of the steps that you can take to protect your home from a looming storm.

  • Tree Maintenance

During a storm, strong winds can cause dead tree limbs to fall onto your home, resulting in serious roof and other exterior damage.  Additionally, windy conditions can cause overgrown tree branches to scrape across your home’s exterior, causing further damage.  To protect your home from this risk, make sure that you clear away dead tree limbs and trim the tree branches that overhang your home.

  • Clear Your Gutters

Storms bring significant rainfall.  If your home’s gutters and downspout are filled with leaves and other debris, then they will get clogged and prevent rainwater from draining away.  This can cause water to pool on your roof, increasing your chances for leaks and water damage.

  • Safeguard Critical Areas

During a storm, your roof, windows, doors, and garage doors are most at risk.  If a storm is on the way, then you should install temporary protection like special shutters or coverings for your patio.  You should also reinforce garage doors, entry doors, and windows with pieces of plywood.  This will minimize the damage that your home sustains during intense storm conditions.

  • Protect Your Valuables

If a storm gets very bad, then you may be forced to evacuate your home.  If you plan on taking valuable items with you, then make sure they are packed securely and wrapped in waterproof materials.  You should also make sure that your home inventory is updated to include all the new items you have purchased for your home.  Having an updated home inventory will help you file an insurance claim in the event that your possessions are damaged in the storm.

These are some of the steps that you should take to protect your home from storm damage.  Want another way to keep your home, loved ones, and belongings safe?  Then make sure you have the right homeowners insurance protections in place.  For assistance with your home coverage, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services today.

How You Can Keep Your Home Safe

Try out these suggestions to protect against common home security and safety firefighter putting out home firerisks.

Protecting your home, loved ones, and personal property is a tall order to fill.  Fortunately, there a many small steps that you can take to keep your home safe.  Here are some of the things that you can do to protect your home from these common risks.

  • Natural Disaster

No matter where you live, you are at risk for some kind of natural disaster.  Whether it be wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods, it’s important to know which emergencies you are most likely to face.  Once you know which natural disasters you are most likely to be exposed to, follow expert guidelines to protect your home and prepare your loved ones.  For instance, you may have to create an evacuation plan, pack a family emergency preparedness kit, and make structural upgrades to your home.  It’s also important that you read through your homeowners insurance to see what your policy will cover after a natural disaster.  Oftentimes, homeowners need to secure supplemental forms of insurance to cover the damages related to natural disasters.

  • Fire

Home fires are one of the most common and devastating damage events that a homeowner can face.  In homes, cooking equipment is the leading cause of fire.  However, fires can also break out due to faulty lighting fixtures, malfunctioning appliances, overheated electronics, and so on.  Smoke detectors are one of the best fire prevention tools, and homeowners are advised to install a detector in every room and floor of their homes.  You should also keep a fire extinguisher on every floor of your home and in your kitchen.  This ensures that you can quickly put out a fire before it spreads.

  • Slips, Trips, and Falls

Falling is a common household hazard.  In fact, statistics show that one in three older adults fall in their homes, with one in five falls resulting in a head injury or broken bone.  The best way to reduce the risk for someone slipping or tripping is by keeping your home clear of clutter such as toys, electrical cords, loose papers, and so on.  You should also secure floor mats and rugs to ensure that they do not curl up and pose a fall risk for your loved ones.  Finally, make sure to install adequate lighting throughout your home, so family members have an easier time spotting and avoiding potential fall risks.

These are some of the top safety and security risks that homeowners have to face.  Want another way to protect your home, belongings, and loved ones?  Then make sure you have the proper homeowners insurance in place.  For assistance with all your home coverage needs, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services today.

Don’t Skip These Home Repair Jobs

Avoiding these home repairs will cost you.tool belt

When you own a home, it seems like there’s always something breaking down and going wrong.  While most minor issues can be handled at a later date, there are certain repairs that you need to take care of as soon as possible.  Here are some of the home repairs that you can’t afford to procrastinate on.

  • Roof Damages

Your roof is one of the only things standing between your home and the natural elements.  If your roof is damaged, leaking, or rotting, then it is more of a liability than a source of protection.  Failing to repair a damaged roof in a timely manner can lead to leaks, water damage, mold, pest infestation, and total roof collapse.

  • Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are more than a minor inconvenience.  When drains are left clogged, it’s possible for the blockage to pile up and extend through your pipes.  This increases your risk for burst pipes, flooding, and leaks.  Additionally, if a clogged drain backs up into your home, then you will suffer contamination from dirty water, foul odors, and harmful airborne particles.  To ensure that a single clogged drain doesn’t become a more serious issue, it’s best to unclog as soon as you notice this problem.

  • Mold

While mold and other signs of water damage may seem minor on the surface, they often indicate much more serious and major issues.  For instance, if you notice mold on a wooden surface, then it’s possible that you have water rot all through the wood, making it necessary to completely replace the damaged wood.  Additionally, mold poses a danger to you and your family’s health.  So, when you see mold and water damage, it’s best to hire a professional to inspect the damage as soon as possible.

These are some of the home repair jobs that you cannot afford to skip out on.  Want another way to take care of your home?  Then make sure you have the right insurance protections in place.  For assistance with all your homeowners insurance needs, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services today.

Avoid These Expensive Homeownership Mistakes

Making these missteps can cost you.red home on stack of coins

As a homeowner, there is a lot of responsibility resting on your shoulders.  Unfortunately, many homeowners make small mistakes that end up costing them down the line.  To ensure that you do not fall into the same trap, here are some of the costly mistakes to watch out for.

  • Failing to Check Up on Your Home

Just because you live in a home does not mean that you know everything about it.  Oftentimes homeowners miss serious issues that are right in front of their noses and only notice them when they become glaring and extremely expensive to deal with.  This is why you need to conduct a thorough inspection of your entire home on a regular basis.  From your attic to your garage to the small crawl spaces throughout your home, make sure you look everything over and check for potential issues.

  • Skipping Out on a Home Warranty

Many homeowners have insurance, but they don’t get a home warranty at the same time.  A home warranty is a service contract that covers the repair or replacement of certain home systems of appliances that may fail due to age, wear and tear, or some other type of internal malfunction.  Oftentimes, home warranties provide coverage for your home’s HVAC, electrical system, plumbing, kitchen appliances, and washer and dryer.  If you don’t have a home warranty, then you will have to pay for broken-down appliances and home systems on your own.

These are some of the costly mistakes that new homeowners should avoid.  Do you have additional questions about your home insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

Protect Yourself While Using Public Wi-Fi

Safety suggestions for connecting to public W-Fi networks.student on phone

While you might not think twice about connecting to the Wi-Fi at your local café, it’s important to remember that using public Wi-Fi networks are can be risky.  To ensure that you protect yourself, make sure you employ these public Wi-Fi safety tips.

  • Moderate Your Actions While on Public Wi-Fi

When you are using public Wi-Fi networks, scrolling through social media and watching YouTube videos is pretty harmless.  However, you should avoid activities that require you to insert payment information, access password-protected accounts, or deal with your sensitive data.  These online activities should be saved for when you are at home and can use your own private, protected network.

  • Use Secure Connections

Another way to stay safe while on public Wi-Fi networks is by only browsing sites that have an “https” URL.  Https sites are encrypted while the normal http ones are not.  In other words, https sites offer an extra layer of security that protects your data and keeps you hidden from hackers and online criminals.

  • Activate Two-Factor Authentication

Many websites now offer users the option to take extra security steps to prove their identity before accessing the site or the user’s personal account.  For instance, before accessing your Facebook account, the site will ask for your password before emailing or texting you an additional code that you need to enter before allowing you to log in.  While activating this extra step takes more time, the extra security is worth it in the end.

These are some of the things that you should do to protect yourself while using public Wi-Fi networks.  Are you looking for another way to protect yourself?  Then make sure you have the right personal insurance in place.  For assistance with all your coverage needs, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services today.

Can Owning a Home Help You Save on Auto Coverage?

Does owning a home help everyone save on auto insurance?hands holding a toy home and a mini piggy bank

You may have heard people say that homeownership unlocks special discounts on your auto insurance.  But how much truth is in this statement?  While some homeowners can access savings on their car coverage, others cannot.  Here’s why.

  • Bundling Home and Auto Insurance

One reason auto insurance is cheaper for some homeowners is that that they secure an auto policy from the same insurance company that they insure their home with.  This allows them to bundle these two policies, which automatically unlocks savings.  However, if a homeowner chooses to insure their car through a different insurance company, then they obviously do not have the option to bundle.  Sadly, these homeowners will not be able to access this auto insurance discount.

  • Improved Credit Score

Some homeowners may also get access to lower auto insurance rates because they have a higher credit score than non-homeowners.  Typically, homeowners have better credit scores and more stable finances than individuals that do not own a home.  This is particularly true for homeowners who have successfully paid off their mortgage.  Because auto insurers consider your credit score when determining your auto insurance premiums, the better your credit, the lower your car insurance rates will be.  However, homeowners who miss mortgage payments or who are struggling financially may not have strong credit.  These homeowners will not be able to access lower auto insurance rates.

This is why some homeowners save on their auto insurance while others do not.  Do you have more questions about your home or auto insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

Protecting Your Pets This Summer

Keeping your furry friends safe this summer.dog sticking head out the window

Now that summer weather is here, you are probably excited to go out and enjoy the warm weather with your pets.  However, it’s important to remember that summer poses certain risks to your four-legged friends.  Here are some of the safety suggestions that you should keep in mind to protect your pets this season.

Know the Signs of Overheating

Cats and dogs can get overheated if they are exposed to direct sunlight or are running around in high temperatures for extended periods of time.  If your pets are playing outside, it’s important that you keep an eye out for potential signs of heat exhaustion.  Your cat’s temperature should be between 100.4° to 102.5°, while your dog should range between 100° and 103°.  Early signs of overheating include the following:

  • Heavy panting
  • Dry or bright red gums
  • Thick drool
  • Diarrhea
  • Wobbly legs

If you notice any of these signs, bring your pet inside or move them to the shade.  Offer them a drink and lay a damp towel over their body to bring their temperature down.  Avoid putting your pet in cool water as this could put them into shock.

Never Leave Your Pet in the Car

If you are taking your pet with you as you run errands, it’s vital that you do not leave them alone in an unventilated car.  As a car can heat up to over 100° in a matter of minutes, you should not leave them even for a short amount of time.  Even if you leave your car running with the air turned on, there’s no telling what might happen.  Your battery could die, leaving your poor pet to suffer and potentially die.  So, either plan of taking your pet with you everywhere or leave them at home.

Apply Sunscreen

While surprising, it’s true that pets can get a sunburn.  This is especially common with breeds that have short, or light-colored hair.  If you are planning to spend the day out with your pet, then make sure that you protect them with sunscreens that are specially formulated for pets.  Reapply every 3-4 hours (more frequently if your pet gets wet) and focus the sunscreen in less furry spots like their stomachs, ears, and nose.

Here are some of the summer pet safety tips that you should keep in mind.  Want another way to protect your pets and other loved ones?  Then secure the right personal insurance coverages.  For assistance with all your coverage needs, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services today.

Who Do You Need to Include on Your Auto Insurance Policy?

Do all my family members need to be on my car insurance?backseat shot of someone driving

When you are applying for auto insurance, your insurer will ask you to list all licensed drivers in your household.  But do you have to list everyone, or can you omit some family members from your coverage?  Here’s what you need to know.

  • Who should be listed?

Generally, anyone living under your roof should be listed on your auto insurance policy.  While these people might not drive your car regularly, they might have to depending on the circumstances.  So, all licensed drivers, including teens, elderly adults, roommates, and significant others, should be listed on your insurance policy.

  • Does adding driver affect my premiums?

Adding a new driver to your auto insurance policy may cause your premiums to increase.  For instance, newly licensed drivers are considered risky to insure.  Subsequently, adding this driver to your policy will increase your rates.  Additionally, adding someone with a history of bad or irresponsible driving can also cause your insurance rates to increase.  If you are worried about this rate increase, then you do have an option.  You can choose to list the high-risk driver as an excluded driver.  This means that the individual is not permitted to drive your car under any circumstances.  If the excluded driver does get into an accident while operating your vehicle, then your insurance provider will refuse coverage for the event.

  • I there anyone in my household I don’t have to add?

You do not have to list children on your auto policy.  However, once your child receives their drivers license, they will need to be officially listed.  Some insurance companies will even ask you to list unlicensed drivers on your policy if they are adults.  Speak to your insurance provider to find out the details of your coverage requirements.

This is what you need to know about listing additional drivers on your auto insurance policy.  Do you need more help with your car coverage?  If so, then contact the team at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your auto insurance needs.

What Does it Mean to Have a Clean Driving Record?

Do you have a clean driving record?person driving

When you go to secure auto insurance, the insurance provider will look at your driving record to determine your rates.  Typically, the cleaner your record, the lower your rates will be.  But what exactly constitutes a clean driving record and how can you achieve one?  Here’s what you need to know.

 What does a clean driving record look like?

Generally, insurers consider a clean driving record one that is free of any accidents, moving violations, or points.  However, it’s important to know that some insurers will have different definitions.  For instance, some insurers might argue that you have a clean driving record if you have no claims history.  Other insurers might be willing to overlook small moving violations, particularly if you only have a one or two.

How far back does a driving record go?

Typically, driving records show every violation that you have received over the past seven to ten years.  Smaller violations, such as speeding tickets, will disappear from your record after five to seven years.  More serious violations, such as a hit and run or DUI, often remain on your record for the full ten years.

Can I remove “points” from my record?

Points are added to your driving record by your state’s DMV as a penalty for committing traffic violations.  If you amass too many points in a given time period, then you risk having your license revoked.  When insurance providers look at your driving record, they will be able to see the points you have accumulated.  Fortunately, there are ways to remove these points from your record.  For instance, many states will allow you to enroll in a defensive driving course to remove points from your record.  Other states will remove points after paying a fine.

This is what you need to know about having a clean driving record.  Do you have more questions about your driving record or your auto coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your car coverage needs today.

Suggestions for Filing Your Home Insurance Claim

Make your claim process proceed more smoothly.insurance claim forms covered in coins

For many homeowners, experiencing property damage is a nightmare situation.  When you think about the insurance claims process, the situation seems even worse.  Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that your claim proceeds smoothly and efficiently.  Here’s what you can do to improve the homeowners insurance claims process.

  • Report the Claim Promptly

Most homeowners insurance policies include a clause that requires you to report claims “promptly.”  Generally, this means reporting a claim within 24-hours.  Please keep in mind that for claims related to a break-in or theft, you need to contact the police and file a report before attempting to make a home insurance claim.  When you file these types of claims, you will need to provide information on the officer you spoke to as well as your case number.

  • Take Pictures of the Damage

Before you contact your insurer, you need to take pictures of the damage.  This is a great way to document the damage and can help your claims adjuster determine just how extensive repairs or remediation efforts will be.  Having pictures ready will help your claim proceed much more easily.

  • Provide a List of Stolen or Damaged Property

To ensure that you are receiving adequate compensation, you will need to provide a list of all the personal possessions that were stolen or damaged during a claim event.  While this isn’t a big deal if only one or two items were affected, this can be a daunting task is your home was completely destroyed.  This is why it’s important to create and update your home inventory.  A home inventory is a comprehensive list of all the things that you own, how much they cost, where you go them, and so on.  Having this document ready will help you in the event that you need to file an extensive personal property insurance claim.  Work on this document now to ensure that you are ready if disaster strikes.

Taking these steps will help you simplify the homeowners insurance claim process.  Do you have additional questions regarding your home coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services for assistance today.