homeowner's insurance Archives - Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall is a beautiful time of year. The air is cool and crisp, and the leaves are changing colors. As homeowners, it can also be a very busy time of year! Take advantage of the moderate weather to repair any damages to your home before the first frost sets in.

Taking the time to care for the exterior of your home in the fall will help your home last through the winter. Check the foundation for cracks. If you have cracks in your foundation, repair them before it’s too late. Caulking around windows, door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your home can help prevent heat escaping in the colder months. Install storm windows and doors and remove screens. Check exterior walls for peeling or blistering paint. If left untreated, the siding itself will deteriorate. Ensure your roof is in good shape. If there are some missing or loose shingles, get them repaired or replaced!

Interior maintenance is just as important. Properly sealing and insulating your home can save you up to 10% on your annual energy bill. Applying weather stripping and caulk to windows and doors is a simple and easy way to help keep the heat in and the cold out – don’t forget about the basement windows! Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Properly working heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems. Change the direction of your ceiling fans to redistribute warm air from the ceiling. Test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep extra batteries on hand.

Now that the house is taken care of, it’s time to move back out into the yard. Prepare your yard equipment for storage by draining the fuel from all gas-operated equipment. Check to see if all your snow equipment is in proper working order and ready for the first snowfall. Drain garden hoses and store them inside. Also shut off outdoor water valves to keep them from freezing. Take some time to organize your garage. Clean and store your summer garden tools, and move your rakes, gloves, and winter equipment within easy reach.

If you are a homeowner, keeping up with home maintenance is important! This is just a short list of maintenance items that should be completed during the fall.  For more Fall tips go to our Fall Section of our website. Take the time to call Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc. at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/ to review your homeowners insurance policy so you know your home is fully protected for the next season!

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/1499-fall-home-maintenance-checklist/

Homeowners Insurance Facts

When you decide you want to buy your first home, homeowners insurance may not be the first thing you think about. However, most mortgage lenders require you to have homeowners insurance before they will approve your loan. There are a few things you should know about homeowners insurance.

When you decide you want to buy your first home, homeowners insurance may not be the first thing you think about. However, most mortgage lenders require you to have homeowners insurance before they will approve your loan. There are a few things you should know about homeowners insurance.

Certain losses are excluded from most homeowner’s insurance policies. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover floods or earthquakes. If you want coverage for flood or earthquake damage, you will need separate policies for those. If you are in a flood zone, your mortgage lender may require you to purchase flood insurance.

We all know that our credit score is important for many things. Did you know it can also affect your homeowner’s insurance premium? Some states have banned this practice; however, in most cases your credit score can affect your insurance premium. The better your credit rating, the lower your premium. So while you’re spiffing up your credit rating to get a good deal on your mortgage loan, you should maintain a good rating to save money on your homeowners insurance.

Poor home maintenance may cause a claim to be denied. Not all damages are covered by homeowners insurance. If the damage that occurred to your home is due to your failure to properly maintain your home, your claim may be denied. When it comes to home maintenance, don’t be a procrastinator!

While you are living in your new home, you will acquire new valuables, personal possessions, and may do some home improvements. You should always report these to us right away so we can ensure your coverage is sufficient for your investment

.

Enjoy your new home, you deserve it! If you have any questions regarding homeowners insurance, please contact Spencer Insurance Agency at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/.

 

Source: https://www.hsh.com/first-time-homebuyer/facts-about-home-insurance.html

Renting Your Property on AirBnb

Renting Your Property on AirBnb

If you are trying to earn a little extra money for the New Year, the answer may be in your spare room! AirBnb can be a great way to utilize an empty home, or room, and generate some much needed income. AirBnb is an online marketplace that connects people who have a room for rent, with travelers who need a place to stay for vacation. Just ensure you have the proper insurance!

 

Most standard homeowners insurance policies don’t include short-term rentals and will NOT cover them. If you’re renting out your home on a regular basis to generate income, insurance companies generally view that as business activity. This will require you to purchase business

What if something happens to your property while it is being rented? While AirBnb does offer up to $1

million of its own coverage per rental, it may not cover everything. Plus making a claim can be complicated! With an increased number of states now regulating rentals, most property owners are now legally required to maintain business liability insurance if they rent out their home on a short-term basis.

Don’t rely on your homeowners insurance policy. Many homeowners make this mistake and regret it! Homeowners insurance is designed to cover you from property damage and liability based off of a specific set of circumstances. When you rent your home on a frequent, or non-frequent, basis the risk for property damage and liability issues increase significantly!

Don’t make the same mistakes as other homeowners! Spencer Insurance Agency can help advise you on what business insurance would be best for you. Contact us at (215) 885-2200 or on our website 

to speak with one of our licensed professionals.

Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/insurance/120816/does-your-homeowners-insurance-cover-airbnb.asp

Generator Safety Tips

Generator Safety Tips

Choosing the right generator is the first step in generator safety. Here are a few easy ways to figure out which size generator is best for you, provided by Red Cross.

  1. Add up the power requirements of the appliances and devices you will want to use.
  2. Add up the wattage of all the light bulbs you will want to use.
  3. Find the total amps you need by dividing watts by volts.
  4. Choose a generator that produces more amps than you need. Some devices draw up to 3 times as much power when starting up, and others lose efficiency over times.

 

Another thing to remember when using a generator is that there are many hazards associated with using it. These hazards include but are not limited to:

  1. Shocks and electrocution
  2. Carbon monoxide
  3. Fires
  4. Noise and vibration

To minimize these hazards, keep your generator dry, and do not use it in rain or wet conditions. Also, keep the generator outside in a well-ventilated area to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide can kill you in as little as 5 minutes and without warning.

Just a few more tips: Before refueling your generator be sure to turn off the generator and let it cool down to avoid a fire hazard.  Store gas for your generator properly, not in your house, and in a ventilated building or under the cover of a car port or canopy. Avoid electrical hazards by keeping the generator dry and under a cover such as a car port or canopy, but only if it is at least 20 feet away from your house.

Call  Spencer Insurance Agency’s licensed insurance professionals at  215-885-2200 or visit our website.

Sources: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/power-outage/safe-generator-use.html and https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/portable_generator_safety.pdf.

 

Want to avoid Claims . . .

Fall Auto and Home Maintenance - Abington, Glenside, Jenkintown Homeowners Insurance company Spencer Insurance

The start of fall was more like summer.  Hopefully, the crisp and cool fall days will be upon us soon.

Spencer Insurance Agency helps protects you should you have a claim.  But more importantly Spencer Insurance Agency wants to help you avoid claims.  Even with the best coverage claims are a nuisance.

With that in mind we have posted to our website our “Fall Section.”  This section provides many tips on how to prepare your home as fall and winter arrive to prevent claims. This section also has car safety tips and a list of items you should have in your car emergency kit.

So check it out now so you are ready for the winter months.  A little preparation now can go a long way in helping you to avoid future claims.  If you have any questions about your insurance coverage contact us at 215-885-2200.

Do you have a drone?

Did you get a drone for Christmas?  I imagine they are a lot of fun.

I know the first thing you did when you purchased the drone was to call your insurance agent to see if you have property or liability coverage for your drone, right?  Well, the funny thing is that I have not received one call from a client asking if their new drone is covered.  I imagine at least one of my clients owns a drone.

The big question: “Is my drone covered under my homeowner’s insurance coverage?”  And the answer is “Maybe.”  What if you crash the drone into a person and hurt them? What happens if you crash your drone into a car and cause an accident?  If your drone is used for recreational purposes only, then you may have some coverage.  It depends on the language in your policy.  Different companies have different language.  Some limit the size of the drone to under 10 pounds.  Others companies’ policies state “we do cover model airplanes not used or designed for transporting cargo or persons.”

Did you know that all drones over .55 pounds (yes, that is only half a pound) need to be registered with the FAA (the Federal Aviation Administration)?  If you operate an unregistered drone you are subject to fines.  You may also lose your liability coverage since you are operating the drone illegally. Go to the FAA website (https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/) and make sure you know what is required.

The best thing to do is call us at 215-885-2200 and discuss your drone with us.

Why does my homeowner’s insurance premium increase every year?

We hear this question from clients so I thought some of you are probably not asking us this question but are thinking about it.  So let me answer the question.

There are many factors that will affect your homeowner’s insurance premium including making a claim and increases in replacement value coverage on your home. Weather related catastrophic losses also affect your rates even if you do not make a claim.   Also, each year the insurance company will increase your dwelling coverage to keep pace with inflation.  So you may see a 2%, 3%, or 5% increase depending on the cost of living increases for building materials in your area.  All of us know it will take more money to replace our home today than it did 20 years ago.

But these factors are not why homeowner’s insurance premiums can vary from carrier to carrier.  That is why I always ask our clients to send me a copy of any quotes they receive for a lower premium than they are paying now so I can make sure they are not losing any valuable coverage.

Think about the last time you bought a new car.  I just recently purchase a Toyota Camry.  I could have just gotten the base model but I wanted the hybrid.  I also wanted some safety features.  The one I really like is that my headlights turn when I am making a turn.  Pretty cool.  I also chose some other features that cost me extra money (a navigation system and Apple Car play for example).  I could have just gotten the basic model for less money and that would have been okay, but I wanted more features so I knew I would be paying more. So I paid the extra money and got the car I wanted.  Homeowner’s Insurance is very similar.

What I see when clients send me their quotes is that they are being quoted a basic homeowner’s policy.  Of course the premium is less because they no longer have the coverages we discussed that were important to them. If they want a basic homeowner’s policy I will sell them one IF that is all the coverage they want. But I will make sure they will know what coverage is now missing. Just like my Camry if you want more features you should expect to pay more.

As you know Spencer Insurance Agency represents several quality homeowner’s insurance companies. It seems that all our companies are coming out with new versions of their homeowner’s policy and/or new coverages. Should you switch?  Should you update to the new version? Should you add additional coverages that were not offered before?  One thing I know for sure is that you SHOULD talk to us about your policy.  Our agency tries our best to be as proactive as possible and reach out to our clients if we feel you should make changes. In a perfect world we would talk to all our clients about these updates but we are not perfect and this is not a perfect world.  We can’t get to everyone right away so feel free to call us at any time for a review.

Here are some new coverages being offered by our companies just recently:

  • Service line coverage – Now you can get the coverage you may be paying your water company for to replace a broken pipe from your house to the curb.
  • Mechanical Breakdown – Coverage for appliances, heating/air conditioning systems when they break down
  • Loss forgiveness/decreasing deductible
  • Hidden seepage coverage
  • Roof and siding matching in event of claim

Of course if you add some coverage you will be paying more premium.  You have to decide if it is worth the additional cost to have the coverage.  Just like my Camry I will pay more if I add more features/coverage. Price is important but remember the “True Cost of Insurance” includes the cost you pay out of pocket when you don’t have the proper coverage. If you want a basic homeowner’s insurance policy great, you can have it.  But if you want some better coverage you should expect to pay additional premium.  It is very hard from the policy pages to know all the coverages that are included or missing.  Let us help you.  If we can’t determine whether the quote you received or policy you have with have another agent has a certain coverage , we will tell you what to ask the other agent to make sure you do have that coverage.  Call us today for a review of any policy.

As the holidays decorating season approaches, some safety tips. . .

 

Candles, fires (indoors in your fireplace and outdoors in your fire pit), strands of lights and Christmas Trees can make your home look beautiful for the holiday season. Be extra careful during this time of year. Remember most home fires occur during the winter months so we want to share some safety tips.

  • If you use a live Christmas tree make sure it is properly watered. Check out this video which shows dramatically the fire danger for a dry tree and one that is properly watered.
  • FEMA Video sharing winter fire prevention tips.
  • Check out the Spencer Insurance Winter Tips for some tips for:
    • Driving in winter conditions
    • Preparing an emergency kit for car and home
    • Preparing your teen driver to drive in winter conditions
    • Taking time during the winter when you are inside more to review your finances

The severity of our winters change each year.  Even the Farmer’s Almanac can’t get it right all the time.  So take some time now to prepare so you are ready for that blizzard or ice storm.  Hope I didn’t jinx us.

Contact us with any questions or if you would like a review of your insurance.

Have a wonderful winter.

Turn the clocks back and check your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

         

This Saturday night we welcome the extra hour sleep as we turn the clocks back one hour.

But don’t forget the more important task when turning clocks back:  Check your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

If you have smoke detectors that have removable batteries then change those batteries.  Many of the smoke detectors today have a battery life of 10 years and then you need to throw it out and get a new one. So check the date on the smoke detector to see how old it is.  Don’t wait!  If it is 10 years old replace it.

While you are at it, check your fire extinguishers to make sure they still have a full charge.  If not replace them or have them serviced.

Spend a little time checking.  After all you did get an extra hour of sleep.  It could save your life.

 

 

Fall is here and so are the Spencer Agency’s fall safety tips!

Fall Auto and Home Maintenance - Abington, Glenside, Jenkintown Homeowners Insurance company Spencer Insurance

 

As summer comes to a close I ask “will we get rid of this rain and humidity.”  I am looking forward to some crisp fall days and seeing the beautiful change of the color of the trees.

But it would not be fall without Spencer’s fall safety tips.   Check these tips out so you can prevent future claims. This fall section has tips on how to prepare your car and home for fall and winter.  It also has some teen driver tips for parents of teen drivers.

       

Lastly, September is Life insurance awareness month so I have some tips on how to protect your family with life insurance.  Tips on what you need to do with your life insurance if you are getting married or divorced. Rachel will tell you why you should not delay purchasing life insurance.

As always just contact us if you have any questions or concerns.  “Your protection and peace of mind is our only business.”