How to prevent a kitchen fire this Thanksgiving (Or any time of the year) in Atlanta

Prevent a kitchen fire this Thanksgiving.

Prevent a kitchen fire this Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means a flurry of shopping, cleaning, food prep, and, of course, cooking. According to the National Fire Protection Administration, Thanksgiving Day had the most cooking fires of any day of the year in 2013. It’s not hard to imagine why. There are a lot of dishes to prepare and a lot of multitasking to do. We’ve got some tips to help you prevent a kitchen fire this Thanksgiving – or any day of the year, really! And avoiding fires means avoiding home insurance claims.

1. Dress for the occasion.

When you’re cooking, it’s best to wear close-fitting clothes that won’t drag or dangle into the heat. If you’ve got long hair, tie it back so that it doesn’t accidentally get singed.

2. Keep your cooking area clear of flammable things.

Move oven mitts, pot holders, towels, papers, plastic wrappers, wooden utensils, and anything else that could catch fire away from your stove. Yes, you might be a bit crowded for space, especially on Thanksgiving, but keep an eye on the area around your stove.

3. Don’t leave cooking food unattended.

Never walk away from something that you’re frying, broiling, or grilling. These things need to be watched closely. If you see smoke or the grease starts to bubble, turn the burner off.

If you’re steaming or boiling something, use timers so that you don’t forget that you’ve got something cooking. Unattended food is the number one cause of kitchen fires, so be sure to check your food frequently. With all the rushing around that comes with Thanksgiving and cooking a huge meal, it’s easy to forget things. It’s completely normal. Just plan ahead for forgetfulness and set timers galore.

4. Clean your cooking surface frequently.

Keep your cooking surfaces clean to prevent grease buildup. It’s hygienic and it will help you avoid starting a kitchen fire.

5. Establish a kid-free zone around the stove.

Your kid-free zone should be three feet around any area that hot food is being prepared or areas that you walk through while carrying hot dishes or pots. It’s generally a good idea to keep kids and pets out of the kitchen while you’re cooking for their safety. Kitchen safety is one of the fundamentals of childproofing your home.

6. Turn pot handles to the back of the stove.

This lowers the chance of a pot getting knocked off the stove and someone getting hurt or burned, or of kids pulling the handle and upending a pot full of hot food or water onto themselves.

7. Don’t put metal in the microwave.

Anything metal should not go in the microwave. Microwaving metal can cause sparks, which means that a fire can soon follow. Yes, this includes tin foil. So, if you have a dish covered with foil that you need to warm up, take the foil off first.

8. Make sure all portable appliances are plugged directly into the wall.

If you plug a portable appliance like a toaster into an extension cord, you could cause the circuit to short. Make sure that all the appliances you’ll need to prepare the meal are plugged into the wall, and unplug them when you’re not using them. This will prevent any accidental mishaps and will also help prevent electrical fires.

9. Consider getting a fire extinguisher.

You might want to consider getting a fire extinguisher for additional fire safety. You can consult with your local fire department to find out which type is best for your home and to get proper training for how to use it.

10. Make sure your smoke detectors are functional.

Do your smoke detectors have fresh batteries? Have you tested them lately? You should have smoke detectors near the kitchen. The sooner you and your family are alerted to a fire, the better.

If you have a kitchen fire…

  • If the fire is in a pan or pot, cover the pan with a lid or baking sheet to smother it. If that doesn’t work, use a fire extinguisher or baking soda.
  • If it’s a grease or oil fire, DO NOT pour water on it. This will only make the fire worse.
  • If the fire is in the microwave, turn the microwave off, unplug it if possible, and wait for the fire to go out. Don’t open the door.
  • If the fire is in an oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Wait for the fire to die out.

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and delicious food. Don’t let a kitchen fire spoil your holiday! By following some simple tips to help prevent a kitchen fire, you’ll be able to ensure that everyone has a happy – and safe – Thanksgiving.

Are you looking for home insurance or renters insurance? We would be happy to help you save money on your rates by shopping around for your insurance. All you have to do to get started with some home insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today.

Source:

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/kitchen_fires_flyer.pdf

http://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Top-causes-of-fire/Cooking/Safety-messages-about-cooking

http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Avoid-Kitchen-Fires-Use-Red-Cross-Tips

How to save money on your Atlanta heating bill this winter

Save on your heating bill with these tips.

Save on your heating bill with these tips.

Okay, so maybe Atlanta isn’t the coldest place in which one could spend a winter. But it can still get pretty darn cold. Now that we’re well into November, it won’t be long until we’re all bee-lining it for our thermostats to crank up the heat – and chewing our fingernails as we wait for the heating bill to arrive. Even in Hot-lanta, heating bills in the winter can be killer, which is why we’ve got some tips to help you save money on your heating bill.

1. Invest in a comfy, warm winter wardrobe.

Bring on the fuzzy socks and sweatshirts! Love the flannel pajama pants! Revel in the comfort of your favorite sweats! Rather than turning the temperature up so you can wear your short-sleeved T-shirt and cotton pants, keep the thermostat down and wear layers instead. Your body’s pretty good at making its own heat, so wear clothes that will trap it and keep you warm. This will help you save energy and money.

2. Welcome the sunlight and save money on your heating bill.

You can get some natural, solar heat to pour into your home by opening the curtains or blinds on your south-facing windows during the day. Sunlight is free! Use it to get some extra heat energy in your house. There’s a reason the cat always curls up by the window. Just don’t forget to close the curtains at night to trap the heat inside.

3. Turn the temperature down at night.

Get some warm bedding, like flannel sheets and a down comforter, and turn your thermostat down before you go to bed every night. Like we said, your body gives off heat. Use warm blankets to take advantage of it. Now, we’re not talking making your home into the Arctic. Even turning the temperature down ten degrees every night can help you save on your heating bill. Remember, the name of the game is conserving energy – it’s a great way to make your home a little more green.

4. Use your ceiling fans.

Huh? Isn’t that counterproductive? Not if you run the fans in reverse. Hot air rises, which doesn’t do you much good when it gets trapped way above your head. If you run the fans in reverse on a low setting, it’ll push the hot air back to where you are.

5. Don’t heat the rooms you don’t use.

If there are rooms in your home that you don’t usually use, close the doors and shut the vents. This will divert wonderful hot air into the rooms in the home that you frequent. No need to add unused rooms to your heating bill.

6. Take it easy with the exhaust fans.

Don’t let your bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans run all the time. Turn them off right after you’re done using them, or try not to use them at all. They’ll suck the hot air right out of a room.

Rather than turning the tempreature up, bundle up in warm clothes and save money on your heating bill.

7. Use humidifiers.

Winter is a very dry time of the year, and the dry air feels colder than humid air. By using a humidifier or two, you’ll add some moisture back into the air, and moist air tends to hold heat better than dry air.

8. Move the furniture away from the vents.

Don’t block your vents with couches and chairs and other furniture. This will prevent the hot air from the vent from getting into the areas of the house that you want it to be. Clear a path for the warm air.

9. Close the flue on your fireplace when you’re not using it.

Leaving the flue open can let hot air escape through the chimney. When you’re not using your fireplace, close the flue to trap the warm air inside.

10. Put rugs on hardwood floors.

Having rugs on your floors can help you insulate your home. It’ll help your home feel warmer, so this is a good opportunity to decorate.

11. Boost your insulation.

If there are parts of your home that seem to be leaking heat, amp up your insulation. This is an easy way to save on your heating bill.

12. Make sure to take care of your furnace.

It’s important to change the filter of your furnace when it’s dirty, which means you should probably check in once a month or so. Then you can make sure there’s a clean filter when your furnace needs one, and this helps make the furnace’s job easier. Make sure to maintain your furnace.

13. Get an energy audit.

If heat loss is a real problem, you might need to get an energy audit. This will tell you where you can improve your energy efficiency and thus lower your heating bill. Find a reputable electrical contractor and find out if they do consultations for a reasonable rate.

High energy bills are an occupational hazard of the winter season. The instinct to combat the shivery weather might be to turn the thermostat up, but there are a few simple things you can do around the house to stay warm without having to resort to drastic measures. So, instead of cranking up the heat, try some of the above tips and save on your heating bill. Stay warm, Atlanta!

Want some quotes on home insurance or renters insurance? We can help with that! All you have to do to get some free quotes for your insurance is fill out our quote form or give us a call today.

Source:

https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2013/11/06/10-ways-to-save-on-energy-costs-this-winter

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-save-on-heating-costs-1388212

Atlanta home fire safety: How to prevent an electrical fire this season

Prevent an electrical fire with these tips.

Prevent an electrical fire with these tips.

The winter months are almost upon us, and that means cold weather and shorter days, even in Atlanta. And cold weather and darkness mean that we’ll begin to rely on out lights and heat even more – in short, we’ll be using more electricity. Since we’re cruising right along through November, it’s not a bad time to discuss a danger that comes from electricity – electrical fires. The winter months actually have some of the highest occurrences of electrical fires, which is why it’s important to make sure you have enough home insurance. But, insurance aside, we’ve got some tips to help you prevent a home electrical fire this winter.

1. Check your appliances and cords.

Old, worn, or fraying cords can cause fires. You should replace and dispose of worn or ragged cords ASAP. You should also make sure that no cords are trapped by rugs or hidden by furniture. This can cause heat to build up, and heat can cause a fire – you don’t actually need a spark or flame, just a lot of trapped heat.

2. Be smart about outlets.

Don’t force a three-pronged cord into a two-prong outlet or extension cord. That’s not how that cord was designed to be used.

3. Plug major appliances directly into the wall.

Air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, and other appliances should be plugged directly into the wall, not into an extension cord. Keep your appliances in good repair, and keep an eye on your clothes dryer – believe it or not, clothes dryers are fire hazards. Remember, all appliances should be approved by the Underwriters Laboratory.

4. Don’t overload circuits, extension cords, or outlets.

You don’t want to put a strain on circuits or extension cords. Don’t try to make these things handle a load that it wasn’t designed to.

5. Remember that water and electricity don’t mix.

Keep appliances away from places that tend to get wet, like kitchen and bathroom counters. Don’t take any chances. Make sure not to let your appliances get doused.

6. Keep an eye on switches or lights that act suspect.

If any of your light switches are warm to the touch, any lights flicker, or any outlets look strange or discolored, you should call a professional to check out the situation. You should also call a qualified electrician if any appliances have a burning or rubbery odor or you feel a tingle when you touch them. Outlets that spark or are warm – or are otherwise dangerous-looking – should also be investigated by an electrician ASAP.

7. Use arc-fault circuit interrupters and ground fault circuit insulators.

AFCIs will turn off the electricity if something isn’t as it should be. GFCIs will reduce the risk of shock by turning off the circuit if there is a shock hazard. Bathrooms, kitchens, garages, and basements should be equipped with GFCI outlets.

8. Keep flammable items away from your portable heaters.

Anything that could catch fire should be placed at least three feet away from the space heater. That includes clothes, linens, and furniture.

9. Child-proof electrical outlets.

If you have young children, make sure that you’ve safely child-proofed your outlets. Use a child-proofing method that is safe and won’t present a choking hazard. It’s important to know how to child-proof your home.

10. Replace any suspicious power tools.

If any power tools act weird, like sparking or otherwise being dangerous, get rid of them and replace them.

11. Only use light bulbs with the appropriate wattage.

Don’t use a light bulb with a higher wattage or strength than a lamp or other light calls for. It’s important to use the right light bulb for the right appliance. Stick with what the lamp is designed to do.

12. Make sure that you have enough smoke detectors and that they do what they’re supposed to.

It’s so important that you have the proper smoke detectors installed in your home. There should be one outside every bedroom, and you should test them regularly to make sure that they’re working like they’re supposed to. It’s also important to remember to change the batteries every six months – an easy way to make sure that you don’t forget is to do it every Daylight Saving, whenever you change the clocks forward or back. Don’t neglect your smoke detectors. (And, while you’re at it, you may as well add some carbon monoxide detectors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.)

Before winter really sets in and you turn on all your heaters and appliances, take some time to check over your electrical cords and appliances. Don’t forget your fire prevention basics and spend some time talking to your kids about fire safety. Make sure that your home or apartment is fire-safe and ready to weather the winter months.

Do you need home insurance or renters insurance? Great! We would love to get you some quotes for that. We’ll help you get the insurance plan that’s right for your family, and we’ll help you get a great rate for it. To get in touch with one of our insurance experts, all you have to do is fill out our quote form or give us a call today.

Source:

http://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Top-causes-of-fire/Electrical 

https://www.ready.gov/home-fires

10 pro tips for handling a home insurance claim in Atlanta

Here are our pro tips for handling a home insurance claim.

Filing a home insurance claim can seem like a daunting process. Dealing with damage to your home puts a lot of pressure and stress on you, the least of which is grappling with the insurance claim itself. That’s why we’ve put together our pro tips for handling a home insurance claim. Hopefully, these tips will help the claims process go as smoothly as possible.

1. First things first – be safe.

If you come home and discover a loss or damage, be extremely careful in entering your home. It might not be safe. Exercise your judgment, and if you need to, contact the appropriate emergency personnel to figure out how to proceed.

Report any downed power lines to the utility company, and keep your electricity turned off if there’s standing water in your home.

If it’s really not safe, get out. Don’t take any chances.

2. Contact your insurance company.

Fire is covered by home insurance, as are lightning strikes. Home insurance will also cover storm damage, such as trees falling on your home or a damaged roof. Your insurance company will want the who, what, where, when, and how of the situation. They can guide you as far how to move forward with the claim. They’ll connect you with a claims handler, which leads us to our third pro tip.

3. Note the claim handler’s information.

Make sure that you take some notes when you talk to your insurance company. Take down the name and phone number of the claims handler so that you can get in touch with them easily.

4. Keep detailed records.

You’re going to have to become the ultimate note-taker. Keep a record of any contact that you have with the insurance company. Note the date, the time, the person that you spoke with, and the details of the conversation. Keep all of this information organized and in one place so that you can reference conversations from any point in the process.

5. If it’s safe, protect your home from further damage.

Take steps to protect your home from additional damage if it’s safe to do so. That might include things like boarding up windows and using tarps to prevent damage from the weather. This is important because your policy might require you to protect your home from damage after an incident. But don’t put yourself at risk – don’t even enter the home if it’s not safe to do so.

6. Prepare a list of items that have been lost.

You’re going to need to be able to present your insurance company with a list of items that need to be replaced. This is why taking a home inventory is so important – that way you know exactly what was in your home in the first place and the value of your belongings.

If you have any accessible receipts of major purchases, dig them out and have them ready to present to your insurance company.

7. Don’t move damaged items out of your home.

The claims adjuster will want to see the scene as it is. You can even take pictures or videos of the damage to keep in your personal file – you never know when those could come in handy.

8. Save any receipts for additional living expenses.

If you have to move out of your home temporarily, keep any receipts from your accommodations or other living expenses. Your insurance might cover these expenses, too, so this will make it easier to get reimbursed.

9. Do the paperwork.

The claims adjuster will send over some paperwork and documents that you have to complete. Do the paperwork and return it promptly – don’t delay.

10. Let your mortgage lender know about the loss.

You should let your lender know what happened. They might want to talk to you about contractor bids for reconstruction, and they might have their own protocol for rebuilding or repairing the home and inspecting the work.

We hope that you never have to face a loss to your home. It’s not fun to think about the worst-case-scenario, but that’s what insurance is for. Our goal is to help you build an insurance plan that will help you protect your home and your family. We understand that insurance can be complicated, so we want to make the insurance process – from getting a policy to filing a claim – as easy on you as possible. Contact us at Atlanta Insurance if you’d like to get a free quote on your home insurance, auto insurance, or renters insurance – all you have to do is fill out our quote form or give us a call!

How to have a happy, safe, and spooky Halloween

Have a happy and safe Halloween.

Have a happy and safe Halloween.

Halloween is almost upon us, and that means it’s time to talk a bit about safety during this candy-and-costumed themed holiday. Kids love Halloween – and what’s not to like? There’s fun costumes, candy, pumpkins, and, most importantly, trick-or-treating! But as a parent, it’s important to keep your children safe as they get ready for their Halloween fun. We’ve got some safety tips covering three major aspects of the spookiest holiday of the year – costumes, carving pumpkins, and trick-or-treating.

Phase One: Costumes

1. Make sure that the costume your child chooses fits them well, and try not to have any loose or baggy costumes. This could lead to tripping and walking hazards.

2. Consider using face makeup instead of masks, which can reduce a child’s visibility and make breathing harder. Make sure that the makeup is FDA-approved and test it on a small section of skin first. Remove it right away after the trick-or-treat fun is done – leaving makeup on can cause skin irritation.

3. Choose costumes that are made out of fire-retardant fabric.

4. Make sure that any accessories, such as fairy wands or swords, are soft and short. No need to chance someone getting hurt if they accidentally get whacked.

5. Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags to help make your kids more visible as it gets dark outside.

Phase Two: Pumpkin carving

1. Choose your pumpkin-carving spot carefully. You should put your pumpkins on a flat surface so that the pumpkin is stable and won’t waddle around on you. Use dry, clean pumpkin carving tools so that nothing slips unexpectedly.

2. Make sure there’s plenty of light so that you can see what you’re doing.

3. Don’t let kids under 14 carve. Let them draw the face on their pumpkin or trace out a pattern, but do the actual carving yourself. Young children can watch, but make sure they don’t get too close to any sharp objects that they could accidentally hurt themselves with. Even teenagers need supervision as they’re carving their pumpkins.

4. Consider using a pumpkin-carving kit. You need the right tools to get the job done, after all. Creating magnificent Jack-o-lanterns is a serious business. Make sure you’re wielding the right instruments when you go to make the most amazing pumpkin ever. Carving kits come with special tools that are designed with the tough shell of the pumpkin in mind, and often the tools are smaller so that you have more control. These tools are often not super sharp, either, reducing the chance of losing a finger.

5. If you’re going to use real candles for your Jack-o-lanterns, use votive candles. You can also consider using battery-powered fake candles, as these won’t accidentally catch things on fire.

6. Speaking of things catching on fire, if you have real candles in your Jack-o-lanterns, place them away from anything that could be flammable, like curtains or furniture. Don’t leave a lit Jack-o-lantern unattended.

7. Remember, don’t put your hand inside the pumpkin and carve towards it. It might be tempting to put a hand inside the hollowed-out pumpkin to get a better grip, but keep your hands safely where you can see them.

Phase Three: Trick-or-treating

1. Teach your kids to be very careful crossing the street and to walk facing traffic.

2. Give them flashlights and glow sticks so that drivers can see them more easily.

3. Remind kids not to approach people in cars or accept candy from people in cars. Yes, this might be something you’ve told them a million times, but Halloween’s a great time for a refresher.

4. Accompany any children under 12 as they trick-or-treat. Responsible children 12 or older can go without a grown-up as long as they are in a group and tell their parents their route ahead of time. Make sure that they know the area that they’re trick-or-treating in very well – you don’t want anyone getting lost!

5. Teach your kids about watching for cars, even cars in driveways that might be backing out. Also, make sure they know not to run suddenly across the street.

6. Inspect the candy when the kids get home. Anything unwrapped or that looks like it’s been opened should be tossed. Get rid of anything that looks homemade. All candy should be factory-wrapped and sealed. Also, check for choking hazards and make sure that your child only eats candy that’s appropriate for their age.

7. Remind kids to pay attention to their surroundings. Make sure your kids aren’t looking at phones or electronics as they’re walking, as they need to be alert for approaching cars and hazards.

Halloween is lots of fun for the whole family. Kids love dressing up, and why not join them and get yourself a costume? While Halloween means there’s lots of entertainment and happy memories to be made, it’s important to take a second to think about safety so that you have both a happy and uneventful – in a good way – Halloween. We hope that these tips will be helpful to you as you prepare for the all-time spookiest Halloween!

Are you looking for a quote for your home insurance or auto insurance? We’d love to help you out with that! We can help you identify the risks that you and your family face and create an individualized insurance plan to protect you from them. All you have to do to get started with getting some quotes for your insurance is fill out our quote form or give us a call today.

Source:

https://www.consumerreports.org/safety/pumpkin-carving-safety-tips/

Do I have enough Atlanta home insurance to cover the cost of my jewelry?

Check your home insurance policy to see what it's limit of coverage is for jewelry.

Check your home insurance policy to see what it's limit of coverage is for jewelry.

Your home insurance is designed to protect you and your family from loss. But unfortunately that homeowners insurance comes with limits – knew there had to be a catch somewhere! One thing that might be subject to a strict limit is jewelry. You know that you need to protect your home from burglary, but you also need to consider what your insurance will cover where valuables are concerned. Some homeowners and renters policies have a limit as low as $1000 for jewelry. Depending on the bling you have, this may not be enough to cover everything if your jewelry is stolen or destroyed. You’ll have to review your policy carefully to see what your jewelry limit is.

If you find that you don’t have enough coverage for all of your jewelry, you have a few options to make sure it’s fully protected.

Valuable items endorsement:

An endorsement is an addition to your policy that can change it. They can cover belongings that are excluded from your policy, raise the limit paid out for covered losses, and even add to the list of covered perils. Items included in the endorsement are scheduled onto a list. Basically, in the case of jewelry, an endorsement can add protection that wouldn’t otherwise be there by raising your limit of coverage. It’s usually wise to consider endorsements for items valued over $2,500.

Floater:

A floater is another way to add coverage for your jewelry. It covers items that are easily moved, and they’re used to increase the limit of coverage for valuable belongings. If you have a pricey bracelet, brooch, ring, or necklace, for example, a floater can help you increase your coverage for the piece.

Valuable items policy:

If you have a very expensive piece of jewelry, for insurance a diamond necklace worth more than $10,000, you can get an entirely separate policy to cover it. Items that are very expensive may not get enough coverage from a floater or endorsement, which is why you might need to consider taking out a completely separate policy rather than adding it to your home insurance.

How much extra insurance do I need?

That depends on the item you want to insure. At any rate, you need to make sure that whatever method you use to insure your jewelry will cover replacements made of similar materials and type. Also, you should consider taking a home inventory so that you know exactly which pieces of jewelry you need to get additional coverage for.

To figure out what kind of limits you should be looking at, you’ll need to have your jewelry appraised by a specialist. Ask them to list each item you’re having appraised separately and to note a description and the value. Keep in mind that you’ll need to update your appraisals every once in a while because prices change and markets fluctuate. You need to have a current appraisal so that you can keep your insurance up-to-date and make any necessary changes to your policy.

Pro tip: Don’t forget that your monitored security system can qualify you for a discount on your home insurance.

In conclusion:

Home or renters insurance policies usually have strict limits of coverage for jewelry, and these limits may not be enough to fully cover all of the valuables in your possession. You need to review your policy, and if the value of your jewelry exceeds the limit specified in your policy, you’ll have to talk with your agent about ways to add extra coverage. Make sure you have the insurance you need to protect your jewelry and don’t underestimate the value of your belongings. When in doubt, have the jewelry appraised. It’s worth it to ensure that you’ll get the money you need to replace the piece of pieces that were stolen or destroyed.

Do you need home or renters insurance? We’d love to get you some free quotes for your coverage – it’s what we do. We can help you build an insurance plan to protect your home, valuables and all. Just fill out our online quote form or give us a call today to get started.

Practical tips to protect your Atlanta home against burglary and prevent break-ins

Protect your home from burglary.

No one wants to think about what would happen if their home got burglarized. But it does happen. Your home is supposed to be a safe place, a haven for your family, and that peace of mind would be shattered if you came home to find that someone had broken into your home. Yes, your home insurance might help you replace your belongings, but nothing can replace your sense of security. However, there are things you can do to help prevent a burglary. Check out these tips to keep your Atlanta home safe.

1. Keep doors and windows locked tight while you’re at work.

Most burglaries don’t happen in the dead of night. They happen in the middle of the day (8 am – 4 pm) when people are at work. Burglars go for homes that are going to be empty. You should always keep your doors and windows secure, but especially when you’re at work.

2. Set up some automatic timers for lights.

Set some timers to turn on some lights in different rooms in your home. You can even set the timers so that the lights go on and off and move from room to room to make it look like someone’s home. By switching the lights from room to room you can keep it from looking like a pattern.

3. Have motion-sensor lighting around your home and garage.

Lighting is a great deterrent to burglary. Motion-detected lighting will brighten the exterior of your home and hopefully keep the thieves away. Plus, it’s handy for you when you get home late at night! But even if you don’t have motion-detected lighting, you can turn on exterior lighting around your home at night to protect it.

4. Amp up the defenses on your doors to protect them against burglary.

Your doors can be strengthened by adding deadbolts and chain locks, and you can also think about having a peephole put in to add extra security. You should also make sure that your doors are made of solid wood or wood-wrapped steel. These doors are harder to break in, and they’ll provide more security. Another way to protect doors is to reinforce the windows next to them with Plexiglass. That’ll make it harder to break them and unlock the door through the opening.

5. Get a security system.

A security system is another deterrent to burglary, especially if you put the stickers and lawn signs out. A home that has security monitoring is not an easy target. And an added bonus is that you might get a discount on your homeowners’ insurance if you have a security system. Yes, you might have a beautiful privacy fence around your yard, but you can’t rely on that for security.

A home security system can deter burglars.

6. Stash your valuables.

Don’t leave your valuables in plain sight of the windows. That’s just asking for trouble. You can even come up with creative hiding spots to stash things that you want to keep safe – just don’t forget where your hiding spots are! You should also keep the blinds or curtains drawn on your windows. You don’t want to advertise the contents of your home.

Speaking of the contents of your home, it’s important to take a home inventory so that you know exactly what’s in your house. If you have a fire or burglary, having a list of your belongings will help make the claims process easier when you work with your insurance company.

7. Maintain your bushes and trees.

Having a clear view outside will help you to keep tabs on anything suspicious happening near your home. It also means there are less hiding places for potential burglars.

8. Be smart when you go on vacation.

If you’re planning to be on vacation, make plans to have your home looked lived-in. Remember, burglars go for homes that look empty. If you’re planning to be away, you can ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. They can also pick up newspapers from the driveway since papers piling up are a sure sign that no one’s home. You might also want to have someone cut the grass – if the lawn looks shaggy, that’s a sign that no one’s there to take care of it.

9. Be technology-smart when you’re on vacation.

Don’t mention anything about being away on your voicemail. Also, don’t post anything about your vacation plans on social media, and wait to post pictures until after you’ve returned.

10. Consider a “Beware of Dog” sign.

Sure, you know that your Jack Russel terrier couldn’t scare a fly, but a burglar doesn’t know that it’s not a pony-sized Doberman on the other side of the door. Even if you don’t have a dog, a “Beware of Dog” sign deters burglars from breaking into your home. Dogs are very protective of their territory, and burglars know it.

11. Get to know your neighbors.

You should be familiar with the people who live in your neighborhood. Once you get to know people, you’ll be able to notice things that are suspicious or out of the norm more easily. It’s important that you know who should be hanging around on your street and who shouldn’t.

12. Don’t dump boxes for fancy new purchases on the curb next to the trash.

This tells any potential burglars exactly what’s in your home. If you have a box for a brand new computer sitting outside your home, the burglar will know there’s something there that they want. Break down all boxes and stuff them securely in the trash.

The middle of the day is the most common time for burglary.

It’s scary to think about your home being burglarized. Take steps to make your home look occupied when you’re not there – remember, burglars tend to avoid striking when someone’s home. And don’t forget to secure your home when you leave for work in the morning. The middle of the day is the most common time for a burglary to occur. By bolstering your home’s defenses, you can lower your chances of being burgled.

Looking for home insurance or renters insurance? Great! We’d be happy to help you out with any of your insurance needs. We’ll get you a free quote for your home insurance, and we can help you create an insurance plan to protect your home and your family. You can fill out our quote form or give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help you with all your insurance needs.

Source:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/9-ways-to-protect-your-home-from-burglary-1.aspx

Why a security system can help you save on your Atlanta home insurance premiums

A home security system can help you save on your home insurance.

A home security system can help you save on your home insurance.

If you’ve ever gotten a quote for your home insurance, you’ve probably been asked the question, “Do you have a monitored burglar alarm?” At the time, you might have wondered why that’s any of the agent’s business. Why should they care if you do or don’t have a security system in your home? Well, it all comes back to risk. The thing is, having a home security system lowers your risk of burglary, and a lower risk means that you have a reduced chance of having a loss that the insurance company would then have to cover.

Okay, having a security system isn’t a guarantee that your home won’t be broken into. There’s a chance that you could still face a burglary by an intrepid and fearless thief who just has to have your 60” flat screen (which is why you should take steps to prevent a burglary.) Insurance companies know that. But the logic is that with a home security system, the burglar will be scared off more quickly and will take less property from your home if the alarm goes off. Plus, the police are alerted that much quicker, giving them a better chance of catching the thief.

So, insurance companies like monitored burglar alarms. They like them so much that they just might give you a discount on your home insurance if you have one. If your agent hasn’t ever asked if you have a security system or you have one installed to protect your family, give them a shout and let them know. It never hurts to ask if there’s any kind of discount on your premiums because of your snazzy security system!

Et voila – your security system gains an added bonus. It protects your family, helps you feel more secure, and saves you money! It’s a win-win-win.

Pro tip: While you’re thinking about your security system, you should also consider taking a home inventory. This can help you with filing a home insurance claim if you do ever have a burglary or fire.

Now, if you’re thinking that getting a security system sounds like a great plan, we’ve got some tips to help you pick one that will suit your needs.

It's important to choose a reputable home security system company.

1. Choose a company that has a strong reputation of quality products and trustworthy service.

2. Find out if their products are listed with Underwriter’s Laboratories, a consumer testing service, and check out their Better Business Bureau rating.

3. Ask to see references and contact them about their experience with the company.

4. Make sure that you have a good monitoring service for your system.

5. Check and see if the monitoring service has backup plans if the power lines go down. Do they have a cellular or radio way to monitor your home if you lose power?

6. Find out how the monitoring service tests their system, how often they run tests, and how they handle problems if they find them.

7. See if they offer annual maintenance as part of their cost.

8. Ask if there’s a way to turn your security system turned into a fire alarm system. This will help the fire department respond faster if a fire starts when you’re not home. Extra protection for your home!

A home security system can also be turned into a fire alarm system.

A home security system can grant you peace of mind. It can help you protect your family and your home, making you feel more secure and safe. Those are some pretty big benefits right there. But that’s not where the perks stop. You might qualify for a discount on your homeowners insurance if you have a monitored security system. You can also consider turning your system into a fire alarm that will alert the fire department. So, even though it might seem expensive to have that security system installed, there are plenty of reasons to do so. And one final thought – don’t forget to make sure that you have enough home insurance for your house.

If you would like to get a free quote for your home insurance, we can help you out with that! All you have to do to get started with your quotes is fill out our quote form or give us a call today and we would be more than happy to get you a free quote – taking your home security system into account.

Fiery secrets: Did you know your clothes dryer is a fire hazard?

Clothes dryers can be fire hazards.

Clothes dryers can be fire hazards.

Modern appliances are wonderful. They’re convenient. They’re fast. And they spare us from a lot of hard work. One of the appliances that we’ve grown accustomed to in daily life is clothes dryers. We throw laundry into the dryer without even thinking about it, but did you know that your dryer, your innocent, wonderful, convenient little dryer, is a major fire hazard?

According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association, there were 15,970 fires started due to washers and dryers each year between 2010 and 2014, and 92% (about 14,700) of those were started by dryers.

That’s nothing to sneeze at. Yes, you have home insurance to help you if you do ever have a fire, but why not do everything you can to prevent one in the first place? To help you keep your dryer as non-combustible as possible, we’ve got 11 safety tips. With these tips, you can help your appliance decide not to catch on fire.

1. Clean the lint filter.

Cleaning the lint filter before and after each load of laundry can help avoid lint buildup that could cause a fire. In the aforementioned NFPA report, it was noted that the most common cause of dryer fires is the failure to properly clean the machine. Fires are usually started when something being dried or a byproduct of drying (such as lint or dust) ignites.

You should also clean the area behind the appliance, too. Lots of dust, lint, and other nasty stuff can build up back there.

Make sure to clean the lint filter before and after each use.

2. Don’t overload the dryer.

Take it easy on your dryer. Don’t cram clothes in there, as this could cause the machine to break and just give up.

3. Clean up the laundry room.

Don’t keep flammable items near the dryer. It can get pretty hot, and you don’t want that heat to cause something in your laundry room to go up in flames.

4. Be outlet-smart.

Check and make sure that the right kind of plug and outlet are being used for your dryer. It’s important to always use outlets and electricity the way that they were intended to be used (this doesn’t just go for dryers.)

Speaking of electricity, make sure that your dryer is properly grounded. It’s always important to choose a reputable electrician to help you.

5. Enlist the help of professionals.

When you’re having your dryer installed, make sure that you have a qualified professional come out to do the job. That also goes for having your dryer serviced or cleaned. You should have a technician clean the interior and ventilation system to remove lint buildup from time to time. Once a year is a good idea, but you might need to have it cleaned more frequently if you notice it’s taking forever for your clothes to dry.

You can ask the person who comes to clean your dryer to make sure that the air exhaust pipe isn’t blocked at all, and you should also ask them to make sure that the outdoor vent flap is opening properly when the machine is in use.

6. Don’t use your dryer without a lint filter.

There’s a reason that thing’s there. Don’t use the dryer without it. Bad plan.

Never run the dryer without the lint filter.

7. Keep your dryer in good working order.

If you have a gas appliance, make sure to have it checked over by a professional to make sure the gas line and connection are good to go and there are no gas leaks anywhere.

8. Ditch plastic or vinyl exhaust hoses.

Replace plastic or vinyl exhaust hoses with metal venting.

9. Be careful what you dry.

If any of your clothes have come in contact with anything flammable, like alcohol, cooking oil, gasoline, dry cleaning solvents, or the like, don’t toss them in the dryer. Instead, lay them outside and wait until they are completely dry before washing them and drying them as usual.

10. Dry while you’re at home and awake.

Turn the machine off if you’re going to be out. As tempting as it might be, don’t throw in a load of laundry and take off. Only run the dryer while you’re home, and don’t run it if you’re going to go to bed.

11. If a fire starts inside the dryer…

If a fire starts, don’t open the door to try to extinguish it. This might be your first reaction and gut instinct, but you’ll only let in more oxygen, possibly making the fire worse.

Make sure to maintain your dryer to reduce the risk of fire.

Yes, you love your dryer. It makes laundry so much easier. The rumbling growl means fresh, warm clothes that smell amazing. But you also have to take care of it so that it doesn’t catch fire. Maintain your dryer so that your faithful friend doesn’t turn into a fiery one and protect your family by making sure that you have enough home insurance.

Source:

http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/safety-in-the-home/dryers-and-washing-machines 

Need a quote for your home insurance or renters insurance? Great! We’d love to help you out with that. We’ll get you free quotes for your insurance, and we’ll also help you design an insurance plan that’s just for you. We know that insurance can be bewildering, so we encourage any questions you might have! All you have to do is fill out our quote form or give us a call today. We’re happy to help.

10 things you need to know about home insurance in Atlanta

Do you know these ten home insurance facts?

Do you know these ten home insurance facts?

Home insurance can get complicated. There are a lot of big, fancy words, exclusions, additions, and fine print to contend with. Sometimes it seems beyond the comprehension of mere mortals – and don’t worry, agents feel that way, too! Befuddlement is a common side effect of insurance. That’s okay. We’ve got ten things you need to know about home insurance.

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