How does Atlanta home insurance cover storm damage?

Storm damage and home insurance

Storm damage and home insurance

So, being in Atlanta, we certainly get our fair share of storms. Those thunderstorms can be scary, what with the lightning storms, kabooms, and swaying trees (there are a LOT of trees in Georgia.) We often want to hunker down inside under a blanket with a cup of cocoa when that happens, and we want to stay safe and sound. But what about the house? What if your house takes a beating during a storm? Well, home insurance can help. We’ll explain about how storm damage could be covered by home insurance.

What storm damage losses can be covered by home insurance?

Well, let us start by saying that it’s very important to read your home insurance policy. It’ll outline what losses are covered and which are not. It’s important that you’re clear about how your policy protects your home and what your responsibilities are as the insured. Don’t underestimate the importance of slogging through your policy. It’s maybe not “fun” but losses related to storms can get tricky, so it’s necessary.

Anyways, let’s move along. What storm damage losses are typically covered by home insurance?

Lightning.

Lightning is scary. If your home is struck by lightning and catches fire, home insurance may cover it. As far-fetched as that might sound, it does happen. It just does. But that’s where home insurance can become a lifesaver. (And in case you were wondering, a power surge that happens because of lightning can also be covered.)

Wind damage.

Storm-level winds can put a beating on your house. Have you ever noticed that the trees bend and sway like crazy when a storm hits? Georgia storms are no joke, but thankfully home insurance may cover wind damage.

Hail damage.

Hail? In Georgia?

Yep.

If your house gets caught in the line of fire of dastardly chunks of ice, home insurance could cover you. Hail can really pummel your roof and siding, after all. But hey – home insurance may cover it!

Trees falling.

If a bad storm causes a tree to fall onto your house, you could be covered. Trees don’t really know how to be considerate and fall away from houses and fences, so there’s that. Anyways, whether it’s your tree or a neighbor’s tree that crashes into your home, you could be covered. Then you get to have the last laugh, not the dumb tree.

Rain that blows into your house because of damage caused by wind.

Let’s say wind puts a major beating on your house and leaves some holes that allow that wind to blow rain into your house. Home insurance could cover you for the water damage that results. Phew.

What’s NOT covered by home insurance: Flooding

One thing you need to be aware of is that flooding is not covered by home insurance. (In this case, when we say “flooding” we mean that a lot of water has accumulated on the ground outside where there usually isn’t water.) Heavy Georgia rains can get intense, so it’s important to be aware and prepared. Many homeowners find out that flooding is excluded after they’ve experienced a loss, and then it’s too late. Even if you’re not in a “flood-prone” area, necessarily, you could still find yourself on the wrong side of floodwaters.

But not all hope is lost. You can protect yourself by getting flood insurance, which you can get through the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program). Make sure that you get enough coverage for your home and your belongings – and keep in mind that flood insurance often has a waiting period of 30 days before it becomes effective, with very few exceptions.

Recap about storm damage:

So – to recap about storm damage…

Home insurance may cover wind damage, hail, lightning, falling trees, and even wind-driven water that enters your home if the roof or walls have been damaged. It won’t, however, cover flooding, so you may want to consider flood insurance, which you can get from the NFIP through an agent. Read your policy so you know what your insurance covers and what your responsibilities are if you have a claim.

Get started with home insurance quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.

Get your home ready for fall with this checklist

Get your home ready for fall 2

Get your home ready for fall 2

Autumn is the time to start breaking out the sweaters, warm soups, and hot drinks. For homeowners, it’s also prime time for fall maintenance and to get your home winter-ready. Fall can bring a lot of rain and wind to Georgia and a lot of ice and snow to the Atlanta area. So, start preparing your home for the cold weather with these fall tips.

The gutters & downspouts

Before these important fixtures get clogged with leaves, debris, and possibly become iced over, make sure to:

  1. Clean out your gutters – Seriously. Gutter systems are meant to displace water away from your home to prevent rot and mold. Rot can not only start to eat away at your roof and sealants, but it can open the door to pests who are looking for warmth in the winter. So, keep your gutter clear and avoid paying for a new roof (home insurance usually doesn’t cover issues due to a lack of maintaining the home.)
  1. Check between the gutters and your home to make sure no water has seeped behind them.
  1. Remove water that has pooled on the ground, especially from the downspouts. – Again, if rainwater isn’t displaced, it could result in rot, cracks, and foundational issues later.

Windows & Doors

Windows and doors might add a nice aesthetic to both the inside and outside of your home, but they keep unwanted pests and debris out. So, before or during the Fall:

  1. Repair any cracks or holes in your doors and windows
  1. Make sure the area around the doors and windows is properly sealed. – This not only helps keep pests out, but it can also help you keep in heat, which can help you save money on your energy bill.

Your home’s exterior

Your home’s job, after all, is to protect you from the elements. Make sure that the outside of your home can do that by:

  1. Scheduling a roof inspection – You should have someone check your roof at least once a year. Fall can be the perfect time to schedule an inspection, right before potential hail and snow damage weighs and wears on your roof. Choose a reputable roofing company who will identify and report any potential problems you may see in the near future. Some companies even offer FREE inspections because it means you’re more likely to call them for a repair if needed. Beware, though. If someone offers you a free roof, it’s a scam.
  1. Visually inspecting the outside of your house. – Look for cracks in your foundation, mold growth, fallen siding, wood rot, or anything else that needs to be patched up before freezing becomes an issue.
  1. Sealing up any gaps. – Winter is an especially hard time for pests too. So, there will be a lot more of them trying to make a cozy home inside your humble abode. Don’t give them the chance! Close any holes that you see and block any potential entrances that bugs or rodents might use, big or small.

Additionally, check your walkways and steps for gaps that could trip you up. Snow and ice are already hard to navigate. Plus, if gaps are wide enough in these areas, water can seep in, freeze over, and cause even concrete to expand and crack.

  1. Checking your deck, porch, or patio. – Look for rusted bolts, rotting boards, etc. and replace them before the extra fall and winter water make the issues worse.
  1. Making sure your outdoor lights work. – This safety feature won’t do you any good if the lights themselves aren’t working. So, take a look at your outdoor lighting. Replace blown light bulbs, check motion sensors if you have them, and arrange to have any wiring issues repaired. Remember, it stays darker for longer in the winter, which means more time for burglars to hide in the dead of night. Maintaining your outdoor lighting can help you prevent burglary and help keep your home safe overall.

Get your home ready for fall

Your yard

Depending on your preference, you may or may not get a lot of use out of your yard in the winter. However, the land is still important to maintain. Before they become larger issues, check on these items in your lawn:

  1. Long or fallen tree limbs – Trim down shrub and tree limbs that are too close to power lines or rotten enough to possibly fall on your roof or a neighbor’s property. Loose branches are no match for heavy winds, rains, and the weight of snow.
  1. Your sprinkler systems, hoses, and exterior fountains – Chances are, you won’t be watering your lawn much in the winter. If you don’t, drain and store your hoses and sprinkler system somewhere water-resistant. If you do still use an automatic sprinkler system, remember to lower the frequency or amount of water used. Doing so can help you save on water and energy bills as well.
  1. Your pool – If you have a pool, make sure you have it drained or covered before the weather gets too cold. Keeping water out in the open like that could create a hazard or throw off the pH balance when you are ready to swim.
  1. Fallen leaves – Even if you jump in them afterward, rake up your leaves and put them in large trash bags to be thrown out. If you leave them on the ground, water could get trapped underneath and rot not only the leaves, but your lawn.
  1. Outdoor furniture – Leaving your patio furniture outside year-round decreases its lifespan. So, wipe down and clean off any outdoor furniture and find a safe place to store it for the fall and winter seasons.

Your home’s interior

Making the inside of your home comfy and cozy means more than just turning your central air system from cool to heat. These items will need your attention now so that you can be safe and warm later:

  1. Having your chimney inspected – Before you light the first fire of the season, open your flue and clean your chimney. Have a professional come and inspect the system before winter weather officially comes. There’s a higher demand for chimney inspections as it gets colder. So, if you wait to schedule, you may be waiting a lot longer for an inspector to come out.
  1. Having your HVAC/furnace inspected – The same goes for furnace inspections. Make sure your heat works before the cold weather hits, and have a specialist inspect your furnace before the rush. You don’t want to be stuck without heat for an extended period of time.
  1. Cleaning your dryer – This is more than just emptying the lint trap. Clean out your dryer vents before the greater amount of static electricity makes its shocking appearance known – in the form of a house fire.
  1. Checking your air filter & vents – If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your air filter, it might be time to change it. Plus, cleaning out dust and debris in your vents can help your heating run more efficiently and with less of a burning smell.
  1. Making sure your pipes are well-insulated – If you can gain access to your piping system, make sure that they’re still well insulated to avoid them freezing over.
  1. Knowing where your main water line is and how to turn it off. – It can be useful if your pipes do freeze and you need to turn it off.
  1. Doing a semi-annual check on your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
  1. Checking your insulation, especially in your attic. – If there are any rooms that feel unnaturally cold compared to the rest of your house, you should probably check the insulation in that room. Additionally, take a peek at how the insulation in your attic is doing. Heat rises; so, if your attic isn’t properly insulated, that’s heat that’s escaping through your roof, and less heat that’s reaching you. Add more insulation if needed or if your current insulation is rotted or molded.

It’s also never a bad season to review your home insurance policy and shop around. However, we know that it can be a hassle to shop for homeowners insurance. That’s why our experts are here to help. We’ve formed relationships with the best carriers in the business so we can help you find great rates and coverage. Plus, we shop for you year after year to make sure you get the best prices! To start getting quotes from our insurance specialists, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with us today!

15 things you need to know if you’re moving to Atlanta

Moving to Atlanta

Moving to AtlantaMaybe you’re moving to the Atlanta area because of a job transfer, or maybe you’re moving to be closer to family. Or maybe you’re hunting for a job in the Atlanta area. Whatever your reason for relocating to the ATL, you might be wondering what to expect when you settle down in the capital city of the Peach State. Whether you’ve visited the city frequently or only once or twice, we’ve put together a list of 15 things you need to know before moving to Atlanta.

15 things to know if you’re moving to Atlanta.

1. There are a lot of streets called Peachtree.

So, one of the first things you should know about moving to Atlanta: there are a ton of streets called some version of Peachtree. It’s borderline annoying. Anyway, if you’re trying to get around Midtown or Downtown, be careful of what you enter into your GPS. Peachtree Street NW is not the same as Peachtree Street, not is Peachtree Avenue the same as Peachtree Boulevard. It’s kind of a running joke that literally (not really) every street is called Peach-something. Such is living in the Peach State.

Anyway, best of luck with navigating! Truly.

2. Cars are a survival mechanism.

So, Atlanta is not exactly a walking city. There is public transit, but many people choose to drive. Having a car to get around would be super helpful. However, the abundance of vehicles also leads to a major issue – traffic. At rush hour, the roads and highways aren’t a terribly fun place to be. It is possible to avoid it if you’re able to drive at non-rush hour time, but if you’re moving to Atlanta, be prepared to share the roads and to be patient with the traffic situation.

3. Summers are hot and humid.

Atlanta can experience some very brutal summers. It gets hot and humid. The upside to the climate is that winters generally aren’t too bad…although the city does shut down if there’s a tiny bit of snow or any ice on the roads. (Seriously – you’ll laugh to see it if you’re from a northern city.)

Winter aside, summers in Atlanta are very green. The trees are lovely and there’s a lot of plant life for an urban area.

4. That green vine that eats everything is called kudzu.

So, you might be driving along and notice a wide area that’s been taken over by a leafy vine thing – possibly a monster of some sort that appears to be eating everything in sight. That’s called kudzu. It’s a thing.

5. The North Georgia mountains aren’t far away.

About an hour or so north of the city are mountains that provide some really beautiful scenery and nice hiking areas. It’s a picturesque way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and/or suburbs. Georgia boasts some very beautiful wildlife, forests, and waterfalls. If you’re the outdoorsy sort, not to worry – you can escape the urban-ness of the city or the suburb-ness of the suburbs.

6. Tennis is a big thing.

If you’re a sports person, good news – tennis is pretty big in the metro-Atlanta area. Many neighborhoods have tennis courts, and ALTA (Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association) has lots of different teams at different levels. So, whether you’re a newbie to tennis and want to give it a try or you’ve been playing for a while, you can probably find a team – or at least a place to hit the tennis ball around.

7. There’s plenty of stuff to do.

Atlanta has plenty of museums and other fun things to see. There are a lot of interesting things to see – and there’s plenty for kids, too. Here are just a few highlights:

  • Georgia Aquarium
  • Zoo Atlanta
  • Fernbank Museum of Natural History
  • The World of Coca-Cola
  • High Museum of Art
  • National Center for Civil and Human Rights
  • Center of Puppetry Arts

So, as you can see, there’s plenty to keep you busy!

Pro tip – Check out the City Pass for Atlanta. This could help you get reduced rates for popular attractions around the city.

Things you need to know if you're moving to Atlanta

8. Atlanta is home to the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Why is the airport worth mentioning, you as? Because this is no ordinary airport. It’s actually the world’s busiest airport. It’s quite impressive, and there’s a fairly new international terminal that’s pretty posh. So, as far as air travel is concerned, Atlanta has got you covered.

9. Understand OTP vs. ITP.

You also have to understand a little bit of Atlanta terminology: OTP vs. ITP.

OTP means outside the perimeter, meaning outside of I-285, which encompasses the city.

ITP means inside the perimeter, meaning inside I-285 and within the “bounds” of the city.

We’re not entirely sure why this distinction is so important, but it matters to Atlanta-folk.

10. There’s a lot of great food.

There’s also plenty of great food to be found in the Atlanta area. Whatever kind of food you’re looking for, a quick Google search will probably turn up some options. Try some different places and you’ll probably find a favorite haunt.

11. Atlanta United is pretty cool.

Atlanta recently got a major league soccer team, Atlanta United. It’s pretty fun to go to the games and get swept up in the excitement. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to visit Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta’s fancy new sports stadium. It even has a very cool, high-tech roof.

12. The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System rocks.

The libraries in Fulton County (which is the county Atlanta’s in) are pretty great. Looking for a novel? A biography? Some books for the kids? The newest YA releases for your teenagers? The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System has got you covered. They have an easy-to-use online catalog so you can hunt down your next read. It allows you to see what branches of the library system have the book you want, and you can also place holds and request for books to be transferred to the library branch closest to you. (All AFPLS branches are connected, so you can return the books to any of the branches.)

Anyways – bookworms have a great library system to discover.

13. There are many different neighborhoods to explore.

Atlanta also has lots of neighborhoods that have different vibes. There’s Buckhead, Virginia Highlands, Little Five Points, Old Fourth Ward, West End, Inman Park, and more.

Don’t forget that you don’t necessarily have to live Downtown. You can live in the suburbs if you’re moving to Atlanta and still stay close to the city – for example, Decatur and Sandy Springs.

14. Lots of TV shows and movies have been filmed here.

A lot of shows and movies have filmed in and around Atlanta. It’s really cool to recognize the Atlanta skyline or other Atlanta landmarks when you take a trip to the movie theater!

Here’s just a few of the shows and movies that have filmed in the ATL:

  • The Walking Dead
  • Black Panther
  • Stranger Things
  • Avengers: Endgame

Truth be told, we could go on and on. There has been A LOT of filming going on in the city lately.

15. We can help you with your home insurance.

And when you’re moving to Atlanta, you probably want some great home insurance at a great rate. We can help with that! Just fill out our online quote form, give us a call, or message us on LiveChat.

12 tips for buying a home in Atlanta

Buying a home in Atlanta

Buying a home in Atlanta

Whether you’re tired of rental life or you’re moving to a new town, buying a new home can be stressful – especially in a big city like Atlanta. There are tons of diverse neighborhoods and various things to do around the city. You’ll feel like you don’t want to miss out on any of it! However, the most important part of your move will be deciding what’s right for you.  So, here are 12 tips for buying a home in Atlanta to get you started.

Read more12 tips for buying a home in Atlanta

Does home insurance cover a pool?

Does home insurance cover a pool?

Does home insurance cover a pool?

There’s a reason that neighborhoods and aquatic centers have so many rules for their pools. Although these fixtures can add a splash of summer fun to your backyard, pools can also add more risk to those who choose to take a private dip. While it’s true that you’ve invested in a proper home insurance plan to fight the many risks your house is exposed to, the question remains: Will your home insurance cover your pool? Let’s find out.

Will my home insurance cover my pool?

In most cases, your homeowners’ policy will cover a backyard pool. However, that doesn’t mean coverage won’t come with a few conditions.

More than likely, your agent will ask you to fence in your yard if you get a pool. The reason is that they don’t want random strangers deciding that they can take a dip in your pool whenever they want. (To be honest, you probably wouldn’t want that either.) Lessening the number of people that have access to your pool means lessening the amount of risk that your insurance company has to take on.

If you’re looking to add even more excitement, your home insurance may put a nix on it. Things like water slides and diving boards add more risk than necessary. And adding these fixtures in spite of a carrier ban may be grounds for the company to cancel or nonrenew your coverage altogether.

Overall, if you’re thinking of adding a pool to your backyard, you’ll need to talk to your insurance agent about the specifics of your coverage and how it may need to change.

What type of insurance do I need for a pool?

Your agent may want to talk about how a pool might affect two types of home insurance coverage.

The liability portion of your insurance will definitely have to increase. Including a pool on your property means taking on more risk of guests slipping, falling, and injuring themselves, as well as the risks of drowning and concussions. So, make sure your coverage and limits are enough to cover these situations.

You may also want to expand the limits and coverage of your property coverage. Pools can be an expensive addition to your backyard, which can mean expensive repair bills. So, make sure your coverage limits can handle property damage to your house AND your pool. Keep in mind, though, that things like cracks in an in-ground pool may be covered; however, tears in an above-ground pool or a broken water filter may not be covered because they could fall under regular maintenance issues.

You may even want to consider personal umbrella insurance to cover the added risks. Personal umbrella insurance can offer an added cushion of liability coverage for your everyday needs. So, it can especially be a lifesaver if you want to include a pool in your backyard oasis. It’s important to speak to your agent, though, to see if you should add a separate umbrella policy or if you just need to increase your limits.

You may need to adjust your insurance to account for your pool.

How do I reduce the risks of having a pool?

If you’re thinking that this cool-off method will be too hot to handle, there are tons of ways that you can reduce poolside risks.

1. Keep the area secure

While you may be required to fence in your yard, it’s important to have the right type of fence and security measures to prevent random passersby from taking a dip.

  • Make sure your fence is at least four feet tall and opaque. This can prevent people from jumping your fence or even seeing your pool in the first place.
  • Have a fence gate that is self-closing and self-locking, as well as one that opens away from the pool.
  • Make sure any locks or securing bolts are out of the reach of children.
  • If you have an above-ground pool, take out the ladder and cover the top when it’s not in use.
  • Inspect your fence regularly to make sure there aren’t any ways to climb over or sneak in under it.
  • You might also install outdoor cameras to make sure no one is using your pool that isn’t supposed to.

2. Keep a set of strict pool rules.

There don’t have to be a lot of rules, just ones that you absolutely enforce to keep everyone safe. Some basics are: No running, no appendages in filters or grates, no diving, and no roughhousing. Make sure they’re posted clearly where everyone can see them at all times.

3. Supervise, supervise, supervise

An adult should supervise at all times. With older children and adults, a pool buddy may suffice. Just make sure that no one is in the pool alone, and that small children are never in the pool unless an adult is present. If you’re the one supervising, always stay alert and ready to spring into action. Accidents can happen fast.

4. Have the right knowledge.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but make sure that everyone knows how to swim. The best way to learn, especially for little kids, is to enroll them in swim classes with a qualified instructor. If you’re the one supervising the pool, it can also pay off to get CPR certified. You’ll have to renew the certification every year, but the life-saving knowledge is definitely worth the time investment.

5. Have the right equipment.

You may purchase some floaties and rafts for fun, but also make sure that you have safety floatation devices available as well. Grab some life jackets that are suitable for all ages and make sure that they’re easily accessible, just in case.

6. Don’t mess around with the weather.

Lighting storms and water never mix. If you hear thunder or see lightning while you’re swimming, get out immediately, dry everyone off, and head inside. If you just can’t wait to jump back in, wait at least thirty minutes after you hear the last bits of thunder before you head back out.

Overall, a pool can be a great way to give your family and friends easy access to summer fun. Just make sure you take the proper steps to secure and insure your pool, and it’ll provide endless entertainment for years to come. To get the right coverage for anything you add to your home and save money to boot, just call our home insurance specialists, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with us today!

Does home insurance cover hail damage?

Home insurance may cover hail damage.

Home insurance may cover hail damage.

While hail might seem like a strange phenomenon, it can happen – even in the middle of summer. (It doesn’t seem to make sense, but it happens.) Hail can cause damage to your home as it pelts against the roof and the siding. Since you can’t exactly put a protective bubble around your house to make sure the hail bounces off harmlessly, you might be wondering about another line of protection for your Atlanta home: home insurance. Does home insurance cover hail damage? We’ll explain.

Does home insurance cover hail damage?

Typically, home insurance includes coverage for certain types of damage caused by storms. That can mean things like wind damage, lightning, falling trees, and yes – hail. Your home insurance policy may include coverage for hail damage, but, of course, it’s important to read through your policy to see what is and isn’t covered. It’s also important to know how much coverage you have for your dwelling, your belongings, and so on. (Yes, your policy might look intimidating, but the time you spend reading through it and familiarizing yourself with your coverage is time well spent.)

Home insurance can also include coverage if the roof or wall is damaged due to wind and allows wind-driven rain, hail, or snow to get inside.

Remember, though, that there is your home insurance deductible to consider. Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay if you have a claim – basically you pay your deductible and insurance covers the rest up to your policy’s limit. Anyways, it’s important to find out what your deductible would be if you have a hail damage claim.

What type of storm damage is NOT covered?

Home insurance covers lots of things, but it doesn’t cover everything. As far as storms and disasters go, it’s important to note a few losses that are not covered by home insurance.

Flooding.

Flooding is generally not covered by home insurance. Whether the flood was caused by a heavy rainstorm or a river bursting its banks, it’s not covered. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t protect your home from flooding. You just need to get a flood insurance policy and make sure that you have coverage for both your dwelling and your personal belongings.

Earthquakes.

Earthquakes and earth movement are also generally excluded from home insurance coverage.

Why it’s important to take a home inventory.

When you’re filing a home insurance claim, it can really help to have some current pictures of your home. That way it’s easier to see what kind of damage was caused by something like, say, a hail storm. So, don’t be shy – this is your home’s big moment! Have a photo shoot and snap pics of the exterior of your house.

It’s also important to remember to document your belongings as well. To take an inventory of your personal belongings, go room to room and write down a list of what’s there. And again, take pictures. That can help you make sure you’re not missing anything. Having an inventory can make things easier if you ever have to file a claim, so the best time to take your home inventory is, well, before you have a claim.

In other words – try not to procrastinate!

So, hail damage can be covered by home insurance, which typically includes various coverages for storm damage. But as always, it’s important to read through your policy to make sure you have the coverage you need to protect your home if life throws a curveball – or hail storm – your way.

Looking for Atlanta home insurance? We can help. Fill out our online quote form or give us a call today to get started with your quotes. You can also send us a message on LiveChat if you prefer.

Atlanta safety guide for the Fourth of July

Stay safe this Fourth of July.

Stay safe this Fourth of July. The Fourth of July can be a fun day for the whole family. However, backyard barbecues and booming fireworks can bring a lot of danger to you or your guests. Many of these holiday mishaps are preventable if you prepare for the holiday correctly. But where can you start? Check out these tips to keep your Atlanta Independence Day fun, safe, and care-free.

Fourth of July fireworks safety

1. Find a safe place to ignite your fireworks

Fireworks are flammable, after all. So, before you break out your sparkling stash of fancy, sparkly lights, find a non-flammable surface to light your fireworks. Set off your fireworks on a concrete or metal surface, and make sure its path is clear of trees and power lines. Don’t shoot off the fireworks inside or near awnings, and make sure they have room to shoot straight up into the air – not at an angle where it could land and catch fire to your roof or someone else’s.

2. Keep your audience at a distance.

It may be tempting for your little ones or pets to come close to the bright, pretty lights on the Fourth of July. But fireworks, again, are extremely flammable (hence the term FIREworks). So, make sure that a responsible party is lighting the fireworks in a clear space and at a safe distance. If you’re lighting a firework, be sure to back away quickly when it ignites, and don’t light more than one firework at a time.

3. Wear protective clothing

If you’re in charge of the firework show this Fourth of July, it can be extremely helpful to wear protective clothing. That doesn’t mean you have to don an entire haz-mat suit. Just make sure that your eyes are protected, and any exposed skin is covered. It may be hot outside, but the sparks from a firework are hotter. So, wear something breathable, but covering. Don’t look directly into a lit firework and stay completely focused on lighting what’s in front of you.

4. Always supervise children with fireworks

Very young children should never play with fireworks. However, when your kid is a little older, who doesn’t like waving around a sparkler or two? Just make sure that they’re closely supervised while they’re lighting up your backyard or cul-de-sac. Although the sparks from these sticks may seem harmless, sparklers can burn at temperatures around 2,000⁰ F. So, set some ground rules and make sure everyone is on their best behavior.

5. Do NOT try to pick up “duds”

You may have lit a firework that sputtered and fizzled out. However, fireworks are unpredictable, and many injuries happen because of improper handling. So, if one of your fireworks is a “dud,” drop it on the ground, douse it in water, and then wait a few minutes to dispose of it properly. Do NOT throw the dud directly in the trash, and do NOT try to stomp it out. (This goes for sparklers as well.)

6. Keep a bucket of water nearby

If you’re lighting fireworks, it can be especially important to have water nearby. Have a big container of water that’s easily accessible to drop dead sparklers or dud fireworks into if needed.

7. Follow your local firework laws

Make sure to obey your local firework laws and noise ordinances for the Fourth of July. Some laws may vary by county or by city. Some laws may be in effect for a certain time period. Just make sure you know what they are for your specific area before taking on an entire arsenal of firework fun.

8. Have the right home insurance

It’s always a good idea to know which damages might be covered by your home insurance before the worst happens. But Fourth of July celebrations can pose a lot of fire risk to your home, even if you’re not the one lighting the way. So, check your home insurance policy for the different types of perils it may be able to cover. Make sure you have the right coverage and enough coverage to properly insure your home’s structure and/or your belongings should a rogue spark unluckily land on your roof or lawn.

Grilling for the Fourth of July

1. Know your grill

Make sure you know if you have a gas or charcoal grill and familiarize yourself with how to use it properly. If you have a gas grill, check your propane tank and hoses to make sure there are no leaks. NEVER use lighter fluid on a gas grill. Those are only for use on charcoal or wood.

If you have a charcoal grill, make sure the rest of your fuel and your lighter fluid are a safe distance away from the grill. You don’t want something to ignite before you’ve planned for it to do so.

2. Keep the grill a safe distance from other structures and trees

Regardless of the type of grill you have, make sure you’re using the grill outside and away from your house, shed, garage, or beloved backyard tree. If your grill is located under an awning, make sure that the roof is a proper distance above the heat. Keep an eye on the grill while it’s on to make sure its flames don’t rise too high.

Fourth of July safety tips

3. Prepare the proper tools

Before you start grilling, place all the tools you need around you before turning on the heat. This includes:

  • Meat tongs
  • Spatulas
  • Aprons
  • Grill gloves/mittens
  • Skewers
  • Serving utensils
  • Serving plates
  • Thermometers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Specialty grilling tools (brushes, basters, injectors, etc.)

NEVER leave a grill unattended. If you have forgotten something after the food is already on the flame, ask one of your guests to grab what you need and place it in a safe space near you (that’s not on the grill itself.) If all else fails, make sure that you keep a fire extinguisher or a hefty bucket of water nearby.

4. Keep away kids and pets

We know: The smell of summer barbecue is enticing to human and beast alike. But a grill is essentially an open grate full of fire. So, as a grill master, it’s your job to make sure no one gets burned. Keep children away and occupied from the grill. If you can help it, keep animals locked away or inside while the grill is on or open. A burger tastes better when enjoyed from a safe distance.

5. Handle food safely

Overall, you want to make sure that no one gets sick from your cooking (in any situation, really). So, take special care when creating your delicious outdoor meal, especially if you’re cooking for guests.

  • Wash your hands before and between handling foods if you’re touching raw meat. At the very least, have moist towelettes or hand sanitizer to sanitize your hands if you can’t step away from the grill.
  • Don’t use the same utensils for raw meat and cooked food.
  • Cook the food thoroughly. Beef should reach an internal temperature of at least 160⁰F and chicken should reach at least 165⁰. Now is not the time to test your cooking skills with rare and medium-rare meat.
  • If you’re marinating food, keep it in the fridge until it’s ready to cook.
  • Do NOT thaw food in the microwave.
  • Don’t let your leftovers sit out for more than two hours.

Travel

1. Prepare your car for a long trip

If you’re headed out on the road for your Fourth of July fun, make sure that your car is ready to handle the long drive. Check your tire pressure and your gas tank before you leave. Make sure you’ve had an oil change and tire rotation before you hit the road, as well as any other maintenance issues. You don’t want your trip to be stopped short on the side of the road because of a simple fix.

2. Be careful on social media

Here’s a secret: Thieves love holidays. They know that many people leave their houses unoccupied, which gives them a perfect opportunity to break into your home without anyone noticing. If you’re posting live social media updates and selfies of yourself while you’re not in your own backyard, you’ve notified any potential thieves that no one is watching your home. So, save the pictures of your summer getaway for when you get back.

3. Make your house look occupied

One of the biggest deterrents for burglars is a place that looks occupied. So, if you’re gone for a long period of time, have your mail held or forwarded. Ask a friend or neighbor to house-sit or at least keep an eye on the place while you’re away. Maybe they could mow your lawn for you so the grass doesn’t look too scruffy. Don’t give dead giveaway signs that you’re not around.

4. Keep your home secure

Before you leave, make sure all of your doors and windows are securely locked. Keep your security system armed and have a reliable contact method if your security company needs to contact you.

If you don’t have a security system, it might be worth it to look into getting one for your home. Many modern systems have remote access to lock and unlock your doors, motion activated lights, or surveillance cameras. These features can not only keep burglars at bay, but they may even help you save money on your homeowners’ insurance.

A Fourth of July weekend can be a special occasion to celebrate friends, family, and the nation. That’s why it’s important to take special care and precautions to keep the day as safe as possible. It’s also important to have the right home insurance to handle the many types of mayhem that can happen throughout the year.

Our insurance experts can help you get multiple quotes on the affordable home insurance you need, no matter the occasion. To stop missing out on great home insurance rates, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with a specialist today.

10 questions an insurance agent may ask when you get home insurance

Be prepared to answer these questions from an insurance agent when you get home insurance quotes.

Be prepared to answer these questions from an insurance agent when you get home insurance quotes.

When you’re on the road to getting great homeowners insurance, you may be a little hesitant to disclose a few details about yourself. And we’re not talking about your favorite color. Home insurance agents sometimes need certain, sensitive information that many people have been taught to hold near and dear.  The good news is that insurance agents know how to keep your information safe and use it to get great rates on your home insurance. So, here are some of the questions you’ll have to be prepared to answer to get home insurance.

Read more10 questions an insurance agent may ask when you get home insurance

Does Atlanta home insurance cover solar panels?

Your home insurance likely covers your solar panels.

Your home insurance likely covers your solar panels.

Atlanta enjoys quite a lot of sunlight, and that might have gotten you thinking about solar panels. If you’re thinking about going green and adding solar panels to your house, you’re probably bracing yourself for the price tag. Those panels are expensive, after all. And since they cost quite a bit, your concern might be how you’re going to protect them. Does home insurance cover solar panels? Will they be protected by your Atlanta home insurance? We’ll explain what you need to know.

Does home insurance cover solar panels?

So, good news –

Rooftop panels are typically considered to be permanent attachments on the house, so your home insurance policy should cover them. You may not need any specific “extra” coverages. The solar panels, if they’re on the roof of the dwelling, may be covered under the “dwelling” section of your home insurance policy.

However, since the solar panels are likely very expensive, it’s important to make sure that they’re fully covered. You may need to raise your limits of home insurance to make sure you have enough coverage to truly cover the solar panels. It’s something to be conscious of if you make the decision to get solar panels.

At any rate, it’s important to talk to your agent to see what your particular policy says and how it handles solar panels. They can also go over your coverage limits and help you make sure you have enough coverage. Be sure to ask what perils your solar panels are protected against – are there any exclusions or types of damage that wouldn’t be covered?

(And while you’re at it, you can ask about your deductible and how much it would be.)

Basically, make sure that you have the coverage you need to by talking things over with your agent. It’s important to make sure to protect your investment.

What are the benefits of having solar panels?

There are a few reasons to consider getting solar panels. Though you might be worried about the cost, there are plenty of benefits to go along with them.

  • You can save money on your electricity bill
  • You can sell electricity back to the power company
  • It’s environmentally friendly because solar power is a renewable resource

So, there you have it. Your home insurance generally covers rooftop panels because they’re usually considered to be a permanent attachment on your home. Be sure to talk to your agent to make sure you have high enough limits of insurance to fully protect your solar panels. They can tell you what you need to know about the coverage for your panels and how to make sure you’re covered. There are lots of reasons to go green – you can really help the environment by taking advantage of the renewable resource of solar energy.

Get started with insurance quotes by filling out our online form, calling us, or messaging us on LiveChat. Our team of insurance experts would be happy to help you get the Atlanta home insurance that’s right for you.

Check your Atlanta home insurance before hurricane season

Make sure your home insurance is ready for hurricane season.

Make sure your home insurance is ready for hurricane season.

Hurricane season is here, which means that it’s important to get your Atlanta home insurance or flood insurance ready. You need to have your home insurance all settled well in advance of any storm. We’ll go over a few things you need to know about making sure your insurance is ready for hurricanes.

6 things to know about home insurance, flood insurance, and hurricanes.

1. Remember that home insurance doesn’t cover flooding.

Did you know that your typical home insurance policy doesn’t cover flooding? That’s why it’s important to make sure that you have the proper flood insurance policy – you’ll probably go through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

You should also keep these things in mind when buying flood insurance:

2. Flood insurance takes 30 days to become effective.

If you’re planning on waiting to get flood insurance, you need to know that there’s typically a 30-day waiting period before your flood insurance becomes effective. They may make an exception if you need flood insurance to get, extend, increase, or renew your mortgage loan, but overall, don’t wait until the last minute!

3. If a tropical storm or full-blown hurricane is set to hit your area, it may be too late to get home insurance

Insurance companies may issue “binding restrictions” if a big storm is nearby, which means they won’t sell or finalize home insurance coverage for certain peril for a certain amount of time. This happens a LOT before a hurricane strikes. So, waiting until the last minute could mean that you’re out of luck for getting home insurance. As tempting and easy as it is to procrastinate dealing with insurance, hurricane season is not the time to put off getting some home insurance quotes.

4. You may not be able to increase your home insurance limits or lower your deductible either if a storm is on the way.

What if you already have home insurance? If an insurance carrier imposes binding restrictions, you may not be able to raise the limits of what your regular policy will cover or lower your deductible (the amount you’ve agreed to pay for a claim before your policy kicks in.) So, you’ll need to consider your risk and make any adjustments to your coverage well before your area is threatened by a major storm.

5. If you live near water, you may have to get home insurance coverage from a different type of carrier.

Here’s the thing: Even if your home has never seen a hurricane, living in a coastal town or near a body of water can put you at a bigger risk of being hit by a storm. Big insurance companies sometimes don’t like taking on that risk. So, if you’re having trouble finding home insurance for your coastal or beach house, you may have to think outside of the box in terms of home insurance carriers.

6. Take a look at your ALE coverage.

Most homeowners insurance policies have additional living expense (ALE) coverage, which can help you pay for the additional expenses you incur if you can’t live in your home due to a covered loss. Make sure you understand how much ALE coverage you have, how it works, and what the conditions are for reimbursement, again, BEFORE a hurricane.

We know that hurricane season can be a little scary. So, we hope these tips will help protect you, your family, and your home investment. If getting the right home insurance for a hurricane still seems a little daunting, just call our insurance experts, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent today! We’ll work with you to make sure your homeowners’ policy addresses your specific risks and that you save money on the coverage you need.