Protection During a Hailstorm

Image

It may sound surprising, but there are approximately 3,000 hailstorms in the United States each year. The size of hail can widely vary – from golf-ball size to softball size. And when it starts building up size, hail can cause not just severe property and vehicle damage, but also bodily harm and even death. On average, hailstorms annually cause over $1 billion in damage to property, approximately 1,500 injuries and 80 deaths annually.

One of the most frightening places to be during a hailstorm is on the road in your car. Obviously your vehicle is at great risk of damage, but even more importantly, you are in danger in the event you can’t see well enough to drive or your windows are broken in by the power of the storm.

Here are some pointers for navigating a hailstorm while on the roads:

  • Make sure you have a blanket in your car at all times. It can help protect you from glass injuries in the event the hail breaks your windows or windshield.
  • Turn on your low-beam headlights, and slow down.
  • Make sure you have more distance than usual in front of you so you have ample space to brake if necessary.
  • Turn on the local weather radio station to stay apprised of the status of storms.
  • If there is enough space on the shoulder of the road, pull over.
  • Turn on your hazard lights, regardless of whether you are pulled over or moving slowly; this will help other vehicles to see you and avoid accidents.
  • If there is a covered shelter to pull underneath, do so; this will reduce the damage sustained by your vehicle.

At Radius Insurance Agency, we hope you stay hailstorm-free this season!

SOURCE: http://www.Safeco.com

Do I Need Rental Car Insurance?

Image

You’ve probably been at the rental-car counter, listening to the representative ask if you want to purchase the company’s insurance. And the thoughts start racing through your head. “Do I really need this? Doesn’t my regular auto policy cover me? What about my credit card? Why didn’t I figure this out before I left on my trip?”

At Radius Insurance Agency, we are here to help. And while not every situation is the same, we’ve got some general tips that will help you make an informed decision the next time you take a trip and are standing at that counter. Please check with us at 855-840-1277 to verify whether you’re adequately covered.

1. Know your personal auto policy.

Because insurance policies vary, it’s a good idea to give us a call – before you rent a car – to make sure you have the coverage you need. In many instances, your personal auto policy will provide coverage for a rental car – but that coverage may be limited to the value of the car you own, rather than the one you’re renting. Of course, if you don’t have a personal auto policy, you’ll need to purchase coverage from the rental company.

And keep in mind that in the event of an accident, many rental companies will charge fees beyond repair costs. They may assess a loss-of-use fee for each day the car is unusable, as well as charge you because the value of the car has decreased. Not all insurance policies cover these fees.

2. Also know your homeowners or renters policy.

If you’re traveling with expensive electronics or other valuable items, you probably want to consider what coverage you’ll have in the event they are stolen. Your personal auto policy and/or credit card coverage likely won’t provide protection for this scenario.

3. Check your credit card protection.

Most credit cards will also provide some coverage, but often payment is limited to reimbursement of your personal auto policy deductible (after that policy pays for repairs). Generally, loss-of-use and other fees are not covered, but it’s important to check with your credit-card provider to determine their policies. And while some cards may offer additional protection for a fee, usually coverage is limited to damage to the car, not liability for any injuries to others. Remember, to receive any sort of benefit from your card, you must use that card to pay for your entire car rental.

4. Consider any unique circumstances.

Are you renting a car in a foreign country, or for more than a week? You’ll definitely want to get confirmation of coverage from both your insurance carrier and credit card company because different rules might apply. Also, no matter where you are, vehicles such as trucks, RVs or exotic sports cars often aren’t covered under standard agreements. And if you’re using a car for business purposes, your personal coverage might not apply. Finally, if multiple people will be driving the car during your trip, make sure your coverages will apply to them.

5. Learn about the insurance offered by the rental car company.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, rental companies offer four main types of coverage.

  • A Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) relieves you of responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. This may also provide coverage for loss of use.
  • Liability Protection provides protection from lawsuits if you are sued after an accident.
  • Personal Accident Insurance covers you and passengers for medical bills after an accident. You may not need this if you have adequate health and auto coverage.
  • Personal Effects Coverage protects you if items are stolen from your car. You generally are covered for this under your homeowners or renters policy, but keep in mind that the loss must exceed your deductible for you to receive payment. If you have a high deductible, it may make sense to purchase this coverage from the rental company.

SOURCE: http://www.Safeco.com

10 Energy Savings Tips for Spring!

Image

Use these 10 Spring Energy Saving Tips to help your finances spring forward!

  1. Spring cleaning. While chasing those dust bunnies around, look for ways to make your home more energy efficient. Cleaning under and behind your refrigerator will improve operating efficiency, and dusting light bulbs will increase light output. When cleaning windows, check to make sure they are sealed properly.
  2. Check your air conditioner. Clean or replace the system’s filter and adjust thermostat settings for warmer weather. Have your system cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional. Outdoors, trim back any plants or vines growing around the unit.
  3. Change direction. As the temperature rises, reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. In summer, they should be set counterclockwise to create a downward airflow that will make rooms feel cooler.
  4. Let it slide. If you have a sliding door, make sure the track is clean. Dirt buildup from foot traffic in winter and early spring can damage the door seal and create gaps where cool air can escape.
  5. Stay cool with attic ventilation. Attic ventilation systems draw cool air up through the house, providing the same level of comfort as an air conditioner, but at a much lower cost.
  6. Window treatments. If you are redecorating, consider installing insulated, thermal-backed drapes. When closed on south- and west-facing windows, they help block out the sun, keeping your home cooler on hot summer days.
  7. Plant some shade. Arbor Day is coming, celebrate by planting a shade tree along the south- or west-facing side of your home. Trees will help to shield your home from the sun in summer, keeping you cool and reducing your energy bill. They are good for the environment as well. Call before you dig and consider the mature height of trees; do not select a location that will interfere with power lines when trees reach their full height.
  8. Air dry laundry. Now that warm weather is here, why not install a clothesline and dry your laundry in the sun? Air drying saves on energy costs and it is gentler on your clothes, helping them last longer.
  9. Shake a leg. Whenever possible, save energy and help the environment by walking or riding a bike. Public transportation and ride sharing are green options for getting to and from work.
  10. Go green. Start a compost bin for recycling kitchen and yard waste. Install a rain barrel to conserve water for use in outdoor landscaping. The idea is to reduce, reuse and recycle whatever you can.

De-Winterize Your Boat for Spring Boating Fun!

Image

So, you have got that itching spring fever to uncover the boat and get her wet for the first time this season. There is nothing worse than being gathered at the dock with a boat-load of people and you turn the key and…rrr..rrr..rrr…and nothing. It is likely this will happen if you do not take the time to de-winterize your boat. Do an inspection before setting out on the first trip of the season.

To avoid any embarrassment and frustration, use the following pre-launch checklist to get your boat as ready for the boating season as you are.

Oil Check:

    If you did not change the engine oil when you put the boat up for the season, now is the time to do it. Make sure you change the oil filter also. Check the oil in the outdrive.

Battery Inspection:

    Reattach the cables. Make sure the terminals are not corroded. If so, wipe them clean. If your battery takes water, fill it up. A dry battery is a bad battery. (I learned that the hard way.) With a battery tester, check the volts and amps. Does it have juice? If it is charged and still no luck, it may be time to buy a new battery.

Cooling System:

    Hopefully you drained the cooling system if you live in a cold winter climate to prevent freezing. If so, fill ‘er back up. Rinse out the strainer and check the hoses for cracks.

Fuel System:

    You also should have topped off the tank with gas to prevent any moisture and condensation forming in the tank and diluting the gas. Change the fuel filter. Make sure the fuel line is attached and not cracked. In the winter these hoses can become dry and brittle.

Distributor:

    Take the distributor cap off and clean it out. Corrosion could have occurred during the winter. Make sure all connections are restored.

Belts:

    Tighten the belts if needed. You should only be able to push the belt slightly down. If the belts do not fit snugly in their pulley grooves, they may be worn and in need of replacement. Belts that are not tight will wear faster because they will likely begin to slip. The alternator belt usually wears faster than the others. A sign of a worn belt is black soot somewhere in the vicinity of the pulley.

Other Things That Should Not Be Ignored:

  • Change the spark plugs
  • Lubricate the engine with WD-40
  • Check all hoses
  • Check power steering/cables
  • Test the bilge pump
  • Replace the drain plug
  • Check rudder and shafts
  • Inspect the prop
  • Test the horn
  • Test the VHF radio
  • Check the trim
  • Inspect personal flotation devices
  • Check the fire extinguisher expiration date
  • Make sure the anchor in on board

Home Security Tips

Image

Everyone wants to keep their home safe from burglars or intruders, but not everyone wants to have an alarm system installed. There are plenty of people who prefer the do-it-yourself route, whether it’s home improvement or home security.

And nowadays, there are more options than ever when it comes to home security, so we want to help you sort through those options with a few tips.

Do-it-yourself options:

The widespread availability of electronic tools means that homeowners can set up their own monitoring systems if they choose, without the help of a home-security company.

  • Cameras: Smaller and more inexpensive than ever, cameras can be placed nearly anywhere on the exterior of your home and monitored from inside wirelessly — or set to record footage for review later. Available software even allows you to point your laptop camera in a particular direction (say, at the front door) and check the images from a remote location.
  • Lights: Motion-detecting floodlights are an excellent deterrent to thieves, because they don’t want to be seen. Make sure they’re installed near entryways, and that they aren’t easily reached from the ground. And using timers for interior lights is a good way to give the appearance that your home is occupied.
  • Alarms: Vibration alarms are available for windows, alerting you if someone is trying to get in. Similarly, other monitors can be installed near doors and programmed to sound if a person comes within a set distance. Some even emit barking sounds to make it appear that a dog is in the house.

Even if you aren’t interested in installing security equipment around your home, there are a number of things you can do to increase safety:

  • Keep your home locked. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people leave windows or doors unlocked. Make sure that sliding doors and windows have extra security, such as a track lock or dowel in the track.
  • Don’t leave a key outside. If you need to provide access to your home while you’re away, leave your key with a trusted neighbor or friend.
  • Watch the landscaping. Thick shrubs and bushes around your porch or yard can give thieves a good place to hide. Keep them well trimmed and ensure that problematic areas can be illuminated with your outdoor lighting.
  • Use common sense. If you’re going away on vacation, cancel your newspaper and other deliveries. Ask a neighbor to keep watch, and park a car out front. Don’t post publicly on social media or leave a message on your answering machine or voicemail indicating that you’ll be away for an extended period.

Burglars really do consider deterrents such as alarms, cameras, dogs, etc., when looking at targets, according to a study released by the University of North Carolina. So a small investment in security can make a big difference!

SOURCE: Safeco Insurance

4 Spring Driving Tips

Image

With all the beauty spring brings, it also presents a unique set of driving challenges.

Here are some common-sense tips to keep in mind as you hit the highway during this sometimes slick and soggy time of year:

  • When rain or mist begins, slow down. It is harder to stop in wet or slick roadways.
  • Turn on your fan and defroster to keep the inside of your windshield clear of moisture.
  • Avoid driving through big puddles; splashing water could affect your brakes and impair the vision of other motorists.
  • Check your windshield wipers for wear. (The winter weather can take its toll on your wiper blades.)

Spring Cleaning: Home Checklist

Image

After a long, dark winter, spring’s bright sun and warm winds are, well, a breath of fresh air. The only downside? All that sunshine spotlights items that may need to be completed to freshen up your home for spring. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
  • Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.
  • Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.
  • From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.
  • Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.
  • Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you’re at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.
  • Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.
  • Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for spring and summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yard work easier.