Is Your Garage Safe?
Americans suffer nearly 21 million preventable household injuries each year, and many of them occur in the garage. That’s because most of the 65 million U.S. garages are cluttered, disorganized and potentially unsafe!
Nearly all homeowners have at least one potentially dangerous item in the garage, including sharp tools and chemicals. What you may not know is that many of the chemicals stored in the garage are highly flammable – and may even be susceptible to spontaneous combustion. If not stored properly, gasoline and oily rags containing linseed oil or turpentine oil can be fire hazards.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the garage is the most common area of origin for home structure fires (20 percent of fires), and oily rags were the most common item to ignite first.
To help you safely store household items that may be flammable or combustible, here are some important safety tips from the NFPA
- Store gasoline in a tightly sealed metal or plastic container that has been approved by local or state fire authorities or an independent testing laboratory. Never store it in glass jars or non-reusable plastic containers such as milk jugs.
- Do not use or store gasoline near possible sources of ignition.
- Fill portable gasoline containers outdoors only, and place the container on the ground before filling.
- Keep rags that have absorbed oils, such as linseed oil or turpentine, in a covered. metal can with a tight-fitting lid.
- Be sure the oily rags are thoroughly dried before collection or transport.
- Make sure pesticides, paint thinner, antifreeze and poisonous products are stored on high shelves out of reach or in locked cabinets.
- Mount a fire extinguisher & first aid in the garage.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector rated for the garage.
- Install a smoke alarm.
Sources: MN Safety Council
The Essentials of Quality Protection for Your Home
First and most importantly, you need enough insurance to cover the costs to rebuild your home at today’s rates. That is referred to as a Replacement Cost policy, which means that in the event of a disaster (i.e. fire or wind), the policy pays for the repair or replacement of damaged property with materials of like kind and quality. Insurance Advisors has state of the art tools to better value your home properly, based on specific criteria such as square footage of your home, type of construction, the style and age of the structure among other things. There is no depreciation applied for wear and tear on standard replacement cost coverage. You should be mindful that a homeowners policy does not cover floods or damages caused by flood; nor does it cover damages caused by neglect of routine maintenance.
Your policy typically features coverage for costs incurred in the event of a loss that requires you to temporarily live away from home. Your contents and personal possessions are automatically covered under most homeowners policies. Your Insurance Advisors representative can provide the details on how that dollar amount is derived.
Many people like to raise their deductible to save money on the premium; and that is certainly an option. But beware! The deductible amount you choose will come directly out of your pocket if you have a claim. For example, if you decide to maintain a $5,000 deductible, make sure you set aside the funds to cover that amount if there is a loss.
If you own a cabin, seasonal place or vacant dwelling, they will require a different type of policy. That distinction is something you will need to discuss with your agent to ensure you have the proper policy and subsequent coverage’s.
Consider adding a Personal Umbrella policy to your portfolio if you own a lot of assets. An umbrella policy is an excess liability coverage that goes above and beyond your homeowners and auto insurance policies. You get a lot of coverage at a very affordable price.
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Having mold present in your home causes a musty odor and can be hazardous to your health.
If your home is flooded by a severe storm, a leaky roof or a broken pipe, mold spores could begin to spread due to the excessive moisture. Even though it is not visible, mold can still be lurking on certain objects within the household. Whether or not mold is covered by homeowners insurance often comes down to the source of moisture and the wording of a policy. Most basic homeowners insurance policies exclude coverage of damage caused by mold, fungi, and bacteria. Yet that doesn’t mean a mold claim will be denied automatically.
In most cases, if mold results from a sudden and accidental covered peril, such as a pipe bursting, the cost of remediation should be covered. That’s because technically the pipe burst is the reason for the claim, not the mold itself. Claims are more likely to be rejected if mold is caused by neglected home maintenance; long-term exposure to humidity, or repeated water leaks and seepage.
Moisture prevention is the key
The surest way to avoid having a claim denied is keeping mold at bay in the first place. Preventing mold and eliminating mold when it does occur are critical to protecting the value of your home.
To help prevent mold growth in your home, we suggest following these guidelines:
- Lower indoor humidity with air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and exhaust fans.
- Inspect hoses and fittings on appliances, sinks and toilets.
- Use household cleaners with mold-killing ingredients like bleach.
- Opt for paints and primers that contain mold inhibitors.
- Clean gutters to avoid overflow and check roof for leaks.
- Avoid carpet in wet areas like basements and bathrooms.
- Remove and dry carpet, padding, and upholstery within 48 hours of flooding.
Generally, if items have been wet for two days or longer, mold has had the opportunity to set in. Other items that are made of more porous material may be at risk of mold infestation sooner than two days. Remove carpet, wood or laminate flooring as mold can become trapped between the sub floor and the floor covering. Throw away sofas, chairs and mattresses that have sustained water damage. Contact a mold inspector through the help of your Insurance Advisor’s agent.
Because of the unknown effects to your health, vacate your home during the mold removal process. Never re-enter your mold-infested home without wearing a mask.