THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 2018
Can You Name Every Item in Your Home?
Many people don't think about the many items they have collected over the years. Many items are used every day, but often never thought about. Many items are replaced throughout the years, but no thought is given to the increased value of inventory. Creating and maintaining an inventory of items in your home can help ensure you have purchased the right insurance coverage. In the event of a loss, it can help you settle a claim faster, and put less strain on your brain in an already stressful situation.
How do You Create Your Home Inventory?
Creating and maintaining your home inventory is easy with free software available from the Insurance Information Institute. At knowyourstuff.org you can download the free software, learn how to use it, and continue to maintain and update your inventory after it is completed. Their free secure online storage will allow you to access your inventory anywhere, any time. You never know when a claim may happen, but you can be prepared with an up-to-date online home inventory.
What Should You Include in Your Home Inventory?
You should take inventory of everything of value in your home, and update the list as you acquire new items. Here is a list of some of the most common items:
Electronics (TV, Gaming Console, Computer)
- Kitchen and Household Appliances (Washer/Dryer, Microwave, Oven, Refrigerator)
- Sporting Equipment
Some items like jewelry, antiques, and other special items, may need to be insured separately. Talk to one of the specially trained independent agents at Rutt Insurance to make sure you have the coverage that you need.
THURSDAY, JUNE 1, 2017
You've Got the Car of Your Dreams, Now How Do You Protect It?
As anybody who’s dealt with an insurance claim on a classic will tell you, it’s an important question. The fact is, the everyday insurance policy that’s perfect for your daily-use cars just doesn’t cut it when it comes to classics. Even if your classic stays in your garage, undriven, it probably won’t be covered by your homeowner’s policy for a fire, theft or accident. So what’s the difference between specialty and everyday insurance? Specialty and everyday insurance policies differ greatly when it comes to vehicle value and how you are compensated in the event of a loss. There are three ways auto insurance pays out claims: Actual Cash Value Most everyday insurers offer Actual Cash Value policies. This is what an insurance adjuster says your car is worth, usually based on used car values – not the classic car market. So if your classic’s stolen or declared a total loss after an accident, it’s unlikely you’ll be compensated for its true value. Stated Value Many everyday insurers offer Stated Value policies for classic cars, allowing clients to set their own value. But here’s the problem: the insurer only has to pay up to the Stated Value, and in fact is allowed to pay the lesser of the Stated Value or the Actual Cash Value, less any deductible. Agreed Value or Guaranteed Value Most specialty insurers offer Agreed Value or Guaranteed Value, which means you and the insurance company agree on a value for your car. If there’s a covered total loss, you’ll receive that full value, less any deductibles. Some companies require appraisals at your expense, while others will only insure cars for book value – no negotiations. The best companies don’t require appraisals, and rely on their expertise and your opinion to determine an accurate value for your classic.
Is Classic Car Insurance Right for You and Your Car?
Different companies have different vehicle and age requirements, but vehicles are generally considered classics if they maintain or appreciate in value and are of limited production or special interest. Drivers must have a good driving record. Some companies require drivers to be 25 or older. Vehicles typically need to be securely garaged. Vehicles typically can not be used for back-up or daily transportation. Some companies have strict mileage limitations; others are more flexible. How do you choose a classic car insurance expert? As you shop around, here are some things to look for: Agreed or Guaranteed Value coverage - It’s the only way to make sure you get the full value of your classic. • Good Reputation - Ask around and read online reviews. Find out how companies treat their clients and deal with claims. • Financial stability - Choose a company with an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or better. This means that the company is financially strong and benefits from good management. Lets you choose the repair shop - In event of a claim, you should choose who repairs your classic.
- Content used in this post is used with permission and was originally published by Hagerty.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2016
Sump pumps provide peace of mind to residential and commercial property owners. Most of the time sump pumps do the job they’re intended to do, which is to prevent a basement from flooding by removing water that collects in the sump basin and extracting it through a hose to an exterior location. But when a sump pump fails, the results can be disastrous. A flood in your home or business due to a sump pump failure can be devastating. It can cause extensive permanent damage to your property and disruption to your home life and business operations if not cleaned and remediated right away. If the water damage is not completely treated and dried, you could also find yourself with a secondary problem from mold and mildew.
What is a Sump Pump?
A sump pump is a submersible pump that sits at the bottom of a sump pit, which is typically installed at the lowest point in your basement or crawl space. Ground water surrounding your home’s foundation is channeled into a perimeter drain system installed at the base of the foundation. Water finds its way into the perforated drainpipes and is quickly diverted to the sump pit. The sump pump, which is triggered by a float switch, removes the water by pumping it to the nearest storm drain, dry well or detention pond. A sump pump turns on only when water inside the sump pit reaches a pre-determined level. Most new homes are equipped with sump pumps but older homes can be retrofitted with a sump system to prevent basement flooding.
Types of Sump Pumps
There are 3 types of sump pumps. The pedestal pump, submersible pump, and ejector pump.
If your pump sits on a pedestal and stands about 30 inches tall with a hose or pipe connected to the motor and extends down into a “sump pit,” you have a pedestal pump. This is a very common style of pump. The motor on a pedestal pump is not intended to be in the water. As the water level rises, it activates a “float switch” which activates the pump. Then, the water is pumped out through a pipe or hose out and away from the building.
If your pump actually sits on the bottom of the sump pit, you have a submersible pump. This pump is much smaller than the pedestal variety, usually standing about 12 inches high. Usually, there is a 4 inch rod extending up from the pump with a float device attached. When the water reaches the float it activates the pump. The water is sucked down through the bottom of the pump. A screen at the bottom of the pump stops gravel from being sucked in.
Most commonly found in crawlspaces, ejector pumps consist of pea gravel, this type of pump is able to handle small debris being sucked into the pump without damaging the impeller or other mechanisms within the pump.
Picking a Sump Pump
Manual vs. Automatic: In nearly all circumstances, an automatic sump pump is superior. The additional cost is minimal and the peace of mind is invaluable. Manual sump pumps are typically only used for catastrophic events such as river flooding. Of course, just because a sump pump is “automatic” doesn’t mean it will always work. The water sensing mechanism can easily malfunction due to clogging and render the unit useless.
Single vs. Primary W/ Backup: Recently, many homeowners have started installing sump pumps with a secondary backup unit. These two stage units were designed to address the fairly common occurrence of a mechanical failure. Unlike other household appliances, if a sump pump fails, it will usually lead to an extremely expensive flooding event.
Electric Only vs. Battery Backup: What happens when the same storm that threatens to flood your basement also knocked out power to your home? Unless a battery backup is in place, the sump pump will fail. This is a fairly rare event of course, and many home owners elect to forego the extra protection. Base your decision on the likelihood of power outages.
Sewer vs. Storm Drain: In the past, sump pumps were just piped into the existing sewer line running out from the house. This worked well until the local water treatment plants ran out of capacity. In response, many municipalities created laws banning sump pumps from directing water into sewer lines. Why does this matter? Often, it is much more difficult to tie into a storm drain than a sewer line.
Why do Sump Pumps fail?
Sump pumps can fail for any number of reasons, including a power outage, lack of maintenance, mechanical failure, or improper installation. In some cases, a property owner may install a pump that is too small to adequately pump out the volume of water that enters the basin. While proper maintenance is key to keeping your sump pump in good working order, an extreme weather event can cause the pump to work overtime and either burn the unit out or overwhelm it with excess water.
Sump Pump Maintenance
Test your sump pump regularly to make sure it will operate when the next big downpour occurs. Test it by pouring a bucket of water into the sump pit. The pump should turn on, remove the water from the pit and shut itself off in a matter of seconds. Ensure that the float and the check valve move freely.
To clean your sump pit, remove any dirt, sand, gravel and other debris to increase the pump’s efficiency and prolong its life. Ensure that the discharge line opening is free of obstructions so that water can be pumped through the line and out of your basement or crawlspace.
Sump Pump Replacement and Repair
Like any equipment with moving parts, sump pumps will wear out over time and will need to be replaced. There is no general rule on how often a sump pump should be replaced since it depends on how often the pump operates.
When is a mold remediation professional necessary for a sump pump issue?
When a sump pump fails, mold growth often occurs as well. If this is the case, a certified mold professional is recommended. The necessity of a mold expert depends largely on the location of the sump pump. If it is located in a finished basement, and carpeting, drywall and contents are saturated, a mold professional is critical. If the sump pump is located in the crawlspace and the excess water simply pooled on the soil, an expert may not be called for.
Do you have a sump pump in your home? Consider adding Water Back-up, Sump Pump Overflow to your homeowners coverage.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2016
Whether you’re traveling alone, with a buddy, or with your spouse and a car full of kids, there are few things more “American” than the long-distance road trip. Countless vacation travelers will drive the highways looking for fun and making memories with every mile. You’ll have a more enjoyable vacation if you plan carefully. Here are a few driving tips to help you out along the way.
1. Maintain your car: Make sure your vehicle is up to date on its maintenance schedule, and be sure to check the battery and tires.
2. Plan your trip and know where you’re going: Call ahead for proper and safe directions to get you to your destination safely and have maps of the area on hand to help you navigate once you are off the main road. You’re more likely to make good decisions, even in dangerous situations, if you’re clearheaded and know where you’re going.
3. Stay Alert: Seems obvious, but driver inattention is surely the cause of a lot of accidents. If you stay focused behind the wheel and plan carefully, you will have a wonderful summer road trip.
4. Take precaution with cell phones: Cell phones can be a lifesaver when you need immediate access to emergency services after an accident. Keep your phone within easy reach and get to know its features. However, use it prudently. Reports suggest that driving while talking on the phone increases accident rates.
5. Wear your seat belt: Whether or not it’s required by law in the state through which you’re driving, always wear your seat belt as a safety precaution.
6. Protect your car against theft: Help deter criminals from taking your car with steering wheel locks, switches that disable fuel or ignition systems, and electronic tracking devices. Always lock your car, don't leave valuables in plain sight, and always park in a well-lit parking lot.
7. Be proactive if you are in an accident: Taking immediate steps if you’ve been in an accident can protect your family and your car from further damage. Stop immediately and make sure your car is not blocking traffic. Turn off your car to keep it from overheating or catching fire. Warn oncoming cars using road flares or orange triangle reflectors. If you are unable to move out of traffic, or if there are any injuries call 911 immediately. After you have protected yourself and your family, call Rutt Insurance or your insurance company's claims hotline. Secure names, phone numbers, driver's license numbers, and addresses of other drivers, passengers, and witnesses. Take photos, notes, or sketches of the accident scene including make, model, and license numbers of all vehicles involved.
8. Make sure your auto insurance is up to date. Before you even leave the driveway, you want to be sure you’re protected when you’re on the road and far from home. Make sure you have a current, up-to-date insurance ID Card. If you are unable to find yours give us a call at 717-653-1816 or submit an Insurance ID Card request online.
SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2016
Nicer weather is coming, and that means grilling season! We can’t help you become a grill master overnight, but these tips can definitely help you make sure that your grill is running safely and is ready to be a great tool for family fun rather than a potential fire hazard.
- Watch the grill whenever it’s on.
- Never use the grill indoors, near any wooden beams, or under the eaves.
- Make sure the grill is well away from your home, and siding.
- Keep the grill area free from combustible materials like branches and plants.
- Keep kids and pets well away from the grill when it’s hot.
- Make sure to keep the grill clean to avoid grease flare-ups.
- If you use a starter fluid, use one designed for charcoal, and never add it directly to the fire.
- Make sure you store charcoal lighter fluid appropriately. Keep it away from children.
- Let the coals cool down completely before you dispose of them.
- Only dispose of coals in a metal container. Coals directly in the trash are a major risk.
- Tighten all gas lines and hose connections before you fire up the grill for the first time.
- Check for leaks in the lines by applying a soap-and-water solution all over the lines, and then turning on the propane. Look for bubbles – they’re a sure sign of a leak.
- If you do see bubbles indicating a leak, have the grill serviced by a professional.
- If you ever experience an uncontrolled gas leak, call the fire department immediately.
These safety tips will go a long way to ensuring that your grill stays safe and functional all summer, allowing you to enjoy your cookouts with confidence.
--Content used in this post was originally published by Mammoth Restoration & Construction and is used with their permission.