Homeowners Insurance | Boizelle Insurance Partnership

How to Lower Your Energy Costs During Winter

Do you ever notice your Pepco bill seems to be a bit higher in the colder months? That’s probably because you’re cranking up the heat in your home. Don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal to see a difference in expenses when comparing fall and winter to spring and summer. Just in case you were wondering about ways to lower your energy bills during the winter, read on…

  1. Keep your curtains and blinds open during the day and close them at night.Naturally, during winter, temperatures are going to be warmer during the day and colder in the evening. To combat the costs of energy, keeping your curtains and blinds open during the day will allow for any sunlight to enter your home, thus keeping it warmer. Keep them closed at night to keep the heat in and the cool, brisk air out.
  2. Install a smart programmable thermostatProgrammable thermostats have the built-in ability to learn your schedule over time. When you’re away from home, they can set themselves to energy-saving temperatures. You may be able to set temperatures with different phone apps while you’re away as well.
  3. Clean your refrigeratorIn this case, less is more. The less items you have stockpiled in your fridge, the less energy it will take to keep those items cool. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to make it a habit of regularly cleaning your fridge to avoid any unpleasant smells creeping about.
  4. Lower your water heating temperature.For those of you that enjoy the indulgence of long, hot showers, you don’t necessarily have to give that ritual up. In fact, bringing your water heater thermostat down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit can reduce the heat loss from your water heater, resulting in big savings: over 20% in energy costs per year!
  5. If you own a fireplace, make sure that the wood you choose to burn is not wet. This is because it could result in excess smoke and heat loss. Nobody wants that!
  6. Set your ceiling fan to rotate clockwise to feel warmer.Ceiling fans don’t only keep rooms cooler. In fact, they can serve to make rooms more comfortable by pushing warm air away from the ceiling and back towards the room. You can also turn the temperature of your thermostat down a few degrees if you want to save even more money on your energy bill.
  7. Clean your windows
  8. Similar to closed curtains, dirty windows may clock natural sunlight from entering your home. Plus, you’ll feel better about living in a clean space!
  9. Remove window air conditioning unitsThe fall and winter seasons don’t provide us with many hot days. Therefore, consider removing your window air conditioning units because they block natural sunlight and heat from entering your home. If this isn’t possible, consider caulking the edges to seal them off. This will prevent any air from creeping through.
  10. Add insulation to your home.Insulation is extremely important and effective if you’re trying to keep your home warm during the colder months. Do some investigating in your home to discover where the main insulation gaps are before embarking on any lengthy projects.
  11. User smart power strips for your electronics.

Are you not entertained? We mean when you’re inside your home. You may depend on your electronic devices like laptops and televisions for fun while indoors. It’s important to know that even when a device appears to be off, if it’s still plugged into an electrical outlet, it’s still using energy. Consider investing in a smart power strip which prevents appliances and electronics from using energy when they’re powered off. It’s all about keeping those energy costs down. This can help!

  1. Not only can using a slow cooker help you create delicious meals for yourself and your family; it can help you save energy!

 

  1. Use drying racks to dry your clothes.You’ve just gotten out of the shower. You’re soaking wet and a little chilly. Naturally, it would feel good to grab some freshly dried, warm clothes out of the dryer. But, using a dryer instead of dryer racks to hang dry your clothes costs more. Consider using dryer racks if you want to keep your energy costs lower.
  2. Layer your clothing to keep warm.

This is a bit of a no-brainer. Putting on more clothes is going to keep you warmer. Let’s move on to the final tip!

 

  1. Be mindful of how much energy your using when putting up your holiday decorations.

Connect all of your electronically-powered decorations to smart power strips to cut back on expenses!

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Why It’s So Important to Have a Properly Functioning Smoke Detector

In an emergency situation, a properly-functioning smoke detector could mean the difference between life and death.

When it comes to protecting your family, you want to make sure you’re taking all of the necessary steps to ensure their safety. Smoke detectors are an important part of safety in a home. Their purpose is to detect and warn you of smoke inside your home.

Smoke detectors are usually very affordable and are available for purchase at most hardware and department stores. Having a smoke alarm installed in every room of your home accounts for the reduction of risk to life by 50%. Once started, smoke alarms immediately alert the closest fire department and can end up saving lives. Why risk precious time without a smoke alarm when the consequence is so harsh?

It’s not only important to install smoke alarms inside your home. Proper maintenance of these life-saving devices is equally as important, if not more so. A smoke alarm that does not work properly actually poses more of a threat than not having one at all because it gives you a false sense of security. It is possible to purchase smoke detectors that do not require batteries, but if you buy some that do require them, make sure to read the instructions on how to properly install them, so your smoke alarms can function properly.

Fires can start anywhere. Common causes of fires include: grease fires, electrical fires, fires caused by flammable liquids like gasoline, Christmas Tree fires, candles, smoking, space heaters, outdoor fires, and yes, children. It’s important to always keep an eye on your littles ones because, naturally, they are little explorers that will wander off anywhere once something sparks their curiosity. If your child wanders off out of your sight and accidently starts a fire, a smoke alarm may buy you valuable seconds to find them and remove them from a potentially harmful situation. Electrical fires tend to be extremely dangerous due to their ability to spread rapidly.

If you live in an apartment complex, it is especially important to have a properly functioning smoke detector. All types of smoke alarms need to be connected to the central grid of a buildings fire alarm, so if a smoke alarm goes off, it alerts the entire building of potential danger. The connection to the grid also has the ability to inform the authorities of the presence of the fire. Every second counts when lives are at stake. Not having a smoke detector that works gives you a false sense of a security and may lead to you not springing to action fast enough to get to safety in the event of a fire. Don’t take the chance. It’s not worth it.

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When It Comes to Homeowners Insurance, How Much Do I Need?

For many, buying a home is the single most important investment they will make in their lifetime. Because of this, it’s especially important to protect that investment the best way you can. To help you better understand how a homeowners insurance policy works, let’s break down the six basic coverages of a typical homeowners policy:

Dwelling

What does the dwelling portion of a homeowners policy cover?: This coverage pays to restore your home to its original state before the insurance claim was filed. Anything from fire, windstorm, hail, lightning and vandalism is covered.

How much coverage do you actually need?: This value is determined by the estimated cost to rebuild your home which may be determined by an insurance adjuster.

Other Structures

Other Structures are any structure that is detached from the dwelling such as a shed, a fence, or a detached garage. If you were ever in a situation where filing a claim with your insurance company was necessary to restore these structures, this portion of your homeowners insurance policy would apply.

How much coverage do you actually need?: Typically speaking, most insurance policies cover detached structures about about 10% of the total amount of insurance that you carry on your home.

Personal Property

Your personal property are basically your belongings i.e. clothing, furniture, kitchen items.

How much coverage do you actually need?: There is more than one way to go about covering your personal property as it relates to insurance. Normally, actual cash value or ACV is included in a typical homeowners insurance policy. Replacement Cost Coverage is optional. In order to effectively determine the cost of your personal property, it is highly recommended that you do a home inventory. A home inventory is a breakdown of everything in your home from clothing in your closet, jewelry, kitchen utensils, cookware, exercise equipment, entertainment systems, etc. It is much more difficult and a much longer process to determine these values if you do not have a home inventory to refer to. Oftentimes, you won’t remember every little thing in your home. Take care pictures of your items and determine the value of each before disaster strikes. You’ll be thankful you did!

Loss of Use

If you suffer a disaster like a fire or a windstorm or any other covered loss that effectively makes it impossible to live in your home, Loss of Use will pay for additional living expenses during the process of having your home rebuilt. For example, if you need to stay in a hotel, these costs will be covered under the Loss of Use portion of your homeowners insurance policy.

How much coverage do you actually need?: Typically, Loss of Use Coverage is approximately 20-30% of your dwelling coverage limit.

Personal Liability

This particular coverage is for instances when another party is injured as a result of an occurrence in your home i.e. a slip and fall. This coverage also applies to another party’s property being damaged while in your home.

How much coverage do you actually need?: A typical homeowners insurance policy offers $100,000 of personal liability coverage per occurrence. If you feel you may need higher limits, we will be more than happy to discuss your options with you. Now, a homeowners insurance policy has certain limits regarding coverages for injuries. One option you may want to consider is purchasing an umbrella policy. An umbrella policy is extra coverage that would kick in if the limits under your homeowners insurance policy were exhausted. If an incident does happen in your home where someone becomes injured and you are sued as a result, your investments and savings could be at risk. Purchasing an umbrella policy may be a very wise choice.

Medical Payments

If someone suffers an injury while on your property that requires medical treatment, this portion of your insurance policy would cover that. Your policy’s limits are listed on your policy’s declarations page (the first page of your policy). It is important to keep in mind that if injuries sustained are bad enough to exhaust your policy’s limits, you are directly responsible for covering the remaining costs. Again, this is another reason why obtaining an umbrella policy is smart.

No one knows when disaster may strike. Of course, no one wants to go through life in fear of financial ruin. Planning for the future and giving yourself a sense of security and peace of mind is what insurance is all about. Take the necessary steps to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your futures! We’re here for you!

 

 

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Grilling Safety Tips

Steak. Fish. Chicken. Shrimp. Peppers and sausages—what do you like to grill? Enjoying grilling with friends and family is something we all can appreciate. While we enjoy these moments with our loved ones, it’s important to take certain safety measures:

  • Whether you have a portable grill or one that is built-in on your patio, it’s important that your grill is stationed at least 10 feet away from any structures. Flames have a tendency to flare up on occasion, so your grill should never be placed under wooden overhangs. This rule applies to both gas and charcoal grills. Plants and other forms of vegetation should be a safe distance away from your grill.
  • Make it a habit to clean your grill regularly. It is possible for grease and fat to build up to a substantial amount if you avoid cleaning your grill routinely. And since grease tends to be a major source of flames flaring up, a fun social event can quickly turn to disaster if you’re not careful.
  • Be certain that your grill is stable.
  • Check for any gas leaks. In order to safely check your grill for gas leaks, formulate a solution consisting of half liquid dish soap and half water. Rub it on the hoses and connections. Once you complete this step, turn the gas on (with the lid of your grill open). If you see large bubbles forming, you may have a leak. This is because the hoses may have holes or the connections may not be secured tightly enough.
  • Setting up your grill on a flat surface is essential. You don’t want any chance of your grill tipping over.
  • Any decorations should be placed far away from your grill. Items such as hanging baskets, pillows, or umbrellas may be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but they also provide fuel for a potential fire. Furthermore, a lot of what you can buy in stores today is made from artificial fibers that tend to burn fast and hot.
  • Keep a spray bottle of water nearby at all times. In the event of a flare-up, water can instantly tame the flames of the fire. Even more important is the water will not affect your food in any negative way. All of the time and money you’ve invested in preparing your meal will not go to waste!
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by. Having a fire extinguisher close to you while grill is a good idea. But, even more so is knowing how to properly use it. If a fire does break out and you do not know how to use it safely, dial 911 immediately. It’s better to be safe than to suffer bodily injuries.
  • Never leave your grill unattended. Fires can expand more rapidly than you might think. Preparation and planning ahead is an essential part of grilling safely. You want to minimize distractions as best you can, so you can focus on cooking for your food.
  • Never pour lighter fluid on a gas grill. This should really go without saying, but any fluids that contain chemicals that mix with gas have the potential to create an enormous, uncontainable disaster!
  • Grills should never be used indoors. Grills release carbon monoxide into the air which is a potentially lethal, odorless, and colorless gas. It needs to have the ability to vent in fresh air. It has the ability to kill you, your family members, or your pets. We don’t want any tragedies to occur,
  • When you are finished using your grill, make sure to completely close the valve of your gas grill.

 

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