It’s That Time of Year to Start Preparing Your Home for Winter

October 22, 2015 at 8:26 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Reminders, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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Beautiful New England foliage is at its peak and the leaves are falling, along with the temperature. Last winter was brutal – who knows what Mother Nature has in store for us this year?? We came up with a list of things for you to consider before winter sets in:

  • Tune Up Time – Snow blowers and generators should be tuned up; check to make sure they’re running correctly.
  • Shovels & Sand– Stock an adequate supply of both.
  • Tree Maintenance – Trim branches away from power lines, your roof and gutters.
  • Heating System & Chimneys – Have these items professionally cleaned before the heating season starts.
  • Clean the Gutters – If your gutters are full of debris, water can back up against the house and damage your roof, siding, and wood trim, and also lead to leaks and ice dams.
  • Inspect Your Roof & Attic– Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may cause leaks, especially if you had icicles hanging off your roof last winter, or even worse, suffered from ice dams. Make sure you take preventative measures to fix any air leaks and ensure you have adequate insulation in your attic. Making sure these things are taken care of will prevent any snow melting and leaking into your attic, causing potential water damage to the inside of your house.
  • Divert Water Spouts– add extensions onto your downspouts to divert water away from your foundation to prevent ground water seepage into your basement.
  • Shut-Off Exterior Water Faucets – Drain water from pipes and hoses to prevent them from freezing and bursting.
  • Space Heaters – Inspect all heating appliances thoroughly before using them. Make sure you’re up-to-date on Space Heater safety.
  • Emergency Supplies – Replace and restock before/after power outages. Include batteries, flashlights, non-perishable food supplies, and blankets.

Checking off this list and being prepared for the winter months will help ensure you have a worry free and claim free season. Please feel free to call us with any questions about your coverage and how to best keep yourself protected at 888.852.8500.

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Take Preventive Measures Against Ice Dams Before Winter

September 24, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Reminders, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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With the colder weather approaching, now is the time to start thinking about getting your home ready for the winter; particularly your roof. A roof catches all of the precipitation winter has to offer, and if unprepared, winter can break through its protective barrier and damage your home, using ice dams as its main weapon. Ice dams are a home owner’s nightmare, but taking preventative measures, and educating yourself on how they occur, can help keep your roof secure.

Cycles of warm and cold air closest to the roof are the primary cause of ice dams. Keeping warm air out of your attic, and cold air circulating in, is critical to minimize the warming of the underside of your roof. As a homeowner, there are steps that you can take ahead of time to avoid water damage from ice dams.

  • Insulate the attic floor and put weather stripping around pull-down stairs
  • Increase ventilation in attics by installing eave, soffit, ridge and gable vents
  • Install water and ice shield on the entire roof
  • Install heating coils on the roof

Water damage to the contents in your home resulting from ice dams is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy unless you purchase “All Risk on Contents” coverage. If you do not have this type of coverage, or are unsure if you do and would like to discuss more about insuring your home against ice dams, call us at 1 (800) 850-9400.

FREEZING WEATHER IS UPON US – MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE PREPARED

January 8, 2015 at 9:16 AM | Posted in Home | Leave a comment
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Could this be the next polar vortex? One day we have mild temperatures and the next we go to freezing cold temperatures.  With the weather going from one extreme to another, it is very important to keep an eye on your pipes and do what you can to prevent them from freezing. Here are some tips that can help you:

Preventing Frozen Pipes:

  • Maintain the temperature of your home to a minimum of 55 degrees at all times
  • Wrap any exposed pipes that are not well insulated
  • If a faucet is exposed to unheated areas or is on a wall that is not well insulated, turn the faucet to a slow trickle to help prevent the pipe from freezing especially overnight when the heat can plummet
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat circulation to your pipes

If Your Pipes have Frozen:

  • Locate the frozen area and make sure the pipe has not cracked or burst
  • Turn the hot water faucet to the open position allowing the steam produced by your thawing activities to escape
  • The safest way to thaw a frozen pipe is to:
    1. Wrap a heavy towel around the pipe
    2. Place a bucket under the pipe to catch the runoff
    3. Pour hot or boiling water over the towel
  • Using a heat lamp or hair dryer is less messy, just be careful to keep an electrical device safely away from any water source

If you can’t locate the frozen pipe or suspect that they may have burst or cracked, turn off the water main shutoff and consult a professional plumber immediately.  If you have had substantial water damage due to a burst pipe, you may want to contact a water remediation company to begin clean up immediately to prevent further damage.

Please call Marsh & McLennan Agency at 508-852-8500 if you have any questions regarding your specific coverage with regards to frozen pipes! Stay warm!

Preventing Ice Dams

December 17, 2014 at 3:24 PM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Property, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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One culprit of an unpleasant winter experience could be hiding beneath the snow on your roof! This sneaky culprit is better known as an Ice Dam.

 

The first sign of a potential ice dam is the formation of icicles. Icicles occur when water from melting snow is unable to flow freely off of the roof. The heated air in your home rises and can spread into your attic, warming the roof area above. As the snow melts and the water rolls down your roof, it freezes. The freezing water continues to build up, forming an ice dam along the edge of the roof. Often times, melting water will start to build up under an ice dam and work its way under roofing shingles causing internal leaks and water damage.

As a homeowner, there are steps that you can take ahead of time to avoid water damage from ice dams.

  • Increase the insulation above ceilings
  • Install exterior ice melt solutions, such as heating cables
  • Increase ventilation in attics
  • Seal off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof
  • Remove snow with a roof rake or still-bristled brush
  • Make sure that ducts connected to the kitchen, bathrooms, and dryer vents all lead outdoors through either the roof or walls but not through the soffit (underside of the roof)

Water damage to the contents in your home resulting from ice dams is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy unless you purchase “All Risk on Contents” coverage.

Staying ahead of an ice dam can be difficult. By calling us at 888.850.9400 today, we can easily review your policy together, and ensure you are covered by more than just the roof over your head!

 

WINTERIZING YOUR SUMMER TOYS

September 10, 2014 at 3:00 PM | Posted in Auto, Camper, Motor Home, Motorcycle, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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Your motorcycles, classic cars, and boats have contributed to your summer fun. Can you believe that the time to winterize them is just around the corner? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

CARS & MOTORCYCLES:

  • Change the oil and filter
  • Fill the tank with fresh gas and use a stabilizer
  • Make sure the coolant levels are proper
  • Use a battery maintainer or remove the battery
  • Put the vehicle on stands if possible, otherwise, inflate the tires to the proper pressure
  • Wash the vehicle to remove any dirt, especially underneath and in the wheel wells
  • Cover openings such as exhaust pipes and air intakes to prevent animals from nesting
  • For indoor storage open a window slightly, for outdoor storage use a cover

BOATS:

  • Store boats stern down
  • Open all valves and drains
  • Use a fuel stabilizing additive
  • Drain the fresh water tank and heater and use anti-freeze
  • Provide structural support under covers and tarps
  • Remove electronics and cushions and store inside
  • Put moisture absorbers in the cabin

Winterizing your summer toys properly during the long, cold winter months will help ensure that you get to enjoy them again next year.

Winterization Tips for Your Vehicle

November 9, 2011 at 9:13 AM | Posted in Auto | Leave a comment
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Prepare your vehicle for winter with these tips from Edmunds:

Tire Performance. Snow tires provide the best traction on slick surfaces. If you must use all-season or regular tires, make sure they are in top condition for maximum braking, acceleration, and handling capabilities. In winter’s lower temperatures, the air pressure in a cold tire will drop. Tire pressure is critical to guarantee the best possible contact between the tire and the road. A properly inflated tire will also help protect against wheel damage that might occur if you hit a pothole. Your owner’s manual will provide the correct tire pressure.

  • Four-Wheel-Drive Systems. Make sure the system engages and disengages smoothly, and that there are no strange noises emanating from the drive-train when the system is in use. Check to make sure that the transmission and gear oil levels are correct.
  • Use the Right Viscosity of Oil. Viscosity simply refers to how thick or thin a fluid is. When winter arrives, the outside temperature drops. The colder the oil is, the thicker it will be, and won’t circulate properly in a cold engine.Take the time to warm up your car before driving off.
  • Belts and Hoses. Belts and hoses in modern cars lead long lives, but cold temperatures accelerate the demise of a belt or hose. Have them inspected before winter starts.
  • Windshield Wipers and Washer Fluid. Visibility is key in winter, but is often compromised by precipitation, salt, and build-up on the windshield – not to mention reduced daylight. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is one year. If your car’s blades are older, replace them. Also check and fill your wiper fluid reservoir. Consider adding wiper fluid that has been mixed with anti-freeze.
  • Check the Battery. Batteries give little notice before they die, and always seem to expire at the worst possible moment. Very cold temperatures can reduce a vehicle’s battery power by up to 50 percent. If your vehicle battery is older than three years, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility. Also, make sure the posts and connections are free of corrosion. If the posts are corroded, clean them with baking soda, water, and a small wire brush.
  • Use an Antifreeze Mixture. The ideal mixture of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside your vehicle’s radiator is 50:50. If the mixture deviates from this norm, then hot and cold weather performance can suffer.
  • Heater and Defroster. Check both your heating system and the defrosters for proper operation. One easy way to speed up the defrost process is to turn on the A/C (leaving the temperature dial on warm).
  • Update Your Roadside Emergency Kit. Having a roadside kit doesn’t take up much space and can prove invaluable in an emergency. Things you might want to consider carrying include:
    • A flashlight, flares, and a first-aid kit.
    • Jumper cables and a tool kit.
    • A blanket, warm clothes, hat, and gloves.
    • A bag of sand, salt, or non-clumping kitty litter for added traction when a tire is stuck.
    • A snow brush, ice scraper, and snow shovel.
    • Extra washer fluid.
    • Extra food and water.

Don’t be left out in the cold this winter!  Prepare your vehicle in advance to avoid any uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situations.

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