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1stDecember
Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

We know how delightful a warm fire is in the winter months. Cuddling up with a cup of hot cocoa and reading your favorite book. However, as the temperature drops the risk of a house fire rises. Renters especially need to be aware of the coverage that they have for personal belongings since this is not covered by your landlord. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your personal property is NOT covered if you do not have a renters policy
  • You have no personal liability coverage if someone is injured on your property due to your negligence
  • Renters insurance covers your personal belongings anywhere. For example, if your car is broken into and your ipod is stolen, your car insurance does not cover this loss. However, your renters policy would

If you are a renter, call your insurance agent today to make sure you have enough coverage in the event of a fire or any other loss you may suffer. Renters insurance is generally very inexpensive, but it is nothing compared to the peace of mind you will have knowing that you have all the protection you need.

24thNovember
Holiday Decorating Safety Tips!

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, many people are already thinking about their Christmas decorating!

We know that decorating for Christmas is fun and festive; but before you climb on the roof to string your lights, remember that about 12,500 injuries occur every year due to Christmas lights and decorations. Along with injuries, Christmas decorations also cause millions of dollars in property damage during the holidays. Take a lesson from Clark Griswold, be safe when decorating for the holidays this year!

Here are some tips to keep your holiday a safe one:

Trees:

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.”  Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from the branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.

Lights:

  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards. Use only lights that have fused plugs.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
  • Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into older homes.
  • Fasted outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
  • Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  • Use caution when removing outdoor holiday lights. Never pull or tug on lights – they could unravel and inadvertently wrap around power lines.
  • Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters.

Decorations:

  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles or plastic or non-leaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.
  • Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

Fireplaces:

  • Do not hang stockings low enough to catch fire.
  • Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

As always, carry homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to protect your home and contents in the event of a fire!

21stNovember
When Water Goes Where It Shouldn’t

Even a small leak can become a major problem, so knowing what you’re covered for and how to prevent water damage are equally important.  The below tips should help uncover any potential water problems down the road and keep your property dry.

 

Check appliance hoses.  Standard hoses are not as durable as they used to be.  Replace rubber hoses with steel-braided hoses. This is a low cost fix that can save thousands in water damage.

 

Broken tiles in the shower can allow water to leak into the walls or on the floor. Replace cracked tiles and re-grout when needed.

 

Run dishwasher and washing machine only when you are home.  If a leak occurs, you can turn the appliance off right away.

 

When on vacation, turn off the main water supply to your house.

 

Keep storm drains near your house clear of leaves.

 

Install a gutter guard.  This can prevent a rooftop disaster caused by drain clogs, and also prevents flooding by water that isn’t carried away from the house.

 

Install a water pressure gauge.  An inexpensive gauge can prevent damage caused by water pressure that’s too high.  Pressure should be between 60 and 80 PSI.

 

©2011 Safeco Insurance Company of America, member of Liberty Mutual Group. 1001 Fourth Avenue, Seattle WA 98154.

 

 

18thNovember
Winter Storms Ahead – Are You Ready?

We admit it: As insurance pros, our picture of winter isn’t exactly cozy. Winter storms mean traffic snarls, hillsides turning to sheets of ice, and cars sliding around like hockey pucks. Cold temperatures can cause pipes to burst, frost swells and other damage. Heating your home with fireplaces and holiday lighting can increase the risk of fire.

A picture-perfect winter requires a few precautions

  • Winter-proof your car with good snow tires or chains, new wiper blades, antifreeze, and emergency road supplies.
  • Keep your attic cool to prevent ice dams. Insulate the attic floor and make sure it is well-ventilated.
  • Do not overload circuits with holiday decorations.

When winter storms hit, be smart

  • If you do not have to drive, stay put. If you must drive, make sure you’ve winterized your car and have a full tank of gas.
  • If pipes freeze, let them thaw normally-they’ll be less likely to burst.
  • And if the power is out, make sure you avoid leaving candles or fires burning unattended. If you use a portable generator, follow the instructions and do not use it indoors.

Know what your insurance covers

We want to help you rest easy.  You will be more relaxed when you know you have prepared your property to lessen the chance of winter storm damage. Your insurance policy covers repair or rebuilding costs. However, your deductible does apply. Check your policy to see what is covered and to confirm the deductible you have chosen.

Want to review your home policy to be sure you have enough coverage? Call us at 925-447-2565 or visit our website for a free insurance review!

Want a homeowner’s quote? Submit a quote request on our website and receive a $10 Starbucks gift card-to keep you warm throughout the cold winter storms!

www.genemorganinsurance.com

31stOctober
Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!We wish you all a Spooky Halloween from your friends at Gene Morgan Insurance Agency!

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24thOctober
Preparing an Effective Evacuation Plan

 

 

In the event of a sudden emergency such as a wildfire, you may have just minutes to gather your family and important papers, and get out of your house, possibly for good. Are you prepared? With preparation and practice, you stand the best chance of getting out with what you and your family need, and ending up in the right place. Planning ahead is crucial; this five-step plan can help get you and your family on the road to safety.

  1. Arrange your evacuation ahead of time. Identify Where you can go in the event of an evacuation. Try to have more than one option: the home of a friend or family member in another town, a hotel or a shelter.
  2. Create a home inventory. A home inventory will help ensure that you have purchased enough insurance to replace your personal possessions. It can also speed the claims process.
  3. Plan what to take. Medicines, bottled water, flashlights & batteries, special items for infants or elderly or disabled family members, computer or laptop, photographs, pet food.
  4. Gather important documents. Keep important documents in a safe place that you can access easily (insurance policies, prescriptions, birth & marriage certificates, passports, drivers license and social security cards).
  5. Take the 10 minute challenge. To find out if you are ready, do a real-time test. Give yourself just 10 minutes to get your family and belongings into the car and on the road to safety.

Want to see if your are adequately protected on your homeowners’ insurance policy? Contact us today at (925) 447-2565 or visit our website www.genemorganinsurance.com for a free insurance review!

18thOctober
The Importance of Renter’s Insurance

 

 

If you live in a rental home or apartment, chances are you don’t have the proper insurance. Despite the fact that rented homes are more likely to be burglarized than owner-occupied properties, nearly 60 percent of renters don’t have a renters policy.

 

Why does it matter?

 

“If you rent a house or apartment and think that your landlord is financially responsible when there is a fire, theft or other catastrophe—think again,” warns the Insurance Information Institute*. “Your landlord may have insurance to protect the building you are living in. But your landlord’s policy won’t replace your personal possessions or pay for your living expenses while the building is being repaired. The only way to protect yourself financially against disasters is to buy a renters insurance policy.”

Renters insurance covers your possessions, liability and additional living expenses. Let’s take a look at these three types of protection:

 

Possessions

 

Standard renters insurance protects your personal belongings against damage from fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, water and other disasters listed in the policy. Floods and earthquakes are not covered.

To decide how much insurance to buy, you need to know the value of all your personal possessions—including furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, kitchen utensils and even towels and bedding. The easiest way to figure this out is to create a home inventory, a detailed list of all of your personal possessions and their estimated value.

 

There are two types of renters insurance policies for your possessions:

  • Actual Cash Value pays to replace your possessions minus an amount for depreciation (the reduction in the value of items due to age and use) up to the limit of your policy.
  • Replacement Cost pays the full cost of replacing your possessions (with no deduction for depreciation), up to the limit of your policy. The price of Replacement Cost coverage is about 10 percent more than Actual Cash Value coverage, but can be well worth the additional cost.

Note that a standard renters policy offers only limited coverage for items such as jewelry, silver, furs, etc. If you own property that exceeds these limits, it is recommended that you supplement your policy with a floater. A floater is a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them for perils not included in your policy such as accidental loss.

 

Liability

 

Standard renters insurance policies also provide liability protection in the event you or members of your familiar cause injury to others or damage their property.  It also pays for damage your pets cause.

If you are sued, the liability portion of a renters policy may pay for both the cost of defending you in court and for court awards, up to the limit of the policy. Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. Your policy may also provide No-Fault Medical coverage. If visitors are injured in your home, regardless of fault, you can submit their medical bills directly to your insurance company. You can generally get $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage. It does not however, pay medical bills for your own family or your pets.

 

Additional Living Expenses

 

Many people are pleasantly surprised to learn that Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverage is typically included in a renters insurance policy. If the home or apartment you are renting is damaged or destroyed and you need to live elsewhere while it is being repaired or rebuilt, renters insurance will cover your additional living expenses—namely the difference between your regular living expenses and the additional costs incurred by having to live away from your home, such as hotel bills, temporary rentals, restaurant meals, etc.

Need help deciding what coverage is best for you? Contact us today at (925) 447-2565 or visit our website at www.genemorganinsurance.com.  Please note we are only authorized to do business in California.

12thOctober
Winter Proof Your Home Before Storms Begin

Although it may be hard to imagine preparing for winter storms today since it is still sunny and warm outside, now is the perfect time to “winter-proof” your home. Many winter-related disasters in your home can be prevented if you take simple precautions now in preparing your home for winter weather.
An important part of planning for winter is to review your insurance coverage. Make sure that you have enough insurance to rebuild your home and replace everything in it. To prepare your home for the upcoming winter, the I.I.I. and theInsurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offer the following tips:

Outside Your Home

  • Clean out gutters. Remove leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters, so melting snow and ice can flow freely. This can prevent ice damming, a condition where water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house causing water to drip from the ceiling and walls.
  • Install gutter guards. Available in most hardware and home stores, gutter guards prevent debris from entering the gutter and interfering with the flow of water away from the house and into the ground.
  • Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice, snow and wind could cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home or car, or injure someone walking by your property.
  • Repair steps and handrails. This may prevent someone from falling and seriously being injured. Broken stairs and banisters can become lethal when covered with snow and ice.
  • Seal cracks in holes in outside walls and foundations. Use caulking to protect water pipes and make sure that skylights and other roof openings have proper weather stripping to prevent snowmelt from seeping in.

Inside Your Home

  • Keep the house warm. Set the thermostat for at least 65 degrees—since the temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are located, is substantially colder a lower temperature will not keep the pipes from freezing.
  • Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. If too much heat escapes through the attic, it can cause snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water can then re-freeze, causing more snow and ice to build up. This can result in a collapsed roof, and can contribute to ice damming. Ideally, the attic should be five to 10 degrees warmer than the outside air. Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces can help protect pipes from freezing. You may also consider insulating unfinished rooms such as garages to keep pipes from freezing.
  • Have the heating system serviced. Furnaces, boilers and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage.
  • Check pipes. Look closely for cracks and leaks and have the pipes repaired immediately. Wrap exposed pipes with heating tape.
  • Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will protect the system against increased pressure caused by freezing pipes and can help prevent your pipes from bursting.
  • Make sure that smoke and fire alarms are working properly. Residential fires increase in the winter, so it is important to protect your family with working alarm systems. Also, consider installing a carbon monoxide detector, since a well sealed home can trap this toxic gas.
  • Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located. If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence. The quicker you can shut off the water or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.
  • Hire a licensed contractor to look for structural damage. If damage is discovered, have it repaired now rather than waiting for a problem to occur. Also, ask about ways to prevent water damage due to snow-related flooding. Plastic coatings for internal basement walls, sump pumps and other methods can prevent flood damage to your home and belongings.
If you are going to be away for an extended period, take special care of your home. Hire someone to check your home on a regular basis so that, if there is a problem, it can be fixed quickly, lessening any damage. Activity at your home will also reduce the likelihood that it will be burglarized.
Always be sure you have adequate coverage on your homeowner’s policy. For a free home insurance review or a new quote, call us at (925) 447-2565 or visit our website at www.genemorganinsurance.com. Remember, not only do we have excellent customer service… But we save new clients up to 50% off their home insurance premiums everyday! Contact us today for your free quotes.

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8thOctober
Contact Us To Save 50% Or More on Home Insurance!

 

 

Save Money on Home Insurance

 

Do you have State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, or AAA homeowners insurance? Contact us today to save up to 50% or more on your home insurance! We really are saving new clients up to 50% off their premiums… Sometimes even more!

 

So submit a quote request on our website. What do you have to lose? Our quotes are all free with no obligation.

 

Call us today at (925) 447-2565 or visit our website at www.genemorganinsurance.com.

4thOctober
What To Do After a Car Accident

The scene of a car accident can be scary and stressful, but if you know exactly what to do the whole process can go a lot more smoothly. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

– If you are not at fault in an accident it is not necessary for you to get your insurance company involved. You can put the claim in directly through the other party’s insurance company and they should take care of it all. If, for some reason you do have to put a not at fault claim in through your company you will be subject to your deductible before the repairs are made. They will of course reimburse you once they get the money from the other company, but it takes much longer. So remember, if you for are not at fault you don’t need to call your company!!

– If there is no injury at the scene of an accident there is a good chance the police will NOT come to do a police report. That means it is entirely up to you to get the other drivers information. Get their name, contact phone number, insurance company, and policy number. It is not a good idea to give your address at the scene of an accident because you never know what could happen with a stranger, so let your company take care of that information.

– If the police DO show up at the accident, there is a good chance they will collect the insurance information from all drivers. However, it is still a good idea to get the other drivers information if they are willing. If you wait to get the police report that could take up to 10 days. That means it will take up to 10 days to even get your claim started! That is a long time to wait, especially if you do not have another mode of transportation. If you get the information from the other driver at the scene, you can get your claim started right away.

– Keep an updated insurance ID card in your vehicle at all times. This card will have all the information you need to give the other party, as well as the phone number for your company to call in your claim. If you have a young driver, keep them informed about what to do a the scene of an accident to insure that they get all the correct information.

As always, if you have any questions or are not getting the help you need from the company, call your agent! We are here to help you understand what is happening with your claim and help you get it resolved as quickly as possible.

Drive safe!!