Do I Need Special Coverage On My Homeowners Insurance Policy for Collectibles

A typical homeowners insurance policy offers little, if any, coverage for collectibles.  To get coverage, you have to specifically request it and pay an extra premium.  Before you insure collectibles, consider getting a written appraisal of each item first.   It will help you get the proper amount of coverage and will reduce the chance that the insurer will contest your estimates if you have a claim.


Beware of Fraudulent Insurance

Always make sure your agent and the companies that they represent are licensed with the State of Michigan

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Water Loss – What to Do?

Frankenmuth Insurance Loss Control gives us the following tips on water losses.

A malfunctioning sump pump, washing machine, toilet, cracked pipes, or even a damaged roof can lead to significant water build-up in your home. This water build-up often results in damage to the property and its contents. If you are like many other homeowners, you may be unsure what actions to take during these unfortunate incidents. Insurance does not cover all types of water damage, therefore, it is very important to take immediate action to prevent any further damage to your property. The following tips can help mitigate any damage created by water:

-Stop the water flow. If the roof is leaking or there is an opening allowing water to enter, cover the area with a tarp and place buckets under dripping water. If the sump pump is overflowing, call a plumber to fix the problem. In the meantime, check the fuse box and curcuit breaker to ensure there isn’t a blown fuse or tripped breaker causing the pump to not operate. You can also tap the pump and lines leading to it with something rubber. This may activate the pump if there is something loose. Lastly, unplug the motor, but be careful around water built up around electrical outlets. Feel around in the basin for possible debris build-up and remove it. Quickly plug the motor back in to avoid further flooding. If a pipe or appliance is leaking, turn off the main water supply. This is generally located near the water meter or in a basement utility room.

-Avoid setting computers and printers directly on the floor. Store items in plastic totes rather than in cardboard boxes.

-Remove the water from the area. If the amount of water is small, using towels to soak it up is a good idea. If possible, use a broom to push the water into a floor drain. If there is significant build-up, pumping the water outside or into a drain is your best option.

-Move saturated contents into a dry area. Be cautious. Highly saturated items may be heavy. Making a list of unsalvageable items will assist in the claims process.

-Place fans or dehumidifier in the area. Getting adequate air circulation is crucial in drying out the affected area and will help prevent mold development. Heat should not be applied to speed up the drying process as it promotes mold growth.

-Call a local restoration company to assess the situation. Such professionals can remove saturated flooring and heavy property. There are chemicals that can be applied to the area to prevent mold development. Restoration companies are best suited to apply these as special precautions may be needed in handling them. Contact your plumber if the damage was caused by a pump, toilet, or piping.

-Contact your insurance agent or claims department and explain to them the situation.

Many preventative measures can be taken to avoid water from damaging your property. Having your sump pump inspected regularly can help ensure it is in working order. Periodically, examine piping for cracks, the structure of the home, and drains for debris build-up. A roofing contractor can inspect its durability and provide counsel on when a replacement is needed. Update aging appliances as they often cause water damage. Review your insurance policy with your agent to learn more about what losses are covered and what further coverage is available. Taking these precautions will help protect your home, family, and prevent stressful events from occurring!

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Texting While Driving

Frankenmuth Insurance Loss Control offers these things to consider when you feel the urge to text while driving.

- You are 23 times more likely to get into a car accident if you text while driving.

- Your reaction times are slowed by 35% when you’re writing or reading text messages.

- For every 6 seconds of drive time, when you’re sending or receiving a text message you spend 4.6 of those seconds with your eyes off the road.

- Your steering control is worsened by 91% while texting while driving.

- When you are texting, it is harder for you to maintain a safe distance from other cars, and you drift in and out of your lane more often than those who have a blood alcohol level of 0.10.

- Texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with your eyes off the road.

Text messaging while driving can kill. It’s that simple. Numerous studies show that texting and reading texts are like being drunk while driving, cutting down your reaction times and your overall ability to drive. While it may be hard to ignore the temptation to text and drive, doing so is extremely hazardous and the result can be life changing.

Removal & Prevention of Ice Dams

Frankenmuth Insurance Company offers the following tips for removing and preventing Ice Dams.

The most important rule for removing snow from a roof is…..NEVER attempt to Climb, Stand or Walk on the Roof!

Snow Removal -
Use a roof rake to remove snow from the roof. This action will help slow down an “ice dam’s” growth. Roof rakes work best if the snow is light and less crusty. Using a roof rake while standing on a ladder can be dangerous. Use caution.

Dam Modification -
Cut out or chisel grooves into the dam to allow the water behind it to drain off. Exercise caution so shingles are not damaged as you cut into the dam.

Consult a licensed contractor for any necessary roof repair, vent installation or modification. Wear appropriate footwear for working in the snow and exercise extreme caution when using a ladder in the snow.

Insulation -
Installing additional insulation on the attic floor will reduce the temperature in the attic. Keep in mind once you reach the area’s optimal R-Value (a measure of the insulating value of a material), a further increase in the amount of insulation will not show an appreciable decrease in heat loss.

Weather Stripping -
Weather stripping and/or insulation can also be installed on attic stairways or hatchways and on attic floor-mounted louvers for whole house ventilation fans. Review manufacturer specifications on the fans or recessed lighting fixtures regarding whether the additional insulation will adversely affect their performance.

Ventilation –
Without an adequate amount of ventilation, the heat will build up despite the amount of insulation. Ventilation will also remove water vapor that can condense in the attic and result in dry rot and rust.

Recommended venting is typically one (1) square foot of vent for every 150 square feet of the attic floor area. Smaller gable vents can be replaced with larger units.

If the house roof has an overhang, or soffit, vents can be added to these soffit areas. A ridge vent can also be added. The vent is mounted along the length of the peak of the roof. The cold outside air that enters the soffit vents rises along the inside of the roof and exits through the ridge vent. This action cools the roof and removes moisture at the same time.

Be Safe -
Keeping your home free from Ice Dams is no accident. Be safe. Take note of the topics and recommendations discussed. We encourage you to put them into practice – doing so helps ensure your safety.

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What Are Ice Dams?

Frankenmuth Insurance Company gives us this definition of of ice dams and how they are formed.

A cycle of melting and refreezing occurs when snow accumulates on a roof. Two key factors that interact to cause a problem include the outside temperature and the temperature inside the attic of an affected home.

The warmer the temperature is inside the attic, the more the snow will melt at the roof surface. Typically, the melted snow should flow off the edge of the roof. When the air temperature is very low, the melted snow refreezes at the edge of the roof, where the interior roof surface is not being warmed by the attic. The refreezing forms an “ice dam,” which is a collection of ice that blocks the path of other melting snow.

As this dam continues formation to a certain height, the melting snow behind it will leak back under the roof shingles and eventually into the home’s interior. On those roofs with a low slope, even a small amount of “ice damming” will result in water backup and damage in short order.

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