Prevent a ‘Fall’ Out: Prepare Your Home for Autumn

Towards the beginning of September, people begin to notice that change is in the air. The air gets colder, the days get shorter, and the leaves begin to evolve into a kaleidoscopic splendor. The Autumn season is quickly approaching, and homeowners must take the proper precautions to ensure their home will survive the sometimes harsh weather conditions of the later months in the year. Here are 10 tips for home maintenance that will prepare you for fall in New England:

1. Check Your Roof and Chimney

Start by cleaning off all the dead leaves and debris, then check for any damaged or loose shingles that may become a problem later on if they are left without being repaired. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional to ensure that it is ready for the firewood that you will burn as the cold weather sets in. Make sure that you have stocked up on firewood as well, especially if you are gathering your own.

2. Repair Your Siding, If Necessary

As with your roof, make sure that the siding on your home is not damaged, and if it is, it’s important to fix the problem before the weather changes and you are no longer able to do so. You can try to fix it yourself, or call in a professional.

3. Reinforce Windows and Doors

This is one of the most important things you can do to not only prevent drafts and leaks but also to save energy, and therefore, money. Use caulk to seal up gaps along the frame of your doors and windows, which allows you to keep warm air inside and avoid a loss of energy.

4. Clean the gutters and check water drainage

Make sure that your gutters are free of dead leaves and debris, and that water has a clear path from your roof, through the downspouts and out onto the ground. Otherwise, large pools of water could collect on your roof in the fall and lead to leaks.

5. Take Apart Garden Hoses

Separate the hose from the outside spigot and turn off the faucet. Be sure that you drain the hose and store it in a dry place. This is to prevent the water that is left over from freezing and damaging the hose.

6. Check Your Sprinklers and Irrigation System

As with garden hoses, you may have to drain your sprinklers to prevent freezing when the cold weather sets in. Speak to a professional to check exactly what you should do, as this can prove to be taxing.

7. Inspect Landscaping

Check that your trees are trimmed and your plants have protective mulch around them to be ready for when the frost sets in. Also take note of any tree branches that extend over your home or driveway. Weak or dying branches are most susceptible to breaking and landing on valuable property; especially when weight is added, such as snowfall.

8. Test and/or Replace Home Protection Devices

Make the start of the Autumn season your designated time to check the batteries in all home safety devices, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. They should be equipped with fresh batteries and tested at least twice a year.

9. Store Away Seasonal Furniture

Lawn chairs, picnic tables, and other outdoor furniture should be stored away in a dry, undisturbed area to prevent weather damage.

10. Organize Your Garage/Shed

With all of your summer furniture and equipment being stored away for the season, things can get pretty tight for storage. Take the time to organize and store away your summer items and remove any liquids that can freeze during the fall/winter months.

*Bonus Tip

Winter isn’t the only season for hazardous driving conditions. Throughout Autumn, roadways will inevitably be covered with leaves that fall as the weather turns colder. After rainfall, wet leaves on the road can be just as slippery and dangerous as snow. Before the leaves even begin to change color, always review and renew, if necessary, your automobile insurance policy to ensure you’re protected from any unforeseen incidents that may occur during the latter months of the year. Call Waitte’s Insurance Agency at (860) 886-1961 or click here to double check your current coverage.

Norwich CT House Insurance: Protect Your Home This Winter

With freezing cold temperatures, you need to make sure to protect your home. In addition to having Norwich CT House Insurance, you must take the necessary steps to keep your home safe and ready for winter.  Your best bet is to safeguard against the following winter complications, but in even a worst-case scenario, having proper Norwich CT house insurance will lessen any stressful situation that may arise.

Here are some common winter problems and how to protect against them to keep your Norwich CT House Insurance rates as low as possible.

Frozen Pipes:

Pipes that freeze can crack from expanding ice, creating a world of complications for your plumbing. One way to prevent frozen pipes is to fully insulate them with foam insulation. If insulation is not updated or even plausible for your home, schedule regular inspections of all pipes during the winter months.

Cold Internal Temperature:

Heat always finds a way to escape from your home in wintertime. Proper insulation is the best defense against this from happening. Updated weather stripping around areas that allow cold air in will also help to avoid having to crank up your thermostat.

Roof Damage:

Snow and fallen tree branches can be detrimental to your roof. Weak tree branches over your home that accumulate heavy amounts of snow are likely to crack and fall onto your roof, causing leaks or even collapses. This can become a nightmare in regards to your Norwich CT house insurance premium. Trim branches hanging over your roof and always clear your roof of snow immediately after a storm. Snow that lingers on a roof for too long can turn into ice, making it increasingly difficult to remove later.

Weathering:

Strong storms can strip the paint on your house. Make sure to use weather-resistant paint to keep it looking fresh all year long. If you plan on putting your house on the market in the future, weathered paint can be a major deterrent for potential buyers.

Damage to the Landscape:

Winter storms can kill plants and knock over unsteady trees. Bring any potted plants that you wish to keep throughout the winter inside to save them from cold temperatures. Surround and cover additional outdoor plants or gardens with mulch so they are not extensively damaged by frost. You may also want to consider laying down a wintertime fertilizer onto your lawn to ensure your grass returns greener than ever come spring.

Formation of Ice Dams:

Ice dams can easily form when the parts of your roof near the top are warmer than the rest of it. The snow in these areas will melt faster and then refreeze toward the eaves. Invest in a roof rake to get rid of the snow before this can happen. Also,  keep downspouts clear of debris. Adding attic insulation will keep heated air from getting to the roof through the attic.

Long-time New Englanders know the trials of up-keeping their home during the bitter winter months. With these simple precautionary measures, you can avoid a stressful ‘brain-freeze’ and keep your Norwich CT house insurance at a low, affordable rate. Are you due for a homeowners insurance review or wish to compare your current rates?

Don’t overpay! Receive your FREE rate quote for Norwich CT House Insurance HERE!

Connecticut Personal Umbrella Insurance: What You Need to Know

Connecticut personal umbrella insurance is a safeguard that protects you from incurring unexpected expenses as the result of an accident. And while this sounds like the pitch for the auto and homeowners insurance policies that you already have, it’s actually a bit different.

What Does Connecticut Personal Umbrella Insurance Cover?

Consider, for a moment, that you are involved in an auto accident that incurs $500,000 in damages and you’re the responsible party. Your auto insurance policy covers you up to $250,000, but after that, you’re on your own to come up with the remainder. Now you’re out a quarter of a million dollars and your personal assets are at risk.

A personal umbrella insurance policy fills in the gap to protect you and the assets that you’ve worked so hard to secure. It kicks in to cover the expenses that extend above and beyond those which your existing auto or homeowners insurance policies cover.

Who needs Personal Umbrella Insurance?

Personal umbrella insurance is valuable for many insurance customers, particularly those with the following circumstances:

A job that requires extensive driving, increasing their risk of an automobile accident.

– Dangerous items in the home, including a swimming pool, trampoline or firearm.

– Pets, particularly dogs that may be categorized as aggressive.

In addition to these factors, you should also consider your own personal net worth, how much liability coverage your existing policies insure and the likelihood that you may be sued. Understanding whether your assets – and what assets – may be on the line somewhere down the road can help you to decide whether personal umbrella insurance is a good buy. Both individuals and families can benefit from personal umbrella insurance.

Personal Umbrella Insurance Just Makes Sense:

You may be wondering whether a personal umbrella policy is worthwhile when you could just as easily increase the coverage offered by your existing insurance policies. While that is a valid option, it’s not one that will save you money or frustration.

What makes a personal umbrella policy unique is that it covers the gaps, wherever they may come up. You can’t plan for an accident, and your umbrella insurance is there to cover those areas. All you have to do is pay into one plan that offers you upward of $1 million, rather than increasing the coverage of the policies you think might be impacted at some point down the line.

Do You Need Connecticut Personal Umbrella Insurance?

Residents of the state of Connecticut, in particular, can benefit greatly from personal umbrella insurance. The net worth of Connecticut residents is the among the highest in the country, meaning that your valuable assets are on the line in the event of an accident.

Avoid a devastating lawsuit and protect your hard-earned assets in the event of an unforeseen incident. Contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency at (860) 886-1961 to learn more about if Connecticut Personal Umbrella Insurance is right for you.

Prevent Flood Damage to Your Home with 6 Simple Tips

Traditionally in New England, the period of time that leaves your home the most susceptible to flood damage is during the rainy spring season. Most often in March and April, consistent downpours and minimal sunshine can create a world of problems for homeowners. But as all Connecticut locals will tell you, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes. As unpredictable as the four seasons can be in this region of the U.S. there are always preventative measures for protecting your home, automobiles, and of course, your loved ones during unfavorable weather conditions. In regards to an excess of water threatening your home, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind in the effort to prevent flood damage.

6 Simple Ways You Can Prevent Flood Damage to Your Home

Shovel Snow Away From Your Foundation:

This issue is particularly relevant to New England homeowners. With how drastically temperatures can rise during the transition into spring, snow mounds leftover from previous winter storms can melt at an expedited rate. Move all remaining snow away from your home so that it doesn’t melt into your foundation and cause damage.

Repair/Protect Your Roof:

Any necessary repairs to your roof should be made well ahead of the rainy season. Simply putting a bucket underneath a leak in your ceiling only masks the problem. Leaks that may appear to be small will inevitably get bigger and cause extensive damage to your roof. Schedule a maintenance check on your roof and fix any and all problematic areas. Not to be used in place of repairs, but large tarps can provide a temporary solution to cover weak spots that are prone to leakage. Investing in a rubber roof underlayment could also prevent widespread damage.

Clear Gutters:

Gutters clogged with debris, such as leaves and mud, are completely useless. The main purpose of gutters on your home is to detract rainfall away from your foundation and prevent flood damage. To allow water to properly flow and escape through your gutters, make sure to remove large clumps of debris and clear away blockages using a garden hose if possible. This project will typically require a ladder so ALWAYS use caution when cleaning your gutters.

Invest in Sandbags:

Burlap bags filled with sand can work wonderfully for blocking water from entering your home. Piling large mounds of these bags around every inch of your home’s foundation isn’t necessary. However, sandbags can be very effective in keeping water away from easily accessible entrances to your home, such as basement doors.

Elevate Expensive Equipment/Possessions:

During any threat of flooding, devise a plan for certain electronics, furniture, appliances and other valuable items to be raised out of areas that are prone to flooding. For larger items such as washing machines, this may be a difficult task, but raised platforms for temporary placement can protect many of your pricier belongings. All electrical items should also be unplugged during a flooding occurrence.

Document All Possessions:

Irreplaceable items such as gifts with sentimental value should always be in a waterproof and elevated location. For possessions that can be replaced but are expensive in nature, properly document and appraise them so that they can be submitted in an insurance claim in the event that flooding damages them. Certain items may not be covered under your current homeowners insurance policy, so you may want to consider looking into Personal Articles coverage for particular valuables.

Connecticut and its surrounding states must always be on alert for ever-changing weather conditions. Whether you are stocking up on salt for the winter or collecting sandbags to prevent flood damage, your home is one investment that needs continuous tender, love and care. Stop a disaster before it even starts by not only preparing your home for unforeseen storms and flooding but also with sufficient insurance coverage.

If you’re in the market for a new homeowners insurance policy or you simply wish to review your current policy, Waitte’s Insurance Agency is always there! Maintain peace-of-mind for your home and family by calling our office at (860) 886-1961.

Avoid Common, Yet Costly Homeowner’s Insurance Claims

So you say you’ve never had to file any homeowner’s insurance claims. (knock on wood!) If you fall into this category, then you’re one of the fortunate ones. However, as long as you’re aware that disasters can occur at any moment, you’re more prone to take precautions to lessen the blow whenever the need to file a claim may pop up. Even the most common damages or injuries that occur inside or around the home can be minimalized with a few simple preventative measures. Check out some of the ways you can decrease the likelihood of having to file a claim on your home.

Prevent Damage, Injury, and Costly Homeowner’s Insurance Claims Against…

Weather:

With a lack of caution, unpredictable weather such as wind, rain, hail, snow and other storms can force the need to file homeowner’s insurance claims.

– Purchase and install storm doors and windows. Always keep them securely locked during any type of storm.

– Prepare proper storage for outdoor furniture, lawn ornaments, potted plants, or any light-weight yard items. Things such as deck tables or potted plants        can not only get damaged themselves but can become dangerous when thrown around by extremely high winds.

– Lightning can also pose a threat. Install lightning rods to avoid as many lightning strikes as possible. Use surge protectors and unplug unnecessary              electronics during a storm.

– During the winter, accumulated snow can wreak havoc on homes, especially those with flat roofs. Clear off your roof any time there is snowfall. Just a          foot of snow can weaken a flat roof to the point of collapse.

– Hire a licensed professional to trim any tree branches that hang over your home. Branches can become weakened and snap from intense winds or added      weight from snowfall.

Water:

Water damage is not typically covered by standard homeowner’s insurance; therefore, you often need a separate policy.

– Rain gutters should be relatively new and installed securely. Aim gutter reservoirs as far away from your home’s foundation as possible. Clear all gutters      of leaves, mud and other debris at least twice a year to allow water to flow easily.

– Regularly inspect outdoor water hoses, spouts and other things that discharge water. Pay attention to details while looking for wet spots or leaks.

– Have your roof inspected annually, as the smallest leak can quickly escalate into a much larger problem.

– Seek professional assistance at the first sight of leaks coming from your sinks, toilets, showers, or other indoor piping. Especially in regards to plumbing,      repairs will only increase in cost and aggravation the longer you put them off.

Fire:

Fire damage to your home can be devastating, but it is also one of the most preventable disasters.

– Unplug electronics when they are not in use.

– Damaged electrical cords should be replaced immediately.

– Keep furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces, and other heat sources properly maintained and far away from flammable objects and furniture. Never leave            heating sources or flames, such as candles, unattended.

– For smokers, try to smoke outside whenever possible. In case you do smoke indoors, thoroughly extinguish your cigarette/cigar

Homeowner's Insurance Claims - Norwich, Connecticut

and its ashes with water. Never smoke when you are sleepy.

– Set a timer with an alarm whenever using an oven, stovetop or grill to remind you that it is on. Never wear loose-fit clothing    when cooking.

– Keep all lighters and flame sources stored away and out of reach of children.

– Connecticut state law requires smoke detectors to be installed on each floor of your home. As an extra precaution, install           these detectors in each bedroom as well. Test them every month to make sure they are working properly.

– Store fire extinguishers at each end of the house. Check their gauges monthly and replace them right away if they are                 inoperable. (see image on right)

Accidents:

If someone is injured on your property, you may be liable depending on the circumstances.

– Clear all ice/snow from walkways and doorsteps during the winter.

– Rearrange electrical chords, furniture or other objects that can be a tripping hazard.

– Replace any loose or broken floorboards, stairs, handrails or driveway divots that can cause injury.

– Swimming pools should be completely fenced in with a locking gate.

– Properly secure any hanging decorations or furniture that can potentially fall and injure someone.

– Dog owners can be liable if their pet bites someone on your property. The best solution for this is to properly train your dog to not be aggressive, but if        that is not in the cards, keep your dog fenced in your yard and display a “Beware of Dog” sign on the fence.

Prevention is key! It doesn’t require a lot of effort to safeguard your home and side-step the most common homeowner’s insurance claims. In some instances, your home may require additional coverage in the form of a Personal Umbrella. If you believe this might be the case for you, please contact us today for a quote!

Get your FREE Personal Umbrella or Homeowner’s Insurance quote by clicking here!