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Home Insurance

Take These Steps to Prevent Holiday Home Fires

Reduce your home’s chance of fire this holiday season.

As a homeowner, you can imagine just how devastating a serious fire in your home would be. Unfortunately, during the holidays, your home’s fire risk increases significantly. Luckily, there are some steps you can take around your home to reduce the chances of a fire breaking out on your property. Here are some home fire risk precautions you should employ this holiday season.

Cooking Safety

As you prepare for your upcoming holiday parties and meals, make sure you are practicing fire safety. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports cooking as the top cause of holiday fires. These fires often occur when homeowners forget about food they have left in the oven or on the stove. Another common cause of cooking fires is leaving flammable items near the heat of the stove. So, to reduce your risk for a holiday cooking fire, stay vigilant and do not leave your kitchen unattended during the cooking process.

Candle Safety

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the incidence of fire caused by candles is four times higher in December than it is during any other time of the year. The best way to avoid a house fire is by not lighting candles inside your home. However, if you must use candles, make sure to remove anything flammable within a foot radius of the candle. Additionally, ensure that your candles are placed on sturdy surfaces. Finally, never leave your home or go to bed without extinguishing all the candles inside your home.

Decorating Safety

Finally, using decorative light strings can also increase your home’s risk for fire. Before you hang up any lights, make sure they do not have any frayed cords, exposed wires, or damaged bulbs. Additionally, avoid plugging more than three strings into the same extension cord or power strip, as this could also increase your chances of starting a fire. Finally, check all your lights and cords to ensure you are using the right ones for outdoor and indoor use respectively. Using the proper equipment will ensure your decorations do not spark a fire this holiday season.

These are some of the precautions you should take to reduce your home’s chances of fire this holiday season.  Want another way to keep your home safe?  Make sure you have the right homeowners insurance protections in place.  For assistance with all your personal coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas to get started today.

What You Need to Know About Personal Liability Coverage and Your Homeowners Policy

Do you need to increase the personal liability coverage limits on your homeowners insurance policy?

As a homeowner, you know you are open to certain risks. While you should be concerned about physical damages to your home, you also need to worry about the chances of a liability event taking place on your property. Fortunately, the personal liability coverage offered by your homeowners policy should protect you in the event of a claim. But is this coverage enough? Here’s what you should consider when it comes to your personal liability coverage.

What is personal liability coverage?

Most homeowners have personal liability insurance as part of their homeowners insurance policy. Personal liability insurance offers financial protection for the policyholder in the event of a third-party claim of bodily injury, property damage, or other losses. This type of insurance offers compensation to pay for the affected party’s medical treatment or repair costs. Additionally, your insurance will also provide coverage for your legal and settlement costs should the other party decide to sue.

Do I have enough liability protection?

Unlike auto insurance, there is no minimum liability coverage amount that homeowners need to carry. That being said, there are several factors that affect the amount of coverage that you absolutely need to carry. For instance, your liability coverage limits should increase along with your income, investments, and property value. If you have a pet, a swimming pool, trampoline, or other special home features, you will also need higher liability coverage amounts. To determine how much coverage is right for you, speak to a trusted insurance agent.

How to secure additional liability coverage?

If you only need to increase your coverage limits slightly, you can simply speak to your agent to have your policy’s coverage limits updated. Be aware that increasing your coverage limits will also increase your premiums. Another way to secure additional liability coverage is by investing in a personal umbrella policy. These types of policies offer excess liability coverage if a claim exceeds the coverage limits offered by your existing policies. Securing an umbrella policy is a great way to supplement your homeowners insurance and get the comprehensive liability protection you need.

This is what you need to know about your personal liability coverage limits.  Do you have additional questions regarding your homeowners insurance?  If so, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  We are ready to get you the coverage that you need today.

Try out these suggestions to protect your home and belongings during a power outage.

While most homeowners consider power outages mere annoyances, they actually have the potential to be quite dangerous. In fact, losing power could actually place your home and personal belongings at considerable risk. Here are some of the precautions you should take to reduce the risk of damage or other losses during a power outage.

Prepare Portable Phone Chargers

While you should definitely stock up on flashlights and batteries for a power outage, you should also make sure to have portable phone chargers prepared as well. When the power cuts out, you will lose access to your landline and to the Internet. However, calls made from a cell phone will still be able to go through, which is why it’s so important to keep your phone charged throughout the duration of a power outage in case you need to call for help. Having a portable phone charger will ensure you and your family can maintain contact with the outside world.

Secure Your Home

If you rely on a home security system, it will go out when your home loses power. This is why it’s so important to be extra cautious when locking up your home for the night or during your absence. Make sure you close and lock all windows and external doors. Additionally, it’s important to secure other points of entry such as doggy doors and garage doors. Taking these extra precautions ensures that your home will not be vulnerable to burglars.

Unplug Appliances and Electronics

When the power goes out, the power grid can become unstable, meaning your home might be hit with sudden power surges. These influxes of electricity are so powerful that they can actually damage any appliances and electronics that are plugged into your home’s main electrical supply. To protect your appliances and electronics from damage, make sure you unplug them as soon as your home loses power. You should only plug things back in when the power has been restored and seems to be stable.

These are some steps you should take to protect your home and personal belongings during a power outage. Remember, another great way to keep your home safe is by securing the right homeowners insurance protection. For assistance with your home’s coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

Household appliance

Watch out; these appliances can set your home ablaze.

Fires are some of the most serious and devastating risks that a homeowner can face. This is why it’s so important for homeowners to stay vigilant and take steps to reduce their home’s fire risk. Keeping an eye on these common household appliances can help you mitigate your risk for a house fire.

Dryers

When you use your dryer, lint from your clothing collects in the lint trap, tubing, and vents. This lint is highly flammable, and the extreme heat that your dryer generates is enough to set it ablaze. This is why it’s so important to clean out your dryer on a regular basis. You should clean off your lint trap after every load, and you should do a deep clean of your dryer’s tubing and vents every month or so. Keeping up with this maintenance will reduce your risk for a fire starting in your dryer.

Dishwashers

Because dishwashers make use of water, most homeowners do not consider this appliance a fire risk. However, what they do not account for are the electrical components that heat the water. If these components malfunction, this could easily spark a fire, which is why it’s so important to get your dishwasher serviced by a professional, especially as your dishwasher gets older. In some cases, it’s safest to replace old dishwashers completely.

Microwaves

Failing to maintain or use your microwave properly can increase your fire risk. For instance, if you do not clean out your microwave after each use, the food remnants left behind can actually ignite the next time the microwave is used. Additionally, attempting to heat non-microwave safe materials such as metal and plastic can also start a fire. Simply keeping up with routine maintenance and using your microwave properly will reduce your fire risk significantly.

These are some of the common household appliances that can pose fire risks for your home and how you can reduce this risk. Want another way to keep your home safe? Make sure you have the right homeowners insurance protections in place. For assistance with your home coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

Keep Your Home and Guests Safe This Halloween

Take these steps to protect your home and Halloween visitors.

As Halloween approaches, it’s time to get your home ready for party guests and trick-or-treaters. Taking the right precautions will ensure that everyone has a safe and happy Halloween night. Here are some of the steps you should take to keep your home and visitors safe this Halloween.

Prep Your Yard

  • Remove anything that could constitute a tripping hazard for your Halloween guests. For instance, rake up fallen leaves, fill up holes in your lawn, and remove any ornaments on your lawn or walkways.
  • Make sure you light up the pathways leading to your front door. This will reduce the chances of party guests and trick-or-treaters tripping or bumping into something and injuring themselves.

Decorate Safely

  • Do not decorate using real candles or anything that features a live flame. Candles, even ones meant for decorative purposes, place both your home and your Halloween guests at risk for fire.
  • Do not hang heavy decorations overhead; these could cause injuries and property damage if they were to come crashing down.
  • Avoid decorations that may surprise people. Using these types of pop-up decorations could startle visitors to the point that they actually injure themselves.

Secure Your Pets

  • Secure your pets in a safe location away from your front door. The continuous arrival of party guests and trick-or-treaters can cause your pet to become overexcited, making them more likely to act aggressively or attempt to run away.
  • Do not feed your pet any Halloween treats. Many Halloween staples, such as candy, are toxic to animals.

These are some of the steps that you should take to have a happy and safe Halloween. Want another way to protect your home and loved ones this Halloween? Make sure you have the proper homeowners insurance protections in place. For assistance with all your home coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

 

Why There’s More to Standard Homeowners Insurance Than You Might Think

You might be surprised to learn that your standard homeowners insurance policy includes all these coverages.

While many homeowners assume that their standard home policy only offers them minimal coverages, this is far from the truth. In fact, even the most standard homeowners insurance policies offer surprisingly comprehensive coverage. Here are some of the coverages that your policy offers you.

  • Personal Property

The same coverage that helps you address physical damages to your home’s structure also applies to your personal belongings. This means that your homeowners insurance will offer compensation for the items that are stolen or damaged during a break-in, act of vandalism, fire, extreme weather event, and so on.

  • Personal Liability

Your homeowners insurance will also offer coverage for the personal liability issues that the members of your household may run into. For instance, if a third-party is injured on your property, your personal liability coverage will pay for their medical fees and, if necessary, your legal defense. Additionally, this liability coverage travels with you and your family members, ensuring that they are covered even for liability issues that arise away from your home.

  • Loss of Use

This coverage helps you in the event that your home is damaged and temporarily uninhabitable. This coverage enables you to pay for the expenses associated with living away from your home while it is undergoing repairs. For instance, loss of use coverage will take care of things such as hotel stays and restaurant bills.

These are some of the surprisingly comprehensive coverages included in your standard homeowners insurance policy. Want to learn more about your home coverage options? If so, contact the team at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas. We are ready to assist you with all your insurance needs today.

Surprising Things that Can Void Your Homeowners Insurance

Here are some of the unexpected things that can result in the cancellation of your homeowners insurance policy.

While you may assume that you will have homeowners insurance coverage so long as you pay your premiums, this isn’t exactly true. Just like any other type of insurance, there are things you can do that will result in a denial of coverage or, worse, the cancellation of your policy. If you would like to keep your homeowners insurance coverage, make sure you avoid these things.

Filing Too Many Claims

If you file too many claims within a given amount of time, your insurance provider might flag you as a high-risk homeowner. If you are deemed too risky to insure, your insurer has the right to deny you coverage and even cancel your homeowners insurance altogether. To make matters worse, having an extensive claims history will also make it difficult to secure good, affordable homeowners insurance from other insurers as well.

Leaving Your Home Unattended

Leaving your home unattended for an extended period of time can also cause issues with your home insurance provider. While every insurer has their own definition of an “extended period of time,” the consequences are roughly consistent. Homeowners that leave their home completely unattended face denials of coverage and even the cancellation of their policies. If you plan on being away from your home for a considerable amount of time, follow the steps included in your policy to ensure that you keep your coverage.

Running a Home Business

While running a business out of your home probably won’t result in the cancellation of your homeowners insurance policy, it could compromise your coverage. Most standard home policies include a clause stating that you will not receive coverage for any claims related to commercial operations. This means that, if you run into a claims issue with your business’s property or liability, your homeowners insurance will not cover it. The best way to protect your home business is by securing an actual commercial insurance policy.

These are some of the things that could accidentally cause you to lose your homeowners insurance coverage. Do you have additional questions regarding your homeowners insurance? If so, don’t hesitate to contact the team at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas. Our experts are ready to get you the coverage you need today.

What You Need to Know About Insuring Your Home Remodel

Getting the right coverage for your home remodel.

Undertaking a major home renovation project can be risky. This is why it’s so important to make sure you have the right insurance coverage in place. Here’s what you need to know about insuring your home remodeling project.

Informing Your Agent

Before your project gets underway, report your renovation plans to your home insurance agent. This is important because your insurer needs to know how much the renovation will increase your home’s value. This way they can ensure that your current policy will offer enough coverage for your home’s elevated value.

Policy Changes

Once you inform your agent about your renovation plans, they will be able to explain your best coverage options. Oftentimes, they will recommend gradually increasing your policy’s coverage limits that the project progresses. If you are making a major addition to your home, such as a new room or garage, your insurer might recommend listing these additions in your policy to ensure that they are covered.

Insurance for Contractors

Anytime construction work takes place, there is a risk for injury. However, it is the construction company’s responsibility to provide coverage for its workers. To ensure that you are not held liable for the injuries that take place during the course of your renovation, make sure your contractor and subcontractors (electricians, plumbers, etc.) have the right workers compensation and liability coverage in place.

This is how you can ensure that your home renovation project is covered. Do you have further questions regarding your homeowners insurance? If so, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas for assistance today.

Watch Out for These Common Electrical Causes of House Fires

Don’t leave your home vulnerable to these fire risks.

As a homeowner, you can imagine just how devastating a house fire could be for you and your loved ones. This is why it’s so important to take steps to mitigate the various fire risks that your home faces. As many house fires are caused by electrical issues, here are some of the threats you need to watch out for.

Improper Installation of Lightbulbs

Surprisingly, many house fires are caused when homeowners install the wrong lightbulbs into their home’s lamps and lighting fixtures. This normally occurs when homeowners use high voltage bulbs in lighting fixtures that are not designed to handle this amount of power. To mitigate this risk, simply check the specifications of your home’s lighting fixtures to ensure that you are using the right bulbs.

Faulty Appliances

Another common cause of house fires is malfunctioning or faulty appliances. Oftentimes, fires break out on the cord or within the actual appliance itself. To prevent this from happening, inspect older appliances for frayed cords, lose receptacles, and other potential issues. If you do not feel confident in an appliance’s ability to perform, play it safe and just replace the appliance completely.

Misuse of Extension Cords and Power Strips

Finally, many fires are caused by improperly used extension cords and power strips. For instance, fires can break out when extension cords are run underneath rugs or when too many things are plugged into a power strip at the same time. Ultimately, extension cords and power strips are not a safe or permanent power solution for your home. You are much better off speaking to an electrician about installing more outlets in your home.

These are some of the electrical fire risks that you need to look out for in your home. Want another way to keep your home safe? Make sure you have the proper homeowners insurance protections in place. For assistance with your personal coverage needs, contact the team at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

Summer Home Maintenance Tasks

Take care of your home this summer.

Part of being a homeowner is making sure that you keep your home in good condition. Luckily, there are several steps that you can take to keep your home in tip-top shape. Here are some of the home maintenance tasks that you should stay on top of this summer.

Inspect Your Roof and Clean Your Gutter

You should conduct a routine roof and gutter inspection at least once every season. During summer, it’s especially important to look for any damages your roof might have sustained during the rainy spring months. If you do notice any issues, make sure get them repaired right away before the variable weather conditions of autumn set in. Additionally, you should also take this opportunity to clean out your gutters. Clear away any leaves, twigs, and other debris that have accumulated in your home gutters to ensure that they do not become clogged during an unexpected summer storm.

Get Your HVAC System Serviced

Most homeowners cannot imagine surviving the hot days of summer without the aid of their air conditioner. This is why you should get your home’s HVAC system professionally checked and serviced to ensure that it is in good shape. Once you are assured of your system’s condition, you should take other steps to maintain it. For instance, replacing your home’s air filters and cleaning the areas surrounding your outdoor air conditioning unit are great ways to ensure that you stay cool all summer long.

Complete Routine Yard Work

Finally, your yard might require a little more attention during the warm summer months. In some places, the weather conditions mean that you will experience accelerated plant growth. This, in turn, means that you will have to spend more time weeding, trimming, and mowing this summer. However, higher temperatures might also mean that you will have to spend more time clearing away dead, dry brush from your property. Not only will keeping up with routine yard work boost your home’s curb appeal, but it has other benefits as well. If you live in an area prone to wildfire, taking care of your yard can reduce the chances of fire spreading across your property.

These are some of the home maintenance tasks that you should stay up to date with this summer. Want another way to take care of your home? Then make sure you have the proper homeowners insurance protections in place. For assistance with your coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas. We are ready to get you the coverage that you need today.