The furnace is good, now what?

Your furnace is winterized and ready to go, but how can you help your furnace not run as much.  One thing you can do is run your ceiling fans in reverse.  Running ceiling fans in reverse causes the hotter air that is at the top of the room to be sent down towards the bottom of the room or house.  According to Popular Mechanics, this could cut your heating cost up to ten percent. 

 

Drafts from windows and doors can cause your furnace to work overtime as well.  One simple way to block drafts is to roll up a towel or fabric and place it around door jams that are leaking heat.  A more costly solution is installing storm doors and windows.  Popular mechanics states that a door snake could save you between 5 and 30 percent on your heating, storm doors and windows can be up to 45%.  This could be worth the extra money in the long run.  Weather stripping could be a good middle ground between the two or extra reinforcements.  In the same idea category, re-caulking around your windows can help as well.  Both of these options are cost effected and usually easy to DIY.  Worried about the look of your winterizing?  Try heavier curtains.  Heavier curtains can look stylish and help cut the draft sneaking through windows. 

 

Keeping checking our blog this month as we continue to look at ways to winterize your home to keep you safe and save you money. 

 

Sources:

 

https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/interior-projects/how-to/g52/winterize-home-tips-energy-461008/

 

https://www.hgtv.com/design-blog/design/12-ways-to-prep-your-home-for-cooler-days

Fall is here

Fall is officially here and the weather is cooling off slightly.  Soon temperatures will drop below freezing at night, with freezing temperatures during the day to follow.  Now is typically the time of year when you start to winterize your home for the upcoming winter.  Winterizing your home can save you money by making it more weather efficient and by saving you from costly repairs or homeowners insurance claims.  One simple place to start is by replacing your furnace filter.  Replacing your furnace filter can range in price depending on the type of filter.  A permanent filter might be a good option.  According to popular mechanics disposable fiberglass filters can catch 10 to 40% of debris, while electrostatic filters can trap around 88%.  (https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/interior-projects/how-to/g52/winterize-home-tips-energy-461008/).  Another thing to think about according to networx.com is that leaving furnace filters to become clogged can result in a build-up that could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.  (https://www.networx.com/article/furnace-filter-danger).  While you are changing out your furnace filter, it is a good idea to do some cleaning around the furnace.  Make sure that there are no paint thinners or flammables around the furnace.  Also make sure that the front panel door is properly in place.  Finally make sure all of the area under and around the furnace is unobstructed.  Finally have a HVAC professional inspect the furnace.  This can possibly prevent accidents and also make the furnace run more efficiently.  We will be updating this blog with other helpful winterizing tips in the coming weeks.  Also make sure you check out our Twitter, Google+, and Facebook accounts. 

2018 Pittsburgh Vision Walk

We will be at the 2018 Pittsburgh Vision walk again this year. This year’s walk is on September 29th with registration staring at 9 am and the walk starting at 1030 am. The walk will start at The Great Lawn at Heinz Field at 100 Art Rooney Ave Pittsburgh PA 15212. If you would like to donate to the walk you can do so at the below link. We would like to encourage everyone to consider making a donation.

http://www.fightblindness.org/site/TR/VISIONWALK/VisionWalktr?sid=1400&type=fr_informational&pg=informational&fr_id=6001

We want your feedback

We have a blog, Facebook page, Google+, and Twitter. We update all of these regularly. We update them with insurance info, on-goings of the agency, and local news. What we want to know is what you want to see? Do you want more insurance info? More news and on-goings? Let us know. You can comment on this posting or let us know on our other social media sites. How can we make our social media serve you better?

Life Insurance Awareness Month

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month.  During this month we would like to ask everyone to evaluate your life insurance needs.  We will be updating our social media sites with more life insurance content than normal.  We would also point out that www.lifehappens.org is a great source for life insurance info.  Life insurance can protect your family or company form the loss of a loved one or key employee.  You might also be able to save money on your home and auto with life insurance and the multi-policy discount it generates.  We want to offer our services at 412-344-2800 for anyone with life insurance questions.  Give us a call and see if protecting your love ones is more cost effective than you think.

We want to be here for you

We want to be here for you.  If you our one of our customers we want to thank you for being a customer, if you are doing some research and checking us out then welcome.  Either way thanks for checking out our blog. We want to be here for you in all areas.  Check out our social media accounts.  We are on google+, Facebook, and twitter.  You can click the buttons on this page to go to each account.  On our social media we talk about insurance but we also try to keep you informed on the on goings of the city, traffic and other things related to Pittsburgh.  We also love feedback on these sites so let us know how we are doing. 

 

We want to help you not only with your home and auto insurance but also with your life, health, and business insurance.  We want to help you find the best complete package to make sure that you are properly protect for whatever life throws at you.  September is Life Insurance Awareness month, we would like to ask each of you to evaluate your life insurance needs, or let us help you evaluate.  There are companies that will give you a discount on your home and auto with your life insurance. 

 

We want you to know that we are here for you.  Feel free to call us or contact us for a yearly review as well.  A year or two can result in some big changes; let us help you make sure you are covered.

Other ways you can save money on your home and auto.

How can I save money on my home and auto is a very common question that we receive.  Typically we want to accomplish this without cutting coverages.  One way we can try and save money on home and auto is to bundle your policies, but what if that is already done?  The next thing we can do is look at the discounts the company has to offer, do you have all of your qualifying discounts?   Many companies offer you discounts that you receive when your policy goes into force.  There are instances where changes in your lifestyle can lead to home and auto discounts.  Being an older driver and taking a defensive driving class is one example.   Having youthful drivers take drivers training is another example.  One way you can reduce your home and auto cost though is by getting more.  What do we mean by this?  What we are talking about is buying life insurance.  Life insurance with some companies can give you up to a five percent discount.  That discount could be more than the cost of the life insurance itself.  This can be a win-win for the consumer.  Many changes in life result in a need for life insurance.  Getting married, buying a home, or sending a child to college all generate needs for life insurance.  By purchasing life insurance you get a product that you need and you save money.  There are a lot of life insurance products available; some offer you cash value while others give you only a death benefit.  Navigating life insurance quotes along with multi-policy discount numbers can be confusing.  How can you make it less confusing, by letting us do the work for you.  Contact us to discuss your life insurance needs and to have us evaluate how adding life insurance could save you money. 

Why do I need life insurance?

Insurance can be a topic that is often misunderstood; life insurance is even more misunderstood than home and auto insurance.  Home and auto insurance can protect tangible things, your house, your wedding ring, your car, and many other things.  What does life insurance protect?  For starters it also helps protect your house, auto and many of your tangible things.  How long would it take for your family to feel the impact of losing your income? Would losing your income hurt your family’s ability to keep your house and car?  According to lifehappens.org “about 38% of Americans believe they would feel the financial impact from the death of the primary wage earner within a month of their passing”.  One month is not a very long time considering that income is gone for life.  Protecting your home and auto isn’t all life insurance can do?  It can provide you money for funeral expenses, college tuition, credit card debt, loans, and daily living expenses (lifehappens.org).  When you look at all that life insurance can protect, the cost seems to be secondary at that point.  So where can you get your life insurance? There are few options but talking to your insurance agent is a great place to start.

 

I get life insurance through my work.  That is a statement a lot of people make when being ask about their life insurance needs.  Do you know how much life insurance you have through your work?  Typically it is not enough value to cover what you need.  There are many online life insurance calculators to help you with need.  Lifehappens.org has one.  You can also call us at 412-344-2800 or email us or contact us via our social sites with the buttons in the top right hand column.  What would happen if you leave your job?  Would your life insurance stay at your old job?  Most life insurance through work plans is only good if you stay at your job.  Thinking you can just get life after you leave your job if you need it, maybe yes but at a cost.  Life insurance is dependent on certain factors like age and health.  Buying life insurance early while you are young and in good health can save you money now and down the road by not having to pay larger premiums due to disease and health issues. 

 

With all of the things life insurance can protect, it has to be expensive right?  Most Americans overestimate the cost of life insurance by a great deal.  Term life insurance can be a cost effective way to give you a death benefit.  Term insurance covers you for a length of time for a set amount of coverage.  30 years at 300,000 would be an example of a possible term policy.  Here is something else to consider, your life insurance policy can give you a discount on your home and auto.  When you look at your insurance cost on a monthly basis, the cost could be very insignificant.  Other life insurance products can not only protect your loved ones after you passing but provide a cash value to you.  To find out what life insurance could cost you, contact us.  Let us find you the right coverage at the right price and take the guessing out of life insurance.

 

Does my homeowners policy cover flooding?

Rain and flooding has been rampant in our area this summer.  Flooding can cause massive amounts of damage.  Most homeowners and business policies do not cover flooding.  Flood Insurance is typically its own separate policy.  Most of the time if you are in a flood zone the bank loaning you the money will make you acquire flood insurance, however we have seen flooding this summer in areas that are not in typical flood zones.  We would be happy to discuss flood insurance with you and discuss your needs.  You can reach out to us via the contact page of this site or call us at 412-344-2800.

What insurance do I need for an Airbnb?

An Airbnb can be a great option to save money when you go out of town.  What if you want to use your home as an Airbnb?  There are potential coverage issues when you use your home as an Airbnb.  AirBnb offers coverage for the liability through Host Protection Insurance.  When looking at the Airbnb website the Host Protection Insurance looks to be coverage for 1 million dollars for third-party claims of bodily injury or property damage related to an Airbnb stay. (airbnb.com/help/article/937/what-is-host-protection-insurance).  The Airbnb will also cover up to 1,000,000 for damages to a covered property in the event a guest damages the house. (https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/279/what-is-the-airbnb-host-guarantee).  

Where does that leave you with your insurance carrier?  First it is a good idea to contact us if you are thinking of listing your house as an Airbnb or listing with another home sharing service.  Some companies will deny coverage for a claim if it is used for home sharing.  Other companies will provide coverage if the company is made aware and the proper endorsements are listed.  Erie Insurance will cover home sharing in many circumstances.  Erie will extend coverage for home sharing when the insuring home is the primary location.  Keep that in mind as Erie will not provide coverage for home sharing on a seasonal or secondary dwelling.  Erie will extend coverage once the Incidental Business Endorsement is added.  Your home must also be listed through a home sharing online platform service with a primary liability limit of 1,000,000.  

Your Airbnb Host Protection along with your Erie policy should protect for most situations that arise.  Contact us with other questions.  For more helpful tips and insights stay tuned to this blog.  Also remember to check out our social media pages listed at the top right hand corner of this blog.  

Wrapping up the month of June.

The month of June is almost over.  Hopefully the start summer has been off to a good start for you and those around you.  With Summer in full swing there are a lot of activities and adventures coming up.  We want to remind you that we are here for you if you have any insurance questions in regards to these activities and adventures.  Keep in mind that June 28th is National Insurance Awareness Day.  With that being said we would like to give you some things to think about this summer when it comes to your insurance.  

June is the most popular month for weddings.  Weddings are usually very happy and exciting times for everyone involved.  Weddings much like graduation parties can present some liability issues for those people hosting these events.  With some companies and in some cases your homeowners will extend to cover the liability for the event.  It is a good idea to check with both your venue and your homeowners insurance to see what is and isn't covered.  That way you know of any issues that could come up.  Do not forget about the liquor exposure either.  Also before you even get to planning the wedding make sure that your engagement ring is properly covered.  Inland Marine policies or riders on your homeowners are a great way to make sure your ring is protected.  

With June being the first month of summer many people are out on the water, whether you are at the ocean, the lake. or the river, your toys can present you with a liability exposure.  Boats, jet skis, and other power sports toys can leave a coverage gap if you are not careful.  Boat policies are a great way to not only protect your investment but also provide you with liability if you find yourself in a law suit.  Most companies write these products but some companies do it better than others.  

As June comes to a close we wish everyone a happy and safe summer.  As always we ask you to follow us on our social media sites which are linked in the top right hand corner.  We also want to remind you that we have a referral program where you can win a gift card.  All you have to do is refer us someone you know for a quote.    

Graduation season and how your new Grad's party could affect you.

June can be a very exciting month.  Students graduate college and high school.  To celebrate many families throw graduation parties.  These parties come in many shapes and sizes and many locations.  When planning these parties people are very excited and worried about the food menu and other logistics.  One thing that many people do not think about is how a graduation party could potentially lead to a claim that could negatively impact their lives.  In that same regard people do not think about how insurance can help them.  Renting a venue can be a great way to host a graduation party.  The venue is set up for a large crowd and many venues have the kitchen and restroom set ups to accommodate guest.  This is a great option to make your graduation party a little easier.  The problem could come when your venue ask you for insurance for the day.  What can you do?  Do you need to get a special event policy?  Did you know that your homeowners insurance may be able to cover the event?  You may need to increase your limits but in many cases your homeowners insurance can cover an event like this.  What if the party is at home?  Do you have enough insurance should the unthinkable happen?  Your homeowners policy would cover the event in your home but it is a good idea to double check with your agent to make sure your limits are high enough.  Another great option would be adding an umbrella to your policy.  An umbrella would give you a million dollars of coverage to sit on top of your current policies.  An umbrella could keep you from having to pay a large settlement out of pocket.  Finally do not forget that you could be on the hook for intoxicated guest leaving your party.  

The Dog Park and warmer weather

The warmer weather is not just exciting for people; our four legged friends also get excited for more time outside and open windows.  One great activity that you can do with your dog is a trip to the local dog park.  The dog park can be a great place to socialize for you and your dog.  There are a few factors to consider though before you and your faithful companion take a trip to the local park.  The dog park can be a great place, but it is designed for dogs that are well-adjusted to social situations.  A dog park full of over aggressive dogs may not be the best option for you and your dog.  It is also a good idea to find a park or time where dogs are close to the same size as your dog.  Dogs can become injured when playing with dogs too large for them.  Be attentive of your dog, growling, mounting, and other aggressive behavior can be a sign that your dog and another dog might be close to fighting.  If you dog does start fighting with another dog remember to not get between them, instead throw water on the dogs or use a stick or object to separate them.  Finally bring your own water.  The communal bowl that is at the dog park can be full of parasites and other bacteria that can harm your dog. 

 

The dog park can also be a factor for your homeowners or renters insurance. One factor would be what if your dog got hurt and needed to see the vet or get an operation.  Vet bills can add up just like medical bills.  Pet health insurance is a thing, and we can help you out with that.  Safeco insurance does offer Pet Health Insurance and we would be happy to give you a quote.  Another issue would be what if your dog hurt someone else’s dog or someone else.  That could bring into play a potential liability claim.  That claim would go on your homeowners or renters policy.  Making sure you have the correct limits for your homeowners and renters can be the difference of a bad situation becoming worse.  After a day of play at the dog park your buddy could still be wound up and bouncing around in the car.  Be extra careful when backing up and driving and set up a divider from your dog if possible.  These precautions can keep you and your furry friend safe on the ride to and from the park. 

 

Are you looking for more safety articles?  Curious about other insurance topics?  Check out our blog and follow us on our social media sites.  Click the buttons at the top right hand side of the page to be linked to our social sites.  Also check back with our blog for more info.