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Helpful tips, advice, information and fun facts on topics including safety, maintenance and homeowners insurance.
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From category archives: Florida Peninsula

What’s in Your Hurricane Survival Kit?

When a hurricane is approaching, it is important for you and your family to be fully equipped and prepared for the worst. Your hurricane survival kit should be able to carry you through a week or two after a storm or any other natural disaster.  There are several companies which sell pre-assembled survival kits, but they may not be personalized to your own family’s needs, especially if there are young children, which is why you may consider assembling one on your own.   Here are some ideas for building your own hurricane survival kit:  Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 7 to 10 days. Katrina and Wilma emphasized the importance of having sufficient water on hand. Don't forget to include 7-10 days of water (separately) for your pets. Food - at least 2 meals a day per person for 7 to 10 days — non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices — jarred baby food — snack foods (Peanut butter, breakfast bars, crackers, canned ...

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Preparing Children for The Hurricane Experience

As adults, we may have become used to the hurricane experience. When we hear of a hurricane threat, we are most concerned about personal, physical and property security. What is often overlooked, is the psychological trauma it may cause our children.   To a child, hearing word of an incoming storm can be a scary thing and even bring on a sense of panic, especially to those who are afraid of thunder and lightning. It is important to provide support to your children through educational methods, so they can understand what’s really going on, instead of imagining the worst.   Here are some quick tips to prepare your children for the next hurricane:   Talk to them: Just one conversation could change your child’s view of a hurricane. Your children’s reactions are a mirror of yours. By staying calm during the conversation, and especially during a storm, your kids will not have a reason to fear.   Make them comfortable: During a storm, it is important to surround your ...

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3 Things You Didn’t Know About Hurricanes

Hurricanes, or tropical cyclones, are storm systems characterized by strong winds, heavy rain and a propensity for destruction. During hurricane season, it may seem as though there’s one storm after another. Though storms may both frighten and fascinate us, there’s a lot you may not know about them. Here are 3 things you didn’t know about hurricanes:   1.      A hurricane is only a hurricane when it forms over the Atlantic Ocean. If a storm forms over the northwest Pacific Ocean, it's called a typhoon. If it forms in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, it's called a cyclone.   2.      Tropical cyclones began receiving names in 1950 to make it easier for the public to know which particular storm warnings to follow. The World Meteorological Organization creates the list of names to be used for hurricane season, and for the Atlantic season, which runs from June to November. There are six annual lists with 21 names each. Afte ...

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Back to School on Insurance: Know Your Coverage

As a homeowner, it is important to know and understand your coverage through your specific carrier. Stay clear of assumptions and be sure to ask questions if you have any. Having a reliable Renter’s, Condo Owner’s or Homeowner’s Insurance plan in place will not only give you peace of mind, but will protect your family and belongings as well.   Your home is likely the largest financial investment you will make. In the event of a fire, flood or natural disaster, this investment can disappear in a matter of minutes, even seconds. Your insurance policy can cover not only damage, but it can save you from financial ruin.   Making sure you have enough coverage is very important. The best way to determine this is to conduct a home inventory. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) offers a free home inventory tool which lets you create, maintain a photo home inventory, and store it safely in the cloud. To learn more, visit www.knowyourstuff.org. Another important ...

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Staying Safe on Your College Campus

When heading off to college, safety should be a priority for both parents and students. There are several ways to keep yourself and belongings secure by making good decisions and using available resources. Staying safe on your college campus doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep these safety tips in mind: Keep an eye on your belongings: When on campus, remember to keep your belongings close to you and never leave them unattended. When you are constantly surrounded by so many people, it’s hard to notice when things go missing. Lock your door: It doesn’t matter if you are just running down the hall. Always keep your dorm or apartment door locked for your protection. Keep your room keys on you at all times and if you ever misplace them, report it and get your locks changed. Keep emergency numbers handy: Be sure to save your school’s security and emergency numbers in case you ever need them. It doesn’t help much to have to Google search your school’s numbers during an eme ...

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How to Prepare for a Flood

The most common natural disaster in the United States is flooding. It can occur at any time during any season. Of course, certain areas (flood zones) are at greater risk in certain times of the year, but even if you are not in a flood zone, your home can still be at risk for a flood. “Flooding is an overflowing of water onto land which is normally dry. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop.” (FEMA) Here are some tips on how to protect yourself and your property in the case of a flood: Personal: To avoid being trapped when floodwaters threaten your area, the best course of action is to protect yourself and your family, and to evacuate before flooding starts. Be sure to follow evacuation directions from local officials. It is important to discuss a solid evacuation plan with your family, and to write down emergency numbers you may need during your time away from home. Property: Before a flood occurs, you should take steps to reduce the ri ...

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Do My Roommates Need Renter’s Insurance Too?

    Having roommates has become increasingly popular over the years. Of course, roommates come with financial benefits. They save us from still having to live with our parents in our mid 20s and lighten the burden when it comes to furnishing, decorating, and stocking up on supplies. Since you are splitting the entire cost of the house or apartment, you may be wondering, do you split the entire renter's insurance policy as well? The answer isn't so simple. It can depend on your situation. Here's how to decide if you should share, or have a separate policy.  Separate Policies: Some insurance companies will recommend each roommate to take their own renter's insurance policy since it is the least complicated option. Each roommate would be responsible for making inventory of their own personal property. Having a separate policy would also ensure each roommate has liability coverage for protection if someone gets injured in the home or apartment.  Shared Policies: Other companies will allo ...

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Warning Signs of Plumbing Failure

While your home’s plumbing system appears to be working, there are many warning signs of an underlying issue. In order to reduce your chances of major water damage in your home, you must be aware of these signs and identify them to avoid having to file a claim.  After a while, it is easy to get used to the sound of rattling pipes, a leaky kitchen faucet and a slow flushing toilet. By ignoring these signs, you are creating the headache you could have easily avoided. Here are some warning signs of plumbing failure: A slow, gradual leak coming from a pipe Pipes rattle and make noise An increase in your water bill Persistent sound of running water in toilet Slow drainage in the sink or shower Low water pressure Water backs up in the sink when running the dishwasher Toilet begins to make a “bubbling” sound  If you notice any of these signs, it is important to call a plumber right away and take care of any necessary repairs, to avoi ...

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How to Reduce Your Chances of Major Water Damage

Water damage is one of the leading causes of claims filed in the State of Florida. There are preventative measures every homeowner can take to significantly reduce their risk of damage. Below are 3 simple steps you can take to protect your home and belongings:   Be mindful of where you plant: Certain plants and trees have invasive roots, meaning the roots can grow right into your sprinkler system, septic tanks, pipes, and more. By creating a plan before you plant, you can avoid water line damage due to roots.   Clean out your gutters: This task may seem a bit tedious, but it will be well worth it. Safety climb up to the roof to inspect your gutters for leaves, birds’ nests, sticks, etc. and clean them out.  A clogged gutter can send water straight into your home’s foundation or into the basement, causing major water damage. You can also hire a certified professional to do this for you.   Keep an eye on your water bill: Regardless of the size of your home, a leak could r ...

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AOB Abuse Leads to Increases in Premiums

Assignment of Benefits (AOB) fraud is a fast growing problem for Florida homeowners. Unfortunately, as the result of this problem, it has lead to an increase in homeowners’ insurance premiums for a vast majority of carriers doing business in our State. Most commonly, AOB fraud occurs during an emergency, such as a plumbing or roof leak. When homeowners sign an AOB contract, it puts a third party in direct control, and claims are inflated with unnecessary costs and fees. It doesn’t end there – these costs are then passed on to policyholders when insurance companies calculate and adjust their rates.  Large areas of the state, particularly the tri-county area of Southeast Florida, have already been hit with double-digit property insurance rate hikes, with more increases on the horizon if something isn’t done. State-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has calculated what will happen if lawmakers do not fix the problem. In Palm Beach, for example, coverage for a residenti ...

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