Choice Summer Newsletter
Summer Maintenance Tips!
Inspect air-conditioners and fans. If you haven’t already, prep air conditioners and fans for their busiest season:
With the help of your spouse, install window air-conditioning units. Remove and clean the filters before firing up the AC. If you have central air-conditioning, consider a professional servicing.
Clean all ceiling fans and other fans with a damp rag. If you have high ceilings, a ceiling-fan duster can help you de-grime hard-to-reach blades.
Clean your outdoor cooker. Give your grill a deep cleaning with these simple steps:
For gas grills, turn the heat up to high and let the grill cook with the lid closed for about half an hour. Allow the grill to cool and then brush it off with a grill brush. Wipe down the exterior with a damp sponge and a gentle cleanser. Clean the grill’s drip pans.
For charcoal grills, completely empty the grill and wipe out any ashy residue. Then clean it inside and out with hot water, a scrubby sponge and some liquid dishwashing soap. Let the grill dry completely before using it again
Analyze your deck. Look over your deck for signs of rotting and hammer in any nails that are poking up. Then, determine if your deck needs sealing. Sprinkle water on the deck’s boards. If the water beads up, you’re in good shape; but if it soaks right in, it’s time to reseal that sucker.
Wash your windows. If you didn’t tackle exterior window washing in the spring, now’s the time to get your glass clean.
Make much ado about mulch. Add a layer of mulch to keep weeds down and help the ground retain its moisture in the heat. It’ll give your plants a chance to grow. Cedar mulch is a great product to use by your home, as it deters many insects.
Be a leak detective. Check your hoses and exterior faucets for leaks — even a tiny drip can add up to a big waste of water. Pinhole leaks in hoses can be covered up by winding regular electrical tape around the (dry) hose in overlapping layers.
Is an Umbrella Policy the Right Option for you?
Who needs umbrella insurance
Umbrella insurance is often seen as something only those with high value or high value incomes should have. Nothing can be further from the truth! While umbrella insurance is not required, it’s commonly purchased by (and recommended for) people who:
- Own property.
- Have savings, investment or other assets. Yes, your 401K does count!
- Are worried about liability claims against them when they travel outside the U.S.
- Own things that can lead to injury lawsuits such as pools, trampolines and dogs (check with your insurer to make sure your breed is covered).
- Engage in activities that increase your chances of being sued, such as:
- Being a landlord.
- Coaching kids’ sports.
- Serving on the board of a nonprofit.
- Regularly posting reviews of products and businesses.
- New and inexperienced drivers.
- Participating in sports where you could easily injure others (skiing, surfing, hunting, etc.).
A very strong case could be made that just about anyone can benefit from umbrella insurance. Why? Because a large lawsuit can wipe out not only your current savings but also what you stand to earn in the future. Even if you don’t have the money to cover a massive settlement now, you could be stuck paying off the debt for years. Protect your family, your assets and your future earnings with an umbrella policy, which are very affordable! Ask your agent at Choice how to add umbrella coverage to your policy!
10 Tips for Vacation Home Security
- Have a neighbor or friend monitor your house, or have someone stay while you are away. You can also get a lockbox so there can be access in an emergency or install a programmable lock on an exterior door.
- Water – the enemy! If the house is empty, you may want to shut off the main water valve. If you need it on for automatic lawn sprinklers, then turn off all the valves at the toilets, dishwasher, washing machine and ice-maker. These lines can break and the water will keep flowing, causing a lot of damage! Switch your water heater to vacation mode. A lot of newer water heaters have a preprogrammed vacation mode setting. If not, you can turn the temperature down and turn it back up when you get home.
- Unplug electronic and electric devices. Unplug the coffeemaker, toaster, computers. Televisions and electronic devices that will not be used. This will protect them from feedback and power surges. If you have a cable system and have it programmed to record items, you may want to leave that plugged in. Any security systems and electric for battery back-ups should remain plugged in. Electrical fires are 13% of all fires, and you can lower that risk as well as protect your devices by unplugging them!
- Suspend mail, newspaper and package delivery, or have someone pick it up. Nothing says you’re not home more than piled up mail and newspapers! This is an open invitation to thieves. This should really be done if you will be gone for 30 days or more.
- Get a timer for indoor lights. Put a couple of lamps on inexpensive timers that can shut off and on. This also makes it look like someone is home!
- Keep the lawn mowed while you are gone!
- This is a good rule of thumb any time you leave the house, but it’s especially important when you’ll be gone for several days at a time. Close the blinds or curtains in rooms with large electronics, such as TVs. Put gaming consoles and DVD players in inconspicuous boxes in the closet and make sure all handheld devices, credit cards, cash, or jewelry aren’t easy to find—make use of a safe if you have one. Firearms should already be in a gun safe anyway.
- Install a video doorbell. A video doorbell allows you to answer your front door from anywhere. Each time someone rings the doorbell, you’ll get an alert on your phone so you can see and speak to the visitor in real time. If you’re out of cell service on the beach or hacking through the jungle, you can still access a log of video clips later. Some models, like the Ring Pro and SkyBell, also have motion detection capabilities, so you’ll still get an alert even if the person doesn’t actually ring the bell. They’re also handy for catching package thieves and spreading the word around the neighborhood.
- Programmable thermostats and environmental sensors. Many newer home systems, monitored and unmonitored, can tie into temperature controls as well as send alerts if there is water, smoke or carbon monoxide.
- Lastly, you might want to consider a professionally monitored home security system. Your first line of defense against burglary is a home security system that includes door and window sensors. Some systems allow you to self-monitor, but especially if you’re going out of the country or somewhere with unreliable data network coverage, alerts on your phone won’t do you much good. With a professionally monitored system, the alarm company calls the authorities for you when there’s a breach.
If you have a monitored security system, water monitoring devices, environmental sensors and devices like a Nest thermostat or one that can alert you, you may qualify for discounts on your homeowner policy!
The Case for Renter’s Insurance!
Do you have an adult child who is moving out of the home? Or a young person, attending college and renting an apartment? Might you be downsizing and deciding to rent? In all these scenarios, renters’ insurance would be just what you need!
Myth: The landlord will cover my stuff.
Truth: Most policies that landlords have only cover the building, not the contents (stuff inside).
Myth: Renter’s insurance is too expensive!
Truth: Renter’s insurance is very reasonable and when bundled with auto insurance, it is often within the means of most people. It is much more affordable than having to replace all your belongings!
Myth: I don’t have that much stuff and it isn’t worth anything.
Truth: The cost of things add up quickly! Furniture, bedroom furniture, clothes, electronics – most people are surprised at the costs. There are some online tools that can help you calculate the replacement costs of your items, and it is recommended that you keep an inventory. There are online tools that can help with creating an inventory. You can also record items or use your camera to take pictures. There are also smartphone apps you can use.
Myth: Renter’s insurance only covers my personal belongings.
Truth: Renter’s policies are more than that! Think of liability & medical coverage, property damage and loss of use!
If you or someone you know could be protected and benefit from Renter’s Insurance, give us a call right away so we can best meet your coverage needs!
Funny Quote: “My bed is a magical place where I suddenly remember everything that I forgot to do.”
Thanks to 3D printing, NASA can “e-mail” tools to astronauts.
Movie trailers originally played after the movie. They “trailed” the feature film—hence the name. The first trailer appeared in 1912 and was for a Broadway show, not a movie.
Fun Michigan Facts
Rogers City boasts the world’s largest limestone quarry.
Michigan has more shoreline than any other state except Alaska.