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Vacations are wonderful opportunities to relax, explore new places, and enjoy time spent with family and friends. But as you prepare for time away from home, it is important to have the proper insurance policies set up in advance. While you hope to never need them, these types of insurance can help you rest easy on your next trip. 

Rental Car Insurance

If you are flying to your destination, you may also be picking up a rental car once you land at the airport. Purchasing insurance for your rental car is optional, and your own car insurance policy does come into effect in most cases when you rent a vehicle. However, if you did not purchase collision or comprehensive auto insurance for your own vehicle, this means you will be responsible for the cost of any collision damage done to the rental as well. It is always ideal to have personal collision insurance, as well as purchasing a “loss damage waiver” from the rental car company. This means your credit card will not be immediately charged for the cost of any damages.

Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance

You are probably aware of how your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy covers any possible loss, damage, or theft to your property and belongings. But did you know that in many cases, your property is also protected even as you travel? If you are bringing high-value equipment on your vacation such as scuba gear, skis, or professional cameras, these items could be covered if they are damaged unexpectedly or stolen. Keep in mind that most homeowner’s policies do have a cap on the value of covered possessions. If you are bringing equipment that exceeds that amount, it is a good idea to speak with your agent about obtaining a separate insurance policy for that specific item. 

Health Insurance

When you are on vacation outside of the U.S., the last thing you want to experience is a serious medical emergency. However, it is best to prepare ahead and avoid a stressful situation, should you become injured. First, you will need to contact your health insurance provider and determine what (if any) coverage is provided in the country you are visiting. Your policy may offer some support for emergency room visits, but this is often where coverage ends. If you need to be medically evacuated back to the U.S., this can be extremely expensive. Speak with your insurance agent about a short-term medical trip insurance policy, especially if you will be traveling abroad and engaging in high-risk activities such as scuba diving, hang gliding, or skiing. 

Travel Insurance

While this may seem like the most obvious policy to review and purchase before going on vacation, it can often be overlooked. Perhaps the last thing on your mind when planning your trip is the potential need to cancel or postpone the vacation. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon to experience. Travel insurance can provide partial reimbursement for your expenses if you need to cancel a trip due to personal injury, illness, or an unforeseen circumstance outlined in your policy. If you begin your vacation and need to return home early, your travel insurance may cover some of these expenses as well. Travel insurance can even provide reimbursement for clothing and toiletries if your luggage is lost or stolen during your trip. 

Whether you are planning an extended international adventure or four-day weekend on the coast, there are a number of ways that new and existing insurance policies can protect you, your belongings, and the investment you’ve made in your trip. To discuss the options that are best for you, contact your local insurance agent today. 

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), floods are the most commonly occurring natural disaster in the U.S. However, most standard homeowners policies do not offer coverage for damages from flooding. When considering whether or not you need flood insurance, there are a few questions you will want to ask. Below, we outline those questions and highlight how this policy can protect your home. 

How do floods happen outside of floodplains? 

One of the common mistakes homeowners make is thinking that because they are not located within a federally designated floodplain, they do not need flood insurance. Floodplains are flat areas surrounding large bodies of water that can be prone to flooding. They are most commonly found close to lakes and rivers. 

Even if your home is miles from the nearest lake or river, there could be small streams nearby that feed from these larger bodies of water. These may overflow and cause serious damage to your power, septic system, and even your home’s foundation. One inch of standing water in a house can cause about $25,000 in damages and repairs – think about what even a few more inches could do. 

Floods can also happen in times of heavy rain or even melting snowfall. If you live in a flat area, your region can be prone to flooding in extreme cases of rain and snowmelt. While this may not happen in your lifetime, there is always a chance the unexpected may occur. 

What damage can floods cause? 

In many cases, floods cause widespread water damage. This can be a few inches of water harming a structure’s foundation, or a few feet of water filling a basement or main floor. If the water damage spreads past the foundation, this compromises walls, roofing, and furniture. 

Although more rare, extreme flooding can cause total destruction of buildings, roads, and infrastructure as running water moves through the area. Landslides may also occur due to extreme flooding and carry debris miles away from where it was destroyed.

Hurricane season can also create flooding, even if you do not live directly on the coast. High-speed winds and heavy rain can cause catastrophic flash-flooding miles from the ocean, with rivers, lakes, and streams receiving an influx of volume in hours or minutes. 

How does flood insurance help? 

Flood insurance policies provide coverage that can help replace the cost of your home and belongings. The premium is based on many factors, including your overall risk, property terrain, and how much coverage you elect to purchase. For homeowners who reside in low to moderate-risk areas for flooding, you may be eligible to obtain a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy. This provides coverage for your home structure and possessions, but at a lower monthly price.

Flood insurance is optional for most homeowners, but it may be beneficial to obtain a policy so you are protected in the event of a natural disaster. Coverage is offered through the FEMA-managed National Flood Insurance Program and by some private insurers. Speak with your local insurance agent to learn more about your options for flood insurance. 

For many small businesses looking to retain top-quality staff while maintaining a tight budget, employee benefits are an excellent place to start. You may start your business with only a handful of people. If you have between one and 50 employees, you may be eligible for small business health insurance. But as your organization grows in staff and revenue, you will most likely need to apply for large group coverage. Below, we break down both types of insurance and how each can help you attract new talent and maintain loyalty within your current employees. 

Small Business Health Insurance

Small business health insurance is offered based on a few qualifications. First, there must be one full-time employee (30 hours per week or more) or the part-time equivalent (such as two employees who each work 15 hours per week) enrolled in the plan. This does not include the business owner, their spouse or dependents, or any other business partners. The business must also contribute toward the premiums of their employees. 

Typically on most plans, at least 70% of employees must be enrolled. If a majority of your staff receives individual or group insurance elsewhere, you may not be eligible. While small business health insurance is more expensive for businesses compared to large group plans, there is a significant benefit to offering coverage to your employees. Businesses will receive tax incentives, while also showing staff that they value each individual’s wellbeing.

Large Group Insurance

For companies with more than 50 employees, large group insurance becomes the better option. Unlike for small businesses where premiums are set by the insurance groups, large businesses are able to negotiate and set their preferred group insurance premium. This allows the company’s cost per person to be lower while retaining more flexibility in the coverage options. However, a large business must provide coverage to 95% of their employees or pay a penalty fee to the IRS under the Affordable Care Act. 

Large employers often choose to add technology-driven health benefits such as telemedicine, wellness checks, and wearable fitness trackers to incentivize employees to take ownership over their own health. Studies have shown that these methods help improve overall employee wellness while also reducing both employer and employee premiums over time.

Because large group insurance allows employers to offer more customized health plans and benefits, this can also become a major factor in attracting premier talent. In a 2018 survey conducted by America’s Health Insurance Plans, 46% of respondents said health insurance was either the deciding factor or a positive influence in choosing their current job. Most interestingly, 77% said they looked more favorably upon their employer after learning that 70-80% of their premiums were paid by their employer. 

Overall, offering your staff health insurance benefits is optional, especially for small businesses. While there are no laws in place that require coverage, companies with more than 50 employees may face fines for not offering benefits. By offering insurance even as a small business, you are creating a culture that values its employees and invests in their personal wellness. As your company grows, you may elect to add additional benefits such as telemedicine or behavioral health counseling. All of these benefits will help you become a top employer and retain quality employees. 

To review your business’s health insurance coverage and determine the benefits that are best for you and your employees, speak with your insurance representative today. 

There are probably many things on your mind as you prepare for your next vacation. From packing the proper clothes to booking flights and tours, your pre-trip to-do list can feel like it will never end. One task that should be at the top is obtaining travel insurance – but many people do not understand the real benefits or how this protects your investment. Here, we outline six unexpected situations where travel insurance can keep you from losing funds.

Medical Emergencies

Many travel insurance policies will allow for full or partial reimbursement if you experience a medical emergency after purchasing travel insurance, but before leaving for your trip. If you are seriously injured and your doctor says you cannot travel, this can make you eligible for a refund. Additionally, travel insurance can help pay for medical bills if you are injured while on your vacation. This can be especially beneficial for international travel where medical treatment may be expensive and your health insurance provider does not offer support.

Theft or Loss of Belongings

Chances are, you or someone you know has lost a bag during air travel. Even if you file a claim with the airline, it can take weeks for your luggage to arrive, and in many cases, it is sent to your home address and not your vacation lodgings. Depending on your travel insurance policy, you can be reimbursed for clothing, toiletries, and basic essentials that you purchased after a bag was lost or stolen. This allows you to continue enjoying your vacation without having to wear the same clothes each day.

Trip Cancellation or Interruption

Should something unexpected like a natural disaster, political conflict, or serious personal illness take place, travel insurance may provide a refund if you need to cancel your trip. In most cases, standard policies do not provide full reimbursement but may cover half or three-quarters of the cost. Full refund riders may be added to a policy for an additional fee. If you are traveling internationally or to an area prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes, it may be in your best interest to add a full refund rider. 

Emergency Evacuations

Just as medical treatment can be expensive during vacations and non-local travel, a trip to the hospital or emergency room can be costly as well. Your travel insurance policy may cover the cost of emergency evacuation via helicopter, boat, ambulance, or other medical transport. Additionally, if your home or apartment is flooded, damaged by fire, or sustains another significant natural disaster, travel insurance can even help cover the cost to change your return trip and get you home as quickly as possible. 

Unexpected Delays

Millions of flights are delayed each year, causing millions of travelers to miss connecting flights and experience significant delays in travel. Because these causes are often unpredictable, it can be frustrating and expensive to create a new travel plan on short notice. Rebooking new flights can mean you are responsible for additional fees, overnight stays in hotels, and new luggage costs, even though you were not responsible for the delay. Travel insurance can cover these fees and hotel expenses, allowing you to get back on track and reach your destination as quickly as possible.

While you may pay five to 10 percent of the cost of your trip to obtain travel insurance, it is well worth the peace of mind to know that your expenses will not be lost if the unexpected occurs. For those planning luxury, international, or experiential vacations, travel insurance can help protect you. 

Imagine coming home after dinner and a late movie showing, only to find your windows shattered and belongings scattered across the house. You know it is very clear that you have been robbed, but you do not know when this happened, what has been taken, and if the intruder is still inside. Your first priority is always the safety of you and your immediate family, so here are six steps to be familiar with should the inevitable occur. 

  1. Call the Police

While it can be tempting to check your valuables first, it is vital that you call the police immediately when you discover the robbery. Do not touch anything inside, as there may be fingerprints or other identifiers that can aid the authorities. It is best to leave your home as quickly as possible, because some intruders may wait in hiding for a time they can cause harm to you and your family. Wait within a neighbor’s home or your vehicle, and be sure to lock all doors.

  1. Check the Property

Once you leave your home, briefly check the surrounding area for pets or family members who may have been inside your home during the break in. Do not re-enter the home. When you are in a secure space, take note of any unusual vehicles or surroundings. Anything that appears out of the ordinary could become an important part of the authorities’ investigation. 

  1. Take Inventory

When the police arrive and determine the home is safe to re-enter, conduct a thorough investigation of all your belongings and valuables. It is a good idea to already have this list created in advance, especially if you have multiple high-value items. If you do not have a list, do your best to create this as quickly as possible for the police report. Take photos of the damage, both inside and outside. 

  1. Contact Your Insurance

After the police report has been filed, contact your home or renter’s insurance provider within 24 hours of the incident. In most cases, you will be able to recoup the cost of any damage to your home, and some policies may provide additional reimbursement for stolen belongings. Ask if an insurance appraiser needs to visit in-person. If this is the case, you may want to arrange to stay somewhere else until the appraisal can be completed. 

  1. Plan Ahead

If you did not have a home security system at the time of the break-in, you will most likely feel safer in the future by installing one. These can include security cameras at all entrances and exits, motion detectors, outdoor lighting, and key-coded alarms that contact the police if they are not turned off. It can take some time to adjust to feeling secure in your home again after a break-in, so do not be afraid to talk to a counselor or support group if you or your family members are struggling.  

  1. Take Care of Your Family

One of the most common effects of a home robbery is that family members find it hard to return back to the home when it is repaired and safe to live in again. This is very common, and you may notice that your children want to sleep near you. Even pets can be deeply affected by an intruder, and your furry friend may need to sleep on your bed for a few nights. Be gentle and understand that everyone may need a little extra reassurance as you adjust back to a new normal. 

Should the unexpected take place, these steps can help make the process of responding to a home robbery a little less painful. If you feel like your home’s value or personal assets have changed since you originally took out your insurance policy, contact your agent to review your coverage options.

As the days grow longer and warmer, you may find yourself soaking in the sunshine for a few more hours each day. This has many health benefits, from improving your mood to increasing your vitamin D absorption, but there is a key caveat – you must protect your skin against sun damage. Here are four ways you can stay safe while enjoying the outdoors this summer.

Apply Sunscreen (Even on Cloudy Days!)

While this may seem like the most obvious way to protect yourself from sun damage and skin cancer, you should ensure that you are using the appropriate SPF-level and reapplying at the correct intervals. Sunscreen protects your skin from UV rays which cause burns and potentially skin cancer. Because UV rays are reflected off water particles, they can actually be even more harmful on cloudy or overcast days. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more for your face and body, and reapply often on days when you are outdoors. Make sure the sunscreen is not expired or more than three years old, as it will no longer be effective. 

A recent FDA study also revealed that many of the common ingredients in chemical-based sunscreens (which absorb UV rays rather than repel them) are also absorbed into the bloodstream at levels above what the FDA deems “safe.” Look for products that use minerals such as zinc instead. These minerals sit atop the skin and reflect UV rays like a mirror on your body, but they are not absorbed into your body. 

Wear Protective Clothing

On days that you plan to be in the sun for a few hours or more, choose your attire carefully to ensure you are protected from UV rays. If your job requires you to be outside, try to wear long sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts. For those days at the beach or pool, bring a t-shirt or cover up to wear when you are not in the water. Dark clothing provides more protection from UV rays, and many manufacturers are now creating clothing with an SPF 30 rating or more. 

Cover Your Head

It is easy to overlook caring for our scalp on days spent outside, but your head actually needs to be covered as well! Look for a wide-brimmed hat in a woven fabric without holes. Straw hats are often popular in the summer due to their breathability, but a wide weave will still let UV rays through. Wide-brimmed hats are a great choice because you benefit from your entire head and shoulders being shaded. A baseball cap is another good option, but be sure to apply a mineral-based broad spectrum sunscreen to your neck and ears. 

Don’t Forget Sunglasses

Sunglasses do more than simply prevent you from squinting on a bright day – they also help protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the chance of developing cataracts. Any pair purchased in the U.S., regardless of the price point, will most likely include UV-blocking lenses. Pairs with larger lenses, wrap-around sides, or wider arms will also block rays that can creep in from other angles. Similar to sunscreen, you should wear sunglasses even on overcast days. 

While each of these practices are good to implement on their own, it is ideal to combine sunscreen, protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses for full-coverage UV protection. As you make plans to spend days outdoors, be sure you are caring for your skin. If needed, don’t be afraid to look for shade or bring a portable shade tent for extra protection. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, but it is also one of the most easily prevented if proper sun safety measures are followed. Reduce your risk today by following these steps this summer!

Summer is beginning to peek its head around the corner and it’s time to get your home ready for the summer heat! You should have maintenance upkeeps throughout the yearbut summer is going to be our main focus in this blog. By starting your maintenance early, around mid to late May, you can bring down energy bills, improve the efficiency and life of the components of your home, and increase the overall safety of your property. Below are some ways you can help you help your home run at its best during the summer months. 

Home Exterior 

Over the course of a year, your homes’ exterior can become covered with dirt, debris, dust, or even mold that makes your home lose its curb appeal. By using a power washer, you can clean off the dirt on all points of your home no matter how many levels it has. While inspecting the exterior of your home you may come across pieces of chipped, cracked, or faded exterior paint. If so, it is important to repair those quickly as fully painted homes are more protected against the elements. Inspecting your foundation is the most important task to undertake when doing your summer maintenance. If your foundation is cracked it can create an entryway for water that can lead to serious flooding. 

Gutter Cleaning 

Cleaning out your gutters is typically a job saved for the fall but when you experience high levels of rainstorms, they can knock some tree foliage down into your gutters. Gutters are designed to collect rainwater from the roof and steer it away from the foundation of the home. Clearing out your gutters is important to ensure that there is no water coming to damage the structural foundation. Did you know that foundation repairs can cost almost close to $10,000? Clogged gutters can also cause issues for your roof due to the increased weight on them. If your gutters become too full, there is a potential risk of the gutters being pulled off of your home, causing damage to the shingles of the roof and the exterior of the house. 

Windows and Doors 

It’s crucial to check your sealant on your home’s windows and doors. If there are any leaks in the sealant, you could be letting out cold air causing your energy bill to increase in the summer months and potentially letting in little bugs. When inspecting your windows, check the screens for any rips or tears. Replacing or repairing these screens will help keep debris, leaves, insects and other animals from entering your home when you aren’t inside. 

Looking to add more home-related coverages to your policy? Talk to your local agent today for more information. 

The Spring season may bring the rain showers and flower blooms we have come to associate with this time of year, but the constant change in temperatures and air pressure also has another effect – tornadoes. Certain parts of the U.S. are at higher risk for tornadoes, even being called “Tornado Alley,” but they can truly happen anywhere that warm, humid air meets cool, dry air. The majority of tornadoes occur between March and May, but they may take place seasonally if there are significant changes in weather patterns. 

If your business is located in an area like the Great Plains or Southeastern U.S., you are more likely to encounter damage from a tornado. Because these natural disasters are often unpredictable and occur in the evening or even overnight while you are away from your office, it can feel impossible to stay protected against tornadoes. However, one of the best ways to secure your business is through tornado insurance. 

There are a few types of insurance that can provide you with coverage after a tornado. Here are options to consider depending on your operations. 

Commercial Property

You may have traditional insurance for your office building to protect the location in the event of a tornado. Most standard policies have some amount of coverage for this, but you will want to check the value of the property against what your policy allows for. If your policy covers the cost to rebuild but you have done significant work upgrading and outfitting the property to suit your business needs, such as adding a kitchen or additional restrooms, you will want to be sure your policy is updated to reflect this. 


Loss-of-use insurance is an added coverage policy that provides reimbursement for the time when you are not able to use your business office. This could include a short-term office rental or community space while your property is being rebuilt. 

Comprehensive Coverage

If your business has its own vehicles or fleet cars for work-related use, you will want to be sure you have comprehensive car insurance that includes coverage for tornadoes. Should you decide to ship this coverage in order to save on the monthly cost, you will find yourself in a difficult position if these vehicles are damaged or a total loss due to tornadoes. By having this added coverage, you can also ensure that work can resume much more quickly if your business relies on traveling to your customers. 

Personal Property

Personal property insurance is another vital protection against tornadoes. If you own the land that surrounds your business, this is a key policy to consider. It protects your property, belongings, and any damages due to theft or vandalism. While you hope this never happens, it is a frequent occurrence after natural disasters. Having an accurate inventory of the business’s assets, furniture, and more will come in handy should you be a victim of theft after your property is damaged by a tornado. 

Tornadoes can be one of the most devastating natural disasters. While they are rare in some parts of the country, they are extremely common in others. If you are not sure if obtaining any form of tornado insurance is right for you, just consider the years of investments you have made in building your business. This can be taken away in a matter of minutes if a tornado strikes. To determine which coverage policies are ideal for your business’s needs, speak with your insurance agent today. 

Feeling the wind as you ride your motorcycle down a winding mountainside can certainly be exhilarating. Riding is an activity that combines mindfulness, adventure, and nature in a way that is uniquely distinct from simply driving a car. Unfortunately, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a motorcyclist who crashes is 30 times more likely to experience a fatal outcome than a motorist who crashes. May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, but you do not need to wait to practice responsible riding. Here are four ways that bike safety practices create a pleasant experience and don’t compromise on fun. 

A Joy at Any Age

Motorcycling can be active and thrilling or leisurely and scenic. Regardless of your age, riding your bike can be a wonderful lifelong passion. However, safety measures must be put in place to ensure an injury, or worse, does not prevent you from enjoying your hobby for many years. This means wearing a helmet that meets the DOT, Snell, or ANSI standards of safety. While your head is the most vulnerable part of your body and therefore in need of high-quality protection, it is also important to cover your core and limbs with protective hard materials. Never ride your motorcycle without wearing sturdy closed-toe boots and gloves. 

Customizing Your Gear

Once you have the appropriate safety gear and protective clothing in mind, you can shop for the best fit and fabric for your needs. This can be an exciting process as you select items that represent you, while also maintaining the appropriate level of protection. Common fabrics for motorcycle jackets, pants, and suits include Kevlar, Cordura, Lycra, leather, thick denim, and more. For warmer weather climates, vent panels may be included in your attire to allow for aerodynamic cooling. Helmets can contain radios and Bluetooth headsets so you can communicate with a passenger or rider in your group. 

Safety Course Completion Discounts

A big perk that can bring a smile to any biker’s face is the discounts that many dealerships and manufacturers offer for riders who complete their safety and handling course. If you are loyal to a particular brand, or simply wanting to try an updated model, this is a great way to get to know your new bike in a safe environment while receiving a discount. These courses will often teach you about your state’s laws that apply to motorcyclists. Some courses may even teach you how to maneuver and handle your specific bike in potentially dangerous situations. 

Share Your Passion

If your bike allows for two passengers, this can be an exciting way to travel. Whether it is with your partner, spouse, child, or close friend, you want your loved one to be protected at all times. Any time someone asks to ride along with you, be sure they are also wearing the proper protective gear and clothing. If they do not have even one of the required pieces, tell them you would love to take them on a ride when they can be protected. As the driver, it is your responsibility to communicate safe motorcycle habits to your passengers, and it makes the trip more enjoyable for them as well. Even a tiny pebble or insect can cause extreme pain and damage when you are cruising at 60 miles per hour. You want to share this passion with them, and ensuring they have a safe experience is the best way to help them share your love for the open road. 

The most vital protection for yourself will always be what is protecting you at the moment an accident occurs. Even for those who take every safety precaution, injuries and collisions may still be unavoidable. Make sure you have high-quality motorcycle insurance to protect you as a driver. Speak to your insurance agent about the best possible coverage for your needs and take your joyride with confidence and peace of mind. 

As a homeowner, you hope never to encounter a fire on your property. Home fires are a common occurrence, taking place about every 93 seconds. Therefore, it is vital to prepare a fire safety plan, should the unexpected arise. Here are a few tips to ensure you and your family are ready in the event of a fire and have the proper insurance to cover the damage. 

1) Fire Detectors

While it may seem like the obvious first step, installing fire detectors throughout the first level of your home is vital to your fire safety plan. Although most home fires start in the kitchen, they can truly occur in any room due to electricity shortages, candles, general accidents, and more. Installing fire detectors throughout your home, especially on the main level, will help provide early alerts to your local fire department. Be sure you conduct monthly battery checks on all fire detectors, and replace all units that are more than 10 years old.

2) Communication is Key

You and your family must determine a clear and simple plan for evacuation in the case of a home fire. Select a meeting point that is easily accessible but away from the potential heat of a burning house. Ensure all family members understand that their only priority in the case of a fire is to get out of the home as quickly as possible and not return inside for any person or possession. If you have young children, communicate their exit strategy and practice this with them a few times. Communicate this plan regularly. 

3) Identify Potential Fire Hazards

After confirming you have the proper fire detectors and evacuation plan, the next step is to identify and remove all possible fire hazards from your home. Consider all electronics that produce heat, including clothing irons, hair styling tools, portable heaters, and more. These should be stored away from highly flammable materials such as wood, and they should also remain unplugged when not in active use. Allow all furniture and possessions to maintain at least three feet of space from any heating element such as a stove, fireplace, or portable heater. If you are a smoker, it is never advised to smoke in your bedroom near highly flammable objects such as drapes and bed linens. Finally, use safety precautions when lighting candles and ensure they are always visible and never placed on flammable surfaces. 

4) Know Your Response

Understanding how to react in the moment is the final step in any fire safety plan. As with your exit strategy, it is important to also plan your responses for while you are still within your home if it catches on fire. First, check the heat of a door with the back of your wrist. This area is highly sensitive, and if the fire behind a door is too hot, you will be able to determine this without causing serious nerve damage to your palms. This will also prevent you from entering a room that is filled with unbreathable air. Next, stay low to the ground to avoid breathing smoke. Heat rises, and the higher you are to the ceiling, the more difficult it will be to breathe with ease. The final response strategy is to know all possible exits, including windows or second-story escapes, and how you will get out if a door is too hot to touch. Collapsible ladders are an excellent item to keep stored in all second-story bedroom closets, and children should be educated on how to employ these in the case of an emergency. 

5) Take Inventory and Appraise Annually

In order to protect your valuables, you should conduct an annual inventory of all possessions and valuables. Using your insurance agent’s recommended appraiser, you can also determine the appropriate value of your home along with the cost to rebuild in the current market. If your home is not appraised at the value of homes today, you may find that your insurance policy will pay you less than the price to rebuild. This will leave you with large out-of-pocket expenses in order to rebuild your beloved home. Speak with your local insurance agent to determine both the appropriate home appraisal schedule and fire protection policy that is right for you. 

Fire preparation and safety can make a vital difference for you and your family. The main priority is to ensure that each family member understands how to escape your home if it is burning and that they are not to re-enter for any reason. However, this may mean that many of your possessions and valuables could be permanently damaged. Your local insurance agent will be able to determine if your standard homeowners’ policy will cover these damages and also suggest additional coverage policies if needed to protect your possessions. Speak with your agent today about conducting a thorough inventory of your valuables and ensure your home is protected in the case of a fire.