Fall is the perfect time to winterize and prepare for the season ahead. You might want to look at getting this preparation started sooner than later as it looks like we might be dipping into some freezing temperatures later this week. Below is a list of 10 tips to help you winterize your home.
1. Fill all of the voids on the outside of your home. To help keep cold air out, find any gaps or voids on the outside of your house and fill them with properly rated expansion foam.
2. Insulate all of your hose spigots. Be sure to remove any connected hoses from the spigots and drain completely of water. It's important to insulate your spigots with some type of spigot cover that you can find at your local hardware store.
3. Insulate water lines. Many homes have water lines that run in uninsulated areas like crawl spaces beneath the home or in attics. Even though these pipes aren't out directly in the weather, they are definitely still affected by outside temperatures. As water freezes inside a pipe, it expands, potentially causing damage to the pipe, which could lead to some serious water damage inside your home. To prevent, even the potential of this happening, wrap all of your uninsulated water pipes in properly rated foam insulation.
4. Clean your deck. Throughout the year, mold and mildew tend to buildup on deck surfaces which can lead to wood rot. Routine cleaning and the use of a proper sealer can help extend the life of your deck. However, the removal of the mold and mildew isn't just to protect your deck surface, it's also to protect you and your family. Surfaces covered in mold and mildew are slippery by themselves, but with the addition of cold weather, these surfaces can be really dangerous. Save yourself a trip to the ER and keep it clean!
5. Check and/or replace weather stripping around sliding glass doors. The weather stripping that surrounds sliding doors tends to wear out overtime. Replacement weather stripping comes with an adhesive strip on one side, all you have to do is remove the old and set the new!
6. Seal any gaps or voids around windows and doors. A great "hack" to check the areas surrounding your windows and doors is to use an incense stick. The small amount of smoke produced will help show you where your drafts are making their way through! Caulk those deficient areas with the proper product.
7. Switch the direction of your ceiling fans. That's right, fans aren't just for the warmer seasons! During cooler seasons fans should be set to have a clockwise rotation as to help move the heated air that rises back down into your living space.
8. Inspect wood burning fireplace, chimney, and flue. Largely ignored in warm weather, a wood-burning fireplace and chimney can be a major source of cold air leaks and other issues in winter. Clear any obstructions in the chimney of any nests from small animals. Check the damper and make sure it opens and closes fully, and can be locked in either position. And lastly, inspect the firebrick in the fireplace. If you see any open mortar joints, have them repaired immediately. A fire can spread into the stud wall behind the masonry firebrick through open mortar joints.
9. Test and replace any faulty smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
10. Give yourself a pat on the back for being prepared for the upcoming season. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate while enjoying your roaring fire.
No matter your age or stage of life, you may have asked yourself at some point: “Do I need life insurance?” The topic of life insurance can be confusing, with several different types available. And sometimes it’s difficult to know how much coverage you need.
It might help to understand the two main types of life insurance. Term life insurance provides coverage for a specified period of time — usually between 5 and 30 years. Permanent life insurance lasts as long as you’re living, as long as you continue paying the premiums.
While it’s generally a good idea for everyone to have life insurance, there are some situations in life where it’s even more important. Explore the profiles below, and find where you fit in.
Even a Single With No Dependents Needs Life Insurance?
If you’re young and single with no dependents, you might think you are one of the only people who can technically get away without life insurance. If no one else is depending on your income, you don’t need to plan for anyone else’s financial future… right? One exception, though, could be if your parents would need help covering your end-of-life expenses or outstanding debts, like school loans or credit card payments. In this case, having a life insurance policy could go a long way. Even if this doesn’t apply to you, purchasing life insurance when you are single with no dependents is still a smart and forward-thinking decision. The price of life insurance increases as you age, so there’s never a better time to buy than when you’re the youngest and healthiest.
Just Got Married
When the wedding bells ring, it’s time to get serious about purchasing a life insurance policy. You’re now sharing your financial life with someone else. “What’s yours is mine,” applies to more than just the high-tech coffee maker. It also applies to debt. Whether that’s from credit cards or student loans.
And after saying, “I do,” it’s likely that more big financial decisions are on the horizon. Remember, the best time to buy life insurance is when you’re young. You can expect lower premiums from the insurance companies, so lock in your low price when you can. Buying life insurance when you get married is the perfect way to start your financial safety net and plan for the long-term.
Buying a House
Taking on a home mortgage is a significant expense that depends on a stable income for years in the future. When a family breadwinner passes, it can create a financial burden for those left behind. They may not be able to continue making mortgage payments, causing an unfortunate situation of loss to become even worse.
While mortgage insurance is one option for protecting against this outcome, a term life insurance policy is generally the better choice for the following reasons:
- You can choose your benefit amount
- Your beneficiary is in control
- Your policy can extend beyond your mortgage term
- They generally cost less
Starting a Family
First comes love, then comes marriage. You know the rest: a baby. And maybe more than one, right? Then — if you haven’t done it already — comes the wise decision to purchase a life insurance policy.
Buying life insurance when you become a parent is one of the best things you can do to protect your family for years in the future. A 20- or 30-year term life policy might be exactly what is needed to ensure your spouse has financial support and your children are cared for up until adulthood. Death benefits from a life insurance policy can do more than just keep everyone fed. They can also contribute to ongoing household expenses, and even assist in paying college tuition.
According to a Pew Research study, 18% of U.S. parents stay at home. If that’s you or your spouse, don’t discount the importance of having a life insurance policy. While stay-at-home parents may not be “breadwinners,” they are providers for the family. A sudden loss could have a financial impact in a different way. Such as needing to find daycare or childcare services.
Even if you already have a life insurance policy, milestones such as the birth of a child are a great time to re-evaluate your life insurance coverage.
Business Owners Need Life Insurance
If you’re a business owner, your family isn’t the only one depending on you. Your business partners and employees are also relying on you to manage the company and provide them with an income. But just like buying a home and taking out a mortgage, your family may not be equipped to take over your business expenses if you die.
They may be unable to sell it. And if loans were involved, they would bear the burden of paying off those loans. In the worst-case scenario, personal assets could be repossessed, or the company could fold altogether. Not only would your family be impacted, but all of your employees as well.
Having a life insurance policy, or multiple policies, can do a lot of good in protecting your family’s future. This would give them the ability to pay off any business debt, as well as the time to decide how to best move forward with the company.
If you haven’t bought life insurance by the time you retire, the timing may not be ideal as the price increases with age.
But at this age, if you’ve planned your finances carefully, retirement income should provide everything a surviving spouse needs. Your mortgage may be fully paid off. Your children will be grown and able to support themselves. In this case, you may not need life insurance.
Still, life insurance could make sense even after achieving the retirement milestone.
Who Needs Life Insurance? You Do.
Through almost every stage in life, life insurance is a worthwhile investment. But remember, it’s always cheaper to buy it when you’re younger.
No matter the milestone, Paschall Insurance Group is here to help you find the right policy that meets your family’s needs. For now. And for the future.
The waiving deductible practices of some contractors has been a widespread issue throughout Texas and other states. Policyholders are duped into fraudulent insurance claims with promise of “rebates, deductible waivers, and credits” for their business. Most commonly done in the roofing industry, shady “deductible eaters” (contractors who have been knowingly breaking the law) are cannibalizing reputable contractors with promises of a “free” roof. Their practices are illegal but ignored due to an improperly worded doctrine developed in 1986 in attempt to stop fraudulent practices.
The revised House Bill 2102 signed last month by Governor Abbott is designed to combat the devastating effects of roofing fraud. It clearly states that contractors are violating the law if they pay, rebate, credit, or decline to charge or collect a deductible. Insurance companies may ask for reasonable proof of payment which are: canceled check, money order receipt, credit card statement or an executed installment plan. If there is not a proof of payment for the deductible, the insurance company can then refuse to pay the replacement cost hold-back. The new law also imposes a Class B misdemeanor offense of 180 days in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000 for both the violating contractor and/or the policyholder.
This important legislation will both protect Texas consumers from illegal fraud schemes and ensure that reputable contractors are on an even level playing field in competitive business.
Umbrella insurance provides extra liability coverage that can help protect assets, such as your home, car and boat. It also helps cover defense costs, attorney fees and other charges associated with lawsuits.
What Does Umbrella Insurance Cover?
Whether it's a serious car accident involving pricey medical bills or an incident on your property, you can quickly find yourself responsible for damages that exceed the limits on your auto, homeowners or boat policies.
An Umbrella Insurance Can Provide:
- An extra $1 million to $10 million of liability coverage, which can help protect assets such as your home, car and boat.
- Coverage for claims like libel, slander, defamation of character and invasion of privacy.
- It also helps cover defense costs, attorney fees and other charges associated with lawsuits.
- This coverage also extends to international occurrences.
An umbrella policy is a valuable addition to any auto, homeowners or other policy for extended personal liability protection.
In today's world, anyone can get hit with a lawsuit. That's why it's more important than ever to consider an added layer of protection for your assets – and your peace of mind.
So, your son or daughter is gearing up to leave for college in a few weeks... Have you thought about insurance and if he or she is covered while at school?
Let's tackle this question: Your homeowners insurance will generally cover them if they are living in a dorm. They will have the same liability limits as if they were in your home, but the coverage for their belongings may be limited to 10% of your total possessions coverage (the rules vary by insurer). Many homeowners insurance policies cover possessions up to 70% of the home-coverage limits -- so if you have a $200,000 homeowners insurance policy, you’d have up to $140,000 in coverage for your possessions in your home, and up to $14,000 in coverage for items that are off-premises, such as in a dorm room. Add up the value of your student’s things and make sure you have enough coverage -- you may want to buy some extra coverage if they have an expensive computer system and other valuable electronics.
However if your student is going to live in an off-campus apartment, your homeowner's insurance policy will more than likely not extend coverage. In that case, it’s a good idea to buy a separate renters’ insurance policy. Renters’ coverage is surprisingly inexpensive -- generally just $125 to $250 per year, which would cover all of the student’s possessions and provide $100,000 to $300,000 in liability coverage. If your student has roommates, each one should get his own renters’ insurance policy, which will cover his own possessions and liability.
Most renters’ policies will also pay the extra cost to live somewhere else temporarily if your student needs to move out for a while if the apartment is damaged. And both homeowners and renters’ policies will cover your student’s laptop or other items if they are stolen while they are away from their dorm or apartment. For example, a laptop stolen at the school library would be covered.
Lastly, make sure and let your insurance agent know that your student is going away to college even if he does not take a car to school. If he goes to school more than 100 or 150 miles away from your home and doesn’t take a car, you could get a big discount on your auto insurance premiums but still have coverage for him when he comes home for holidays and vacations, or if he borrows a car while away at school. If he does take a car, his premiums may rise or fall depending on the location of the college, where he’s parking his car, and how many claims the insurer has had to pay in that area. Also, be sure to let your insurer know if your student gets good grades -- many insurers continue to offer a discount on car insurance premiums for students who maintain a B average or better in college.