Don’t drop the ball on your New Year’s resolutions. This year, try some resolutions that are easy to keep and will protect you and your family well into next January and beyond.
Don’t be a distracted driver – Many vehicle crashes are avoidable if you pay attention to the road. Inattentive driving accounted for nearly 6,000 crash fatalities and an estimated 515,000 injuries in police-reported crashes in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Distractions typically include talking, eating, grooming, attending to children, watching a video, reading, adjusting a navigation system and using a cell phone.
Keep your home warm – The temperature in your house should be at least 65 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), winter storms are the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, resulting in about $1 billion in insured losses annually. The average water damage and freezing claim was $5,531 in 2007, the most recent year for which there are figures from ISO’s Property Claims Services.
Protect your home – Each year billions of dollars are paid out in homeowners insurance claims, with residential theft averaging over $1,800 in losses per burglary, according to I.I.I. Keep your yard well lit and put indoor lights on a timer. If you’re going on vacation, have mail and packages picked up and ask a trustworthy neighbor to keep an eye on things. Before the trip, invest in an alarm system — it’ll help keep your house safe and could earn you a discount on your coverage.
Check your coverage – Homeowners spend billions on additions, alterations, maintenance and repairs each year. Review your insurance coverage to include improvements, major purchases and increased rebuilding costs. If a new addition or gazebo, for example, is destroyed or damaged before you increase your coverage, then you may be responsible for the cost of repairing or rebuilding the addition. If you rent and don’t have renters insurance, talk to your agent as soon as possible.
Test the detectors – You’ve heard it before, but many families simply forget to test their smoke detectors. Make sure yours is in working order with new batteries and that one is installed on every floor and in every bedroom. Test them regularly. The National Fire Protection Association offers a free smoke alarm installation guide online. Also make sure that your home is equipped with at least one working carbon monoxide detector. Properly working carbon monoxide detectors can help protect you and your family by providing an early warning before the deadly gas builds up to a dangerous level.
For more ideas on how to protect your home and family throughout the year, contact our agency. If you have questions about your insurance coverage, we can help with that, too.