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Bring Your Pets in From the Cold and Be sure Your Home is Pet-ProofWe all know to dress warmly before venturing out on a winter day and to keep windows and doors closed to be sure it's warm inside; but one topic worthy of a reminder because it is not often top of mind as we go through each day is the care our pets need.  Our pets depend on us to keep them safe in the cold weather. 

Bring your pets in from the cold

  • Some pets are more tolerant of extremely cold temperatures than others, but that does not mean that they are not just as vulnerable to the harmful effects.  It’s up to you as the pet owner to protect them.  Many pets — especially dogs — aren’t aware of just how cold the weather can be. You’ll have to be sensitive to their limits, and you may have to wrap your pet in a coat or boots to go outside. The ASPCA offers the following advice to help keep your pets safe as temperatures plummet.
  • Just as leaving your pet in your car when it’s hot can be deadly, so can leaving them in your car when it’s cold.  The car traps the cold air and acts like a refrigerator, causing the animal to freeze.
  • Keep your pets safely indoors during extremely cold weather that can cause them to be disoriented or actually freeze.  How to know when it’s too cold for your pet to be outside:  If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.
  • Protect your pet from drafts and give them a warm place to sleep that is off the floor such as a dog or cat bed.  Adding a warm blanket or pillow will help as well. 
  • Because your pets burn extra energy to stay warm when it’s cold, they’ll require extra food for the calories they’ll need. Likewise, extra water for extra hydration will help prevent dry skin.

Homeowners Insurance Tip

If your pet will be left inside your home alone when it's too cold to be outside, then be sure to "pet-proof" your home ahead of time.  In particular, be sure that your pet will not be able to turn on the tap in the sink which can lead to flooding or damage an electrical cord which might put your home at risk for fire while you're away.  You’ll want to be sure that your homeowners insurance policy offers you the best coverage for your circumstances.  Spend some time inspecting your home to be sure that it is pet ready, well before you have the need to ever file a homeowners insurance claim.  Speak with your insurance agent for advice and to discuss your coverage options.

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at Ewing, Hines & Associates in Kensington, MD to discuss any  home insurance-related questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to meet your own needs.

 

Tuesday, 03 December 2019 12:41

We would all agree that social media has changed our lives and the way we communicate. Many of us would be lost if we did not constantly have our phone handy to stay connected with family and friends. We share the details of special plans, check in to show where we are, and post pictures, video and details of what is going on. Our friends enjoy keeping up with us this way. But there can be a dark side to all this sharing – especially when we’re on vacation.

According to the Prince William County Virginia Police Department, burglars take full advantage of your use of social media to find out where you live, what you have, how long you are likely to be away from your property. They stalk their prey, learning which homes offer the most valuable contents and when it is best to break in. (See more about how burglars use social media in this infographic..)

You can be a savvy social media user and still avoid putting your home at risk while you’re on vacation with the following tips.

Before vacation

  • Don’t announce your vacation plans in advance. You’re excited about your upcoming week on the beach and you’d like to share, but resist the urge to post the details or tweet your plans in advance.
  • Keep your location private. Mobile devices and laptops have settings that track your location using Wi-Fi hotspots or GPS. By disabling these settings, your geographic location won’t be captured if you tweet or post.
  • Review your Facebook settings. With Facebook’s privacy settings, you can control which posts and photos you’re tagged in, but only if you enable the timeline review control which prevents tagged posts from automatically appearing on your timeline. So if you are vacationing with friends who tag you in their photos, you can delay having them show on your timeline until you are at home again.

During vacation

  • Resist the urge to check in while you’re away. Checking-in on social media typically pins your exact location on the social media virtual map. While it lets your friends see where you are, it also shows the same to burglars who might be tracking you.
  • Save all the posts for your return. Definitely, do take photos of your vacation experience and go ahead and create posts with the details – just don’t post them in real time. Schedule them to delay posting until you’ve returned home. Consider using a social media management app like HootSuite to write posts and tweets, then schedule them to post at a later date.

After vacation

  • Share, share, share!
  • The great thing about using the above approach is that, when you’ve returned, you get to relive it all again by sharing all the moments with friends and family as you publish all those photos, videos, posts, tweets and blog articles, but in the safety of your own home.

Home Insurance Tip

Despite your best efforts, if you find that your home has been burglarized, the first step is to make a police report. Then immediately contact your insurance agent to file a home insurance claim. To do so, you’ll need to know what was lost and what the dollar value was. You will have this information of you’ve taken the time to create a room-by-room home inventory – preferably one that lists all items of value in your home along their cost (or appraised value) and including photographs whenever possible.

The scope of your insurance coverage and options depend entirely upon the policy and the insurance company providing it.  This website is not intended to advise, offer or bind coverage.  You should always discuss your insurance issues with professionals such as a licensed and qualified insurance agent before making any decisions or choosing a course of action.  Ewing Hines & Associates is a full-service insurance agency offering auto insurance for your vehicle, home insurance for homeowners, renters and condo dwellers, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA), Washington DC since 1960. Our experienced insurance agents at our office in Kensington, MD welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time.

Monday, 03 July 2017 05:55

Did that special person in your life just propose marriage on Valentine’s Day? If so, then please accept our best wishes for both of you. We’re sure you’re on cloud nine, and you should be. This is a moment you won’t forget. However, don’t take too long, because there are a few pressing tasks that need your attention now that you are the proud owner of that sparkling diamond ring. We know you have not yet considered the safety of your new bling, but we have. Sometime very soon, you’ll want to “think insurance” as we are. Did you know that the Insurance Information Institute warns that the loss of valuable jewelry is one of the most common of all content-related home insurance claims?

So we hope you’ll take the following steps to see that your new engagement ring is financially protected in case it is lost, damaged or stolen.

  • Seek the advice of your insurance professional immediately. Although most renters insurance and homeowner insurance policies typically offer some coverage for jewelry and other personal items, it is usually not sufficient to cover an item like an engagement ring; especially considering that the average value of such a ring runs about $6000, according to a 2016 survey by The Knot.
  • Ask for two extra copies of the sales receipt for the ring. You’ll want one for your own records and one to pass along to your insurer to document the current retail cost of that diamond ring.
  • If at all possible, get an appraisal. An appraisal from a reputable professional is likely optional if your ring is brand new. However, if it is a vintage ring or a family heirloom or if it has been custom-designed, then an appraiser’s report is necessary to determine the real value of the piece. Bear in mind that appraisal reports are only valid for a few years, after which you’ll need a new appraisal. Ask your insurance agent to help reach out to a reputable appraiser.

After you have taken the above steps to both document the value of that new engagement ring and to properly insure it, you’ll be able to better enjoy your time with your new fiancé so that you both can share your news with your friends and family. You’re off on a path of many “firsts” that will change your life as you’ve known it.

Personal Valuables Insurance Tip

Personal Valuables Insurance offers supplemental coverage for loss, theft and damage for many precious items. They include artwork, crystal, silverware, collectibles, cameras, firearms and more in addition to valuable jewelry. Take some time to talk about your valuable belongings with your insurance agent who can then help you decide whether you need increased insurance protection for valuable items.

The scope of your insurance coverage and options depend entirely upon the policy and the insurance company providing it.  This website is not intended to advise, offer or bind coverage.  You should always discuss your insurance issues with professionals such as a licensed and qualified insurance agent before making any decisions or choosing a course of action.  Ewing Hines & Associates is a full-service insurance agency offering auto insurance for your vehicle, home insurance for homeowners, renters and condo dwellers, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA), Washington DC since 1960. Our experienced insurance agents at our office in Kensington, MD welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time.


 

Monday, 13 February 2017 16:46

It’s that time of year when each of us resolves to make improvements – whether we call then “New Year’s Resolutions” or not. As you think about the upcoming year, why not consider things you might commit to doing to help maintain your financial safety?

Since your insurance portfolio helps protect your financial well-being, we thought we would suggest some resolutions that should help you to avoid the most likely insurance claims that could arise – whether with your home, your car or, indeed, your life.

Stop inviting car thieves.

If you park your car to run an errand, it’s tempting to assume that you don’t need to lock your car or take your keys, but that would be a dangerous assumption. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that a vehicle was reported stolen once every 45 seconds in the United States during 2015, and there was a theft every 6.5 minutes in which the keys or the electronic FOB had been left inside the vehicle. The occurrence of this type of auto theft is up 31% since 2013.

You can stop inviting car theft by always locking your car when you leave it and taking all keys/FOBs as well as the garage door opener with you. Don’t store your registration or other personal information in your glove box, and make it a habit to remove all personal items of value at all times.

Such thefts can be very costly to you. Thieves have been known to steal a car find the address on your registration and burglarize the house before anyone knows the car has been stolen. In addition, depending on your insurance coverage, the theft might not be covered; in this case, you would be facing the cost to replace your vehicle out of pocket. It is wise to have a chat with your insurance agent to learn what your insurance

Create a home inventory.

In the wake of a natural disaster or perhaps a fire, unexpected property damage can be extensive, and you would be overwhelmed as you file an insurance claim if you are not able to provide details about all that was lost. If you don’t have a detailed list of your property’s furnishings and your personal belongings, then the claims process could be difficult. The Insurance Information Institute reports that only half of homeowners surveyed in 2016 said they had a home inventory, but such an inventory will allow you to support your claim. 

Consider the Know Your Stuff inventory tool provided free from the Insurance Information Institute. It walks you through the process and allows you to collect details about all of your belongings along with pictures and video. Then, using the tool, you can store your inventory in the cloud so that there is no danger of having it damaged at home.

Stay in the kitchen while you're cooking.

At times, when cooking, you might be distracted by a phone call, a knock at the door or something else, and you might believe it is safe to leave the kitchen briefly. But leaving the kitchen unattended when cooking can result in a fire being ignited very rapidly from one of many sources. Something on top of the stove could boil over and begin to burn or a cloth set too close to the heat source could smolder and suddenly ignote. Something in the over could erupt or explode and begin to burn.

If you are in the kitchen with a fire extinguisher at hand which you are trained to use, then you might handle such a cooking fire; but if you are more than a step away, such a fire would be out of control before you could return to the room.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires are the top cause of both home fires and home injuries, and by far the leading cause of such fires is unattended cooking. You can help avoid the inconvenience of a common insurance claim by staying in the kitchen when you cook and checking all appliances before you leave when cooking is completed..

Improve your credit.

In most states, your insurance company determines your auto insurance premium based on a number of factors – not the least of which utilizes data held in your credit record such as outstanding debt, collections, payment history, length of credit history. According to Consumer Reports, your credit history has more effect on your insurance rates than even your driving record.

In fact this credit-based insurance scoring is only banned or limited in a very small handful of states.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, many insurers find credit-based insurance scoring to be important and statistically-valid in predicting how high a risk you are perceived to be in terms of the calculated probability that you will file a claim and the likely cost of that claim. 

Advise your life insurance beneficiaries

You might assume that in the event of your death, sudden or not, all details related to your estate would be taken care of; but that would be incorrect. A lot depends on who is handling your affairs, so you will want to confirm who that would be and make sure they are positioned to take care of all items.

Moreover, letting your life insurance beneficiaries know where to file a claim if you die could also put your mind at ease. Many times, a beneficiary will not pursue a payout from a life insurance policy because they are unable to locate the insurance policy, assuming they even know it exists. The fact is that they only need to know which insurer you bought the policy from in order to start the process of filing a claim.

Read your insurance policies.

Long before you need to file an insurance claim, you should know the scope of your insurance coverage. To do that, you’ll need to take the time to read thoroughly and understand your policy, its endorsements, etc.

When reading your health insurance policy, start with the summary of benefits and also pay attention to the copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. When reviewing your auto insurance and home insurance policies, focus on the declarations page and be sure to fully read all information about the limits and deductibles of your policy. Be sure to direct any questions to your own insurance agent who should be able to explain any items that are not clear to you.

The scope of your insurance coverage and options depend entirely upon the policy and the insurance company providing it.  This website is not intended to advise, offer or bind coverage.  You should always discuss your insurance issues with professionals such as a licensed and qualified insurance agent before making any decisions or choosing a course of action.  Ewing Hines & Associates is a full-service insurance agency offering auto insurance for your vehicle, home insurance for homeowners, renters and condo dwellers, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA), Washington DC since 1960. Our experienced insurance agents at our office in Kensington, MD welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time.

Monday, 16 January 2017 05:19

With the holidays fast approaching, you might be thinking about raising money so that you can afford to purchase gifts for friends and family. One way to raise the funds is by taking a second job often known as "Moonlighting"..

Just what are the benefits to having a side job? Who is likely to have one? What are the most popular side jobs?

According to a recent article from Erie Insurance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that nearly 6.8 million Americans work more than one job. That equates to 4.6 percent of all employed people.

Read the entire article…> to learn the who, what, and why of side jobs as well as some practical concerns if you are seeking such a job.

Insurance Tip for Moonlighting
Depending upon what sort of side job you decide to take, you might have certain risks to consider.  To be sure that you are protected, it's advisable to check with your insurance agent who can tell you whether you should have extra insurance protection.  This is particularly important if you will be an independent contractor and/or working from your home or other building that belongs to you. 

The scope of your insurance coverage and options depend entirely upon the policy and the insurance company providing it.  This website is not intended to advise, offer or bind coverage.  You should always discuss your insurance issues with professionals such as a licensed and qualified insurance agent before making any decisions or choosing a course of action.  Ewing Hines 7 Associates is a full-service insurance agency offering auto insurance for your vehicle, home insurance for homeowners, renters and condo dwellers, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA), Washington DC since 1960. Our experienced insurance agents at our office in Kensington, MD welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time.

 

 

Saturday, 01 December 2018 10:36
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