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Cooking Fire Safety Tips

This time of year families are congregating in the kitchen.  Home cooked meals warm the heart.

Sadly this time of year sees the highest number of house fires.  According to FEMA, in 2014 the majority of house fires where cooking fires.

Lets avoid or limit fires this year!  Now is a good time to refresh your memory on safe cooking techniques.

Quick Tips: Cooking Fire Safety

  • Never try to extinguish grease fires with water.
  • Keep children and pets away from the stove while cooking.
  • Minor burns can be cooled by running under water for 10-15 minutes.
  • More Tips from FEMA.

cooking-fire safety

Click here for Turkey Fryer Safety tips.

 

They say if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.  We say cook safe and enjoy the kitchen.

From the Agency that cares…

 

Energy Assessments for the Fall season

Did you feel that cool crisp air? Fall is in the air, so it’s finally sweater weather! Time for apples, pumpkins, the Big E and more fall fun!

This is also a good time to discuss your home heating habits and how you can save money during this fall and winter season! Saving money on your heating bill is always a good thing.energy assessments

Have you considered having energy assessments done by an energy auditor?

These trained professionals will help find leaks and determine if your heating units are running well.  Leaks can cost you a lot of money when you are trying to heat your home.

Click here for more information on Energy Audits

 

Once you have had the assessment, the auditor will usually tell you what needs to be done to fix any issues.

Common recommendations include…

Windows

  • Replace them with updated energy efficient products.
  • Apply weather stripping to seal leaks.

Heating Systems

  • Annual servicing by a professional.
  • Check filter for cleanliness. A clean filter helps the unit run better, longer.

 

We know how important your home is to you.  Your local agent is here to assist you with questions about your coverage options.

 

Have you had your antiques appraised?

Antiques give us a glimpse into the way life used to be.  Antique shows are a great pastime, in which we can find unique, priceless items.

Do you enjoy collecting antiques?

antiquesProtect your investment. When was the last time you had your antiques appraised by a professional? We recommend that you have your appraisals done by a certified appraiser to determine the value of your personal items.  Once you have the appraisal, contact your local independent insurance agent to discuss your coverage options.

Your agent will advise you to either…

  1. List your antiques on your current homeowners policy.
  2. Obtain a valuable articles policy.

In most cases, you can simply schedule your items to your homeowners policy which will also provide broader coverage.  

Do you have an up to date digital inventory?  Please share this information with your local agent as well. Digital records save you time and headaches, in the event of loss. link

Call us today, for more tips and coverage options.

 

 

Emergency Planning for Pet Owners

pet ownersPets are so important to many of us.  For many they are a huge part of the family. This time of year we hear a lot about emergency preparedness.  How can you prepare your pets for an emergency.  Did you know Ready.gov has resources for savvy pet owners.  They even have tips for making an emergency kit.

Pet Owners, Ask yourself:

  • Do you have a current photo of your pet?
  • Is your pet up to date on vaccines?
  • Do you have copies of medical prescriptions, for your pet?
  • Does your pet have current ID Tags?
  • What local shelter are pet friendly?

Find more tips for the Pet Owner

Other things to consider.

  • Have you made renovations for your pet?
  • Have you taken an inventory of your, or your pets’ valuable belongings?

Keep your local insurance agent in the loop, so you do not miss out on coverage.

 

Is there insurance coverage for solar panels?

Solar, solar, everywhere!

Solar energy is one renewable energy that has become a hot topic among homeowners. (Pardon the pun.)

That being said, the question is, how are they insured?

Is there insurance coverage for solar panels?  Who is responsible for insuring them?

If you ownsolar panels

As of now, there is no specific insurance policy for solar panels.  If you own solar panels that are on your residence or property you would have coverage through your homeowners policy.  It’s key that you notify your local agency and update your policy as soon as you have them or better yet before you buy, or you may not have the necessary coverage.  Call us for more information.

If you lease

When leasing solar panels, usually the company you lease from is responsible for insuring them.  Be sure to have a clear understanding of your contract.  Also be aware that if you sell your home while still in a lease, the solar company could have a say in who buys your home.  Be careful whenever you have a contract.  Call you local insurance agent for more information.

For more fun facts about solar click here…

We are here to help with further question you may have.

Spring Auto Tips

Are you ready for warmer weather? How about your car?

It has been a long winter.  With winter weather winding down, now is the time to give your car the attention it deserves.  The Federal Trade Commision has a lot to say on this subject. Here are a few Spring Auto Tips.

spring auto tipsSpring Auto Tips:

  • Check oil levels and change it on a regular basis.
  • Check levels of engine fluids, such as coolants.
  • Check tire pressure.  Changes in temperatures can affect tire pressure.
  • Try the penny test on your tires, it may be time to get new tires.
  • Check Brakes. Squealing when coming to a stop is usually a sign that you need to replace your brakes.

 

Now is also a great time to have your interior carpets shampooed and wash your car.  Salt and ice melt can be very damaging to your automobile. The deep cleaning of your car also gives you a chance to spot any other issues that need to be resolved.

Click here for Tire Safety Tips

 

Spring Home Maintenance Tips

Spring is officially here!  This time of year, homeowners are excited to be seeing an end to cold weather.  Winter can be a test for your home. Warmer weather lets us get outside and make needed repairs.  Arbella Insurance has a helpful infographic that you can download for spring home maintenance.

Here are some helpful spring home maintenance tips:

Roof Tips:

  • Check your roof for damage from the weight of heavy snow.spring maintenance
  • Check roof shingles for wear.
  • Clear leaves from your gutters, allowing water to drain.

Ventilation Tips:

  • Check CO detectors, to make sure they are working properly.
  • Check HVAC filters, replacing or cleaning them as needed.

Yard Tips:

  • Check your deck for wear and tear.
  • Check driveways and walkways for cracks caused by snow and ice.

 

Contact your local agent for homeowners coverage questions.

Independent Agency VS Agent

Imagine living in a world with only one flavor of Ice Cream and worse yet, only one serving size??  Sound awful? We agree!

We recognize how important choice is, and feel people should know that they also have many options when it comes to insurance.  As an independent agency we work for you, keeping you informed of your options and to providing you with a policy that best matches your needs.

While other agents are stuck representing only one company, we can shop around for you.

 

 

 

Chase Clarke Stewart & Fontana Insurance Agency would be happy to provide you with the free quotes you need…

Why is our Independent Agency right for you:

  • We work for you as opposed to one company.
  • When you have a claim we work for you, to get you the best results.
  • We are value hunters, whose priority is to bring you the best price, coverage and service.
  • We cover a wide range of products, including Home, Renters, Auto, Business, Cyber Liability and More.
  • We will review your coverage from time to time to make sure all your needs are covered.
  • Customer satisfaction is our number one focus.
  • You are a person and not a number and we are available to talk when you need us.
  • We are local, licensed professionals with a long history in this community.

Contact us today  413-788-4531

Homeowners: Inventory your belongings.

inventoryHave you taken an inventory of your belongings?

This is a reminder to take some time now to go through your home and create an inventory of your valued items.

Take this situation:

A fire breaks out in the home, causing severe interior damage.  The structure of your home remains intact but everything else is a loss.  You find yourself needing to replace everything from appliances to clothing and even your toothbrush.   Good news is, you have insurance so you are covered and will be reimbursed…  But do you remember all the contents items in your house? Now is the time you wish you’d taken pictures or had a video of the inside of the house.

Don’t let this happen to you…

Here are a few things to remember when taking an inventory…

  • Take 3 or 4 pictures of each room.
  • When taking pictures, don’t forget to open the cabinets and closets. You have more clothes than you think!
  • Make a separate list of the items that can’t be replaced
  • Your valuable items may need to be appraised.
  • Call our office with your list.  413-788-4531.

 

Being Proactive (before a loss) will save you time and energy.

 

Feel free to call us with further questions.

Windows and Energy

This time of year temperatures outside are dropping.  How can you stop the drop in temperature from raising your heat bill?  Energy.gov has tips for preparing your home for colder temps.  Sometimes a homeowner is not in a position to replace their windows with more energy efficient ones, what then?  The following are a few tips to increase the efficiency of your current windows.

Improve Energy Efficiency of  your Windows

  • Caulking- is used to seal up air leaks around the window frame and the wall.  The leaks can be a result of cracks or gaps. windows If the gap is more that 1 and one quarter inch other methods may be needed.
  • Weather Stripping– is used to seal up air leaks around movable components. Read more about weather stripping.
  • Window Coverings– Such coverings as shades, shutters or even panels can go a long way in insulating your windows. Click here for more covering ideas.

Before sealing your home it is good to know how much ventilation your home requires. Consult with a professional.

 

 

Contact your local agent to find out how to seal up any gaps in your existing coverage.