Sometimes things are open to interpretation, and reading the wrong meaning into something can cost you bunches. For example, if you have an all risk homeowner’s insurance policy, you might assume the word “all” implies that everything is covered. You would be wrong.
Essentially, issuers of homeowner’s insurance write two kinds of policies: named perils vs all risk(also called open peril by some insurers). Here’s how they differ.
Named Perils Homeowners Insurance
Named risk homeowner’s insurance only covers what is specifically noted in your policy. If it doesn’t say you’re covered for vandalism damages or backed up sewers, you aren’t.
All Risk Homeowners Insurance
All risk or open peril homeowner’s insurance covers everything EXCEPT what is specifically excluded on your policy.
Flood insurance and earthquake insurance are common examples of named peril policies. Those two natural disasters are typically excluded on most open peril policies, although they can be purchased as add-ons (or riders) for an extra fee.
Which Homeowner Insurance Is Better, Named Perils vs All Risk?
If you’re paying a mortgage, you really won’t have any choice but to at least carry open peril. Your lender is going to require you to carry a comprehensive policy to protect its investment. But depending on where you live, you’d probably be wise to add additional coverage for the natural disasters most likely to afflict you. By the way, flood damage is another one of those industry jargon terms you might misinterpret and wrongly assume that, since you live in a desert, you don’t need. Since most standard open peril policies specifically exclude flood claims, you could be left holding the bag for any damage done by surface water that builds up after heavy rains, underwater springs, groundwater, burst water pipes, overflowing toilets, and wind or wave-driven water.
Some other terms that may be open to interpretation and which you should clarify are: falling objects, earth movement and animal damage. A falling object might include a meteor or airplane flotsam, or it might not. Earth movement probably doesn’t include damage caused by landslides, even if they result from an earthquake and you have that kind of coverage. Animal damage coverage may mean you’re covered if stampeding cattle or rampaging bears wreak havoc on your property, but probably won’t extend to the dog chewing up the drywall.
In a world where freak accidents happen and people are inclined to sue rather than forgive, the broader your homeowners insurance coverage, the better off you’ll be. Just be sure to read the fine print, ask lots of questions and get clarification in writing.
If you’re leaving your property empty over the winter without taking the necessary precautions, this can cause a number of issues, including frozen water pipes and damp. And if there’s no one to keep an eye on the house, these issues can quickly snowball into major ones, causing long-lasting and costly property damage.
So what can you do to prevent this? Read our blog on winter tips for empty properties to find out how you can prevent these issues.
1. Keep your heating on low to avoid burst or frozen pipes
Image source: Reinaldo Sture via Unsplash
One of the best things you can do to avoid your water pipes from freezing or bursting in an unoccupied property is to keep your heating on low. There are two options available for this: either you can keep your heating on all day and night with your thermostat at around 15 degrees celsius, or you can set it to come on for a few hours in the morning and a few hours at night.
It’s important to note that many insurance providers will stipulate that you must keep your heating on continuously in order to maintain a temperature of 15 degrees celsius.
Is it more energy-efficient to leave your heating on all day or only run it for a few hours each day?
This has been a hotly debated topic for many years, and the general consensus is that it depends on the property. If your home is poorly insulated and you leave your heating on all day, your boiler will have to work hard to maintain the right temperature.
Likewise, in the winter when the temperature outside is colder, heat loss always occurs no matter how well insulated your property is, so you might find that even if your property is well insulated, it struggles to maintain the desired temperature.
You might want to test which method is more energy efficient before you leave your property empty by trying each method and taking meter readings at the beginning and end to see which is better.
2. Consider draining your pipes
Image source: inanc avadit via Unsplash
If you’d prefer not to leave the heating on in the property, an alternative is to drain the pipes of all water. Many insurance companies accept this as an alternative to keeping your heating on and will include this as a term of agreement if you don’t want to keep your heating on while you’re away.
As pipes burst when the water inside them freezes and therefore expands, this makes it less likely that your pipes will get damaged.
Bear in mind that this isn’t a foolproof method to prevent water damage as water might remain in different parts of your plumbing that cannot be drained. There is also the added risk that condensation will start to form without the heating on, which could lead to damp and mould issues.
In order to do this, turn the water off at the mains and drain the water system, including any water tanks, pipes and apparatus.
3. Check your roof and gutters before you leave
There are a number of things to consider before you leave the property empty over the winter. For instance, you’ll want to clear your gutters of leaves to prevent a build-up or sagging gutters, both of which could cause flooding or other water damage.
You’ll also want to check the property’s roof for any missing or damaged tiles, which could cause further damage in bad weather. These should be replaced before you leave your property vacant.
If your property has a thatched roof, you might want to clean and tighten it before you go away. And if your property has a flat roof, you might want to get it maintained before you go away. You’ll also want to ensure that, if there is any heavy snowfall or a bad storm while the property is empty, you send someone to check the roof and remove any snow or debris from it as not doing so can cause damage.
4. Make sure you’re not encouraging pests to nest
Image source: Shane Rounce via Unsplash
An empty property is particularly attractive to pests over the winter so it’s important to safeguard against them. It’s a good idea to check the perimeter of your property to ensure there aren’t any broken or damaged air bricks that could be used by rodents and other pests. Likewise, check the inside of your property for any holes or access routes that could be used by pests.
Make sure to clear any rubbish from your property – both inside and outside – as not doing so can encourage pests to nest.
5. Set up your lights so they turn on automatically
You might have already set this up, but as days are shorter in winter you’ll probably need to adapt the timer settings on any automatical lights. At the height of winter, it can get dark very early – the winter solstice sees the sun setting before 4pm. As a result, you might want to change the timer so it turns the lights on at around 4:30pm to 5pm during the winter months.
6. Make sure you’ve got unoccupied house insurance in place
An unoccupied property is more susceptible to a wide range of issues, so it’s a good idea to have unoccupied home insurance in place. This differs from regular house insurance as it helps protect your property against the particular risks involved with leaving your home empty.
At Adrian Flux, we offer tailored unoccupied home insurance to suit your needs and your budget. Our home insurance customers saved an average of 31% in 2021 when taking out a policy with us – see how much you could save by giving us a call on 0800 081 0777.
changing leaves, crisp autumn air, and decorating
for the season are all things to look forward to at the start of fall, but as summer
comes to an end, it’s time to prepare our homes for the colder months ahead. We
often associate home maintenance with the months following winter, but being
proactive can reduce the amount of work you do in the spring. Here are some simple and easy home maintenance tips to kickstart the fall season.
Exterior and Interior for Peeling Paint
it’s outside or inside your home, paint doesn’t last
forever and should be updated regularly. Inspecting your home could entail a
walk-through or a simple walk around your
property looking for any paint chipping, peeling, discoloration, or fading.
those with a pool, it’s important to winterize it. New York State can encounter
harsh winters and you want to ensure your pool is protected. For more
information about how towinterize your
pool for the season,
check out this link.
Fireplace and Chimneys for Damage or Potential Hazards
and obstructed chimneys are one of the leadingcauses of house
It is recommended to regularly inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney at
least once a year. Because this is a high-risk endeavor, you’ll want to
consider calling a professional to both inspect your chimney, as well as
Clean Out Your
major cause of housefires are clogged lint traps and air ducts. It’s important
to empty your dryer lint trap after every load of laundry. Be sure to
have your dryer ducts checked and cleaned regularly, as lint can get trapped
Air Conditioning System
air conditioning system or home cooling
should also be regularly maintained, although you likely won’t use it during
the fall and winter months. Understanding the safety around these systems and
preparing them for the winter is crucial! To learn more about cleaning your air
conditioning unit, check out this link.
Clean and Prepare
Your Heating Systems for Winter
we put away our air conditioning
we transition into requiring a heat source. Depending on the heating system,
this maintenance can look different for everyone. While you can refer to your
owner’s manual for more detailed information, you might also consider calling
for a professional inspection and cleaning.
Clean and Inspect
All Windows and Doors
and wiping down windows and door screens can increase visibility and help to remove
any dirt and dust buildup from the last few months. Additionally, inspecting
and adding a protective layer of caulk to window seals can help to prevent cold
Condition Your Carpets
a vacuuming weekly, it’s recommended to professionally
and shampoo your carpets once a year. This keeps your home clean and lengthens
the lifespan of your carpet—which can be costly to replace.
Replace the Batteries in Your Emergency Systems
includes both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. You’ll want toget in the habit of replacing batteries in emergency
systems at the same time you adjust your clocks for daylight savings
Rake Leaves From
the Backyard and Clean Gutters
the temperature starts to drop, clearing gutters of leaves and other debris can
prevent ice dams from forming. Raking your leaves will help prevent fungus and
potential disease from growing, as well as prevent your
from dying of suffocation.
Exterior Faucets and Store Hoses
sure to shut off exterior faucets and any unneeded water sources and store
hoses and equipment away. To learn more about how to prevent your pipes from
freezing, check out this link.
Stock up on
New York State, you never know when winter weather will strike. It’s best to always
keep a stock of winter essentials on hand. This can include firewood, a winter safety
shovel(s), and anything else you may need ahead of time to prepare for winter.
the colder season approaches, being proactive is key, and protecting your home
should be a top priority. It’s important to complete an annual insurance
checkupto be sure that
you and your home are properly protected. Your insurance agent is an excellent
resource for navigating coverage options such as mechanical breakdown, service
line coverage, guaranteed replacement cost, flood insurance and even umbrella
liability). An agent can also help identify specific items you own that may
need to be scheduled on your homeowner policy. For information on a home insurance
Insurance, check out the link below!
Winter weather brings a slew of potential dangers for property owners. Whether you’re maintaining a commercial space or a home, preparing your space for the season can go a long way in protecting it.
In this article, the experts at Central offer five tips for keeping your buildings secure during snow, sleet, ice, and more.
Tip #1: Have a snow removal plan in place
Snow removal is a crucial aspect of winter weather preparation.
For homeowners who don’t have snow removal equipment or businesses without the maintenance staff to stay on top of snowfall, it’s important to set a snow removal plan in place before the season starts.
Get in touch with local contractors and set up a custom snow removal and maintenance plan that best fits your needs. For instance, if your property contains a long walkway, ensure the contractor is prepared to shovel the snow there. Similarly, consider investing in salt application services alongside generic plowing if your property is located up a steep driveway .
Maintaining proper temperatures in your home or office space is important for the comfort of your family or employees during winter weather, and for the protection of your home’s plumbing systems and pipes.
According to the Department of Energy & Environment, thermostats should be set to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit during winter when a space is occupied. Whenever the space is not occupied (i.e. when a family is away on vacation or a company is off business hours), the temperature can drop to anywhere between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but should never be kept lower or turned off completely.
Maintaining a 60-65 degree range can keep pipes from freezing and prevent water damage in your space.
Many newer homes and office spaces come with programmable thermostats that allow you to pre-schedule temperature shifts or make changes from your smartphone. However, older buildings will rely on manually lowering and raising the temperature. Make sure you figure out what type of thermostat your space has and plan before the temperatures outside drop.
Tip #3: Inspect internal spaces
Many property owners end up with a higher than average electricity bill in the winter due partly to the increased use of heat. Keep costs low and protect your building’s interior from external factors like snow and wind by doing a thorough inspection of the inside of your property before winter.
Look for cracks in the walls and loose windows or window frames that might let out warm air and let in the elements. Also, check the building’s insulation and ensure there aren’t holes that could lead to additional heat loss.
Tip #4: Do a roof check
Snow that piles up on your roof can cause lasting damage to your property. Luckily, there are steps you can take now to prevent this.
Despite its fluffy composition, snow itself is a dense material. While factors contribute to the weight of each snowfall (such as the wetness of the snow and even the shape of the snowflakes), the average one inch of snowfall equates to approximately one pound per square foot. That means a 2,000 sq. ft. roof with 3 inches of snow ends up holding roughly 6,000 lbs.
Roofs that aren’t properly maintained or have suffered external damage to supports, shingles, etc. are more likely to collapse under this extreme pressure. For that reason, you should audit your building’s roof prior to the first snowfall and make sure it’s prepared to withstand the weight of a heavy snowfall.
Tip #5: Stay on top of ice dams
Although most common in northern states, ice dams can be a detriment to home and business owners during the winter months.
Ice dams occur when dense snow collects on a roof, melts during warmer daylight hours, and then refreezes when it gets colder again at night. This cycle can carry on for multiple days, resulting in a build-up of melted water under shingles on the roof. Most often this water will leak through attics, ceilings, and walls, damaging not only the structure of the building but also the contents.
To prevent ice dams, the National Weather Service recommends cleaning out all leaves, sticks, and debris from gutters and downspouts prior to the first snowfall and then keeping snow buildup to a minimum once it begins. Roof rakes, which are long-handled scoops designed specifically for helping clear snow and prevent ice dams, are available for purchase online and in stores and work well in clearing hard-to-reach spaces.
Bonus Tip #6: Get your insurance policy in place
Sometimes, despite taking all the proper precautions, damage to your property still occurs in winter weather. In these cases, a solid homeowners or commercial property policy can protect you from extensive out-of-pocket costs for repairs.
Did You Know: According to The Insurance Information Institute, in the first few months of 2021 alone, over $15.1 billion reported in insured losses.
Reputable homeowners insurance like Central’s Signature Homeowners Policy is designed to provide the coverage you need to ensure your home is fully protected. It includes benefits such as full replacement cost coverage for rebuilding a home (even if the cost to rebuild exceeds the policy limit), replacement cost coverage (for damaged personal belongings), replacement cost loss settlement coverage (which is paid up front before repairs and replacements are complete), and much more.
Similarly, Central offers exceptional Commercial Property insurance coverage to protect businesses against these kinds of weather-related damages. Central’s Covered Property policies include protection for buildings and their contents, and our Covered Losses policies cover the loss of business due to damage to your building.
Sinkhole insurance is available to homeowners in many states, while only Florida and Tennessee require insurance companies to offer optional coverage.
Sinkhole insurance can be expensive — in some cases, more than regular homeowners’ insurance. Plus, the deductibles can be astronomical, so shop around for the best quotes.
With climate change, the frequency of sinkholes may increase as drought activity, followed by heavy rains, increases.
Homeowners are responsible for damage to their home and personal belongings when a sinkhole occurs on their property.
We’ve all seen the pictures — a giant hole in the ground with a car or a partial house sticking up.
It’s terrifying to think about. It looks like the earth just opened up and swallowed whatever was in its path.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the risk of having a sinkhole on your property is relatively rare. However, the U.S. Geological Survey recently estimated that between 35% and 40% of all land here in the U.S. is potentially sinkhole prone.
Still, the chance of a sinkhole occurring in a given area each year is 1-in-100, although they tend to be especially common in these states:
While the actuarial risk of a catastrophic sinkhole happening is low—the potential damage and repair costs can be devastating for homeowners (and business owners). Annual damages from sinkholes cost around $300 million per year in the U.S.
In fact, Florida’s Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance reported that over 24,000 claims for sinkhole damage had been received in recent years — an average of 17 claims per day. The average claim in Florida in 2020 was over $140,000. These claims centered on just six counties well known for sinkhole occurrences: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hernando, Pasco, Miami-Dade, and Broward.
How Do They Occur?
It all has to do with water! Sinkholes form where there are underground water supplies, both natural and man-made. Natural occurrences can be from aquifers and water tables that are formed in softer rock and soil, like limestone or loose gravel.
Man-made sinkholes can occur where there are broken or leaking water or sewer pipes, abandoned mines, improperly compacted soil during construction, or buried trash in covered landfills. There is some concern that hydraulic fracture mining, better known as fracking, may increase the number of sinkholes in the future.
In each of the above cases, moving water can then slowly dissolve the rock and sediment, carrying it further down the water table and leaving a crack, crevice, or cavern in the bedrock. Over time, the weight of the soil and structures above the slowly forming hole simply gives way — it collapses and leaves behind a giant void.
Drought conditions can be a complicating factor for potential increased sinkhole activity. As the rains return, water rushes into the dried soil and carries away loose sediment and rock creating spontaneous sinkholes.
As the climate changes and droughts become more frequent, sinkhole activity is projected to increase.
Can Sinkholes be Fixed?
Yes — Although anything beyond a small hole (5 feet by 5 feet square, as an estimate), will require an extensive professional repair. Any size hole should be evaluated by a skilled pro to ensure it’s not the start of a bigger problem.
Repairing a sinkhole usually involves the following:
Once debris has been cleared, the outer edges and interior of the hole will be tested for stability and then the additional rock and sediment will be cleared away if necessary.
A concrete plug or platform will be constructed to provide a solid foundation imitating the bedrock that was destroyed by water.
Typically, layers of large and small rocks, gravel, sand, and soil will be added using a ‘graded-filter technique’ that allows for water drainage and, hopefully, precludes any further sinkhole activity.
Once a sinkhole has been adequately repaired, construction can begin to replace the dwellings and related buildings.
Are Sinkholes Covered by Insurance?
Unlike natural disasters, like fires or hurricanes, sinkholes are not typically covered by a standard insurance policy.
Generally, sinkholes are treated as an exclusion. However, sinkhole insurance coverage is offered in many states and can be obtained separately.
While Tennessee requires all insurance companies to offer sinkhole insurance coverage, Florida is the only state where all homeowners’ policies are required to have ‘Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse’ coverage.
If you reside in Florida (where the most sinkholes occur), it’s advised that you explore the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s website to fully understand what type of insurance coverage best protects you, your home, and your personal belonging in the event of a ground collapse.
What is Sinkhole Insurance Coverage?
In a standard homeowners’ policy, the insurance company is agreeing to cover the home and its contents, including any personal property, from ‘covered peril’. The company also agrees to cover any unattached buildings, like garages and storage sheds. However, a standard policy does not generally include the land the home sits on.
Typically, insurance companies exclude damage to the land that is the result of ‘movement of the earth’ like during an earthquake…or a sinkhole. For example, in California, it’s common to buy optional earthquake coverage to protect a home in the event of a catastrophic quake.
The same goes for sinkholes.
Is It Hard to Get Sinkhole Insurance?
That may depend on your insurance carrier. Some carriers require a property inspection to assess any preexisting conditions or damage before they issue sinkhole insurance coverage. In fact, some carriers may require your land be tested by a geologist or engineer able to detect potential sinkhole risks.
Assuming all goes well, you would be eligible to have a stand-alone policy or an endorsement to your homeowners’ insurance to cover sinkholes.
What Does Sinkhole Insurance Cost?
It’s expensive – no other way to say it.
However, if you live in an area prone to sinkholes, it’s not nearly as expensive as the potential damage and loss possible from an actual sinkhole.
On average, sinkhole insurance costs between $2,000 and $4,000 per year and is subject to high deductibles. Often insurance companies will have a percentage deductible for specialty insurance like sinkhole insurance. That means if you have a 5% deductible and your home’s repairs will cost $400,000, your out-of-pocket will be $20,000.
Coupled with your traditional homeowners’ policy, this would cover these four types of situations:
Structure and dwelling coverage — This would repair the land and allow you to rebuild or repair your home and any other outbuildings if needed.
Personal property coverage — This would ensure that your home’s contents would be replaced if it had been damaged or destroyed during the occurrence. This would also cover any theft that might take place while you were away from your property.
Liability coverage — This would help pay medical costs and legal costs if anyone was hurt on your property.
Alternative Living Expenses (ALE) coverage — This helps pay the cost of living for you and your family if your house is declared uninhabitable. This covers costs while your home is under construction.
Who Needs Sinkhole Insurance?
In the states listed above, you will find sinkhole insurance available albeit with a hefty price tag. If you live in a state that doesn’t have significant sinkhole risk, you may still want to consider the coverage which you should be able to obtain at a much lower cost.
To find out if you have potential sinkhole problems in your area, check with your county property appraiser or search for a statewide sinkhole database. You can also check with your state geologic division or university for geologic surveys here.
Detecting sinkhole damage starts by monitoring your home and property for these signs:
Large cracks that develop around your doors and windows.
Doors and windows becoming more difficult to open and securely close.
Deep cracks in driveways, sidewalks, or on the street that runs in front of your home.
Unusual sediment in your drinking water which can be a sign of damaged pipes that could leaking water.
Depressions that develop in your yard or property around your home.
Throughout the Midwest in areas like northeastern Kentucky, sinkholes are caused by mine subsidence or old coal mines that collapse. Many insurance companies specifically exclude sinkhole insurance coverage when caused by mine subsidence. In that case, you may need a separate policy to cover mine subsidence damage or failure.
Is Sinkhole Insurance Worth It?
If you have taken the time to research your land through your county assessor’s records and the state geologic survey or have talked with a local expert who is experienced in the geology of the area, then you should have a fairly good understanding of the risks involved. It would also be a good idea to talk with your insurance agent to get a feel for the importance of sinkhole insurance in your area.
Be sure to inquire about the exact coverage before agreeing to purchase a policy. Coverage can differ and more than one homeowner has suffered a sinkhole loss only to find out that their policy didn’t cover the damage. For example:
Be sure your policy covers damage from natural sinkholes, as well as man-made sinkholes. Preferably your policy should cover both.
Does your home have to be declared a total loss to file a claim?
What inspections are needed to issue a new policy? And in the event of a claim or occurrence?
Does your policy cover only abrupt collapse events or does it also cover gradual damage like growing cracks in your driveway or foundation?
Do you have a policy that covers mine subsidence?
How to Obtain a Quote on Sinkhole Insurance
If you are ready to pursue sinkhole insurance coverage, be sure and shop around for the best rates as well as the best deductibles.
Doing a lot of research on insurance rates used to mean making tons of phone calls and talking with a bunch of insurance agents to get the best price.
Today, you can visit an online marketplace, like Einsurance.com, to get fast and easy quotes on all types of insurance, including homeowners’ insurance. They even offer homeowners insurance guides on a state-by-state basis where you can get all of your questions answered.
Just fill out the simple form and you will receive quotes on your home insurance from insurance agents eager to do business with you. From there you can discuss sinkhole insurance options and select the insurance company that works best for your situation.
Before you start the process, be sure and have this information ready to answer any questions when getting a quote on homeowners’ insurance:
Who lives in your home
How many adults
How many children
Occupation of the adults living in the home
Do you run a business from your home
Type of business
Do you store inventory or capital assets at your home
Insurance history including existing coverage, limits, and deductibles
Type of home and estimated cost to rebuild
Age of your home
Type of roof
Type of construction
Number of fireplaces
Do you have a garage
Number of bathrooms, bedrooms
Any renovations or improvements that increase the value of the home
What kind of technology or safety devices do you have in the home
Smart connected technology
A Final Word
If you live in a state that has sinkhole issues or are relocating to one of the states mentioned above, information is available to help you determine what type of sinkhole insurance coverage you may need.
Rely on a trusted source, like einsurance.com, to get your insurance questions answered and to find the best insurance quotes with insurance agents ready to help answer your questions and guide you through the sinkhole insurance maze.
With cooler temperatures settling in, many may be thinking it’s time to winterize their pools for the season. Taking the steps to properly close your pool can save you a lot of time and money when it’s time to reopen it next summer. The last thing you’ll want to do is remove your pool cover to reveal a grimy, murky mess. To help you take out the guesswork, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to properly winterizing your pool. Continue reading to learn more.
The first step in winterizing your pool will be to prepare your tools. Unless this is your first year owning a pool, there is a good chance you will have the majority of these things on hand. Here’s what you’re going to need when it comes to tools:
Tools for removing ladders and installing gate locks
Water test strips
Here’s what you’ll need for chemicals:
Chlorine (or another sanitizer)
pH increaser and decreaser
Calcium hardness increaser
Step 1: Clean the Pool
Before you do anything else, you’ll need to give your pool a thorough cleaning. Using your pool brush, be sure to scrub down your pool walls. This can help you kick up any algae or dirt that may be stuck at the bottom of your pool. Once that is complete, you can use your pool vacuum to suck up all the muck that was kicked up after your brushing. If you notice signs of algae growth, you might consider purchasing an algae brush. These are made specifically to break up algae, making it easier for the chemicals you’ll be adding to do their job.
Step 2: Test the Water
Balancing the water’s levels (pH, alkalinity, etc.) right before closing the pool can give you a serious head start for the coming season. It’s important to know that when your pool is properly balanced, it is more protected from things like extreme clouding or corrosion. Cleaning up that murky mess can be costly! Pro-tip: your water’s chlorine level should be five ppm (parts per million). Any higher and it starts to deteriorate the other additives you’ve used.
Algae is something that can grow and build up quickly. If your pool is prone to algae growth, be sure to add in a dose of algaecide. You can also add in pool enzymes which help algaecide attack organic contaminants.
Depending on the amount of algaecide you use and the natural level of metals in your water, you may need to add a metal sequestrant as well. A metal sequestrant helps to suspend those metals in the water, rather than having them settle, oxidize, and cause stains. For best results, be sure to read instructions on all chemicals you use.
Step 4: Shock Your Pool
It’s important to know that you should only shock your pool after the sun has gone down. This is because the sun can burn off those chemicals before they have the chance to work. Be sure to measure out the correct amount of shock for your specific pool size. Once you’ve added the chemicals, you’ll want to run your pump for about eight hours.
Step 5: Prep Your Filter Pump
Next, you’ll either want to give your filter pump a deep cleaning or replace it entirely. Without a clean filter, you risk all that gunk contaminating your newly cleaned water and bacteria growing all winter long.
Step 6: Lower the Water Levels
While this isn’t something that you have to do, draining out some of the water in the pool can help prevent freeze damage. This is a good idea if you live in places like New York State, where your pool pipes are at risk for freezing during the winter months. If this is something you choose to do, you’ll want to contact the authorities about where the wastewater should go. Because it’s been chemically treated, it can be extremely toxic and cause environmental damage. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for directions on how low to take the water line.
Step 7: Remove and Clean Any Pool Accessories
Prolonged exposure to chemicals and winter elements can damage the finish and even the structure of your ladder, rails, and pool toys. Be sure to remove these items from the pool area, give them a thorough cleaning and place them in dry storage.
Step 8: Install Your Cover
Your next step will be to install your winter cover. A cover will help to keep the pool water clean and safe from debris and other contaminants. You’ll want to check on your pool cover occasionally, making sure to clean off any leaves or snow . Never use a rake, shovel, or anything sharp to clean your pool cover, as it may tear. A regular push broom should do the trick.
Step 9: Security
If you have an above ground or gated pool, your final step will be to lock up the area for the season. Removing immediate access to the area can help reduce the likelihood a child or animal may injure themselves by climbing on top of the pool cover or falling through the ice.
Something else to consider adding to your pool winterizing checklist is a home insurance checkup. In order to make sure you are protected against any pool-related incidents, you’ll want to contact your insurance agent. For more information about a home insurance policy with NYCM Insurance, check out the link below to speak with one of our trusted agents.
Sometimes, yes. Traditional landlord insurance policies will help cover many types of tenant damage. You’ll still need to pay a deductible, however. And if the damages are minor, you may wish to pay for them out-of-pocket rather than create a claims history.
Rental property insurance can be complicated. This unbiased guide written by licensed insurance professionals will cover everything you need to know about landlord insurance policies and explain instances when landlordinsurance covers tenant damage. We’ll discuss:
Traditional Landlord Insurance Coverage Basics
Like a homeowner’s insurance (HO) policy, landlord insurance policies protect the dwelling and other structures against perils like fire, lightning, wind, fallen trees, and so on.
Liability coverage is also included in most landlord insurance policies, and this helps protect the property owner in case of a lawsuit if someone were to get injured on the property and sue the landlord for negligence.
Read your policy closely, and you’ll learn that the property is also protected against:
Notably absent from most landlord policies are:
Nuclear war coverage
And hurricanes might also be specifically excluded at coastal properties
That’s because these huge, regional catastrophes can cause enough damage to make an insurance company go insolvent — a fancy word for “broke” — leaving their customers uninsured.
The biggest difference between a landlord protection policy and a HO policy is the lack of contents coverage. Landlords don’t have a financial interest in the contents of a rental property. Those belongings are the tenant’s responsibility, and can be covered by a renter’s policy.
Does a Landlord Policy Cover Tenant Damage?
Many accidental damages that your tenant might cause are covered by your landlord policy. Let’s explore a common scenario.
The Story of Your Tenant Janet: Accidental Fire Damage is Covered by Landlord Insurance
Landlord protection policies always include accidental fire coverage. Imagine your tenant, we’ll call her Janet, accidentally starts a kitchen fire when she forgets to turn the stove off after dinner.
The fire escalates rapidly. And even though the fire department arrives quickly and saves the rest of the home, the kitchen is entirely burnt. Luckily, Janet got out safely without any injuries.
Between the cabinetry, walls, appliances and flooring, the insurance claims adjuster says you’re looking at about $20,000 in damages. There is also hazardous debris that needs to be removed, and a strong smoky odor throughout the home.
Your landlord policy will pay to repair all these issues, even the smoke damage and debris removal, once you pay your deductible. Furthermore, if your neighbors complain of smoke damage to their home or belongings, that’s also covered by the liability portion of your policy.
Some landlord policies cover temporary housing for your tenant while the home is repaired. And you might have lost income coverage, which replaces the rental income you’re used to receiving. This is important, because repairs might take several months.
Tenant Belongings Are Not Usually Covered by a Landlord Policy
As repairs are underway, Janet asks you for compensation for her lost belongings that were damaged during the kitchen fire. These include a personal laptop computer, dishes, small kitchen appliances, and $300 in groceries. The total of her loss is $2,000.
Hopefully, Janet has renter’s insurance. If so, she can get reimbursed quickly for those damages. Otherwise, she can try to sue you in small claims court, and she might win. Even if she doesn’t win, court will still be a huge hassle. That’s one reason why modern landlords and property management companies require tenants to carry rental insurance as part of their lease agreement.
The Story of James: Your Landlord Policy Covers Damages to Other Structures
Now let’s imagine another tenant, James. He rents one side of a duplex and has access to half of a two-car garage. James is puttering around in the garage one day, listening to a ball game on the radio. James steps away for just a moment and accidentally leaves a hot soldering iron too close to his propane tank and KABOOM! There is an explosion in the garage.
Thankfully, no one is hurt. Fire trucks arrive quickly and put out the fire. Your claims adjuster says you’re looking at about $8,000 in damage to the garage. It’s covered, less a deductible, of course.
Again, James might attempt to sue you for the loss of his damaged tools. There is a slim chance he’ll win, as the explosion was his fault. But he could try, and court is always a hassle.
If a third-party tries to collect from you — perhaps the destroyed lawnmower in the garage belonged to James’ father — the liability portion of your landlord insurance policy will come into play.
The Story of Little Johnny: Most Landlord Policies Cover Accidental Water Damage
Renting the other side of the duplex is Christina and her four-year-old son, Johnny. One morning, the little darling gets up extra early and flushes his GI Joe dolls down the toilet. No one realizes until it’s too late that plumbing is plugged up. When Christina gets home from work, she calls you panicking that there’s water damage throughout the whole apartment, and it’s seeped into the basement causing water damage to the other side.
First, check to see if your landlord insurance policy includes water damage. If you have this coverage, it will pay for repairs to your walls, floors, plumbing and so on.
If any of Christina’s belongings are damaged, she’ll need to look to her renter’s insurance company for a check.
Now that we’ve addressed the common types of tenant damages covered by your landlord insurance, let’s explore some tenant damages that aren’t covered by your landlord insurance.
Tenant Damages That Aren’t Covered by Landlord Insurance
Intentional damages and wear and tear are not covered by traditional landlord insurance policies. There is a new type of insurance rider — an add-on to an existing policy, also called an endorsement — offered by a few property insurers to help mitigate the costs of intentional tenant damage. Different insurers use different names, but it might be called:
Tenant damage insurance
Tenant protector plan
Or intentional tenant damage coverage
This is a relatively new and unusual type of coverage, but as a landlord you should ask your insurer about adding it to all your rental property policies.
Intentional Damages Caused by Tenants
Landlord policies exclude intentional damage caused by your renters. Read your policy carefully. The language might vary a little, but it will say something like:
“Intentional damage caused by tenants, including, but not limited to malicious destruction before, during or within 10 days of eviction or vacancy is excluded.”
Your next question is, “What qualifies as intentional damage by a tenant?” Well, any purposeful, malicious vandalism or destruction of the rental property done by a paying tenant — or one that’s being evicted for non-payment — qualifies as intentional damage.
Graffiti or “tagging” in units or residential community hallways, stairwells, and parking garages
Removal of faucets, plumbing or copper wiring
Purposefully broken windows or glass
Arson, a fire lit specifically to cause property damage
Broken tiles and toilets
As a property owner, you’ll be able to tell right away if the damage was intentional. One cracked window is probably not done on purpose. But an entire bathroom that’s been beaten to bits with a sledgehammer is easy to identify.
Normal Wear and Tear is Not Covered by Landlord Insurance
Even the most respectful, clean, and well-behaved tenant will cause wear and tear in your rental unit. There is no insurance product you can buy to cover it, and it’s not supposed to be covered by a deposit either. (This is a common mistake made by many new landlords, but a tenant can sue and win easily for this.)
Every state has slightly different definitions of wear and tear, but it’s considered a cost of doing business as a property owner. Examples of normal wear and tear include:
Worn out flooring
Stained carpeting that needs professional cleaning
Minor scratches, dings, and chips on walls
The occasional new toilet, faucet, or showerhead
Appliances that need to be repaired or replaced
Worn-out furniture in furnished units
Unfortunately, landlord insurance does not cover these types of tenant damages, even though they might be significant. They are a cost of doing business.
Between tenants, landlords have the responsibility to clean and repair rental units to the point they’re habitable by local ordinance (laws.) Every state has slightly different requirements, but it usually means working heat, plumbing, locks on windows and doors, and a refrigerator. A functioning cooling unit is now considered a point of habitability in hotter states.
Does Landlord Insurance Cover Tenant Damage Beyond Normal Wear and Tear?
No. There is no landlord insurance product or rider that covers tenant damages done beyond the normal wear and tear expected. Those repair costs will be up to the property owner, but you can use their security deposit for damage beyond normal wear and tear.
For example, when a tenant moves out, you might find they had a rottweiler living in the home secretly. Pets are strictly forbidden on their lease.
The dog did a ton of damage, chewed the wooden door frames, destroyed the screen doors, and scratched the floors and walls. You’ll need to repair or replace these, and the cost of doing so will come out of the tenant’s deposit.
Examples of tenant damage beyond normal wear and tear could include:
Damage done by pets if pets are not allowed in the lease
Cabinet or closet doors that are completely missing or destroyed
Carpet that has been pulled up, burnt or cut
Pro tip: Document the condition of the house with the tenant when they move in and again when they move out.
What About Squatters?
Every rental property owner will eventually deal with squatters. These can be vagrant individuals who move into your vacant property while it’s uninhabited, but they can also be guests of your tenants who refuse to leave even once your tenant leaves the property.
Insurance companies don’t like to insure vacant properties, because squatters cause a lot of damage. That’s why most traditional landlord policies exclude units that are vacant for 60 days or more.
Still, some damages caused by squatters might be covered by your landlord policy.
Accidental Damages Caused by Squatters Are Usually Covered by Insurance Until the 60 Day Mark
If your unit has been uninhabited for less than 60 days, and a squatter accidentally causes a fire that burns the whole structure down, this would probably be covered by your policy.
Before that crucial 60 day mark, most malicious vandalism would also be covered. So, if a squatter were to break all the windows and glass in a rental home, you’ll be able to get that replaced and only pay a deductible.
However, as of day 61, the insurance company will fight against paying any sort of claims related to squatter damages.
Landlord Policies are Evolving Since the Pandemic
When COVID-19 struck, many landlords were put in an awkward situation. Eviction moratoria meant that tenants couldn’t be evicted, and in some states, the legislation lasted into 2022.
Since then, landlords have struggled to evict tenants, some who haven’t paid rent for two years. The good news is that these properties aren’t vacant, since they’ve been inhabited the entire time. So, they’re still insured by your landlord protector policy.
The bad news is that evicting these tenants can be an expensive and time-consuming legal process, depending on your state and county laws.
Regardless, some landlord insurance policies are changing since the pandemic in regard to squatters rights and tenant coverage. So be sure to ask your favorite insurance agent about changes to your landlord protector policy when it’s time to renew.
With summer weather slipping away and cooler
temperatures settling in, many may be thinking it’s time to close-up camp for
the season. Taking steps to winterize your cabin or campsite will
save you a lot of time and money when you return in the spring. We’ve put together a
comprehensive guide on how to properly close your camp for the summer. Continue reading to learn
things first, you’ll want to start with a thorough cleaning of all appliances and
electronics. Be sure to remove batteries from clocks, cover your smaller appliances, and make sure that
everything has been unplugged. Don’t forget to remove all food from your
fridge, freezer, and pantry. As you clean, you’ll want to spot check for any
stray crumbs that may invite rodents, raccoons, or other pests.Note that anything you clean with can become
a breeding ground for bacteria and can also attract pests, so be sure to empty
your vacuum and bring home your mop for washing. Pro-tip: Be sure to bring home
any cleaning supplies you may have at camp, as hazardous chemicals and
pesticides can actually freeze and explode when temperatures are low.
these tips to prevent weather-related damage to your outdoor furniture
and Water Equipment
Small boats like canoes and kayaks
should be drained, dried and turned upside down. Outboard motorboats and other
powered equipment will have a more involved winterizing process. First, you’ll
want to review your instruction manual for details about specific winterizing
and storage requirements. In many cases, you will need to add a fuel stabilizer
to the fuel tank to keep it fresh. Be sure that all winterizing
and cleaning tasks are done away from any body of water, as many detergents and
motor oils can be harmful to natural ecosystems and
wildlife. Following that, boats should be stored away from shore, either covered
or in a storage facility.
Furniture and Toys
sure to collect all of your outdoor furniture and toys for a quick wash. Once
dry, you should store toys and furniture in a covered space. Many summertime
toys such as high-powered water guns, bubble-making machines, and motorized
water toys require batteries. Be sure to remove all batteries prior to cleaning and
docks should be pulled out of the water and stored on land over the winter. You
will want to start by checking all nuts and bolts to ensure that they are
tight. Next you can loosen the anchor chains to allow for higher water levels. Then you can remove any
ladders and ramp legs. Following that, you can disconnect the ramp and place
the dock on shore. It’s best to tie a safety chain from the dock to a strong
fixed structure on shore. Pro-tip: Mark your dock with something tall if your
campsite is in an area where snowmobilers tend to ride in the winter.
your utilities (like your electric and water) running over the winter not only
costs you money, but it can also be dangerous. To protect your campsite from
burst pipes or electrical fires, follow these tips.
sure to call your service provider to cancel or pause your electric service.
Remember to do another sweep through the property and unplug any appliances and
your campsite has oil heat, be sure to have a licensed
professional come out to protect the tanks from ice and snow damage with a
filter protector. If you have gas heat, be sure to shut off the gas tank. For
outdoor fire pits and fireplaces, you’ll want to remove any debris so that it
doesn’t rust or clog up over the winter. If there is a gas or
electric component to your fire pit, you’ll want to turn those
off. Then, simply cover your fire pit with a fitted, weather-resistant cover.
prevent your pipes from freezing you’ll want to have your
water shut off for the season and then drain your pipes. Be sure to leave
faucets open to prevent air locks and to drain your water heater as well. If
your water heater is electric, be sure to turn off the system to prevent the elements
from burning while it’s empty. Don’t
forget to drain your toilet tank as well.
a build-up of debris in the gutters, snow on the roof, and pests looking for
somewhere to make their winter home, a few months away from camp can really put
it through the ringer. To best protect your property, be sure to thoroughly inspect your roof, gutters, septic
tank, water heater, sump pump, windows, and walls before officially closing up
for the season.
Doors and Securing Windows
should go without saying that locking up before you leave for the season is a
critical step in protecting your campsite. Be sure to do a run through of the
camp and make sure that all external doors and
windows are locked. Don’t forget to pull down shades and close blinds. During
winter months, it is not uncommon for snow to damage your windows. You can
reinforce windows with a layer of thin metal or plywood for added protection.
Winter is also a common time for break-ins. To prevent intruders from
coming into your camp, you might consider installing a deadbolt.
more information on how to winterize your belongings, check out the link below.
When your kids head back to school
and the cooler months hit, germs and sickness tend to follow not long after.
While keeping your family healthy is a top priority, you may need
some help convincing them that mitigating germs is a necessary step in
keeping them feeling their best. Read below to learn a few ways to keep those
back-to-school germs at bay and keep your family as healthy as possible this
kids what germs are and how they can cause illnesses.
Kids tend to understand best when they’re
taught with detail. Explain what germs and viruses are and how they multiply
and spread. Tell them why it’s important to rid your hands and belongings of
germs throughout the day. Make sure you do your research first and learn the
facts on germs, then encourage your little one to share their new knowledge
with friends! You never know, you might start a mini anti-germ movement, saving
the community from a few viruses here and there.
and model proper hand-washing thoroughly and often.
You know what they say, monkey-see
monkey-do! Be a role model to your family when it comes to washing your hands. Make it fun, sing a song,
count to 20, add lots of bubbles! Teach your family members to wash their hands
before eating, after using the bathroom and any time they are dirty or touch a
shared object. Arm them with hand sanitizer to take to school and work to use
when they can’t get to a sink (some germs are resistant to hand sanitizer, so
teaching them not to rely on it is key).
everyone is getting enough Vitamin ZZZ.
Your children probably plead to
stay up later on school nights, but proper sleep is crucial to the health and
wellbeing of your whole family. That includes you! Adequate sleep helps to fight off infection, illness
and stress by producing a protein known as
Cytokine, which also promotes growth, can increase attention span and reduces
the risk of injury.
of fruits and vegetables to boost their immune systems.
Whole, nutritious foods play a big
part in our overall health. Help keep germs and sickness at bay by emphasizing
the importance of eating fruits and vegetables with your family. Foods high in Vitamin C are especially
important, as they are known to be a great antioxidant when it comes to skin
health and immune function. Foods like broccoli, bell peppers, kiwis and citrus fruits are all great sources of Vitamin
C. If you struggle to get your family to willingly swallow their veggies, try incorporating them into new meals, healthy baked goods and smoothies
or talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements for your family members.
Incorporating probiotics into your
meals is a great idea as well. Boosting your system with healthy bacteria is a
great way to stay healthy. Things like incorporating a
yogurt parfait into your breakfast routine or packing a yogurt tube in your
kid’s lunch is a great way to get healthy probiotics into their system.
surfaces and school supplies daily.
Keeping your home free of germs
doesn’t come easy. It’s important that you are wiping down surfaces often, such
as kitchen counters, the refrigerator handle, door knobs, faucets and
any high-traffic areas that your family touches frequently. A water and bleach
solution is the best way to rid your home of germs, but be sure to keep the
bleach away from your children. It’s also a good idea to disinfect your
children’s backpack and any supplies they’ve brought
home. If you’re really invested in keeping germs at bay, have them change their
clothes as soon as they come home from school and leave their shoes at the
door when they walk in, as to not track outside germs and bacteria through the
child home if they’re sick.
Simply put, staying home and away from others is one of the most
effective ways to help avoid the spread of germs and illness. If you or your
child has a fever or is vomiting, it’s imperative that they stay home to rest
and recover before coming into contact with others. If there is no fever but
they have a runny nose and are sneezing or coughing frequently, it may be best
to keep them home for a day, too. It’s especially important for small children
that aren’t well versed in tissue-etiquette to stay home when frequently
coughing and sneezing, which can help to stop the spread of germs.
Catching a cold or the dreaded
stomach virus every now and then is a part of life. But there are many ways to
help you and your family keep germs at bay. Be sure to use these tips
throughout the year to keep everyone feeling their best. For more tips on
keeping your living space germ-free, click the button below.
The nine months before your baby is born involve more than just picking names and paint colors. You also have to ensure your home and vehicle are safe spaces for your child as they grow and become familiar with the world around them.
Although your baby won’t be mobile for several months, it’s best to get much of your baby-proofing handled ahead of time while you still have enough time and energy. Start your baby-proofing with some of these tips!
Checklist: Baby-Proofing 101
●Secure all wall-adjacent furniture, including shelves, cabinets, entertainment centers, dressers, and TVs to the walls using brackets. Once mobile, babies will use pieces of furniture to pull themselves up onto their feet. Unfortunately, unsecured furniture poses a risk of tipping over on top of your child. According to Nationwide Children’s, these types of accidents resulted in 11,521 children visiting the emergency room in 2019—or one every 46 minutes.
●Once your baby has started crawling, you’ll have a hard time keeping them in one place. You may want to consider installing baby gates to keep your child secluded to a safe area to prevent them from going anywhere they shouldn’t be.
●As adults we are pretty accustomed to the presence of electrical outlets, but to a baby an outlet is full of mystery. The first thing your child may try to do is stick their finger in it or eat it. A cheap and simple outlet cover may save you an emergency room visit down the road.
●Wire management is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also extremely helpful to you and your children’s safety. Loose wires can be an added hazard that can endanger your child and lead to fallen and broken devices. Grab some cable ties or velcro at your local hardware store to bundle your wires and cables and get yourself organized.
●Even as adults, we get our hands, hair, and fingers caught in doors. This is much more likely to happen to a baby. A simple door pinch guard can help prevent these situations.
●Consider installing a home security system for your peace of mind and to keep you and your family safe.
●One thing you might not consider before bringing your baby home is making sure your vehicle is ready and reliable. Scheduling an appointment with your local mechanic to have your vehicle inspected and any required maintenance completed will help ensure you and your baby have a safe trip home.
●Don’t wait until D-Day to have your car seat installed! Plan to do this a month or so in advance and have it checked by a professional for your baby’s safety.
●Review the coverage on your home and auto policies to be sure you have sufficient coverage when you need that extra sense of protection. Having a simple conversation with your agent could make all the difference in case of an accident, weather event, or emergency.
When it comes to growing your family, we know the importance of preparing ahead of time. Use this list to get started and contact an NYCM Insurance agent today to learn more about what you can do to protect your family!