Archive for June, 2010

Protecting your home during wildfire season.

The Schultz fire that nearly burned homes in Flagstaff is a good reminder to homeowners who live in wildfire risk areas to take steps to protect their property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has some tips to help you reduce the risk of fire to your home. Like most disasters, preparedness is a key component of mitigation. Some of the tips include:

Learn about your fire risk — Make sure you understand the history, nature and frequency of wildfires in your area. How will fires be fought and where is the nearest hydrant or source of water to protect your home? Determine an evacuation plan. You may need the help of a professional to analyze your situation.

Create a safety zone around your home
— The idea here is to clear away anything that can fuel a fire near your home. You should have a 30 foot clear zone, plus a secondary zone 100 feet or more beyond that. For example, clean away pine needles from rooftops, prune branches near chimneys and the home, and clear out underbrush.

This “defensible space” can help even when fire is raging nearby, and is often required by home insurance companies.

Protect your home
— Cover house vents with wire mesh, use spark arrestors on chimneys, use fire resistant siding and safety glass during construction. And if you’re building a home, consider the location carefully with regards to how a fire spreads. Building on a hill can require a considerably larger defensible space.

Check out FEMA’s web page on wildfires for more helpful tips.

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Insurance shopping isn’t hard, but it does pay to do your homework.

When it comes to shopping for insurance, most people put that on the same list as calling a plumber or getting their teeth cleaned. A “necessary evil.” People get insurance because it’s required by law, as in the case of auto insurance, or maybe it’s required by a lender in the case of homeowners insurance. Most Americans also come to the realization at some point that insurance can really protect their hard-earned investments for themselves and their loved ones.

At that point it becomes less of a necessary evil and more of a financial necessity. And just like any other necessity, you want to find the best value: Insurance coverage that offers the right price, the right protection, excellent service and confidence in its ability to be there when you need it.

In order to find the best value for anything, it pays to get some education and do a little homework. Nowhere is that more true than in buying insurance. Most experts agree that at the least you need to get an insurance rate quote from several different providers in order to find the lowest rate for your situation.

It can also help you to understand how insurance works, how to choose a good company or agent and what things you can do to help lower your insurance costs. We’ve launched the Blog as a resource to help you get the updated information that can make your insurance shopping experience easier.

Thank you for visiting the Blog.

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