Fire Safety Tips

Fire Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again, when people start using the fireplace or wood stove, or switch on space heaters. As heating season begins, the number of house fires goes up. So does the number of smoking related fires because smokers either don’t want to go outside in the cold, or are in a hurry to get back inside and don’t fully extinguish the cigarette butt before tossing it.

Fortunately, by following some fire safety tips and taking some preventative measures, you can reduce the risk of a fire in your home. And most of all, you can prevent the risk of injury or death in the event of a fire.

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home.
  • Test smoke alarms regularly and change the batteries if they aren’t working.
  • Keep items that can catch fire at least three feet away from anything that can get hot or has an open flame. This includes stoves, fireplaces, space heaters, candles etc.
  • Make sure the fire in the fireplace or wood stove is out before you go to bed
  • Turn off space heaters if you leave the room, or before you go to bed.
  • Never run extension cords under a rug, and avoid using them for space heaters.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Smoking is the number one cause of residential fire deaths in the United States. If you smoke, smoke outside, never smoke in bed, or smoke if a family member uses oxygen.
  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.
  • Teach your children about the dangers of fire and keep lighters and matches out of reach.
  • Have a fire escape plan and a designated spot to meet outside.

In the event of a fire, get out of the home as quickly as possible and call 911. When things have calmed down a bit and everyone is safely accounted for and the fire is out, call your insurance company to let them know of the fire.

If you’re a renter, fire is one of the reasons you need to have renter’s insurance. Your landlord’s insurance covers the building, but not your belongings. For a low monthly rate, you can insure your clothing, furniture, electronics and other belongings so that you don’t lose everything in a fire.

Call Dean Insurance today at 410-838-3700 if you have any questions, or to get a free quote on homeowners insurance, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We’ve been serving Bel Air and the Harford County Community since 1973 and we’d love to help you get the insurance coverage you need.

Do I Need Pool Insurance for a Backyard Pool?

Bel Air Insurance Agent

If you have a pool, or you’re thinking about installing one, it’s a good idea to let your insurance agent or insurance company know. While nothing beats the dog days of summer like relaxing in a backyard pool, pool ownership comes with added responsibility. If the unexpected or tragic happens, do you have the insurance coverage you need to protect you? Whether it’s physical damage to the pool or your own liability, you may want to review your insurance coverage.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends that you make sure your insurance company knows you have a pool, or you’re planning to install one. This goes for both inground pools and above ground pools.

Property Coverage The property portion of your homeowners insurance policy likely extends to your swimming pool; so if a tree falls on it or there is vandalism of your pool, your policy would likely pay for removal of the tree and necessary repairs, after your deductible and up to the limits in your policy. Your insurance agent can help you figure out if you should increase your coverage based on the value of your pool, along with any pool equipment such as the pool deck or water slide.

Liability Coverage You will also want to check with your insurance agency to make sure you have enough liability coverage. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, thousands of people go to the emergency room each year for pool-related injuries. If someone is injured while using your pool, you could potentially face major expenses (both medical and legal) as a result. Liability coverage is a standard part of your homeowner’s insurance policy, but because a pool can increase your liability risk, you may want to increase your coverage.

The typical homeowner’s insurance policy provides $100,000 in base liability coverage. The III recommends increasing your liability coverage to $300,000 or $500,000 if you have a backyard pool.

If you have a pool or are thinking about installing one, and want to review your homeowners insurance, call Dean Insurance Agency today at 410-838-3700. We’ll go over your current policy, and make recommended changes. We may also suggest you consider purchasing a Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP). A PUP provides more liability coverage than your homeowners policy – generally up to $1 million. The PUP comes into play after you have exhausted the liability insurance provided by your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Do You Need Renters Insurance?

Bel Air Renters Insurance

Do You Need Renters Insurance?

The simple answer? Yes. Yes you do. And here’s why. Your belongings, including all of your clothes, furniture, electronics, etc. are NOT covered by either your parent’s homeowner’s insurance OR your landlord’s property insurance. Don’t think you have enough stuff to bother with insurance? Go through your place, room by room, and do an inventory of your clothes, furniture, electronics, music collection, kitchen utensils, etc. Tally up the approximate value of each item, adding on as you go. You may be surprised at the final number.

If there is a fire, the roof blows off in a storm, someone breaks in and steals all of your electronics, a crazy ex uses their key and comes in and trashes your place – in all of those scenarios, if you don’t have renters insurance, you eat the cost of replacing everything that was damaged or stolen.

If you’re already struggling to make ends meet with your first real job and paying off student loans, an unexpected financial hit can be devastating.

That’s why renters insurance makes so much sense. For a relatively small premium, renters insurance covers your property for its purchase price, minus depreciation, up to the policy limit.

Now as with any type of insurance, you could pay for renters insurance year after year and never need it. While some renters see it as a waste of money, those who end up needing it say they are grateful they had it.

Renters insurance doesn’t just pay to replace your stuff. It also protects tenants from a few kinds of liability. For example, if someone trips and falls in your apartment and incurs expensive medical bills or even a lawsuit, a renter’s insurance policy would provide coverage.

Renters insurance could also be a financial lifesaver. If you left the stove on and caused a fire, any damage caused to your apartment and the building would be your responsibility.

Renters insurance may also help play for a place to stay if your apartment is inhabitable, such as from hurricane damage or because of a major repair. Most policies place a time limit and dollar limit on what they will pay for you to stay in temporary digs.

How much does renters insurance cost? A basic policy, with $10,000 in personal property coverage and $100,000 in liability coverage, costs about $150 dollars. Even if you bump up coverage levels, most renter’s insurance policies will still run you less than $200 a year.

If you bundle your renters insurance with your auto insurance, you might get a discount, and if there are safety features in your apartment such as a sprinkler system, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, an alarm system, a staffed front desk etc., let your insurance agent or insurance company know about them. Safety features can decrease the cost of your policy.

Like any other insurance policy, your renter’s insurance policy will have a deductible. If your deductible is $250 for example, and you suffer a $1000 loss, you would receive a check for $750.

Look around you. Do you own some expensive things, or a whole lot of stuff? What would it cost to replace it if you lost everything? For the price of a pizza a month, you can protect it all with a renter’s insurance policy.

If you want to learn more about getting renters insurance, call Dean Insurance today at 410-838-3700 to discuss details. We’d be happy to help!