Your home protects you from the elements, but heavy rains can weaken that protection. With a little maintenance and a lot of vigilance, it’s not hard to stay safe and dry.
The first step is finding and fixing any immediate problems as soon as it’s safe to do so. Then, you’ll want to take measures to prevent those problems from happening during the next downpour!
Where is all that rain going?
Your roof and gutters form a key line of defense for your home – and in a storm, they’re vulnerable, because so many things can damage them. Trees, hail, and other objects can create weaknesses that might lead to leaks in your roof, so check for missing shingles and other issues. And keep your gutters clear so all that water drains properly.
Are you checking everywhere?
Water dripping from the ceiling is hard to miss. Water in your crawl space, however, can easily go undetected because hardly anyone ever checks there. Don’t forget to look down there after a storm (or have a professional do it) to make sure everything is nice and dry. If you do see moisture, you’ll want to get it out with a sump pump as soon as possible.
And don’t just look up – another place to check is your home’s exterior, whether it’s siding, brick, or another material. Weak spots can be hard to see, so look at various times of the day in different lighting conditions.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed to keep the elements out, too.
What about around your property?
Storm water has to go somewhere, and if your property doesn’t drain well, or if runoff goes toward your foundation, you could have problems. So watch for patterns, and grade property so it drains away from your home if possible. Always be wary of hillsides and tilting trees after heavy storms, because the land might not be stable.
And don’t forget to keep storm drains clear of leaves and other debris. This can prevent flooding both on the streets and your own property.
What should you do during the storm?
During powerful storms, stay inside. This is not the time to check your roof, your exterior, or your property unless there’s an emergency and you know it’s safe to go out. Monitor your interior, making sure no water is getting in. If it is, do what you can to alleviate the situation in the moment, even if it means just placing something under a leak to collect the water. For more serious problems, though, remember that safety is the most important thing. If your basement is flooding, for example, don’t go down there – you could be trapped and even drown.
Thankfully, powerful storms only hit once in a while. Preparing for them, however, should be on your mind a lot more frequently, because the next one could be tomorrow.
Hurricanes are strong storms that cause life and property threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and tornadoes. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. As forecasters track a hurricane the terms “hurricane watch” and “hurricane warning” will be used often. It is important to know the difference:
What Should I Do?
What Supplies Do I Need?
What Do I Do After A Hurricane?
Let Your Family Know You Are Safe!
If your community experiences a hurricane or any disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website available through RedCross.org/SafeandWell to let your family and friends know about your welfare. If you do not have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.
Click here to download a Hurricane Safety Checklist provided by the Red Cross.
Click Here for How To Prepare for Hurricane Safety!
“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”
That’s a quote from author Hal Borland — but another favorite saying might be even more appropriate for this time of year: “Be prepared.”
After all, warmer weather brings plenty of risk to go with its beauty. If you aren’t ready, you could find yourself with more spring cleaning than you bargained for after heavy rains, hailstorms, and other hazards.
Here are five things you can do to get yourself and your property all set for the season.
To learn more, check out Safeco Insurance®.
Adam and Bob were best friends since junior high school. They shared an apartment in college, majored in the same field, and even went to work for the same company. When they were in their mid-30s, they came up with a great idea for a product that would become very popular, and the two decided to venture out with their own business. They decided to form a partnership with each owning 50%. The business soon began to flourish.
Two weeks after his 47th birthday, the seemingly healthy Adam suffered a massive heart attack and died. Upon his death, Adam’s ownership in the company was transferred to his wife, Cathy. Having known Bob for many years, Cathy left control of the company to him and the business continued to prosper.
Two years later, Cathy met Donald and after a whirlwind romance, the two were married. Donald became very interested in the stock in Cathy’s late husband’s business. Eventually he would begin having ideas about how the company could be better run. Although he had no experience to back his ideas, being a good wife, Cathy would make these suggestions to Bob. The relationship between the partners began to suffer from this tension.
Not long after Cathy and Donald’s third anniversary, Cathy was diagnosed with cancer and soon she also passed away. Like many people, Cathy had failed to plan properly for her future, and under community property laws, her ownership transferred to Donald at her death. Donald was now a 50% owner of the company with an equal authority in how the business was run.
Bob and Donald rarely agreed on the operation of the company and although he had years of experience and knowledge far superior to Donald’s, Bob was unable to override Donald’s ideas. Time spent on these disagreements, dissatisfied customers and mounting costs would all prove too much for the company, and on the 20th anniversary of Adam and Bob opening the doors of the company, they would be closed for good as the owners filed for bankruptcy.
A Simple Solution
A very simple yet often overlooked strategy could have helped avoid this unfortunate end to the previously happy story. A buy-sell agreement is a legally binding clause in a partnership agreement that controls what happens if one of the partners dies or otherwise needs to leave the partnership.
Typically, the agreement sets a price and gives the surviving partner the option to buy the deceased partner’s share from their estate. In the story above, this would have let Bob simply buy Adam’s ownership interest, allowing him to maintain full control of the business and avoid the other problems.
This strategy runs into difficulty at the time of the partner’s death if the surviving partner does not have sufficient capital to make the purchase. Keyperson life insurance helps to solve this problem. With this product, the business buys a life insurance policy, equal to the agreed upon purchase price, on the life of each of the partners with the other partner listed as beneficiary. Death benefit of the insurance is then used to pay the deceased partner’s estate and transfer ownership.
With the business listed as the owner of the policies, they are considered business assets and premiums are allowable business expenses. This allows the partners to successfully plan for the future of the business while receiving some valuable tax benefits as well.
For more information, please visit the Life Happens blog.
Here are 5 important auto insurance tips to consider ahead of this winter's major weather events.
1. Confirm your insurance is active and premiums are paid. Have a current copy of your insurance card in your vehicle or with you.
2. Select liability limits that are right for your financial circumstances. If you find yourself at-fault in an accident and have insufficient liability coverages, your personal assets are at risk for paying the remaining financial obligation.
3. If you rent a vehicle for a trip, check with your insurance agent to see if your policy includes coverage. Also, make sure you don’t duplicate benefits from your own policy if you decide to get rental insurance. A quick call to your agent should help determine that.
4. Verify that your homeowners or renters insurance covers the theft of personal items from your vehicle, especially if you are planning to haul more expensive items. Many people believe that vehicle insurance covers replacement of stolen items from their vehicles, but that usually is not the case.
5. Know if your policy includes roadside assistance, such as towing, fuel delivery, lockout service and jump-starts.
In addition to the insurance tips above, Department officials advise drivers to keep emergency kits in their vehicles, especially for long trips. A good kit should include a first-aid kit, batteries, flashlights, drinking water, snacks, jumper cables, ice scrapers, tissues and towels, a tow rope, extra clothing and blankets.
State officials also recommend checking in on family members ahead of dangerous winter weather events, and reassessing your immediate family’s insurance needs. Make sure that important insurance and legal papers are in a secure place that more than one person knows about. Assess personal insurance needs for yourself and your family. Needs for an older adult, for example, could be much different from those of a child or grandchild.
For more information, please visit PropertyCasualty360.