Hopefully these tips help prevent any catastrophic events that can occur during the spring thaw each and every year
If you experience a water loss due to sump pump failure or flooding DONT WAIT, prolonged exposure to water damage can lead to thousands of dollars worth of damages, disruption or daily life and mold growth can occur within 72 hours.
Navigating the world of insurance can be tough and very confusing. You can benefit from our agents' wealth of knowledge and experience. Call us with any questions you have and we'll be happy to answer them.
We've been in business long enough to anticipate some of the common concerns and questions you may have when choosing insurance. Here are the plain-language answers to some questions we hear often. We're committed to making you sure understand all aspects of your insurance policy. Please don't hesitate to call us if this list fails to answer any of your questions!
Not completely! Although physical damage and liability extend from your automobile policy there are certain costs that are not covered. We recommend purchasing the Collision Damage Waiver each time you rent a vehicle. Also, please inspect each vehicle thoroughly before driving away, there may be existing damage that you can be charged for later. For more information on what is not covered in the event of a loss, please
read this article.
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There are many great dog breeds available to us, and all of us have a favorite kind. However, some breeds are considered to have a tendency to be vicious. You will want to contact one of our customer service representatives to confirm that your breed of choice does not make you ineligible for your homeowner's insurance.
Put all your eggs in one basket!
By putting all of your insurance with one company you can take advantage of multi-policy discounts, which saves clients an average of 15% off! If you have your auto insured with us, we can most likely put your home or renter's policy with the same company you have your auto with, and vice versa if we already have your home. Please contact our agency today, to find out how much you can save by putting all of your "insurance eggs" in one company's basket!
Increase your deductible!
One of the best ways to save money on your home and auto premiums is to increase your deductible. By raising your homeowner's, collision, and other than collision deductibles, you can save!
For example: Iman X. Ample has his home and auto insured with the same company. He has a $250 deductible on his home, and $250 comprehensive and $250 collision deductibles on his car. His total yearly premium is $989.00. If he were to increase his deductibles to $500 (for his home, his comprehensive coverage, and his collision coverage) he would lower his yearly premium to $874.00!
Almost all of our companies charge installment fees, and these small amounts do add up! By selecting an electronic funds transfer option you can take the headache out of insurance payment options. Each month your premium will be taken out automatically from your checking account, and most companies then waive those nasty little installment fees! To switch to Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) contact our agency today! Take advantage of discounts!
Does that new car of yours have anti-lock brakes? Front and side airbags? A fancy alarm? Well, make sure we know about it! Sometimes companies offer additional price breaks if your car has these features!
Does your teenage driver get good grades? Well, some of our companies want to know! A copy of a recent grade report can help you save! (Not all companies offer these discounts, but it doesn't hurt to ask!)
If you were recently married, or your husband or wife has always had a separate policy, now is the time to combine them! Almost all of the companies we write with offer additional discounts if they more than one vehicle is insured under the same policy! Please contact us today if you have another vehicle insured in a different company! (This offer may not extend to antique automobiles).
In the state of Wisconsin, motorists are not required to carry insurance. However, Wisconsin did pass a law stating that if a person causes the wrongful death of another person, a monetary award can be given to the family of the deceased. The money can be awarded in amounts up to $350,000 for the death of an adult, and up to $500,000 for the death of a minor. This is in addition to any bodily injury costs, such as funeral expenses and medical costs, and does not include property damage. These amounts can be garnished from your wages or even taken from existing retirement accounts; whatever it takes to pay back the injured party.
A personal umbrella policy goes above and beyond the existing limits of both your homeowner's and automobile insurance policies. It can provide coverage in excess of 1 million or more dollars. A personal umbrella policy can help protect your assets in the event that you are sued.
Umbrella coverage is fairly inexpensive and well worth the price in the case of a lawsuit. Please contact our office if you would like to learn more about the importance of an umbrella policy!
Today's homes are insured for what is termed "replacement cost", which basically means that they are covered for what it would cost to rebuild in today's market. It helps to cover some of the hidden costs in the event of a loss. For instance, if your home burns down, the cost of removing and disposal of debris from the home is taken out of the dwelling amount, or Coverage A. So if your home is insured for $100,000, and it takes $5,000 to remove all the debris left behind, you are going to be shorted $5,000.00 if your house isn't insured to full replacement cost!
If you haven't been in our office to review your coverage, please give us a call. A replacement cost estimate doesn't take long to prepare, and it will help ensure that your home is not underinsured!
At least twice a year, preferably before the local wet season, sump pumps should be checked for proper operation. Manufacturer instructions should be used as the primary guide for pump installation and maintenance, but here are some general guidelines.
With the pump cord disconnected:
Make sure there is a grounded three-prong receptacle for the sump pump.
Ideally the receptacle should be installed at least 18 inches above the floor.
The receptacle should also be close enough so that the pump cord (usually maximum 6-feet long) can be plugged directly into the receptacle.
If a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is installed at the receptacle outlet or in the electric panel, make sure it is working. Use the test button on the unit to confirm proper ground-fault protection.*
Inspect the sump pit for any silt or debris that might obstruct the float or clog the pump impeller or discharge tube.
Make sure the pump is positioned so that the movement of the float that turns the pump on and off is not obstructed by the walls of the pit or other objects.
If needed set the float height to start the pump at a lower or higher level. The float should be set that it keeps the water toward the bottom at the normal high water line.
Check for a small (3/16 to 3/8 inch) hole in the tube directly above the pump. Add if needed, or clear the hole if blocked. This hole helps prevent a possible airlock in the discharge lines.
Check the drain line from the pump to the termination point on the exterior for any signs of corrosion, holes, damage or leaks.
Make sure the line is secured every three feet or so.
Add a check valve in the discharge line at the pump if not present.
* Note: A GFCI is a safety device. It is generally not required on dedicated single receptacles used for sump pumps. GFCI could trip for various reasons, rendering the sump pump inoperative. If a GFCI is present, check before storms to make sure the GFCI is turned on and sump pump is operational. Once the visual check is made, an operational check can be performed:
Confirm the pump is securely plugged directly into the receptacle. (Once again - no extension cords).
If the sump pit is empty, add enough water, if possible, to confirm the pump turns on and off properly.
With a type sump pump with automatic preset sensor switches, if water exceeds the top of the pump before turning on, or if the pump does not shut off when water drops again, there may be a defective sensor or other problem. Refer to the manufacture set-up instructions.
If the pump uses an adjustable float switch, the pump should turn on at the set-on level and off when the water level drops.
A small stream of water should spray out of the weep hole near the pump to prevent airlock.
The pump should not have to run all the time. If it does, try setting the float or pump higher in the pit. If this doesn't help keep the water from the top of the sump; a larger pump may be needed.
Check the drainline for any leakage.
Go outside and check the drainline discharge point. It should be positioned to discharge the water at least 5 to10 feet from the foundation at a point where the runoff doesn't cause ponding backflow to the foundation or erosion.
In areas subject to free temperatures, precautions must be taken to make sure the drain line does not freeze up or get blocked by ice or snow.
Sump pumps should not be connected to sanitary sewer systems (unless locally approved) or private sewage (septic) systems. Backup pumps and alarms.
If you do not have a backup, consider adding one, especially if your pump runs regularly or there is a high flood potential.
If your sump system is equipped with battery backup, check the manufacturer maintenance instructions. It may be necessary to check the battery water level to make sure it covers the cells.
Inspect the backup pump setup in the pit for obstructions etc., as was done for the primary pump.
The float should be set or pump positioned so it only activates if the primary pump does not.
Unplug the primary pump and add water to the pit, if possible, so that the backup runs.
Plug the primary cord back after the backup test is complete.
If you have a high water alarm, it should activate when the float is raised, or if sensor type, when water hits the sensor.
Depending on the set up, an alarm may sound when the primary is unplugged or when the backup activates.
Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at housemaster.com.
Outside Sump Pump Tips:
Outside the home:
Install window well covers
Have proper drainage away from the foundation of the home
Remove all trees growing next to the foundation – the roots can crack the foundation walls allowing water to enter
Install gutters and downspouts – keep them clean
Install downspout extensions if water from the downspout collects near the foundation