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AH! Spring has sprung! Before long flowers will bloom and the landscape will come alive. For many people, that will mean that they’ll be shopping for a new home. In fact the period from April to June is know as “home buying season” because just under half of all home sales occur during that period.

If you are one of those prospective home buyers, then you likely have already started asking a lot of questions. You’ll need to know all about mortgage interest rates and fees and taxes. You’ll be asking about the neighborhood, perhaps the schools and the history and condition of the house you’re looking to buy.

But while you’re at it, don’t forget to find how the home’s size, construction, location and condition will impact your homeowners insurance costs as well.

If you’re wondering what to ask, you can find out which insurance questions are most important by watching the following video …


The Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency in Rockville, MD, is a full-service insurance agency offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD) and Virginia (VA) since 1969. Our experienced insurance agents welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time.


 

Winter Home Protection Tip: Heavy Snow Threat

Ol’ Man Winter can take his toll on your home and business unless you take steps to protect your buildings from snow and ice damage.

Heavy snow accumulation can do damage even as it melts. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Blowing snow will typically accumulate on the leeward side of many roofs and should be removed to avoid damage to your roof. If you are unsure, consult a roofing contractor. 
  • Melting snow can result in costly moisture damage. See that snow is removed from outside stairwells, windows, and walls.
  • When snow melts on the roof and water runs down and refreezes at the much cooler roof's edge, it may cause damage to your roof. This is often caused by a warm attic. To be sure the attic stays cold in the winter, check the insulation level.

Insurance Tip

Well before damage occurs, be sure that your home is protected adequately with home owners insurance. Why not call your insurance agent for a policy review if you have any question.

Here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency in Rockville, MD, we are ready to help you review your home owners insurance policy at your convenience.  

Make It a Safe Halloween

Are you one of the many that looks forward to Halloween all year. Maybe you start planning months in advance. This spooky holiday is among the most festive and fun-filled. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for kids walking the roadways. So, if you or your children will be out and about, there are some precautions to heed.

ErieSense.com warns of “Halloween safety dangers, like tripping and fire hazards” but suggests that “you can lower the risks of something bad happening with a few precautions”.

Read the entire ARTICLE for a list of tips to help keep your Trick or Treaters safe and happy.

Homeowners Insurance Tip

If you are expecting visits by trick or treaters or perhaps hosting a Halloween party at your home, you will want to be sure your Homeowners Insurance policy offers you the full protection you will need in the event of an accident on your property. The time to confirm that your coverage is in place is well before the event. So act now, by contacting your insurance agent for a policy review.  

Here at Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are a full service insurance agency, offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to Rockville MD, all of Maryland and Virginia. Our experienced insurance agents welcome the opportunity to discuss your coverage needs and questions at any time.

In addition to being a threat to your personal safety, lightning is responsible for devastating structure fires, deaths and hundreds of millions in damage expenses, as well. Do you know what time of day and month of the year most lightning occurs? It is worthwhile to know as much about this threat as you can so you are able to protect yourself and your family as well as your property.

ErieSense.com says: “From 2007 to 2011, local U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning. These fires caused an average of nine civilian deaths and $451 million in direct property damage per year. Home fires accounted for 19 percent of the lightning fires.”

Read the entire article with video and infographic to find out what you need to know about lightning and lightning protection systems to minimize the chance of property damage from lightning strikes.

Homeowners Insurance Tip

Home fires accounted for 19% of all lightning fires between 2007 and 2011. Related property damage, personal injury and death were also reported. Is your home insured for such damage? Because we never know when lightning will strike, it is wise to consider speaking with your insurance agent to find out if your Homeowners Insurance coverage is sufficient to protect your investment and cover your liability.

Here at Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are a full service insurance agency, offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to Rockville MD, all of Maryland and Virginia. Our experienced insurance agents welcome the opportunity to discuss your coverage needs and questions at any time.

 


 

Daylight Savings Time will soon come to and end, and those of us in the mid-Atlantic region will “fall back” to Eastern Standard Time. You might already know that many homeowners use the time change as a reminder to check their smoke alarm batteries as well. Here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we're all about safety.  So we urge you to get into the habit of changing your smoke alarm batteries as you reset your clocks marking the end of Daylight Savings Time to keep your family safe and protect your home from fire and smoke damage.  Moreover, this will help you to avoid homeowners insurance claims.

No one doubts the value of a reliable smoke alarm, but just having smoke alarms in your home isn't enough.It is important that they actually work if you are to be protected from fire damage.  Optimally, doing a quick check of your smoke alarms each month will ensure that they are ready to sound the warning should you need them.  Then, changing the batteries in each smoke detector at least once a year will ensure that they remain fresh and strong. 

Could a Smoke Alarm Stop Working?

There are a number of reasons that smoke alarms might stop working . If they have not been replaced in ten years or more, they could fail. More commonly, however, an alarm fails to detect fire and smoke because due to lack of power -- either a dead batter or disconnection from the power source.  In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warned in a September, 2015 report that about 3 out of 5 home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms.

But My Smoke Alarm Will Remind Me, Right?

It is true that most smoke alarms alert you by beeping when the batteries need to be replaced. But relying on that warning is a bad idea for many reasons such as…

  • If you are not at home during the time the beeping alert occurs, you would likely not even know that your alarms are not working. This leaves your family and your home unprotected against fire.
  • Perhaps you'd be tempted to just stop the beeping by removing the batteries or disconnecting your smoke alarm, if you don't have replacement smoke alarm batteries ready when the alert occurs. Then, until you remember to reconnect the alarm, replace the batteries and get your smoke alarm working again, you have virtually no protection from the perils of fire in your home. 

Smoke Alarm Battery Facts

  • It is important to install the correct type of replacement battery as recommended in the alarm's instruction manual or label and follow all directions. Manufacturers of smoke alarms advise against using rechargeable batteries.
  • It is time to replace the entire smoke alarm unit if the alarm is producing frequent nuisance alarms. Don’t be tempted to just disconnect the battery to stop the nuisance alarms.
  • If your home has hard-wired smoke alarms with a battery back-up, that battery should be replaced every year just like the battery-powered units.  In fact, the only exceptions to the yearly-replacement rule are hard-wired smoke alarms without a battery backup.  If your smoke alarm is not hard-wired but does not have a replaceable battery, then the entire unit should be replaced at least every ten years.
  • You will also want to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarm at the same time that you change your smoke alarm batteries.
  • At the time that you change the smoke alarm batteries, take the opportunity to clean your smoke alarm, as well.
     
  • More About Home Smoke Alarms from the NFPA (Video) 
  • Smoke Alarms: Installation and Maintenance Tips

Here at Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are a full service insurance agency, offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to Rockville MD, all of Maryland and Virginia. Our experienced insurance agents welcome the opportunity to discuss your coverage needs and questions at any time.

There is no doubt that winter is upon us. We try to stay warm while arctic blasts bring freezing temperatures to the region along with severe cold weather and even some snowfall resulting in icy conditions from melting and freezing. Such extreme weather can damage homes, and one major risk is frozen water pipes.

Even if you didn’t take steps to protect your pipes before winter set in by applying heat trace tape and insulation, draining hoses and outdoor pipes, sealing cracks, etc, there are still things you can do to try to prevent frozen water pipes in your home. This article from ErieSense.com (February, 2014) offers advice to help during this severe winter weather. See: “I didn’t freeze proof: can I still protect pipes?

A Few Chilling Facts About Frozen Pipes

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety offers the following tips to keep in mind when it comes to frozen pipes.

  • Frozen water pipes are one of the biggest risks for homewners when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, and approximately 37% of all frozen pipe failures occur in a basement.
  • When a water pipe freezes, it could burst; and an opening of just 1/8-inch in a pipe could typically cause 250 gallons of water to escape in a day’s time.
  • A water pipe that ruptures due to freezing can lead to as much as $5000 in water damage.

Worst Case Frozen Pipe Scenario…

If, despite your best efforts, your pipes freeze, the Insurance Information Institute offers this advice:

  • If you discover that pipes are frozen, don’t wait for them to burst. Take measures to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
  • If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don’t want the water to do more damage than it already has.
  • Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.
  • Make a list of the damaged articles.
  • Call your agent or company as soon as you can. An insurance adjuster doesn’t need to see the spill before you take action. However, he or she will want to inspect any damaged items.
  • Save the receipts for what you spend—including additional living expenses if you must leave your home until repairs are completed—and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Homeowners Insurance Tip

The Insurance Information Institute tells us that standard homeowners policies will usually cover most of the kinds of damage that result from a freeze. For example, if house pipes freeze and burst or if ice forms in gutters and causes water to back up under roof shingles and seep into the house. You would also typically be covered if the weight of snow or ice damages your house. They advise checking with your agent or company so you’ll be sure what your policy covers.

Here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are always glad to assist you when you have insurance questions or wish to discuss your insurance coverage.  Why not contact our office at your convenience or arrange for a no-obligation policy review right here online?

With the new semester beginning soon, will you have teens headed to college? If so, then you know that there is a never-ending list of things to do before they’re ready for campus life. One item that is often overlooked is insurance coverage. Will they be taking their car to school? Will they live in the dorm or in an off-campus apartment? These are just two of the items that might affect your auto and homeowners insurance decisions.

In “Back to College Q & A”, ErieSense.com offers “answers to a few of the most common questions that parents of college students have” and offers tips to keep your students’ car and belongings safe and protected.

Read the entire article to learn what you need to know about auto insurance and homeowners insurance protection for your college students.

Insurance Discount Tip

If your college student is young, unmarried, attending college full-time away from home with no use of a vehicle, then you might be eligible for a discount on your Auto Insurance policy. In fact, other multi-policy discounts might also apply. Be sure to contact your insurance agent to discuss your options and assure that you have the right coverage in place before you send your teen off to school.

Here at Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are a full service insurance agency, offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to Rockville MD, all of Maryland and Virginia. Our experienced insurance agents welcome the opportunity to discuss your coverage needs and questions at any time.

 


 

Avoiding Holiday Hazards

During the busy holiday season, there is never enough time for all that we need to do and remember. Along with the festivities, decorating, cooking, gift-giving and traveling, we still need to think, prepare and act to avoid those holiday hazards that can turn celebration into tragedy.

Common Holiday Hazards Are Preventable

Check out "Hazard Free Holidays" from Eriesense.com to learn about seven preventable hazards including holiday cooking, home decorating, heart attacks, slips and falls, outdoor fires as well as car and sledding accidents. The article offer tips and statistics from such sources as the NSC , NFPA , MADD and CPSC  to help all of us have a safe and happy holiday season.

Home & Auto Insurance Tip

As you prepare for the holiday season, don’t forget your insurance auto and home insurance protection. If you want the peace of mind to enjoy your holidays, consider taking a moment to review your policy with your insurance agent. The time to be sure that you are covered is well before you have to file a claim.

Here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are always glad to assist as you consider your insurance options. Why not arrange a policy review or contact our office at your convenience?

 


 

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