Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


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All Posts in Category: Safety

Hurricane-Insurance

How Named Storms Affect Your Insurance Coverage

Hurricane season is here and it’s been an active one so far. Here are a few things to know about hurricanes, named storms and how any strong storms can affect your insurance coverage.

A storm is called a hurricane when it forms over the Atlantic and the eastern and central Pacific Oceans; a cyclone when it forms over the southern Pacific and Indian Oceans; and a typhoon when it forms over the western Pacific Ocean.

Today, the NWS maintains six lists of names that rotate every six years. The only exceptions are the 77 names of the most damaging hurricanes the World Meteorological Organization retired out of respect to victims and survivors.

A few years ago, The Weather Channel (TWC)—a private cable and satellite television network that’s completely separate from the NWS—announced that it would start naming winter storms. When asked why, they cited many of the same reasons behind naming hurricanes—namely, an easier and more effective way to raise awareness and communicate updates about a storm.

Many named-storm deductible clauses work by requiring a deductible that’s a certain percentage of a home’s value—anywhere from one to 10 percent—instead of a fixed dollar amount. That means instead of paying a $500 or $1,000 deductible, a house that’s insured for the U.S. average of $161,100 would shell out $16,100 if their named-storm deductible was 10 percent.

With ERIE, you don’t have to worry about a named-storm deductible.

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College-Students

Safety in College

When kids hit college, they’ll reach an entirely new level of independence. With unstructured time and the freedom to make their own day-to-day decisions, they’ll still need support from you. Here are some campus life issues to discuss.

Keep possessions safe. College campuses and especially dormitories bring thousands of young people into one small area. That’s why it’s important to urge your student to keep their door locked whenever they leave the room for any length of time. It only takes seconds for an opportunistic thief to slip and disappear with their laptop or other valuable items. Also, have a talk with your insurance agent. If your college lists your house as their permanent address, your homeowners insurance coverage would most likely extend to your student’s belongings in the dorm. Find out what’s covered and what isn’t.

Don’t leave them uninsured. Once your student lives off-campus at their first apartment, that simple carry-over homeowners coverage may disappear. In that case, a separate renters insurance policy in your student’s name can offer protection, so your student doesn’t have to start from scratch. The good news is that these low-cost policies are often affordable, even for college students living on slender budgets. To learn more, contact an ERIE agent.

Check your auto insurance. Every student’s situation varies, and different situations will have different impacts on auto insurance costs. For example, costs could increase if your student brings their car on campus, especially in an urban setting. Some parents see a discount if their student leaves the car at home. To learn more, get in touch with an ERIE agent.

Have the talk about drinking. Good news: According to WebMD, binge drinking among college students is on a downward trend, and so is driving while impaired. Still, 37 percent of students say they consumed four or more drinks in one sitting, and 17 percent report driving while impaired. Before your student heads to campus, talk about the risks of indulging too much, such as accidents, hypothermia, injuries and impulsive behavior. Along with that, brainstorm strategies so they know what to do to keep themselves and their friends safe.

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Definitions of FEMA Flood Zone Designation

Definitions of FEMA Flood Zone Designations
Flood zones are geographic areas that the FEMA has defined according to varying levels of flood risk.  These zones are depicted on a community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Hazard Boundary Map. Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.

Moderate to Low Risk Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, flood insurance is available to all property owners and renters in these zones:

ZONE DESCRIPTION
B and X (shaded) Area of moderate flood hazard, usually the area between the limits of the 100‐
year and 500‐year floods. B Zones are also used to designate base floodplains of
lesser hazards, such as areas protected by levees from 100‐year flood, or shallow
flooding areas with average depths of less than one foot or drainage areas less
than 1 square mile.

C and X (unshaded)
Area of minimal flood hazard, usually depicted on FIRMs as above the 500‐year
flood level. Zone C may have ponding and local drainage problems that don’t
warrant a detailed study or designation as base floodplain. Zone X is the area
determined to be outside the 500‐year flood and protected by levee from 100‐
year flood.

High Risk Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones:

ZONE DESCRIPTION
A – Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of
a 30‐year mortgage. Because detailed analyses are not performed for such areas; no
depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
AE –  The base floodplain where base flood elevations are provided. AE Zones are now used
on new format FIRMs instead of A1‐A30 Zones.
A1‐30  – These are known as numbered A Zones (e.g., A7 or A14). This is the base floodplain
where the FIRM shows a BFE (old format).
AH  – Areas with a 1% annual chance of shallow flooding, usually in the form of a pond, with
an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding
over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed
analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.
AO  – River or stream flood hazard areas, and areas with a 1% or greater chance of shallow
flooding each year, usually in the form of sheet flow, with an average depth ranging
from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30‐year
mortgage. Average flood depths derived from detailed analyses are shown within these
zones.
AR  – Areas with a temporarily increased flood risk due to the building or restoration of a
flood control system (such as a levee or a dam). Mandatory flood insurance purchase
requirements will apply, but rates will not exceed the rates for unnumbered A zones if
the structure is built or restored in compliance with Zone AR floodplain management
regulations.
A99  – Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding that will be protected by a Federal flood
control system where construction has reached specified legal requirements. No depths
or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.

High Risk Coastal Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones.

ZONE DESCRIPTION
V – Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard
associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of
a 30‐year mortgage. No base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
VE, V1 ‐ 30 – Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard
associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of
a 30‐year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at
selected intervals within these zones.

Undetermined Risk Areas
ZONE DESCRIPTION
D – Areas with possible but undetermined flood hazards. No flood hazard analysis has been
conducted. Flood insurance rates are commensurate with the uncertainty of the flood
risk.

From FEMA Map Service Center:

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Woodburning Stove Safety Tips

A woodburning stove can be a source of pleasure and a way to reduce the ever-increasing cost of home heating.
Many homeowners have installed woodburning stoves so as to enjoy these benefits. There is also possible harm
that an unsafe unit can do to the home and family that use this type of stove. The facts and information supplied
here can help families enjoy the benefits of a woodburning stove, while avoiding any fire damage to their home
or any injury to their family.

Did you know that:
? Fire – which has been called “the most frightening killer” – is responsible for the loss of over 12,000 lives
and for 300,000 injuries per year?
? The United States proportionate to other countries leads the world in deaths and property losses from fire?
? The great majority of persons killed by fire die in residential fires?
? The economic loss from home fires is almost $11.5 billion per year?
? Woodburning units are rapidly becoming a major cause of home fires in America today?
? The main reasons for fires resulting from woodburning stoves are poorly constructed units, improper
installation or improper usage?
? You jeopardize your insurance coverage if you have a woodburning stove that is unsafe?

Before selecting a stove
1. Consider the room size, ventilation needed, chimney placement.
2. After considering all the requirements, decide whether it is PRACTICAL and SAFE to install a
woodburning stove.

If you decide to buy
1. Choose a stove of heavy cast iron or heavy gauge steel.
2. Inspect for cracks, defects, possible weak seams, or welds.
3. Look for the Underwriters’ Laboratories label on each stove.
4. Ask to see the instructions for installation and operation of the stove.
5. Ask the dealer about a warranty and anticipated life span of the stove.
6. Ask if there are any special maintenance requirements for the stove.

Firewood
? Avoid using softwood. (Greenwood has high moisture content and can cause creosote build up.)
? Do not use artificial logs that contain coal oil, paraffin or other flammable liquids.
? Use hardwood. (Red oak, sugar maple, apple and ironwood have the best heat value.)
? Cut wood early and allow one year, or at least six months to season (split wood for faster drying).
? Check fire often, use damper and draft controls to prevent overfiring or incomplete burning and smoking.
? Do not overfire because it may lead to overheating and cause a chimney fire.
? Place hot ashes in substantial metal container with lid and remove to a safe location outside of the home.

Chimney Fires
Causes:
1. Overfired stove for extended period of time.
2. Ignition of soot, tar and creosote build up.
Prevention:
1. Clean the chimney semi-annually.
2. Check fire often and avoid overfiring stove.
3. Burn only seasoned wood and avoid using softwood.
4. Fires should not be left unattended.
5. Avoid smoldering fires as this increases creosote build up.

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Swimming Pool Safety Barriers

Every year thousands of American families confront swimming pool tragedies – drownings and near-drownings
of young children. These tragedies are preventable. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
offers guidelines for pool barriers that can help prevent most submersion incidents involving young children.

Inground Pools
A young child can get over a pool barrier if the barrier is too low or if the barrier has handholds or footholds for a child to use when climbing.
? The top of a pool barrier should be at least 48 inches above grade, measured on the side of
the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool.

For a Solid Barrier:
? No indentations or protrusions should be present, other than normal construction
tolerances and masonry joints.

For a Barrier (Fence) Made Up of Horizontal and Vertical Members:
? If the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45 inches, the horizontal members should be
on the swimming pool side of the fence.
? The spacing of the vertical members should not exceed 1 – ¾ inches. (This size is based on the foot width of a
young child and is intended to reduce the potential for a child to gain a foothold.)
? If there are any decorative cutouts in the fence, the space within the cutouts should not exceed 1 – ¾ inches.

Aboveground Pools
Aboveground pools should have barriers.
? The pool structure itself serves as a barrier or a barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure.
? The steps or ladder can be designed to be secured, locked or removed to prevent access, or a
barrier such as those described above can surround the steps or ladder.

When the House Wall Forms Part of the Pool Barrier
In many homes, doors open directly onto the pool area or onto a patio that leads to the pool area.
? In such cases, the wall of the house is an important part of the pool barrier, and passage through
any doors in the house wall should be controlled by security measures.
? All doors that give access to a swimming pool, should be equipped with an audible alarm, which
sounds when the door and/or screen are opened.
? The alarm should sound for 30 seconds or more immediately after the door is opened.
? The alarm should be loud (at least 85 dBA (decibels) when measured 10 feet away from the alarm mechanism).
? The alarm should be distinct from other sounds in the house.
? The alarm should have an automatic reset feature.
? The alarm should have a switch that allows adults to temporarily deactivate the alarm for up to 15 seconds to allow them to pass through house doors without setting off the alarm.
? The deactivation switch could be a touchpad or manual switch and should be located at least 54 inches above the threshold of the door covered by the alarm.

Indoor Pools
When a pool is located completely within a house, the walls that surround the pool should be equipped to serve as pool safety barriers. Measures recommended above where a house wall serves as part of a safety barrier also apply for all the walls surrounding an indoor pool.

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Smoke Detectors Can Save Your Life

Most home fire deaths happen between 10 o’clock at night and 6 in the morning. Many victims die because of smoke and toxic gases, not the fire itself. Smoke detectors can wake you and give you time to escape. When purchasing a smoke alarm, look for one that is accepted by an independent testing facility, such as Underwriters Laboratories or Factory Mutual.

Location:
The best place for your smoke alarms:
? On every level of your home, including the basement and workshop
? Outside every bedroom
? On the ceiling or 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling on the wall. Keep them away from air vents.

Testing:
Test the alarm batteries once a month.
? Press the test button with your finger.
? Replace the batteries once a year.

Maintenance:
Clean the alarm following the manufacturer’s instructions.
? Vacuum the grillwork on the detector periodically to keep it dust-free.

Preventing Nuisance Alarms:
Move the alarm away from the kitchen or bathroom.
? Get a different type of smoke alarm, like a photoelectric that’s less sensitive to
common causes of false alarms.
? Choose a smoke alarm that has a silencing feature, so nuisance alarms can be
stopped quickly and easily.

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