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‘Tis the Season to Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather; the I.I.I. Offers Tips for Preventing Winter Related Damage

‘Tis the Season to Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather; the I.I.I. Offers Tips for Preventing Winter Related Damage

With plenty of snow and cold temperatures predicted for the northern United States this winter, it is important to prepare your home and review your insurance coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). 

The 2016 Farmers’ Almanac predicts snowier conditions than normal for the northern and central Great Plains, New England and parts of the Ohio Valley. In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, the winter skies will be stormy and likely to drop a good amount of snow.

Water damage, which can be caused by snowy conditions, and freezing account for almost 22 percent of all homeowners insurance claims and are the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, behind only hurricanes and tornadoes. Winter storm related catastrophes in the U.S. caused $2.3 billion in insured losses in 2014, up from $1.9 billion in 2013, according to Munich Re. From 1994 to 2013 winter storms resulted in about $27 billion in insured U.S. catastrophe losses (in 2013 dollars), or more than $1 billion a year on average, according to Property Claim Services (PCS).

Standard homeowners and renters policies cover winter related damage, such as that caused by burst pipes, ice dams and wind, as well as damage caused by either weight of ice or snow.

Coverage for flooding, including flooding caused by melting snow, is available from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from some private insurance companies. Melting snow can also overburden sewer systems, causing raw sewage to back up into the drains in your home. Backed up sewers can cause thousands of dollars in damage to floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems. Sewer back-up coverage can be purchased either as a separate product or as an endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy.

Beyond making sure they have the proper insurance coverage, there are also steps homeowners can take to protect their homes before the official start of winter on Monday, December 21, 2015.

Outside Your Home

  • Clean out gutters. Remove leaves, sticks and other debris so melting snow and ice can flow freely. This can prevent ice damming, a condition in which water seeps into the house, potentially damaging ceilings and walls.
  • Install gutter guards to prevent debris from entering the gutter and interfering with the flow of water away from the house and into the ground.
  • Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice, snow and wind can cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home or car, or injure someone walking by your property.

Inside Your Home

  • Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. If too much heat escapes through the attic, it can cause snow or ice to melt and then re-freeze on the roof resulting in an ice dam that can cause significant roof damage. Well-insulated basements, crawl spaces and unfinished rooms, such as garages, protect pipes from freezing
  • Provide a reliable back-up power source. In the event of an electrical outage, continuous power will keep your home warm and prevent frozen pipes. Consider purchasing a portable generator to ensure your household’s safety.

Preparing for severe winter weather and other disasters is especially important for vulnerable populations such as older adults. Review the I.I.I.’s Preparedness Checklist for Seniors and Caretakers if you have an elderly relative or friend who may need help getting ready for the winter season.

For more information on preparing your home against damage from Mother Nature, go to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).


Source: Insurance Information Institute

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Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Now is the time to think about the safety of our loved ones...please check the batteries in your smoke detectors and if you haven't already, install a carbon-monoxide detector.  The link below will show you how important this is for your life and the lives of your loved ones....Be Merry, Be Safe, Be Blessed during this Christmas Season.

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How to Create a Home Inventory

How to Create a Home Inventory
Start by making a list of your possessions, describing each item and noting where you bought it and its make and model. Clip to your list any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals you have. For clothing, count the items you own by category (pants, coats, shoes, for example), making notes about those that are especially valuable. For major appliances and electronic equipment, record the serial numbers, which are usually found on the back or bottom.
  • Don't be put off! 
    If you are just setting up a household, starting an inventory list can be relatively simple. If you’ve been living in the same house for many years, however, the task of creating a list can be daunting. Still, it’s better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all. Start with recent purchases, then try to remember what you can about older possessions.
  • Big ticket items 
    Valuable items like jewelry, art work and collectibles may have increased in value since you received them. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items. They may need to be insured separately and it is important that your insurance company know about these items before there is a loss.
  • Take a picture
    You can also take pictures of rooms and important individual items to have a visual record of your belongings. On the back of the photos, note what is shown and where you bought it or the make. Don’t forget things that are in closets or drawers. If you use your phone or a digital camera, you may also be able to add a description of the item when saving the photo.
  • Videotape it 
    Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents. Or do the same thing using a tape recorder. This can be useful for items such as clothing or kitchenware. You can simply open a kitchen shelf or closet and describe the contents. For instance, in the kitchen, it would be sufficient to state that you have a set of dishes for 12 that includes a dinner plate, salad plate, etch with when and where it was purchased
  • Create a digital record 
    Use your computer or mobile device to make your inventory list. There are many software options and mobile apps that can help you create a room-by-room record of your belongings. To make creating your inventory as easy as possible, the I.I.I. offers free Web-based home inventory software, Know Your Stuff® - Home Inventory. The software includes secure online storage so you can access your inventory anywhere, anytime. You can also download the Know Your Stuff app in the iTunes App Store (or search for “iii inventory”) or from Google Play. Information about your belongings can be entered either through the mobile app or online and your data will automatically synchronize between the two. All of your information will be kept in your personal, password protected account, on Amazon secure servers. And, like the online version, the Know Your Stuff® app is free of charge. 

Storing your list 

Regardless of how you do it (written list, photos, computer hard drive, flash-drive, or in the cloud), keep a record of your inventory. If it is a physical document, store it along with the receipts in your safe deposit box or at a friend's or relative's home. If it is a digital file, make sure to back it up and keep a copy on an external drive or online storage account. That way it will be easily available to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.

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Home Swimming Pools Can be Deadly for Young Children – 65% of Pool Related Deaths Occur at Child’s Own Home

Home Swimming Pools Can be Deadly for Young Children – 65% of Pool Related Deaths Occur at Child’s Own Home

Tips for Preventing Drowning

MADISON, Wisconsin (July 9, 2014) – The Wisconsin Medical Journal reports that drowning is the second most common cause of accidental deaths in the state for children between 1 and 18 years old, with motor vehicle crashes first.

The most common place for a drowning to occur for a child between the ages of 1 to 4 years is a home swimming pool. At the same time, bathtubs, toilets and buckets over 5 gallons can be deadly for children from 1-2 years of age.

More than 300 children under 5 years old drown in swimming pools across the country each year. Of these pool-related deaths, approximately 65% occur at the child’s own home. Children often drown silently – without splashing or calling for help – and quickly – in the time it takes to answer a phone call.

Twenty six percent of parents who own a pool or spa report they are not informed about how to keep their pool or spa drain safe for their children.

Here are a few tips from the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW) for homeowners who own or are thinking about purchasing a swimming pool:

  • Actively supervise your children around water, and keep rescue equipment nearby; most notably, a telephone and any emergency numbers.
  • Enroll your child in swimming lessons after age 4. However, it is imperative to always watch children closely while swimming, regardless of their experience level. Flotation devices do NOT count as supervision.
  • Teach your children to stay away from pool and spa drains, and if your child has
    long hair, be sure to securely tie it up to protect against entanglement within any
    open drains.
  • Do not leave toys around the pool when it is not in use. Curious toddlers will be
    more tempted to stray toward the pool, increasing the risk of accidental drowning.
  • Make sure your pool has four-sided fencing and a self-closing, self-latching gate. Most cities and towns have specific guidelines for you to follow, so be sure to
    contact your local building inspector.

“If you have recently purchased a swimming pool, be sure to contact your insurance agent, as the insurance company will need to know about this update,” said Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of PIAW. “While some homeowners’ policies will cover swimming pools, they often have a number of safety procedures homeowners need to follow to be eligible for the coverage.“

In addition, you may want to consider an umbrella policy that increases your liability coverage in case of an accident or injury in or around your pool.”

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Keeping Motorcyclists Safe on Wisconsin Roads: Tips for Auto and Truck Drivers

Keeping Motorcyclists Safe on Wisconsin Roads: Tips for Auto and Truck Drivers

MADISON, WI (June 11, 2014) – With the warm summer weather, motorcyclists are hitting Wisconsin roads. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, “over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Most of the time, the car or truck driver, not the motorcyclist, is at fault.”

Since a motorcycle has a narrow profile, it can be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or masked by outdoor objects. “The size and weight of cars and trucks put the obligation on these drivers to use added safety measures,” says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW). “Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you're changing lanes, pulling out of a driveway or turning at intersections.”

Following are more tips to ensure everyone on the road is safe.


  • A motorcycle often looks farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into or out of a driveway, assume a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
  • Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or rolling off the throttle, which will not activate the brake light. Allow more following distance for motorcycles, say 3 or 4 seconds. And, at intersections, understand a motorcyclist may slow down without the brake lights on.
  • Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement can make stopping quickly on only two wheels difficult. Again, allow for more following distance behind a motorcycle.
  • Motorcyclists often move position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the impact of road debris, passing vehicles and wind. “Motorcyclists adjust lane positions for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off,” explains Von Haden.
  • Respect motorcycles and treat them the same as other vehicles … for example, allowing the same amount of room on the road.


“The most important rule is to see more than the motorcycle – see the person on the bike who could be your friend, neighbor or relative. This is especially important for young drivers who may be sharing the road with motorcycles for the first time,” notes Von Haden.

Should you become involved in an accident with a motorcycle or any vehicle, follow these steps.


  • Check for injuries; call an ambulance when in doubt.
  • If accident is minor, move cars to a safe place, out of traffic.
  • Make immediate notes about the accident, including specific damages, witness information and take photos with your cell phone. Trade insurance information with the other driver.
  • Call the police, even if the accident is minor. If they do not show up on the scene, go to the nearest police department to file a police report yourself. It can be important to have this document for any claims.
  • Notify your insurance agent immediately. Your local, independent and professional insurance agent can advise you about the next steps you need to take to quickly and fairly process the claim.


“Drive aware of motorcyclists and you can help make the streets and roads safer for everyone,” concludes Von Haden.

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Is your home ready for winter?

Is your home ready for winter weather? Many consumers don’t realize that lack of preparation could mean unwelcome home damage and unexpected repair expenses. To help families and businesses protect themselves against winter risks and enjoy the season, Trusted Choice® offers tips that can help families prepare for risks and hazards that may come during the winter months.

Snow or ice is the fifth leading cause of homeowners’ insurance claims. Also, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), the average homeowners’ claim for water damage and freezing is a whopping $5,531. Follow these tips to protect you and your home from serious financial liability:

Prevent Ice Dams—An ice dam is a build-up of ice that blocks water drainage from the roof and the gutters. Ice dams can cause leaks from ceilings and walls that can ultimately lead to mold and other problems. To prevent ice dams, remove leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters or install gutter guards (available in most hardware home stores) that will prevent debris from getting in the gutter and interfering with drainage.

“Watch Out for That Tree!”—Trees and branches weakened by snow, ice and wind can snap and seriously hurt a person on your property as well as cause serious damage to your home or car. Trimming trees and removing dead branches can help prevent serious damage and injuries.

Roof Care and Repair—High winds, snow and ice can damage a roof. Check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow and ice. After a heavy storm, check for water stains in the attic and on any overhangs. Lastly, repair or replace split or loose shingles and fix any leaks.

Pipe Dreams…and Nightmares—First, the bad news: Frozen or broken water pipes disrupt hundreds of thousands of American lives every winter. You can prevent frozen pipes by following these tips:

  • Keep the inside temperature of your home at 65 degrees or warmer.
  • Wrap heating tape and/or standard insulation around pipes wherever possible.
  • Look for pipes with cracks or leaks —they freeze first.
  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes (particularly in the kitchen and bathroom).
  • If you’re leaving your home for several days, turn off the water completely and drain the pipes, or keep water dripping through one or two faucets, as moving water prevents freezing. However, if you are leaving your home for an extended period of time, plan to turn the water off. It also helps to have someone check your home every day while you are gone.
  • If your pipes do freeze, quickly shut off the water and immediately call a plumber.

Prevent Personal Injuries—Homeowners are liable for any injuries that occur on their property. Keep kitty litter, sand or rock salt on hand to sprinkle over frozen driveways, walkways or sidewalks. Additionally, ensure that your outdoor steps and guardrails are in good repair to prevent injuries from falls on ice.

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Lakeshore Insurance Solutions, Inc.
117 Gardner St
Two Rivers, WI 54241-3205
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 920-793-3991
Fax: 920-793-5606