Friday, January 30, 2015

Protect Your Pipes From Freezing During Cold Winter Weather



Cold winter air can cause pipes to freeze and burst, causing flooding and severe water damage. West Virginia American Water demonstrates how to insulate pipes and other methods to protect your plumbing from freezing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wonder what will be inspected by Site-Pro?

Outline of a typical home inspection


A typical SitePro home inspection in Pensacola, Navarre, Walton and Okaloosa counties consist of an educational tour of the property. You are most welcome and indeed encouraged to accompany the professional inspector to gain valuable "show & tell" information, to ask questions and to gain knowledge regarding the true condition of the property. A professional SitePro inspector will follow a practiced, efficient and comprehensive methodology to examine the entire home. The home inspector will use an earnest effort to disclose the visual problems of importance and to document those observations in a final narrative report that you can read and understand in order to make intelligent decisions. 
   
The inspection process begins with a tour of the exterior of the home including the roof and then progresses into the crawlspace (if applicable) and then upwards finishing in the attic. Outside, the inspector will observe such things as the drainage grade on the property, vegetation, driveways & walks, entrances, porches, decks,foundation above grade, siding, doors & windows, soffit, garage, roof, gutters and chimneys. While not required, an effort is made to climb on the roof to inspect it from above unless the height, pitch and weather conditions put the inspector's safety at risk.  

When climbing on the roof is not possible, the roof is examined by binoculars, or from a sub-roof or by a ladder at the eaves. While in the crawlspace, the inspector will observe the condition and function of each of the mechanical systems including: heating system, electrical system, plumbing system, hot water heater and central air conditioning system. Also while in the crawlspace (if applicable), the professional home inspector will observe the condition of the structure including: foundation, columns and floor frame. Special efforts are made to disclose any evidence of decay or water infiltration. Progressing upwards, the inspector next examines the kitchen. He checks the function of the sink and all plumbing connections and briefly operates the appliances. Each bathroom fixture is examined and the functional condition is evaluated.


Within the living spaces, walls, floors, ceilings and staircases are all examined along with a representative sample of windows, outlets, switches & lights. SitePro professional inspectors will even stick his head inside the fireplace. While in the attic, the building inspector will examine the accessible parts of the roof structure. He will also alert you regarding signs of previous roof or flashing leaks and potential leakage points. The attic insulation, vapor barrier and means of ventilation are also inspected. At the conclusion of the actual inspection of the property a full verbal report will be given to you. 

The inspector will then return to SitePro's office where a full reference library is available to the inspector so any additional facts can be copied and made available to you, something a on the spot report cannot do. We spend on average 2-3 hours after the property inspection  to prepare a very comprehensive narrative final report. The report will document all of the observations made at the time of inspection and will advise you to contact other qualified experts when major repairs are anticipated. The report is then delivered to you in a form that can be easily read and understood. After the SitePro residential inspection process has been completed we will always provide as much free Phone consultation as needed.  Click here for repair costs & estimates

Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802
362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)
"Looking Beyond The Obvious"


Nothing in this message is intended to constitute an electronic signature unless a specific statement to the contrary is included in this message.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this communication is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed and other authorized to receive it. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or taking any action in reliance of the contents of this information is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this message in error, please contact the sender immediately by return e-mail. SitePro LLC is neither liable for the proper nor complete transmission of the information contained in this communication nor for any delay in its receipt.

SitePro Residential and Commericial Inspections has taken every reasonable precaution to ensure that any attachment to this e-mail has been swept for viruses. However, we cannot accept liability for any damage sustained as a result of viruses and would advise that you carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. This e-mail is meant to communicate company related materials only. Opinions expressed by the author of this e-mail are solely his/her own. SitePro Residential and Commericial Inspections will not be liable for opinions expressed in this e-mail.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Use Home Heating Equipment Safely to Prevent Fires - Put a Freeze on Winter Fires



Heating equipment is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire deaths. Fortunately, the vast majority of home heating fires can be prevented by following some simple steps and guidelines.

For more information on how to keep your family and you safe this winter season visit:
http://www.usfa.fema.gov/winter
http://www.nfpa.org/winter

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cure for a small shop



Space is very valuable when you have a small shop. There are many things you can do to conserve on space that is limited. Here is my solution to the space crunch in my shop.

Monday, January 12, 2015

How to Build a Storage Bed - This Old House



Furniture maker Christopher Beidel builds a storage bed. (See below for a shopping list and tools.)

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to the official This Old House YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c...

How to Build a Tool Storage Cabinet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBT7K...

How to Install a Garage Storage System: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBFjI...

How to Build a Storage Chest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLB4a...

Shopping List for How to Build a Storage Bed:
- 3/4-inch medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Get five 4-by-8-foot sheets.
- 3/8-inch MDF beadboard panels. Get two 4-by-8-foot sheets.
- 1x2 primed MDF trim. Get eleven.
- 8-foot lengths, for the stiles, rails, and cap.
- 2x4s. Get three 8-footers.
- Victorian-era door-casing kit, (includes rosettes)
- 1/2x 3 lattice strip shoe molding. Get 20 feet.
- 1 1/4-, 1 1/2-, and 2-inch MDF screws
- 2 1/2-inch deck screws
- 1 1/2-inch 18-gauge brads
- Construction adhesive
- Wood glue
- 3/4-inch quarter-round
- 150-grit sandpaper
- Primer and paint

Tools for How to Build a Storage Bed:
- Long bar clamps
- Straightedge
- Circular saw
- Drill/driver or impact driver
- Paintbrushes
- Miter saw
- Brad nailer or nail gun
- Jigsaw or Japanese handsaw
- Paint roller and tray
- caulk gun

Follow This Old House:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisOldHouse
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thisoldhouse
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thisoldhouse/
G+: https://plus.google.com/+thisoldhouse...
Instagram: http://instagram.com/thisoldhouse
Tumblr: http://thisoldhouse.tumblr.com/

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Roofing - Under the Shingles - What's Under the Asphalt, Metal, Wood, Rubber Or Clay Tiles on a Roof





Imagine, you're standing on the sidewalk, looking at an average house. You see the siding, the windows, the front door, and way up above, you see the roof. Does the roof have asphalt shingles? Wood shakes perhaps? Maybe it's made of metal or rubber tiles? What you see is where the focus goes, but it's what you don't see that really matters. There's more to roofing than meets the eye. So let's talk about what goes on, under the shingles.

The Roof Deck

We learn to crawl before we walk, so when talking about roofing let's start with square one, the surface area of your roof which is made of wood. Your wood roof deck is comparable to an automobiles metal body. It is installed on top of the basic house frame to give a surface area on which to install Shingles. Without a roof deck installed on your house, there would be nowhere to install your Shingles. And of course without the shingles, your roof deck would rot away due to exposure to the sun, rain, snow and ice and etc...not a comfortable home at all!

On Newer Houses, sheets of plywood or OSB boards are fastened on top of wooden trusses in your attic to form the roof deck. Plywood or OSB boards are installed in a staggered formation with small spaces between them to allow wood to expand and contract as the wood heats in the summer and cools in the winter. Older homes often have lengths of 2" x 6" installed instead of plywood or OSB board. When the time comes for you to replace your Roof System, remember to have your Calgary Roofing Contractor replace any and all damaged wood.

Remember, if your roof deck is rotting or damaged in any way, people walking on your roof could potentially crack or break through the wood, causing further damage to the roof system, such as to the shingles...and to the person who walked on it! However, most roof decks can withstand a little bit of exposure to water or ice before it needs to be replaced.

Metal: Drip Edge and Rake Edge

Drip edge and Rake edge is the first part of the Roof System to be installed. It is a long and narrow piece of metal which is installed along each end of your Roof Deck, ie: along the eaves trough and along the gable ends.

Some area local building codes require the installation of Drip Edge and Rake Edge and other building codes do not. Check with your local city building offices to find out. In Alberta for example, the Building Code does not require the installation of Drip edge or Rake edge. Therefore many new homes and/or low budget roof systems do not have drip edge installed in order to allow for more affordable roof prices. We recommend however that Drip edge and Rake edge be installed on every Roof System, no exceptions.

Drip and Rake edge is available in a variety of different colors and sizes and can be custom built for the needs of your roof system. Installing an appropriate drip edge often saves hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars when your roof system needs replaced.

If your Roof System does not currently have drip or rake edge installed, do not panic, you'll survive well enough. Just be aware that when your roof needs to be replaced, the Roofing Contractor you may need to replace some of your wood Roof Deck on an as needed basis.

Metal: Chimneys and Skylights

Arguably the most important part of every complete roof system. The metal installed in the valleys, chimneys and skylights take the brunt of water flow on every roof. Poorly installed, a brand new roof system can make a waterfall out of your living room.

Every chimney and skylight needs what is referred to as "a back pan", which consists of sheet metal folded at around a 90 degree angle (depending on the slope of your roof) and tucks under the shingles and up under the siding, stucco or counter flashing on the chimney or skylight. Every back pan needs a small 2" section of metal sticking out 1" or more from either side of the chimney or skylight to divert water away from the corners. Water should hit the metal back pan and be directed away on either side where it can continue its run into the eaves trough.

Metal: Valleys

In the same way water runs along the valleys between two mountains, water runs along the valleys on your roof peaks. Valleys generally receive the highest concentration of water flowing through them, therefore installing them correctly is extremely important!

As mentioned in the Leak Barrier section, valleys have leak barriers installed underneath them. Even though some Building Codes do not require such a leak barrier to be installed, we recommend installing one always in every valley.

A word of caution: Many roofing contractors install valleys in a style referred to as 'closed'. A closed valley consists of Shingles woven inside the valley, as opposed to an 'open' valley which has sheet metal running from top to bottom. Both the 'open' and the 'closed' style of installation are acceptable by the most Building Codes and by most manufacturers, however, the 'open' style installation has consistently out performed the 'closed' style...and costs exactly the same price to install. Ask your Roofing Contractor to use the 'open' style of installation for your roofs valleys, this could save you from having to replace your roof system prematurely and also can avoid headaches in the long run. Typically, an 'open' valley is installed with a 30 gauge sheet metal, 4' wide, coming in 10' sheets. This metal can be ordered in any color to match the shingles on your roof system.

Leak Barrier

Think of a leak barrier as a "second layer" of protection for your Roof Deck. A backup plan, if you will, and also a protection against moisture build up. Leak barriers are nearly always installed on top of the Drip Edge and Rake Edge metal along eaves trough areas, gable areas and valleys because of the risk these areas pose for leaks, ice build up, shingle deterioration and water back flow.

If you've ever looked at your roof during winter, you'll notice how ice and snow builds up along the length of your eaves troughs and inside the roof valleys. As with Rake Edge and Drip Edge, some Building codes require Leak Barriers to be installed and some Building Codes do not. In Alberta, the Building Code requires a leak Barrier to be installed on all eaves trough and valley areas of a Roof Systems because of issues related to such snow and ice build up. As an optional upgrade, some high end roof systems even have leak barriers installed on top of the entire Roof Deck (as opposed to only along the special areas we just mentioned) where normally a standard Roof Deck Protection would normally have been installed.

Virtually all roofs in Calgary, Alberta have leak barriers installed, and many different types of leak barriers are available in today's market, each offering a different level of reliability, functionality and warrantee and produced by many different manufacturers.

Choosing an appropriate Leak Barrier and installing it properly is an important step in every Roof System. Speak with your Roofing Contractor to learn more about leak barriers, how to choose the right one and how to choose a Professional Roofing Contractor to install it.

Roof Deck Protection

Roof Deck Protection is very similar to a Leak Barrier. The difference is that Roof Deck Protection is installed on the entire Roof Deck area instead of only on "special areas" as we mention in the Leak Barrier section.

Typically, Roof Deck Protection is a step lower in quality than a Leak Barrier. As with Leak Barriers however, there are many different types of Roof Deck Protection available to choose from ranging from basic felt/tar paper to advanced plastic woven sheets of rip and wrinkle proof material. Choosing a reliable Roof Deck Protection is an important part of a quality Roof System.

A word of caution; most roofing companies use felt paper as Roof Deck Protection. Although using felt paper is a standard and acceptable practice, some issues can arise if the felt paper becomes wet during or after the installation. Ever notice how paper tends to curl when it dries after it was wet? In a similar way, felt paper can curl if water or excess moisture touches it. For this reason, and because the cost is quite small, we recommend installing a higher quality Roof Deck Protection such as a GAF/ELK Deck Armour. For a relatively small additional cost, you'll be rewarded with a much more reliable Roof Deck Protection.

Ask your local trusted Roofing Contractor about which under-layer would be best for your Roof System any why.

Conclusion

So there it is, life beneath the shingles. See how much goes on behind the scenes? Professional roofing contractors know this stuff inside and out and can help immensely in ensuring a roof system is reliable for many years. Product suppliers such as GAF/Elk and IKO can help answer specific questions about products as well.

All the best with your roofing project, and remember, be proactive, make educated decisions.

This article is written by Eric Gilbert-Williams, owner of The Roof Hospital located in Calgary Alberta.

Visit the Calgary Roofing Contractors website

The Roof Hospital is a Calgary Roofing Contractor Company focused exclusively on roof repairs and replacements.

With 24/hr 7/day service, lifetime guarantee's on workmanship and with a deep understanding of the complete roof system, The Roof Hospital is a safe and reliable for Calgary roofing projects.

If you would like to learn more about A Complete Roof System, visit this Calgary Roofing Contractors website

The Roof Hospital also serves the Cochrane, Airdrie, Okotokes, Chestermere and Langdon area.

Be Proactive. Choose a reliable roofing contractor for your project, work with them to select quality products and back yourself with a strong warranty.

Be Proactive. Let Us Help

By Eric Gilbert

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Eric_Gilbert

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2261655

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Answers to your Home Insurance Questions

Why You Need Homeowner's Insurance

The largest, single investment most consumers make is in their homes. The consumer can protect their home, possessions, and liability with a homeowner's insurance policy. The homeowner's insurance policy is a package policy that combines more than one type of insurance coverage in a single policy. There are four types of coverages that are contained in the homeowner's policy: dwelling and personal property; personal liability; medical payment; and additional living expenses.

Property Damage Coverage

Property damage coverage helps pay for damage to your home and personal property. Other structures, such as a detached garage, a tool shed, and any other building on your property are usually covered for 10% of the amount of coverage on your house.

Personal property coverage will pay for personal property, including household furniture, clothing, and other personal belongings. The amount of insurance coverage is usually 50% of the policy limit on your dwelling. The coverage is also limited by the types of loss listed in the policy. The coverage only pays the current cash value of the item destroyed, unless you purchase "replacement cost" coverage. Your homeowner's policy also provides off-premises coverage. This means that the policy covers your belongings against theft even when they are not inside your home.

Personal Liability Coverage

Homeowners' policies provide personal liability coverage that applies to non-auto accidents on and off your property if the injury or damage is caused by you, a member of your family, or your pet. The liability coverage in your policy pays both for the cost of defending you and paying for any damages that a court rules you must pay. Liability insurance does not have a deductible that you must meet before your insurer begins to pay losses. The basic liability coverage is usually $100,000 for each occurence. You can request higher limits that are available for an additional cost.

Medical Payment Coverage

Medical payment coverage pays if someone outside your family is injured at your home, regardless of fault. This includes payment for reasonable medical expenses incurred within one year from the date of loss for a person who is injured in an accident in your home. The coverage does not apply to you and members of your household. The medical-payments portion of your homeowner's policy will also pay if you are involved in the injury of another person away from your home in some limited circumstances. Medical payments coverage limits are generally $1,000 for each person.

Additional Living Expenses

If it is necessary for you to move into a motel or apartment temporarily because of damage caused by a peril covered in your policy, your insurance company will pay an amount up to 20% of the policy limit on your dwelling for these expenses. If you move in temporarily with a friend or relative and do not have any extra expenses, you will not be paid any addditional living expenses by your insurance company.

Home Business

If you operate a home business full- or part-time, you might be uninsured and not realize it. Many home business owners believe that their homeowner's insurance policy covers all of their home business needs. You should not assume that your homeowner's insurance policy will cover your home business. Your homeowner's policy may provide coverage, but probably only a maximum of $2,500 for business equipment in the home, and $250 away from the premises.

The price you pay for your homeowner's insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the insurance company you buy your policy from. Here are some things to consider when buying homeowner's insurance.

1. Shop around.

It will take some time, but could save you a good sum of money. Ask your friends, check the Yellow Pages, and contact your state insurance commission. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has information to help you choose an insurer in your state, including complaints that are filed by consumers. States often make information available on typical rates charged by major insurers, and many states provide the frequency of consumer complaints by company. Also check consumer guides, insurance agents, companies, and online insurance quote services. This will give you an idea of price ranges and tell you which companies have the lowest prices. But don't consider price alone. The insurer you select should offer a fair price and deliver the quality of service you would expect if you needed assistance in filing a claim. So, in assessing service quality, use the complaint information from state regulatory agencies and talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the type of service they provide. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs. When you've narrowed the field to three insurers, get price quotes.

2. Raise your deductible.

Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay a claim, according to the terms of your policy. The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premiums. Nowadays, most insurance companies recommend a deductible of at least $500. If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25%. Remember, if you live in a disaster-prone area, your insurance policy may have a separate deductible for certain kinds of damage. If you live near the coast in the East, you may have a separate windstorm deductible; if you live in a state vulnerable to hailstorms, you may have a separate deductible for hail; and if you live in an earthquake-prone area, your earthquake policy has a deductible.

3. Don’t confuse what you paid for your house with rebuilding costs.

The land under your house isn't at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and the other perils covered in your homeowner's policy. So don't include its value in deciding how much homeowner's insurance to buy. If you do, you will pay a higher premium than you should.

4. Buy your home and auto policies from the same insurer.

Some companies that sell homeowner's, auto and liability coverage will take 5% to 15% off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them. But make certain this combined price is lower than buying the different coverages from different companies.

5. Make your home more disaster-resistant.

Find out from your insurance agent or company representative what steps you can take to make your home more resistant to windstorms and other natural disasters. You may be able to save on your premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof, and buying stronger roofing materials. Older homes can be retrofitted to make them better able to withstand earthquakes. In addition, consider modernizing your heating, plumbing and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage.  Even small measures, such as keeping a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, will often qualify you for a discount on your premiums and save you money in the long run.

6. Improve your home security.

You can usually get discounts of at least 5% for a smoke detector, burglar alarm and dead-bolt locks. Some companies offer to cut your premium by as much as 15% to 20% if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police, fire or other monitoring stations. These systems aren't cheap, and not every system qualifies for a discount. Before you buy such a system, find out what kind your insurer recommends, how much the device would cost, and how much you'd save on premiums.

7. Seek out other discounts.

Companies offer several types of discounts, but they don't all offer the same discount or the same amount of discount in all states. For example, since retired people are at home more than working people, they are less likely to be burglarized and may spot fires sooner, too. Retired people also have more time for maintaining their homes. If you're at least 55 years old and retired, you may qualify for a discount of up to 10% at some companies. Some employers and professional associations administer group insurance programs that may offer a better deal than you can get elsewhere.

8. Maintain a good credit record.

Establishing a solid credit history can cut your insurance costs. Insurers are increasingly using credit information to price homeowners' insurance policies. In most states, your insurer must advise you of any adverse action, such as a higher rate, at which time you should verify the accuracy of the information on which the insurer relied. To protect your credit standing, pay your bills on time, don't obtain more credit than you need, and keep your credit balances as low as possible. Check your credit record on a regular basis, and rectify any errors promptly so that your record remains accurate.

9. Stay with the same insurer.

If you've kept your coverage with a company for several years, you may receive a special discount for being a long-term policyholder. Some insurers will reduce their premiums by 5% if you stay with them for three to five years, and by 10% if you remain a policyholder for six years or more. But make certain to periodically compare this price with that of other policies.

10. Review the limits in your policy and the value of your possessions at least once a year.

You want your policy to cover any major purchases or additions to your home. But you don't want to spend money for coverage you don't need. If your five-year-old fur coat is no longer worth the $5,000 you paid for it, you'll want to reduce or cancel your floater -- defined as extra insurance for items whose full value is not covered by standard homeowners' policies, such as expensive jewelry, high-end computers and valuable art work -- and pocket the difference.

11. If you are in a government plan, look for private insurance.

If you live in a high-risk area -- say, one that is especially vulnerable to coastal storms, fires or crime -- and have been buying your homeowner's insurance through a government plan, you should check with an insurance agent or company representative, or contact your state commission of insurance for the names of companies that might be interested in your business. You may find that there are steps you can take that would allow you to buy insurance at a lower price in the private market.

12. When you’re buying a home, consider the cost of homeowner's insurance.

You may pay less for insurance if you buy a house close to a fire hydrant or in a community that has a professional rather than a volunteer fire department. It may also be cheaper if your home’s electrical, heating and plumbing systems are less than 10 years old. If you live in the East, consider a brick home because it's more wind-resistant. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, look for a wooden frame house because it is more likely to withstand this type of disaster. Choosing wisely could cut your premiums by 5% to 15%.

Check the CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report of the home you are thinking of buying. These reports contain the insurance-claim history of the property and can help you judge some of the problems the house may have. Remember that flood insurance and earthquake damage are not covered by a standard homeowner's policy. If you buy a house in a flood-prone area, you'll have to pay for a flood insurance policy that costs an average of $400 a year. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides useful information on flood insurance on its Web site at www.fema.gov/nfip. A separate earthquake policy is available from most insurance companies. The cost of the coverage will depend on the likelihood of earthquakes in your area.

If you have questions about insurance for any of your possessions, be sure to ask your agent or company representative when you're shopping around for a policy. For example, if you run a business out of your home, be sure to discuss coverage for that business. Most homeowners' policies cover business equipment in the home, but only up to $2,500, and they offer no business liability coverage. Although you want to lower your homeowner's insurance cost, you also want to make certain you have all the coverage you need.

Questions Asked by Homeowners About Insurance

If a fire, flood, earthquake, or some other natural disaster were to damage or destroy your home, would you have the right insurance coverage to rebuild your house? Based on the questions consumers ask most frequently, this list explains what is and is not covered in a standard homeowner's policy. Where gaps in coverage exist, it tells you how to fill them. To simplify explanations, assume that you have a policy known as Homeowners-3 (HO-3), the most common type of homeowner's policy in the United States. Find out what type of homeowner's policy you have. If you have a different policy, you should review your options in question #17.

1.  Am I covered for direct losses due to fire, lightning, tornadoes, windstorms, hail, explosions, smoke, vandalism and theft?

Yes. The HO-3 provides broad coverage for these and other disasters or “perils,” as they are called in the policy, including all those listed in the question. You should check the dollar limits of insurance in your policy, and make sure you are comfortable with the amount of insurance you have for specific items. Also, if you live near the Atlantic or Gulf Coasts, there may be some restrictions on your coverage for wind damage. Ask your agent about windstorm/hurricane deductibles. In areas prone to hailstorms, you may have a specific hail-damage deductible.

2.  Are my jewelry and other valuables covered?

The standard policy provides only from $1,000 to $2,000 for theft of jewelry. If your jewelry is worth a lot more, you should purchase higher limits. You may wish to add a floater to your policy to cover specific pieces of jewelry and other expensive possessions, such as paintings, electronic equipment, stamp collections and silverware, for example. The floater will provide both higher limits and protect you from additional risks not covered in your standard policy.

3.  If my house is totally destroyed in a fire and I have $150,000 worth of insurance to cover the structure, will this be enough to rebuild my home?

If the cost of rebuilding your home is less than or equal to $150,000, you would have enough coverage. The HO-3 policy pays for structural damage on a replacement-cost basis. If the cost of replacing your home is, say, $120,000, then that is all the insurance you need. On the other hand, if the cost of rebuilding your home is $180,000, then you will be short $30,000.

If you live in an area that is frequently hit by major storms, ask your insurance company about an extended or guaranteed replacement-cost policy. This will provide a certain amount over the policy limit to rebuild your home, so that if building costs go up unexpectedly due to high demand for contractors and materials, you will have the extra funds to cover the bill.

If you choose not to rebuild your home, you will receive the replacement cost of your home, less depreciation. This is called "actual cash value." You should make sure that the amount of insurance you have will cover the cost of rebuilding your house. You can find out what this cost is by talking to your real estate agent or builders in your area.

Do not use the price of your house as the basis for the amount of insurance you purchase. The market price of your house includes the value of the land on which the house sits. In almost all cases, the land will still be there after a disaster, so you do not need to insure it. You only need to insure the structure.

4.  Am I automatically covered for flood damage?

No. If you live in a flood-prone area, it may be wise to purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance is provided by the federal government under a program run by the Federal Insurance Administration. In some parts of the country, homes can be damaged or destroyed by mudslides. This risk is also covered under flood policies. Contact your agent or company representative to get this insurance, or call the FEMA at 1-800-427-4661 or visit www.fema.gov.

5.  If a pipe bursts and water flows all over my floors, am I covered?

Yes. The HO-3 covers you for accidental discharge of water from a plumbing system. You should check your plumbing and heating systems once a year. While you are covered for damage, who needs the mess and hassle?

6.  What if water seeps into my basement from the ground -- am I still covered?

No. Water seepage is excluded under the HO-3. And if the water seepage is not due to a flood, you will not be covered under a flood policy. Seepage is viewed as a maintenance issue and is not covered by insurance. You should see a contractor about waterproofing your basement.

7.  Am I automatically covered for earthquake damage?

No. Earthquake coverage is sold as additional coverage to the homeowner's policy. To find out whether you should buy this insurance, talk to your agent or company representative. The cost of this coverage can vary significantly from one area to another, depending on the likelihood of a major earthquake.

8.  A neighbor slips on my sidewalk or falls down my porch steps and threatens to take me to court for damages. Does my policy protect me?
Yes. The policy will pay for damages if a fall or other accident on your property is the result of your negligence. It will also pay for the legal costs of defending you against a claim. Also, the medical-payments part of your homeowner's policy will cover medical expenses if a neighbor or guest is injured on your property. You should check to see how much liability protection you have. The standard amount is $100,000. If you feel you need more, consider purchasing higher limits.

9.  A tree falls and damages my roof during a storm. Am I covered?

Yes. You are covered for the damage to your roof. You are also covered for the removal of the tree, generally up to a limit of $500. You should cut down dead or dying trees close to your house and prune branches that are near your house. It's true that your insurance covers damage, but falling trees and branches can also injure your family. Ask your InterNACHI inspector about problem trees during your next inspection. 

10.  During a storm, a tree falls but does no damage to my property. Am I covered for the cost of removing the tree?
Your trees and shrubs are covered for losses due to risks such as vandalism, theft and fire, but not wind damage. However, if a fallen tree blocks access to your home, you may be covered for its removal. Decide if you need extra insurance for the trees, plants and shrubs on your property. You may be able to purchase extra insurance which will not only cover the cost of removing fallen trees, but will also cover the cost of replacing trees and other plants.

11.  If a storm causes a power outage and all the food in my refrigerator and freezer is spoiled and must be thrown out, can I make a claim?

The general answer is no. However, there are a number of exceptions. In some states, food spoilage is covered under the homeowner's policy. In addition, if the power loss is due to a break in a power line on or close to your property, you may be covered. You should check with your agent to find out whether you are covered for food spoilage in your state. If not, you can add food-spoilage coverage to your policy for an additional premium.

12.  My children are away at college. Are they covered by my homeowner's insurance?

If they’re full-time college students and part of your household, your insurance generally provides some coverage in a dorm, typically 10% of the contents' limit. If they live off-campus, some companies may not provide this limited coverage if the apartment is rented in the student’s name.

13.  My golf clubs were stolen from the trunk of my car. Does my homeowner's policy cover the loss?
Yes. The HO-3 covers your personal property while it is anywhere in the world. However, if your golf clubs are old, you will get only their current value, which may not be enough to purchase a new set. Consider buying a replacement-cost endorsement for your personal property. This way, you will get what it costs to replace the golf clubs, less your deductible.

14.  I have a small power boat. If it is stolen, am I covered? What if there is a boating accident and I get sued? Am I covered for that?
Whether or not you are covered for either theft or liability depends on the size of the boat, the horsepower of the engine, and your insurance company. Coverage for small boats under homeowners' policies varies significantly. Ask your insurance representative whether you need a boat owner's policy.

15.  My house is close to the ocean. I’ve heard that if it is destroyed by the wind, the town's new building code requires me to rebuild the house on stilts. This will add $30,000 to the cost of rebuilding my house. Am I covered for this extra cost?

No. The HO-3 excludes costs mandated by ordinances and laws that regulate the construction of buildings. You can purchase an ordinance or law endorsement. This will cover the extra costs involved in meeting new building codes.

16.  Am I covered for “acts of God”?

Sometimes. The term “acts of God” is not specifically mentioned in homeowners' insurance policies. It usually refers to natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, as opposed to man-made acts, such as theft and auto accidents. Some natural disasters, such as damage from windstorms, hail, lightning, and volcanic eruptions, are covered under homeowner's insurance. Damage from floods and earthquakes is not.

17.  What should I do if my policy provides less coverage than the HO-3?

Review your coverage with your agent. Some older policies provide less coverage than the HO-3. They may not provide coverage for water damage, theft or liability. They may also provide coverage for the house on an actual cash-value basis, rather than a replacement-cost basis.

"Actual cash value" means replacement cost less depreciation. For example, if your roof is destroyed in a storm, the insurance will pay only for the cost of a new roof less the amount of depreciation of the old roof. If your roof was in great shape, this deduction will not be large. However, if the roof was old and worn out, the deduction for depreciation may be significant. You should try to get an HO-3.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dan Doofus: An Alarming Trend



The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is reminding you to make sure you have enough smoke alarms in your home, test them monthly and replace them every 10 years.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

How to Repair a Single-Handle Kitchen Faucet With a Spray Hose : Kitchen Plumbing



Repairing a single-handle kitchen faucet requires you to first diagnose exactly what is wrong with the unit. Repair a single-handle kitchen faucet with help from an experienced maintenance expert specializing in HVAC, plumbing and electrical in this free video clip.

Expert: Jeff Hansen
Bio: Jeff Hansen is an experienced Maintenance Expert specializing in HVAC (air conditioning), plumbing & electrical.
Filmmaker: Jeff Hansen

Series Description: You don't necessarily have to hand over your hard earned money to a professional in order to fix issues that come up in your kitchen. Learn what you need to know about kitchen plumbing with help from an experienced maintenance expert specializing in HVAC, plumbing and electrical in this free video series.

 Watch More:
http://www.youtube.com/EHowatHomeChannel

Friday, January 2, 2015

Top 10 Ways to Protect Your House From Burglars : Safety Tips



Everyone should take a few key steps towards protecting their home from a home invader or burglar. Learn about the top 10 ways to protect your house against burglars and break-ins with help from a certified firefighter in this free video clip.

Expert: Gabriel Williams
Filmmaker: Gabriel Williams