This Winter, Use Space Heaters Sparingly. They Are Responsible For An Overwhelming Number Of Home Fires

It is natural to crave a little extra heat on cold winter days, and space heaters are a great way to cozy up a drafty room.  While they may seem like an inexpensive solution to your heating problems, it is important to be aware that they cause more winter fires than anything else. With this danger it is important to take precautions to ensure that your home stays safe this winter.

Consider Other Safer Methods Of Heating Your Home – If you can, it is better to heat your home in a safer way.  If your HVAC system seems to not be doing the trick, it may be time to have it cleaned.  You can also consider better insulation to keep the heat inside in the winter.  These are safer methods of heating your home, and they will benefit the energy efficiency of your house as well.

Use Space Heaters Sparingly – If you feel that a space heater is necessary, use it sparingly.  Do not leave your space heater unattended at any time.  Turn it off when you are away from the room.  It is best, if you use a space heater, to purchase one with safety features that help prevent fire hazards, but even with these you should remain vigilant.  If you smell smoke, it is time to turn off the space heater and once it is cooled down, to properly dispose of it.

Avoid Putting Space Heaters In Dangerous Places – It should be common sense, but sometimes we can lose sight of safety when we are looking for a spot to plug in the space heater.  Keep you space heater away from an area where an animal may knock it over or move it to an unsafe position.  Don’t put a space heater near fabrics or curtains as they could become a major fire hazard.  Keep space heaters away from water since moisture could short the heater and cause a fire.

By taking the proper precautions you can live safer with a space heater.  Consider safer heating options as no space heater is completely safe.  At ABCO Insurance Agency we want you to enjoy your home safely for many years to come.  Contact us today if you are in need of a competitive homeowners insurance quote.

Have You Checked Your Tires This Winter? Bad Tires Can Make Bad Driving Conditions Even Worse!

Thankfully, the winter in NJ has been fairly mild this year, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get hit with a major storm before the end of it.  And even if this winter remains mild, our advice rings true for all winters to follow: make sure your tires are in good shape before heading out on winter roads.

It is dangerous enough to drive on slippery winter roads, but it is even worse on old tires.  When your tire tread wears down, it loses traction on the roads. This is very dangerous, and if tires aren’t rotated and replaced at appropriate times can lead to an accident.

If the weather is bad, it is best to stay off the roads if at all possible.  That is the best way to stay safe from the dangers of bad weather driving.  If, however, you have no choice but to go out on the roads, it is imperative that you take proper measures to stay safe.

Take care of your tires by having them rotated at appropriate intervals.  It will help keep them rolling longer.  When it is time to switch to new tires, it is best to listen to your car service center and have them replaced.  Always take the time to have your tires checked before or during the winter to ensure that they are road ready for whatever comes your way.

ABCO Insurance Agency wants you to stay safe on the winter roads.  We offer competitive insurance rates on auto insurance and more.  Call us today for more information and stay safe on the roads this winter!

Freezing Cold Can Lead To Freezing Pipes, And Freezing Pipes Can Lead To A Basement Flood! Tips On Keeping Your Pipes From Freezing This Winter.

Did you flush out your outdoor spigots or sprinkler systems before the cold hit?  If not, it may be time to take advantage of a warmer winter day to do so.  If you don’t, water can freeze in your pipes.  When water freezes it can expand inside the pipe causing the pipe to rupture.  When that happens, you can have a real mess on your hands.

What Can Happen If A Pipe Bursts On My Property?

Depending on where that pipe is located, you can have a pretty big mess on your hands.  A pipe far out on your property in a sprinkler system, for example, will leak into the yard and cause a mess.  Fixing that pipe with require digging up the ruptured pipe and replacing it with a new one.  This is expensive and dirty work, but it most likely will not affect the integrity of your home.  What home owners need to be very aware of is spigots and garage plumbing.  When those pipes rupture, you can have a serious flooding problem.

What Area Of The Home Will Be Most Affected By This Type Of Rupture

Most likely it will affect your foundation and your basement.  It could lead to serious flooding in your basement if not caught quickly.  Depending on the regularity of water flow in the ruptured pipe, you could have a serious flooding problem on your hands.  This will most likely become an insurance claim, and will most likely require quite a bit of clean up.

What Are Some Other Side Effects Of Flooding

Beyond the water issue, you may lose objects being stored in your basement.  It is important to consider using plastic tubs, palettes, and shelving in your basement to help alleviate these issues should you have a flood.

Another unfortunate side effect could be dangerous mold.  If you have drywall in a finished basement you can become very susceptible to mold damage, including deadly black mold.  Therefore, it is imperative to have water issues repaired as soon as you possibly can.  Not only can the integrity of your home be compromised by water damage, but your family’s health can be compromised as well.

So make sure your pipes are ready for winter and make sure that you have excellent home insurance.  ABCO Insurance Agency proudly serves NJ and has three South Jersey locations.  We can help you get a great rate on quality home insurance.  Call us today for more!

Learn more about Home Insurance and Flood Insurance HERE.

How to Help Prepare for a Snow Storm in South Jersey

With a Blizzard on the horizon, it’s time to take some time now to gather the supplies you will need to ride out the storm at home, or to safely venture outside if you must. Once you have taken the appropriate precautions, you can focus on enjoying the winter wonderland outside your window.

Check Your Supplies

shovel and ice melt

  • Make sure you have a snow shovel and ice melt to keep walkways clear and safe.
  • Check that you have sufficient heating fuel for your home and fuel for your generator, if you have one.
  • If you will be using a fireplace or wood-burning stove, you should have a good supply of dry, seasoned wood.
  • Have warm clothing and blankets on hand, and stock non-perishable food items and necessary medications to last you and your family for several days.

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Business Owners Beware: If You Don’t Clean Up Snow And Ice On Your Property You Could Have An Insurance Nightmare On Your Hands

It is rare that New Jersey gets a winter that doesn’t involve any ice and snow.  When that ice and snow hits, as a business owner you have a responsibility to your employees and clients to keep them safe.  After all, an injury can lead to a lawsuit and an insurance nightmare.  Before you find yourself in an unfortunate situation this winter, always consider the following and keep your business safe!

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Holiday Home Safety: Preventing Insurance Nightmares and Keeping Your Home Safe

The holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy friends and family in your home.  Of course, the last thing you would ever want is for an insurance nightmare to put a damper on the holiday season.  The best way to prevent problems is to be aware of the risks you can face and to do everything you can to keep your family safe.  Wondering what some of the most common issues are that homeowners face?  Here are a few examples of preventable mistakes you can make this holiday season.

Stay Attentive To Holiday Meals – The holidays are filled with family meals and decadent deserts and finger foods.  Of course, it can be very easy to become distracted by guests while preparing a meal.  Always make sure you stay attentive to food preparation.  Naturally, an unattended oven, stove top, or deep fryer can lead to a fire hazard within your kitchen.  Children and family members can also become susceptible to injuries from kitchen appliances and tools if not watched.  On top of that, it is important to be aware of food poisoning issues and food allergies.  If food is not prepared correctly it could lead to an unhappy and very sick family at the holidays.  Always make sure your food is fresh and be aware of allergy issues within your household.

Candles Add Ambiance and Fire Hazards – Candles and a roaring fireplace can certainly put you in a holiday mood, but they are also naturally fire hazards.  To avoid issues it is best to only light candles in rooms where you will be entertaining to make sure that you can keep an eye on them.  Jar candles that confine the flame within glass walls are a little bit safer than traditional candles.  Of course, electronic flameless candles can also create the mood with significantly less fire danger.  Make sure fireplaces are clean and cared for before using them, and make sure the fires are completely put out before you leave a fireplace unattended.

Be Safe With Electric Lighting – Stringing up holiday lights is a great way to add holiday cheer to the inside and outside of your home.  Make sure you are responsible when you do so.  Don’t overload wall outlets with plugs.  A power strip can be very useful when it comes to plugging in your holiday lights.  Be aware that some lights are better for outdoor use than others.  Check your lights to see if they are best for indoor or outdoor use.  Naturally, indoor lights are not made to handle outdoor weather conditions and can become hazardous because of it.  Before you string up your lights always check them to make sure that they work, and always make sure to check for fraying wires.  If you see chewed or fraying cords on your holiday lights, it is best to throw them away and to replace them with newer lights.  And finally, be safe when putting lights on the house.  Don’t risk a serious injury in the process of spreading holiday cheer.  Use the right tool for every job and always have a helper when you climb a ladder.

By paying attention and taking precautions, you can have a safe and happy holiday.  The holidays should be a time for entertaining and cheer, and a safe home will ensure that your holidays are worry free.  If you need home insurance to protect your family look no further than ABCO Insurance Agency.  We offer great rates to ensure that you get the best price available.  Call us today for more information.

Learn more about Homeowners Insurance HERE.

Holiday Theft: Keeping Your Home and Vehicle Safe From Theft During The Holiday

While it is nice to think that everyone is filled with holiday cheer and goodwill toward men this holiday season, the reality is that some see the holidays as an opportunity to take rather than give.  The theft rate actually spikes during the holidays, which means it is important to keep your home and your vehicle safe.  Wondering what you can do to protect your valuables?  There are many simple steps you can take.

Add A Home Security System – While this option may seem a bit drastic to some, it is one of the best ways to deter theft.  A home security system or security cameras can certainly keep burglars away for fear of getting caught.  They can also help you catch the burglar should they still attempt to break into your home.  Other options exist such as motion activate lighting on the outside of your property.  The best part is that this system will protect you year round, and many systems can also detect other issues in the home including fire and carbon monoxide.

Keep Your Doors Locked, Even When Entertaining – Many homeowners choose to leave their doors unlocked when they host parties and family gatherings in order to allow guests to come and go as they please.  Of course, this could invite unwanted guests who may sneak in and sneak out quietly while you are distracted by entertaining.  By locking the door you force yourself to greet and send off all guests as they arrive and leave.  This will offer you quality one on one time with your guests and will keep your home safe from theft while you are entertaining.

Don’t Hide A House Key Under The Doormat – It is common for homeowners to leave a key for relatives that may be visiting under the doormat so that they can come and go as they please.  You are safer by giving them their own set of keys while they visit that they can return to you when they are done.  After all, if an unwanted visitor gets wind of your “hidden” house key, they are liable to invite themselves in while you are away.

If You Don’t Trust Or Know All Of Your Guests, Hide Your Valuables – It may be hard to think that the people you are sharing your holidays with may not be trust worthy, but if you aren’t sure it is best to keep easily pocketed valuables safely tucked away.  After all, someone may bring home a new friend or significant other that the family doesn’t know who may have sticky fingers.  Tucking away a few valuables may save you some heartache as well as some awkward family conversations.

Don’t Hide Valuable Presents In Your Car – Many vehicle owners will use their vehicle to hide Christmas presents, but it is best to be careful when doing so.  After all, if a thief sees bags of freshly bought goodies sitting in the backseat they may be liable to break in and see what they can get.  Always make sure you hide truly expensive presents, and it may be best to drop them off at home before continuing your shopping adventure.

Be Careful What You Post On The Internet – This rings true for many reasons, but it is best to not risk educating thieves when you will be out of the house at a party and when you purchase a valuable and desirable present.  While you may trust all of your social media friends, you don’t know who their friends are that may also see your posts.  It is always best practice to not brag about valuable objects or money on social media and it is best to not give a thief a timeline of when you will be away from home.

A few small precautions will help protect your home and car from theft this holiday season.  Be smart about your home and your guests and you will certainly have a safe and happy holiday.  If you are looking for a great rate on quality home or car insurance, call the experts at ABCO Insurance Agency today! We can help you protect your property all year round.

Learn more about Homeowners Insurance HERE.

Enjoy Your Fireplace This Winter By Keeping It Clean And Avoiding Potential Home Hazards

Colder weather and holiday gatherings mean that it may be time to enjoy your fireplace.  While a fireplace can add warmth and atmosphere to your home, it can also be highly dangerous if you do not keep it clean.  Wondering what can happen if you have a dirty fireplace?  Hazards can include:

Creosote Fires – Creosote builds up on your fireplace walls every time you build a fire.  It is highly combustible and can cause sudden bursts of flames within your chimney.  This can cause a fire in your home, so it is important to have your fireplace cleaned regularly to avoid creosote buildup to help avoid a house fire.

Smoke Danger – If you do not open up your flue, you can let dangerous smoke into your home.  This can cause smoke damage to walls, fabrics, and belongings, as well as health hazards to you and your family.  Always be aware of the fireplace flue, and always make sure you keep an eye on your fireplace when you have a fire burning.

Carbon Monoxide – With gas fireplaces, carbon monoxide can be a hazard.  Soot and creosote can create blockages that trap carbon monoxide.  Carbon Monoxide is extremely dangerous and is very hard to detect.  If you own a fireplace make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector nearby, and always make sure to keep your fireplace clean.

The National Fire Protection Agency suggests having your fireplace inspected and cleaned every year to make sure that it meets safety guidelines.  If you haven’t had your fireplace cleaned within the year, have an inspection done before the holidays.  You will be glad that you did.

For more home owners and insurance advice contact ABCO Insurance Agency today.  We can help you get a great rate on homeowners insurance.  Stay safe this winter and enjoy your home more with the peace of mind great insurance can offer. Call ABCO today!

 

Staying On Top Of Leaf Removal To Avoid Insurance Liability

Fall is a wonderful time of year filled with changing leaves, sweater weather, and fall flavored treats.  It also comes with leaf removal and cleanup.  For most, this isn’t their favorite part of the season, but it is important to be on top of your leaf removal efforts.  After all, leaves can be a major slip and fall hazard and can lead to an insurance nightmare if you aren’t careful.

Slip and Fall Hazards

While most don’t see fall leaves as particularly hazardous, they do become quite slippery when they are wet.  This can lead to slip and fall dangers on streets and sidewalks.  While you may not be liable for leaves in the street, you can be held liable if someone injures themselves on leaves on your sidewalk, driveway, or parking lot.  Because of this it is important to stay on top of leaf removal to keep others safe on your property.

Leaf Removal for Homeowners

If you are a home owner, you are most likely responsible for leaf removal on your driveway and sidewalk.  Depending on the amount of trees on your property, this can be a daunting task or fairly simple.  It is also important to be aware that leaves can cover other tripping hazards on your property, which is one more reason to keep your property clean.  A little bit of raking can go a long way to protect yourself from a lawsuit and liability insurance nightmare.

Leaf Removal for Businesses

If you are the owner of a storefront or business you may be responsible for leaf removal on your property.  Even if you are a renter whose landlord is responsible for cleanup, it is important to be aware of wet leaves that may be tracked into your building.  These can cause a patron to slip while in your business and can potentially render you liable.  Not sure who is responsible for your sidewalks and parking lots?  Talk to your landlord or township to find out.

Enjoy the fall while keeping others safe.  Stay on top of leaf removal on your property.  If you need homeowners or business insurance in NJ, look no further than ABCO Insurance Agency for help.  We can answer all of your insurance questions and can get you a great rate on insurance.  Call today for more information!