Get the Facts on Hurricanes and Homeowners’ Insurance


Did you know that the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th? If you don’t know much about hurricanes and the damage they can cause, now’s the time to learn. These powerful storms can destroy homes, boats, cars and more. They present problems ranging from flooding and water damage to violent wind gusts and even tornadoes.

In order to protect your family and property from hurricane damage, it is important to know a few helpful tips.

Before the Storm Hits

Long before a hurricane even pops up on the radar, if you live in a storm-prone area, you should have a supply of canned goods, drinking water and other non-perishable foods. You should include a manual can opener in this list as well. Remember, once the power goes out, it can take a while for it to turn back on.

Be sure that you also have a supply of flashlights and batteries. Also, if you take medicine, be aware that you may need to have enough for several days.

If you need to evacuate, be certain to board up windows or protect them with storm shutters. Secure any outdoor objects, including boats.

How Does Insurance Factor into Storm Preparedness?

While you may already know about the steps listed above to make sure your family is safe during the storm, you might not be aware of the limitations of your homeowners’ insurance policy. Keep photographs and documentation of your household valuables, and store copies of these documents in a safe deposit box at a bank or other secure location. This will help you when or if you need to file a claim.

Also, it is obviously very smart to have the claims telephone number of your agent or insurer in a safe place that is quickly located in the event of an evacuation. And of course, review your policy to see what is covered and what is not. Remember, flooding is generally not covered under standard homeowners’ insurance policies.

What to Do After the Storm

Of course, the first thing you want to do is make sure you and your family are all right and safe. That is clearly the most important thing. Once that occurs, you will want to report any property damage to your insurance agent immediately. Take photos of any damage to document it. If you’ve evacuated, be sure your insurance agent knows how to contact you.

It is also a good idea to separate damaged items from undamaged items. This will help your claims adjuster complete an inventory of the damage and speed up the settlement of your claim.

Be sure to mitigate, or protect against, any additional damage. Cover holes or openings in walls, windows and roofs. If you think it is unsafe to do this on your own, hire a contractor and make sure to keep the receipts of the work.

Get Homeowners’ Insurance Before the Storms Come

While it may already be hurricane season, it is still a wise idea to shop around for a quality homeowners’ insurance policy. At ABCO Insurance Agency, Inc., we will compare rates from 25 different insurance companies to make sure that you get the best deal that’s right for you. Contact us now, before the storms come.

Man Grilling Brats

Protect Your Home While Using a Grill with Homeowner’s Insurance

Summer is the perfect time to open up that grill and start cooking some burgers. But did you know that a grill can actually be considered a hazard to your home? A flame that gets out of control, hot coals or even simple smoke damage can all be reasons to file an insurance claim. Yet if you don’t have a quality homeowner’s insurance policy, you might not be covered, leaving you with lots of expensive bills to pay. This is an obvious cause for concern.

How can you protect yourself if your grill does cause damage? And what can you do to prevent any damage from occurring? Well, read on to learn about some basics of grill safety, along with some tips about homeowner’s insurance.

Grill Safety Basics

The first thing you should be aware of when it comes to your gas or charcoal grill is the structural soundness of the grill. Check your grill for cracks or brittleness. If there are any structural issues, you may need to repair or replace it. If there are blockages, use a pipe cleaner to clean those out. Blockages can cause a dangerous buildup of flammable materials, so you want to check for this regularly.

When you’re actually grilling, keep the grill away from your house or garage. Operate it on a level surface, so everything’s even. Don’t let children or pets near your grill. Also, to protect yourself from burns, use oven mitts that reach high on your forearms. Finally, do not store or put your grill away until it has completely cooled down. If you store it beforehand, it may cause a fire.

If There’s an Issue

If in fact you do encounter an out-of-control fire or too much smoke while grilling, be careful. Keep a fire extinguisher close at hand for any events like these. Don’t automatically throw water on a flaming grill, as that could produce more smoke, causing breathing issues, as well as make the fire worse. And of course, call 911 if there is a true emergency.

How Homeowner’s Insurance Can Help

If you only have minor damage to your home, you may not need to file a claim. It could potentially not be worth it if you have a large deductible. In the case of major damage, homeowner’s insurance usually covers damage to the house and personal possessions, as well as damage to insured properties like an unattached garage and injuries to any guests.

Interested in learning more about how homeowner’s insurance can help you enjoy peace of mind while grilling outdoors? Contact an ABCO agent today.

Monopoly House - Homeowners Insurance

What Prevents Homeowners from Being Approved for Insurance?

After shopping around and finding the right insurance, some homeowners are shocked to find they have been denied coverage. It’s not as uncommon as many searching for insurance are lead to believe. There are five common factors that often lead to insurance coverage being denied.

  1. Credit History. While your history of credit isn’t the only factor in being approved for insurance, it is certainly a factor. Insurers will want to see that you are not a liability and can make your payments.
  2. Geographic Location. Depending on how risky where you live has been deemed, you may not be able to get insurance. For instance, due to the wildfires in California, it is much more difficult to get coverage.
  3. Claim History. The more claims you have in your history, the bigger risk you are to insure. Claims can do more than just higher your premium; they can affect whether you can renew or get a new policy. Typically, insurers try to stay clear of those who have filed a claim in the past three years. If you’re close to the three-year mark of your last claim, it could pay to wait the remainder of the time before trying for a new policy.
  4. House Materials. Depending on the materials used when building your home, your roof and siding could be more susceptible to damage from weather elements, UV rays, and even deterioration that begins inside. Keeping everything in working order and performing regular maintenance will help you be approved for coverage.
  5. Pet Breed. Dog owners may have a harder time finding insurance, depending on their dog’s breed. Since dog bites account for one-third of all liability claims, insurance companies tend to steer away from dogs with a history of aggression or a breed that is considered aggressive.

If you are concerned about renewing a homeowner’s policy, don’t do it alone. Contact an ABCO agent today and we will work with your specific needs to find the right insurance company and policy for you. We take all factors into account before applying, taking the stress out of homeowner’s insurance.

Buy a Roof Rake to Protect Your Roof from Excess Weight in Winter

A Roof Rake Can Help Prevent a Costly Homeowner's Insurance Claim

It can be easy to take a good roof for granted, especially if it has never experienced a problem before. Your roof may be performing its intended function of keeping moisture and the elements from dropping in on your home, but certain seasonal conditions can put your roof at greater risk.

We all know that roof maintenance isn’t the most exciting task. In fact, it’s something that many homeowners elect to put off until a problem arises. But a bit of preventive maintenance can help you stop a lot of these problems from occurring in the first place.

Does your homeowner’s insurance cover you if the weight of a heavy, unexpected snow damages your roof? And even if it does, do you really want to deal with this type of inconvenience? Sometimes something as simple as a roof rake can be enough to protect you from this issue during the winter season.

How Much Snow Can a Roof Handle?

Admittedly, the thought of a roof becoming damaged is enough to make any homeowner feel stressed. Even minor damage can be catastrophic to the inhabitants and property inside a home. And while every roof is at risk for this type of problem if the weight of the snow gets too heavy, each roof is different. Some can handle more weight, but it is best not to take chances.

Even if your homeowner’s insurance covers damage to your roof, no one wants to deal with this type of problem. We all know how frustrating even a small leak can be – imagine sustaining major damage to an entire roof! The good news is that the excess weight on your roof can be cleared off using the right equipment. A roof rake makes sure you aren’t risking roof damage when the winter snow begins to pile up.

Why You Shouldn’t Risk It

Let’s say you live in an area where the winter weather isn’t too bad usually. Unless your area has never seen a freak snowstorm come in, it is better to be cautious and invest in a roof rake. Doing so gives you the tool you need should this type of problem arise. And if the item doesn’t end up finding use during the winter season, it can be easily stored away.

How to Gauge Your Roof’s Tolerance

If you want to know exactly how long you should wait before breaking out the roof rake, you should use the size of your roof as a guiding factor. Any more than 20 pounds of snow per square foot could cause damage to your roof, especially if it is older or not built to hold up to the winter weather.

Double-Checking Your Roof’s Weight Limit

If you aren’t sure about how much snow your roof can safely handle, you may want to check with building authorities or architectural experts to get an analysis. This is a part of the process for acquiring homeowner’s insurance in some cases, so this can be a good opportunity to find out how much weight is too much.

What to Know About Snow Accumulation

When snow accumulates on your roof, you may begin to take notice – especially if you’re worried about the weight of the snow posing a threat to your roof’s well-being. The solidity of a roof depends on its ability to balance weight properly, but sometimes a large snowfall that stacks up quickly thanks to cold temperatures can be too much for a roof to handle.

When a roof is built in such a way that it is noticeably slanted, snow and ice can run off as the temperature warms up. But even in this case, a heavy buildup can damage certain areas of the roof quickly. A roof rake can make it easy for you to handle buildup and stop it before things get too bad.

How Easy is it to Break Up Snowfall?

If a large amount of snow has fallen quickly on your roof, you may be able to break it up with a roof rake. Sometimes the way snow falls means that it can pack together quickly, so working on part of it can mean you disrupt the entire accumulation. This can help accelerate the melting process provided the climate is warm enough.

How Ice Complicates Matters

A layer of ice is much harder to get rid of than a pile of snow, so keeping an eye on the temperature can help you make sure you have as much time as possible to prevent ice from forming on your roof. Keeping the snow off improves your changes of avoiding the freezing temperatures which can make snow temporarily difficult to remove.

When Snow Removal is Necessary

Breaking out the roof rake and tending to your home’s roof can be a very involved task, and most people would rather avoid it unless it is absolutely necessary. But in some cases, there are no alternatives to treating your roof if you want to avoid damages.

Whether you’re dealing with fresh snow, packed snow, ice, or any combination of the three, every second you wait is another second that your roof has to sustain a large amount of weight it may not be designed to handle. Even a robust roof designed for winter weather isn’t impervious to damages when conditions get bad enough, so investing in a roof rake can be a wise move for any person.

How Long Does It Take to Clear Your Roof?

The time it takes to clear your roof can vary depending on a number of factors. But one thing is certain – letting snow sit on top of your roof for long periods of time can have negative consequences. Most people would rather exert the effort to clear their roof off periodically during a snow storm using a roof rake if their other option was shelling out for costly repairs. A bit of simple maintenance with this type of tool can go a long way in protecting your roof in winter weather.