Insurance is for the dogs…

With a third of homeowner claims resulting from dog bites, it is no wonder some carriers limit which household pets they will cover.  The average dog bite claim is $30,000.

There is a lot of controversy on this topic because many dogs within the restricted breed list are truly good dogs.  But, insurers need to rely on statistics to improve their risk.

Here are the top ten dogs that often shwo up on the restricted list:

1.) Staffordshire bull terriers

2.) American Staffordshire terrier

3.) Bull terrier

4.) Doberman pinscher

5.) Rottweiler

6.) Akita

7.) ‘Husky’ (Siberian huskies and malamutes)

8.) German shepherd

9.) Cane Corso

10.) Mastiff


Procure Proper Protection for Your Home Business

Home-based businesses are becoming increasingly prevalent, thanks in particular to the relatively inexpensive technology available at our fingertips. Yet running a business out of your home changes the loss exposures and characteristics of your residence as far as your homeowners insurance company is concerned.

Your homeowners policy will cover losses to the property caused by perils such as fire, wind, lightning, and theft. And the liability portion will pay if someone is hurt on your premises. But if you run a home business, any loss associated with that business may be your problem. What if you had a small fire that damaged your home business office and computer and resulted in some lost income? Once your insurance company sends an adjuster and he or she discovers the business, your claim could be denied.

Conversely, if you purchased a home-based business endorsement to your homeowners policy or a businessowners policy (BOP), your entire loss would likely be covered, even the loss of income.

And do not forget about liability. If you have business visitors in your home and they get hurt, the standard homeowners policy may not cover those injuries. Again, you need to purchase the correct endorsement to the homeowners policy or a separate BOP. Also, any professional liability coverage will not be covered under either of these approaches. A separate professional liability policy will need to be arranged for this loss exposure.

Different insurance companies have different criteria for excluding businesses from their policies. And they offer an assortment of coverages for this exposure. Specific coverage available under one insurance company may not be available with another.

The key thing to remember is this: if you are running a business out of your home, inquire about available coverage options to properly protect your business and your assets.

Copyright 2013
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

Check Your House for Leakey Pipes

Leakey Pipes could cause a broken pipe or worse ~ an uncovered loss if it happens over time.  How to check?  To check for hidden leaks, record the current water meter reading. Turn off all faucets and appliances using water and do not flush the toilets for one hour.  After an hour of water shut off, record the water meter reading again. If the meter reading changed while no water was being used, a leaking pipe may be to blame.


Please note that Flood is “not” a covered peril under any Home Insurance Policy.  Please also note that Collectibles must have their own coverage as well.  Please ask us how!

Eliminate Your Ice Dams

An ice dam is an accumulation of frozen water in the gutter system and at the roof edge that prevents subsequent drainage of melting snow from leaving the roof/gutter system. Ice dams are common in areas that receive heavy snow buildups.

In most cases, ice dams begin inside the house, when heated air leaks up into the unheated attic. In the winter, the roof above the unheated attic is cold. When warm air leaks into the attic, it creates warm areas on the roof, which cause the snow on the exterior of the roof to melt. The melting snow moves down the roof slope until it reaches the cold overhang, where it refreezes. The process continues, causing ice to build up along the eaves and form a dam. Eventually, this dam forces the water to back up under the shingles and sometimes into the ceiling or wall inside the home. This phenomenon may cause structural framing members to decay, metal fasteners to corrode, and mold to form in the attic and the wall surfaces. Few homeowners policies pay for ice dam removal. Interior or exterior damage, however, caused by an ice dam on the roof is typically covered under a special perils homeowners form.

There are measures that home owners in colder climates can take to reduce the chance of ice dams, including the following.

  • The services of a professional should be employed to remove heavy snow from your roof. This eliminates one of the ingredients necessary for the formation of an ice dam. Professionals are also able to address emergency situations in which water is flowing into the house structure. This is accomplished by making channels through the ice dam to allow the water behind the dam to drain off your roof. However, the channel becomes ineffective within days and is only a temporary solution to ice dam damage.
  • Your ceiling/roof insulation should be increased to reduce heat loss by conduction. Some state codes require an R-value of 38 above the ceiling for new homes. In narrow spaces, insulation products with high R-value (6–7) per inch are recommended. It is imperative that the ceiling be made airtight to prevent warm air within your home from flowing into the attic space.
  • Verify that there are sufficient soffit and gable end vents in your attic. These help to quickly vent any of the warm air that does get into the attic out into the atmosphere.

Copyright 2012
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

Don’t Forget Your Carbon Monoxide Alarms

More than 400 people are killed each year in the United States from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Medical Association reports that carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States.

Other CDC studies indicate that more than 20,000 people are hospitalized each year from this gas, and these poisonings are on the rise due in part to economic reasons. With a stressed economy and high unemployment, more families face utility shutoffs. As a result, they employ other sources of heat, such as kerosene heaters, gas generators, and improperly maintained wood stoves and fireplaces. Such heat sources carry a heavy risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide alarms are essential protective devices in homes with gas appliances, gas heaters, and fireplaces. Here are some tips to consider concerning these important alarms.

To ensure a high-quality alarm, look for the Underwriters Laboratories certificate on any detector you purchase.

Connect these alarms to the smoke alarm system so that any alarm in the house becomes activated if a problem arises.

Periodically test these devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Batteries should be replaced at least once per year. Replacement of the alarm itself is often necessary after a few years since the average life span of carbon monoxide alarms is relatively short.

Verify that you have alarms in bedrooms and other locations where people may sleep since people who are sleeping can die from carbon monoxide poisoning without experiencing any symptoms.

Don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors!!!
International Risk Management Institute, Inc

Reduce Your Exposure to Mold Losses

Mold can be defined as a growth of minute fungi forming on vegetable or animal matter, commonly as a downy or furry coating, and associated with decay or dampness. Growth of mold may begin with or become exacerbated by water damage that is inadequately repaired. Increasingly, airtight building construction (for purposes of improving energy efficiency) and the recirculation of contaminated air can contribute to the growth of mold as well.

Mold claim costs have increased dramatically over the years. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the typical mold claim costs between $15,000 and $30,000, compared to only $3,000 to $4,000 for an average homeowners claim. Part of this reason is the additional living expenses component of the claim. Frequently, a home owner must temporarily move out of the home due to necessary and major remediation work.

Active mold is fuzzy, velvety, or slimy, and is orange, green, black, brown, pink, or purple in color. If you suspect you have a mold problem in your home, here are some tips to consider.

  • Check the inside and outside of the dwelling for leaks and any visual evidence of contaminants since plumbing leaks are a primary cause of mold in homes. This task includes investigating the attic and basement to closely check for dampness and discoloration. It is important that the source of the leak be repaired as quickly as possible.
  • If there is a slight amount of mold, used a detergent solution to remove it. Wear a mask, safety goggles, and rubber gloves while performing this task.
  • For larger amounts of mold or resistant mold, contact a qualified specialist in the area of mold remediation.
  • For moderate or major damage to property, also contact your insurance agent.
  • To mold-proof your home, dehumidify your basement during the warm months. Eliminate standing water, and frequently clean and replace furnace filters.
  • Regularly check the condition of your roof and exterior finish for any places where water might enter your home.

If mold is suspected of causing an illness, consider the following recommendations.

  • Contacting an environmental consultant may be necessary. You should ascertain the credentials of this consultant and contact the references provided. In addition, it is wise to select a consultant who does not perform the actual remediation work or have an interest in a company that does.
  • If symptoms persist, a physician who specializes in occupational and environmental medicine (rather than a family practitioner) should be consulted. The specialist is often able to more easily isolate the cause.

Copyright 2011
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

I have tornado damage! What do I do now?

Make personal safety your first priority. Listen to local radio for up-to-date information. Stay out of damaged buildings. If evacuated, don’t return home until local authorities report that it is safe. When you do survey your home, check first for damage to gas, electric or sewage systems. Don’t use damaged systems until checked by professionals. If gas is leaking, turn it off at the main shut-off valve, leave the building & call a professional. Then call us or your insurance company directly – the numbers are listed on our phone service and website.