Protecting your home from lightning strikes


This week is Lightning Strike Awareness Week, sponsored by the National Weather Service to raise awareness about lightning hazards and to remind us about personal safety. Lightning kills an average of 47 people in the United States each year, and hundreds more are severely injured.

While the chances of being struck by lightning are pretty rare, particularly if you heed expert advice during electrical storms, the chances of damage to your home or property are much more common. The Insurance Information Institute (III) just issued an updated report on homeowners insurance claims from lightning strikes and electrical surges in the United States. The bad news is that the number if incidents rose by almost 10% in 2016 to 109,049 claims, but the good news is that the average cost of a claim that insurers paid dropped by almost 5% – to an average of claim cost of $7,571.90. III says that more than half the claims were related to electrical surge damaging components or wiring, while power surges from transformer or service line shorts were also contributing factors.

Does your homeowners insurance cover a lightning strike? III says that:

Damage caused by lightning, such as a fire, is covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. Some policies provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of a lightning strike, which can cause severe damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures and the electrical foundation of a home.

Report all claims immediately to your insurer. For advance planning, check with your independent insurance agent to learn what your homeowners policy does and doesn’t cover.

Home Lightning Protection

See the III infographic we included in this post and their article on Lightning Coverage and Safety for information on home lightning protection systems, as well as “do’s and don’ts” for general lightning safety. Lightning protection systems are designed to protect your home by “providing a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt.” But in purchasing a lightning protection system, it’s important to find a licensed and certified installer. Shoddy systems that don’t comply with national standards can be dangerous – see this consumer alert that depicts that dangers of shoddy systems.

 

 

 

Plan to travel this summer? Here are some pre-trip security precautions


Did you ever set out for you summer vacation only to return home a few minutes later to double check that you’d secured the garage door or shut the kitchen window? When you’re packing up for a trip, the natural focus is on planning for where you’ll be … but you don’t want to come home to a major problem, so an important part of any trip prep is to  take the time to secure your home before you leave.

Our friends at Chubb Insurance have compiled a great interactive trip planning guide with tips tools you need to prepare for your trip so that you can depart worry free, View the short video below or  download Home Preparation Tips – Steps to protect your home, vehicles, valuables and security during your next trip.

Chubb also offers security advice for while you are on your trip – check out the video or download Travel Tips for managing your documents, money, valuables, technology and more while you’re away.

 

Some popular posts on travel from our archives

 

Another reason why local insurance agents are a good bet


On more than one occasion, we’ve touted the many ways that buying insurance through a local insurance agency is a good bet – personal service, expertise, advocacy, risk mitigation and more. But here’s another reason — local agents give back to the communities in which they do business. They live locally, they hire locally, they buy locally – and they give back to the community.

Here’s a case in point – and it’s only one example among many: Mariela’s Miles.

Every year in May, Renaissance Alliance employees participate in a program started by a true rock star in our accounting department, Mariela. The program is called “Mariela’s Miles” in her honor.

The program raises $1.00 for charity for every mile walked by staff members during the month of May. Last year, the charitable recipient was the Veteran’s Associate Medical Center of West Roxbury, MA in loving memory of Mariela’s husband. This year, staff is raising money for Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and improving the lives of individuals with autism and related conditions.

We are pleased to announce that between the Renaissance Alliance corporate office in Wellesley, MA and the Bakker Insurance Agency in Avon, CT we walked a total of 1,062.12 miles, raising $1,062.12 for a great cause.

We think that programs like Mariela’s Miles are an excellent way to support important causes that make the world a better place while having a secondary benefit of giving employees that extra little motivation to engage in a healthy activity.

We challenge other agencies to launch a charitable walking program. The American Heart Association offers a toolkit on how to set up a workplace walking program. Charity driven, employer-sponsored health initiatives are a great-win-win opportunity for your agency. Connect with a local charity and have your staff drum up some fitness challenges that your agency supports with a donation. Or if you’d prefer, you can connect with organized charity events.

Here are some events that you and your staff could get involved in:

 

Preventable deaths by age: A lifetime of risk


The news media often calls them “accidents” but the National Safety Council calls them “preventable deaths.” The upcoming months of July and August typically record the highest number of preventable deaths – primarily poisonings, car crashes, falls, drowning, choking and fires. And if you are surprised that poisonings are now topping the list, think about fatalities related opioids and other prescription drugs, which are spiking alarmingly in most regions of the country, displacing car crashes as a leading cause of accidental death.

June is National Safety Month, an annual observance sponsored by the National Safety Council. Take this quick interactive Safety Checkup to know your risks. We also liked the “lifetime of Risk” infographic (below) that maps out the highest risks for preventable deaths by age group.

National Safety Month
Provided by the National Safety Council

Check your tires: It’s National Tire Safety Week


This week is National Tire Safety Week — and before you embark on all those summer day trips and vacations, it’s the perfect time to check your tires to be sure they are roadworthy and will offer you the best driving security.

According to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, tires are safer than ever due to new tire technologies. Government data shows that tire-related crashes decreased by more than 50 percent between 2007 and 2010. Better technologies have led to reduced rolling resistance and better stability and traction in wet road conditions. Plus, “run flat tires” can keep working for up to 50 miles after a puncture.

But to keep tires at peak performance, there are a few best practices, summarized in an excerpt from a tire fact sheet infographic provided by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, which offers more information on tire safety.

For more on the care, maintenance and safety of your tires:

How old are your tires? – How to check the age

Tire rating lookup – good to check before you buy new tires.

Tirewise – everything you need to know about buying and maintaining tires.

The life of a tire – We posted this clip a few years back, but think it is well worth recycling – it’s only about 90 seconds, and gives a good overview of what you need to know.

How to test and maintain your tires – Although this prior post focused on prepping tires for winter, there’s a handy infographic that sums up the essentials of what you need to know about taking care of your tires.

Does your new car have a spare tire? Don’t count on it! – Did you know that more than a third of all new car models are being sold without a spare tire? You don’t want to be caught short on the highway. Buyer beware: If you are in the market for a new vehicle, check to see if a spare tire is included. If not, a tire may be available as a purchase option.