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October Newsletter

Insurance News:

Wow it’s STILL hot and dry out, and wildfire season is still upon us big time! Have you seen the newest blaze that sparked over the weekend in the Ruby Mountains? Just devastating to some of the finest country Nevada has to offer. As we saw this past summer, even living inside the city limits does not make us immune to wildfires.  We’ve talked in the past about defensive space between your house and flammable bushes, trees, or weeds. Now is the time to give your property a hard look again, are you ready in case wildfire gets too close to your house?  We suggest incorporating fire prevention into your annual fall clean up.  Besides the whole defensive space conversation, here are Ten Tips for Wildfire Safety:

1). Turn a light on in each room
2). Close all windows, doors and fireplace dampers
3). Remove curtains and flammable materials from windows
4). Turn off all pilot lights and shut off propane tanks and natural gas
5). Seal attic and ground vents
6). Place outside furniture inside
7). Prop a ladder against the house for easy access to roof
8). Connect garden hoses to outside taps
9). Wet the roof and shrubs within 15 feet of all structures
10). Continually check the roof, attic and yard for embers, smoke and fire for at least 12 hours

Agency News:

We had two anniversaries this past month. Michelle Meeks celebrated 19 years and Derek Moore celebrated 2 years. The two of them play a pivotal role in our Commercial Lines Department. If you’ve had a chance to work with either of them directly I think you’d agree, they are great!

As you may have seen on Facebook, the team played hooky last week and spent an afternoon at Hammer & Stain working on a Fall project. We had a great time! If you haven’t been there I’d highly recommend you go visit.

That’s all for now but stay tuned, we have some exciting things happening that we can’t wait to share! As always, thank you for your business and continued loyalty.

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The Places to Watch to Avoid Water Leak Damage

The unfortunate reality of home or condo ownership is that over time you will most likely develop a leak that could cause major damage if it goes unchecked. If you own a home or condo, regularly check these places for leaks that can cause damage and may go unnoticed.

The Water Heater

Your water heater has a lifespan of approximately 10-12 years. Some go much longer, but that’s just betting that luck is on your side. When water heaters do fail, they unfortunately leak water out the base and all over. By nature, a water heater will continue refilling itself as it drains, so you could have quite a mess on your hands.

Toilet & Sink Lines

If you haven’t already installed braided stainless water lines, do it now! This is the simplest way to protect your home from water damage. The vinyl variety have a tendency to develop bulges, are easily damaged by getting bumped around or can develop cracks as the plastic ages. It also is not a bad idea to regularly inspect all lines in the house for drips.

Washing Machine Supply Lines

A washing machine supply line is typically accessible to view behind your washing machine. These lines are larger than most other supply lines in your home because they provide more water so it is especially important to monitor these and install braided stainless supply lines.

Refrigerator Ice Maker Line

This hidden water supply line can be a big problem! Because it is hidden behind your massive refrigerator, leaking supply lines can go unnoticed for months and be dripping onto your floor and into your crawl space. With the help of a friend or family member, make it a practice to pull out your refrigerator and inspect the lines at least once a year. While you have it out, you can clean your vents at the base of the refrigerator improving the efficiency of the unit.

P-Trap connections

P-traps are the connections for drains under your sinks. As many of us store items alongside these drains, they get bumped quite a bit! If a connection becomes loose or damaged, it can cause a slow leak under the sink. Check for leaks under your sinks regularly to avoid a costly water damage claim or ruining your cabinets.

Utilize Water Alarms to Help Monitor for Leaks

One quick way to continually monitor your home for leaks is to install an inexpensive water sensor. You can find a five pack of them for about $40. Water Sensors are inexpensive and can help you monitor the hard to reach areas like water heaters and refrigerator water supply lines. These sensors act similarly to a smoke detector and sound a loud alarm when the sensors come in contact with water.

Prevention is the best way to avoid a water damage claim in your home.

If you have questions about your home or condo insurance, contact Heuer Insurance Agency.

Heuer Insurance Agency in Sparks has worked with a variety of clients in the Reno area over the years and we are confident in our ability to meet your personal or business insurance needs. We understand how important an insurance policy can be and we take time to match each of our clients with the perfect insurance policy. Whether you are looking for auto insurancerenters insurancehomeowners insurance, or life insurance we can help you. Not only can we provide you with each of these personal insurance policies, but we can also help you find a general liability policy, workers compensation policy or commercial building insurance policy. Give us a call at 775-358-5554 or visit us.

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Follow These Simple Tips to Avoid Holiday Theft

The holiday season is a joyous time, but unfortunately, it is also top season for theft. If you walk around your neighborhood, it isn’t hard to see all the holiday deliveries left on porches of unsuspecting homeowners. Protecting yourself from theft is all about prevention. To avoid being a victim of holiday theft:

  • Have your deliveries sent to your work (if allowed)
  • Request valuable shipments be held by the shipper for in-person pickup. Most major shipping companies even have apps now that can help streamline this process.
  • See if your shipping company has additional options. Amazon recently introduced “lockers” where they will place your shipment in a locker with a special code just for you.
  • Does a retired relative live nearby? Have packages delivered to them. It is always a great opportunity to see family anyway.
  • Sign up for delivery notifications. Many companies send this to you by email, but many carriers have text message notifications.
  • Install a home surveillance system that focuses on the area where your packages are delivered. A pricier alternative if you can’t always be there to monitor your home.
  • Discuss with your neighbors to keep an eye out for unfamiliar vehicles.

Enjoying the holiday season is easy, but preventing theft isn’t always. We hope your holiday season is free of criminal activity.

Heuer Insurance Agency in Sparks has worked with a variety of clients in the Reno area over the years and we are confident in our ability to meet your personal or business insurance needs. We understand how important an insurance policy can be and we take time to match each of our clients with the perfect insurance policy. Whether you are looking for auto insurancerenters insurancehomeowners insurance, or life insurance we can help you. Not only can we provide you with each of these personal insurance policies, but we can also help you find a general liability policy, workers compensation policy or commercial building insurance policy. Give us a call at 775-358-5554 or visit us.

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This One Quick Tip Can Get You Your Stolen Bicycle Back

According to the National Bike Registry, 1.5 million bicycles are stolen each year. With college campuses being the biggest source of bicycle theft, it would be great if there was a way to protect your investment that was quick and easy. The good news is that more than 48% of bicycles that are stolen are recovered, but of those, only 5% are able to be identified and returned to their owners.

The National Bike Registry and 529 Garage have partnered to create a database to track and store bicycle VIN numbers. Not only can you register your bike, but you can search their database for recovered bicycles in an effort to get yours back.

Bicycle theft is a rampant problem in the US and unless you want to submit a homeowner claim (please talk to your licensed insurance agent prior) you likely won’t see you bicycle again or be able to recover your losses. Bicycles are likely covered under your home, renters or condo insurance policy with your insurance carrier.

Register your bicycle today and rest assured that your bicycle is better protected and more likely to be returned in the event of being stolen.

Heuer Insurance Agency in Sparks has worked with a variety of clients in the Reno area over the years and we are confident in our ability to meet your personal or business insurance needs. We understand how important an insurance policy can be and we take time to match each of our clients with the perfect insurance policy. Whether you are looking for auto insurancerenters insurancehomeowners insurance, or life insurance we can help you. Not only can we provide you with each of these personal insurance policies, but we can also help you find a general liability policy, workers compensation policy or commercial building insurance policy. Give us a call at 775-358-5554 or visit us.

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What Insurance Coverage Do I Need for My Drone or UAV?

It seems like everywhere we go we have a chance to hear the sound of a UAV, also known as a drone, commonly sounding like a disturbed hornets’ nest. Drones are fun to fly for both kids and adults. They are seemingly harmless besides the risk of it becoming non-responsive due to other remote signals, the battery dying and falling out of the sky, or the control operator simply being inexperienced and crashing the drone into a parked vehicle. Many, if not most, drone operators have experienced a drone crash or close call while learning how to pilot the fun UAV. While our first concern is typically, “is my drone okay?” we should be asking ourselves the question of “What happens if I crash this into someone’s house or vehicle?”

The good news is that if you’re using your drone purely for recreational purposes and your drone is a hobby-grade drone, your home, condo or renters insurance policy likely covers you for liability from most drone usage. Now, if you’re using your drone for commercial purposes, you will absolutely need a separate insurance policy to cover you for liability for your drone. Additionally, commercial drone operators now need to pass a certification process to operate and be a commercial drone pilot.

If you’re using your drone for commercial purposes, ask your agent about a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy that includes drone usage.

If you’re a recreational drone pilot, talk to your local insurance agent to verify coverage before you have a claim. The best way to avoid a claim is simply prevention. Follow these tips to avoid a drone insurance claim:

  • Always fly your drone in an open space away from trees, power lines and other obstructions.
  • Be sure to follow FAA requirements and register your drone for flying.
  • Do not take your drone to restricted areas such as national parks
  • Do not harass wildlife or attempt to view wildlife up-close with your drone
  • Read your manual to ensure you’re familiar with the sounds and features that your drone has.

We want you to have fun with your drone, but also be sure you’re protected in the event you have a claim involving your drone usage. Call an agent in our office to discuss your plans before you experience a claim.

Heuer Insurance Agency in Sparks has worked with a variety of clients in the Reno area over the years and we are confident in our ability to meet your personal or business insurance needs. We understand how important an insurance policy can be and we take time to match each of our clients with the perfect insurance policy. Whether you are looking for auto insurancerenters insurancehomeowners insurance, or life insurance we can help you. Not only can we provide you with each of these personal insurance policies, but we can also help you find a general liability policy, workers compensation policy or commercial building insurance policy. Give us a call at 775-358-5554 or visit us.

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Flood Insurance For Your Home

According to FEMA, flood claims occurred in every state in our country in 2016 with the average claim cost in excess of $31,000. Just because your property doesn’t sit next to a stream, river or other body of water doesn’t mean you won’t be impacted. Our recent hurricanes are a great example. Heavy rains can overwhelm drainage systems, run-off from hillsides can seep into your basements and levees can fail. Pretty much anywhere rain falls is where flooding can occur, although, rain is not always the reason. Additionally, it is important to note that flood insurance is NOT included with your standard homeowners insurance policy.

If you do experience a flood claim and have flood insurance, keep these things in mind:

  • Report your claim as soon as possible and have open and frequent communication with your insurance adjuster.
  • Photograph your damages (great if you have before pictures also saved to the cloud, not on a computer hard drive). Your insurance company will likely come out and photograph the damages as well.
  • Keep a list of all of the items you lost in the flood. Receipts are great as well as lists.
  • Take a read through your policy to ensure you understand your rights and coverage.

If you’re considering purchasing flood insurance, we can help. Flood insurance isn’t necessarily expensive. If you happen to live in a flood plain or near a body of water, chances are you’re likely going to pay a hefty sum. If you live away from typical flood areas, your premiums can be much more reasonable. Considering the average cost of a flood claim, it isn’t a bad idea to assess your risk.

If flood insurance is on your mind lately, give us a call.

Heuer Insurance Agency in Sparks has worked with a variety of clients in the Reno area over the years and we are confident in our ability to meet your personal or business insurance needs. We understand how important an insurance policy can be and we take time to match each of our clients with the perfect insurance policy. Whether you are looking for auto insurancerenters insurancehomeowners insurance, or life insurance we can help you. Not only can we provide you with each of these personal insurance policies, but we can also help you find a general liability policy, workers compensation policy or commercial building insurance policy. Give us a call at 775-358-5554 or visit us.

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Home Security on a Shoestring Budget

Monthly bills can be daunting and for many, the choice of having food and shelter is more important than keeping burglars or robbers away from your home. However, when times are tough, the last thing you want to do is leave your valuables at risk of being stolen. Thanks to many modern security companies, keeping your home secured isn’t as expensive as it used to be. Consider these fun, techy options for home security on the cheap!

  1. SimpliSafe: Instead of paying an alarm company $1500 or having to sign up for a lengthy contract at $40 per month, SimpliSafe sells do-it-yourself home security systems starting at just $245. Safe a bundle by going for a refurbished system. 24/7 monitoring starts at $.50 per day at time of writing this. You can also use the alarm locally and not pay an activation fee.
  2. Canary: Canary is a great option for studio apartments, offices or other areas that are mainly one room. Canary is a small, all-in-one video device that detects motion and records video. It can send you text messages immediately and start recording when you’re away. If you want, you can call 911 or set off a local alarm to scare away any intruders. At just $149, it is a great do-it-yourself security option. Like the idea but have a bigger house? Canary offers additional camera options to add to your main device to monitory as many places as you’d like. They do offer a cloud based service to keep videos.
  3. Arlo: With wire-free cameras and weatherproof design, Arlo is a good option for securing the outdoor of your home or recording at night. With HD, night vision cameras, your home can stay secure day or night. You can even talk through them using the Arlo App! Receive alerts along with HD video right to your phone so you can review and take action if necessary. Another great option for the do-it-yourselfer who doesn’t want the monthly fees. Arlo comes with a free 7 day cloud storage.
  4. Ring: A video recording doorbell. Now that’s genius. Ring can record motion and you can talk to people through it like an intercom system even if you’re not away. Ring offers many options for security cameras beyond just the doorbell. Starting at $199 it is a great, simple security protection right at your front door.

Home security doesn’t have to be expensive. Utilizing technology and a little do-it-yourself ambition, you can secure your home and keep your valuables safe and secure.

If you are looking for great home insurance coverage, call us today or visit our website.

Heuer Insurance Agency in Sparks has worked with a variety of clients in the Reno area over the years and we are confident in our ability to meet your personal or business insurance needs. We understand how important an insurance policy can be and we take time to match each of our clients with the perfect insurance policy. Whether you are looking for auto insurancerenters insurancehomeowners insurance, or life insurance we can help you. Not only can we provide you with each of these personal insurance policies, but we can also help you find a general liability policy, workers compensation policy or commercial building insurance policy. Give us a call at 775-358-5554 or visit us.

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Preventing Mail Theft

Mail theft is an unfortunate reality in most of the country. Thieves drive around during the mid-day and night time looking for mail that has not yet been picked up. What are they looking for? Gift cards, credit card applications, and utility bills – pretty much anything that would allow them to steal your identity.

Take these steps to avoid being the victim of mail theft:

  1. Get a locking mailbox

This is one of the easiest steps you can take and also the most effective. While the cost of a locking mailbox varies (usually starting around $80) it can be enough of a deterrent to stop theft. If you live in a community with other neighbors, consider getting together with other neighbors and purchasing a community box. If a neighbor is handy, they can easily install the mailbox. One quick tip, be sure to check for postal service approved mailboxes. It usually requires some minor paperwork.

  1. Pick up mail frequently

Make it a habit to routinely pick up the mail as close to delivery time as possible. Most of us work throughout the day, so grab it on the way in from work. Do your best to not leave mail in the box until the next day.

  1. Avoid using the red flag

If there is one “red flag” (pun) for thieves, it is using your outgoing mailbox’s red flag. Simply waiting until the time the mailman is coming or even better, bringing your outgoing mail to work (with your postage paid already of course). This will ensure a secured delivery.

  1. Have a neighbor help you out from time-to-time

Do you know you have something valuable coming in the mail? Perhaps it is your birthday or around the holidays. Ask a neighbor to pick up your mail for you. Since the USPS is now delivering for Amazon on Sundays, if you have a small package coming, be sure to check your mailbox on Sundays for special deliveries.

Do you have other ideas about how mail theft could be avoided? Feel free to share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

For answers to your insurance questions, call the insurance agents at Heuer Insurance Agency. Heuer Insurance Agency in Sparks has worked with a variety of clients in the Reno area over the years and we are confident in our ability to meet your personal or business insurance needs. We understand how important an insurance policy can be and we take time to match each of our clients with the perfect insurance policy. Whether you are looking for auto insurancerenters insurancehomeowners insurance, or life insurance we can help you. Not only can we provide you with each of these personal insurance policies, but we can also help you find a general liability policy, workers compensation policy or commercial building insurance policy. Give us a call at 775-358-5554 or visit us.

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Owning a Home Safe & What to Store in It

If you don’t own a home safe, it might be time to make the purchase. Not only can they help with theft of valuables or family heirlooms, but they can also protect special documents. A home safe is priceless when the unexpected occurs. Documents and valuables can be kept out of harm should you ever experience a home fire or burglary. These reasons alone should be a good motive to invest in a home safe.

Where to place your home safe

When shopping for a home safe, make sure it’s heavy enough so a burglar couldn’t walk away with it. If you can, bolt it to the floor or install it into a wall. An additional thought is to store it in a unique place in your home unless you’re using it daily such as in an office. You don’t want to simply not use it because it isn’t convenient. Some additional things to consider is the size of the safe. Safes that are heavy and require a hand truck to move should be placed on the ground floor. Safes that can be moved with a couple of people are okay to have on the second floor. If your main concern is fire, you should try to place your safe on a cement slab.

Twelve items to store in your home safe

  • Passports, original birth certificates, marriage/divorce papers, social security cards
  • Cash
  • Wills or other important legal documents
  • Valuable watches or jewelry
  • SD cards, important computer back up discs or other electronics that are important, but you may not use on a weekly basis
  • Annual tax returns
  • Small firearms
  • Spare car keys and titles to all vehicles
  • Important papers regarding bank accounts, retirement or other investments

Investing in a safe today could prevent an unfortunate headache in the future. While owning a safe is important, having the right home insurance policy is just as valuable. For all insurance questions, call the insurance agents at Heuer Insurance Agency. We have years of experience and will help you find the best coverage for your needs.

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Do You Know How to Dispose of Hazardous Household Items?

Whether you’re purchasing a new home or have lived in the same house for years, chances are there is old paint and other household items that require special disposal in your crawlspace or garage.

Batteries:  The average American household goes through over a dozen standard batteries a year. There are several types of batteries. Alkaline batteries come in sizes like AA, AAA, C, D and 9V and can simply be disposed of in your standard garbage can. Alkaline batteries no longer contain dangerous substances like mercury (eliminated around 1993). However, it’s important not to throw away a large number of alkaline batteries together. Also, if you use rechargeable batteries like AAs or AAAs, you should recycle them.

Car batteries and small tractor batteries contain lead and sulfuric acid. These batteries should be taken to a recycling center. Many auto parts stores will actually pay you to recycle the battery at their location. Auto Zone is one of these many stores currently offering a $5 store credit for recycling your battery there.

Paint: Latex paint is considered non-hazardous by all states except California. If you have a home in California, visit this site for recommended disposal.  For all other states, it is recommended to dry out the leftover paint with cat litter or a latex paint hardener specifically made for drying out leftover paint such as this product from Home Depot. You can then dispose of the paint in your curb-side garbage collection.

CFL and Fluorescent Light bulbs: These energy efficient bulbs contain mercury. They should be recycled at a local recycler. Many states including California, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington require the bulbs be recycled and not disposed of in your common household trash.  Some major home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes have recycling centers available. Look towards their returns desk for a drop-off.

Keep your eye out for local recycling programs in your community. These are often sponsored by the city you live in and makes disposing of household waste simple.

Heuer Insurance Agency in Sparks has worked with a variety of clients in the Reno area over the years and we are confident in our ability to meet your personal or business insurance needs. We understand how important an insurance policy can be and we take time to match each of our clients with the perfect insurance policy. Whether you are looking for auto insurancerenters insurancehomeowners insurance, or life insurance we can help you. Not only can we provide you with each of these personal insurance policies, but we can also help you find a general liability policy, workers compensation policy or commercial building insurance policy. Give us a call at 775-358-5554 or visit us.