Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Avoid Holiday Season Distractions Behind the Wheel

‘Tis the season of multitasking: Mixing the cookie batter with one hand while trying to address holiday cards and wrap presents with the other.  While the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be the most stressful.

Drivers are faced with the added distractions of holiday music, traffic jams, and congested mall parking lots and other shopping areas with pedestrians and moving vehicles. With so many things to do, and so little time to do it, it’s no wonder why we try to multitask while driving.

Allstate has conducted extensive research, which has found that eliminating distractions in the car can help drivers avoid accidents and ultimately save lives. Texting, talking on the phone, changing the radio, eating, putting on makeup and joking around with friends all increase the odds of a crash.

Can you imagine if everyone invited these distractions in during the holidays? Multitask a little less, and keep the roads safer.

Don’t let distractions ruin your holiday spirit this season. Here at Allstate we encourage you to practice caution behind the wheel. We know accidents happen, but that shouldn’t get you down.

Here are some good driver safety tips from Allstate:

·                     Keep your eyes on the road.

·                     Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

·                     Do not eat while driving

·                     Do not apply cosmetics or groom if you are behind the wheel.

·                     Pull over if you feel drowsy.

For more information on these or any other safety tips, please contact me at 516-799-6900, 845-229-6109 or via email at robertzabbia@allstate.com.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wishing you a very Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving

1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

G. Washington (his actual signature)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thank you to all of our Veterans

The United States of America is the beacon of freedom to the world.  It is because of the dedication and sacrifice of our Veterans and their families.  A friend passed on this list to me, and I wanted to share it with you so you can share it with any Veterans you know.  Please pass it on.

Abuelo’s Mexican Food - Abuelo’s offerings vary by region, be sure to call ahead to see what the discounts or freebies are included.
Applebees - All veterans and active duty military eat free from a limited menu at Applebee’s on Veterans Day.
Chili’s — Veterans and active duty dine for free from a special limited six item menu on Veterans Day.
Golden Corral — Golden Corral Restaurants’ Military Appreciation Monday free dinner will be available on November 15, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome.
Hooters — All Veterans and active duty eat free. The free entrees must be selected from a special Veterans Day menu.
Krispy Kreme – All active-duty, retirees & veterans get a free doughnut on Veterans Day. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is par-ticipating.
McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants — Participating McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants offer a complimentary entree to vets from a special menu on a space available basis, online reservations are highly recommended.
Outback Steakhouse — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimen-tary Bloomin’ Onion and non-alcoholic beverage on Veterans Day.
UNO Chicago Grill — UNO is offering a Buy One Get One free offer to Service members or Veterans with a military or veteran I.D. or in uniform or with a photo of themselves in uniform. The Veterans Day BOGO offer includes a free entree or individual pizza, with the purchase of an entree or pizza of equal or greater value.
Texas Roadhouse – Free meal from opening until 4pm. on Veterans Day. Call ahead to your local restaurant for more information.
T.G.I. Friday’s – Veterans and Service members Buy one get one free from Nov 11–14. Contact your nearest location for more details on their Veterans Day BOGO offer.
The Dollar General — Veterans, Service members (Active, Guard, and Reserve), and their immediate families will receive a 10-percent discount with a Veterans Day coupon. The coupon may be found in store circular ads or by asking a sales associate.
Home Depot — Offers a 10 percent discount to all Veterans during Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day.
Lowe’s — All veterans receive the 10-percent discount on Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. The offer is available in stores only and is limited to in-stock and special-order purchases of up to $5,000.
Sam’s Club — Sam’s give away 36,000 collapsible Hugo Canes on Veterans Day to military veterans in need of mobility assistance. Sam’s Club will require membership for this offer, but proof of service may be necessary.
Amazon.com – Free ―Veterans Day Honor‖ MP3 album download. The album includes 12 songs by The Bands and Ensembles of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Cabela’s Outdoor Store – Offers their employee discount to all veterans, active-duty military and reserves, law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel November 11-12. Discounts vary from 5% to 50%, depending on the item.
Build-a-Bear Workshop – Members of the armed services including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Reserve Officer Training Corps, will receive a 20% discount November 11-15 on any one transaction at Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Fashion Bug – 20% off all plus-size and misses clothing purchases with a copy of military ID or spouse’s military ID.
Sports Clips Haircuts - The men’s hair salon chain is offering a free haircut to active military and veterans on Veterans Day.
Foot Locker — Veterans, Service members (Active, Guard, and Reserve), and their immediate families with a Foot Locker Veterans Advantage Card receive a 20 percent discount every day of the year. That offer is good both online and at any store location, including Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Footaction and Champs Sports — even on sale items.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's almost time to put away your classic car!

Fall is a great time to get out and drive your classic car/hot rod.  The temparature are better for those without A/C!  For those classic car owners who live in more dramatic climates, it's almost time to put your cars to bed for the winter. We've put together some steps to help you do it right. Feel free to pass this information on to anyone who may benefit.

1. Top off your levels.
  • Fill your gas tank and add a fuel preservative. The full tank keeps out moisture, and the preservative keeps the gas from breaking down. Take one last drive to circulate the preservative.
  • Make sure your antifreeze is fresh and topped off.
  • To avoid a nasty sludge in the spring, change the oil
2. Take preventative measures.
  • Give your car a good wash and wax to protect the paint. Protect the chrome with wax or paint sealant.
  • Over-inflate tires to avoid flat spotting, or jack up the car to take pressure off the tires.
  • Put a battery manager on your car.
  • To prevent rodents nesting in an engine compartment, try a rodent repellent under the hood. Just remember to remove it before starting up.
  • Put down a few moisture pads on the upholstery to absorb moisture and prevent mildew.
  • Cover the car with a breathable car cover to prevent corrosion and rust.
3. Re-circulate your oil.
  • When a car sits, oil settles into the pan, leaving the engine without lubrication. Disconnect the coil wire and crank the engine

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Child Passenger Safety Week

No parent would intentionally compromise the safety of his or her child. Unfortunately, when it comes to passenger safety, an innocent error can lead to tragedy.

In addition, many parents don't realize that children need the protection of a booster seat until they are at least eight years old. In NY the law is eight years old or under 100 pounds. 

With the National Highway Traffic Safety Authority's Child Passenger Safety Week being held September 18 - 24, 2011, it's the perfect time to think about having your child safety seat inspected. As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, the NHTSA is culminating the week with National Seat Check Saturday on September 24, 2011.

Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death and injury among children under eight in the United Sates. Despite very high levels of safety seat ownership and virtually universal access to safety belts, adults still take chances with children and do not use these safety systems on every ride. Such inconsistency has led to tragic outcomes, with adults confessing, "I didn't think it could happen to my child."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene Caused Widespread Flooding, here is what to do

If you need to file an insurance claim following floods and you have a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), in many cases you can contact your private insurance company, such as Allstate Insurance Company, to help you begin the claims process.  Our clients can call us, and we will get you in touch with a flood adjuster.
Allstate policyholders who have purchased NFIP policies can file a claim by calling 800-54-STORM or by logging on to www.allstate.com or by contacting their local Allstate agent.
Here are some tips for starting your flood insurance claim: 
  1. Gather all relevant policy information and numbers.
  2. Call your insurance agent or company and make sure to mention that your damage is flood specific and you need to file a NFIP claim so your claim is processed appropriately.
  3. Make sure your agent and claims adjuster know how to contact you. If you are in a shelter and not easily reached, provide the name of a designated relative or point-of-contact who can reach you. 
  4. Remove water damaged items from the home as soon as possible. 
  5. Take lots of photos. Take photos of any water in the house and damaged personal property. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage and damaged items (i.e. cut swatches from carpeting, curtains, chairs) to prepare your estimate. 
  6. Inventory your home for damaged or lost items before your adjuster arrives. This will help facilitate your claim process.
Obtaining a flood insurance policy is easy.

Since a flood policy does not take effect until 30 days after purchase, we encourage residents to consider their home's risk for flooding and call us well before the waters rise.  You never know when a storm will strike, and 30 days is a long time to wait, so act now, before it is too. late.  Flood insurance can be as low as $10 a day to protect your home.  That is a small price to pay, considering that flood claims cost tens of thousands of dollars. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene has New York in her sites, so you need to be prepared for her before she hits.  Here are some important steps to take:

How to help protect yourself and your family in advance of a storm:

• Conduct a home inventory recording each of your possessions. It’s also helpful to keep track of model numbers and stores where items were purchased. Store your inventory, including photos and videos, in a safe place away from your home.

• Develop an evacuation plan that includes identification of safe areas, escape routes, meeting locations and plans for pets.

• Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit including a three-day supply of water, non-perishable food, radio and batteries, flashlight and first-aid kit.

• Remove any diseased and damaged limbs from trees to keep them from blowing around during a storm and causing property or automobile damage.

• Tie down any lawn furniture and toys that can become projectiles and damage your home, pool or cars.

• Purchase materials such as ¾-inch plywood that can be used to reinforce your windows, doors and garage doors. Install anchors and pre-drill holes for the plywood so you can install them quickly in the event of a storm.

• Install head and foot bolts in doors for extra protection.

Minimize your losses:

• Review your home insurance policy and coverage limits with an agent. Know what you are and are not covered for in the event of a hurricane.

• Find out if you have comprehensive auto coverage for damage to your car caused by falling objects or flood.

• Gather important documents such as insurance policies, birth certificates and identification. Make sure to place them in a waterproof container.

• Make sure you and your family are safe during and after the storm.

• Take steps to minimize further damage after a storm. Only use licensed professionals to take care of any damage.

Good Luck, and let's hope that Irene passes out to sea.  For more information, please visit my site: http://www.zabbiaagency.com/

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Safety Tips for your Pets

Most people who have pets treat them as part of the family. So we decided to pass along some expert tips to help you keep yours safe while on the go with you this summer.
On the Road: Sometimes what holds back a road trip with the dog is our furry friend's motion sickness. A fairly new drug, Cerenia, can alleviate it better than earlier ones that either didn't work well or put dogs to
sleep. When motion sickness isn't so profound, doggie ginger cookies also may ease queasiness. And for
pooches that just get stressed out by car rides, a Dog Appeasing Pheromone collar (like aromatherapy for dogs) or lavender hanging from the rear view mirror can help.

Here are some other pet travel tips to keep in mind:

  • Dogs and cats should never travel on laps. Cats should be in carriers, and that's also a good idea for dogs accustomed to them. Small and mid-size dogs also can be strapped into a canine safety seat, available at pet supply stores. 
  • Never let a dog ride in the back of a pickup truck, which - wisely - is banned in some places.  
  • For an extra fee, many airlines will allow you to take pets on board a plane if they're small enough to fit in a carrier that will slide under the seat in front of you.  
  • No matter where you travel or how you get there, your per should have an ID tag and an identification microchip, and you should bring proof of your pet's current rabies vaccination.
Bunking Together: Although there are more pet friendly hotels, motels, B&B's and campgrounds than ever, there's no guarantee you'll find one by chance. Some places require a pet security deposit, which is returned if the chairs aren't chewed up or the carpet piddled on. And some charge an extra non-refundable fee, while others offer pet perks, from dog walking to pet room service menus! Make sure you get specifics about hotel pet polices and fees before you book a room so there are no surprises. And it's always a good idea to get a written confirmation with all the pet policy details.

At the Vet's: Here's another reason to hate summer's mosquitoes - they carry heartworm to your pets! Dogs who get infected with heartworm usually get sick, and without treatment, they can die. Treatment success isn't guaranteed, and it's not cheap. The good news is heartworm can be prevented by administering monthly heartworm medications.

In the Heat: Plenty of shade and water can keep dogs cool on hot days. "Dogs don't sweat efficiently, so they can potentially overheat more easily than people." says veterinarian Gregg K. Takashima. Some dogs; just being dogs, will fetch until they drop. Look for signs of overheating, such as vomiting and excessive panting. If you think your pup is overheated, take him out of the sun, cool his pawpads with water and take him to the vet.

Without Fleas: Fleas and ticks are more pervasive than ever. Blame going to a warming trend that lets them survive longer in places where they usually would not. Fleas can hitch a ride on your shoes or on your pet. Laying up to 40 to 50 eggs daily, they can quickly invade your home and make your pet very uncomfortable. Thankfully, today's veterinary flea pills and products applied to the pet's skin really zap fleas, so the days of fitting flea collars and using toxic dips are over. If ticks occur where you live, your vet can suggest a product to deal with both fleas and ticks.

We hope these tips help make your summer more enjoyable with your pets.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Flag Day!!!!

Flag Day is on June 14th every year, it is a day for all Americans to celebrate and show respect for our flag, its designers and makers. Our flag is representative of our independence and our unity as a nation.....one nation, under God, indivisible. Our flag has a proud and glorious history. It was at the lead of every battle fought by Americans. Many people have died protecting it. It even stands proudly on the surface of the moon.

As Americans, we have every right to be proud of our culture, our nation, and our flag. So raise the flag today and every day with pride!

Properly Display Our Flag

There is a right way and a wrong way to display the flag. The American flag should be held in the highest of regards. It represents our nation and the many people who gave their lives for our country and our flag. Here are the basics on displaying the American flag:

  • The flag is normally flown from sunrise to sunset.  
  • In the morning, raise the flag briskly. At sunset, lower it slowly. Always, raise and lower it ceremoniously.  
  • The flag should not be flown at night without a light on it.  
  • The flag should not be flown in the rain or inclement weather.  
  • After a tragedy or death, the flag is flown at half staff for 30 days. It's called "half staff" on land, and "half mast" on a ship.  
  • When flown vertically on a pole, the stars and blue field , or "union", is at the top and at the end of the pole (away from your house).  
  • The American flag is always flown at the top of the pole. Your state flag and other flags fly below it.  
  • The union is always on top. When displayed in print, the stars and blue field are always on the left.  
  • Never let your flag touch the ground, never...period.  
  • Fold your flag when storing. Don't just stuff it in a drawer or box.  
  • When your flag is old and has seen better days, it is time to retire it. Old flags should be burned or buried. Please do not throw it in the trash.

Did you Know? There is a very special ceremony for retiring the flag by burning it. It is a ceremony everyone should see. Your local Boy Scout group knows the proper ceremony and performs it on a regular basis. If you have an old flag, give it to them. And, attend the ceremony.

Famous Flag People:

Betsy Ross was a seamstress who made clothes for George Washington. In June, 1776, Washington approached her to make the country's first flag and the rest is history.

Francis Scott Key inspired by the British bombardment of Fort McHenry, penned the lyrics to our national anthem as he witnessed the British rockets whiz through the air while our American Flag flew in the breeze

Did you Know? If you like to study flags, then you are a Vexillologist!



Wishing you the best,





Thursday, March 17, 2011

$500, $1000, $2500, 3% Wind, 5% named storm, what is my true deductible?

There seems to be more an more confusion about deductibles on home insurance.  Different companies have put different thresholds for wind and hurricane deductibles in New York.  Many homeowners have no idea of how much they would have to pay if they had damage in a severe windstorm, Nor'easter, or Hurricane.

Deductibles, what are they?

First let's start with what is a deductible.  It is the amount of money that you would be responsible to pay before a claim is paid by your insurance.  Most people have a $500 or $1000 deductible.  If you have less than that, you are probably paying too much for your insurance.  You can usually save $100 a year if you go from a $250 deductible to a $500.  So if you have a claim, you pay the first $500 instead of $250, so you will save the difference if you go three years without a claim.  In many cases, it doesn't save enough to go over a $1000 deductible on a home policy.

Wind & Hail Versus Named Storm

After Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, and Rita, many companies realized that they couldn't handle the volume of claims without greatly increasing the cost of home insurance policies.  Many companies put a named Hurricane deductible in place. They all have different thresholds as to when they come in, so there could be large differences in the premiums.  The percentage can be from anywhere between 2% and 5%.

For example, Allstate Insurance Company and State Farm Insurance Company both have a 5% Named Storm, or Hurricane deductible.  The Allstate Deductible starts when there is a named storm with sustained winds of 100mph for a certain period of time.  The State Farm deductible is for ANY Hurricane.  You might be able to save $100 a year with the State Farm policy, but if a normal Hurricane does damage with winds of 75mph, you will have to pay 5% of the insured value versus your normal $500 Deductible.

Insured Value            State Farm Ded.                  Allstate Ded.

$300,000                      $15,000                                $500

Other companies have an even more stringent deductible and apply it to ALL Wind Storms.  The percentages are usually less, 2-3%, but they are in effect for any storm, depending on the threshold on your policy.  So in the example above, it could be a Nor'easter with 75mph winds, and the deductible would be $6,000 to $9,000, where the above companies would be the normal $500 deductibles.  Some companies have the deductible with no threshold, so you are responsible for any wind claims below the deductible.

What do I do?

Unfortunately, unless you know how to read the details of your policy, you might not know what your deductible is until you have a claim.  Some are clearly written, but others are buried in the endorsements section of your policy.  Currently the Professional Insurance Agents Association, and the State Insurance Department are looking to standardize the deductibles, but you need to do something before Hurricane Season starts.

Fax, mail, or email me your policy, and I will help you determine what your deductible is, so you can be prepared.  We work with companies with that have low Hurricane Deductibles with High Thresholds.  They also have great rates.  Happy Spring Everyone.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Flooding Awareness Week

You can't turn on the news this week without hearing about all of the devastating flooding in our area.  Westchester, the Bronx, New Jersey, and many other places are seeing the results of the heavy rains and melting snow from a record breaking winter.  People who have lived in their homes for 30+ years are suffering flood damage for the first time.

Flood Awareness Week comes at a time when flood risks are heightened due to a number of contributing factors: spring snowmelt, ice jam, heavy rains or flash flooding. Flooding is always a major concern, especially in the spring. This is the time to review your risks and ask yourself why it is important to purchase flood insurance. 

Why should I purchase flood insurance?
  • Floods are the most common natural disaster.
  • Most homeowners, condominium, manufactured home, renters and business insurance policies exclude losses due to flood.
  • Flooding is the most costly natural disaster in the U.S., causing nearly $24 billion of property damage over the last 10 years.
  • Just an inch of water can cause costly damage to your property.
  • A car can easily be carried away by just two feet of floodwater.
  • Your home has a 26 percent chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage.
  • Government assistance is sometimes available, but only if the disaster is declared a state or federal disaster, and the assistance is usually in the form of a loan.
  • A federal disaster loan of $50,000 will be paid back at $240 a month at four percent interest while the average flood insurance policy costs $500 a year.  
What if my flood risk appears to be low?

  • Everyone lives in a flood zone - anywhere it rains, it can flood.  
  • Flooding is not limited to coastal areas. Floods and flash floods happen in all 50 states.
  • Approximately 25 percent of all flooding events occur outside Standard Flood Hazard Areas.
  • If you live in a low-to-moderate risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $129 a year, including coverage for your property's contents.
  • Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, doesn't mean you won't in the future. Flood risk isn't just based on history, it's also based on a number of factors: rainfall, river-flow and tidal-surge data, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to building and development.
What causes flooding?
  • Many conditions can result in a flood: hurricanes, broken levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and rapid accumulation of rainfall.
  • New land development can also increase flood risk, especially if the construction changes natural run-off paths.
  • Floods often happen when bodies of water overflow or tides rise due to heavy rainfall or thawing snow. Flash floods may occur without warning when a large volume of water falls in a short time.

With everything going on with changing weather patterns, increased rain fall, and severe storms happening more often than in the past, now is the time to consider purchasing flood insurance.  The increase in claims in the past two years has been eye openening, and having a claim that isn't covered is the last thing that you want to experience.  Give us a call today, so we can get you a quote on flood insurance.  Remember, it takes 30 days for a policy to start! 888-900-2173

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rain, ice, and snow = Excessive Roof Loads!

Some people are welcoming the rain in hopes that it will melt all of this snow.  The problem is that it could cause more damage to already overburden roofs!  We have been flooded (no pun intended) with calls about water getting into the house from ice dams the past few weeks.  I have been up on a laddder, cleaning my roof several times trying to get the snow off of one section of my roof that is backing up into my house. I had to call in a contractor to clean it up, because the leaking was getting worse.

Now the rain could help if it gets warm enough to melt the ice and snow.  If it freezes, it could trap more melting ice and snow, which could find it's way into your home as it tries to find it's way off of your roof.
Following some simple precautions can help. You should inspect roofs for leaks or structural defects to ensure that gutters, drains and downspouts are clear of ice and debris. Likewise, you should clear snow and ice from exhaust vents leading from the home through the exterior walls as well as clear all snow from sidewalls to prevent excessive pressure on the walls from snow mounds. Also, decks should be cleared of snow as soon as possible.

Exercise caution at all times. Be cautious of falling snow and ice. Untrained individuals should not undertake clearing snow from roofs due to the dangers of falling from heights and those associated with falling tree limbs and electrical wires. Also, the roof could be covered with a sheet of ice, making it even more hazardous.

Give us a call if you are concerned about the potential damage you could have from the weight of ice and snow.  Most home insurance policies will cover this type of claim, but not all are created equally.  Now is not the time to hear the dreaded words "sorry, you're not covered for that!"

Consult with professionals. If you notice damage to your roof or walls from the weigh of snow and ice, temporarily shore up and brace the damaged area until professional help arrives. If you are concerned about your building's condition, contact a trained professional for an assessment of the condition.

Report damage to your home. Contact your broker or Kingstone Insurance Company immediately if you have suffered storm damage to your property.

February 1, 2011

We hope you find this information helpful. Thank you for being one of Kingstone Insurance Company's Select Producers!

Thomas G. Seccia, Jr., General Manager

845-340-8316 tseccia@kingstoneic.com

Friday, January 21, 2011

Flooding can happen in the winter too!

Most people associate floods with the rivers in the Mid-West, and Hurricanes in the spring.  Unfortanetly, floods an happen year round, and have many causes.  First, you need to understand the definition of a flood in insurance terms.

In regular terms, flooding is any situation where water accumulates on the ground where it shouldn't be.  Overflowing rivers, tidal surges, and heavy rains are the most popular examples.  Melting snow can also cause flood damage to your home that would be excluded from your home insurance policy.  If the snow on the roof causes water damage, it could be covered by your home insurance depending on your policy.  But if it is on the ground, then flood insurance might be the only way to recoup your damages.

The heavy snows that we have had, followed by the warmer weather and rains will increase the chance of flooding.  3 inches of water in your home can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage that may not be covered by your home insurance.  For less than $1 a day, you can get this valuable coverage in place.  But act now, as there is a 30 day waiting period before the coverage starts!

Monday, January 10, 2011

More snow, beware of Ice Dams

With these storms, I get many calls about water seeping through the walls or ceilings from melting snow.  This is caused by ice dams. They generally appear after a heavy snowfall during an extended period of cold temperatures. Because ice dams occur on roofs buried in snow, few people actually see them, let alone understand their causes. The only time people think about them is when they occur, which is about the only time that almost nothing can be done.

What are Ice Dams?

Ice dams are literally dam-like buildups of ice on a roof. They normally occur at the edge of the roof but can occur higher up under certain circumstances.

The ice itself is not a problem. The problem is caused by melting snow can form a pool behind the dam. Most roofs are very effective at shedding water. Very few roofs, however, are designed to cope with pools of water. Water backs up behind the ice, seeping up under the shingles until it finds its way through the roof to the attic and living areas below.

While usually temporary in nature, the massive roof leaks the dams cause can wreak all kinds of havoc with wiring, drywall, paint, carpet, flooring and interior furnishings. Ice damming can also cause problems for your exterior siding and the wood and insulation behind it.

What Causes an Ice Dam?

Ice dams occur most often when we get heavy snow followed by below freezing temperatures, but they can occur with just an inch or two of snow. Some part of your roof warms up enough to melt the snow. The melt water flows down to another part of the roof that is cooler, and the water refreezes. The ice forms a small dam that builds up slowly as more melt water refreezes. Eventually, water backs up behind the dam and works its way up under the shingles until it begins to leak through the roof into the living space below.

There are four main causes of ice damming, and the latter three we can actually do something about.
  1. Weather
  2. Household heat escaping to the attic
  3. Uneven roof temperatures
  4. Roofing underlayment that water can penetrate
Preventing Ice Dams

Ice dam prevention is best achieved in three ways: 
  1. Attic insulation
  2. Attic ventilation
  3. Proper re-roofing

There are many sources of information  on properly avoiding Ice Dams.  Some insurance policies will cover the damage, but it is subject to the deductible.  Give me a call if you would like some more information about how to prevent ice dams.  888-900-2173