How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

When temperatures drop, the risk of your home’s pipes freezing or bursting increases quickly. In fact, frozen pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage in the winter. Freezing pipes are not cheap to fix, either. Burst pipes could easily cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace. So, it’s critical to take some extra precautions when you know frigid temperatures are coming. Here’s how to prevent frozen pipes.

 

At-Risk Pipes

The pipes in your home that are most vulnerable to freezing temperatures are in unheated interior spaces like your basement, attic, or garage. The good news is that adding a little insulation to pipes in those areas is not very expensive. You could spend as little as 50 cents a linear foot at your local hardware store to prevent potentially thousands of dollars in damage.

Run That Water

Frozen pipes happen most commonly when people are on vacation because they’re not being used. When cold temperatures hit, make sure you’re running warm water frequently in your home. If you have a faucet in your home with exposed pipes, let a slow cold trickle run. Even a little bit of water can prevent freezing.

Don’t Turn Your Heat Down at Night

If you usually turn your thermostat down 10+ degrees overnight, don’t plan on doing that when the outside temperature plummets. Instead, keep the thermostat set to something within 5 degrees of the average temperature inside your home. It may be tempting to keep it low to save on energy costs but think of the expenses you’ll have if your pipes freeze.

 

Stay warm this winter, and remember to keep Leigh Agency in mind for all your home and family insurance needs. Our team is ready to take your call and answer your questions!

Winter Survival Kit For Your Car

Accidents, storms, and unexpected obstacles can pop up at any time when you’re on the road. And the outside weather conditions could make those incidents even harder to deal with. That’s why it’s so important to always have a winter survival kit in your car. Here’s what to include in it.

 

Extra Warm Clothes

If you break down and need to stay warm until help arrives, make sure to pack extra jackets, gloves, scarves, hats, and other warm clothes.

LED Flashlights and Batteries

Flashlights can be handy while changing a flat tire or navigating your surroundings at night. So be sure to include several small LED flashlights as well as fresh batteries in your winter survival kit.

Battery Operated Phone Charger

Cell phones are incredibly important in emergencies, so it’s essential to be sure you’re always traveling with a fully charged phone in the winter. Also, include an extra phone charger in your survival kit. A battery-operated charger allows you to charge your phone without having your car on. Just make sure it is graded to work in low temperatures.

Simple Tool Kit

You never know how or why you may need some tools, but it’s essential to have some on hand in an emergency. Include a couple of screwdrivers, pliers, an adjustable wrench, and some duct tape.

Jumper Cables

It would be best if you always had jumper cables in your trunk, especially in the winter. If your car breaks down and another motorist stops to help, an inexpensive pair of jumper cables could get your vehicle started quickly and easily.

First Aid Kit

A simple first aid kit with band-aids, gauze, antibacterial ointment, alcohol swabs, and over-the-counter pain medication could be incredibly useful in an emergency.

 

A little extra prep can make a big difference this winter. Be safe out there!

What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident

Car accidents can be incredibly scary, and sometimes it’s hard to think straight after experiencing something so traumatic. However, if you’re not hurt, it is important to do certain things soon after being involved in any collision.

Safety First

Before you worry about anything else, first check yourself and your passengers to ensure there are no injuries. If anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately. If no one is hurt and can move safely, get yourself and your passengers out of the vehicle and move to a safe spot.

Notify Police

Even if there is no serious damage to any vehicles involved, you still need to file a police report. In fact, in some states, it’s legally required. You’ll also need a copy of the police report if you plan on filing an insurance claim. When explaining the accident to officers, try to be as detailed as possible.

Exchange Information with the Other Driver

After you’ve concluded that everyone is safe and they’ve been checked by emergency personnel if needed, it’s time to exchange info. This is what you’ll need from the other driver before leaving the scene of the accident:

  • Full name and contact info
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver’s License number and License Plate number
  • Model, make, and color of any other vehicle involved in the accident

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Pictures are vitally important when piecing together the details of an accident. Take pictures with your smartphone of:

  • Your vehicle from all angles
  • The other vehicle from all angles
  • Closeups of vehicle damage
  • Injuries of anyone involved
  • Damage to the road, street signs, or anything else at the accident scene

 

When you’ve done the above, it’s time to call your insurance company. The agent will make sure they have all the information they need to file your claim. Drive safe!

How Real Estate Attorneys and Insurance Companies Can Work Together

When it comes to the home buying process, everyone has a role to play. The real estate attorney’s role in a transaction is key. However, the insurance company can work together with the attorney, making both jobs a little easier. Read on to learn more.

 

What does a Real Estate Attorney do?

Although for most home buyers, the process of buying property does not involve going to court, they still need a real estate attorney. The real estate lawyer’s job is to prepare and review all the essential documents related to the sale, including the contract, agreements made with the seller, lender documents, title, and transfer documents. The real estate attorney will also be available to the buyer throughout the process to answer any questions and will most likely attend the closing as well. Occasionally, real estate attorneys will assist in the title process or help with the transfer of funds.

What is the insurance company’s role in a real estate transaction?

An insurance company is essential in getting the buyer the homeowner’s insurance they need to obtain a mortgage. Depending on the loan the buyer is approved for, they may need proof of insurance before the closing date. An experienced insurance company can determine what type of insurance is necessary and get the policy ready before closing.

How can the real estate attorney and insurance company work together?

Every party involved in a real estate transaction essentially works together to seal the deal for the buyer and seller. Specifically, the insurance company can consult the real estate attorney and vice versa if any issues arise or if the buyer has questions regarding the sale. The attorney can also work on the buyer’s behalf as the transaction progresses.

 

For any homeowner’s insurance policy questions, be sure to give us a call!

Why a Title Company Should Partner With a Reliable Insurance Company

During a real estate transaction, there are many different parties involved. Each party plays an essential role in the process. Two essential parties in the transaction are the title company and the insurance company. As a result, it makes sense for two companies from the two industries to build a partnership. Here is why:

 

The Title Company’s Role

When it comes to most real estate transactions, the title company plays several vital roles. They generally act as the combined agent of the buyer, seller, and insurance company. In some cases, the title company will also serve as an agent for the mortgage lenders. The company is not only responsible for reviewing the title. They also assist in issuing insurance policies, facilitating the closing, and filing/recording necessary paperwork.

Why The Title Company Should Partner With a Reliable Insurance Company

Obtaining insurance for a real estate transaction is crucial, and in some cases, required by law. When a title company is in any time crunch situation, they’ll wish that they had a reliable insurance company to help them solve any issue quickly and professionally. This is why working with a reputable, experienced insurance company is key. It could be the difference between sealing the deal and a deal falling through.

Furthermore, a reliable insurance company can help the title company by ensuring the policies needed are correctly in place and legitimate. Considering that the title company is responsible for facilitating the paperwork involved in insurance policies, it would be great to know that the paperwork is correct without going back to the insurance company for multiple corrections.

Are you looking for a reliable insurance company to partner with? Look no further than Leigh Agency. We have over 30 years of experience working with title companies on real estate transactions. You, and your clients, can rely on us! Give us a call today.

Maintenance Tips for Older Cars

If you own an older vehicle, you may have to pay closer attention to its maintenance schedule. If you take care of your old car, it could last you several more years. In fact, recent data shows that American drivers are keeping their cars longer than they ever had in the past. Here are some maintenance tips to get the most out of your older car.

 

Pay Attention to the Brakes

Your brakes are one of the most important systems in your car. Without a properly working braking system, you could put yourself and other drivers in danger. So, if you own an older car, be sure not to take any strange sound or feeling for granted. If you suspect there may be an issue with your vehicle’s braking system, get it checked out by a professional mechanic right away.

Change Those Tires

Just because you have an old vehicle doesn’t mean it should have old tires! Have your tires checked periodically. Since most older cars won’t be able to alert you when the air in your tires is low, you’ll have to check frequently. Also, be sure to replace your tires when necessary.

Check Your Steering and Suspension System

A problem with your steering or your suspension system could end up making your tires wear much quicker than they should. Make sure your steering fluid is changed regularly and that you have your shocks checked by a mechanic.

Change Your Oil on Time

When an engine ages, it’s even more important to keep it running smoothly with fresh oil. Check your owner’s manual for more detailed instructions. Most older vehicles require an oil change at least every 3,000 miles. Be sure to ask your mechanic what the best oil is for your car as well.

Use these easy maintenance tips to keep your older car running safely and efficiently for years to come!

 

 

 

How We Can Help You Close a Real Estate Deal

When you’re purchasing property or helping a client purchase a property, obtaining insurance is a necessary part of the process. In fact, many lenders will only approve a loan if the proper insurance policies are already in place. This can be tricky when dealing with foreclosures, fixer-uppers, or properties with complicated histories. Having a reputable insurance agency on your side with experience insuring these types of properties can be extremely helpful. Read on to learn more.

 

Insuring the Hard-to-Insure

Don’t give up if you’re assisting in the buying process with a property that’s hard to insure. Many big-name insurance companies have policies in place that have little to no wiggle room when it comes to the approval process. Working with a local, family-owned agency like us makes all the difference. We will review every possible option to insure the property correctly.

Fixer-Upper Problems

There’s nothing wrong with investing in a real estate deal involving a property that needs a little TLC. Fixer-uppers can be a very wise investment; however, they can be hard to insure initially. Properties like this will need specialty insurance coverage. In fact, mortgage companies will most likely require it in their lending terms. Leigh Agency has an extensive network of resources and will be able to walk you through the insurance process for fixer-upper properties. We’ll make sure you get the right kind of policy to close on the deal.

Flood Zone Properties

If the property you’re purchasing is in a flood zone, you’ll need flood insurance as well as homeowner’s insurance for you or your client. Our agency is well versed in every flood insurance option, including FEMA-backed flood insurance policies. Finding the proper flood insurance can be a complicated process. That’s why it’s crucial to work with an insurance agency like us.

 

We can help you close on any real estate deal by ensuring you and/or your client have the proper insurance policies required by the lender. Give us a call today to start the process.

Safety Tips for Traveling Alone

Traveling alone can be a very fulfilling experience. There’s no one to dictate what you do or where you do it, and you have the total freedom to experience a new place the way you want to experience it. However, there are certain things you should be aware of to stay safe. Here are some safety tips for traveling alone.

 

Let Everyone Know Where You’ll Be

Before leaving for your solo trip, make sure you tell several friends and family members where you plan to be. Give them a copy of your flight itinerary, hotels, or resorts you’ll be staying and general areas you’ll be visiting. This way, if you lose touch with home, they’ll be able to reach out and check on you. Be sure to check in with those people occasionally as well. A once-a-day text letting them know you’re safe and where you’re supposed to be is a good idea.

Keep Your Cash and Valuables Separate

Don’t store your cash, credit cards, and passport all in one space. If you keep all your essentials in your wallet, and your wallet gets lost or stolen, you’ll find yourself in quite a predicament. Try keeping some money in a purse, your cards in your pocket, and your passport locked in your hotel safe.

Do Research on Your Destination

Although arriving somewhere with no knowledge of your surroundings sounds exciting, it could be problematic if you’re traveling alone. It’s always best to do a little research before your trip. Make sure you know the general layout of where you are going. Look up the neighborhood where your hotel will be and get a general feel for safety precautions you’ll need to take.

Stay Healthy

If you’re traveling alone, you won’t have anyone to remind you to take your meds or drink plenty of water. So be sure to have all the prescription medications you require, know where you can find safe drinking water, and be sure to wash your hands whenever you can.

Follow these simple safety tips to have an amazing trip while traveling alone.

 

 

 

What To Do To Secure Your Home Before a Weekend Trip

Weekend trips are a great way to get out of the house, relax and return refreshed. However, even if you’re going away for just a couple of days, it’s important to keep your home safe. There are several ways to easily prepare for a holiday that will help give you peace of mind while you’re gone. Here’s what to do to secure your home before a weekend trip.

 

Set Timers for Your Interior Lights

When your inside lights are on, it’s less likely that anyone will think your home is empty for the weekend. So, get some inexpensive timers for your indoor lights and set them to the regular times you have them on when you’re home. Don’t leave them on all night, but having them on until late at night will make it appear that you’re home.

Don’t Alert Social Media That You’ll Be Gone

It’s a trend to let everyone know when you’re going on vacation, but it’s not a great idea. Take as many pictures as you like, but don’t post until after you’re back from your weekend trip. Announcing you’re going to be gone and your home will be empty is setting yourself up for possible trouble.

Lock Up Your Valuables

Before leaving, be sure to lock up your jewelry and valuables. Keep your jewelry separate from your important documents, and make sure they are both in secure locations.

Check Your Windows and Locks

It may seem obvious, but double-check that all your windows and doors are locked right before you leave. It’s a great habit to have any time you’re leaving your home empty for an extended period.

Following these simple tips will help keep your home safe and secure so that you can enjoy your weekend getaway!

 

Equipment (Appliance) Breakdown Coverage

Many people have experienced the frustrating realization that their appliance suddenly broke right after the manufacturer’s warranty ended. If you have experienced this, you probably wished that you had some insurance coverage to pay for the repair or replacement of the appliance. Most standard homeowner’s policies won’t cover you in this situation, but you can usually add equipment breakdown coverage to your current policy.

 

What is Equipment Breakdown Coverage?

Equipment Breakdown coverage provides an extra layer of protection for your home appliances if a mechanical or electrical failure occurs. It’s a perfect way to get reimbursed if something unexpected happens after the warranty expires. However, it is worth noting that it will not cover natural wear and tear.

What are some things that this policy would cover?

This policy may seem a little tricky to understand. Here’s an example of why you would need equipment breakdown coverage. Let’s say you had your refrigerator for two years, and a part suddenly breaks that shouldn’t have at this point of the fridge’s lifespan. Then, you check your warranty and find out that it was only for one year. In this case, your equipment breakdown coverage will most likely cover the costs to either fix or replace the refrigerator.

What does this kind of coverage include?

When you purchase equipment breakdown coverage, you’ll have protection for:

  • Costs associated with identifying the issue
  • Repair or replacement costs for damaged appliances
  • Costs to make temporary repairs
  • Any additional installation or shipping costs

 

Ask your insurance agent for more details regarding your policy and coverage.

 

Is equipment breakdown coverage something you would like to add to your homeowner’s insurance policy? Or maybe you’re not sure if it’s necessary? We can help you figure it out! Give us a call, and we’ll make sure you have all the coverage you need.