Window Safety Week

Window Safety Week

The National Safety Council and the Window Safety Task Force established Window Safety Week in 1997 to heighten awareness of the actions that homeowners can take to establish window safety and fall prevention as a year-round safety priority.  Window Safety Week, observed annually during the first week of April (4/4-11/21), coincides with the arrival of spring, when people naturally want to open the windows and let in fresh air. The goal of this observance is twofold– for families to understand the role of windows in escaping a fire or other emergency and to learn how to safeguard against window falls.

Follow these NSC recommendations to keep your family safe:

Window Safety WeekReview and Practice Your Emergency Escape Plan:
  • Identify at least one window in each sleeping and living area that meets escape and rescue requirements.
  • Include two escape routes from each room and teach children how to safely use windows as emergency exits.
Ensure Window Functionality:
  • If your windows have guards, bars, grilles or grates check that they have operable release mechanisms.
  • Don’t install air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape or rescue. Never paint or nail windows shut, you must be able to open them in an emergency.
Window Safety WeekKeep Windows Closed and Locked:
  • For ventilation, open windows that children cannot reach. Prevent children from playing near windows and/or patio doors. Keep furniture – or anything children can climb – away from windows.
Don’t Rely on Insect Screens to Prevent a Fall:
  • Screens are designed to provide ventilation while keeping insects out; they are not designed to prevent a child’s fall from a window.
Consider Strategic Landscaping:
  • Plant shrubs and soft edging like wood chips or grass under windows to cushion potential falls.
Call us at 401-846-9629 for a FREE Homeowners’ Insurance policy review;
We’ll always do our BEST for YOU!

Spring Home Inspection

Spring Home Inspection

After sheltering your family from winter storms and howling winds, the exterior of your home and yard have taken a beating this year. A sunny spring day is the perfect time to get outdoors and take a good look around. Use the guide below to reveal possible damage and tackle a few DIY fixes.

Let’s take it from the top…

Spring Home Inspection, check roof for mold

Examine Roof:
  • Inspect shingles to see if any blew away or were damaged during winter. Shingles that are loose, cracked or buckled should be replaced.
  • Check flashing to ensure it hasn’t corroded or cracked, that rubber gaskets around plumbing vents haven’t deteriorated and that the metal collars on vents used with gas appliances are tight.
  • Prune tree branches at least 10 feet from your home to prevent damage to roof and siding
  • Look for signs of unwanted wildlife in the attic– shelter-seeking raccoons, squirrels and roof rats can be very destructive!
  • Remove moss with an air broom then apply a growth-inhibiting treatment to kill the remaining spores. If left untreated, moss will continue to absorb rainwater which wicks underneath shingles, soaks the underlayment and rots the roof sheathing.
  • Do NOT power wash the roof, it will drive water underneath the shingles or tiles.
Spring Home Inspection Gutter CleaningCheck Gutters:
  • Clean out all debris in gutters and downspouts.
  • Direct downspouts away from the foundation for proper drainage.
Inspect Windows and Doors:
  • Check for bent or broken hinges, cracks or holes.
  • Repair window and door screens to prevent bugs from sneaking in.
  • Follow National Window Safety Week guidelines
Check Air Conditioners:
  • Clean up any leaves or branches around the cooling unit.
  • Replace filters.
Spring Home Inspection, test sprinkler systemExamine Deck and Fences:
  • Look for loose slats, rotted sections, water stains or discoloration.
  • Remove any loose or rusty nails and make sure the railings and stairs are secure.
Test Exterior Plumbing:
  • Turn on the water to see that it is running properly. Place your thumb over the opening, if this stops the water flow, the water pressure may be too low and could indicate a damaged pipe.
  • Run your sprinkling system, look for leaks or broken sprinkler heads, adjust as needed.
Inspect Hardscape:
  • Look over your driveway and sidewalks for any sign of cracks or movement.
  • Cracks can be mended with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk.
Call us at 401-846-9629 for a FREE Homeowners’ Insurance policy review;
We’ll always do our BEST for YOU!
 

8+ Ways To Be A Great Landlord

Happy Landlord

Angry Landlord
Angry Andy

There is a common misconception that being a landlord is a great, easy way to make some money, but that is often not the case. Renting out a property can be a time-consuming and energy-draining task.

Remember this guy?  Angry Andy is a property owner surveying major damage to his rental unit in last month’s feature: Landlords’ Insurance, Who Needs It?

Don’t Be Angry Andy!  Following the 8+ steps below will help you understand how to pick your tenants and communicate with them to create a healthier and happier experience for everyone involved.

  1. Screen your applicants well before choosing.
    Making sure you have quality tenants is the most important first step to becoming a landlord. This can be a time-consuming project, but will ease your mind in the long run. Consider verifying their income, performing a background check, and checking out their rental history.
  2. Educate your tenants when they first move in.
    Spend some time discussing the different aspects of the lease when they first arrive. Communicate the different responsibilities and rights they have in signing the agreement, and make sure they understand what their obligations are as the tenants.
  3. Set the standards for what is expected of them.
    Expanding on number two, make sure your tenants understand what is expected of them. This will improve the quality of your communications with each other dramatically. Who is responsible for taking care of the lawn and snow removal? Do tenants pay their own electric/cable bills? How quickly should the tenants make you aware of repairs needed at the property?
  4. Be available.
    Rental AgreementMake sure you are checking your email and phone often to keep that line of communication open. Consider creating an alert on your phone to sound when your tenant has reached out to you. Even if you just reply with a couple of words like “Okay” or “I will look into it”, your tenants will understand that you have received their message and already addressing the issue.
  5. Stay on top of repairs.
    Nothing makes a tenant more unhappy than when repairs are not taken care of in a timely manner. Follow #4 and be available so if things go wrong, you can quickly send aid.
  6. Let your tenants know in advance if you plan on visiting.
    Make sure you notify your tenants in advance if you plan on stopping by for a checkup. The general rule of thumb is to give tenants a two-week notice.
  7. Treat your tenants with respect.
    If you treat your tenants with respect, they will treat you with respect as well.
  8. Follow the guidelines in the lease.
    That lease is there for a reason! No matter if the circumstance are good or bad, make sure you are following the guidelines in the lease. It is the document that will be used to determine if there is a breach on either side of the contract.
  9. Suggest that your tenants purchase Renters’ Insurance; and call us today at 401-846-9629 about Landlords’ Insurance. We’re Here to Help!

Frozen Pipe Checklist

Frozen Pipe
  • Frozen water faucetPrevent Frozen Pipes:
    • Before the winter months arrive, ensure that all cracks, holes, and other openings on the exterior walls are sealed tightly with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating.
    • Insulate areas where vulnerable pipes are located by using electric heat tape.
    • Drain all outdoor pipes that supply water to your sprinkler system and turn off the water supply to the system.
    • Remove hoses from outside yard facets.
    • Keep all exterior entry, exit and overhead doors to unheated spaces closed as much as possible during the winter months.
    • Know the location of your main water emergency shut-off valve
  • If A Pipe Freezes:
    • Turn off the water supply to the frozen line
    • Remove insulation and wrap the pipes in warm rags, the pour hot water over the pipes until the water begins flowing again.
    • DO NOT try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame, it could lead to a fire.
  • If A Pipe Bursts:
    • SHUT OFF the water immediately to prevent additional damage
    • Take precautions to avoid an electrical shock from being in or near standing water
    • Call your plumber
    • Take an inventory of damaged property or positions
  • Adjusting thermostatFor Landlords:
    • Try to encourage your tenants to resist the urge to lower their thermostats while they are gone for the day during severely cold weather.
    • Inform your tenants that it is recommended that you let your faucets drip when the temperatures are expected to be in the 20s or below. This will allow the water to constantly move through the pipes at a consistent, yet slow pace, in turn preventing any stationary water that may collect within the pipes from freezing.
    • Inform tenants that will be away during freezing temperatures to open the doors to kitchen and bathroom cabinets under their sinks so heat from the room will help to warm the pipes.

8 Smart Steps for Buying Life Insurance

Life Insurance

How to Find Coverage That Meets Your Needs and Budget

Life insurance can form a vital part of your family’s financial stability and well-being but, if you’re like most people, you may find the thought of shopping for the right type of coverage a little daunting. Fortunately, these eight simple steps can guide you along the way.

    1. Determine whether you actually need life insurance:
      Most people do, but not everyone. If no one depends on you financially, if you have no debt and would leave an estate with enough cash to pay its own taxes and expenses, you probably don’t need life insurance. If you do not meet these criteria, you probably will need individual life insurance.
    2. Calculate how much life insurance you need:
      There are two important questions to ask:

      • What financial resources will be available to survivors after your death? For simplicity, consider three categories of resources: (1) Social security and other retirement-related survivor benefits; (2) group life insurance; and (3) other assets and resources. It is also important to know when these resources will become available—for example, social security survivor benefits are payable immediately to a surviving spouse with dependent children, but only after age 60 if there are no children.
      • Life Insurance policyWhat financial needs will your survivors have after your death? For simplicity, consider three categories of requirements: (1) final expenses; (2) debts; and (3) income needs.Then subtract your survivors’ financial resources from their financial needs to determine how large a policy to buy. Many people are underinsured, often because they skip these steps or take a shortcut (such as simply buying a multiple of annual income).
    3. Consider other objectives you may have for your life insurance:
      Some types of life insurance policies include a savings feature that can be used for purposes other than paying death benefits.
    4. Determine what type of life insurance best meets your needs:
      Essentially, there are three types of life insurance policies—term life, whole life and universal life. If you need the insurance for only a specific period of time, or are on a limited budget, a term policy, which has lower premiums, may be a good fit. If, however, you need the insurance for as long as you live and want to accumulate savings, a whole or universal policy may be a better choice.
    5. Find out if you need to add any “riders” to the policy:
      There are two that you should consider–waiver of premium and guaranteed insurability. Some policies come with one or both included with the basic contract but, if not, it is generally a good idea to add them. Waiver of premium pays the life insurance policy premium for you if you are disabled. Guaranteed insurability permits you to add to the death benefit without providing additional evidence that you are in acceptable health.
    6. Shop Around
      There are many ways to save money when buying life insurance, but they don’t always entail paying a lower premium immediately. That said, life insurance is a very competitive business so quotes can vary significantly between companies.
    7. Life InsuranceDecide whether to pay premiums annually
      In most cases, it is better to pay annually rather than in installments because there is often a relatively large additional charge for paying smaller amounts more frequently.
    8. Tell your beneficiaries about your life insurance policy
      Once the policy is issued, inform your beneficiaries the company that issued it, where to find the paper copy of the policy and any specifics about what you want them to do with the death benefit. While is rare for people to be unaware they are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, it does happen and you want to make sure that the benefit will not go unclaimed. And store your documents so that they can be easily accessed by your beneficiaries.

Contact us at 401-846-9629, we’ll help you to navigate all of your options and tailor a plan that is perfect for your family.
At Dwyer Insurance We’ll Always Do Our Best for You!

Landlords’ Insurance; Who Needs It?

Landlord Insurance

HousingWorksRI-NewportgraphicIf you are a property owner in Newport, there is a very good chance that YOU do!

According to a 2019 HousingWorksRI study, 60% of all housing in Newport is designated Multifamily.

Landlord Insurance provides protection for your rental property beyond the limited coverage of your standard homeowners insurance. Available coverage includes:

  • Property damage insurance
    A landlord policy typically covers any physical damage to the home that’s caused by fire, bad weather or criminal activity such as a break-in. It also covers any additional buildings, including a shed or detached garage. Equipment, like lawn mowers and snow blowers kept on the property to maintain it, is also covered.
  • Liability insurance
    If someone is hurt while living in the rental property or visiting it, landlord insurance can help cover that person’s medical costs, legal fees and settlements.
  • Loss of income insurance
    If your rental property is damaged by a covered loss, such as a fire or tornado, and the damage keeps you from renting it out, most policies will reimburse you for the income lost during that time.

What Landlord Insurance does not cover:

  • Tenant’s belongings ~ encourage your tenants to obtain Renter’s Insurance
  • Ordinary repairs and maintenance

Owning rental property can be challenging at times, but purchasing Landlord Insurance is a safe way to protect your investment. Call us at 401-846-9629, we’ll put together a perfect policy for your rental property.

Content: Nationwide® 2021

Safe Driver Series 4: 6 Winter Driving Tips

6 Winter Driving Safety Tips

6 Winter Driving Safety TipsWinter brings all sorts of driving headaches: snow, freezing rain and slush, which all make the roads more hazardous. To handle the hassle of winter driving follow these 6 important Winter Driving Tips:

  1. First of all, buckle up. Basic car safety encourages the use of seat belts and car seats at all times. They’re one of your best defenses in a crash. And it’s the law.
  2. Use extra caution in areas that ice up quickly, especially intersections, shaded areas, bridges and overpasses.
  3. Get in the habit of regularly checking weather reports on TV or online so you can prepare for bad weather. Consider staying at home if you don’t need to be on the road.
  4. Keep an emergency kit in the trunk of your car – including blankets, a first aid kit and jumper cables. Check out our full list of items for your emergency car kit.
  5. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and that your car always has a full tank of gas.
  6. To ensure you always have someone on your side when it comes to keeping you and your vehicle safe, learn more about auto insurance from Dwyer Insurance.

Nationwide Mobile AppBE PREPARED: Keep important items in your car’s glove box such as paper and a pencil for taking notes, a card that lists local law enforcement agency contact numbers and your medical allergies or conditions that first responders should know about.

MAKE IT EASY: The Nationwide Mobile app is available for free from the iTunes or Google Play store. It can guide you through the steps to take after an accident, helps you notify law enforcement, find a Nationwide Blue RibbonSM Repair Facility and towing services, and start the claims process.

Make sure you are adequately covered in the case of an accident. Call us a call at 401-846-9629 for a FREE Auto Policy Review; We’re Always Here to Help!

And remember SAFE DRIVERS are often eligible for premium discounts!

Content: ©2020 Nationwide®

4 Essential Protections of Homeowners Insurance

D.F. Dwyer Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners coverage provides financial protection against loss due to disasters, theft and accidents. Most standard policies include these four essential types of coverage:

  1. The Structure of Your Home:Home Building Plans Your homeowners policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disasters listed in your policy. Most policies also cover detached structures such as a garage, tool shed or gazebo—generally for about 10 percent of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of the house. A standard policy will not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake or routine wear and tear. When considering homeowners insurance it is important to purchase enough coverage to rebuild your home.
  2. Your Personal Belongings: Your furniture, clothes, sports equipment and other personal items are covered if they are stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane or other insured disasters. The coverage is generally 50%-70% of the insurance you have on the structure of the house. The best way to determine if this is enough coverage is to conduct a home inventory.Homeowners Insurance covers personal belongingsPersonal belongings coverage includes items stored off-premises—this means you are covered anywhere in the world. Some companies limit the amount to 10 percent of the amount of insurance you have for your possessions. You also have up to $500 of coverage for unauthorized use of your credit cards.Trees, plants and shrubs are also covered under standard homeowners insurance—generally for about $500 per item. Trees and plants are not covered for disease, or if they have been poorly maintained. Expensive items like jewelry, furs, art, collectibles and silverware are covered, but there are usually dollar limits if they are stolen. To insure these items to their full value, purchase a special personal property endorsement or floater and insure the item for its officially appraised value.
  3. Liability Protection: Liability covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by your pets. So, if your son, daughter (or even your dog) accidentally ruins a neighbor’s expensive rug, you are covered.Homeowners Insurance coverage includes liability protection (However, if they destroy your rug, you’re out of luck.) Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage, so if a friend or neighbor is injured in your home, he or she can simply submit medical bills to your insurance company. This way, expenses can be paid without a liability claim being filed against you. The liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards—up to the limit stated in your policy documents. Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. If you have significant assets and want more coverage than is available under your homeowners policy, consider purchasing an umbrella or excess liability policy, which provides broader coverage and higher liability limits.
  4. Additional Living Expenses (ALE): ALE pays the additional costs of living away from home if you cannot live there due to damage from an insured disaster. Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverages pays expenses of living away from home covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other costs, over and above your usual living expenses, incurred while your home is being rebuilt. Keep in mind that the ALE coverage in your homeowners policy has limits—and some policies include a time limitation. However, these limits are separate from the amount available to rebuild or repair your home. Even if you use up your ALE your insurance company will still pay the full cost of rebuilding your home up to the policy limit. If you rent out part of your house, ALE also covers you for the rent that you would have collected from your tenant if your home had not been destroyed.

Still have questions? We’re Here to Help!

Call 401-846-9629 or email us for a FREE policy review.

 We’ll Always Do Our Best for You!

Content: iii.org

Safe Driver Series 3: Hit & Run

Hit & Run Car leaving accident scene

A car accident can be a very traumatic and stressful event in your life especially if you are the victim of a hit-and-run. As with any accident, the first rule is to stay on the scene in a safe location. After that it is vital to gather information to help police locate the other driver and ensure that you don’t get stuck paying for damages.

4 Essentials After A Hit & Run:

  1. Record Information of Fleeing Vehicle:
    • License Plate Number and State
    • Make, Model, Color and Approximate Year of the Car
    • Time & Location of Accident
    • Direction the Driver Headed
  2. Gather Evidence at Scene:
    • Contact Information of Potential Witnesses
    • Photograph the scene and damage to your vehicle
  3. File A Police Report
  4. Contact Your Insurance Company
    • Depending upon your coverage, they can help with towing and finding a rental car. If you can identify the driver that hit you and they’re insured, you can likely get their car insurance information from your insurance company and file a claim with the other driver’s company.

In a hit-and-run accident scenario, having the minimum car insurance coverage may not offer the protection you need. To avoid being held financially responsible for potential costs, consider an uninsured motorist insurance policy. This coverage may protect you against drivers who don’t have liability insurance or the money to pay for injuries and damages they cause.

Contact us to learn more about how uninsured motorist coverage can protect you, your passengers and your car in the event of a hit-and-run accident.

Stay tuned for part 4 of our SAFE DRIVER SERIES next month with steps to take If You Are Pulled Over.


Nationwide Mobile AppBE PREPARED: Keep important items in your car’s glove box such as paper and a pencil for taking notes, a card that lists local law enforcement agency contact numbers and your medical allergies or conditions that first responders should know about.

MAKE IT EASY: The Nationwide Mobile app is available for free from the iTunes or Google Play store. It can guide you through the steps to take after an accident, helps you notify law enforcement, find a Nationwide Blue RibbonSM Repair Facility and towing services, and start the claims process.

Make sure you’re adequately covered in the case of an accident. Call us a call at 401-846-9629 for a FREE Auto Policy Review; We’re Always Here to Help!

And remember SAFE DRIVERS are often eligible for premium discounts!

Content: ©2020 Nationwide®

Think Big, Shop Small; For the Good of Us All!

Think Big, Shop Small to Boost Our Local Economy

It’s not just a nice notion to buy from local businesses, it actually pays to shop local. According to the Retail Merchants Association, for every $1 spent at a big box store only $.15 stays in the community, while $.45 of the same dollar spent at an independent merchant is reinvested locally. This not only results in a heartier local economy and job creation, shopping small also bolsters community involvement and support for nonprofits.

Ben Schiller, Managing Editor at CoinDesk points out: “The extra dollars in the local economy produce more jobs for residents, extra tax revenues for local governments, more investment in commercial and residential districts, and enhanced support for local nonprofits. In short, independent businesses create better places.”

Buying locally significantly reduces the carbon footprint of acquiring goods. Items produced and sold locally require less shipping, which reduces the need for fuel, packaging, warehousing, refrigeration, and other carbon-intensive services.
Independent businesses create better places.

As consumers our actions matter now more than ever; below are eight key benefits of patronizing our local businesses:

  1. BOOST OUR LOCAL ECONOMY: Buying locally enables us to invest directly into our local economy, we help to preserve existing local jobs, create new skilled jobs and increase the prosperity of the people around us. When we buy from small independent businesses, the salaries, the revenue, and the profit are more likely to stay local instead of going to a distant corporation. Studies show that when we buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than from a nationally owned chain, a significantly greater portion of our money is then used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — further strengthening the economic base of our entire community.
  2. SUSTAINABILITY: Buying locally increases our knowledge of available resources, builds trust and positivity, opens minds and hearts, and makes us more independent as a community. While we focus on the positive, we live in a world where disasters happen– having a strong and sustainable local infrastructure and food network is crucial. A more connected community is safer, more resilient and self-reliant in times of uncertainty.
  3. RESPONSIBLY GREEN: Buying locally significantly reduces the carbon footprint of acquiring goods. Items produced and sold locally require less shipping, which reduces the need for fuel, packaging, warehousing, refrigeration, and other carbon-intensive services. Why buy food that travels thousands of “food miles” when we can buy fresh, local produce here?

    One-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinct character of our community.
    Buying locally is responsibly green, it significantly reduces the carbon footprint of acquiring goods.
  4. STRENGTHEN OUR COMMUNITY: Buying locally demonstrates community pride. By patronizing a local hardware store instead of a big box alternative, we contribute to helping a local business to stay in business. One-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinct character of our community.
  5. YOUR VOICE IS HEARD: Buying locally shrinks the distance between producer and consumer creating a direct seller><buyer feedback loop. Both parties can keep tabs on quality and when buyers make special requests or offer suggestions, sellers learn how to better serve their customers. Though large retailers may advertise a wide selection, the variety of what they market is decided by a small group of corporate buyers. Real choice comes from dozens of independent businesses tailoring their goods and services to the unique needs, tastes, and interests of their communities.

    Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers and provide more personalized service.
    Local businesses provide better service by knowing their products and customers.
  6. BETTER SERVICE: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers and provide more personalized service. Plus, we get to see the familiar faces of our neighbors each time we visit!
  7. NETWORK BUILDING: Buying locally provides opportunities to connect and interact with others who live and work around us. In doing so, we expand our own community sphere. (Notably, in 2020 most local merchants have developed contact-free purchase options, including online ordering, take-out, curbside pick-up, etc. to safely serve customers while protect staff.)
  8. SUPPORT NON-PROFITS: Independent businesses donate more per sales dollar to local non-profits and are the most ardent supporters of parks, libraries, events, and the great area amenities that make our community unique.

Buying locally significantly reduces the carbon footprint of acquiring goods. Items produced and sold locally require less shipping, which reduces the need for fuel, packaging, warehousing, refrigeration, and other carbon-intensive services.
A more connected community is safer, more resilient and self-reliant in times of uncertainty.

By making conscious decisions to support local merchants, food growers and service providers, we are embracing our local economies and empowering our cities, our neighbors and ourselves to grow and thrive. Our actions matter now more than ever. As you plan your next purchase, ask yourself if you can find what you’re seeking at a locally owned establishment rather than online or at a major chain. Now that we know the powerful impact our buying habits can make in our community, let’s vote with our wallets and challenge others to do the same!

Sources: SustainableConnections.org, Wisebread.com, Localism.com

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