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Rutt Insurance Agency Blog Page 7

View the latest blog posts from Rutt Insurance Agency.

Nicer weather is coming, and that means grilling season! We can’t help you become a grill master overnight, but these tips can definitely help you make sure that your grill is running safely and is ready to be a great tool for family fun rather than a potential fire hazard.

Basic Tips

  • Watch the grill whenever it’s on.
  • Never use the grill indoors, near any wooden beams, or under the eaves.
  • Make sure the grill is well away from your home, and siding.
  • Keep the grill area free from combustible materials like branches and plants.
  • Keep kids and pets well away from the grill when it’s hot.
  • Make sure to keep the grill clean to avoid grease flare-ups.

Charcoal Grills

  • If you use a starter fluid, use one designed for charcoal, and never add it directly to the fire.
  • Make sure you store charcoal lighter fluid appropriately. Keep it away from children.
  • Let the coals cool down completely before you dispose of them.
  • Only dispose of coals in a metal container. Coals directly in the trash are a major risk.

Propane Grills

  • Tighten all gas lines and hose connections before you fire up the grill for the first time.
  • Check for leaks in the lines by applying a soap-and-water solution all over the lines, and then turning on the propane. Look for bubbles – they’re a sure sign of a leak.
  • If you do see bubbles indicating a leak, have the grill serviced by a professional.
  • If you ever experience an uncontrolled gas leak, call the fire department immediately.

These safety tips will go a long way to ensuring that your grill stays safe and functional all summer, allowing you to enjoy your cookouts with confidence.

--Content used in this post was originally published by Mammoth Restoration & Construction and is used with their permission.

Posted 1:10 PM

As winter has reluctantly said its final goodbye, and school bells will soon ring marking the last day of school, many Pennsylvania families are turning their thoughts to family vacations. Here are some frequent questions we get each year from families looking to rent a car on vacation.

Q: I'm going on vacation and plan to rent a car. I've been told my personal auto policy will cover the rental vehicle. Is this true?
A: The majority of auto insurance companies will extend coverage from your personal auto policy to a rental vehicle. With most policies, coverage pays for actual repairs to the rental car, but you remain responsible for your policy deductible. In addition, the rental agreement often makes you responsible for "additional" items, and that’s where many issues can arise.

NOTE: If your personal auto policy does not include physical damage coverage, the rental car will not be covered if it's damaged. In addition, if you rent a car outside of the United States, coverage may not be extended.

Q: I've also heard that if I use my credit card to pay for the rental vehicle, the rental vehicle will be covered. Is this true?
A: Many, but not all, credit card companies offer rental insurance, and will pay for damage to a rental car if you pay for the rental vehicle with that card. However, the coverage will be secondary to your personal auto policy. In other words, your credit card company may pick up certain things that your personal auto policy does not cover, such as your deductible. It is best to check with your specific credit card company to see what coverage may be provided.

Q: If my personal auto policy covers my rental car, and if my credit card covers my deductible, doesn't this mean I'm fully covered?
A: While your personal auto policy and use of a credit card may provide adequate coverage, they frequently fall short.
The rental car company may come after you to pay certain fees such as towing, loss of use (the period the rental car is out of service for repairs), diminished value (wrecked and repaired cars are viewed as less valuable than undamaged, factory originals) and administrative fees. All of these fees may be tacked on by the rental car company in the event of an accident, and all of which you can be held liable for. By signing the rental agreement, the renter is always responsible for any loss or damage to a rental vehicle, regardless of who is at fault.

Q: Would it be wise to purchase the "extra insurance" offered by the rental car company?
A: A loss damage waiver (LDW), sometimes called a collision damage waiver, purchased from a rental car company essentially takes the place of your own collision and comprehensive insurance, letting you and your insurance company off the hook if you wreck the rental car, or if it's stolen or vandalized. In exchange for purchasing the LDW, the rental company agrees to "waive" claims against you for damages in the event of an accident. But, your LDW coverage could become void if the accident was caused because you were speeding, driving under the influence, or the accident was the result of a reckless act or error on your part. 
Before renting, familiarize yourself with your insurance options by:
* Contacting a Rutt Insurance agent and finding out if you have enough coverage under your existing policy; and
* Contacting your credit card company to find out if it offers rental car coverage, and what the restrictions and limitations may be.

If the two coverage methods mentioned above seem inadequate for your needs, you may wish to consider the purchase of a LDW. 

Q:  Are there any other options?
A.  Because of the prohibitive cost of purchasing Loss Damage Waivers from rental car companies, many people choose to forego the purchase and take the risk of being hit with fees. Realizing the need for a more affordable solution some companies specializing in travel insurance have begun offering Rental Car Insurance. Companies such as Allianz Global Assistance, are now offering a more affordable alternative to the Loss Damage Waivers offered by many rental car companies.

Q: What should I do?
A: Making such a personal decision about your options is yours - and yours alone under the law. As your independent insurance agent, we will do our best to help explain your options. Our agency's job is to help provide you with information on these choices so you can make the best informed decision for you and your family.
Posted 3:01 AM

Brr, it’s cold outside! You’re staying warm, but what about your water pipes? When it gets this cold, even pipes you think are safe may freeze and burst, spilling hundreds of gallons of water inside your home and causing a big headache.

How To Avoid The Freeze

Wrap, insulate or run heat tape for all pipes in uninsulated spaces.

Make sure heat is turned on, even in unused rooms.

Drain all outside hoses and store inside if possible.

During the cold snap, open your faucets and let water drip. Just a trickle can help stop pipes from freezing.

Signs A Pipe Has Frozen

No water comes out of your faucets.

Just a trickle of water comes out when the faucet is on.

Defrosting a Frozen Pipe

Open the closest faucet to the frozen area.

Start the defrosting process as close to the open faucet as you can.

Use a hair dryer or hot towels to defrost. A hair dryer can be plugged in and directed onto the pipe until it’s unfrozen. To use a hot towel, first cover the pipe with the dry towel, and then pour hot water over the pipe until it un-freezes.

Gradually work your way back from the faucet until everything is defrosted and water flows freely again.

Do not use a propane torch. Propane torches can damage your pipes and cause a fire hazard if not used properly. Leave this technique to the professionals.

Dealing With The Damage

When a pipe remains frozen for too long, it will burst. But just because the pipe was frozen doesn’t necessarily stop it from leaking after it bursts.

The damage from a burst pipe is often hidden behind walls or under floorboards, and fast action is essential to keep mold from growing.

Stay safe, stay warm, and watch out for frozen pipes!

--Content used in this post was originally published by Mammoth Restoration & Construction and is used with their permission.

Posted 6:32 PM

One Snowfall, Many Hazards

Heavy snow can really create havoc on the roads when it falls, but it does more than just make driving difficult. It can create slippery walkways, leading to injury. It can block access to necessary goods and services. It can potentially cause motorists to become stranded in cold weather. And in some cases, it can even cause stress and strain on the roof of your home, leading to leaks and structural problems.

Prepare Before The Snow Hits

  • Build your winter weather kit. It’s never too late to get started – even right before the first big storm, you can still stock up.
  • Get the survival essentials. Travel is often hard when the biggest storms hit, and heavy snow can easily knock out power. Stock up on nonperishable foods that don’t need to be cooked (think canned goods) and bottled water.

Once The Storm Hits, be Snow Smart

  • When the storm arrives, stay put if you can. The best way to drive safely in a big snowstorm is to avoid it entirely. Stay with your supplies, sheltered inside a building, unless absolutely necessary.
  • Dress for the occasion. If you do need to go outside, make sure you wear warm clothes. Just throwing on a bunch of layers isn’t necessarily enough: waterproof and windproof materials make a big difference when you’re out in a windy, wet snow storm.
  • If you intend to remove snow from your roof, be safe. Removing the weight of heavy snow from your roof can help prevent a possible roof collapse, but only if you are careful to remove that snow in a safe manner. Never step out onto a roof covered in snow; instead, use a snow removal roof rake.
  • Heat your home safely. Read and understand all instructions for heaters and other sources of warmth. Make sure that no heat source is ever too close to anything flammable. Never leave a fireplace or other open flame burning unattended.

Winter weather can be unpredictable, but by taking steps to prepare yourself and your home, you can be well equipped to handle anything that mother nature can throw at you.

Posted 6:26 PM

Tags: snow

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