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High Tech—and Affordable—Ways to Protect Your Home

With the cost of everything rising, from personal goods to homeowners insurance, it’s smart to look for ways to prevent loss before it happens. In our last post, we talked about ways to harden your home against damage. Today, let’s discuss some additional ways to protect your home using high tech and “smart” gadgets. These products are becoming more affordable all the time—and you might even find some of these included in Black Friday deals.

Water leak detector

Damage caused by a burst pipe or other water leak can cost thousands of dollars in repairs. If a leak goes undetected, you might have to rebuild walls, kill mold, and replace personal belongings damaged by water. Installing a leak detector is one way to stop that damage before it starts.

Leak detectors sense water leaks and alert you to the problem. Some can even automatically shut off water to your home if a leak is detected. These models are more expensive and need to be professionally installed, but if you’re often away from home for extended periods, they could be a great investment. Some are able to monitor water flow in pipes to detect a leak behind your walls, saving you money on your water bill as well as alerting you to a leak.

Ting

Ting (no affiliation) is a small sensor device you plug into a wall socket and monitor using an app. Its purpose is to prevent home fires by detecting unique signals given off by tiny electrical arcs that are “precursors to imminent fire risks,” Bob Marshall, co-founder of Ting’s maker, Whisker Labs, told the Insurance Information Institute.

According to U.S. Fire Administration data from 2012-2021, while home fires from cooking and heating have decreased, electrical fires have increased by 11 percent during that time.

“Electrical fires are often the most devastating type of house fire. Ting monitors your electrical network for the main precursors to electrical fires, micro-arcs, and sparks that develop in faulty wires, loose connections, and faulty appliances or devices. These signals usually develop over weeks and months, so Ting is designed to provide you with advanced warnings to address these hazards, prior to the hazard starting an electrical fire,” according to information found on Ting’s website.

Ting is not a smoke detector—it doesn’t alert you if a fire has started. What it does do is help to prevent an electrical fire from starting in the first place.

Some homeowners insurance companies offer Ting as a benefit to their clients, but if yours doesn’t, you can buy the device yourself and subscribe to Ting’s monitoring service on your own. Click here to learn more about Ting.

Smoke alarm

Most of us already have smoke alarms installed, but newer models have more features like voice alerts and flashing lights. Smart alarms offer text messaging so even if you’re not home you can be notified if the unit senses smoke. Some alarms must be wired into your electrical system, so you may need to hire someone to install them.

Video doorbell camera

Using live video and audio connected to an app on your phone, a video doorbell camera lets you see who’s at your door, even if you’re not home. Thieves often ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home, so being able to see and talk to someone at your door can be a deterrent to both break-ins and package theft.

Peace of mind

Installing these high-tech products can help you improve your family’s safety as well as prevent or reduce damage to your home. To add to your peace of mind, make sure you also have the best homeowners insurance coverage for your needs. This is where L & M Insurance Group can help. We are an independent insurance agency with more than 30 years of experience serving the insurance needs of Tampa, Brandon, Riverview and surrounding communities. We offer a wide range of choice of insurance carriers, and we’ll help you find the one that is right for you. Please call 813-672-4100 for a homeowners insurance quote, or click here to contact us online.

Improving Your Home? Don’t Forget to Upgrade Your Insurance

Home Owner's Insurance: Reasons to UpgradeSpring weather has many of us thinking about home and landscape improvements. It’s a perfect time of year to spruce up our surroundings, and prepare for the coming heat, humidity, and summer storms.

 

If you’re planning renovations or landscaping projects this spring, consider what effect these projects might have on your homeowners insurance and liability. Some projects can make your home safer (thus reducing the chance you’ll have to make a claim on your insurance), some projects will increase the value of your home (so your current homeowners policy might not be adequate), and some projects might even save you money on your insurance.

 

Here are five common home improvement projects and how they can affect your insurance coverage:

 

Tree Trimming

Trimming trees not only improves their health and appearance, it can also make your home and yard safer. Proper trimming ensures that dead limbs can’t fall on your car, or be blown into your yard by high winds. You can also protect your roof and pool enclosure by having overhanging limbs cut back. This reduces the likelihood that your home or car—or a guest’s car—will be damaged by falling tree limbs.

 

Planting Trees or Shrubs

Before planting anything with invasive roots, find out where your water, sewer or septic lines run. Most homeowners insurance policies don’t contain coverage for water or sewer back-up damage—damage that might be caused by roots that grow into your water, sewer, or septic lines. One way to find out where those lines are is to “call before you dig”.

 

Roof Replacement

Even though it can be an expensive home improvement, having your roof replaced can offer you peace of mind, increase the value of your home, and save you money on your homeowners insurance. (See “A Wind Mitigation Report Can Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Premium” for more information.)

 

Adding a Pool

Having a pool in Florida is almost a must—but it can leave you open to liability claims if someone is hurt while playing in or around your pool. You may want to consider adding an umbrella policy to boost your liability protection. Also, remember to increase the amount of your homeowners coverage to include the value of that new pool. And think twice about adding a slide or a diving board. Most homeowners policies exclude exposure to slides or diving boards. Some only provide $25,000 worth of coverage, and others won’t write your policy at all if you have a slide or diving board.

 

Significant Kitchen or Bath Upgrades

Installing granite or marble countertops, custom cabinetry, or professional-grade appliances? You may want to upgrade your homeowners insurance coverage at the same time, to be sure you’d receive the increased value should you have to make a claim. If the remodeling is extensive, you may need to buy a builder’s risk policy.

 

It’s a great time of year to spruce up your Florida home. Please call us with any questions you have about how your proposed home or landscaping projects might affect your insurance.