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Did You Recently Purchase a Secondary Home? What It Means for Your Insurance Policies 

Everyone enjoys a break from busy day-to-day lifestyles with an escape, but what better escape is there than a home away from home? A secondary home, also referred to as a vacation home, is an additional property that a homeowner buys at a different location from their primary residence. These properties are typically found in the mountains, by the ocean, by the lake, or simply in a different location than the owners’ primary residence. One thing that may trip up expectant secondary home buyers is the effect the additional property will have on a policy.  

 

Why Do I Need a Secondary Home Policy? 

When you own a homeowner’s policy, it isn’t usually accepting of a secondary home since most people are not occupying the second home for more than a few months out of the year. While a secondary home policy is required when purchasing an additional home, it’s recommended to know what risks may affect this new policy. Some factors that can affect your policy include: 

Replacement Cost: If the cost of the second home is more to replace than it is worth. 

Vacancies: If the home is vacant for an extended period, it is at risk of being vulnerable to damage. 

Location: Depending on how far or close your home is to emergency services can cause your rate to increase or decrease. 

Rental: If the second home will be used as a rental, there will be the need for additional coverages such as landlord insurance. 

  

Additional Coverages for a Secondary Home Policy 

Most secondary home policies come with limited coverage. Adding additional coverage to your policy is a must if you want to increase your protection. If adding additional coverage to your policy is a must, consider the following options: 

Personal Property Coverage: Protect your belongings in case of a disaster that could damage your personal items. These items include furniture, clothing, appliances, or other personal items. 

Personal Umbrella Policy: Coverage in the event if damage done to a second home is higher than the limits of basic home coverage.   

Personal Liability: If you are found responsible for an injury to someone on your property who doesn’t live in either home, this coverage is there to help cover medical or court costs. 

Flood Insurance: Normal homeowner’s insurance policies don’t combat flooding. Depending on the location of the second home, a lakefront property for example, it may cause a higher risk of flood or water damage.  

Full Replacement Cost: Helps provide coverage for the full cost to rebuild your home if the total loss is up to 125% of the coverage limits of your policy. Depending on where the property is, there is the potential to receive up to 150% of costs.  

 

Having a secondary home is an exciting prospect for any homeowner!    

If you are in need of updating your policies to include a secondary home, or you are interested in learning more about secondary home policies, contact one of your local insurance agents to discuss a quote! 

The Importance of Your Yearly Dental and Vision Appointments

Yearly check-ups are vital for your long-term health and well-being. Many people think going to the doctor for their annual check-up is good enough, but you also need to visit the optometrist and dentist! Your dental and vision appointments are also vital for your health. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t skimp out on your dental and vision:   

  

Eye Care  

Even if you don’t think your vision has changed, you should still go to the optometrist for the overall health of your eyes—many eye diseases go unnoticed until it’s too late! Sometimes your eyes can show signs of illness before medical doctors can diagnose them. Your eyes can be the window to certain health issues you may have because it’s easy to see the blood vessels and nerves in your eyes.   

Your vision can change slowly over time without you even realizing it. If you have young children, they may have vision issues that they aren’t even aware of. Many children will think their poor eyesight is normal because they don’t know better. Your kids’ grades in school may suffer as a result of not being able to see correctly!   

Visiting the optometrist is more than just getting a pair of glasses or contacts to correct your vision. They have tests and screens for eye diseases and can often see symptoms of other medical problems in the eyes. Yearly vision check-ups can help prevent vision problems from evolving into chronic conditions like retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. Glaucoma is a silent disease that many won’t know about until they start losing their vision. Visiting your optometrist yearly is a necessary preventative measure if you want to keep your eyesight.   

Did you know you can develop melanoma (a serious type of cancer) in your eyes? Melanoma can develop in the choroid, which is the layer behind the retina. Your optometrist will be able to see any tumors or unnatural occurrences in your eyes during your screening. They’ll also look for other diseases like macular degeneration or retinopathy, which can both cause loss of vision.   

Dental Care  

It is highly recommended to visit the dentist once or twice a year. You may follow a good dental hygiene routine, but visiting the dentist is still one of the best ways to prevent oral health problems. Many people won’t notice they have a cavity until it’s already too late to reverse it.   

Cavities happen when the enamel of the teeth is eaten away by bacteria. Undigested food can build up on the surface of your teeth and gums forming a substance called plaque. When you have a buildup of plaque on the teeth, you are more likely to have a cavity. Brushing and flossing your teeth can prevent plaque buildup, but sometimes when plaque hardens too much it becomes a job for the dentist. If you don’t go to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned, your cavity can worsen until it gets to the point of an abscess.   

If your cavity gets to the point of an abscess, you will need to go on antibiotics. An abscess is a severe infection you shouldn’t scoff at—especially if it’s in your mouth. If the infection were to get into your blood it could become fatal.   

A healthy mouth is important! Visit your dentist at least once a year to keep your mouth in tip-top shape.   

  

Know Your Insurance  

You can usually bundle your vision and dental insurance with your health insurance. Contact your local insurance agent to discuss your insurance needs today!   

Brand Awareness and Identity for Your Business

When it comes to promoting your brand, awareness is everything. Creating an identity for your brand is essential to standing out from the competition and connecting with your target audience. But how do you go about doing this?  

Here are a few key things to keep in mind when creating your brand identity:  

  

What Is Brand Awareness?   

Brand awareness is how familiar consumers are with your brand and business. Brand awareness creates customers that are more likely to shop at or become clients of your business. Consumers are more likely to buy from and become reoccurring consumers at businesses they are familiar with.  

You want your business to have a personality that consumers can relate to. That’s what brand awareness does. You can create awareness of your brand by creating a personality that creates a bond with consumers. If you can foster trust and familiarity with your consumers, then they will keep coming back!  

Once a brand is popular enough, people can instantly recognize them anywhere. Make sure your business has a recognizable logo that connects your brand with consumers. Most of us can tell instantly what a business is just by looking at the logo. Have you ever driven down the street and seen the golden arches? You probably recognized that it was a McDonald’s. This is peak brand awareness.   

To reach this level of brand awareness, you’ll need to put in some serious work. But don’t worry—read on and you’ll know where to start!  

  

How to Build Your Brand Awareness  

For starters, you can’t expect to significantly raise your brand awareness by running a few advertisements! It takes quite a bit of work to be familiar with consumers. Advertising will help spread your name and what you do—but it’s not guaranteed that people will follow through unless your advertisements are unforgettable.   

Here’s a list of things to do with your business marketing that can help you raise your brand awareness:   

Social Media  

If you don’t already have social media accounts for your business, you should make them. Social media is one of the best ways for brands to interact with their consumers. Having a distinct personality through your social media will attract your target audience. Just make sure you post on your accounts regularly. You should be creating content and interacting with your followers. Create engaging posts your followers will like and share. When your followers share your content, it’s like free advertising.   

Great Customer Service  

Customers remember when customer service is good, and they remember even more when it’s terrible. Avoid scathing reviews by offering consistent, high-quality customer service that your customers will be happy about. Respond quickly with a friendly tone.   

Everyone loves good customer service that cares about their needs. If a customer has an issue with a product, make sure it is resolved quickly and peacefully. Consumers are likely to rave about how great the customer service was in a review even if they had issues with a faulty product. Customers that don’t have good customer service will likely leave a horrible review of your business and services and potential customers will see it. That’s why it’s super important to have amazing customer service to help handle customer complaints.   

Promotional Products/Services  

Everyone loves a good discount—even more if it’s free. Consumers are more likely to check out your products and services if you are offering a good discount or a free sample. Depending on the type of business you are running, you may want to consider a discount on the first month of service or include a free “gift” with your purchase. Consumers remember this and will appreciate it. They’ll be more likely to continue paying for your products or services because they view your business as trustworthy.   

Online Presence  

Your online presence is key to the success of your brand. Most people don’t go past the first page of search results, so make sure your page is SEO friendly! Work hard to make sure your website has a high ranking. You can do this by having plenty of content (pages & blogs), using focused keywords, and having a good, user-friendly layout.   

 

There’s no doubt that brand awareness is important for businesses. After all, if customers don’t know about your brand, they’re unlikely to buy from you. Make sure to maintain your presence to grow a following in your community!   

If you need business insurance to help protect your business, contact one of your local insurance agents to discuss a quote!   

 

Mid-Year House Maintenance

Having a house maintenance checklist and keeping up with it can significantly improve the life of your home and can also save you money on repairs later on. Some home maintenance projects are better to do in the summer than in winter. If you plan on doing any work to the exterior of your home, it’s much easier to finish when no winter storms are getting in the way! Here’s a list of home projects you may want to complete this summer:  

Outdoor Cleanup  

There may be a few exterior projects you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t been able. Summer is the best time to landscape your yard or fix up the exterior of your home. Look at your local weather forecast before taking up some projects. If you’re planning on staining or painting your fence, deck, or house, you’ll want to make sure it’s not raining for a few days to ensure it properly dries.   

New Siding  

Is it time for new vinyl siding? Vinyl is a popular choice for home siding as it is highly durable. However, if any pieces of vinyl are not properly attached, your home will likely suffer from water damage. Make sure you have any loose vinyl siding replaced by a professional. Older homes may need all-new vinyl siding installed. Modern vinyl is durable and can last up to 100 years if it’s well-kept.   

New Roof  

Summer is also the ideal time of year for roof repairs! If your roof has a leak and needs repairs, now’s the time. Or, if you need a new roof, it’s best to do it when it’s not snowing. Roofs typically need replacing around every 20 years or less depending on the materials. Older, worn roofs are more susceptible to water damage. Water damage doesn’t go away on its own and will only get worse. If your roof leaks, it’s time for a new roof! If you’re replacing your roof, it may also be time to consider installing new gutters.   

Replace Windows   

Summer is an ideal time to have your windows replaced. It’s better to replace windows when it’s not freezing outside. However, you may want to have them replaced closer to autumn when it’s a tad cooler outdoors. You probably won’t want your air conditioning on when replacing windows because it wastes energy.   

Old windows are often inefficient and drafty. New windows can boost your home’s curb appeal while lowering your heating and cooling bill. Installing new windows in your home can be costly, but you’ll save on your energy bills later on. If you plan on selling your house anytime soon you can expect a significant return on your investment.   

Pest Control  

When you’re working on the exterior of your home, keep an eye out for any pests that may be trying to take up residence! Look out for hornets or signs of termite infestation. Hornets and birds sometimes try to make a nest in your attic, so keep an eye out for any openings they may be able to get through and be sure to seal them up.  

Rather than spending a hefty amount on pest control to come and eradicate pests, consider signing up for a plan where they visit your home regularly. You can save money in the long run with a monthly pest control visit that will deter pests from infesting your home.   

Maintaining your home regularly will keep your home healthier longer. No one wants to live in a run-down house. Taking care of your home will make it worth it in the long run—especially when it comes time to sell. You may also want to make sure your home is properly insured with a good home insurance plan. Talk to one of your local insurance agents today to discuss your home insurance policy.   

Exercise Activities for Summer Wellness 

There’s an innumerable number of activities you can do during the summer. Exercise is good for your health and exercising outdoors during the summer is even better! You should be getting about 150 minutes of exercise each week. Take some time to focus on your health and wellness with these outdoor-focused activities:  

Go for a Long Walk or Hike 

Whether you take a few laps around the neighborhood or take a trip down to the local park, walking is a simple exercise that will help clear your head. Just a 30-minute walk a few times a week can help improve your overall health and mental wellbeing. Consider taking a significant other or a friend with you to help keep you company. If you have a furry friend, make sure to take them with you so they can get some exercise and enjoy the great outdoors, too! 

If you have children, consider taking them to the zoo or an aquarium. You’ll get plenty of walking in and they’ll love seeing all the animals and fish. It’s a great weekend activity to get everyone in the family out of the house. 

Hit Up the Local Pool 

Swimming is a fantastic exercise that works the muscles and is easy on the body. Going to the local pool is fun for the whole family! If you have young children, make sure to bring some water toys! They might even make some friends with other children in the area. Or, you can invite their friends to come along. Either way, your kids will have a blast and you can get some exercise in.  

Get Green with Gardening  

Gardening will get you outside multiple times a week. It’s a great way to clear your head and become one with nature. You can start your own garden or join a community garden. If you don’t have a community garden you can always start one! Community gardens are a good way to meet new people with common interests. You can also do it with your family. You can teach your kids a thing or two about plants and how they grow in the process!  

Gardening is a fun activity you can do in your downtime, but it also gives you fresh food! Nothing is more satisfying than eating fruits and vegetables from your own garden. If you grew too much, your neighbors are sure to appreciate your bountiful harvest, as well.  

Go Geocaching with Friends  

Geocaching is like a little treasure hunt you can do with your phone’s GPS! Pretty much everyone has participated in a scavenger hunt at some point in their life. Geocaching is basically a big scavenger hunt. You can download an app on your phone and you can pick a geocache you want to do. There are so many geocaches you can do with friends or family! Geocaching can even introduce you to some new spots in your community that you weren’t aware of. Take on the town and find some little treasures!   

Play a Game of Golf or Tennis  

If you love golf or tennis, then why not go to the local golf course or tennis courts for a game or two? It’s a good way to get out of the house and have some fun with a group of friends. If you have kids, you can teach them the game! Maybe someday your kids might even grow up to be famous tennis or golf stars—you never know.  

While exercise is a great way to stay healthy and fit, you should still go to the doctor at least twice a year for physicals and check-ups. Make sure your family has a good health insurance plan! Talk to one of your local agents today for a health insurance quote.  

Going Off Road: Protecting Your Off-Road Vehicle  

Summer is the time for taking your off-roading vehicle for a spin. Make sure your off-road vehicle is properly insured beforehand! Off-road vehicles usually are not covered under your homeowner’s or auto insurance policy. Even if you are off-roading on your property, you may still need an off-road policy depending on the laws in your state.   

Some vehicles that are considered off-road are snowmobiles, golf carts, ATVs, or dirt bikes. Many of the coverages that you may find in your auto insurance policy are similar to off-road vehicle insurance. These are the types of coverage you may need for your off-road vehicle:   

Collision Coverage may help with repair costs if you damage your vehicle from hitting a tree, fence, or another vehicle. This is standard for most vehicle policies.   

Bodily Injury Liability policies may help cover the cost of a person’s medical bill if you’re found liable for their injuries after hitting them with your off-road vehicle.   

Property damage liability can help cover the cost of repairs if you damage someone else’s property with your off-road vehicle. This includes their vehicle or other personal property like fences.   

Comprehensive coverage is a policy that may help cover the cost of repairs or replacement for your off-roading vehicle if it has been damaged from something other than a collision (like hail damage or a fallen tree) or if it is stolen.   

Like many insurance policies, you may need to pay a deductible before your insurance will help cover the cost of repair. There are often coverage limits, which means that the insurance may only pay up to a max amount.   

Depending on your location you may be required to have proof of liability insurance. Even if it isn’t required in your state, you should still carry it because you never know what may happen. If you were to injure someone or cause damage to someone’s property while on your off-road vehicle, you may have to pay out of pocket for the medical bills or repairs.   

Off-Road Vehicles on Roads   

In most states, it’s illegal to operate an off-road vehicle on a public road. Most insurance won’t even help cover the cost of repairs to your off-road vehicle if damage happens while operating on a public road. If you are transporting your off-road vehicle in a trailer then it may be covered.   

You should always research your state and local laws and be well aware of what your insurance covers. Most state parks don’t allow off-road vehicles unless otherwise stated. If you happen to get in an accident and aren’t following the laws, then you will likely have to pay out of pocket for repairs.   

Many insurance agencies offer substantial discounts if you already carry an auto/home insurance policy with them. Consider packaging your insurance plans together to get the most out of your money. Reach out to one of your local insurance agents today to get an off-road vehicle insurance quote!   

How Does Valuable Items Coverage Work? 

Have you ever gone on vacation and worried that your stuff won’t be there when you get home? Your homeowner’s/renter’s insurance may provide coverage for damaged or stolen personal items, but sometimes it’s not enough. This coverage is typically limited to a certain amount of money for standard plans. If you have valuable items and you want to ensure they’re properly covered and that you’ll receive a decent amount of money for your claims, then you should consider a valuable items policy.  

What is Valuable Items Insurance? 

“Valuable” item refers to expensive, rare, or collectible items that are worth a significant amount of money. Most people think of valuables as fine jewelry and your silverware/fine China, but it also includes artwork, coin/stamp collections, musical instruments, medical devices, cameras, and various electronics.  

Double-Check Your Policy 

If you’re unsure of what your personal items policy covers, you should go over it again and double-check to make sure you have enough coverage. Does your personal items coverage include all perils or named perils? Peril is something that would cause damage (like a fire or a tornado).  

All Perils means the insurance company has to prove if your item is not covered. This option is more expensive because it covers everything except perils that are specifically excluded (think flood or earthquake).  

Named Perils means the insurance company can only cover it if it’s damaged as a result of a peril listed on the insurance policy. This typically covers your basics like vandalism and theft, storms, and more depending on what your insurer covers.  

Have Valuables Appraised 

Did you inherit something from grandma and have no idea what it’s worth? Get an appraisal done by a professional! They can tell you how much your valuables are worth. Some items appreciate (or depreciate) over time, so have your valuables appraised every few years so you’re aware of their current value. Insurance agencies typically have a cap on the amount they’ll cover, so you may need to take out extra coverage if your policy’s limits aren’t enough.  

Create A Home Inventory 

Don’t be at a loss any more than you need to be after peril occurs. Create a home inventory so you have a list of exactly what is in your house and what your items are worth. This helps both you and your insurer with claims. Catalog everything and include pictures and descriptions of each item. It’s even better if you include receipts with the date of purchase with the original value if possible. If you had your valuables appraised, be sure to include those appraisals as well.  

Actual Cash Value versus Replacement Cost Coverage 

Most personal item coverages have actual cash coverage, meaning that your insurance will cover the amount an item is worth. Many items like furniture and appliances lose their value as time goes on. If you upgrade to a replacement cost coverage plan then the insurance will have to cover the original cost of the item. This plan is pricier, but it can be worth it in the long run if you live in an area prone to peril. Also, if you have this plan make sure you keep the receipts for the items you buy!  

If you’re concerned about the insurance for your valuables, don’t wait until it’s too late. Talk to your local insurance agent to discuss a quote for a valuable items policy today!  

You put passion behind your products — protect them

You’ve spent a lot of time and money on your products so that they will satisfy consumers. Don’t let that all go south when one defective product or a misinterpreted label goes wrong. If someone claims your product causes injury to their person or damages their property, then you could be held responsible for the bill.  

What is Product Liability Insurance?  

Product liability insurance is an insurance policy that helps cover the cost of legal expenses in the event someone claims your product injured them or damages their property. Most businesses that sell, manufacture, or distribute products should have this insurance coverage under their belt. This policy covers defective products or products that aren’t labeled with enough warnings (for example peanut butter contains nuts). Even if it seems obvious if there isn’t a warning label your business could potentially lose the lawsuit.  

Whether it’s a design defect or a manufacturer defect, a product liability claim is considered a strict liability. This means that the seller, manufacturer, and distributor are at fault for the person’s injury or property damage.  

Product liability also covers contractors or construction workers for completed work and installation professionals who install a product in someone’s home. If they install something in the home that leads to the damage of something else (like a new refrigerator leak that causes water damage to the floor), then they will be covered under product liability insurance if they hold a policy. Depending on the claim, business owners could easily lose thousands of dollars or more if they didn’t have a product liability policy. 

If you sell a product that doesn’t do as it promises (like a microwave that promises to turn potatoes into gold nuggets—it’s impossible) then it will not be covered under product liability insurance.  

Why Your Business Needs Product Liability Coverage 

You never know when a product could be defective, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and purchase a product liability plan. Some insurers bundle it along with general liability or a business owner’s policy (BOP), but you should always double-check and make sure that you have this coverage before selling or installing any products. Most BOPs provide property, general liability, and business income coverages in one plan.  

General liability policies cover your business from claims of bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury (like slander). This doesn’t cover the products or services that your business sells or provides. It typically covers scenarios like someone slipping on a wet floor or a ceiling tile falling on them. If someone bought something from your store and it caused them harm outside of the store, then you would need product liability coverage to ensure you’re covered from any claims they may make.  

While product liability insurance isn’t required for businesses to operate, not having it could lead to a major monetary loss that shuts down the business. Reach out to your local insurance agent to ask about a product liability insurance quote for your business today!  

How to Incorporate Workplace Wellness 

The idea of wellness has been steadily growing since the 1960s, but in recent years it has really boomed. Wellness focuses on health in all areas of an individual. Workplace wellness focuses on encouraging healthy behavior so employees are healthier and happier at work. Every company is different and offers different methods of workplace wellness, but if you’re new to the idea of wellness here are some things to consider:  

Physical Wellness  

Encouraging workers to stay physically fit can boost their energy and overall happiness levels. Having an in-office gym or offering gym memberships can help employees with their physical endeavors. Healthy eating habits are another aspect of physical wellness, so giving them ample time to eat and offering water and snacks in the office will promote a healthier lifestyle. Getting a good amount of sleep is important to productivity, so it encourages employees to be well-rested.  

Offering a good health insurance plan will keep employees healthier in the long run. Promote regular physicals or have days in the office where you host free check-ups for employees. You can also hold events in the office where you offer company-wide flu vaccines during flu season. 

Mental & Emotional Wellness  

Mental health and emotional wellness are the most important aspects of wellness. Mental health disorders have been on the rise since the pandemic and are more prevalent than ever. You don’t want your employees to be stressed and feel overworked—the work-life balance is key. Make sure your business offers holidays off and enough sick leave and vacation days for employees.  

Offering free telehealth programs to your employees can help them with their mental health. They can use telehealth visits for therapy and won’t have to worry about the cost while getting the help they need. You can also offer courses on mindfulness, a method of stress reduction by improving the human ability to be present and have situational awareness. Mindfulness allows us to deal with our situations without becoming overwhelmed. Consider allowing time in the day for meditation or personal time to de-stress during the workday.  

Social Wellness  

Having a socially healthy company culture is an integral part of workplace wellness. That means zero tolerance for sexual harassment, bullying, or discrimination of any kind. Consider having training courses on these subjects so employees are cognizant of what constitutes poor workplace behavior. Promote social morale and cohesion in the workplace.  

Not everyone needs to be friends, but there should be a certain level of respect amongst coworkers. Make sure employees are familiar with who they are working with, even if they are in other departments!  

Personal Growth  

When employees know that there’s room to grow in a company, they are more likely to stay than pursue other jobs. Consider offering free classes for employees so that they can learn more skills and better themselves. This gives a sense of accomplishment and gives employees confidence when they finish a course.  

You can also incentivize it and make it a part of quarterly goals to complete a certain number of courses. The confidence from learning new skills may encourage them to try those new skills at work, and they may volunteer for work that they may not have before.  

Financial Security  

Financial security is at the top of everyone’s mind when they’re working—they’re not working for fun. A healthy balance between income and expenses means financial wellness for employees. Workers need to feel financially secure. When employees are stressed about their finances, their quality of work lessens and they become more stressed. It’s a never-ending cycle. Employees that are financially stable tend to be more productive and sociable with their coworkers.  

A few solutions to lessen financial stress are offering a 401(k) plan and reasonable health insurance premiums. Having good healthcare is a concern for many, so knowing that you have a reasonably priced health insurance plan can ease a lot of stress. Raising salaries to coincide with the rising cost of living and offering bonuses can also incentivize workers to be productive and stay for the long run.  

Keep your workers happy and healthy by keeping workplace wellness in mind. Consider reaching out to your local insurance agent to discuss the best health insurance plan for your employees’ needs. 

How to Prepare Your Home for Summer

Keep your home safe and prevent damage with yearly cleaning and upkeep. Plan maintenance for your house so it stays in better condition for longer. Here are some tips to prepare your home for summer:  

Clean Your Gutters   

If you didn’t clean your gutters before the wintertime, it’s time to do it now. Leaves and other debris can get stuck in your gutters, which makes it more difficult for them to function properly. The water won’t be able to travel through them, and the water will find other ways to escape, like leaking into your roof or down the side of your house.   

Make sure your gutters are clean before the frequent summer storms to ensure you don’t have any unnecessary water damage. If your gutters become too heavy with rainwater and debris, there’s potential for them to fall off your home, causing even more damage and costly repair bills that are easily prevented.   

You may want to consider installing gutter guards to limit the number of leaves and debris that stick in your gutters.   

Service Your HVAC Unit  

Make sure your HVAC unit is serviced and clean before the weather becomes too hot. It should be serviced once a year to ensure your HVAC is properly working and stays in better condition for longer. It’s best (and less expensive) to have it serviced regularly than to have it break and need to be replaced. If it’s too hot outside, you don’t want to be without an air conditioner.   

Clean the Chimney   

Have your chimney cleaned by a professional at least once a year. If you have a wood-burning chimney, then soot and a substance called creosote can build up in the flue. Creosote is an oily residue left behind that is highly flammable and can cause dangerous chimney fires that can burn up to 2,000 degrees.   

If it isn’t already, make sure to close the damper in your fireplace. It should be closed whenever you’re not using it. Insects and other pests can make their way into your home through your chimney, so you should take extra precautions to ensure that it is closed.   

Look Over Your Deck/Patio/Driveway  

Have a good look over your deck, patio, and driveway to ensure they are in good condition. The winter weather can damage any wood, concrete, or asphalt that may make up your outdoor space. You’ll want to make sure there are no safety hazards along walkways—you don’t want to be sued by the postman for unlevel walkways!   

Fill any cracks that may be in your concrete or asphalt. If they are becoming too uneven you may need to hire someone to fix them. Replace any broken wood that may be in your deck and check the handrails for stability. You may need to stain your wooden deck again if it doesn’t repel water as well as it used to. Staining your deck helps to protect it against the elements. If your deck absorbs the water, then it is at risk of rot.   

Seal Gaps in Windows/Doorways  

Walk around your house to ensure there are no gaps in your windows and doorways. You can take caulk to fill in the gaps to ensure your home stays weatherproof and energy efficient throughout the summer. If your windows are too old, you may want to consider having new windows installed that will provide better insulation in both the summer and the winter.   

Tree Trimming  

If there’s a tree branch or two looming over your house, you may want to call an arborist or landscaper to have them trimmed. Summer storms can easily break tree branches, so have your trees checked to make sure there are no safety concerns that could harm your home.   

Update Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy  

If you haven’t updated your homeowner’s insurance policy recently, contact your local insurance agent to ensure your home is covered with the insurance policies that suit your needs.