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A Winter Nuisance That Can Become a Real Danger

Windshield Safety

It’s something you never think about until you need it or it fails to work. You’re driving down the road, drizzling rain or sleet rushing toward your windshield, and you pass a truck that sprays a mix of moisture and mud all over your field of vision. You push the lever for your windshield wiper fluid to come out and it doesn’t. This poses a real safety hazard, and you must pull over immediately, if possible, to clean it manually. What can cause your fluid to fail? And what can you do about it?

First things first. You should check under the hood to the container where the wiper fluid is stored. Check first to make sure you haven’t run out of it. If you have, it’s an easy fix. Most all gas stations carry wiper fluid, and you can refill it yourself without having to go to a mechanic. If the fluid container is full, or there’s an adequate amount, check for other causes.

When Windshield Wiper Fluid Freezes

In the winter, the cause of the fluid not coming out is usually because it’s frozen. Many washer fluids will freeze at any temperature below freezing, which is 32 degrees. If you are in a steady period of snow storms and below freezing temperatures, you may find this problem particularly troublesome. If you live in an area like New England, where these weather conditions can last for months, it’s in your best interest to get a washer fluid antifreeze. These are available in a variety of formulas with varying freezing points. The reason the washer fluid antifreeze works is because it contains ethanol, methanol or other alcohol mixed with water.

A Word about Washer Fluid

Note: If you’ve had washer fluid with methanol sitting in your garage or under a hot car hood, there may be a chance that some of the alcohol will evaporate, possibly making the freezing temperature higher than advertised on the bottle. You’d need to empty out what’s left of the old fluid and put some fresh fluid in there to be sure you’re ready for winter.

How to Unblock the Washer Jets

If it doesn’t appear that the fluid is frozen, check the nozzles where the fluid comes out. Sometimes something as simple as a safety pin can work to dislodge any ice or debris that may be preventing the fluid from squirting out.  If the ice is wedged deeply in there, try a hair dryer if you can get close enough to an outlet. Sometimes the jet nozzles just need a little thawing out!

If you know that your washer fluid has frozen, you could be at risk for the container or the pump that pushes the fluid out to be cracked. In the event that this happens, you’ll need to see a mechanic to replace your washer fluid system or whatever the damaged part is.

When the Washer Fluid System Doesn’t Work

You may need a mechanic if you’re not comfortable fixing this yourself. But if it isn’t the washer fluid, there could be a blockage in the line underneath the hood. Or there could be some kind of damage to the pump.

Whatever the case may be, make sure you have a fully working windshield washer system. It’s an important safety feature all year long, but especially during a season when there can so easily be precipitation and other obstructions to your vision.

Good luck and safe travels!

For information about auto, life, homeowner and other insurance coverages, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency today.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Insurance Questions for Winter Weather

Winter Insurance Q & A’s

Depending on how you look at it, January through March can be a winter wonderland or the most dangerous time of year. Cars skidding on icy highways, snowy roofs caving in. . . If you want to enjoy the winter, just make sure you have the right insurance coverage. Below we’ve compiled some of the most common winter insurance Q & A’s to help you navigate this slippery season!

What winter damages am I covered for? Usually, standard Homeowner policies cover things like flooding from melting snow, roof damage from the weight of snow, frozen pipes, falling trees, high winds and temporary relocation due to a power outage. You should call your insurance company to find out exactly what coverages you have.

What happens if someone falls on my icy driveway?  After a storm, you haven’t had time to get outside and salt your driveway. Then a delivery person slips and falls on your property and threatens to sue you. What are your options? First, make sure you have Liability coverage in your Homeowners Insurance policy. This will help cover medical and/or legal costs in the event someone has an accident on your property.  Remember, Liability coverage differs from Personal Property coverage. Liability protects you in case of lawsuits, while Personal Property covers you for stolen or damaged belongings, including jewelry or furniture.

Winter is causing serious damage to my house, from ice dams to burst pipes. How do I know if I’m able to make a claim? Odds are, your Homeowners policy will cover things like this. However, if your insurance company believes you’ve neglected to properly maintain your home, they may not cover some things. For example, to keep pipes from bursting, you should keep the heat on, or let your faucets drip slowly at night so the water won’t freeze. Taking good care of your roof and applying effective insulation will help prevent ice dams from forming. If you haven’t done some of these things, you could be considered negligent, and your claim denied.

How soon do I need to contact my insurance company? As soon as you realize you have damage to your house caused by winter weather. Call immediately, so too much time won’t pass after the storm.

What if someone steals my car while it’s warming up? We all do it. It’s freezing outside, and we’d like to get the engine, and mostly the heat, revved up before we have to go. Yet during the winter, car thieves are trolling driveways to see if a car is unattended. If your vehicle should get stolen, you can replace the cost of it with Comprehensive Auto Insurance coverage. Comprehensive is the way to go, especially for accidents caused by natural events, too, like a tree branch cracking your windshield in a storm.

What if I skid off the road and land in a ditch? Before winter comes, check that you have Roadside Assistance included in your coverage. This will enable you to call for a tow truck, instead of having to be stranded in a major snow storm. It will also be helpful in case your car battery dies.

Zawada Insurance Agency is your all-in-one resource for helping you find the right coverage for you and your family. We’re a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, working to get you the most comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.

For more information about auto, life, homeowner and other insurance coverages, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency today.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

The 12 Most Popular Auto Insurance Questions Answered

Get the Facts about Auto Insurance

Auto insurance is necessary, no matter what state you live in. To find out what is required in your particular state, you need to visit their transportation website to learn exact coverages. In Massachusetts, you can find out what is required here.

Below we’ve compiled the top 12 most popular questions people have about auto insurance, so you can make informed choices about your coverage and more.

  1. What types of coverages should I have?

Most auto insurance policies offer coverages such as Comprehensive, Liability, Property Damage, and Collision Coverage.

  1. What is a deductible?

The deductible is the amount of money you pay after you have an accident before your insurance company pays the remaining charges.

  1. How can I keep my car insurance costs low?

You can’t always control everything, but there are certain things you can check for that may help to lower your costs. First of all, make sure you have a car with updated safety features. Also, make sure your insurance company knows if you work from home or have a short commute to work. The less time you spend in the car, the lower your risks.

  1. How many people can I put on my car insurance policy?

You can put as many as you’d like, but they must be members of your household, all living at the same address.

  1. What if I want to change my coverage? How can I do that?

You can always change your coverage or insurance carrier at any time. However, it’s best to wait until the end of your policy to avoid a cancellation fee.

  1. Are there any situations in which I could be denied coverage?

Yes. If your driving history includes a major accident, a DUI, or if you have bad credit—all of these factors could cause an insurance company to deny you coverage.

  1. Does my gender affect my insurance premium rates?

Yes it does. Sorry, guys, but studies have shown that males generally get into more accidents. So males pay bigger premiums.

  1. If I’m driving someone else’s car and have an accident, who pays?

The insurance of the person who owns the car would pay. Then you would have to pay any remaining costs.

  1. Will auto insurance replace my car if it gets stolen?

A stolen car can be replaced only if you have comprehensive coverage.

  1. If I forget to pay my premium, will I lose my coverage?

Not necessarily. If you forget once, they’ll probably send you a warning. If you frequently don’t pay, your coverage will likely be canceled.

  1. If my garage burns down with my car in it, will my car insurance pay for it?

No. Your Homeowners Policy would cover that type of event.

  1. If I don’t have auto insurance, and I’m in an accident, what will happen?

If you don’t have insurance, you could be sued, which could result in the loss of your entire life savings. You could also serve jail time. So it’s better to be insured than not!

At Zawada Insurance Agency, we’ll help you shop around to find the best deals on car, home, and other types of insurance.

Please contact Zawada Insurance Agency for details.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Insuring Your Snowmobile

Insuring Your Snowmobile. What You Need to Know

Insurance is all about risk. But does that mean you can’t enjoy your favorite winter sports even when you have insurance? No, but be sure to check out a few things when buying insurance for your snowmobile. . .

Snowmobile Safety

The sub-zero weather has turned lakes into frozen wonderlands and covered the hillsides with plenty of snow. For snowmobilers, this is a perfect time to play with their favorite toy. However, being safety-savvy will help to lower your insurance costs.

First, respect the machine. A snowmobile weighs more than 600 lbs., and you can go really, really fast, like 90+ mph fast. As a result, there are approximately 14,000 snowmobile accidents every year. Many of these accidents can be very serious given the high speeds reached by snowmobiles.  Broken limbs, even brain injuries, can be the result of a snowmobile crash. There are also more than 200 fatalities every year from snowmobiles. These statistics aren’t meant to scare you, but to make you aware of the hazards of this winter sport. Insurance companies are very aware of the safety risks, so you should be, too.

How to Lower Your Snowmobile Insurance Costs

To stay safe—and lower your insurance rates—it’s a good idea to do the following:

Buy a newer model. These will have more safety features than older models. Anything that can decrease your risk will be looked upon more favorably by insurance companies. Not only is the make and model important, but if you also purchase safety-forward accessories, such as a helmet or special eyewear.

Ride in low-risk places. What does this mean? A flat surface with fewer obstructions, such as trees, may be safer than a steep hillside with vegetation and rocks, etc. But it may make no difference at all. It depends on the insurance company.

Consider your deductible. Like all types of insurance, the higher your deductible, the lower your premiums. Just be sure that you could pay the deductible should the need arise.

Limit the time of year for coverage. If you only use the snowmobile in the winter, it makes sense to cover it for specific months. However, you can also opt to get year-round coverage to protect you from theft during the off-season.

You may not pay insurance at all. Some states do not require mandatory insurance for snowmobiles. But consider this—if you have an accident or injure someone else with your snowmobile, you will wish you were covered!

What Insurance Companies Consider When Insuring Your Snowmobile

Your age. Yes, this is a factor, even though it’s something we have no control over. If you’re elderly, have health problems or physical impairments like poor eyesight, this will affect your insurance rate. On the other hand, sometimes teenagers or young adults are viewed as more reckless and willing to take risks, so this could impact your rates. Having a solid reputation for safety can go a long way. Again, it depends on the insurance company.

Type of coverage. Insurance packages will vary from $300 to $400. You could have collision, property damage and bodily injury coverage. Liability will protect you from lawsuits. And comprehensive coverage may cost more, but it takes care of more issues, so you can rest easy in the event that an accident happens. Also, don’t forget about coverage in case an uninsured driver hits you or causes damage to your vehicle.

Zawada Insurance Agency is your all-in-one resource for helping you find the right coverage for you and your family. We’re a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, working to get you the most comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.

For more information about motorcycle, car, life, homeowner and other insurance coverages, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency today.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

New Year, New Insurance

How to Get Lower Rates on Your Insurance

As the New Year approaches, one of your resolutions may be to find more ways to save money. You can do this by rethinking your insurance policies. It’s always a good idea to do an annual insurance review, because you might discover that you could be eligible for discounts and other savings that you aren’t currently taking advantage of!

For example, if you have an older car, you may have had the same car insurance for years. But did you know that your rates could be lowered based on any changes that have happened recently? For instance, if you changed jobs and don’t commute as far, that can affect how much you pay. And most likely, it will reduce the cost.

More Ways to Save on Homeowners Insurance

Also, you might be eligible for discounts to your Homeowners Insurance if you recently installed a security system or quit smoking. If you started bundling all of your insurance policies with one company, they’ll most likely give you discounts for that, too.

How to Do an Annual Insurance Review

Take time before the New Year to collect all of your insurance policies, whether it’s home, auto, renter’s, motorcycle, etc. Usually you can find the basic information on the summary page of your policy. Here’s what to look for: the amount of coverage, your premium costs and your deductible. Keep in mind, if you want to lower your premiums, you’ll be raising your deductible. First, you should make sure you can afford the deductible amount if you have to make a claim.

Could You Rebuild Your Home If You Had To?

This is an important question when you’re reevaluating your home insurance. The reality is, construction costs could be much higher than when you first took out your insurance policy. Also, remember that insurance companies will tell you that if something major needs to be replaced, it will be replaced with something of “like kind and quality.” Your kitchen may still look like the 1980s. If you needed to upgrade your kitchen with more contemporary cabinetry and appliances, you’ll need to be able to cover that cost.

Did You Purchase Valuable Items?

In the past year, you may have purchased jewelry or other very valuable items that you may not have extra coverage for. Do an inventory to make sure you haven’t forgotten that priceless painting! If you discover that you did buy something like that, you’ll need to increase your coverage for “personal possessions.”

Is Your Home More Likely to Flood?

When you purchased your house, it may not have been in a flood zone at the time. But in recent

years, have you had more damaging storms and repeated flooding in your basement? It may be time to consider getting flood insurance, even if it wasn’t required.

What Umbrella Insurance Can Do for You

Last but not least, consider umbrella insurance. It’s a low-cost way to get extra protection for things like your retirement fund, investments and any future income, which may all be lost as the result of a lawsuit. Many people don’t think about liability coverage until it’s too late. So umbrella insurance will help protect you above and beyond your standard home and auto insurance coverage.

For all your home, auto and other insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency. We work to give you comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

How Winter Affects Your Home Insurance: Top 4 Tips!

Winter can be a tricky time, especially for home and auto insurance policies. But if you follow some of these safety tips, it can make things easier for you, and less likely for your deductible to be raised.

  1. Rake your roof!

When the first snowstorm hits, and you’re done shoveling the driveway, make sure you don’t neglect your roof. Roof rakes can be purchased in most hardware stores. They’re long tools that help you scoot excess snow to the edge of your roof and away from the center. If you don’t rake your roof when it snows, you could end up with so much heavy snow that your roof will cave in! As we said in a previous blog, Homeowners Insurance won’t cover damage that is the result of poor maintenance, so you could pay a heavy price.

For further prevention of cave-ins or leaky roofs, you could replace your roof before winter storms start blowing in. This is especially necessary if you have an older home and / or need roof repairs.

  1. Cut down problem trees.

In a standard Homeowners Insurance policy, you’ll be covered for damages caused during storms. This covers damage to your home or related structures, including detached garages. However, some trees in your yard can pose a threat when a major winter storm hits. For example, if you have a tree that could fall into your neighbor’s yard, or if it’s a tree that falls on your own property—you’ll be responsible for the cost, either to the neighbor or to have the downed tree removed. Another issue to consider is the proximity of a tree to power lines. In some winter storms, heavy wet snow can cause a tree to bend to such a degree that it affects power lines. These are all good reasons to consider having certain problematic trees removed from your property.

  1. Get your snowmobile insured!

Snowmobiles are considered high-risk machines. There are more than 200 deaths and approximately 14,000 accidents caused by snowmobiles every year. When getting insurance for your snowmobile, look up the laws in your state, because some require you to get insurance, while others don’t.  The types of coverage you can get include comprehensive, collision, bodily injury and property damage. You’ll save money if your snowmobile has additional safety features, too.

  1. Make sure you have comprehensive coverage for your car.

During this time of year, comprehensive coverage—including collision and liability—comes in handy if you get into an accident that’s caused by slippery roads or anything weather-related. This may include a snow-covered tree branch falling through your windshield. It will cover you if you have to be on the road, even during a state of emergency. It will even cover you if someone steals your car while it’s warming up in the driveway! Be sure you also have roadside assistance in case you get caught in a severe storm and have to abandon your vehicle to be picked up later.

For more information on which types of insurance are right for you, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency. We work hard to give you comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Repair Your Roof: How to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home

Your Homeowners Insurance policy most likely covers various types of water damage. If you live in New England, your house is subjected to wind-driven rains, melting snow, and other weather conditions that can make the exterior vulnerable to rot and mold. What your policy doesn’t cover, however, is water damage that is caused by poor maintenance. For example, if your gutters are overflowing or your roof is leaking, don’t expect your Homeowners Insurance to cover that. This is why you need to constantly maintain your roof and home exterior. Check it regularly and make repairs as needed.

Areas that are particularly susceptible to water damage are the eaves just under your roof.

The Purpose of Fascia and Soffits

The fascia is the horizontal band at the end of your roof rafters. The soffit is found under the rafter tail. While these pieces create visual, architectural interest, they are also very practical. They protect the exterior of your house from damage when wind and rain blow upward. They also help to keep out unwanted animals such as birds and squirrels, AND they provide a nice cover for your attic vents. But if your fascia and soffits aren’t properly maintained, water will likely collect in that eave area.

How to Check and Repair the Fascia and Soffits

When you inspect and clean out your gutters, once a year, you should also take a look at the fascia and soffits to check for peeling, areas of wood rot, and any other potential problems. If there is rotted wood underneath, you’ll need to completely replace all the fascia and soffits. However, if you see only one or two areas that might be compromised, you can fix them by caulking and sealing the areas.

Should you need to replace your fascia and soffits, you should choose a material such as vinyl, an increasingly popular choice for this area under the roof. Vinyl has proven to be more durable and is aesthetically appealing, able to blend seamlessly with most home exteriors. Unfortunately, many older homes have fascia and soffits constructed of wood, which is very likely to decay after a few rough winters in New England. One spring, a homeowner heard a pecking sound outside and found a woodpecker trying to make a home in the soft wood underneath the roof! That’s when you know it’s time to replace the fascia with a tougher material that can not only withstand the weather, but also not create a hospitable environment for birds!

Aluminum is another popular choice when replacing your fascia and soffits. They won’t peel or rot, and will last many decades.

Whichever material you choose, it’s best to go with something that will last a very long time, because you don’t want to have frequent repair and replacement costs. In the long run, it will also save you money, because you’ll be preventing damage that Homeowner’s Insurance won’t cover.

So be sure to check your roof, fascia and soffits before winter hits. That way, you can rest assured that your home is protected.

And be sure to consult the professionals at Zawada Insurance Agency to go over your insurance needs. We’ll help you get the right insurance coverage for your home, car, boat—and offer you bundling options that may save you money.

Talk with us today!

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Fire Safety: Prevention Tips to Protect You and Your Family

If you’re a homeowner, comprehensive insurance coverage usually includes damage caused by fire. But it’s always good to double-check that this is covered. If you’re looking for a low-cost alternative, you could get dwelling fire insurance, which is cheaper than traditional policies. If you rent a house, particularly a historic or older home, or if you own a seasonal rental property, you could be eligible for dwelling fire insurance. You also might be eligible if you’re a landlord of a multi-family home.

A fire disaster is one of those events that you hope never happens, but hopefully have planned for when you buy insurance coverage. At the same time, it’s good to be prepared ahead of time, because it’s better to prevent a fire than to have to deal with the consequences and damage caused by one. Here are a few fire safety tips to keep in mind:

Have a family action plan.

Know where all of the exits are and have a plan as to how each family member will escape in the event of a fire. Even if you live by yourself, know how you would escape and how you’d save your pet if you have one. Be able to leave your house within two minutes, because that might be all the time you have. Practice your fire escape plan with your family at least twice a year.

Make sure your electrical system is up to code.

If you’re a landlord, you don’t want to have to worry that your building may not be covered after a fire because you were in violation of safety codes.

Test your smoke alarms.

You should have smoke alarms on every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside of sleeping areas.

Make sure all fire alarms in your home are checked and tested every month and batteries replaced at least once a year. Every 10 years you should have the whole system replaced.

Eliminate household hazards.

Very often fires are caused by the smallest things, such as a cigarette burning on a couch, or an appliance that wasn’t turned off. If you get into the habit of being fire safety conscious, you’ll be able to prevent a fire. For example, when you cook, always make sure the stove and oven are off when you’re finished. If you use appliances when you get ready in the morning, such as a hairdryer or curling iron, be sure to unplug them. If you light any candles, make sure they are all blown out before you go to sleep or leave your house.

During winter, there are added dangers with space heaters. Never place a space heater too close to furniture, curtains or anything that could catch fire. Never leave the room where a space heater is operating, and always make sure you shut it off and unplug it when you’re done using it.

Following these tips could save your life, as well as protect your home from fire damage.

When shopping for homeowner’s insurance, be sure to contact the professionals at Zawada Insurance Agency to understand all of your options and choose the policy that’s right for you.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Homeowners Insurance for Modular and Manufactured Homes

What is the difference between modular and manufactured homes?

Modular homes are set on a permanent foundation, while manufactured homes are put on a steel chassis with attached wheels for moving.

Modular Homes

Modular, or prefabricated, homes have come a long way. These types of homes have proven in many cases to withstand storms and other natural disasters better than traditionally built homes. Many homeowners are considering modular homes because they tend to cost less, can be built faster, and yet are as sturdy and strong as traditionally built homes. They now come in all styles and sizes. Most likely, you’ve driven by an impressive home and never knew it was a modular home!

The basic difference between modular and homes built on-site is that modular homes are built off-site in a factory, then delivered to your location and put together there. They come in a variety of floorplans and can be customized according to the homeowner’s needs. Some people also get a modular addition to an existing home when they’re looking for more space without the cost and time-consuming issues of traditional builders.

If you should choose to get a modular home, you can get a standard Homeowners Insurance policy. This policy is necessary for obtaining a mortgage loan. The standard policy will protect your home from damage caused by falling trees, lightning, fire, vandalism and other potential threats. It also protects your house and the contents inside from damages and theft. It will replace the cost of valuable property, such as art and jewelry. It will pay for others’ injuries inside or on your property that you’re liable for. And it will also pay for a temporary place to stay in the event that your home needs to be repaired.

Manufactured or Mobile Homes

Many people like the flexibility and simplicity of a manufactured or mobile home. First, what’s the difference between “manufactured” and “mobile?” Both are regulated by HUD, the Housing and Urban Development division of the government. According to HUD, a factory-built home prior to 1976 is a mobile home and one built after 1976 is called “manufactured.” Essentially, they’re the same, but the date changes the name!

If you own a manufactured or mobile home, you should first assess the level of risk in your location. For example, mobile homes tend to be more vulnerable during hurricanes. New England may not be a central area for hurricanes, but beware the Nor’easters!

If you have a mobile or manufactured home, a Manufactured Home Insurance policy is required. This will cover hazards such as natural events, including storms, snow, tornadoes, fires, burglary and more. Depending on your risk level, you may opt to get more comprehensive coverage, or you can add certain types of coverage. Some additions may include:

  • water damage from a burst pipe
  • hail and heavy winds
  • damages caused by wild animals

Whichever type of home you choose, the professionals at Zawada Insurance Group can help you find the coverage that best fits your needs. We’ll help you shop around to find the best deals on car, home, and other types of insurance.  Please contact Zawada Insurance Agency for details.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Is Your House Ready for a Hurricane?

How to Prepare for Severe Weather

Did you know there is an average of 11 tropical storms a year, and six of these turn into hurricanes? When most people think of hurricanes, they think of places like Florida and tropical regions. But we’ve had our share of hurricanes, making their way up the coast of New England. If a hurricane in the Atlantic comes near Massachusetts, it’s likely to affect the Cape and the islands. But in addition to causing beach erosion and other structural damage, hurricanes can affect areas that are hundreds of miles inland. That’s why it’s important to make sure your home and property are protected in case of severe weather.

If your house is located in a flood zone, and in some cases, even if it isn’t, you should consider getting flood insurance. This is because most homeowner’s policies don’t cover any damage caused by flooding from a hurricane.

Before a storm hits, make a list of your possessions—outdoor and indoor items—patio furniture, appliances, etc. This will assist your insurance broker if any items need replacing after the hurricane.

Outside Preparation

If you live near the coast, it’s a good idea to install storm shutters. If you have them, make sure they are in good condition. If your windows aren’t made of hurricane glass, you may want to replace them so they’ll have the strength to withstand the winds of a bad storm.

You may need to reinforce your roof with gables, hurricane straps, braces and brackets.  Also secure all windows, doors and garage doors. Make sure your rain gutters are secure and that there aren’t any areas clogged with debris.

Next, bring in all outdoor items, such as patio furniture, toys, etc., anything that can be turned into a projectile during a strong wind. Other potentially dangerous things include broken tree branches, loose fencing—anything in your yard that isn’t secured.

Inside Preparation

Make sure you have a hurricane preparedness kit. This should consist of flashlights, batteries, a radio—anything that can keep you in contact with local news. You should also stock up on water in case drinking water isn’t available for a while after the storm. Sometimes, when news of a hurricane comes, people panic and go to the store, clearing out all available jugs of water. Here’s a tip: If the shelves in the beverage aisle are empty, try the baby aisle. There are gallons of water that are just as good for drinking, but often people don’t think to go there, so you can usually find some. Also, you can fill your bathtub with tap water just in case.

Other items in your kit should include non-perishable foods, such as canned goods and a manual can opener. Be sure to have medication for family members, as well as pet food if you need it.

Keep valuable items, such as legal documents and family heirlooms, in protective coverings on a high level inside your house, in case of flooding.

Last but not least, if you can afford it, buy a portable generator, so you won’t have to lose power when power lines go down. If you get a generator, practice safe handling and keep it outside, at least 20 feet away from your house’s doors and windows. Finally, never plug your generator into a wall outlet in your house.

At Zawada Insurance Agency, we’ll help you shop around to find the best deals on car, home, and other types of insurance.  Please contact Zawada Insurance Agency for details.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.