Home Insurance

Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Preparedness

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Infamous words from Benjamin Franklin and the rule of thumb in disaster preparedness. Having a plan, one that everyone in your household knows and understands, is one of the most important things you can do for your family. 

It’s not about how simple or elaborate it is, the critical part is to simply have one. Take a tornado for example: A common occurrence in the midwest springtime it’s not unusual for a tornado to form and touch down in the middle of the night. Think about waking up to a twister coming through your neighborhood like a freight train at 3 AM — not the best time to make a plan. But it is an excellent time to execute the plan you have already made and practiced. 

Here are some key points to consider when creating yours:

 FEMA suggests that every household have an easy-to-carry bundle of supplies like water, food and medications to last at least three days. In addition to one in your home, you may want to keep an emergency kit in your car, because you never know when disaster might strike. Here is a list of items to include in your kit.

There are some places you absolutely should not be in the event of severe weather. For instance, If you live in a mobile home you should leave and take shelter in a sturdier building. If you happen to be driving during a disaster locate a truck stop or some other well-built structure such as a highway underpass.

Practice for the worst-case scenario. Run drills at home so you aren’t stuck figuring things out in the middle of an actual disaster.

Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and determine how you will work together as a team.

The Red Cross advises practicing evacuating your home twice a year. Grab your emergency kit, just like you will in a real emergency, then drive your planned evacuation route. Plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable. Make sure you have locations and maps saved on devices, GPS units, and on paper.

Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes. Remember, if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for your pets either.

Eventually, after the imminent danger passes, you’ll want to assess the damage to your home and property. If you have a claim you’ll also want to contact your Snyder Insurance Representative. This is what we’re trained to do — walk you through the claim process, answer any questions, and in general be a friendly voice on the other side of the phone.

Flood Insurance

A Case for Flood Insurance

Flood insurance seems very straightforward:

You buy or build a  home near water. You know you’re running the risk of flooding. As a responsible homeowner, you purchase a homeowner’s insurance policy. Now you’re covered for flooding. Right? Most likely, no.

Flood Insurance

In fact, there are a couple of costly assumptions in this seemingly simple statement. 

Consider this: It’s spring and it’s been raining more than normal. The weather is looking downright nasty and the storm drains in your neighborhood are already blocked and filling up. When the water starts to creep down in your basement it will take less than a foot of water to cause tens of thousands of dollars in damages. 

You didn’t get a flood insurance policy because you’re not in a flood plain. There’s not a river or lake within 75 miles of where you live. But floods aren’t only caused by rivers and lakes. They also result from levee or dam failures, broken water mains, and in the scenario above, clogged storm drains. In fact, according to FEMA, 99% of US counties were impacted by floods between 1996 – 2019. The numbers speak for themselves; your home will, at some point, most likely be subjected to flood waters. 

It should also be noted that the average homeowner policy doesn’t cover flooding. And while you likely feel you already pay too much for insurance, we at Snyder Insurance think not being properly covered comes at an even larger price. The National Flood Insurance Program reports that the average flood payout claim in 2019 was $52,000 and the average annual flood insurance policy premium in that same year was just $700. 

When you weigh it out, paying tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket versus a few hundred dollars a year seems like a simple choice. One that your Snyder insurance representative is happy to talk over with you. 

For more information or to add this coverage to your existing homeowners policy, get in touch, we’re here when you’re ready. 



Sources: Fema

equipment breakdown

What is Equipment Breakdown Coverage And Why You Should Consider Getting Some

What is Equipment Breakdown Coverage And Why You Should Consider Getting Some

equipment breakdown

You own a home and consequently have a corresponding homeowners insurance policy. Well done and also this is the minimum amount of coverage you should have for this important asset. 

In a previous post we spoke about the importance of having coverage for the utility service lines leading into and out of your home.  Similarly, equipment breakdown coverage is an additional, inexpensive endorsement that is meant to cover household appliances that stop working in case of electrical or mechanical failure. While your regular homeowners policy will cover appliances if they are lost or damaged in a bad storm or fire, there is little to be done outside of these instances. 

Equipment breakdown coverage functions similarly to a home warranty, covering everything from furnaces to refrigerators to air conditioners if they break down. The difference is that you can add equipment breakdown coverage to your home insurance policy as an endorsement at a nominal fee; a home warranty is typically a separate product that you buy through a separate entity.

Here are some examples of covered equipment:

  • Heating and air conditioning systems
  • Computers and computer equipment; data restoration
  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Food spoilage
  • Washers and dryers
  • Ovens and microwaves
  • Boilers and furnaces
  • Water heaters
  • Home entertainment systems
  • Sump pumps
  • Some home gym equipment like a treadmill
  • Jacuzzis, hot tubs
  • Electrical power panels
  • Home security systems

Your equipment breakdown coverage endorsement will typically reimburse you for physical loss or damage resulting from:

  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Accidental breakdown caused by improper installation
  • An artificial electrical current, like electric arcing
  • Pressure systems breakdown

However, it will not cover for appliance replacement or repairs if the damage or loss is caused by wear and tear, including rust or corrosion, deterioration, any defects, mold, cracking, shrinking or expanding, or pest damage. 

For pennies a day this endorsement is something we encourage all homeowners to consider adding their existing policy. Think of it as a well-deserved homeowner upgrade that will likely pay off in the end. 

For more information or to add this coverage to your existing homeowners policy, get in touch with your Snyder Insurance representative today. 

Service Line Coverage

Service Line Coverage — The Coverage You May Not Have Heard About That You Absolutely Need.

The Coverage You May Not Have Heard About That You Absolutely Need.

Service Line Coverage

Picture this: It’s a Sunday afternoon and suddenly you’ve lost water pressure. There’s a trickle of water coming out of your bathroom faucet and there’s no chance the last load of weekend washing is going to get done. You’re not sure what the issue is. Sure, it’s a pain to deal with but you’re not worried because you have a homeowners insurance policy. 

While losing water pressure doesn’t regularly happen it is fairly common to think that a homeowners policy will cover any homeowner issues that may arise. However, this would be incorrect. While a homeowner’s policy covers any issues that arise within your home there are plenty of issues that can occur outside your home and still affect everyday living.

Let’s take the situation described above. A loss of water could be an issue with the pipes leading into your home: those on your property but exterior to your home. It  could be from an old growth tree root that has penetrated your water pipe. Once it’s on your property it’s not the city’s issue it’s yours and a normal homeowners policy is not going to cover the cost as it’s outside the home. 

Enter in Service Line Coverage. Underground service lines are exterior pipes and wiring that provide services to a home. These lines can be damaged by causes not covered by the standard homeowners insurance policy. Coverage can often be purchased for a nominal annual fee that can add up to thousands of dollars in repair savings that would otherwise come out of your pocket. 

Coverage could include:

  • Underground service line repair or replacement costs
  • Excavation costs required to repair or replace the covered service line 
  • Damaged trees, shrubs, plants, lawns, walkways, and driveways
  • Additional living expenses while repairs are made

See below for the types of underground service lines covered and the most typical causes of failure. 

Types of underground service lines covered:

  • Natural gas
  • Steam 
  • Waste disposal 
  • Water 
  • Drainage 
  • Compressed air 
  • Electrical
  • Heating 
  • Communications 

Typical causes of an underground service line failure:

  • Wear and tear or deterioration 
  • Rust or other corrosion
  • Mechanical breakdown 
  • Damage from weight of vehicles, equipment, animals, or people
  • Artificially-generated electrical current 
  • Freezing or frost damage
  • Vermin, insects, rodents, or other animals
  • Collapse
  • Tree root or other plant root invasion 
  •  

For more information or to add this coverage to your existing homeowners policy, get in touch with your Snyder Insurance representative today!

Winterize Your Life

Winterize your life!

Well, maybe not your life but certainly your home and vehicles. With October ushering in an early snow event this year (hello snowy trick or treating) it’s bound to be a long, cold winter season. Prepare yourself and your belongings the best you can with these winterization and safety tips.

Clean Your Gutters

With temperatures plummeting ice forms (and falls) quickly. Cleaning out leaves and debris from your gutters at the beginning of the season will prevent icicles and ice dams forming later. 

Window Insulation Film

Window Insulation Film

Listen, we know it’s not all that fashionable, but it you have single-pane or a drafty window not only are you looking at a cold winter sitting on the couch, you’re also likely staring down a costly utility bill. You may want to consider breaking out the hairdryer and putting some plastic film in place for the coldest months. The difference could be dramatically warmer and cheaper!

Change Your Furnace Filters

Now that you’re going to be spending considerably more time inside, running your furnace, change the air filter. It will save you money and also it’s good for your health. 

Check Your Fireplace

Before you build the first fire of the season have a professional out to service and clean the chimney. It’s not uncommon for them to become obstructed with an animal nest or an abundance of creosote build-up.

Now that your house is in order, let's talk about what you can do to prepare your vehicle for freezing temperatures and cold weather driving.

Slow Down

I know it sounds so simple but how many times have you been on autopilot to and from work and the next thing you know you’re driving way too fast for the road conditions. Winter is the time of black ice and good time to take your foot off the accelerator.

Check Your Tire Tread and Tire Pressure

If you’ve known in the back of your head it’s time to change out your tires, make this a priority before the mercury drops lower. There’s no better way to make it home safely than to have four good tires carrying you home.

Check Your Battery

Your battery, an intregral key to the wellness of your car. Cold temperatures can zap an already old or low battery in the blink of an eye. To prevent breakdowns and side of the road mishaps spend the money and update old batteries ahead of time. 

Stock Your Car

Not only with gas in the tank and oil under the hood, which are also important, but also with emergency supplies. You never know when you’re going to get caught on the side of the road in the middle of a crazy blizzard. Having an extra layer of clothes, something to eat, and water to drink can be a total game changer. Check out this list to see the other things you also might consider having on hand this winter.