What To Do In Your Home When the Temperatures Drop Below Freezing

One of the biggest concerns of homeowners when the temperatures drop below freezing is frozen pipes. Temperatures in Mishawaka, IN can drop below freezing, and it’s good to know what to do when it happens. At Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency, we know all too well the damage that can happen if you don’t protect your home from freezing temperatures.

Frozen Pipes and Other Issues

If you have exposed pipes, such as those that could be found in a garage or attic, wrap them with pipe insulation to prevent freezing. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have materials or time to wrap your pipes, a quick temporary fix is to aim a heat lamp on the exposed pipe. Always keep a close eye on this, however, as you don’t want it to get too hot and start a fire.

Another common tip when temperatures drop low is to leave your faucets running at a slow drip. This is especially important in garages and basements where it may be cooler. Doing so keeps the water moving, so it is less likely to freeze. Another great tip for the pipes inside your home is to leave any cabinets or closets that contain pipes open, so the heat from your home reaches the pipes.

If you are going away, make sure you follow all of the above tips and also be sure to keep your heat on. If you turn your heat off completely, you just might come home to broken pipes and a flooded home.

In the unfortunate event you do have a pipe burst, shut off the main water valve to your house as soon as you realize the pipe has burst. If you recognize that a pipe is frozen, but it has not yet exploded, you might be in luck! Use a heat lamp or hair dryer to thaw out the pipe, but again, keep a close eye and never leave these items unattended.

Another area of the home that can suffer from freezing temperatures is your gutters. Make sure they are cleaned out so the water can flow freely; otherwise, it’s likely to freeze and clog or even burst your gutters.

Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency wants to make sure all homes in Mishawaka, IN and surrounding areas stay safe and dry this winter. If you need help insuring and keeping your home safe, please give us a call today!

Choosing Home Insurance on More Than Just Cost

A critical mistake that many new homeowners make in Mishawaka, IN and the South Bend area is choosing homeowners insurance simply based on the cost of a policy alone and nothing else. However, the same policy will be expected to be available and relied on for anywhere from the next 5 to 30 years or as long as you live in the home. So, would it not make sense to do a bit of research on a policy to make sure it will be there if needed some 15 years down the line? Few people actually take the time to do so.

Taking the Time to do the Research

Researching what is needed from a good homeowners insurance policy is not hard, especially not with the help of Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency in Mishawaka, IN. First off, learn to disregard the cost factor alone. It can be a misleading element that gives you a policy that is no good when it matters because the underlying company is questionable. Second, you want the help of an insurance expert who can objectively look at the market, educate you on the various elements of a homeowners insurance policy that matters, and can find you real-time viable alternatives to choose from.

The Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency has done this service for dozens and dozens of customers. Vetting various insurance policies on the market and breaking them down for what really matters for customers. The homeowner’s insurance policy that a young family needs with a new dog is going to have a very different criterion set than that of a retired couple. And a homeowner running a small business out of a home office will need extra protections beyond what a private residential policy typically provides. The staff at Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency has seen, worked with, and regularly solved these challenges for customers. Let us give you a hand and pick the right coverage for your home. Reach out to us for a quote or try our online rating tool.

Common Mistakes First-Time Homeowners Make That Can Damage Their Home

If you’re a first-time homeowner in Mishawaka, IN, you might be making some common homeowner mistakes that you don’t realize can damage your home.  These are the most common no-nos that come from good intentions.

  1. If bleach is a go-to for many issues in the home, you might want to use caution.  Bleach can eat the sealant on surfaces like granite, discolor laminate and colored grout, fad enamel and acrylic bathtubs, dissolve vinyl, and corrode seals inside the garbage disposal.  A better answer is vinegar and water.
  2. Do you have ivy climbing on the outside of your home?  It may look nice, but it can cause damage because it sends roots into any cracks or crevices that create openings for moisture and insects to enter.
  3. Chemical drain cleaners may seem like the best way to go for a clogged sink, but they are made with hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid that can erode pipes.  An old-fashioned plunger, drain snake, or a Zip-it gadget is safe and more effective.
  4. Being a dutiful homeowner, you’re likely to fix any caulking you see coming apart or to seal up cracks. Make sure to use the right type of caulking because the wrong type can lead to damage by allowing moisture in because it didn’t adhere properly.
  5. If you have countertops that need occasional resealing, such as natural stone, concrete, wood, or glass, be sure to take care of it, but not to the point of suffocation. Over-sealing countertops can create streaked or cloudy surfaces.

Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency

The Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency has over 46 years of experienced insurance agents working to provide home insurance to those in the Mishawaka, IN area.  Contact us today to explore your homeowner’s insurance needs. 

5 Ways to Childproof Your Yard for Summer

Childproofing your yard will make it a safer environment for summertime fun. Whether you’re planning fun activities for the family or getting together with neighbors and friends, the following steps can help get your yard ready for kiddie play.

Flora and Fauna

If your yard is sparse on grass, consider planting some to soften the blow of trips and falls during outdoor play. Make sure all plants in your garden are safe for kids to touch. Young kids, in particular, could get sick by touching or ingesting poisonous plants.

Upgrade Outdoor Furniture

Old patio furniture with sharp edges makes your kids more susceptible to accidents. By upgrading to child-friendly patio furniture with extra padding, you can create a safer patio environment.

Safeguard Pool

Protect your kids from accidental drowning by enclosing your in-ground pool with a security fence that comes with a lockable gate. Portable kiddie pools should be set up on level ground and emptied after every use. Even several inches of water can pose a threat of drowning to toddlers.

Lock Up Garden and Grill Tools

Designate a safe location in your South Bend, Elkhart, or Mishawaka, IN home for storage of garden tools and grill equipment when not in use to keep them well out of reach of children.

Invest in Safe Play Equipment

If you’re buying playground equipment, invest in safe, name-brand structures that are appropriate for your child’s age. Set up play equipment in a safe location away from trees and bushes and check it periodically for signs of wear and tear that could cause accidents.

Before hosting summer BBQs and parties, review your homeowner’s insurance policy from Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency in Mishawaka, IN to make sure you’re covered for any eventuality. For more information on coverage options, contact an agent from Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency today.

What is the “Right” Amount of Insurance for Me?

Determining the correct amount of insurance to get on your home can be a difficult task. If you have more than you need, premiums can be through the roof, but if you have less, you may not be covered when disaster strikes. At Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency, we are here to help those in the Mishawaka, IN area to determine the right amount of insurance to fit your specific circumstances.

There are four things you need to be sure to have covered: your home itself (the structure), your possessions, living expenses if you are forced to go somewhere else due to home damage, and any liability to others.

An accurate way to determine the amount of coverage you need for the structure of your home is to multiply the total square footage by the local construction costs, which can be determined with the help of your agent at the Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency. Through a standard homeowners policy, damage as the result of most natural disasters and theft are covered, though impairments resulting from floods and earthquakes is not. An inflation guard may be added to your policy to reflect the current costs of construction in Mishawaka, IN. Older homes may be difficult to insure due to the expense of replacement materials, and therefore you may have a policy that replaces housing components with modern (less expensive) building materials.

To determine the best amount of insurance you need for personal possessions, a home inventory is in order. Make a detailed list of all your belongings that need to be replaced if damaged by fire, theft, etc. You can decide if you are more comfortable with an actual cash value policy, which will cover the cost of possessions minus depreciation, or replacement cost policy, which repays for items in full, regardless of depreciation.

Lastly, your liability portion covers against lawsuits by others due to injury at your abode, or significant damage caused by pets. Your representative at Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency will help you determine an appropriate amount for you.

Preparing your Mishawaka, IN home for winter

Winter is coming, and you need to ensure that your home is prepared.  There are maintenance tasks that you regularly perform to ensure that your home is kept up.  Winter weather, however, presents its unique challenges.  To ensure that your most valuable asset is protected, completing these tasks will reduce the wear and tear during winter.

Roof:  During the fall season, check the roof for any shingles that are missing or show damage.  Follow this with an inspection of the metal eave flashings.  Taking care of these potential problems while the weather is warmer can prevent them from developing into major issues when winter weather hits.

Pipes:  Take a walk around the exterior of the house and make sure that all pipes are wrapped securely and protected from ice and snow.  This will prevent them from freezing during the winter months.

Gutters:  The best time to inspect and clean a home’s gutters and down spouts is while the weather is still mild.  Clean gutters protect the exterior and foundation of a home by directing water and ice safely away from the walls.  Gutters that are filled with debris can cause them to become clogged with ice during winter weather.

Fire Extinguishers:  Fire extinguishers needs to be checked annually.  The pressure gauge should show that the unit is fully charged.  Take the time to ensure that every person living in the home understands how to operate the extinguisher.

Finally, spend some time reviewing the home insurance policy.  As your needs change, your policy will need to be adjusted.  You can easily compare policies online at Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency.  The professionals at Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency serves the needs of homeowners in Mishawaka, IN.  They will ensure that you have the coverage your family needs.

Staying Up to Date With Your Home Insurance: Tips for Renewing

When you’ve already purchased your home owner policy, it’s tempting to just let it go for a while. After all, if it isn’t broke, then why fix it? However, home values change over time and so do rates, which makes it worth your while financially to stay on top of it all. When you want to make your policy current, keep these tips in mind from Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency. 

Update Your Home Values 

If you’ve added on an addition to your home in Mishawaka, IN, say you converted your garage into a den or put on a new bathroom, you likely already know that you need to call your provider and let them know. Otherwise, if something happens to all the work you’ve done, it may not be covered and you’ll essentially have done all that work for nothing. However, many people buy expensive art, furniture or electronics and never think that their home owners policy may need to be updated. These possessions can quickly add up, and if your limits don’t reflect the actual value of what’s in your home, you may end up regretting it should there be a theft or other damage to what’s inside. 

Ask Questions 

Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency serves Mishawaka, IN, and we’re here to be of service to you. The best thing you can do when you update your home insurance policy is to stay involved with the process. We can take you through each clause, and help you write in certain requests that are specific to you and your home. Whether you’re looking to renew or just looking to see if it makes sense to do so, give us a call to talk to our agents for more information today. 

Moving to Mishawaka, IN? You Need Home Insurance Quotes!

Anyone moving to Mishawaka, IN knows that having a home means making sure that home is protected. There are a lot of ways you can do that, and one of the best is through good homeowners insurance. To get the right insurance for your needs, you will want several quotes. You could go around to all kinds of companies, asking questions and providing information, or you could contact Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency, instead. Serving Mishawaka and the surrounding area, their independent agents can give you quotes for a number of different companies, so you can choose the home insurance that is going to be right for your particular needs, lifestyle, and budget.

There are many options for homeowners policies, and they are not all the same. Additionally, Indiana has requirements for the level of insurance you need to have if your home has a mortgage. That protects the lender, and you want to make sure you are providing that lender with the right policy so you do not end up getting charged for additional insurance. Whether you have a mortgage on your home or not, though, the right insurance to protect your investment and your belongings is crucial to good peace of mind. Trusted agents can make a big difference when you have insurance questions, as well.

In order to make sure your home is protected, reach out to Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency today and let their independent agents give you quotes for several different companies and policies. Then you can pick the one you really want, and get the insurance buying advice you need from a knowledgeable source. That not only provides peace of mind, but can help you save money and also make it easier for you to make adjustments to your home insurance policy as your future needs change.

Meeting Home and Auto Insurance Requirements in Mishawaka, IN

It is important as both a home and auto owner in Mishawaka, IN to have the correct information at hand regarding your home and auto insurance coverage. Knowing what is required will help you not only obtain the minimum amount of protection necessary but also help you understand what level of protection is necessary for your home and auto. Working with an independent insurance agent serving the insurance needs of Mishawaka, IN residents helps to further localize your insurance coverage and give you the peace of  mind you need in knowing that your property and car are protected from complete financial loss should an accident or other event occur.

What are the Mishawaka, IN Requirements for Home and Auto Insurance?

For home and auto insurance coverage issued in the State of Indiana, there are specific guidelines that must be met, according to the state’s Department of Insurance (DOI). Auto insurance written in the state must, at a minimum, include protection from loss caused by those drivers who are either uninsured or underinsured. The minimum liability limits that must be maintained range from $10,000 for property damage to $50,000 for bodily injury caused by both uninsured and underinsured motorists.

Home insurance is referred to in the state as property insurance. There are no minimum standards set by the State of Indiana for the type of home insurance you should have for your Mishawaka, IN Home. DOI, however, does mention that any loss you face on your property such as to the primary residence, dwellings on your property and loss related to theft, property damage and bodily injury, should be covered for at least 80% replacement value of the loss. This means that if you face a financial loss, your obligation for out-of-pocket cost would be 20% while the insurance company would be responsible for the remaining 80%.

Working with a Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency, Inc Independent Insurance Agent

When you work with an independent insurance agent, like those with the Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency serving Mishawaka, IN, find out how many insurers they represent. An independent agent who represents many different insurance companies can provide you with a wide price range to assist you in meeting your home and auto insurance requirements. The job of an independent insurance agent is to ensure that you receive the adequate insurance protection you need at a price that fits into your budget. Call an independent agent with the Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency serving Mishawaka, IN and find out if your home and auto insurance meet the state’s requirements.

Best way to pack your moving truck

You know you’ve had to move for a while. Hopefully you’ve been taking your time, packing boxes over the course of several months so you don’t have to rush it. Whatever the situation, you’ll be packing up the moving truck shortly. However, you shouldn’t just start tossing boxes and furniture randomly onto the truck. At Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency Inc, we want to make sure you have a safe move and everything ends up at the final destination in one piece. Whether moving to somewhere in Mishawaka, IN, leaving the area or you simply are passing through, here are a few helpful tips.

Distribute Evenly, When Possible

Loading a moving truck and loading a trailer are slightly different. When loading a trailer, you want most of the weight positioned around the wheels and slightly closer towards the back of the truck towing the trailer. This way, the trailer is less likely to whiplash and the far end of the trailer won’t slide across the ground. When loading a moving truck, you want to distribute the weight evenly. This gives you more control and it helps make unloading the truck easier.

Furniture On Ends

This is something that might only work with love seats and smaller sofas. However, if you can, try to load the furniture on the end and not horizontally. Horizontal sofas take up far too much valuable space, which is why you need to avoid this and stack it on its side.

Use the Straps

Along the side of trucks there is a slight railing. This is for tying off boxes and other objects. You need to use these railings along with ropes and straps to secure all boxes. Doing so helps prevent shifting while in transit and reduces potential damage sustained.