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10 Fire Safety Tips

10 Fire Safety Tips

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 1,345,500 fires reported in the US in 2015.  In the same year, one home structure fire was reported every 86 seconds.   The scariest statistic of all?  You and your family have  less than two minutes to escape before flames/smoke engulf the structure.

There is little time to think or act in the moment of a fire.  This is why it is crucial to educate yourself and your family on fire safety and prevention.  Follow these helpful tips from American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin:

  1. Install smoke alarms in all levels of your home,  Put them both inside the bedroom and outside. Make sure to test smoke alarms every month to ensure they are working properly.
  2. Create a fire escape plan with your family members and practice the plan semi-annually.
  3. Avoid plugging several appliance cords into the same electrical outlet.
  4. Use common sense while in the kitchen.  Limit distractions while cooking and keep items that can catch on fire, such as wooden spoons or dish towels, away from your stove top.
  5. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency.
  6. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.  Always blow them out when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  7. Store matches and lighters away from young children.
  8. Never leave space heater on when you are not in the room.  Also, keep them at least three feet away from any items that can burn.  Closely supervise children and pets while a space heater is in use.
  9. If you live in an apartment building, know all of the building’s fire escape exists.  Do not use the elevator in the event of a fire, always take the stairs.
  10.  If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove, be sure to only use seasoned hardwood like oak, ash, or maple.

Make sure your home and belongings are properly covered with American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin!!  

How Your Pet Can Affect Your Home Insurance

How Your Pet Can Affect Your Home Insurance

Having a furry friend in your home is a great way to add a little more love and fun into your house. While most people only consider their pet’s happiness in their home, there are many other factors to consider, such as your homeowners insurance policy.

Dogs are one of the most common household pets and also cause one of the biggest risks to your home insurance. Dogs bite over 4 million people each year, and almost a million of those cases require some type of medical treatment. Luckily, typical homeowners insurance policies will provide coverage in case of a dog bite or any other incident related to your pet. The liability portion of your homeowners insurance policy will provide coverage if your pooch injures someone who is visiting your home.

Depending on the type of animal you have in your home, your homeowner’s insurance policy may increase or decrease. The breed of your pet has a large impact on how they will affect your home insurance premium. Muscular dogs that can inflict serious harm with just one bite can cause your premiums to rise significantly, whereas typically calm breeds may not cause it to rise very much. Insurance providers may even refuse coverage for your home based on your pet or the number of pets that you have.

If you have a pet other than a cat or a dog, such as a horse or potbellied pig, your homeowners insurance can still provide coverage for any injuries they cause. Keep in mind that no matter what type of pet you have, talking with your insurance agent is the best way to ensure that you are protected from any unfortunate situation.

For all of your homeowners insurance coverage needs, contact American Advantage – Petersen Group today!

3 Questions to Ask When Buying a Home

3 Questions to Ask When Buying a Home

Buying a home is one of the largest investments and most exciting purchases you will make in your lifetime.  From finding the perfect home to securing a mortgage, there are many things to consider.  Let’s face it, insurance isn’t the first topic that comes to mind when thinking of buying your new home, but it is a crucial part of the process.   Here is a guide from American Advantage Petersen Insurance Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin to help simplify the insurance process when buying a home:

Do I need home insurance prior to closing?

The only situation where you will not be required to have insurance prior to closing is if you are paying for your new home in cash.  While insurance is still vital in this situation, it is not required to purchase the home.

If you are like most people and are taking out a mortgage for your new home, your lender will require home insurance to be purchased.  In many cases, you will need to provide proof that you have paid for a year’s worth of coverage before a lender will consider closing.

What does “escrowing” insurance mean?

Since a year’s worth of coverage is required to close on your new home, so is the years’ worth of insurance payments.  Escrowing your insurance means that your lender will pay for your insurance up front, and you will make monthly payments to the mortgage company that are included in your house payment.

How do I lower insurance costs on my new home?

Using an independent insurance agent, like those at American Advantage – Petersen group will ensure you are getting the correct coverage at a competitive price.  Unlike, agents who represent a single carrier, independent agents represent multiple insurance companies and offer unbiased advice on the best insurance options for your needs.

Let the insurance professionals of American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin simplify the insurance process for you when buying your home!  Contact us today!

4 Ways to Lower Home Insurance Costs

4 Ways to Lower Home Insurance Costs

When it comes to home insurance, besides looking for the proper coverage, most people are looking for ways to lower costs. Follow these 4 helpful hints from American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin to help lower your home insurance costs: 

1)Combine with car insurance: Insurance companies give significant savings (usually around 20%) if you package car and home insurance together.  This is a significant discount when it comes to home insurance.  Always try and bundle your insurance together with the same agent and insurance company to help save on home insurance costs! 

2) Raise your deductible:  A typical home insurance deductible is $500.  Try raising to $1,000 (~10% savings) or $2,000 (~15% savings).  Keep in mind, home insurance is more for the catastrophic loss, not a small claim.  A higher deductible will save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

3) Home security system:  Installing a home security system not only helps with peace of mind, it can also help to lower your home insurance costs.  Many insurance companies offer a discount for having a security system which can save you up to 5 to 10% on your home insurance costs.

4) Use an independent insurance agent:  Most agents only represent one insurance company, whereas, independent agents represent multiple companies (usually around 20 different insurance companies).  The independent agent does the shopping around for you and works on your behalf, not the insurance company.  Would you rather have 1 option or 20?  They offer unbiased advice on the best insurance options that fit your needs. 

Do you want an agent who will find you the proper coverage to fit your needs at a competitive price?  Contact the insurance professionals of American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin for all of your home insurance needs!  

There is Water in My Basement! Is it Covered?

There is Water in My Basement! Is it Covered?

It is likely that you know someone firsthand who has experienced flooding in their basement.  Many times, this is due to the sump pump failing.  During the spring and summer months in Wisconsin, this is a very common occurrence.  Sump pumps are designed to pump away water from your basement foundation, if it fails or the power goes out, trouble occurs.   Water then has the potential to back up into your basement and damage carpets, drywall, personal belongings, etc.  If a basement is finished, the damage can be quite extensive.   Is this situation covered by your homeowners insurance?

You are able to purchase an additional coverage called water sewer backup that is added to your homeowners insurance to address this concern.  Without this additional coverage, your basic homeowner’s policy will not provide coverage.  This is typically a very inexpensive coverage and costs about $50 per year for $5,000 in coverage.  If your basement is finished, it is a good idea to purchase a higher limit.  Many insurance companies will offer up to $50,000 in coverage.

Another added layer of protection you can purchase is a battery back up sump pump.  Then, if the power were to go out, the battery powered sump pump will kick in and a disaster will be avoided.  Battery powered sump pumps are easily installed and can be purchased at a local hardware store.

Do you want more information on water sewer back-up and how this coverage can help protect your home?  Call the insurance experts at American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin today!