Is Your Home Ready for Rainy Season?

Here comes the rain! Is your home as prepared as it could be to handle the rain and storms of fall and winter? Here are a few easy tasks that can help protect your home from damage during heavy rains.

  1. Clean out your gutters and downspouts. All those falling leaves from the year can clog up your gutters and prevent your home from successfully draining away excess water, potentially leading to leaks.
  2. Take a look at skylights, windows, doorframes for any noticeable water entry or deterioration. if necessary reseal any window or doorframes. These will fare much better if addressed before a big storm!
  3. Have a licensed roofer take a look at your roof for any potential leaks and replace any missing or damaged tiles. This could save you from a time consuming and costly roof leak or water loss.
  4. Trim away any overhanging trees or shrubs that could cause house damage in winds an rain.
  5. Always have an emergency kit including flashlights on hand in case of loss of power.

If you want to review your coverages or policy information, visit our Customer Service Center at https://www.westernmutual.com/policy or call us at (800) 234-2103.

Auto Gas Shutoff Valve

If your home is a newer home, it may have an earthquake actuated gas shutoff valve installed, as many city and county regulations were changed to require it of new construction. As gas leaks are frequent after a large earthquake and can become dangerous quickly, this is a very helpful device for the safety of you and your home in a larger earthquake.

How do you know if you have one? Look at your main gas meter for a small device that looks like the one in the photo above. If you don’t have one and want to install one, you must only install a state approved device and it must be done by a licensed plumber for safety.

Can You Spot an Email Scam?

While anti-virus technology is constantly evolving, email phishing scams and online identity theft has increased dramatically in recent years. Here are a few ways to help spot a phishing scam.

  1. Look at the email address sending. Misspelled or uncommon domain names, or numbers inside the domain. Ex. john@miss10n.com, john@mission.nexx, john@missionnnn.com
  2. Suspicious attachments asking you to click from email addresses you don’t know. Always double check you know who the email is from before you click an attachment.
  3. Emails requesting login information, credentials, or sensitive and private data.
  4. Urgent calls to action or threats.

If you receive a phishing email do not open any links and report to your email provider.

End of Summer Bucket List

It’s officially August and we are officially slow (or fast) marching towards fall and the new school year. Time to make those last minute summer plans and start or finish checking off your summer fun must dos. While we may have the summer heat a few more months, here are some ideas for the last glorious weekends of official summer.

  • Backyard Grill and Chill – Family, neighbors or friends or all of the above, one of our top summer musts is the backyard grilling and chilling with our favorite people and community.
  • Beach Day – or Lake Day Pack up the car with your favorite beach games, boogie boards, snacks, an umbrella and beach chair and don’t forget the sunscreen.
  • Summer Roadtrip – Don’t forget to lock up the house and ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home.
  • Me Day – Lounging around the home, reading, hitting the spa, whatever recharges you
  • Outdoor Community Event – Summer outdoor concerts, movies in the park, Community picnic – there are always outdoor summer local events that are can’t miss.
  • Ice Cream – It’s cold, sweet, and delicious, if you haven’t had an ice cream cone by now is it even summer?

Tell us, have you already filled your summer and enjoyed all the fun? Or are you still scrambling to enjoy these last few weekends?

Prepare for a Hail Event

Unfortunately hail is one of the most common and costly weather hazards in the US. While it is not possible to completely avoid and protect from hail damage, there are a few things that can be done to help stay safe and prevent further losses.

First, if you safely can, move your vehicle, and any major outdoor appliances or furniture (bbqs, lawn chairs, anything breakable but easily moved) under coverage or cover furniture with a thick blanket. It’s helpful to also be prepared for a potential power outage, and have your emergency kit stocked (see “Emergency Supplies” blog from July 7). As always, keeping shrubs and trees cut back so they are not hanging over your home, and making sure gutters are free from debris can help prevent further damage in hail, rainstorms, and fires.

During a storm, make sure your windows are securely closed as well as any blinds or drapes to help keep broken glass out of the home.

After the storm take note and photos of damage to covered property and your home. Contact us to open a claim and get immediate claims assistance.

Help Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away

Summer of 2022 is one of the busiest travel summers yet! With most of the world open to travel again, and everyone itching to get back on the road, there are many adventures at the ready! When going through your final checklist for your vacation – suitcase is packed, airport ride set, hotel reservations lined up – there are steps you can add to help keep your home safe while you’re away.

  1. Don’t forget to lock up! Seems easy enough but do one last check of all entryways (windows and doors) for any accidentally left unlocked. This should include pet doors and mail slots as they can be an access point for someone to unlock a door, and making sure your garage door is secure.
  2. Remove any spare keys you have hiding around the outside.
  3. Let a trusted neighbor know, so they can keep an eye on anything out of the ordinary and collect your mail for you so that you don’t have mail or packages build up, a sure sign someone is out of the home.
  4. Make it look like someone is at home! Leave a light on a timer, blinds as they would normally be, have a car parked in your driveway,
  5. Unplug any unused appliances in case of power surge, and make sure your smoke alarms are in working order before leaving.
  6. Try to avoid public social media updates that you are away, at least until you return.

Emergency Supplies Must Haves

How prepared are you for a natural disaster? We recommend you sort through your emergency supplies every 6 months or so to look for and replace any damaged or expired items, so you and your home are confidently prepared.

Here are a few necessary items for your Emergency Supplies.

  • General First aid kit – bandages, medical tape, alcohol swabs, burn gel, antihistamine gel, CPR pocket mask
  • Flashlight
  • Manual can opener
  • Whistle
  • Hand crank or battery powered radio (and extra batteries)
  • Dust masks
  • Rubber gloves
  • Garbage bags
  • Wrench or pliers (if needed to turn off utilities)
  • 1 weeks worth of any necessary medicines, should be looked at and replaced annually
  • Water (1 gallon per person for a week)
  • Canned goods
  • Pet supplies (food and any medicines needed)
  • Baby formula/ bottles/ supplies

We recommend you keep your emergency supplies in a cool, dry area of your home that is easily accessible for you in such an emergency.

Heat Safety Tips

The summer months are upon us and so is the heat! While the long days and sunshine are a favorite of many, it’s important to keep heat safety in mind for all, and especially for the more vulnerable to the heat, like small children, pets, and elderly.

Here are a few heat safety tips to keep in mind.

  • Handheld fans, umbrellas for shade, water bottles, lighter colored clothing, flip flops and cold drinks are all things that can help you stay cool! Taking cool showers, applying sunscreen and using your AC unit or fan can assist as well!
  • Be mindful of how quickly your car can heat up when you run into a store for a quick iced coffee…never leave your trusted furry companions, small children, or anyone at risk in your car.
  • Small considerations for pets can go along way with effects of heat – earlier in the day or later in the evening walks, making sure they always have easy access to fresh water and a cool, shady spot, and knowing the signs of heat stroke in dogs (excessive panting, wobbly legs, dry mouth and nose are some of the main signs of heat and dehydration)
  • Close your blinds during the day especially if you aren’t home to keep the sunlight from quickly heating your home.

Wishing you a safe and hydrated summer!

Could Inflation Impact My Insurance?

Having an adequate coverage amount is essential when it comes to protecting your home. When you switch from another insurance company to us, and when your policy is occasionally reviewed by our team, we provide you an estimate prepared by a third-party estimator of the cost to rebuild or replace your insured structure. The estimate includes significant assumptions about your property, the cost of building materials, labor, and other resources. In our current times, these costs have all increased due to multiple factors including labor shortages, supply chain issues, and in large part inflation, and you may need a higher coverage amount to protect your home. Check your coverages today and call our friendly Customer Service Department at (800) 234-2114, or contact us online at www.westernmutual.com/service, if you have questions or to let us know of unique features or upgrades, such as upgraded kitchens, bathrooms, custom cabinetry, or high-end finishes, which may impact the cost to rebuild or replace your home.

Unfortunately, higher coverages can directly translate into higher premiums, but we can also look at options to offset an increase in premium, such as a higher deductible or applicable discounts.

Please Note:  The above is for informational purposes only and the amount of coverage you choose is dependent on your specific needs. There is no express or implied guarantee that the estimated cost to rebuild or replace would actually be the amount necessary to rebuild or replace your structure in the event of a loss caused by a covered peril. The above does not in any way replace or modify the information contained in individual insurance policies.  Availability and qualification for coverage, terms, rates, and discounts may vary by jurisdiction.  In the event of loss, the actual terms and conditions in your policy will determine your coverage.  Please read your policy for exact details on coverage

Flag Day

Flag Day, celebrated every year on June 14th, celebrates the resolution to adopt the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777.  At the time the flag contained 13 stripes and 13 stars to represent the first 13 colonies (which is still represented in the 13 stripes of today’s flag).  Over a century later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson officially established June 14 as Flag Day.  While Flag Day is not an official Federal holiday, many historical cities including Philadelphia and Baltimore celebrate Flag week with multiple ceremonial events.  The U.S. Army also celebrates this day as it’s Birthday. 

Here are a few additional facts about our flag. 

  • There have been 27 official versions of the flag so far, with the most current version dates back to July 4, 1960. 
  • A 17 year old high school student in Ohio created the current 50 state flag for a school project, when he rearranged the current 48 star flag once it was announced that Alaska would be joining the Union, and there was suspicion Hawaii would be next.
  • When taking down a flag, care must be taken to prevent the flag from touching the ground.  Relative to this, carpets or rugs featuring the stars and stripes are barred according to flag code. 
  • When any flag (state, city, or group) is flown with the American flag (on American soil) the American flag must always fly highest.
  • Flag etiquette calls for the flag to always be lit while on display, either by sunlight or another light source.
  • Flying the flag upside down can be an official distress signal.