5 Alarms to Consider for Your Home

What alarms and sensors do you need in your home? The answer is different for everyone. But, whatever your situation, today’s technology has you covered with options including online monitoring and more. Here are some common alarms, including two everyone needs to have, and three many people should at least consider:

  1. Smoke alarms
    No matter where you live — house, condo, apartment — you need smoke alarms. Place one in every room where people sleep, and at least one on each level of your home. Consider alarms that work for both flaming and smoldering fires (they’re different), as well as an interconnected system so that all alarms sound when one detects smoke.
  • Carbon-monoxide (CO) detectors
    Here’s another must-have. CO — a deadly, odorless gas generated by the burning of fuels such as wood, natural gas or propane — kills hundreds of people a year in the U.S. You should have at least one CO detector on every level of your home, even if you only have electric appliances and heat sources. Your state may even require you to have one.
  • Natural gas detectors
    These alarms usually detect CO and propane leaks, so consider one if you have natural gas appliances in your home. You also need one for your RV or trailer if you use propane to fuel your cooking or heating. 
  • Water alarms
    Leaks from appliances or pipes can do extensive — and expensive — damage to your home if they go undetected. Water alarm systems typically use sensors placed near appliances or other trouble spots to alert you when they sense moisture.
  • Security systems
    Whether you want a do-it-yourself system or one that is professionally monitored, you’ve got more options than ever before. You may even be able to check in on your home from wherever you are using your smartphone.

When you’re making these important decisions, here’s one more important thing to consider: Some of these alarms could qualify you to save on your homeowners insurance! Please give us a call to learn more.

What Car Drivers Need to Know About Motorcycles

Summer is here, which means you’ll likely see more motorcycles on the road. And the key word here is “see.” People driving cars and trucks often fail to notice the motorcyclists around them, partly because they’re not accustomed to looking for them.

It’s obvious yet bears repeating: Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than car and truck drivers and passengers. Not only are there many more cars and trucks on the road, but there’s no such thing as a “fender bender” for a motorcyclist. Even a low-speed collision can seriously injure a rider, not to mention total the bike, so it’s important to always give motorcycles extra space and an extra look.

Below are six tips to help you safely share the road with motorcyclists.

Objects in mirror. The object in your mirror may be closer than it appears — especially if it’s a motorcycle. Due to its size, it can be harder to determine how close a motorcycle is and how fast it’s moving. When turning into traffic, always estimate a bike to be closer than it appears to avoid forcing a rider to quickly hit the brakes — or worse.

Watch those left turns. One of the most common motorcycle accidents involves a car making a left turn directly in front of a bike at an intersection. Give yourself an extra moment to look specifically for motorcycles coming toward you when turning into traffic.

Double-check your blind spot. Carefully checking your blind spot before changing lanes is always a good idea. When it comes to motorcycles, it’s critical. A bike can be easily obscured in the blind spot, hidden behind your car’s roof pillars, or blend in with cars in other lanes, so make a habit of checking carefully before changing lanes. Plus, always use your turn signal.

Don’t tailgate. This is another general rule for all drivers, but it’s especially important when following a motorcycle. Be aware that many riders decrease speed by downshifting or easing off the throttle, so you won’t see any brake lights even though they are slowing down. Following at least three seconds behind the bike should give you enough time and space to safely slow down or stop when necessary.

Stay in your lane. Obviously, motorcycles don’t take up an entire lane the way cars or trucks do. But that doesn’t mean you can cozy up and share a lane with a bike. Just because the rider may be hugging one side of the lane doesn’t mean you can move into that space. Riders are likely doing this to avoid debris, oil on the road, or a pothole, so a bit of mild swerving within the lane can be expected. Do not crowd into the lane with a bike.

Think about motorcycles. Making a habit of always checking for bikes when you drive will make the above tips second nature and make you a better driver. To personalize it, think about your friends and family members who ride bikes and then drive as if they are on the road with you. Motorcyclists — and everyone else — will thank you.

Home Security is easier – and Better- Than Ever

Think home security is still about bulky camera equipment and wires running all throughout your home? Think again.

Today, things have changed quite a bit, and the playing field has been leveled. Advanced tools and security systems are more accessible and affordable than ever. (And installing them might get you a discount on your homeowners insurance, too.)

Full-service systems are still a popular option with many people. Companies offer central monitoring, video surveillance, smoke/carbon monoxide detection and more. Some even include home automation tools so you can control appliances from anywhere, and many will send text-message alerts in response to specific occurrences, such as when the kids enter the house after school.

Do-it-yourselfers who don’t want an all-in-one system have many choices as well. Here are three of the newest and most popular security tools:

1. Smart (and small) cameras

Cameras today can be tucked anywhere and don’t require wires. With a good battery and wi-fi connection, you can see what’s happening outside — or inside — with a glance at your phone or computer.

2. Key-free doors

Say you have a friend stopping by to check on your dog while you’re gone for the day. You don’t have to risk leaving a key outside. With a code-based entry system, you can simply provide your friend with temporary access that turns on and off when you want.

3. Home automation products

It’s easier than you think to give yourself remote access to the lights and appliances in your home. At least one available product can be used with your existing power outlets; simply plug it in and control the power to that outlet from an app on your smartphone. Don’t ever worry about forgetting to leave a light on again.

Of course, even “old-school” tools, such as motion-activated outdoor lights, can still have a big impact on security. So whether you choose high-tech tools or stick to the basics, you’ll be making your home here a less attractive target for burglars.

Employee Spotlight- Melissa Diaz

This month’s employee spotlight is on the absolutely wonderful Melissa Diaz!  Melissa has been in the insurance industry for 19 years and with Brown & Brown of 5 ½ years.  She worked her way up from receptionist to account manager, then to marketing, and now is the leader of operations, personal lines, and commercial lines! 

In her spare time, Melissa likes to run and lift weights, go to local breweries, and cook/bake.  She has two boys, Kai & Denny, who are the light of her life.  They are always on the go.  She says her favorite vacation spot is Vegas, and no matter where her and her boys go, they always have room for dessert.  Melissa also says she has a mini zoo at her house—she has a Bearded Dragon, Ball Python, Shih Tzu, Border Terrier, Red Eared Slider Turtle, and several guppies. 

Melissa says she loves working at Brown & Brown and that this truly is her dream job.  And it truly is a dream having her in our office family and as one of our leaders.  She really is the best!

Prevent water from going where it shouldn’t

One of the most disheartening experiences is to find flooding or extreme water damage to your treasured home.

At Brown & Brown Insurance, we know you want to protect what’s important. That’s why we’re offering these tips to help you prevent many of the most common causes of water damage.

Just a little time and some effort can prevent a lot of heartache and hassle.

  • Make sure your water pressure is not set too high. For just $6 or so, you can purchase a gauge that will help you test your pressure for the appropriate level, which should be set between 60 and 80 PSI.
  • Standard hoses on new appliances are not as durable as they used to be. So check your appliances. If they’re rubber, either replace them with longer lasting stainless steel braided hoses or replace them every three years.
  • Keep water from leaking into the walls or floor of your bathroom by replacing cracked tiles and re-grouting when it’s needed.
  • Examine the shingles on your roof. Worn, curled or missing shingles allow water in, so replace them as soon as noticed.
  • Consider buying a water alarm, which can help you find leaks, or automatic shut-off mechanisms, which can help avoid bursts.
  • A lot of water damage occurs when you and your family are away from home.  Make a practice to avoid running the washing machine or dishwasher while you’re out.
  • When you leave for vacations, turn off the water supply to appliances.
  • Keep up maintenance on all appliance hoses, because slow leaks from worn out hoses can cause major damage (and they are not covered under Homeowners insurance).

We hope these pointers will ensure your house stays nice and dry this year! 

Contact Us!

We can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 505-821-5888 or send us a note at info@bbnm.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance