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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: michigan home insurance

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image of woman working on a computerToday, more Americans than ever have high-value computers, laptops, smartphones and other electronics in their homes. Many of these products are expensive not only to purchase, but also to replace if they’re damaged or lost. Yet, theft, vandalism and even fire can lead to a loss of these valuables. Are they protected under your home insurance policy?

What Your Home Insurance Covers

There's good news for many people. Many of these assets are covered under a traditional property insurance plan for your home. They are considered assets and possessions as long as they are not used for business purposes and are in your home at the time of the event. This may include:

  • Your computers
  • Your laptop
  • Most electronics such as TVs and stereo systems
  • Your sound system
  • Cameras
  • Your tablet computers

It is important to fully document what you own, including photos. Be sure you've listed them on your policy when needed.

Keeping this in mind, you must also realize there is a limit. Let's say your computer shorts out due to an electrical incident that is covered under your home insurance plan. Most policies will have a specific dollar amount for these types of claims. The amount of that limit depends on many factors, specifically your deductible and your coverage limit.

How to Protect High-End Valuables

There's no reason to put these valuables at risk, though. You can purchase additional coverage to protect the value of these items. In situations where you have a significant amount of computer equipment or very expensive electronics, it is best to get an additional policy that extends your coverage limit to include these items. Do the same thing for jewelry, collectibles or fine art you own that exceeds the maximum coverage value of your policy.

Homeowners should take the time to review their policy on a regular basis. If you purchase any computer system or any other electronic item that is over $100 or more in value, it may be important to determine if you need to adjust your home insurance policy to match that new investment. Most very expensive computer systems should be specifically listed with your agency to ensure they are comprehensively protected from loss. Doing this helps ensure that, if a covered event happens, you do not have to worry about your limits.

Protect your valuables today. Call Insurance Planning Service at (734) 421-9900 for more information on Michigan home insurance.

Also Read: How to Create a Home Emergency Kit

Did you know?

  • The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
  • Most cooking fires in the home involve the stove top.
  • Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.
  • By following a few safety tips you can prevent these fires.

Take these steps to keep your family safe.

  • Stand by your pan: If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire away from the stove top.  Oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, and curtains should be kept clear from the stove.
  • Watch what you are cooking: Fires start when the heat is too high.  If you see smoke or the grease starts to boil, turn the burner off.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove: Then no one can bump them or pull them over.
  • Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby: Turn off the heat and use a pan lid or baking sheet to cover the pan if it catches on fire.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda will put out a small grease fire.  DO NOT USE WATER on a grease fire.
  • Cooking and Kids: Have a "Kid-free" zone.  You should have at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food is prepared and carried.
Article courtesy: Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company
Image courtesy: stockimages /

    Mailbox in Flooded NeighborhoodIt's human nature to think the worst scenarios are seen only on the news. But in reality, an emergency situation can take place anywhere, any time. It's better to be prepared for the unexpected than to stare in shock when the news indicates a tragedy in your town. And while emergency kits are commercially sold, it's better to build your own (or at last add to a store-bought kit) to ensure that necessary personal items are included. Check your kit biannually and replace expired items as necessary.

    A good home emergency kit should include the following:
    • Mess kits, paper cups and plates, paper towels, garbage bags and a manual can opener
    • Three-day supply of non-perishable food per person (protein-rich foods are the best option)
    • Three gallons of water per person for drinking and sanitation
    • Personal hygiene items, including soap, hand sanitizer, moist towelettes and feminine supplies
    • Change of clothes for each person, including sturdy shoes
    • Sleeping bag and/or blanket for each person
    • Baby items — bottles, formula, diapers, change of clothes etc.
    • Pet items — bowls, food, water, leash etc.
    • Glasses and/or contacts with saline solution
    • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries
    • Cell phone with charger (bring a model that has GPS capability)
    • Flares or whistles to signal help
    • Multi-purpose tool
    • Cash
    • Books, drawing supplies etc. to entertain children
    • Copies of important documents, such as bank records and birth certificates (keep in a waterproof container)
    And lastly, a first aid kit is absolutely critical in emergency situations when you may not have easy access to medical care. Pack the following supplies:
    • Prescription medications or other necessary medical supplies, such as insulin, inhalers, blood pressure meds etc. as needed by your family
    • Over-the-counter pain medicine, anti-diarrhea medicine and antacids
    • Antibiotic towelettes and ointment, along with hydrogen peroxide for cuts
    • A variety of bandages and a roll of sterile gauze
    • Sterile gloves, scissors and tweezers
    • Thermometer
    Store your completed kit (however many backpacks it takes) in an easily accessible location within your home, such as a coat closet, so you can grab it and go if ever needed.

    Get the best protection for your family. Call Insurance Planning Service at (734) 421-9900 for more information on Michigan home insurance.

    image of houseHome insurance companies typically schedule both routine and special home inspections in order to verify the condition of properties and look for any changes that could cause different levels of liability and trigger changes in policies. It’s good for homeowners to generally be aware that their residence will be scheduled for an exterior inspection on a regular basis and to understand how insurance companies monitor the properties that they cover.

    Homeowner Responsibilities

    Typically, there is nothing in particular that homeowners need to do in order to accommodate the exterior inspection. They should be prepared to address any results of those inspections that may come to them in writing from the insurance company. In some cases, the insurance company may request an interior inspection of the home. 

    It’s also a good idea for homeowners to anticipate these inspections and keep the exterior of the property looking clean and safe. This includes removing any debris or trash or any non-functioning items that could pose a risk to visitors. Homeowners also need to keep all of the amenities and installations on a property in good working order and outfitted with all of the safety features they need in order to protect anyone who may happen to come onto the property. 

    Exterior Inspection Results

    A routine exterior inspection can turn up various items that can cause rates to change. A building that is vacant for any period of time may be represented as an increased risk. Changes in the heating and cooling apparatus or other major exterior systems of a home can also cause rate changes – homeowners should be aware of the possibility that they will get a letter after an inspection that will inform them of what a home inspector has seen and how that can affect their insurance policy.

    Unfortunately, many homeowners encounter situations where they are taken by surprise when an inspection results in new underwriting, changed rates or even the cancellation of a policy. One way to protect against this kind of unpleasant surprise is to keep in close consultation with insurance company representatives and make sure that your property is properly represented in its existing home policy. Informing insurance companies of changes upfront can help ensure that inspections don’t produce a lot of trouble down the road. Knowing about these inspections can also make a homeowner a savvier shopper and someone who can negotiate with insurers when a discussion of rates becomes necessary.

    To learn more about home inspections conducted by Michigan home insurance companies, give Insurance Planning Service a call at 800-220-5582.

    Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season. Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire. Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage.

    Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy. Learn how to prevent a fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home. Make sure all exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees. Help ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season.

    Christmas Trees

    What’s a traditional Christmas morning scene without a beautifully decorated tree? If your household includes a natural tree in its festivities, take to heart the sales person’s suggestion – “Keep the tree watered.”

    Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires annually. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are not a problem. A dry and neglected tree can be.

    Selecting a Tree for the Holidays

    Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long and, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

    Caring for Your Tree

    Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

    Disposing of Your Tree

    Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

    Source: US Fire Administration

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    Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
    Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

    Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

    Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake