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P.O. Box 1750, Cockysville, MD, 21030
Personal Protection Bulletin
Winter Storage Tips For Your RV
Your RV is an investment you enjoy all summer. You need to winterize it, though, to protect it during the cold winter months and prevent expensive repairs in the spring. These tips help you store your RV properly this winter.
Renew Registration and Insurance
Most RV storage facilities require proof of registration and insurance. Renew these essential documents now.
Inspect the Vehicle
Perform a visual inspection of your RV and take it for a test drive. Identify and fix any problems before you store the vehicle for the winter.
Clean the RV
Remove food, wipe all surfaces, and vacuum the interior. You’ll also want to remove dirt and grime from the exterior and undercarriage.
Drain the Water Heater and Lines
Empty the water heater to protect this appliance when temperatures drop to freezing. You will also want to blow out the fresh water lines or add antifreeze to them. Remember to drain the shower, toilet, washing machine, ice maker, and dishwasher water lines, too.
Protect the Battery
The RV battery could freeze as it loses charge or is exposed to moisture over the winter. Ideally, remove the battery and store it in a warm location. Otherwise, set up a continuous charger or start the RV every month.
Increase Tire Pressure
Cold weather can damage your RV’s tires. Increase the tire pressure by 10 psi before you store your RV or lift the vehicle off the ground to remove excess weight and protect the tires.
Prevent Critter Access
Mice and other critters may see your RV as a cozy home during the winter. This type of invasion can cause a great deal of damage. Seal all potential entrances and set traps in the RV to capture any critters.
Reduce Roof Damage
Heavy snow and ice can damage the exterior of your RV and even bust out lights and vents on the roof. Place sheet metal or a wooden box over the skylights and refrigerator vent for protection.
Ensure Proper Ventilation
Moisture buildup inside the RV can cause mold and mildew growth. Improve air circulation and ventilation when you leave appliance doors and the roof vent or side windows open slightly.
Secure a Cover
A breathable and water resistant RV cover protects the vehicle’s exterior from snow, ice and wind damage. Before you secure the cover, place cardboard over all the sharp edges. Then consider a cover with a zip-in door or slits if you plan to access your RV during the winter. Finally, secure the entire cover so it doesn’t flap in the wind and damage the RV’s fiberglass gel coat, paint or decals.
Protect your RV all winter when you implement these storage tips. They ensure your RV is ready to roll in the spring.
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
Cyber Risks That Affect Consumer Drones
Drones are becoming more popular with consumers. Drone operation does include cyber risks you should understand before you operate your machine.
Most drones operate via a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection through your smartphone or tablet. The connection may not be secure, though. A hacker can jam, intercept or terminate the connection or GPS, take over your drone and steal it or crash it into something.
The computer or mobile device you use to operate your drone could become infected with malware. It can affect the connection to your drone and cause the machine to crash and potentially cause physical or property damage.
Access Photos or Videos
A camera attached to your drone can transmit stunning photos and videos from the air. These images are usually transmitted over an unsecured FTP server which a cyber attacker could access and share. This privacy breach is your responsibility.
Ways to Protect Your Drone
Protect your drone from cyber crime when you take several steps.
Ask the seller about their cybersecurity measures.
Most drone sellers include the machine's cybersecurity information on their website. If you can't find it, contact the company for additional information.
Test your drone's security.
Hire a cybersecurity professional to test your drone and ensure it's safe from cyber threats.
Connect to your drone via radio control.
Use a secure radio control connection since Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections rely on unencrypted data links that are vulnerable to hackers.
Subscribe to a VPN service.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts your internet connection and protects it from hackers.
Install a seL4 operating system.
Equip your drone with new seL4 OS technology. This operating system isolates various functions on the drone, preventing a hacker from taking over your machine.
Install an anti-virus program.
Reduce viruses, malware and other threats when you install protective programs on your computer or mobile device. The most secure programs provide real-time antivirus and anti-theft protection.
Vary your flying habits.
When you fly your drone in the same flight paths and at the same time every day, you make yourself vulnerable to hackers. Instead, vary your flying habits and throw hackers off your trail. Consider flying in remote locations, too.
Purchase drone insurance.
A drone insurance policy provides you and your drone with important coverage. Look for a policy with:
Broad, legal and premises liability coverage
Personal injury and medical expenses
Extra equipment coverage for any on-board cameras, tools and equipment
Invasion of privacy
Your drone is vulnerable to several cyber risks. Know the risks and how to stop them so you can enjoy your drone and keep it secure.
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
Who's Responsible For Rental Home Repairs?
As a tenant, you may be uncertain about who has the responsibility to repair your home. Do you fix leaky faucets and replace light bulbs or does your landlord make these repairs? Understand more about home repair responsibility as you make yourself at home.
Landlords typically must ensure that the homes they rent to tenants remain safe and livable. That means that landlords take responsibility for major repairs and maintenance that could cause the home to be unsafe or unlivable. Examples include a gas leak, damaged furnace, busted hot water heater, or broken front door.
Additionally, the landlord must complete these repairs promptly. He or she cannot wait weeks to fix a broken toilet or stove.
In the course of normal activity, your home may experience wear and tear. Most landlords want to fix these challenges as they protect their property from further and more expensive problems in the future. A leaky faucet, peeling paint or loose stair railing comprises minor repairs.
While landlords must make major repairs promptly, they do not need to correct inconveniences. For example, your home has two toilets but one breaks. As long as you can use the second toilet, your home is habitable. Your landlord is obligated to fix the second toilet but is not required to complete the repair promptly.
Certain issues with your rental unit may be cosmetic in nature and are not the landlord’s responsibility to fix. Dirty grout or stained carpets are two examples of cosmetic issues.
Your landlord must keep the home safe and habitable, but you must do your part, too.
Respect the home at all times because any acts of abuse fall on you to repair.
Report even small problems as soon as possible so that your landlord can make necessary repairs while the issue is small.
Understand that if you or a guest cause damage, you may have to pay for the repair. Put a hole in the wall or a window during a party or clog the toilet with flushed tissues, and you will probably get the bill.
Keep your rental unit clean. Your landlord does not have to make repairs that are attributed to a lack of routine cleaning.
Purchase renters insurance. It protects your possessions from damage or theft and is important whether your landlord postponed a door lock repair or you accidentally stepped on your laptop.
Read the Rental Agreement
Before moving into your home, you must sign a lease. It details tenant and landlord responsibilities, so read and understand this agreement as you verify who must make repairs in your rental home.
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
Top Eight Home Security Tips
A burglary happens every 15 seconds in the United States with thefts averaging $1,725. Protect yourself, your family, your home and your peace of mind when you implement eight top home security tips.
Install an alarm.
Noise is a top deterrent to criminals. Install a whole-house alarm system if possible. Otherwise, post an alarm company's sign in a prominent location to warn thieves away.
Make the house look occupied.
An empty house is an easy target, so make your home look occupied at all times.
Use a timer to turn on outdoor and indoor lights at the same time both day and night.
Ask a neighbor to pick up mail and newspapers if you're on vacation.
Don't advertise travel plans online.
Keep a car parked in your driveway.
Turn on the lights.
Burglaries can occur in broad daylight, but thieves also like darkness. Install plenty of outdoor lighting around your property and near all doorways. Set your lights on a timer, too, so they go on and off at the same time each day, giving thieves the illusion that you are always home.
Secure the doors.
An unlocked door is an open invitation for burglars, and exterior doors are the most common point for burglar entries. Be sure to buy sturdy, wooden or metal exterior doors with deadbolts and auxiliary locks, and keep them locked even when you're home. If you have a sliding door, secure it with a metal bar. You should also change the locks after you move into a new house and after you lose your keys.
Secure the windows.
Keep your windows locked at all times. If possible, purchase multi-pane windows with reinforced glass or acrylic. You can also add security film for additional protection.
Don't hide a spare key.
You may be tempted to store a spare key under the doormat, on the door frame, in your mailbox or in a false rock. Instead, give it to a trusted neighbor where it's inaccessible to a burglar.
Trim the bushes.
Overgrown bushes, shrubs and other landscaping provide the perfect cover for a thief. Trim the landscaping around your home. You can also plant thorny or spiked plants under windows to deter criminals.
Secure the garage door.
It's surprisingly easy to break into a garage, so always lock the door. Install a motion sensing light in the garage, too, to alert you and neighbors of suspicious activity. You should also remove your automatic garage door opener from your vehicle overnight.
These top eight home security tips protect you, your family and your valuables. For additional security tips, talk to your insurance agent.
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
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