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Scurich Insurance Services has been serving the Monterey Bay Area since 1924. Our mission is to partner with our customers and provide them superior service and value. We are a member of United Valley Insurance Services, Inc., a cluster of over 70 California Independent Insurance agencies, which produced over $530,000,000 of annual premium last year. At Scurich Insurance Services we understand your business and our community. Our customers look to us for comprehensive solutions. We have established relationships with more than 40 of the nation’s leading insurance providers, which allows us to deliver multiple, competitively-priced options and a team of experts to guide you through the process. When you need to file a claim, change a policy or process a certificate you can depend on Scurich Insurance Services to respond quickly to your request. SERVICES In order to provide value added benefits to our customers that go beyond the insurance policy Scurich Insurance Services offers the following additional services: Safety Programs – English and Spanish OSHA Compliance Safety Policies – English and Spanish Online OSHA 300 Log Safety Posters and Payroll Stuffers - English and Spanish Certificates of Insurance – If received before 3:30pm done the same day Risk Management Consulting Brokerage Services Represent most major insurance companies to better market your account. Safety tapes/DVD’s BUSINESS LINES Commercial Commercial Packages Business Auto Workers Compensation Umbrella Bonds Directors & Officers Professional Liability Employment Practices Liability Personal Auto Home Umbrella Recreational Vehicles Boatss Life & Health Individual Medical Individual Life Group Medical Group Benefits

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Posts tagged with CA Homeowners Insurance - CA Homeowners Insurance

You Need to "Call Before You Dig"

Author TonyScurich , 7/20/2015

Person digging in backyard

What is 811?

Are you a homeowner or contractor? Did you know that you are required to call the number ‘811’ before digging on any property so that you can be made aware of any underground lines (e.g. pipes, cables and associated utilities) buried in the area? Improper digging can lead to damage to underground lines that can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, harm diggers or excavators, and even incur potential fines and repair costs.

In case you did not know, 811 is the national "Call Before You Dig" phone number designated by the Federal Communications Commission. This number was developed to eliminate the confusion of multiple "Call Before You Dig" numbers because it is easy to use, is the same for every state, and can help protect anyone who does dig from injury, expense and potential penalties.

What Happens After Calling 811?

All 811 calls are routed to a local One Call Center and the affected utilities. The utility will then send crews to the location to mark any underground lines for the homeowner or excavator for free.

Do Most People Call Before They Dig?

Believe it or not, in spite of all the potential danger and damage that can be caused, the answer is "no." According to a recent national survey, 45 percent of American homeowners who plan to dig this year said that they would not call 811 beforehand.*

More Information

For more information about the 811 call system, visit http://www.call811.com. To download the most current industry Best Practices in connection with preventing damage to underground facilities, go to http://commongroundalliance.com/.


Tips for a vacation-ready home

Author TonyScurich , 6/22/2015

family-vacationA vacation is your time to relax and enjoy life.

Vacation is for fun and relaxation. Help save yourself some worry about what could be happening at home by protecting it from theft and damage while you are away. Here is a checklist we have developed to help you have a relaxing and peaceful vacation.

  • Make sure all electrical appliances are turned off.
  • Clean the refrigerator of all perishable foods, and take out the garbage.
  • Lock all windows and doors.
  • Arrange to have the newspaper and mail held until your return, or have them picked up by a trusted neighbor.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed (or snow shoveled) while you are away. Ask a neighbor to set out your trash on collection day and then retrieve empty cans and recycling bins the same day.
  • Let a trusted neighbor know you will be away and have them keep an eye on your home. It is a good idea to leave your vacation address and telephone number with a neighbor so you can be reached in case of an emergency.
  • Never leave your house key hidden outside your home.
  • Set timers on interior lights.
  • Make sure to unplug televisions, computers and appliances susceptible to lightning and power surges.
  • Advise your alarm company and local police if you will be gone for an extended period.
  • Store jewelry and valuable items in a safe-deposit box.
  • Arrange for the care of pets.
  • Set the heating system to provide minimum heat of 55 degrees.


Cooking is the cause of two out of every five home fires

Author TonyScurich , 6/19/2015

cooking-fireCooking has long been and continues to be the most common cause of home structure fires and home fire-related injuries. Whether preparing for a family dinner or a quick snack, practicing safe cooking behaviors can help keep you and your family safe.

  • Never leave your range or cooktop unattended while cooking. If you have to leave the room, turn your range or cooktop off.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves. Loose clothing can hang down onto hot surfaces and can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
  • Keep your cooking area clean and free of combustible materials. Food wrappers, oven mitts or other materials left on or near the stove may catch fire.
  • Be sure to clean up any spilled or splattered grease. Built-up grease can catch fire in the oven or on the cooktop.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher readily available. Having an extinguisher nearby is important, but you also need to have the correct type of extinguisher and know how to properly use it.
  • Never throw hot grease in the garbage as it can ignite combustible materials.Be sure to let grease cool and dispose of it in an old can, such as a metal coffee can.
  • Do not store food or other items in your oven. It can be easy to forget there is an item in your oven, and this could catch fire while preheating.

What to Do If a Cooking Fire Flares Up

By exercising caution at all times in your kitchen, you can help reduce the risk of a kitchen fire. But if a fire does flare up, you need to be prepared.

  • Your safety should always come first. If you are unsure about whether it is safe to fight the fire, leave the scene, call 911 for help, and let the fire department control the fire.
  • If a small fire flares up and you are going to attempt to extinguish it, call 911 for help first. A fire may grow out of control more quickly than you anticipate. It is safer to have help already on the way.
  • Smother a grease fire – never throw water on a grease fire. The super-heated water can change to steam, and can cause severe burns. Oil also can splash and spread the fire. If a grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by sliding the lid – while wearing an oven mitt – over the pan. If safe to do so, turn off the heat source. Do not move the pan, and keep the lid on until the fire is out and the pan is completely cool.
  • If a fire starts in your oven, keep the door closed and turn off the heat source.Keeping the door closed will help smother the flames. Do not open the door until the flames are completely out.
  • If a fire starts in your microwave, turn off the microwave and do not open it until the fire is completely out. Unplug the microwave only if you can safely do so.

*Source: NFPA. “Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment”. Marty Ahrens. 11-2013.http://www.nfpa.org/research/statistical-reports/major-causes/cooking-equipment


Help prevent common household fires

Author TonyScurich , 6/17/2015

fire-houseUsing our claim data, we have developed a list of the most common causes of fire-related losses as well as some things you can do to help prevent them.

Faulty Wiring and Outlets Are One of the Top Causes of House Fires.

  • Check the electrical cords throughout your home for signs of fraying, and replace all frayed wires.
  • Do not pinch or cover electrical cords with items such as rugs.
  • Be aware of the capacity of your home's electrical system. Do not overload your circuits. If you have questions about your home's electrical system, you may want to consult a licensed electrician.
  • Understand the difference between surge protectors and power strips - both allow you to plug in multiple electronic devices, but only the surge protector will help protect these devices from a power spike. Use surge protectors to protect valuable electronic devices, such as computers and televisions.

Carelessness in the Kitchen May Also Lead to a House Fire.

  • Never leave your pots or pans unattended on your stove.
  • Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher readily available and know how to use it.
  • Keep your stove and oven clean. Built up food splatter or grease can later ignite when the stove or oven is turned on for cooking.
  • Read more tips to help prevent cooking fires, and what to do if one occurs.

Clothes Dryers are Another Common Source of House Fires.

  • If you are installing your own dryer vent, follow the directions in the manufacturer’s installation instructions, using the recommended duct material. If you are unsure about how to properly install the vent, consider hiring a professional to do the installation.
  • Clean out the dryer vent regularly.
  • Clean out the lint filter after each load.
  • Lint may also collect under and behind your dryer, so do not forget to clean these areas.

Alternative Heating Sources May Also Create a Fire Hazard.

  • Avoid using an older space heater, as it may not have adequate safety features compared to newer units. When purchasing a new space heater, ensure it is UL Listed and pay attention to the safety features.
  • Do not place a space heater near furniture, curtains or other objects that could easily catch fire.
  • If you plan to install an alternative heating system, such as a wood or pellet stove, follow the instructions. If you are unsure about how to properly install the system, consider hiring a professional to do the installation.
  • Before installing a wood or pellet stove, check to ensure it complies with the laws of your state and municipality.

Dirty Chimneys Also Pose a Fire Hazard.

  • Have your chimney inspected annually by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweep. Have a professional clean and repair the chimney as needed, especially before the cold months, when you will be using it frequently.
  • Use seasoned wood only. Never burn green or damp wood.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash or trees in your fireplace - these can all spark chimney fires.

Be aware - not all kitchen fires start with cooking

Author TonyScurich , 6/15/2015

fire-3When thinking of the cause of a kitchen fire, it is common to think of cooking. But not all kitchen fires start because of cooking hazards. Non-cooking related fires commonly involve refrigerators, freezers or dishwashers. The following tips can help prevent non-cooking related fires from occurring in your kitchen.

  • Plug all kitchen appliances, including microwaves, toasters and coffee makers, directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord as it can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Use the right outlet for the right appliance. For larger appliances, such as ovens and refrigerators, be sure to only use properly grounded outlets with circuits that match the rating plate on the appliance. If you have older 2-prong outlets in other locations of your kitchen, have a qualified electrician replace it with a properly grounded 3-prong outlet. Do not use an adapter.
  • Replace any power cords that become frayed or otherwise damaged. Never use a cord that shows cracks or other damage.
  • When moving kitchen appliances, be aware of power cords. Rolling over or pinching power cords can damage them.
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use.
  • Keep your stove and oven clean. Built up food splatter or grease can later ignite when the stove or oven is turned on for cooking.
  • Check and clean stove hoods and filters regularly. If your stove hood vents externally, make sure insects or birds do not build nests or otherwise impede air flow through it.
  • Never use a gas or propane oven to heat your home. Not only is this a fire hazard, but it can also give off toxic gases.

What to Do If a Kitchen Fire Flares Up

By exercising caution at all times in your kitchen, you can help reduce the risk of a kitchen fire. But if a fire does flare up, you need to be prepared.

  • Your safety should always come first. If you are unsure about whether it is safe to fight the fire, leave the scene, call 911 for help, and let the fire department control the fire.
  • If a small fire flares up and you are going to attempt to extinguish it, call 911 for help first. A fire may grow out of control more quickly than you anticipate. It is safer to have help already on the way. Using a fire extinguisher

Compile an inventory of your important possessions

Author TonyScurich , 6/15/2015
In the event of severe damage to your home or business, having a current inventory of your possessions — including their make and model numbers — can help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance. While most people think of their home when discussing an inventory, it is important to document the contents of your business as well. Watch "Emergency Preparedness: How Taking a Home Inventory Can Help You Recover Sooner"

Here are some suggestions for getting started.

  • Take a picture. Take pictures of rooms and important individual items. Label pictures with a description, including where you bought it and the make, model and serial number. Remember items that are in storage closets or drawers.
  • Video record it. Walk through your home or office with a video recorder or tape recorder and describe the contents.
  • Create an electronic file – Use your computer or mobile device to create and store your inventory list. Take advantage of mobile applications or free online software like www.knowyourstuff.org to organize pictures or descriptions of your belongings by room or category.
  • Store the list, photos and tapes. Regardless of how you create it (written or electronic list, flash drive, photos, video or audio), keep your inventory along with receipts in your safe deposit box, on a disk or at a friend or colleague’s home. Doing so will help ensure you will have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to the inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.
  • Consider expensive items. Valuable items like jewelry, art and collectibles may have increased in value since you received them. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items. They may need to be insured separately.

This information was taken from an article from the Insurance Information Institute (www.iii.org)


Backyard safety tips

Author TonyScurich , 6/10/2015

backyardMore and more, people are vacationing in their own backyards. If you have turned yours into a “staycation” hot spot, here are some safety tips to consider to help keep your oasis fun and free of danger.

The Pool

The pool can be a refreshing way to get some relief from the hot sun. But it can also be dangerous. Get your pool swim-ready by understanding some of the most common ways accidents occur, and then learning more about proper swimming pool safety and maintenance to help prevent them:

  • Unsupervised access or swimming, either by lack of close supervision or by failing to properly secure the pool to prevent entry. As a pool owner, you are responsible for making sure that access is restricted and people cannot enter pool areas unattended.
  • Injury by diving or jumping improperly, or from water around the pool or deck area that may cause someone to slip and fall.
  • Defective or broken spa or swimming pool components. Drains are often a dangerous pool part that can cause circulation entrapment if not properly covered. Faulty pool equipment and old pool lighting can also cause electrical shock.

Prevent swimming pool accidents before they occur. Learn more about swimming pool safety.

The Grill

During warmer months, you might enjoy having a backyard barbecue. But according to the latest statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, gas and charcoal grills have been involved in an average of 8,800 home and outside fires per year. Some of the main causes of grilling fires are:

  • Placing the grill too close to combustibles, such as siding or an overhang.
  • Failure to keep the grill clean. Grease or fat buildup can catch and spread fire quickly.
  • A leak or break in the grill’s gas hose.
  • Leaving equipment unattended.
  • Misuse of material or product, including using incorrect starter fluids.

Cook safely outdoors this summer by reading our grilling safety tips.

Trampolines

Trampolines can be fun for kids, but according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, they are the cause of nearly 100,000 injuries each year.  Avoid being a statistic:

  • Limit the number of jumpers to one at a time.
  • Supervision is needed for children at all times.
  • Remove trampoline ladders after use to prevent unsupervised access by young children.
  • Anchor the trampoline and enclosure to the ground by using a trampoline anchor kit.

Playsets

Playsets can be enjoyed by children of all ages, but damaged or weather-worn playsets can cause accidents. Stay safe by:

  • Supervising children.
  • Regularly checking for sturdiness, rusty bolts and wood rot, and making necessary repairs.
  • Ensuring playsets do not have openings between pieces that could trap a child’s head or neck.
  • Placing playsets securely on level ground and on wood chips or other soft materials to cushion falls and help prevent injuries.

Fire Pits

Warm nights are the perfect time to roast marshmallows. But out-of-control fires can cause injury. Be smart:

  • Place the fire pit in a safe spot away from your home, backyard deck or low-hanging tree branches.
  • Always require adult supervision around the fire pit while it is in use and until it has cooled off.
  • Never leave the fire unattended.
  • Use sand to fully extinguish the fire.
  • Let the coals cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container.

Lawn mowers

During the spring and summer months, lawn mowers can easily cause injury. Follow these tips for safety:

  • Read the mower’s manual, heed safety and operating instructions and learn the controls.
  • Do not allow children to ride as passengers on a lawn mower, and be sure to keep children out of the yard while mowing.
  • Clean up toys and other objects, such as rocks, from the yard to help prevent injuries from flying objects.
  • Never leave a running mower unattended.
  • Never operate the mower in an enclosed place where carbon monoxide can accumulate.
  • Never unclog or work on a lawn mower while the engine is on or when the spark plug is connected.
  • Wear non-slip shoes (no open toes or heels), long pants and hearing and eye protection.

Swimming pool safety and maintenance tips

Author TonyScurich , 6/10/2015

kid-swimmingProtect your Friends and Family as you Beat the Heat.

Warmer weather means more outdoor activities for the whole family, including cooling off in the pool. We want to help you make sure that you, your family and guests are safe. Here are a few tips that can help you stay safe while you have fun: Always supervise swimmers and have life-saving equipment nearby:
  • Maintain secure fencing and a locked entrance around the pool and deck area to prevent access when adequate supervision is not available. Install self-closing and self-latching gates.
  • Make sure no one swims alone. Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area, and make sure less experienced swimmers are always accompanied by a swimmer who has water life-saving skills.
  • Equip your door, gate or pool with an audible alarm to alert you if someone enters the pool area or falls into the pool while it is unattended.
  • Diving should be prohibited unless a specific area of the pool is designated for safe diving. Water depth and diving-restricted areas should be clearly marked.
  • Make sure there is adequate life-saving equipment in the pool area, including life preservers and a rope with life-saving rings, a reaching pole or rescue hook.
Regularly maintain your pool during the season to keep swimmers and sun-bathers safe:
  • Keep chemicals safely stored away from the pool area. Follow all storage and usage instructions recommended by the pool chemical manufacturer.
  • Be sure electrical devices, including outdoor entertainment systems, are away from pools or wet surfaces. When using electrical devices outdoors be sure to plug them into a GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter). Keep the pool area clear of glass bottles, toys or other potential accident hazards.
  • Inspect the liner. Rips and tears can appear undetected at the top of the lining.  Check for signs of wear and tear in areas where pipes or other items may have penetrated the liner (e.g., skimmers, hoses, etc.).
  • For above ground pools, check metal supports for rust or deterioration. These may indicate areas where the pool could rupture or a person could be injured.
  • Check the deck for safety hazards (e.g., protruding nails, loose boards, etc.).
  • Ensure your pool has compliant anti-entrapment drain covers. Inspect them regularly to confirm they are not broken or missing. Visit the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act) for additional information.  This act applies for all outdoor and indoor structures intended for swimming or recreational bathing, including in-ground and above-ground pools, hot tubs, spas, whirlpools and non-portable wading pools.

When wildfire spreads, preparation is key

Author TonyScurich , 6/8/2015

Get tips on how to prepare for wildfire.

Wildfire preparation

Wildfires can pose particular dangers because they often begin unnoticed and can spread quickly, threatening both lives and property in their paths. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, you can help keep yourself, your family and your property safe by taking steps to reduce your risks.

Well before a wildfire threatens

  • Keep your home well maintained by regularly cleaning your gutters and trimming tree limbs that may be too close to your home. Be sure your smoke alarms are working, fire extinguishers are operational and a home escape ladder is accessible if you need to evacuate quickly from an upper floor.
  • Landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind, using fire-resistant shrubs and trees.
  • Maintain a defensible space zone between structures and natural growth that is free of brush, trees and grasses to help keep a wildfire from getting too close to your property. If you live on a hill, extend that zone on the downhill side, since fire can race uphill quickly.
  • Prepare a survival kit, map out an evacuation plan and create a home inventory of all your belongings. Visit our preparedness timeline to learn more about disaster planning.
  • If you are remodeling your home, think about including fire-resistant materials such as non-combustible roofing and siding and fire-rated glass or fire shutters for windows.

When a wildfire approaches

  • Stay tuned to local news about wildfires in the area, and follow evacuation instructions given by local officials.
  • Review emergency plans with your family. Be sure to designate a meeting place and a check-in telephone number if you are separated during evacuation. Also make certain that everyone has emergency numbers stored in their phones.
  • If you have time, close windows, doors and blinds and shut off utilities. Open the fireplace damper and close fireplace screens.
  • Have your car ready to leave at a moment’s notice and keep the keys handy. Roll up the windows to keep smoke out.

What to do during a wildfire

  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Wear protective clothing, such as a long- sleeved cotton or wool shirt and pants, and take a wet cotton towel or handkerchief to protect your face.
  • Take your survival kit and choose a route away from fire and smoke. Follow your evacuation plan and be sure everyone knows where to go and what to do.

How to respond after a wildfire

  • Check with fire officials before attempting to re-enter your home. Use caution when entering since fires can re-ignite quickly, even after dying down.
  • Discard any food or medication that came in contact with smoke or fire.

At Travelers, we understand that a wildfire can be a frightening and dangerous event. We hope our expertise and insight will help you protect your family and property no matter what comes your way. For more wildfire safety tips, visit the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety® website.


Ways to help prevent home theft

Author TonyScurich , 6/3/2015

Scurich Insurance Services, Watsonville, CA, Homeowners InsuranceBurglars will not find your home an "easy mark" if they are forced to work in the light, if they have to take a lot of time breaking in, or if they cannot break in without making a lot of noise.

Research shows that if it takes more than four or five minutes to break into a home, the burglar will go elsewhere.

Most insurance companies provide 2 percent to 15 percent discounts for devices that make a home safer—dead-bolt locks, window grates, bars and smoke/fire/burglar alarms.

However, when improving the security of your home, do not exchange security for personal safety. Do not make your home such a fortress that you are unable to escape in case of a fire or other emergency.

Check your Home for Weaknesses and Correct Them

  • Take the time to "case" your house or apartment, just as a burglar would. Where is the easiest entry? How can you make it more burglar-resistant?
  • Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows, and think carefully before installing a high, wooden fence around your back yard. High fences and shrubbery can add to your privacy, but can also be an asset to a burglar. Consider trading a little extra privacy for a bit of added security.
  • Force any would-be burglar to confront a real enemy—light. Exterior lights and motion detectors, mounted out of easy reach, can reduce the darkness a burglar finds comforting.
  • Simple security devices—nails, screws, padlocks, door and window locks, grates, bars and bolts—can increase the amount of time it takes to break into your home.
  • Invest in a burglar alarm. The most effective ones also ring at an outside service.

Are any of your valuables—paintings, a silver collection or a computer—easy to see from outside the house? Rearranging your furnishings might be advisable if it makes your home less inviting to criminals.

Simple Security Steps

Doors

Make sure you have strong doors. Outside doors should be metal or solid hardwood, and at least 1 3/4 inches thick. Frames must be made of equally strong material, and each door must fit its frame securely. Even the most efficient lock, if it is placed in a weak door, will not keep out a determined burglar.

A peephole or a wide-angle viewer in the door is safer for identifying visitors than a door chain.

Sliding glass doors present a special problem because they are easy to open, but if you have these doors, you can find special locks for them. A broomstick in the door channel can also help, but cannot be depended on.

Locks

Deadbolt locks are best. They usually are locked with a key from the outside and a thumb turn on the inside. The cylinder (where the key is inserted) should be pick-resistant. Ask your hardware dealer for a reputable brand or buy your locks from a locksmith.

Windows

Key locks are available for all types of windows. Double-hung windows can be secured simply by "pinning" the upper and lower frames together with a nail, which can be removed from the inside.

For windows at street level or on fire escapes, consider installing metal accordion gates.

Home Security Habits

  • Establish a routine to make certain that doors and windows are locked and alarm systems are turned on.
  • Avoid giving information to unidentified telephone callers and announcing your personal plans in want ads or public notices (such as giving your address when advertising items for sale).
  • Notify the police if you see suspicious strangers in your area.
  • Do not carry house keys on a key ring bearing your home address or leave house keys with your car in a commercial parking lot or with an attendant.
  • Do not hide your keys in "secret" places outside your home—burglars usually know where to look.

Vacation Tips

  • Leave blinds open in their usual position.
  • Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded or held by the post office.
  • Lower the sound of your telephone ringer and answering machine so they cannot be heard outside.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed in summer and your walk and driveway shoveled in winter.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries.
  • Ask a friend to pick-up "throw-away" newspapers and circulars.
  • Use automatic timers to turn lights on and off in various parts of the house at appropriate times. Consider connecting a radio to a timer.
  • Tell police and dependable neighbors when you plan to be away and join with your neighbors to keep a close watch on what's happening in your area. Working closely with them is a good way to prevent crime.

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