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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 house - house

Home Repairs: 'Like It Never Even Happened'

Author TonyScurich , 6/1/2016
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A pipe bursts and water ruins a corner of your Brazilian cherry wood floor. A windstorm tears off half of the vinyl shingles on one side of the house. A fire burns a couple of kitchen cupboards. Although your Homeowners policy will cover such partial losses, the extent to which the insurance company must go to make everything look just the way you'd like can be tricky.

Let's say that the new siding contrasts with the older, weathered shingles or that you can't find replacement kitchen cupboards that precisely match the originally. Your claim should put you back to pre-loss condition so the new part shouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. For example, this might mean replacing the entire floor of a room even if only a portion needs repair, or repainting all four walls after damage to only one. In some states, if replaced items don't match in quality, color or size, the insurance company must make "reasonable repairs or replacement of items in adjoining areas." Although other states don't have laws on matching, some Homeowners insurers have added similar "non-matching language" to their policies. Besides varying by state, insurer, and policy, the issue of patching versus full replacement can depends on insurance company adjusters. If you can't get make any headway with the adjuster on the repairs you want, consider going over his or her head to a supervisor, or file a complaint with the state insurance department. Another option is to hire a public insurance adjuster to work on your behalf through the claims process. These professionals usually charge about 10% of the final settlement.

Drip, Drip, Drip: Dealing With Water Damage

Author TonyScurich , 4/25/2016
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Of all Homeowners insurance losses, those from water damage are among the most common. Many people often don't consider the potential risks in their own homes until it's too late.

To minimize hazards that can cause water damage claims, we'd like to recommend these steps:

  • Check for leaks. Periodically inspect the area around the refrigerator, washer, dishwasher, water heater, sinks, and toilets for drips, puddles, and discolored, warped, or soft flooring.
  • Pay attention to your water bill. Monthly fluctuations could indicate a leak.
  • Periodically check your water pressure. Water losses often occur due to excessive water pressure. Buy a pressure gauge at your local hardware store, and hook it up to a hose bib. If it's above 65 psi, install a water pressure regulator.
  • Before you go on vacation, take precautions. If temperatures in your area could dip below freezing, make sure that any exposed pipes are insulated, turn off the water supply to individual fixtures, and turn your furnace to low so that the pipes will stay warm enough to avoid bursting.

If you need to file a claim, follow these guidelines:

  • Stop the source of the water by turning off the water main.
  • Call your insurance company immediately. Most companies have staff 24/7 to help you set appointments with contractors who can dry out your house. Your insurer will also send an adjuster to assess the damage.
  • Don't start any major repair efforts until the adjuster has been to your home!
  • Determine what was lost and document it. Even if things were ruined, don't throw them away. Keep pieces of the damaged floor or ceiling, along with any valuable personal property, such as electronics or furniture. At a minimum, take photos or video of the damage.

For more information, give us a call at any time.


Home, Sweet (Temporary) Home

Author TonyScurich , 3/18/2016
1If a disaster covered under your Homeowners insurance wrecks your home, you don't have to couch-surf until repairs are finished.

The standard Homeowners policy will pay for loss of use or Additional Living Expenses (ALE) - such as rental and hotel costs - while your dwelling remains uninhabitable

Check out these guidelines for using this valuable coverage:

  1. Know the amount of your ALE. The Homeowners policy caps additional expenses as a portion of the Dwelling coverage (usually 20%) and sets a time limit, such as 12 months. If you believe that you'll need more coverage, increase the amount before disaster strikes.
  2. Look for comparable digs. Staying in a hotel gets old rapidly, so you'll want to get settled quickly. However, don't decide too soon - you're entitled to stay in a place that's comparable in size and quality to your house.
  3. Count all your extra expenses. In addition to the cost of housing, don't overlook other expenditures - everything from restaurant meals while living in a hotel and fees for boarding pets to the expense of coin-operated laundry and extra mileage for driving further to work.
  4. Remember that the key word for ALE is "additional." The insurance company can deduct any money you save from living in temporary housing (such as the amount you would have spent on groceries from your reimbursement for restaurant meals while you're staying at the hotel).
  5. Keep your receipts. The insurance company will generally reimburse you for expenses as they're incurred, rather than paying a lump sum. Keep meticulous records of every expenditure, save all your receipts - and store them in a waterproof, zippered pouch.

For more information on your Additional Living Expenses coverage, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

 

Home Repairs: 'Like It Never Even Happened'

Author TonyScurich , 1/1/2016
3

A pipe bursts and water ruins a corner of your Brazilian cherry wood floor. A windstorm tears off half of the vinyl shingles on one side of the house. A fire burns a couple of kitchen cupboards. Although your Homeowners policy will cover such partial losses, the extent to which the insurance company must go to make everything look just the way you'd like can be tricky.

Let's say that the new siding contrasts with the older, weathered shingles or that you can't find replacement kitchen cupboards that precisely match the originally. Your claim should put you back to pre-loss condition so the new part shouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. For example, this might mean replacing the entire floor of a room even if only a portion needs repair, or repainting all four walls after damage to only one. In some states, if replaced items don't match in quality, color or size, the insurance company must make "reasonable repairs or replacement of items in adjoining areas." Although other states don't have laws on matching, some Homeowners insurers have added similar "non-matching language" to their policies. Besides varying by state, insurer, and policy, the issue of patching versus full replacement can depends on insurance company adjusters. If you can't get make any headway with the adjuster on the repairs you want, consider going over his or her head to a supervisor, or file a complaint with the state insurance department. Another option is to hire a public insurance adjuster to work on your behalf through the claims process. These professionals usually charge about 10% of the final settlement.

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.


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.

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.

Ways to help prevent home theft

Author TonyScurich , 6/2/2015
Burglars 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.LocksDeadbolt 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.WindowsKey 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 HabitsEstablish 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 TipsLeave 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.

Tree maintenance can minimize property damage

Author TonyScurich , 5/15/2015

The trees in your yard can enhance your property, provide shade and offer abundant environmental benefits. However, trees can also pose a safety hazard to your family and your home if they are not properly inspected and maintained.

Trees can present a particularly significant danger during a storm. Wind, lightning, snow and ice can all transform a tranquil row of trees into an imminent threat to your property. Proper tree maintenance involves more than pruning and trimming overgrown branches. These are some of the key steps you can take to protect your trees and prevent them from becoming a safety hazard.

The trees in your yard can enhance your property, provide shade and offer abundant environmental benefits. However, trees can also pose a safety hazard to your family and your home if they are not properly inspected and maintained. Trees can present a particularly significant danger during a storm. Wind, lightning, snow and ice can all transform a tranquil row of trees into an imminent threat to your property. Proper tree maintenance involves more than pruning and trimming overgrown branches. These are some of the key steps you can take to protect your trees and prevent them from becoming a safety hazard.
Steps to Take Before a Storm
  • Remove any dead trees on your property.
  • Enhance the health of trees through timely watering, proper fertilization and protection from soil compaction. Healthy trees will be able to better adapt to changes in the environment, remain firm in the wind and react more effectively to damage.
  • Regularly prune dead or broken limbs to help trees maintain their structural integrity. In addition, thin excess branches every three to five years. For more information, visit arborday.org.
  • Remove or treat pest problems as soon as you spot them to minimize potential damage to trees. Be careful not to over-treat tree hollows, and do not remove decayed wood from hollows unless it falls away in your hands. Cleaning hollows can cause additional internal damage to trees. If possible, cover the opening to hollows.
Six Signs to Monitor When performing maintenance on the trees in your yard, please make safety a priority. If you are unable to safely prune or remove trees and limbs, contact a professional tree-care service or arborist to help you do so. It may be a good idea to consult with a professional if the trees in your yard already display any of the following characteristics:
  • Cracks in the trunk or major limbs
  • Signs of hollowing and decay
  • Mushrooms growing from the bark
  • Significant leaning to one side
  • Limbs in contact with power lines
  • Branches hanging over your house
    • Although the branches may not be touching your house under normal conditions, high winds can cause trees and branches to bend or break.

Sources: Travelers, Clatterbuck, Wayne. "Storm-Damaged Residential Trees: Assessment, Care and Prevention." Extension.Tennessee.edu. The University of Tennessee; Coder, Kim. "Storm Damaged Trees: Prevention & Treatments." Warnell.Forestry.UGA.edu. The University of Georgia.


Grilling safely

Author TonyScurich , 5/11/2015

shish-kebabMany Americans fire up the grill when the weather is warm, especially during summer holidays and family get-togethers. This adds up to more than three billion barbecues a year. But serious accidents can occur without proper precautions.

Here are some important tips to help you keep danger away when you are enjoying food and fun:

Choose a safe location for your grill. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than one-quarter (27%) of home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio and 29% started on an exterior balcony or open porch.* Keep grills on a level surface more than 10 feet away from the house, garage, deck rails or other structures. Keep away from children, pets, landscaping and overhanging branches. Grills should not be used on a balcony or under an overhang.

Grill outside only! Never use a grill in a garage, vehicle, tent or other enclosed space, even if ventilated, due to risk of harmful carbon monoxide buildup.

Keep gas grills and supplies safe. Always store gas grills – and propane tanks – outside and away from your house. Turn off valves if the odor of gas is detected or when not in use. Check at least annually for leaks in the connections.

Use the right fuel the right way. While starting and maintaining the flame in a charcoal grill can be challenging, avoid shortcuts. Only use starter fluids intended for these grills. Never use gasoline or too much starter fluid. If the fire is too low, rekindle with dry kindling and more charcoal if needed. Avoid adding liquid fuel because it can cause a flash fire. Do not leave grill unattended.

Do not forget post-grilling safety. Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. If using a charcoal grill, dispose of coals by soaking them in water to let them cool completely and placing them in a closed metal container away from your home, garage or deck. Be aware that grills themselves remain hot long after extinguished.


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