Author: sch43yt9824huilb

New Car Insurance: Staying Mindful When Purchasing

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Tips to Keep in Mind Before Purchasing New Car Insurance

Car insurance: it’s an unavoidable part of modern life. While shopping for car insurance is something we hope to get through as quickly as possible, it’s important to not rush into a new car insurance policy. Policies are no small expense, and while many insurance agencies will tell you they offer the lowest rates, if you don’t ask the right questions, you could be paying extra money for coverage that doesn’t do as much as you think it does.

So, before you pick up the phone and agree to a policy from any car insurance provider, consider the following.

Think about the type of car insurance you need. “Isn’t there just one?” you might be wondering. Not exactly. Under the larger car insurance umbrella, you’ll find different types of coverage to choose from, like collision insurance, comprehensive insurance, and personal injury protection insurance, just to name a few. They each address expense and liability in a different way. While these selections are often up to the policyholder (you), some states do require that drivers have a specific type of coverage.

For example, if you live New Jersey, Michigan, or Florida (or nine other states) you’re required to carry no-fault insurance, which means your policy pays for your medical bills, regardless of whose fault the accident was. This is different than traditional insurance, in which one driver is assigned fault and their insurance company pays for damages incurred to both parties. It’s important to know what your state requires.

Get a sense of the going rate. To estimate the cost of your new car insurance policy, it is best to request a quote from multiple carriers. Rates often fluctuate, so you want to make sure the deal is falling in your interest. That’s why working with an independent agency, who represents several different insurance companies, is the best solution. Independent insurance agencies, like Schechner Lifson Corporation, works in the best interest of the customer. With us, you can rest assured we’ll find the best rate for your situation.

Determine the deductible you can afford. Your deductible is the amount of money you’ll owe out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. Most deductibles start at around $500 and go upward. It’s important to have 100% clarity on a policy’s deductible. For example, you don’t want to discover your policy has a $2000 deductible after the fact if coming up with $2,000 at once would put a strain on your finances.

Ask about payment policies. Rarely will an insurance carrier require you pay to for a policy in one lump sum upfront (most request monthly or annual payments). However, you may want to ask about conveniences like the ability to put extra money toward your policy certain months, or installment plans that allow you to pay just the premium on your plan. It’s also wise to inquire about any subtle installment fees and required down payments. You want to know exactly how much you’ll have to put toward your car insurance policy when all is said and done.

Ready to shop for your new car insurance policy? Let the insurance experts at Schechner Lifson Corporation help you get started today! We’re committed to finding you the best policy to fit your lifestyle.

Why Your Small Business Should Still Offer Employee Health Benefits

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Even Small Businesses Need Employee Health Benefits

Health insurance can be one of the most expensive parts of running a business. When you’re a small business and have to operate on a tight budget, offering employee health benefits can seem like a heavy burden, leaving you questioning whether such an investment is the best use of your funds. While providing health benefits isn’t mandatory until your business has at least fifty employees on payroll, businesses of any size need employee health benefits. Here’s why.

Employee health benefits can help you attract the right talent. Those seeking a business where they can grow their career want to know they’ll be supported with the right benefits. Those with in-demand skills typically know their worth and are looking for employment opportunities that can offer the full package. Because hiring the right people early on sets the tone for your small business’s culture for years to come, impacting the quality of future hires down the road, it could be worth every penny to attract ace players with appealing benefits today.

Employee health benefits can help decrease turnover. The employees you currently have may be more likely to stay if they know they have health coverage. Health benefits are something that most employees don’t just want from an employer, but expect. Eighty-three percent of employees said health insurance is very or extremely important in deciding whether to stay in or change jobs. Given that turnover can be extremely costly for employees, consider doing all you can to keep your current employees hired and happy.

Healthy employees are productive employees. One of the most fundamental reasons to offer your team members health benefits? It keeps them healthier! People are more likely to go to the doctor when they have insurance to help cover the cost. This includes doctor’s visits for both preventative and remedial care. The more your employees can mitigate sickness or the faster they can recover, the more time they have to act as contributing members of the team.

Coverage Options: How to Pay for It?

To keep expenses in check, you can offer health benefits just to employees, rather than extend coverage to their families. As a small business, offering full family coverage may be something that doesn’t fit within your budget any way you slice it. That’s okay. Offering individual health benefits still shows you’re invested in your employees.

You also don’t have to cover all the expense of employee health benefits yourself as the business. There are a number of businesses that only partially cover benefits, and pass along the rest of the cost to the employee. However, it’s worth noting that the employers must pay a minimum of 10% of the aggregate cost.

If your small business doesn’t currently offer employee health benefits, now is a great time to consider your options as you plan for your next fiscal year. Most companies extend health benefit enrollment to their employees near the end of the calendar year.

For guidance on employee health benefits for your small business, reach out to the insurance experts at Schechner Lifson Corporation today!

Should You Look into Commercial Auto Coverage?

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Find Out Why Commercial Auto Coverage is a Must

Commercial auto coverage is intended for those who use their vehicles for business. If you have a business – no matter how small – and use a vehicle for work-related driving, it’s a good idea to get commercial auto coverage.

Commercial auto coverage covers the additional liabilities that come with driving for business. For example, coverage extends to employees that drive the vehicle, the work equipment and supplies carried within or by the vehicle, and any passengers in the vehicle. Your personal auto coverage wouldn’t cover these liabilities to the same extent. Commercial auto coverage can also extend to protect your business assets in the event of a lawsuit resulting from a car accident.

If you operate a business that depends on large vehicles like semi-trucks, cement trucks, construction vehicles, or tow trucks, commercial auto coverage is required by law. However, this type of auto coverage can also be applied to regular pick-up trucks or a small sedan. If you use your vehicle for business – no matter what it looks like – it can qualify for commercial coverage.

The benefits of commercial auto coverage far outweigh the risk of operating your business without it. You protect yourself from lawsuits, you protect your employees, you protect your assets in transit, and you avoid the full burden of expensive collisions.

How to Get Commercial Auto Coverage

Work with your independent insurance agent to find the best commercial auto coverage plan for your business. You may also want to consider insurance add-ons, like emergency roadside assistance so that you or your employees will never be stranded in or in a bind. Personal effects coverage will also cover any employee belongings that are stolen from your company vehicles.

Know that commercial auto coverage will be more expensive than personal auto coverage, but that’s only because it covers more liabilities. The cost of your business’s plan will be impacted by the number of vehicles, the size of your vehicles, the type of business you own, and the size of your business. The driving records of those who will be driving your company vehicles will also impact final insurance cost, so you may want to consider verifying driving records as part of your hiring process.

Don’t let costs discourage you from acquiring this essential type of insurance coverage for your business. Consider the good news: this type of auto coverage is tax deductible!

Leasing a business vehicle? In this case, you may also need to acquire comprehensive and collision coverage. This pays for damage to your vehicle should you get into an accident that you caused yourself, or if your vehicle is damaged by a type of non-collision event.

For custom consultation regarding whether your business warrants commercial auto coverage – or to get started exploring your coverage options – reach out to the insurance experts at Schechner Lifson Corporation today!

In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Doctors

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How Will In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Affect Me?

One of the first questions you may have when introduced to health insurance policies is the difference between a policy’s in-network vs. out-of-network coverage. Most health insurance policies will present different costs for each type of coverage. But what do these terms mean, and how do they affect your pocketbook?

What is an In-Network Doctor?

In-network doctors are those with whom your insurance company has agreed to partner. The doctor accepts your insurance, and your insurance company acknowledges your doctor as a contracted healthcare provider. For that reason, these two parties have agreed to set costs for the doctor’s healthcare services. The insurance company and the doctor both know ahead of time what a service will cost. As a result of this certainty, the insurance company can take on a larger portion of the expense and the savings are passed along to you, the individual policyholder.

It’s wisest to stay in-network anytime you need to visit a doctor or a specialist. You can verify if a doctor is in-network by going to your insurance carrier’s website and searching the doctor by name. If their name is listed on the site as an in-network doctor, you know you’re good to go. You can also call the doctor’s office directly to ask if the doctor is in your carrier’s network.

However (and this is important): just because a doctor or specialist accepts your insurance, it doesn’t mean they are in-network. An out-of-network doctor can still accept your insurance, but they won’t be able to pass along the discount. Always clarify!

What is an Out-of-Network Doctor?

Out-of-network doctors don’t have a partnership with your insurance company. They do not have a standing contract with your insurance provider to negotiate standard costs for services. For this reason, visiting an out-of-network doctor can be more expensive, because the insurance company hasn’t approved the doctor’s cost for service. In this case, the difference between what the doctor charges and what the insurance company will cover gets passed on to you, the patient. This is what’s known as “balance billing”.

How to Stay Savvy

Before you schedule any appointments or accept any treatment, always do your homework. The overwhelming majority of the time, you will save money by being treated by someone in-network, so again, determine beforehand. If you’re being treated in a hospital for more involved care, don’t be afraid to ask each time you see a new doctor whether they’re in your network. Doctors have been known to involve out-of-network colleagues in a patient’s care without discussing the fact that they are out-of-network, resulting in the patient taking on the costly expense of that additional doctor’s balance billing.

Keep in mind that the principles for choosing in-network vs. out-of-network doctors can also apply to dental care and vision care.

When it comes to your health insurance coverage, never be afraid to ask questions. The question you almost didn’t ask could be the reason you save hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars! Have additional questions? Reach out to the insurance experts at Schechner Lifson Corporation today.

Have You Considered Collectibles and Valuables Insurance?

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Cover Your Personal Items with Valuables Insurance

Auto insurance: check. Life insurance: check. Health insurance: check. Homeowner’s insurance: check. With each of these in tow, you and your possessions are pretty well-covered, right?

Maybe. You could be leaving some of your most valuable assets unprotected. That’s because your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t guarantee coverage for everything in your home. Rather, it provides coverage for different items in the home up to a certain amount (known as category sublimits). So, if you have items in your home that exceed the value of their category sublimit, you’ll have to pay out of pocket should they be damaged, lost, destroyed, or stolen.

That’s why there’s valuables insurance. This type of coverage extends beyond your basic homeowner’s insurance. It’s specifically designed to cover personal items that are worth more than what the category sublimits of your homeowner’s insurance cover. We never know when a possession might be compromised, and though an insurance policy won’t be able to replace the sentimental value of cherished possessions, it can reimburse their monetary value – which is better than being left with nothing at all.

How Does Valuables Insurance Work?

Valuables insurance can be purchased as a separate addition to your homeowner’s insurance. You can do this at the time you acquire your homeowner’s insurance, or any time after. It’s important to be familiar with your standard homeowner’s insurance policy limits, so you know how much valuables coverage you need.

Without valuables insurance, should something happen to your possessions, you’d have to provide proof of ownership to your insurance company. In the case of a flood or fire, providing proof after the fact can be challenging. And who has time for that kind of dispute after major home damage?

There are two primary ways to go about identifying quantity of coverage. You can list out each valuable individually (itemizing) and put separate coverage on each item. Or, you can buy broader coverage for different categories of valuables. For items that are particularly valuable, it probably makes the most sense to itemize. You may find it helpful to work with an insurance agent who can determine the right coverage amounts for your items.

Valuables insurance also includes lost items. Let’s say a jewel fell out of your necklace, or you misplaced your collector’s edition watch. Your valuables insurance will cover the cost of these items. And, if the item appreciated in value since the time of purchase, many policies will even cover up to 50% beyond what you originally paid for the item.

If you have items in the home greater than $1,000 each in value, you should weigh the benefits of valuables insurance. However, if you have particularly valuable luxury items, consider this type of insurance a must-have. In this case, you may also want to seek out a premier insurance policy with agents who can accurately assess the value of your high-end items.

Interested in learning more about valuables insurance? Schechner Lifson Corporation’s team of insurance experts have more than one hundred years of experience in supporting homeowners like you! Call us today at 908-598-7800 or visit us online.

Understanding the Significance of Umbrella Insurance

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Is Umbrella Insurance Worth It?

Have you heard of umbrella insurance, but aren’t sure what it is or if you need it? Umbrella insurance can be an optional safety net for some, and a must-have for others. It all depends on your financial situation, lifestyle, and risk profile.

Let’s start with defining umbrella insurance. Umbrella insurance is coverage that takes effect when you exceed the limits of your other individual insurance policies. We all have different insurance policies for different things: car insurance, homeowners insurance, flood insurance, life insurance. Each of these policies have their own limits. However, in the event of a major accident or disaster – especially any that lead to a lawsuit – you could owe significantly more than what your policy covers. No one wants to be on the line for such a potentially significant sum of money, especially when it means sacrificing other assets – like homes and retirement savings – to cover the cost.

That’s why umbrella insurance acts as backup insurance for the current insurance policies you hold. Umbrella insurance can cover physical damage and property damage, as well as the cost of lawsuits. In fact, that’s one the main reasons it’s recommended for certain individuals. Umbrella insurance can be used to pay for your legal defenses in a lawsuit and protects you from getting sued for damages that other policies don’t cover.

Because umbrella insurance protects against lawsuits, its coverage is high. In fact, it’s only sold in increments of $1 million dollars. For individual contributions, you can find coverage for about $150-$200 a year, with $100 additional for every $1 million added to a policy. Like any insurance policy, the exact amount you pay is based on the insurance company’s risk assessment.

Note that you need to maintain a relatively high amount of liability coverage on your existing policies to qualify for umbrella insurance. An insurance company needs to see that you will be responsible for an adequate amount of liability before granting full umbrella coverage.

Umbrella insurance does not cover worker’s compensation claims against employers, malpractice claims, damage caused by a business, or damage that was intentional.

So, who is the ideal candidate for umbrella insurance? Those with significant assets to protect. For example, if you have a million dollars in total wealth (including assets), umbrella insurance is a wise choice. The same goes for those that engage in activities that put them at a high risk of liability. Even something as simple as owning an in-ground pool and frequently hosting parties where guests could be at increased risk of injury is reason to purchase umbrella insurance.

If you’re not sure whether umbrella insurance is worth the cost, start by identifying your net worth. This is the value of all your assets, subtracted by how much debt you have. Then, take a look at your other types of insurance. How much coverage do these policies offer you? From there, subtract the lowest coverage number from your total net worth. The remainder represents money that would be unprotected in the event of an accident or lawsuit. If that amount is significant to your financial health, consider getting an umbrella policy for at least that amount.

To learn more about umbrella insurance and which type of umbrella insurance is right for you, reach out to the insurance professionals at Schechner Lifson Corporation. We specialize in helping each of our clients find insurance solutions that work best for them.

The Difference Between Direct Writers and Independent Insurance Companies

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How Direct Writers and Independent Insurance Companies Compare

What’s the difference between working with direct writer insurance companies and independent insurance companies? Both can offer individuals policies for different types of insurance (home, auto, life, etc.), which is why on the surface, they can seem similar in function.

However, an important difference between the two is who you’ll be working with. Direct writer insurance companies employ direct writers that only sell insurance policies from their company. Independent insurance companies are made up of independent agents that aren’t obligated to represent any specific insurance company. While it may seem like individual insurance agents act as a “middle man” in the process, they can be very advantageous to policyholders.

That’s because independent insurance agents work for you, rather than directly for the larger insurance company. They’re not beholden to sell you policies from any particular major insurance company. Rather, their business is keeping your business. In fact, like a fiduciary, it’s imperative that they work to find the best insurance policies out there.

Direct writers (also known as captive agents) are employees of major insurance companies, and are in the business of selling more policies for their company. This isn’t to say you can’t find a policy that fits your needs from a direct writer. It’s just that their structure and incentives are inherently different from independent insurance agents, which at times doesn’t work in the best interest of the policyholder.

When dealing with a direct writer, you’ll be provided with options from one major insurance company. In this case, it’s up to you as the end consumer to make any comparisons between different insurance company policies and identify what’s truly best for you.

Think about the difference between direct writers and independent agents like the difference between how you could go about booking a Caribbean cruise. You could call a cruise ship company (the direct agent in our scenario) to learn about their upcoming trips; or, you could work with a travel agent (the independent insurance agent) who is not loyal to any specific cruise ship company. He or she will present you with a variety of trip options based on your desired needs.

With an independent insurance company, you can stick with your agent even if you want to switch major insurance companies down the road. This is advantageous because you can build a relationship with one agent over time. The personalization that comes from an independent insurance agency is also helpful when you’re looking to better understand the complexities of an insurance policy or identify your specific needs. Independent insurance agents are both licensed experts and personalized advisors. Part of their job is making complex topics simple for their clients, regardless of which companies they’re assessing.

Did you know that your independent insurance agent is also your advocate to the larger insurance company whose policy you’ve purchased? If you have to file a claim, dispute a ruling, or change a policy, your independent insurance agent can work directly with that insurance company and ask the right kinds of questions. For example, if your rates increase significantly, your independent agent can press the insurance company to justify their reasoning for the hike. Direct writers may be less likely to take that same initiative on behalf of a policyholder, because they’re ultimately loyal to the company.

While it’s important to choose the type of insurance partner that works best for your specific long-term needs, independent insurance agents can ultimately provide a level of personalized customer service that’s less common from direct writers at major insurance companies.

To learn more about which type of insurance partner is best for you, reach out to the insurance experts at Schechner Lifson Corporation!

Is Your Car Safety Rating Sufficient to Drive?

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How to Improve Your Car Safety Rating

When shopping for a new car, it’s important to consider car safety ratings. These ratings indicate the likelihood of serious injury should a crash occur. They also help indicate the types of safety features that could prevent both major and minor accidents. The safer your vehicle, the safer you are as a driver. Consider, too, that the risk of accident and injury can impact your car insurance costs.

Every vehicle sold in the United States is given a safety rating. This rating is determined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), a federal government agency, and an independent agency funded by the insurance industry. Each group conducts a series of standard tests to determine which vehicles are best equipped to prevent significant damage and injury. Collectively, these ratings help indicate to car buyers which makes and models are the safest to drive.

For example, the NHTSA conducts accident avoidance tests (how easy it is for vehicles to avoid an obstacle given its braking and emergency capabilities), roof strength, rollover resistance, rear-impact protection, and rear blind zones. The NHTSA safety rating system operates on a 5-star scale, with 5 stars indicating the highest level of safety. The rating is made of up different score components: an overall score, frontal impact, side impact, and rollover resistance.

Vehicles with additional safety features like back-up cameras, forward collision warnings, and lane departure warning systems help increase this star rating as well.

Specifically, a 5-star rating means that a vehicle has less than a 10% chance of causing serious injury. A 4-start rating means it has less than 11-20% chance of causing serious injury; 3-stars is a 21-35% chance of serious injury; 2-stars is a 36-45% chance of serious injury; and 1-star is a 46% chance or more of serious injury.

At first glance, it can be tricky to tell in what specific ways a five-star safety rated vehicle is safer than a vehicle rated with four stars, because the rating reflects overall safety and not individual components of performance. Also note that these ratings are only comparative when between the same category of vehicle. So, a 4-star SUV can’t be compared to a 3-star sedan. It’s better to compare a 4-start SUV to a 3-star SUV.

The IIHS safety rating system looks for similar safety features, and evaluates vehicles for five different categories. Instead of stars, vehicles that perform well in each of the five categories receive the IIHS Top Safety Pick Designation. They conduct two frontal crash tests and one side impact crash test, along with rollover resistance and how well seats and head restraints protect people when a vehicle is hit from behind. Additionally, the IIHS will conduct a front crash prevention test.

To improve your car safety rating, become an informed buyer. You can look up every vehicle’s safety rating from Kelly Blue Book, the auto industry’s resource for essentially any and all information about every vehicle manufactured. You can also find breakdowns of safety ratings from and You should also look for specific safety features that are on the cutting-edge of safety technology, like blind spot detection, automatic pedestrian breaking, and corrective steering. When shopping for a vehicle at a dealership, be upfront about your interest in suitable safety ratings, so that your salesperson can focus you on the vehicles that meet your criteria.

If you’re concerned about how a vehicle’s car safety rating could impact your car insurance, reach out to Schechner Lifson Corporation to talk with a trusted insurance professional.

Flood Insurance Coverage: Will Homeowners Insurance Protect You This Hurricane Season?

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Why Flood Insurance Coverage Is A Necessity

Hurricane season is here! Many homeowners realize too late that their homeowners insurance doesn’t cover the expense of flood damage – whether caused from a hurricane, an overrun creek, or even just heavy rain.

To protect against the cost of expensive flood damage, homeowners actually need to purchase separate flood insurance coverage. These policies can be purchased through your insurance agent, or directly from the National Flood Insurance Program.

Every area of the United States is classified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a low, medium, or high-risk flood zone. Naturally, most coastal areas and low-lying areas are flagged for high-risk of flooding. If you live in a high-risk area, consider flood insurance a must. The relatively low investment is worth the savings should flooding occur.

What does most flood insurance coverage look like? The average flood insurance policy costs less than $700 a year, and typically covers homeowners for up to $250,000 for property and $100,000 for contents within the home. Often, within this content pricing breakdown are categories of coverage. For example, a flood insurance policy might state that it covers up to $3,000 in electronics. If you have well beyond $3,000 in electronics in the home, you may want to work with your agent to find an additional policy to cover the excess costs.

There are more exceptions to get keen to. Unfortunately, flood insurance won’t cover all the potential property damage that can result from a hurricane.

Flood insurance doesn’t cover damage if the water comes from inside the home. Water must specifically come from the outside. That means if a pipe bursts, it can’t be considered a consequence of flooding, even if the pipe burst happened during a hurricane. Additionally, while a swimming pool is technically “water from the outside”, leaks from a swimming pool aren’t covered in a flood insurance policy either. Floods are also specifically defined as covering two acres of land or affecting at least one other property. If you have a small retention of water in your 1-acre backyard, it won’t be considered a flood by your insurance agency.

While flood insurance does cover most contents damaged or lost in a flood, it specifically does NOT cover any money, valuable metals, or stock certificates. Flood insurance policies also often don’t cover possessions stored in a basement, because basements are inherently at risk for flood and homeowners acknowledge the risk when they build or buy a home with a basement.

Keep in mind that unlike other types of insurance, a flood insurance policy doesn’t take effect the day it’s purchased. Flood insurance kicks in 30 days after it’s purchased, which means that if you’re in need of flood insurance this hurricane season, now is the time to acquire a policy.

The more you know about what type of coverage is best for your property, the more prepared you can be (and the more money you’ll save) should a natural disaster occur. To speak with an insurance professional about options for flood insurance, reach out to the experienced team at Schechner Lifson Corporation.

10 Home Safety Tips

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Make These Home Safety Tips a Priority

You think about safety when you’re in the car, going to a new part of town, trying a new sport…but what about when you’re in your own home? The home is supposed to be the one place you don’t have to be worried, be stressed, or in harm’s way. Of course, the reality is that just like any other environment, the home has its own set of security risks to think about. Whether it’s accidents, injuries, or home invasions, no home is without some type of risk. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do your best to prevent them.

Here are ten simple home safety tips to make sure you can always rest easy.

  • Keep emergency phone numbers in a highly-visible place.

Should you need to get in contact with emergency services, you don’t want to waste time looking up how to reach them. Post phone numbers for your local fire department and police department in a visible spot in the home. This is particularly important, should a guest or a young child be the one that needs to reach out to emergency services. Poison control is another number to have handy, along with the phone numbers of family members that should be contacted in the case of a medical emergency.

  • Ensure there’s distance between flammable objects and sources of fire.

Think critically about where you position objects around the home to minimize your risk of accidental fire. For example, keep curtains a fair distance away from fireplaces (sparks can fly a few feet!). Also be mindful of objects that are on your stovetop, as well as who in the home has access to matches and other fire-starting substances.

  • Check locks on all entrances.

To prevent unwanted visitors, install locks on all doors and windows around the home. Most exterior doors and windows will always come manufactured with locks, but they’re only valuable if you get in the habit of locking them every time you leave the house. It’s also not a bad idea to keep doors locked and garage doors closed even when you’re home. The presence of activity in the home isn’t a guaranteed deterrent for every burglar.

  • Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

Every room in the home should have a smoke detector. More than one-third of home fire deaths occurred in homes that didn’t have any smoke detectors. Batteries in every detector should be tested at least twice a year (general rule of thumb is every six months). Carbon monoxide detectors should also be present on every level of the home. Place these in locations where you’ll be able to hear their alarms (such as right outside the bedroom), and ensure they’re battery-operated, so that they’ll still sound in the case of a power outage.

  • Don’t advertise your plans online.

We’re so used to sharing our lives online, but some things are better kept private than on a Facebook wall. For example, if you’re about to leave town for an amazing vacation, maybe wait until after you return to announce you’ve been away (plus, then you’ll have the pictures to share!). You never know who in your social network might seize on an opportunity when you present it.

  • Keep lights on, mail collected, and car in the drive.

Speaking of being out of town, consider ways to make it appear as if there’s still activity at the house when you’re away. Homes that appear vacant can be invitations for burglars. Consider keeping interior lights on a timer so that they turn on every day. If you took a taxi to the airport or are leaving a second car at home, park it in the driveway, rather than your garage, to make it look like someone is still at home. You may also want to ask a neighbor, friend, or relative to stop in and collect the mail; an overflowing mailbox is another telltale sign that a homeowner is away.

  • Be mindful of how you store prescription medication.

Any medication that’s in the home should be stored in an elevated or locked location that can’t be reached by children or pets. Even if children or pets aren’t in the home, be sure that all prescriptions stay in their original, labeled bottle so there’s no confusion who the medication is prescribed to, how much to take, and what the expiration date is.

  • Practice what to do in case of a fire.

Knowing what to do in case of a fire is just as important as taking steps to prevent a fire from occurring. What’s your family’s plan of action should a fire start? Plan out how each family member will exit the house from any level, and walk through what to do and what not to do. For example, don’t open doors if they’re hot, and find something to cover your nose and mouth with if you begin inhaling smoke. For those with multiple levels in the home, consider buying a window ladder that will allow you to reach the ground safely if you must exit before help arrives.

  • Install motion sensor lights for additional security.

Place motion sensor lights around the exterior of your home near entrances that turn on at night when objects pass in front of them. Motion sensor lights can give you a heads up that activity is happening outside, and the sudden visibility can discourage burglars from attempting to break in.

  • Make sure your house number is reflective and visible.

In the event of an emergency, you know that time is of the essence. Ensure that emergency services don’t waste any extra time by making your location easy to find the first time. Bright, reflective house number signs or numbers will stand out in the dark and stay highly visible in the daytime, too. Make sure your reflective house number sign is posted in a clear location near the road, such as on your mailbox.

What other ways do you keep your home safe? For more information about home safety tips and homeowner’s insurance, reach out to Schechner Lifson Corporation today!