Wildfire Prevention in the Treasure Valley

How to Protect Your Home & Property from Wildfires

Wildfire Prevention in the Treasure Valley Wildfires occur every year and summer season is also known as fire season. Each year millions of acres across the country are scorched by both nature as well as human caused fire. By knowing how to minimize losses, human caused fires can drastically decrease with the proper education. Use these simple steps.

Equipment or toys can spark a wildfire

Lawn mowers, weed-eaters, chain saws, welders, tractors, dirt bikes, and more can all cause sparks. Don’t mow dry grass or weeds. When you are maintaining your yard, avoid dry yard debris buildup.

If you are using a tractor, dirt bike or welder, avoid driving or using your welder near dry grass or brush.

Keeping your Home Safe from Wildfire Damage

Use fire-resistant building material for your home.

The roof and exterior surface need to be composed of non-combustible or fire resistant materials. This would include brick, stone, aluminum, tile, sheet iron, asphalt or slate. If your home is composed of wood or cedar, consider this a risk. Homes that are located in especially fire prone areas can escape damage by being entirely built of concrete and stone.

Maintain Your Roof

When your roof is filled with leaves, pine needles, branches, moss, you are increasing your risk for wildfire damage. Be sure to avoid letting these items collect on your roof.

Keep your Property Free of Dead Plants or Trees

Tree branches should be kept to a height of 15 feet.  Also, be sure tree branches aren’t near your chimney. If a branch is within 10 feet of the flue opening of the stove or chimney, remove it.

Keeping things like sheds and wood piles at least 30 feet away from your home helps reduce the chances of a fire jumping from one structure to the next.

It is important to understand the limits of your insurance policies as many natural disasters like floods or earthquakes require a special insurance policy while wildfires are generally covered under the comprehensive portion of a homeowner’s insurance policy. The price of the policy may be higher if you live in an area that is prone to yearly fires or if a fire station is far away.

The Insurance Group was formed to provide you with one-on-one attention for all of your insurance requests in the Treasure Valley. Visit us or call one of our convenient locations in Weiser, Fruitland, Emmett, Cascade or Ontario for auto, home, farm & ranch or business insurance. Our insurance website is open 24/7 to serve you and you can request an insurance quote right through the site. We look forward to serving you

Firework Safety in The Treasure Valley

Firework Safety

Firework Safety in The Treasure ValleyMany of us celebrate Independence Day by getting together with family and friends or barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers. Others like to celebrate with fireworks. While fireworks can be exciting and provide great entertainment, they also come with the risk of injuries.

Six Simple Safety Tips

  • If a firework didn’t ignite fully, don’t try to re-light it or pick it up. Leave it alone for 20 minutes then spray it with water and toss it.
  • Do not buy any fireworks that are packaged in brown paper. Most likely, they were made for professional displays and could be dangerous to the consumer.
  • Never leave kids unattended with fireworks, even the sparklers. Young children can get injured from the sparklers due to their extremely hot temperatures. Some are as hot as blow torches!
  • Check to make sure fireworks are legal in your area before you even buy them. If you are lighting them off in a restricted area, you will be liable for any injuries or damages.
  • Before throwing away used fireworks, spray them with plenty of water to ensure they won’t start a trash fire.
  • Stay clear of dry brush or tall grasses. These can ignite and spread fire quickly.

We all love to celebrate the 4th of July, but be sure to do so with care.

The Insurance Group was formed to provide you with one-on-one attention for all of your insurance requests in the Treasure Valley. Visit us or call one of our convenient locations in Weiser, Fruitland, Emmett, Cascade or Ontario for auto, home, farm & ranch or business insurance. Our insurance website is open 24/7 to serve you and you can request an insurance quote right through the site. We look forward to serving you

How to inspect your roof for damage in the treasure valley.

How to Inspect Your Roof for Damage

Six Areas to Look to Prevent a Costly Repair

How to inspect your roof for damage in the treasure valley.We all know that owning a home is an expensive investment. Unfortunately, you can’t just move in and let it set. Homes require constant maintenance to ensure you don’t get costly damage. We suggest doing a yearly home inspection.

Most people will never venture up onto their roof to see what is going on up there.  A homes roof takes a beating. In the summer, it bakes and the sealant can shrink and expand hundreds of times each year. Making sure your roofing is up to par will save you from costly damage such as mold, water damage, sagging rooflines, pests and much more.

During winter, rainwater can find its way through tiny cracks causing moisture in your attic or between the layers of roofing. Identifying these issues early on can save you thousands of dollars in repairs to the roof itself, drywall, mold or go into your walls creating all sorts of havoc.  It is critically important to understand that your home insurance does NOT cover water intrusion damages caused by deferred maintenance.

Things to look for on your roof inspection:

  1. Missing or damaged shingles
    1. Shingles can become damaged by wind and hail or even just years of use. When inspecting your shingles, make sure the granules are covering the shingle. Ensuring that your shingles are in proper working order will ensure water stays out of your home.
    2. Look for curling shingles, or if wood, cracked or decayed shingles.
  2. Flashing
    1. Your flashing is the metal pieces that go around skylights, butt up against walls and down the valleys on your roof.
    2. Make sure these pieces are whole and without damage such as being twisted upwards, or having holes in them from rust or other damages.
  3. Flat Roofs: Look for obvious patches, cracks, tears, or blisters.
  4. Gutters: Make sure your gutters are clear from debris, are not leaking and are butted up tight against the structure.
  5. Chimneys: Ensure your chimney cap is on tight and if it is brick, inspect for cracks.
  6. Ventilation: Make sure your ventilation caps are clear of obstruction.

Inspecting your roof is a quick and easy job. Take your time and be careful while up there as there are many trip hazards and climbing on and off of the roof onto a ladder can be tricky. But, if done safely, a roof inspection can identify problems that would normally not be covered by your homeowners insurance.

The Insurance Group was formed to provide you with one-on-one attention for all of your insurance requests in the Treasure Valley. Visit us or call one of our convenient locations in Weiser, Fruitland, Emmett, Cascade or Ontario for auto, home, farm & ranch or business insurance. Our insurance website is open 24/7 to serve you and you can request an insurance quote right through the site. We look forward to serving you

Power Outage In The Treasure Valley

Be Prepared for an Unexpected Power Outage

What To Do If Your Power Goes Out

Power Outage In The Treasure ValleyWhen nasty weather hits it can be easy to say, “it won’t affect me, our power never goes out!” But, being prepared in the event that you do lose power will save you a lot of nervousness and more.

There are many things to consider when putting together an “out of power” kit. Simple things like blankets can be pulled off of beds, so consider other things like non-perishable foods, ways to light the house and core means to communicate.

Here is a list of items to consider for your powers out safety kit:

  • Non-perishable food such as canned goods, crackers, noodles or vacuum packed tuna
  • Water – make sure you have enough. Water goes fast when you use it for everything from brushing your teeth to other hygiene as well as drinking and cooking.
  • LED flashlights. LED because they last about 5x as long on batteries.
  • Emergency Radio or solar cell phone charger.
  • Candles – Emergency candles can last 7 days burning 24 hours a day! Make sure you get the right ones. Many are also wind resistant.

There are many things to consider for your different types of emergency kits, but fortunately you’re at home! Some things to consider when the power is out at home:

  • Unplug some of your more sensitive electronics. Electronics can become damaged when the power comes back on with the power surge.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible. If the power is going to be out for a while, it can help deter spoilage. If possible, remove more temperature sensitive items like meat and dairy to a smaller cooler and fill with ice on the top.
  • If you suspect your food has spoiled, don’t risk it.

Generators are a great tool for when the power goes out, but they’re typically limited unless you have a whole house generator. If you’re going to use a generator, be sure to determine what appliances you want to run. Refrigerators require a large generator, so determine if it is even possible to run it. Using a generator to run lighting and small portable coolers is reasonable.

When the power goes out, be prepared.

The Insurance Group was formed to provide you with one-on-one attention for all of your insurance requests in the Treasure Valley. Visit us or call one of our convenient locations in Weiser, Fruitland, Emmett, Cascade or Ontario for auto, home, farm & ranch or business insurance. Our insurance website is open 24/7 to serve you and you can request an insurance quote right through the site. We look forward to serving you

How to Drive in the Snow and Ice Safely in the Treasure Valley

The Best Strategies to Drive Safe in the Snow & On Ice

Winter Weather Driving Tips

How to Drive in the Snow and Ice Safely in the Treasure ValleyIt’s important for every driver to know how to drive in winter weather conditions. It can be challenging to drive in these conditions, but with the knowledge of the information below, you’ll know how to stay safe on the road.

  • Be sure your car has plenty of antifreeze. You do not want to run out while driving in poor weather conditions.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and that your wiper fluid remains full. Dirty roads can cover a windshield with dirt quickly impacting your visibility.
  • Keep control of your vehicle by not using your cruise control settings.
  • Pack the essentials in your car in case you get stuck. A flashlight, roadside visibility reflectors, a snow brush and ice scraper, jumper cables and a bag of sand to help with traction are all key items that can help you deal with winter weather.
  • Always check the road conditions before you leave on your trip. Once you know the weather conditions, be sure to leave earlier so you don’t have to feel rushed. Giving yourself the extra time allows you to drive at an appropriate and safe speed.
  • Brake appropriately on slippery surfaces. If you start to skid, take your foot off the accelerator until you regain traction. Many people want to slam on the brakes when they notice their car starting to skid.
  • Give yourself more distance between the car ahead of you. When the weather conditions are poor, you will need more space between the car ahead of you to stop.
  • Know where to be extra cautious. Bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas are likely to freeze first and can be extra slick.
  • To defrost your car, turn on your front and rear defrosters. Don’t use your windshield wipers. Once your car has warmed up slightly, use your plastic ice scrapers.

Knowledge is the first step to becoming a safe driver. Having the awareness and driving skills can help you stay safe in less than optimal weather conditions.

The Insurance Group was formed to provide you with one-on-one attention for all of your insurance requests in the Treasure Valley. Visit us or call one of our convenient locations in Weiser, Fruitland, Emmett, Cascade or Ontario for auto, home, farm & ranch or business insurance. Our insurance website is open 24/7 to serve you and you can request an insurance quote right through the site. We look forward to serving you

What to do if a driving emergency occurs in the treasure valley?

Would You Know What To Do In the Event You Have a Driving Emergency?

The Insurance Group discusses the four common driving emergencies and how to work through them.

What to do if a driving emergency occurs in the treasure valley?Driving hazards present themselves daily and can occur year-round in every state. But, would you know what to do in the event a driving hazard presented itself?

Wildlife: Hitting a deer in the roadway can be a traumatic experience, but it could also be deadly. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture cites as many as 2 million collisions with animals occur each year in the U.S. Prepare by following these steps:

  • Stay alert: if you are driving in rural areas, be aware that wildlife is always nearby and keep a lookout towards the sides of the road.
  • Don’t swerve: Swerving cannot only results in a worse injury and more severe accident, but your insurance company might find you at fault if you swerve to miss a deer and end up hitting a tree or guard rail. Keep your car pointed forward and hit the brakes!
  • Be more aware at night: Animals can become more active in the evenings and some travel in groups. If you see one, chances are there are more nearby. If there are two lanes, drive in the lane farthest away from the side of the road.

Blown Tires: A blown tire can be a startling experience, but knowing what to do in the event you have one can save you from an accident. Keep these things in mind:

  • Don’t slam on the brakes: Slamming on the brakes with a blown tire will only make matters worse because it will cause your vehicle to pull hard in the direction of the flat. Slowly pull to the side of the roadway, as far away from traffic as possible.
  • Work to maintain your steering: If a front tire blows, it can really cause the vehicle to pull. Do your best not to overreact to the sudden jolt and swerve the other way. This could cause your vehicle to lose control.
  • Place your blown tire and wheel under the car slightly when changing your tire: So many injuries occur when a jack is improperly used. Placing your tire under the car can save you from being crushed if a jack fails.

Bugs in the Car: We’ve all experienced the spider in the car!

  • Pull over: While a spider or bee in the vehicle can be alarming, you have to remember – it is probably more afraid of you than you are of it! Carefully pull over to the side of the road and let your unwanted passenger out.
  • Don’t let it take your eyes off the road: It can be tempting to try to swat at the insect or arachnid while driving, but don’t. It will only increase the chances of causing a more serious crash.

Black Ice: It is getting to that time of year when black ice can occur on roadways. If your vehicle begins to slide on ice, it is important to understand what to do:

  • Let off the gas: Many vehicle have stability control and will work to auto-correct the problem. Stop accelerating and let your car recover.
  • Let off the brake: Applying the brakes on ice can unfortunately make matters worse. Never slam the brakes on, but gently apply them.
  • Drive slowly: if you notice the temperature beginning to plunge, drive more slowly. Less accidents occur when drivers keep the speeds under 45 MPH during icy conditions.

While we can’t always be in the car with you to avoid hazards, we can help you with your auto and home insurance questions.

The Insurance Group was formed to provide you with one-on-one attention for all of your insurance requests in the Treasure Valley. Visit us or call one of our convenient locations in Weiser, Fruitland, Emmett, Cascade or Ontario for auto, home, farm & ranch or business insurance. Our insurance website is open 24/7 to serve you and you can request an insurance quote right through the site. We look forward to serving you

How to keep your teen driver safe on the road in the treasure valley

Five Things to Discuss With Your Teen Driver

How to Keep Your Teen Safe on the Road

How to keep your teen driver safe on the road in the treasure valleyThis week represents National Teen Driver Safety Week. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the leading cause of death of teenagers from 15-19 years old in the United States is auto accidents. In order to decrease these numbers, it’s important for parents to sit down with their children to discuss the dangers of driving.

The National Teen Safety Week goal is to make teens aware of the “5 to Drive” Rules.

Keep in mind, in order for your teenagers to be following these five rules, parents need to be leading by example. If you aren’t following the rules yourself, your teenager won’t take these steps seriously. Educate your teen on the importance of each rule. Give real life scenarios and grim statistics so they understand why the “5 to Drive” is so crucial to follow.  

Alcohol

We all know not to drink and drive, but be sure to continue these conversations with your teen. It’s also important to discuss the major consequences of getting into an accident when alcohol is involved such as jail time, a loss of driver’s license and fines. If your teen happens to be in a situation involving alcohol, make a deal that you will pick them up to prevent the dangers of drinking and driving.

Seatbelts

This is such a simple habit to stay safe and it’s the best way to protect yourself! According to NHTSA, 64 percent of all young passengers and teen drivers who didn’t wear a seatbelt died in a motor vehicle accident. Train your teenager to buckle up every single time they get into a vehicle until it becomes a habit!

Texting

We all know the dangers of texting while driving. Distracted driving accidents continue to increase in deaths per year. Coach your teen to put their cell phone away before getting behind the wheel or let the passenger take care of any urgent texting.

Speeding

Teenage drivers learn in driver’s education that every time their speed doubles, their stopping distance quadruples. Be sure to continue this conversation to help them follow the speed limit. In 2013, almost one-third (29 percent) of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding.

Extra Passengers

The more passengers in your teenager’s vehicle, the more risk of a fatal crash. Some states prohibit any passengers from riding in your teenager’s car for a certain period. Check your State’s GDL law to see what your teenage driver needs to follow.

Remember, you will make the biggest impact on your teen’s safety behind the wheel. Show you care about their safety and take about the dangers of driving. Most importantly, follow the five rules yourself. With continued education, you’ll shape your teenager into a responsible driver.

While we can’t keep your teen safe on the road, we can answer any questions related to your insurance. The Insurance Group was formed to provide you with one-on-one attention for all of your insurance requests in the Treasure Valley. Visit us or call one of our convenient locations in Weiser, Fruitland, Emmett, Cascade or Ontario for auto, home, farm & ranch or business insurance. Our insurance website is open 24/7 to serve you and you can request an insurance quote right through the site. We look forward to serving you

How to Protect Your Home from Mold in The Treasure Valley

Protecting your Home or Condo from Mold

Key Tips to Prevent Mold

How to Protect Your Home from Mold in The Treasure Valley Every home in the US is vulnerable to mold damage and now that we’re coming into the cooler winter months, mold can thrive. Mold really needs one thing to grow: moisture.

Protect your home from mold by identifying and eliminating sources of moisture. Moisture can enter your home through many different areas including:

  • Damaged roof flashing
  • Damaged or worn out shingles
  • A downspout that is not properly setup to push water away from your home or foundation
  • A leaky pipe
  • Condensation from your laundry, shower or kitchen
  • A crawl space with no vapor barrier or an improperly installed vapor barrier
  • Single pane windows that are sweating
  • Seeping up through the floor

Eliminating these common problems is fairly simple. Identifying where the issues are coming from are sometimes more tricky as water can travel great distances before it makes it mark known. Look for mold on walls, around windows and in the corners of a room. Sometimes mold can grow under your carpet on cement slabs so if your basement smells moldy, that would be a good place to check.

There are many ways to remove moisture from your home. In bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens, install exhaust fans to remove excess moisture from laundry, showers and cooking. Without these fans, moisture can seep upwards and into your attic producing another hidden problem. A fan will quickly pull the excess moisture out of the room. Be sure to closely look at the size of the fan you install because a fan that is too small for the room may not even make a difference.

If moisture is entering your home through your crawlspace, a simple visual inspection can be completed. First, look to see if a vapor barrier exists (a black plastic). Make sure it is covering the entire surface, goes up over any pier blocks and extends to the edges of your foundation. If it doesn’t, consider a quick weekend project to remedy the issue.

The Insurance Group was formed to provide you with one-on-one attention for all of your insurance requests in the Treasure Valley. Visit us or call one of our convenient locations in Weiser, Fruitland, Emmett, Cascade or Ontario for auto, home, farm & ranch or business insurance. Our insurance website is open 24/7 to serve you and you can request an insurance quote right through the site. We look forward to serving you! 

How to Prepare a Disaster Kit in The Treasure Valley

How to Put Together an At-Home Emergency Kit

Be Prepared with a Custom-Built Supplies Kit.

How to Prepare a Disaster Kit in The Treasure Valley Fall is a great time to consider disaster preparedness and to take a look at your family’s emergency kit. While disasters can happen anywhere, whether natural or man-made, it is important that your family be prepared.

For many, the thought of having a disaster preparedness kit in their home seems silly and unnecessary. The fact of the matter is that every state in our country is susceptible to a natural disaster such as an earthquake, tornado or hurricane, flood or even a volcanic eruption. Preparing for one of these events can be quick and inexpensive, but also a great time to educate your family about safety during one of these events.

The basic home preparedness kit, according to ready.gov should include:

  • Water – 1 gallon per person, per day. Minimum 3 day supply.
  • Food – non-perishable food such as canned tuna, canned fruits & vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, low sodium crackers, soups. Also, dry mixes that do not require refrigeration. Store food in tightly closed containers to extend it’s shelf life and protect from pests. Change food & water supplies every six months to keep fresh supplies.
  • Battery powered radio for emergency information
  • Flashlight with extra sets of batteries. (Consider an LED flashlight that requires much less energy to use)
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust masks, plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal off an area from contaminants
  • Moist towelettes for simple hygiene
  • A manual can opener and pocket knife
  • Cell phone w/ solar charger of some sort

Additional items could include prescription medicines, diapers, pet food and blankets. Keep this kit in a designated area where your entire family can easily find it.

The Insurance Group was formed to provide you with one-on-one attention for all of your insurance requests in the Treasure Valley. Visit us or call one of our convenient locations in Weiser, Fruitland, Emmett, Cascade or Ontario for auto, home, farm & ranch or business insurance. Our insurance website is open 24/7 to serve you and you can request an insurance quote right through the site. We look forward to serving you!