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burglar proof your house

A residential burglary happened every 15 seconds during 2016 in the United States (according to the FBI’s most recent Crime Statistics report).  This is a fact that could keep you awake at night, especially if you are a new homeowner. 

If you’ve just purchased a home – whether it is your first or your fifteenth, you will undoubtedly want that home to be safe when you move in.  To feel safer, here are a few things you can do to allow you a good night’s sleep from your first night, forward.

Install a Reliable Security System

Home security systems vary in features and price from those that you install yourself to fully-monitored smart systems. So you will want to do your homework and find the one that best meets your unique needs.  To best protect your home, you’ll want to consider an alarm, motion sensors for the doors and windows, and carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

Harden the Doors

Experts warn that burglars often will enter your home right through the front door.  So you’ll need to inspect that door and, in fact, all the doors in your home to see that they are not hollow and have strong frames and hinges that are protected.  Opt for a solid front door with a peephole and a properly installed deadbolt.   One more thing:  Even the best door can’t keep you secure unless it is locked.

Secure the Windows

Test the strength of the locks on your windows; and, if they are not strong, then replace them with stronger locks or key-operated levers to assure they’ll protect you.  If burglars cannot force the window open, then they’ll break the glass.  To be sure your windows resist breaking, consider tempered or laminated glass, especially on the first-floor windows.  Many home burglaries occur through first-story windows, but don’t forget to protect windows on the basement and second-story levels as well.

Nighttime Protection Means Strategic Lighting

Burglars know that many of the homes they target are empty during the day when everyone is at work. So that is when most home break-ins occur.  However, plenty of crime occurs after dark, so you’ll need to them on timers since they will not be needed during daylight hours.  Use bright lights with motion sensors for added protection. They will place a spotlight on an intruder the moment they move into the range of the light. 

Get Connected in the Neighborhood

Get to know your neighbors since they can play a valuable part in protecting not only your home but the neighborhood in general from a home invasion. Make it a priority to meet your neighbors and begin to forge good relationships as soon as possible.  They will become more comfortable with you and will be quick to call you, should they detect anything suspicious in your area.   Good neighbors might even be able to recommend the best security systems and let you know which home services are most reliable.

Learn About Local Resources

Your neighbors can be quite helpful with how you would contact the local police, and they’ll fill you in on the neighborhood watch program as well as any other resources your area has available for home safety. If your neighbors can’t help, then check with your local police department for information securing your home for your family.

Create Your In-House Security Team

Securing your home as above will give you peace of mind.  But break-ins can still happen; so you can’t ignore the human factor in your home protection plan.  Talk with your family and be sure everyone is clear on family rules for when and how to lock-up and/or use the alarm system, what to do if a stranger calls or appears at the door.  Moreover, be certain that your family knows exactly what to do if a break-in occurs.  Finally but very importantly, have a family exit strategy in the event of a fire or other emergency.

Homeowners Insurance Tip

In the process of purchasing your new home, you have likely worked with your insurance agent for a new policy.  However, if you add security systems and take other protection measures noted above, your homeowners insurance policy could change and might become even more affordable.  It’s worth checking with your agent to be sure that you have just the right coverage for your needs as you settle into your new home.

Here at our Laurel, MD agency, our highly experienced Community Insurance Services of Maryland agents are always glad to speak with you about any insurance needs. As you take steps to secure your home, why not contact us to be sure you have optimum home insurance coverage, get a no-obligation policy review or discuss your options?

Tuesday, 06 March 2018 13:48

keep cold air out of houseIn what is turning out to be a particularly brutal winter season with frigid temps and harsh weather lingering in the mid-Atlantic region, home heating systems are forced to work harder.  As a homeowner, this means you are faced with higher energy consumption which translates to higher electric bills. This is likely the case even if your primary heating source is gas or oil since your heating system likely uses an electric starter and fans to keep your home warm.

Add to this the spike in energy usage with shorter days necessitating more lighting and more time indoors increasing the use of appliances and electronics during winter months. The consequence is greater household expense at this time of the year.

What can you do now to lower your bills?

There are simple things you can do to reduce your energy consumption for the remainder of the winter.  The following are some easy steps you can take right now to see a change in your utility bills.

  • Close the drapes at night. During the day, only open those that receive direct sunlight.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use to close out the cold air.
  • Seal window and door leaks with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Turn your thermostat down. Lowering your setting by just one degree could noticeably reduce your bill.
  • Dress with extra layers to stay warm or wrap up in a blanket while you’re relaxing to be more comfortable without turning up the thermostat.
  • Turn off lights when you aren’t using them and schedule outdoor lighting with a timer.
  • Change furnace filters regularly so that your heating system performs efficiently.
  • Wrap exposed pipes and water heaters that are in unheated spaces.
  • Be sure that curtains and furniture do not block heat registers and return air ducts.

 A few home improvement projects to lower your heating bills

  • If you have less than six inches of insulation, consider adding more to prevent heat loss.
  • If you have an older heating system, have it inspected and explore the possibility of upgrading to a more efficient system.
  • If your thermostat is not located on an inside wall and away from windows and doors, have it moved to avoid cold drafts that can cause the thermostat to keep the system running when it should not.

Here at our Laurel, MD agency, our highly experienced Community Insurance Services of Maryland agents are always glad to speak with you about any insurance needs. Before you upgrade your home’s heating system or make any other significant changes, why not contact us to be sure you will continue to have optimum homeowners insurance coverage?

Friday, 02 February 2018 13:12

happy new year homeYour home maintenance probably did not make your list of New Year’s Resolutions this year, but perhaps it should have. Taking care of your home can be measured in dollars and cents when you realize that homeowners insurance claims could be denied if an insurer determines that the loss could have been avoided through proper maintenance.

Click on READ MORE below to see the the best resolutions to start with...

Saturday, 14 January 2017 18:23

Tips for Safe Thanksgiving Turkey - Deep Frying Can Cause House FireIf you have been thinking that overeating is the worst thing that could happen on Thanksgiving Day, you would be wrong. Cooking that feast can also be fraught with peril. Did you know that, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving Day is the most dangerous day of the year for home cooking fires? In fact, the number of house fires that occur on Thanksgiving Day is double to triple those on any other day of the year.

Deep Frying the Turkey Could Ruin Your Day

The thought of serving that golden brown, juicy and delicious turkey to your guests is appealing. In fact, if done with extreme caution, deep frying can also greatly shorten the cooking time. But ignoring the safety warnings and taking dangerous shortcuts has been known to result in home fires that cause serious injury, property damage and even death from the home fires that occur.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns that most turkey frying accidents happen at the time when the oil is being heated – even before the turkey is added. If the oil overheats, it can ignite. So paying strict attention when heating the oil and turning off the fryer immediately if any smoke appears makes all the difference.

This video shows what can happen when turkey deep-frying goes bad.

Is Deep Fried Turkey on Your Menu This Year?

If so, you’ll want to do your homework to learn the best technique and what to avoid well in advance. To help you, we’ve included a Recipe for Deep-Fried Turkey to help with the preparation. It also includes a video with step by step instructions to keep you safe,

Homeowners Insurance Tip

No one believes a home fire – especially on one of the biggest holidays of the year when loved ones are gathered. Nevertheless, you must be prepared. Part of that preparation is being sure, in advance, that your Homeowners Insurance will cover such fire-related accidents. So if you have not reviewed your homeowners insurance policy recently, why not do it now. Just contact your insurance agent to be sure of your coverage.

Here in Laurel, MD, at Community Insurance Services of Maryland, our experienced agents would be glad to help you explore your current coverage with an insurance policy review to let you know if you anything in your policy needs your attention. It is important to do this long before you ever need to file a claim.


Friday, 14 October 2016 15:35

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