Swimming Pool Opening Tips 2021

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Swimming Pool Opening Tips 2021

Temperatures in Michigan jumped from 50 degrees to over 80 degrees in a matter of just a few weeks. Time to turn off the furnace and crank up the air conditioning as well as open your outdoor pool!

We found this article from SwimmingPool.com with tips on how to safely open your pool for the season!

Clean Up Debris. Check the area around the pool and take care of any overgrown trees or bushes. Take care of any branches & clear up any leaves or other debris that may have fallen over the prior season.

Inspect for Damage. Check the pool & deck (if you have one) for damage that needs to be taken care of before opening the pool. Taking care of damage after opening could be difficult. Make sure your pool equipment is clean and in good working order.

Check Your Chemicals. Make sure you have all of the chemicals you need to open the pool. Many maufacturers offer an all-in-one pool opening kit that includes everything needed. Check to make sure any chemicals stored from previous seasons are not expired and properly dispose of them if they are.

Removing the Cover. Use a submersible pump to take off any water that may have collected over the winter/spring and use a plastic rake to take care of any leaves or other debris that also may have collected. Inspect the cover for any holes or damage before cleaning & storing for the summer. If there are holes or frayed areas, it’s time to replace the cover.

Be sure to check out the rest of the article at SwimmingPool.com for additional tips on opening your outdoor pool for the summer!

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Windstorm Safety Tips 2021

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Windstorm Safety Tips 2021

June 1, 2021 marked the start of hurricane season for the southern gulf states including Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, & Texas. Even though we are located in the Midwest, these tips can also apply to tornados & other wind events that pop up during the summer months. We found this article from Safety.com with tips on how to prepare for a hurricane emergency:

Evacuation Plan – a hurricane/tornado/windstorm can strike suddenly and often without warning. Have an evacuation plan in place so you and your loved ones know where to go when disaster strikes. Special care should be taken in consideration of elderly members of your family and pets.

Gas Up – Make sure your vehicles’ gas tanks are full and consider filling a few 5 gallon gasoline containers and safely storing them just in case.

Yard Perimeter Check – Bring patio furniture, toys, garden equipment, anything that is loose in your yard indoors. Wind gusts can turn these items into missles and damage your home or hurt someone.

Stock Up – Make sure your emergency kit is well-stocked with a current first-aid kit, food, water, pet & infant supplies, batteries, cell phone chargers, there are many websites with checklists of what supplies would be best to keep in your emergency kit.

Be sure to check out the full article at Safety.com for more tips on being prepared for the next hurricane/tornado/windstorm!

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Memorial Day Tips 2021

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Memorial Day Tips 2021

Memorial Day is coming up, a weekend where we honor those that have fought to protect the freedoms we enjoy that a lot of other countries around the world do not. It’s a time to enjoy picnics, cookouts, parades, and place flags/flowers/wreaths on the graves of our fallen soldiers.

Because of the lifting of Covid-19 mandates around the country, more people are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend. We thought it important to share some tips on staying safe while celebrating Memorial Day:

  • If traveling, make sure your vehicle is prepared for the trip. Check fluid levels, tire pressure, & take care of any issues beforehand. It would put a serious damper on your holiday being stranded.
  • Plan your trip beforehand and print off directions to keep in the vehicle. Poor cell reception & potential GPS interruptions could interfere with your navigation. Having a printed set of directions as a backup is a good idea.
  • Leave as early as you can for your destination, traffic usually starts getting bad Friday afternoon and can lead to traffic jams come 5pm. Leave a day earlier, or early on Saturday morning to avoid the dense traffic.
  • If staying home, be sure to check out our blogpost about grilling out.
  • Fireworks are legal in the state of Michigan for the Memorial Day weekend, keeping kids and pets safe are of utmost importance. Check out our blogpost on fireworks safety to be sure you have fun and not end up in the emergency room.

Above all, enjoy your time with friends and family. Remember those who have fought & died for the freedoms we often take for granted. Be thankful.

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Disaster Preparedness 2021

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Disaster Preparedness 2021

With the recent events happening in the southeast with gasoline shortages and some talking about food shortages at the beginning of tornado season, it would be wise to put together a disaster plan in case of a situation where you either need to vacate your home or remain in your home for a long period of time. The website MoneyCrashers has a great article on how to prepare for a disaster of any kind:

  • Get an Escape Plan. In situations where you may have to evacuate from your home and get to a safe place, have an escape route & checklist prepared ahead of time. Look for routes not using major roads or highways and have alternate routes planned in case of road blockages.
  • Communication Plan. Cell service may become spotty or overloaded with thousands of people trying to use the network to call their loved ones. Social networking or messaging apps may still work when texting or phone calls don’t. Save battery life by closing apps you’re not using, putting the phone on “airplane mode”, and reducing your screen’s brightness can help. A solar charger can be a life-saver when the power goes out.
  • Meeting Plan. If you’re in the neighborhood, choose a tree or other familiar place to meet in case of a house fire. If you’re outside your neighborhood, choose a familiar location in town where your family can meet. If you have to leave town, choose a meet-up location and print off a Google Map with directions on how to get there. Keep it in your vehicles for easy access.
  • Supplies Plan. Check out the article for a 72-hour portable emergency kit as well as a list of supplies to keep at home, keeping the kit within easy reach and the rest of the supplies in one central area like a closet or basement.

Be sure to read the full article at MoneyCrashers with more detailed tips on how to purify water, preparing for a power outage, & other important information.

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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ATV & UTV Safety

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ATV & UTV Safety

It’s not only motorcycle season but also ATV/UTV season as well. In recent years UTVs (or “side by sides”) have become a popular option for people to ride the trails & dunes with their friends and kids. As fun as they are, they are still responsible for many injuries and deaths each year. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has found that ATV/UTV injuries result in roughly 100,000 emergency room visits per year with 84% of those being treated and released. They also estimate that there are approximately over 736 deaths each year attributed to accidents involving ATVs/UTVs.

Motosport.com offers these tips if you are planning on riding either an ATV or UTV this year:

  • Wear Your Gear! ALWAYS wear safety gear including helmet, goggles, boots, & gloves. Most UTVs offer safety harnesses, USE THEM!
  • Pre-Ride Checkup. Always do an inspection on your ATV or UTV before heading out on the trails or dunes. Check the tires and rims for damage, make sure the controls are responsive. Check the chain and sprockets for breaks or signs of wear.
  • Don’t Ride Fatigued. It’s fun to hit the trails and can be some great exercise since it demands both physical and mental control. Over time, however, the bumps and rattles can wear you down. Take a break if you feel tired.
  • Passenger Safety. Most ATVs allow for one rider only and UTVs usually can handle 2-4 people. Don’t exceed the number of passengers and certainly don’t have 2 people on a one rider ATV. Be smart.
  • Watch Your Surroundings. Be aware of the terrain ahead, to the sides, and behind you. Forest creatures can come out of nowhere as well as other riders. Be safe.

Make sure you check out the full article over at Motosport.com for additional tips on keeping yourself safe when riding the trails or dunes on your ATV/UTV!

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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RV Preparation Tips

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RV Preparation Tips

Spring has sprung in the midwest as temperatures are on the rise. RV sales are up almost 20% over last year as people are opting to camp out rather than stay in hotels with the Coronavirus pandemic still in effect.

We found a couple of articles, one from KOA and another from RV Life with tips on preparing your RV for the camping season!:

  • Check the Tires. Make sure the air pressure is correct (information is on either the tire itself or the RV owners manual) and check for cracks or other damage to the sidewalls & valve stems. Don’t forget to make sure the spare is good to go as well!
  • Do a Walk-Around. Remove any protective covering you may have used when you stored the RV for the winter. Check for any punctures in the siding/roof, tree limb damage, or indications of animal damage. Also check turn signals, brake lights, & other exterior accessories/equipment as well to be sure everything is in working condition with no damaged/missing parts.
  • Air it Out. Open all the windows and vents to make sure they are in good working order and allow it to air out. Give it a thorough cleaning and vacuum everything.
  • Flush it Out. Flush the fresh water system to get rid of the winterizing fluid you may have used before storing the RV for the winter. Check the water pump, test all the valves/faucets/etc. to be sure there are no leaks or blockages.
  • Check the Appliances. Be sure to check that the fire extiguishers are up to date, the carbon monoxide & smoke alarms are in good working order. Check the water heater/stove/fridge to make sure they are working properly.

Be sure to check out the article from RV Life for more tips on getting your RV ready for camping season. Also check out the article from KOA with even more tips!

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Your Home’s Replacement Cost

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Your Home’s Replacement Cost

The Coronavirus pandemic has hit the world hard. Businesses having to shut down for long periods of time & then faced with restrictions and precautions when reopening, people out of work, it has been very difficult. The price of goods and services are rising and predictions are they will continue to rise over the next year and possibly into 2022. The price of eggs, meat, & other grocery staples have risen, gasoline & natural gas prices are on the rise as well. The construction supply industry has been very hit hard and prices are rising because of it. An article from Fortune Magazine states that prices for lumber have increased by 193% and are expected to rise even higher in the coming months. Steel prices are increasing as well according to this article.

What does this mean to you and your homeowners insurance? It means that the cost to rebuild your home today will cost more today than it did in 2020 or even in 2010. Prior to 2021, most insurance carrier used the approximate calculation for the rebuilding of a home of between $110 and $120 a square foot. Because of the skyrocketing costs of construction supplies, this amount has changed and the new figures are between $175 and $180 a square foot with some insurance companies going as high as $200 a square foot.

We recommend that you contact your hometown insurance agent and discuss the current coverage amount on your home (and any outbuildings) to verify the amount is enough to rebuild your home. In some instances you may find that your home is over-insured. This could be due to the built-in coverage insurance companies add for inflation which is usually between 2% and 5% depending on the carrier. If you have been with a carrier for a long time this amount compounds year after year which can get over and above the actual replacement cost of the home.

It’s important to make sure your home is insured to value as many clauses in homeowners insurance policies require this in order to have either the Guaranteed Replacement Cost or Extended Replacement Cost endorsement. Again, we recommend you contact your hometown insurance agent and discuss the coverage amount on your home to be sure it is adequate to replace it in case of a total loss.

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Spring Clean Up Tips 2021

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Spring Yard Clean Up 2021

This week our local city has let us know that we can place our yard debris (no grass or leaves) at the curb for pick up. Spring has arrived and it’s time to clear out the detritus and prepare your yard for the season. We found this article from The Spruce with tips on cleaning up your yard:

  • Prune Your Perennials. There are some woody shrubs/plants that need to be cut back each spring because blooms only appear on new branches. Allowing them to remain during the winter protects the plants from damage but in the spring they need to be cut back usually a few inches above the new growth or buds on the lower stems.
  • Cut Back Your Grasses. You don’t need to wait for these plants to show any signs of new growth before trimming them. Trim them back a few inches from the ground and they will grow back when they are ready.
  • Watch the Roses. Your climate will determine how you care for your roses in the spring. If you live where roses never go dormant, a good pruning and removal of leaves is important to shock the plant into thinking it was dormant and needs to start growing again. If you live in a climate where they do go dormant, pruning should occur just as the leaf buds begin to grow larger.
  • Tidy those Evergreens. Most evergreens do not require any real care other than some trimming to tidy them up and fertilize them.
  • Yank them Weeds. Spring is a good time to tackle weeds as the ground is moist and easier to pull young weeds. Don’t compost these as their seeds can circulate within the mulch and if spread will cause them to return.

Be sure to check out the full article from The Spruce with more tips on preparing your yard this spring!

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Spring Motorcycle Tips

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Spring Motorcycle Tips

Here in Michigan it looks as though Old Man Winter has hit the road and spring is upon us. After a year into the pandemic people are looking to “get back to normal” and that means pulling out those toys from the garage and enjoying the fresh air of the open road.

For many, their motorcycles may have been stored all year and this spring is the first time they are able to ride. Before you hop on your bike and ride, we found this article from Rawhide Youth Services with tips on getting your motorcycle ready for the riding season.

  • Check for Critters & Junk. Whether or not you covered your bike for the winter, small critters may have taken up winter residence in your exhaust or intake. Check these areas thoroughly before you start up your bike to avoid any “incidents”.
  • Drain the Tank. If you didn’t property winterize your bike, the gas in the tank may be stale and prevent it from starting. Drain the tank and check the gas that comes out. If there are brown flecks, this could be an indicator that the inside of the tank has rusted. Treat the tank with acid remover to be sure that the tank is clear and to prevent problems with the fuel system.
  • Use Stabilizer. There may still be gas in the fuel system, so use a bottle of fuel stabilizer (according to the directions) to help clear out the old gas and maintain the fuel system.
  • Change That Oil. Storing the bike during the winter could cause condensation to develop and mix with the oil. It’s recommended to change the oil and filter at the beginning of every riding season to ensure everythng is good to go.
  • Top Off Those Fluids. Check the brake and hydraulic fluids for color & consistency. If the fluid looks dirty or different from fresh fluid, it is time for a change.

Be sure to check out the full article from Rawhide Youth Services for the rest of the tips to prepare your motorcycle for the upcoming riding season.

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Spring Cleaning Tips 2021

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Spring Cleaning Tips 2021

Here in the Lake Michigan lakeshore area we are getting forecasts of 60+ degrees as far as outdoor temperatures in the next 10 days. Winter is losing its battle and spring is about to be sprung. We found this article from the Air Force Safety Center with tips on being safe while getting your spring cleaning done:

  • Don’t Be in a Hurry. Spring cleaning can be especially tiring, so don’t be in a rush to get things done. Take frequent breaks and don’t attempt to tackle a task if you’re exhausted.
  • Use Your Legs, Not Your Back. Having the proper lifting posture (back straight, lifting with your legs) will reduce strain or potential injury to your back. Wear shoes to avoid injury, & if you cannot move it yourself or cannot find someone to move the item – just leave it. It would be safer to clean around it than hurt yourself (or others) attempting to move it.
  • Watch Out Above (and Below). Be safe while using a step stool or a ladder, making sure someone is there to hold the ladder or steady you on a step stool. A good rule for ladders is not to let your belly button go beyond the sides of the ladder.
  • Slippery When Wet. Take proper steps when it comes to cleaning floors, inform others of the wet floor(s) & put up barriers to keep young children and pets from the areas to avoid injury.
  • Empty That Bucket. When working with buckets of water, either empty the bucket or place it in an inaccessible area if you are going to take a break or walk away for a few minutes. Children can drown in only a few inches of water.

Be sure you check out the full article from the Air Force Safety Center for even more tips on how to be safe while spring cleaning!

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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