Pool Closing Tips 2021

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Pool Closing Tips 2021

The days are getting shorter and the overnight temperatures are dropping. Leaves are starting to turn, summer is over and it’s time to close your pool for the season. We found this article from InTheSwim with tips on closing your pool properly.

  • Close at the Right Time. Wait until the overnight temperatures are consistently below 65 degrees before closing the pool. Closing early at higher temperatures will encourage algae growth.
  • Clean the Pool & Deck. Clear the deck of debris, skim and vacuum the pool prior to closing. Run the pump & filter for 24hrs a few days before closing.
  • Test & Balance the Water. Balance the water before adding shock & algaecide. It’s best to wait a day to close the pool after adding chemicals.
  • Winterize Tools. Backwash the filter & remove drain plugs from the pump/filter/heater/chlorinators. Use a skimmer plug to protect the skimmer & store the hoses either flat or coiled.

Be sure to read the entire article at InTheSwim for more tips on closing your pool properly & safely!

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!

Categories: Uncategorized

Labor Day Weekend Tips 2021

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Labor Day Weekend Tips 2021

Labor Day weekend is upon us and many people are getting out of town for one last “Hurrah!” before buckling down into the school/work routine.

We thought we would share some tips from prior podcasts that may be relevant for the weekend:

If you’re going to the beach this weekend, remember:

  • Pay Attention to the Flags. Most beaches have a flag warning system in place to let beachgoers know the condition of the water.
  • Be Visible if Drowning. If you find yourself drowning or about to drown, call out for help and wave your arms above water. Float or tread water on your back if you are able to.

If you’re going camping, you might want to remember:

  • Watch the Weather and Plan Accordingly. The weather can change in an instant, so watch the weather forecasts before you leave. Pack accordingly for the weather expected such as rain or high heat & humidity.
  • Protect Yourself from Insects. Use non-water soluable insect repellents and check yourself and others (including pets) for ticks, even in unlikely areas. Wear long pants/long sleeve shirts when hiking and it is recommended you put your clothing in the dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes when you get home to kill any insects that may have come home in your clothing.

If you’re staying home and grilling out, remember:

  • Whether using a charcoal grill or gas grill, NEVER use them in an enclosed space. Both grills can generate a large amount of carbon dioxide gas which can poison you.
  • Never use gasoline on any grill, fires caused by gasoline are major sources for burns.

We hope you and yours have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, check the links above for more tips to help keep your holiday safe!

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!

Categories: Uncategorized

Amusement Park Safety Tips 2021

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Amusement Park Safety Tips 2021

The last gasps of summer are here, many students are heading back to school. Families across the country have made plans to visit amusement parks a final “hurrah” before buckling down into their fall schedules.

We found this article from EHS Today with 10 tips on staying safe when visiting amusement parks:

– Stay Hydrated & Cool. Water is your best bet to stay hydrated as sugared drinks & alcohol can actually accelerate dehydration. Drink slowly and several times during the day. Wear a hat (if you can), sunglasses, & comfortable shoes. The average guest will cover up to 8 miles in a visit & black asphalt is a known heat reflector which can cause rashes.

– Be Aware of Your Surroundings & Be Courteous. The sights and sounds may be interesting, but always be aware of who/what is around you at all times to avoid collisions or tripping. If you are pushing a stroller or using a wheelchair/buggy, keep an extra eye on those around you as people don’t usually allow for extra space for these items.

– Know Your Limits. Rides and interactive exhibits may look like a lot of fun, but if you are not physically or emotionally prepared the fun could turn into a nightmare. If your child is hesitant to get onto a ride or participate in an exhibit, don’t force them to. If you are pregnant, have back, neck or heart issues, think twice about participating in the more rigorous rides. The fun is not worth the potential health issues that could occur.

– Follow the Rules. The rules for amusement parks & rides are there to make sure guests have a safe and fun experience. These are not “suggestions”, but rather are there to make sure everyone stays safe.

Be sure to check out the full article from EHS Today with more tips to help you and your family be safe and have fun at the amusement park.

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!

Categories: Uncategorized

College Preparation Tips 2021

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College Preparation Tips 2021

Many students are heading to in-person learning at college for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic started. It may feel like a new experience for juniors and seniors who have been to classes in their freshman & sophomore years.

There are things to consider for both new and returning students when it comes to insurance and also other aspects of learning:

  • If your child is going away to school without a vehicle, contact your insurance agent about a “distant student” discount. This will reduce rates for your college student on your auto policy because of their limited access to your family vehicles but still afford them liability & medical coverage in case they borrow or are a passenger in a friend’s vehicle.
  • If your child is taking a vehicle to school with them, make sure you change the garaging location of that vehicle to their college address. Advise your student not to let anyone else drive the vehicle as there could be repercussions on your insurance policy.
  • All homeowners/condoowners/renters insurance policies allow for 10% in personal property coverage for additional residences occupied which includes dorm rooms. If your student is renting an apartment or house, we strongly recommend purchasing a renters policy in order to make sure there is enough coverage.
  • schedule high-dollar items such as laptops, computers, cellphones, musical instruments that your student is taking with them. This eliminates the deductible in case of a loss and also opens the coverage to include “mysterious disappearance”.

We found this article with 100+ tips for your college student, as well as a helpful guide as far as what to bring to college.

Going to in-person learning at college is going to be a strange and exciting experience for your student. Make sure they are prepared so they can focus on learning and creating long-lasting memories & relationships with their peers!

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!

Categories: Uncategorized

Back to School Tips 2021

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Back to School Tips 2021

Just about every state is preparing for kids to go back to in-person learning this fall. For many, this will be a huge adjustment from the remote learning they have endured for the past year and a half. We found this article from Care.com with 101 tips on helping your kids get back into the school routine:

  • Set Sleep Schedule. about 2 weeks before school starts, get your kids’ sleep schedules back on track for school. This will help prepare them for getting up in the morning for school and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Create A Daily Schedule. Homework, chores, extra-curricular activities should be written out on a clear schedule so each child knows daily what they are responsible to accomplish each day.
  • Daily Lunches. In many communities school systems are providing a free breakfast and lunch for each child. If your school doesn’t have that available, look at the pros & cons of making lunches versus purchasing a daily lunch. Create a daily limit on their lunch account if the school has a lunch account program.
  • Check The Supply List. Most schools email a list of supplies your student will need and stores like Walmart & Target may have pre-printed lists available for parents. Purchase extra and send it with your student so their teacher has additional supplies to dole out in case a student forgets something.
  • Prepare The Night Before. Have your student put together their clothes, pack their backpack, & other school-related items the night before and place them in memorable & easy-to-reach places.

Go check out the full list of tips from Care.com, there is 101 tips on the list!

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!

Categories: Uncategorized

Rental Car Tips 2021

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Rental Car Tips 2021

People are traveling more for vacation and many are opting to fly and rent a vehicle rather than put miles on their personal cars. Rental car rates have increased by as much as 30% over last year due in part to the pandemic. Rental car companies had reduced their fleets to save money and due to the shortage of new vehicles, new & used vehicle prices have skyrocketed.

We found this article from AARP with tips on how to save money when renting a vehicle:

  • Reserve Early. The sooner you can reserve a vehicle, the cheaper the rate you can get. Rates will usually go up the closer to the travel date.
  • Check Prices. Costs at airport rental counters are often much higher than at a non-airport location. One person found that an airport charged a $50 convenience fee and instead opted for a non-airport location and took a $25 Uber trip.
  • Loyalty Programs. Many rental agencies offer a loyalty program for free that may include perks such as skipping long lines at the airport and special pricing.
  • Consider Uber or Lyft. It may actually end up being cheaper to book rides through one of these services rather than paying for a daily rental car.
  • Check Your Insurance. If you own a vehicle, check your auto policy to see what coverage is available while renting a car. Additionally, some credit cards offer rental car insurance if you rent a vehicle using their card. This could save you money instead of purchasing their Collision Damage Waiver.

Be sure to check out the full article from AARP with other tips that may help you save money renting a vehicle.

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!

Categories: Uncategorized

Vacation Rental Safety

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Vacation Rental Safety

Many people this summer are traveling more. Some are camping out instead of staying at hotels, others are utilizing the booming market of short-term home rentals. VRBO, AirBnB, and other platforms allow people to “rent” out their homes to others.

Of course there have been horror stories with these short-term rentals, by and large many have found the experience to be enjoyable and affordable. We found this website with tips for travelers looking to vacation on a budget by using the short-term rental market.

  • Read the Reviews. Just like with Amazon products or major hotels, read the guest reviews of the companies before committing to a rental. This will save hassle when you find the house smelling like cigarette smoke or the kitchen a haven for fruit flies. Reviews can also point out the bright spots in the rental like location or amenities.
  • Pay Attention to the Rules. A “pet-friendly” rental may reek of previous guests’ pets. Arriving after midnight? Make sure you will be able to get into the unit.
  • Do an Online Search of the Area. Checking the location of the rental will let you know what type of neighborhood it is in. It may be convenient to the places you want to visit but could also be located in a high crime area as well.
  • Don’t Assume Anything. Ask the basic questions as far as elevator access, free wifi, air conditioning, security deposit requirements, parking arrangements.

Be sure to check out the full article for more tips as not only a traveler using short-term rentals but also if you are looking to rent out your home on the short-term market.

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!

Categories: Uncategorized

Special Personal Property

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Special Personal Property

For the most part, the majority of homeowners insurance policies do not have the Special Personal Property endorsement. This is an added coverage (with added cost) that expands the “perils insured against” on a policy.

There 3 forms to a homeowners insurance policy which spell out what they will cover as far as losses or “perils insured against”. Let’s take a look at what each will cover:

Basic Form – This property form covers the least as far as “perils insured against” and only includes coverage for specifically named perils. If the loss doesn’t occur due to one of these perils, the loss will not be covered:

-Fire
-Lightning
-Wind or Hail
-Explosion
-Smoke
-Vandalism
-Aircraft or Vehicle Collision
-Riot or Civil Commotion
-Sinkhole Collapse
-Volcanic Activity

Again, if the loss isn’t by one of these perils – there is no coverage (this includes personal property damage as well). Vacant dwellings, dwellings under renovation, or dwellings in poor condition usually carry this form of coverage.

Broad Form – The majority of homeowners policies fall into this category which includes the above named perils but also includes the following:

-Burglary
-Falling Objects
-Weight of Ice and Snow
-Freezing of Pipes
-Accidental Water Damage
-Artificially Generated Electricity

Just as with the Basic Form, if the loss wasn’t the result of one of these perils it is excluded from coverage.

Special Form – This form is often reserved for high-valued properties and often has the price tag to match. This is the most-comprehensive as far as coverage since coverage is extended to any loss that isn’t excluded on the policy. Take a look at the exclusions section of a homeowners policy and there you will find the list of losses not covered. Some of them are:

-Ordinance of Law
-Earthquake
-Flood
-Power Failure
-Neglect
-War
-Nuclear Hazard
-Intentional Acts

This is just a small list of exclusions, you can check your own homeowners policy to see all the exclusions to get an idea of what the Special Form covers.

You can by endorsement change your policy from Broad Form to Special Form by adding the Special Personal Property Endorsement. This will make coverage for your dwelling, other structures, & personal property into “all risK, or whatever is not excluded on the policy is covered.

The majority of homeowners do not see the need for the additional expense, but it is an option if you feel you need the additional protection. Talk with your insurance agent or company for more information on the Special Personal Property Endorsement to see if it is right for your situation.

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!

Categories: Uncategorized

Camping Safety Tips 2021

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Camping Safety Tips 2021

More and more people are opting for camping out rather than stay in hotels these days in an effort to get away from large crowds and enjoy the fresh air of the outdoors. We found this article from KOA (Kampgrounds of America) with tips whether you are a seasoned camper or new to the activity!

Decide on Your Camping Preference. If you cannot afford to buy or rent a camper or RV, you should decide whether cabin camping or traditional tent camping is right for you. Take into consideration the equipment required, your age, & physical limitations. Tent camping can be a bit more physical where cabin camping is almost like staying in a hotel.

Watch the Weather and Plan Accordingly. The weather can change in an instant, so watch the weather forecasts before you leave. Pack accordingly for the weather expected such as rain or high heat & humidity.

Be Careful with Your Food. Use waterproof & airtight containers to store your food and do not leave anything out in the open that can attract wildlife. Practice safe cooking preparation, washing hands & separating cooked from raw foods.

Campfire Safety is Paramount. Campfires should be at least 15 feet from vegetation and tents. Most campsites offer a fire ring to help contain the fire, if camping out the in wilderness be sure to adhere to the guidelines to help prevent forest fires.

Protect Yourself from Insects. Use non-water soluable insect repellents and check yourself and others (including pets) for ticks, even in unlikely areas. Wear long pants/long sleeve shirts when hiking and it is recommended you put your clothing in the dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes when you get home to kill any insects that may have come home in your clothing.

Be sure to read the full article from KOA with more tips on keep you and your family safe while camping in the great outdoors!

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!

Categories: Uncategorized

Fireworks Safety 2021

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Fireworks Safety 2021

A report from 2017 found that 8 people died and over 12,000 were injured due to firework accidents. Half of those injured were children and young adults. Also, firework account for over 18,000 fires each year. It’s wonderful to celebrate the founding of our country through the magic of fireworks, but you need to keep yourself and others safe while using them. This article from the National Safety Council has tips to keep you safe while also having fun with fireworks this weekend:

  • NEVER allow young children to handle fireworks. Even “harmless” sparklers can cause injury from the sparks and the temperature can reach as high as 2400F degrees which can result in serious burns.
  • NEVER use fireworks while on drugs or alcohol. Just as with operating a motor vehicle, your judgement is impaired and you may not be thinking clearly or aware of your surroundings which could cause serious injury or damage.
  • NEVER hold fireworks in your hand. Many injuries from fireworks occur when people hold them in their hands. A split second could mean a lost appendage or worse.
  • NEVER point fireworks at people/animals/buildings. We’ve all seen the videos online of people shooting roman candles at each other or tossing firecrackers under lawn chairs for a laugh. Ending up in the emergency room or worse is not fun.
  • SOAK spent or malfunctioned fireworks in water. Make sure they are submerged for at least a few hours before tossing in the garbage.

Fireworks for the Fourth of July is an American tradition, a wonderful display to cap off a day of celebration with friends and family. You can enjoy them and still be safe, read the full article from the National Safety council for 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!

Categories: Uncategorized