Prepare your home now for warmer weather

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Two women trimming bough of an bushSpring is right around the corner. It’s a great time to prepare your home for the warmer spring and summer months. Here are some important home maintenance tasks that can help protect your home from damage:

Trim back landscaping. Spring can bring nasty storms and powerful winds that can cause severe damage to your home. Make sure to trim your trees regularly of any dead branches or any that may be in contact with your home. Trimming any shrubs or plants away from your house will also help keep pests out.

Clean up debris. Just as you spring clean the inside of your house, don’t forget to clean up the outside. Clear your gutters and downspouts to keep leaves and debris from piling up. Safely store shovels and any other wintertime gear so that they are out of the way until next winter.

Look for winter damage. Winter weather can cause serious damage to your roof. Look for any loose or missing shingles and have them replaced.

Check your drainage. Ensure that all of your rain gutters and other equipment that channels water away from your home are working properly. Spring is prime time for floods, and you want to make sure during a heavy rainfall all that water has a place to go.


Keeping your home safe during spring break vacations

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Keep your home safe during vacationAre you counting down the days to your spring break vacation? The local burglar may be counting down as well! While you’re planning to be away, he may be planning to break into your home.

Here are some ways to keep your home safe while you are enjoying a much-needed break:

Let someone know. Someone you trust should know your vacation plans. This includes giving them a way to reach you if anything seems questionable. You may want to give this trusted friend or neighbor a spare key in case he or she needs to get into your home. You also can notify the police of your extended absence.

Keep your plans off of social media. Don’t broadcast your plans to the world! You never know who is lurking, looking for an opportunity. Once you are home from vacation, you can publicly share your photos and more.

Make it seem like you are still home. You can turn on lights, televisions or even electronics with timers. You can easily stop your mail through the U.S. Postal Service and put your newspaper delivery on hold. Another option is to ask that trustworthy friend or neighbor to collect any mail and delivered packages. Don’t forget to arrange someone to do lawn care or garbage can placement.

Consider adding a home security system. It could lower your home insurance costs! Some security systems even allow you to remotely check in on your home. Motion-sensor lights are a good way to light the dark areas outside. Make sure your doors and windows have good locks, and don’t forget about garage doors, pet access doors and doors inside your garage.

With a little planning, you can enjoy a worry-free spring break!

Four effective ways to prevent car theft

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Prevent auto theftImagine walking out of a shopping center or your front door and realizing your car has been stolen. Sadly, that’s the experience of owners of more than 700,000 stolen vehicles each year. That’s $4.1 billion worth of cars, trucks and SUVs. Close to half of these stolen vehicles were never recovered.

Did you know that you can help prevent the theft of your vehicle? Almost half of vehicle thefts can be prevented by making it a practice to do the following:

Choose well-lit parking spots. Ideally, you want to park close to the tall parking lot lights. If the parking lot is dark and secluded, reconsider parking there.

Lock all your doors and keep your windows closed. This includes your sunroof! Even if your neighborhood is safe and you’re parking in your own driveway, lock your vehicles at night!

Hide electronic devices and any other valuables. You don’t want to leave these in open view to anyone who might look in the window. Reconsider leaving your purse or wallet in your vehicle as well, even if it’s hidden. If you have a sedan, put them in the trunk.

Don’t leave your vehicle running or leave the keys, including a hidden spare key, when you aren’t in it.

If all precautions fail and your car is stolen, notify the police as soon as possible. The next call should be to your insurance company.