Holiday Decoration Safety

Holiday Decoration Safety

November 20th, 2018 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

As the holiday season approaches, many of us decorate our homes with lights and other fixtures to show our excitement. We at the Martinson Agency in Chaska, with the help of our friends at the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) would like to provide you with tips for decorating your home safely.

The CPSC estimates that annually, almost 15,000 people are treated by the emergency room due to injuries pertaining to holiday decorations. This comes out to roughly 250 injuries per day during the months of November and December. A few reasons for these injuries were fires, falls and strains.

Falls accounted for 41% of decorating injuries. This could mean falling from a ladder, tripping over a cord or any other fall relating to holiday decorations. So how do we avoid falling?

  • As they say in sports, father time is undefeated. If you’re getting older or simply losing some of your athleticism maybe it is time to stay off the roof and let a professional help you out. HIRE SOMEONE!!!
  • If you insist on “DIY” make sure to have a spotter while you are working. Someone needs to able to help in case of an emergency.
  • While placing decorations, make sure to keep a clear walkway so your guests have a clear path to your front door.

The two most common reasons for fires during the holiday season are Christmas trees and candles. (Shocking, we know.) Roughly 1,200 fires were started due to candles and 100 fires started due to Christmas trees. So what can we do to prevent this?

  • If you are setting up a Christmas tree in your home, make sure to keep it away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents and radiators.
  • If you are purchasing an artificial tree, look for something that is fire resistant. This will be listed on the label/box. It DOES NOT mean that the tree cannot catch on fire but rather that it is more resistant to it.
  • With regards to candles, keep them burning within your sight. Also please be sure to extinguish them before you leave the room. (Do not burn candles while you sleep!)
  • Always keep candles on a steady and heat resistant surface.

Holiday season is a great time of the year and decorating your home is an exciting part of it. Please keep in mind that safety is the most important factor. Follow these tips to help ensure an injury free holiday. If you have any questions or are interested in finding out how your insurance relates to this issue please contact Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN today!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

Website: www.martinsonagency.com

How to Dial Up Safety When You Light Up the Grill

How to Dial Up Safety When You Light Up the Grill

April 20th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Summer is right around the corner and millions of Americans will be enjoying some of the tastes of the season this year by firing up the grill. However, whether due to inattention or inexperience, many of these outdoor cooking plans will quite literally go up in smoke.

Grilling accidents are among the more common causes of household fires that take place each year in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 8,900 home fires occur annually, stemming from the use of grills, hibachis and barbecues.

These incidents can also lead to serious burns, frequently requiring medical attention. In 2014, as an example, approximately 16,600 people had to be sent to emergency rooms due to injuries involving grills, based on NFPA’s data. ​And while Americans grill year-round, most fires happen between May and August.

With proper preparation and understanding of how to grill safely, however, these accidents can remain isolated incidents. The NFPA and U.S. Fire Administration have tons of tips on the best practices for safe grilling. These four are perhaps the most important of them all.

Open the lid prior to turning on your grill:

If you own a propane grill, open up the grill cover before lighting it. Propane is highly flammable, so when you dial up the nozzle and the lid is closed, it creates a pressurized atmosphere that could result in a fire once the burners are lit. Keeping the lid open allows the gas to safely dissipate. Afterward, it’s safe to close.

Position your grill away from standing structures:

Hibachis, barbecues and grills should always be used in the outdoors, but there’s more to it than that. Ideally, you should position the grill so that it’s at least three feet removed from standing structures, like patios, porches, terraces or the side of your home. This ensures that if a fire does occur, the flames don’t spread. According to the NFPA’s statistics, nearly 30% of all grilling fires happen on porches and/or exterior balconies.

Wait several minutes to relight:

Windy conditions can sometimes cause a grill’s flame to go out. But instead of relighting immediately, give it a good five minutes to ensure that the propane in the air has had enough time to disperse. Hannah Storm, long-time sports anchor for NBC Sports and ESPN, learned the importance of why you should wait the hard way when her grill exploded upon relighting the burners.

Clean your grill after each use:

Regardless of your meat preferences, they all contain oils that collect over time on the grill’s grates. Try to get into the habit of scrubbing the grates down every time you use them. This helps ensure that your food will cook more evenly and it also reduces the chances of grease-related fires. Real Simple Magazine has a checklist you can use for tips on deep cleaning.

Be sure to check out the NFPA’s website for additional tips on grilling safety this summer. Call the Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN with any home insurance related questions that you may have today!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Supporting Your Local Businesses

Supporting Your Local Businesses

January 9th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Small businesses are among the most important components of the American economy, both on local and national levels.

Consider the following statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration, an entity devoted to supporting entrepreneurs:

  • Small businesses outnumbered large ones by a margin of 28.8 million to 18,600 in 2013.
  • More than 99 percent of all companies that have employees in the U.S. are small businesses.
  • Small businesses are responsible for more than half of the total export value.
  • Between 1992 and 2013, small businesses created 63.3 percent of net new jobs.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at why you should consider shopping at your local retailers.

Support The Local Economy

While entrepreneurs have a massive impact on the national level, their greatest value is often found in the local areas they reside. For example, if you were to shop at a major, multi-national chain, much of their profits will go back to shareholders in other states. On the other hand, small business revenues and profits will often be funneled back into their local economies via the salaries of employees from the area, vendor relationships within the community and more. PV Local First, a nonprofit advocacy group supporting independent businesses, states that local companies are more likely to purchase and sell goods from other entities in their areas.

Higher Quality

Small businesses are also rarely involved in mass-production activities, especially when talking about local retailers. This means that you will be able to purchase more artisanal, higher-quality goods in many situations. If the small local business is a re-seller, then you will be supporting artisans, craft makers, cooks and other professionals in your area as well.

Indirect Philanthropy

When you shop local, the philanthropic and charitable groups in your area are more likely to thrive. Sustainable Connections, a nonprofit that focuses on green initiatives, states that small businesses donate 250 percent more to nonprofit organizations than larger, national chains. These funds, which you will be fueling when shopping local, can go a long way toward making tangible differences in the lives of your neighbors.

Be A Part Of The Movement

American Express, the credit card company that started Small Business Saturday, estimates that $14.3 billion was spent in 2014, and 95 million Americans shopped local during 2015’s iteration of the event. Do not miss your chance to show your support for your community’s companies and entrepreneurs!

If you are looking to make an insurance purchase please contact Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN and remember, SHOP SMALL!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Why Kevin McCallister Wasn’t Covered By Liability Insurance

Why Kevin McCallister Wasn’t Covered By Liability Insurance

December 29th, 2016 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

One of the most beloved holiday movies of all time is “Home Alone,” and the protagonist, Kevin McCallister, is certainly an iconic character in the hearts and minds of viewers everywhere. The whimsical, yet sometimes aggressive plot of the movie yields plenty of lessons from a parenting perspective. But consider the repercussions regarding home ownership and insurance.

Unfortunately, with all of the stunts Kevin McCallister pulled, he and his absent family would not have been covered by liability insurance, at least not in their home state of Illinois.

Coal for the McCallister’s

One might think that the “wet bandits” Harry and Marv, portrayed by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern respectively, would be completely in the wrong given the fact that they were trying to break into a home and unwittingly encountered a very resourceful child who defended himself. However, in spite of Kevin’s youth – and his seemingly justifiable position when he terrorized Harry and Marv to protect his home, he is acting in such a way that could nullify any protection through liability insurance.

As AllLaw.com, a website devoted to legal matters, explains, Harry and Marv actually could have sued the McCallister’s for the immense range of injuries they suffered, and the family would have had to pay up. In the words of the website: “In most states, property owners must refrain from engaging in willful conduct that causes injuries to trespassers.” 

So, because Kevin was operating in a willful fashion to injure the intruders, he would almost certainly be liable for their injuries. While this exception does not pertain to all states and insurance policies, the Staver Law Group, an Illinois-based legal firm, explains that Chicago and its suburbs, including Kevin’s village, does. If you have liability insurance, you will want to ensure that you understand the implications related to trespassers.

Lessons Learned

Simply put, you should never create hazards that would injure or even kill trespassers. You can and often will be held accountable for their injuries, despite the fact that you are trying to protect your home and they are trying to steal from it or damage it. It is a strange, yet common exception in homeowner liability insurance. But it’s an important one to deter individuals from purposefully causing harm rather than simply calling the police.  Make sure you understand the entirety of your liability coverage within your homeowner’s policy, and never take law enforcement matters into your own hands.

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Five Things to Know When Building a Home

Five Things to Know When Building a Home

November 9th, 2016 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Building a new home can be just as stressful as it is exciting. If you properly plan out the project and try to avoid mistakes, you can ensure the house stays within your budget and desired timeline. Here are five things you should know before setting out to build a new home:

1. Average Costs

Home Advisor, a website devoted to housing news and tips, estimates that it costs an average of $305,372 to build a home, with most individuals spending between $178,010 and $466,493. The website says that the number of stories, square footage, appliances, design and fixtures will impact the final price.

2. Staying Within Budget

US News & World Report states that one of the major mistakes that leads to overspending is not having a detailed plan. When a highly detailed plan is not in place before the outset of the project, the budget is highly likely to be overshot before completion. The source also urges consumers to consider their mortgage costs over the entire term when establishing a budget.

3. Know The Important Role Players

Maverick Custom Homes, a business that assists in home construction, explains that the key players in any project will include the homeowner, real estate agent, construction manager, the bank, designers, civil engineers, contractors and inspectors. The only way the house will be built flawlessly and within budget is if all of these players are chosen carefully and work toward a common goal every step of the way. Make sure you are coordinating and keeping everyone on track.

4. Know The Essential Steps in Construction

You should have an idea of how a construction project flows before you begin building. This knowledge will help to guide your decision making in a more accurate fashion. Some of the steps include:

  • Readying the land for building
  • Framing the structure
  • Handling primary plumbing and electrical work
  • Inspecting after each major component of the project is completed

5. Advanced Planning

Some of the more important components of planning could get left out of the equation, which can end up causing you major headaches down the road. Consider the following before the project begins:

  • HVAC systems of choice
  • Which rooms will have what purposes
  • How much natural light can used

Following this guidance will help you ensure that the home is comfortable and up to your standards when the project is complete.

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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The Outdoor Chef’s Guide To A Safe Grilling Season

The Outdoor Chef’s Guide To A Safe Grilling Season

May 18th, 2016 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Grilling season is about to commence and it is important to know that even the smallest detail can cause your barbecue to be memorable for all of the wrong reasons. The following is a list of grill safety tips for all of you ‘Grill Master’s’ out there.

  • Keep your grill at least 15 feet from your home. Grills should also not be used underneath wooden overhangs. This will prevent a flare up from causing a house fire.
  • Clean your grill on a regular basis. Grease and fat provide more fuel for a fire. By allowing these things to build up on your grill you are increasing your risk of flare ups.
  • Do not leave your grill unattended. Fires can rapidly grow in size. Make sure you keep an eye on the grill at all times.
  • Never turn on the gas while the lid is closed. This could cause the gas to build up inside, and when ignited, the lid could blow off and cause injuries.
  • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and the gas off and wait a minimum of 20 minutes before re-lighting it.
  • After you are finished with the grill, make sure you close the gas valve on your grill.

Nearly 9,000 home fires a year involve grills, according to a National Fire Protection Association report. By keeping these simple tips in mind we hope that you will have a fun but safe grilling season. Please contact the Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN today with any questions that you may have!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Five Ways to Get Your Home Ready For Summer

Five Ways to Get Your Home Ready For Summer

March 31st, 2016 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Summer is right around the corner and while you’ve probably been ready for it since December, your home probably isn’t. Here are five home maintenance tips for you to consider while prepping your home for the warmer weather.

Tune up your air conditioner — Have a professional tune up your air conditioning unit at least once per year. A professional will check for damage or leaks and make sure that your equipment is running efficiently. Don’t wait around. Your family will thank you for it.

Make room for popsicles — Empty your freezer and defrost it. This will help to melt any icy build up. While you’re at it you might as well check the expiration dates of the food in your freezer and toss out any expired items. With your extra freezer space you can load up on your favorite summer treats. (Hint: Popsicles!)

Have your roof inspected — Have a professional come out and check the condition of your roof. If there are any issues be sure to get them taken care of ASAP! A leaky roof is something that you don’t want to find out about during that first summer thunderstorm.

Let the sunshine in — Wash your windows! You can start by brushing the windows and trim with a broom to loosen some of the dirt. Use a rag or squeegee to clean the outside, and rinse with a garden hose. If you have a two story home you may want to have a professional take care of the second story for you.

Clean the gutters — A clogged gutter can lead to basement water damage, mold growth and water spots on the side of your home. These are things that are easy to avoid with a little elbow grease! Clean the leaves and debris from your gutters before you have the deal with any of these issues.

The changing of the season is also a great time to have us review your homeowner’s insurance policy. At Martinson Agency we take pride in making sure that you and your family have a competitively priced product that will provide coverage when you need it most. Give us a call today!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Get Your Home Ready for Cold Weather

Get Your Home Ready for Cold Weather

October 15th, 2015 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Fall brings more than changing leaves, shorter days, and playoff baseball. Here in Minnesota, it also comes with a change in weather conditions. These weather conditions can have a major impact on your home. Before the cold weather takes over, make sure to do some routine home maintenance in order to get things in shape for the months ahead. Here are a few tips to help get you started:

Fall Maintenance Outside Your Home

  • Check your roof: Remove moss from sloped areas and clear any debris from gutters and downspouts. Also, check for any damage and make repairs as soon as possible.
  • Keep your yard free of debris: Clean up and properly dispose of fallen leaves and limbs on a regular basis to help reduce your risk of fire and other hazards.
  • Look out for critters: Rodents and other animals might be looking for warm places to stay for the winter. These critters can be problematic if they find their way into your home for the winter.
  • Check your pavement: If you have cracks in your driveway or other walkways, address them right away. Freezing weather will only make them worse and cause further issues come spring time.

Fall Maintenance Inside Your Home

  • Check for leaks: Examine your water heater and your water main to make sure everything is working properly.
  • Seal things up: If you feel any drafts around windows or doors make sure to take care of the issue right away. This will help keep your energy costs down which saves you money!
  • Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Make sure that these devices are functioning properly in order to prevent a catastrophe.

Home maintenance is key preventing many issues that may otherwise pop up over the winter months. If you have any questions regarding this topic or are interested in how many of these issues impact your home insurance feel free to give our office a call today!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Insurance 101: Homeowners Insurance

Insurance 101: Homeowners Insurance

August 13th, 2015 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Homeowners insurance can provide protection for you and your family in the nastiest of situations. It is important to understand your homeowner’s policy in order to take advantage of everything that it has to offer.  This article will highlight a few of the things you should know about your homeowners insurance policy.

What does a home insurance policy cover? This is one of the most important questions that you can ask during the quoting process. A typical policy will cover damage to your property and possessions in the event of a storm, fire, theft or vandalism. It will also provide you with personal liability coverage. This means that if someone gets injured on your property and decides to sue, you’re covered. Homeowners insurance will also pick up the tab for temporary shelter costs should you be displaced from your home due to a covered loss. Your home policy can also protect your personal belongings while they’re traveling with you. For example, if you have an item stolen from your car it will be covered by your home policy, not your auto policy.

One common misconception pertaining to home insurance is the actual insurance value of your home. It is important to understand the difference between insurance replacement cost and the market value of your property. Market value is easily defined as the value of your home, land included, if you were to list the property for sale. Obviously this value can fluctuate based on the housing market and can be greatly impacted by the location of your home. Insurance companies however, consider the actual replacement cost in the event that they have to rebuild your home. This is an important distinction and means often times you’ll have to insure the home for more than the property’s “market value”.

Make sure to maximize your discounts. One of the best ways to save some money on your home insurance policy is to bundle it with your auto insurance. Insurance companies will give you a discount on both your auto and home policies for bundling. Paying your home insurance in full for the year rather than making monthly payments is another great way to lower your premium. If you are curious as to what other discounts are available to you make sure that you do your research and contact your agent right away.

Understanding your homeowner’s policy is critical. As a consumer you should make it your priority to know what your policy covers as well as know all of the available coverage options. In the end it will cost you far more if you are uninsured or under insured at the time of a loss. If you have questions about your policy or are looking for a quote give Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN a call today!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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