Malfunctioning Small Appliances Cause Millions of Dollars of Damage each year – My Home Almost Burned Down Today

Tonight my wife “Michelle” told me that we almost had a house fire. A week ago I noticed that the fan blades for the stand up rotating fan in our bedroom were moving slower than normal. I was concerned the motor could malfunction and cause a fire so I unplugged the fan. I left the fan in the corner but neglected to mention it to Michelle.

Today was a warm day in California and since we live in a two story house the bedrooms upstairs get hot as the heat rises, Michelle plugged in the fan to cool my daughters bed room and went downstairs. About 30 minutes later Michelle noticed a burning smell and went upstairs to investigate, she located the soure and you guessed it, it was the fan, the blades had stopped turning the motor was still running and smoke was bellowing form the back of the fan. Michelle unplugged the fan lucky for us after a minute or so the smoke stopped.

According to the United States Fire Administration, residential appliance fires annually result in an estimated 9,600 fires and $211 million in damage.

Below is a link to the US Fire Administration website. I hope you will take time today to prepare for the unexpected and protect your family from harm and financal loss.

http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/focus/appliances.shtm

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San Bruno Fire Victim Finds Out She Is Under Insured Too Late

The story linked below really drives home the point that unexpected things happen and you really need to be prepared to maximize your insurance settlement. The article quotes “ Amy Bach with United Policyholders. “Unless you can negotiate your way around, you are not going to get a full and fair settlement.”

I hear this type of story from AssetWatch members a lot.  A close friend of mine had a major house fire and had to spend thousands of dollars out of pocket to get her house rebuilt and additional cash out of pocket buying items she lost but could not prove she owned or forgot to claim. I founded www.AssetWatch.com to protect my family from financial loss and emotional stress.  I recommend spending a few hours documenting the contents of your home, backing up important documents and making sure your policy is adequate to cover your loss.  The better your documentation the easier it will be to negotiate a fair settlement.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/7_on_your_side&id=8222727

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Free Home Inventory Checklist and Tips

For most of us, the thought of performing a home inventory ranks right above going to the dentist
for a root canal. However, the few hours you spend performing and then periodically updating your
home inventory could save you $10,000, $20,000, $50,000 or more. Not to mention, how much
better you feel knowing you have helped protect your family and assets from loss.

Home Inventory Tips

  • Start with an easy room for example the family room or dining room.
  • Take pictures of all 4 walls to document the layout and overall condition of the room.
  • Take pictures of receipts and store them with the pictures and descriptions of the related items.
  • Take multiple pictures from different angels of more expensive items.
  • Make sure to capture the make and model of the item where applicable.
  • For lower priced items stored in drawers or closets – open drawer or closet and take a few pictures.
  • Complete one room at uploading pictures to your AssetWatch vault as you go.
  • While the pictures are uploading take pictures of the next room
  • Your digital home comes pre-populated with many common household items, compare the items
    in your digital rooms to your check list and add or delete necessary items.
  • Once your pictures are uploaded just drag drop them into your items and fill in any information you
    want to include and you are done!

 

Click the link below for your Free Home Inventory Checklist

Home Inventory Checklist

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Using Social Media during Emergencies

Social Media has become a main information source for friends, politics, families, entertainment and news. But did you know that Social Media can be used in emergency situations? Over the past several months we have seen horrific natural disasters that have completely disabled communities and countries. During these events we are seeing the use of new technologies to assist rescue workers, survivors and the common citizen. While phone lines can be distributed and overburden during an emergency event, we are seeing the use of Social Media from survivors communicating with their friends and family outside of the disaster zones. In just a few seconds a person can send out a Tweet or Facebook Post stating their condition and their location. We are also starting to see cities transmitting important information to their citizens using these same tools.
To Learn more about Social Media and Emergencies click here.

Share this information with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter (use share buttons to the right or below).

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Follow AssetWatch on Facebook and Twitter

AssetWatch is now on Facebook and Twitter. Follow us on both to get important articles, safety tips, emergency preparation ideas, kids safety and home inventory ideas, insurance tips and special offers.

Click buttons below to follow:

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Hot Summer Days Claim 400 Lives a Year

At AssetWatch we typically discuss topics such as how to protect your assets, documents or important information. However, now that the summer is finally here and the temperature is breaking the 100 degree mark in many places around the country it is time to remind ourselves of the importance of recognizing the signs of heat related illness.

Although certain people (such as people with heart conditions, people who are older or people who are obese) are more likely to be over come by heat exhaustion, given the right conditions it can and does happen to anyone. There is a misconception that only people who are working or playing outside or exercising need to worry about heat exhaustion or stroke. That’s just not true. You can become a victim of a heat related illness by merely sitting on your couch.
It is critical that you be able to recognize the signs of heat related illness.
You could have heat exhaustion if you are feeling dizzy or faint, experience excessive sweating or muscle cramps or if you experience a rapid heartbeat, headaches or nausea. If you feel any of these systems you should seek a cooler environment and hydrate yourself by drinking water or juice. Definitely seek medical attention if the symptoms don’t subside.

Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke and heat stroke can lead to death. Symptoms of heat stroke include a rapid heartbeat, warm, dry skin (because the body is no longer able to sweat), a fever of greater than 104 degrees, severe headaches and loss of consciousness. If you are feeling these symptoms seek medical attention immediately as heat stroke is an emergency condition.

Summer is a great time of year! Please enjoy it safely by recognizing the signs of heat related illness.

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Five Alarm Fire Destroys San Jose Fraternity Leaves 28 People Homeless

In the early hours of Tuesday June 21, 2011 students woke to screams of fire. Luckily they were all able to get out alive. The fire burned for three hours and required more than one million gallons of water to finally extinguish it. According to the Bay Area News Groups Morning report (see link below) the fraternity house suffered more than $1.7 million dollars worth of damage and it was declared a total loss.

While reading the article, it became clear that this fire shared the same characteristics as most other fires: it was quick, it was unexpected, and there was no time to remove important personal documents/items. It seems like all fire victims say the same thing: “I lost everything” and “I don’t know what I am going to do.” Luckily, with the help of friends, churches, local charities or the Red Cross most people are able to find a place to live and they have insurance which helps get their lives back on track.

I founded AssetWatch to help people protect their important information and assets. We have designed a system that within a couple of hours you can perform a complete home inventory and then upload and safeguard your important information. AssetWatch members consistently report a sense of relief, satisfaction and piece of mind once their inventory and document storage is safe and secure with AssetWatch. You too will have the piece of mind knowing that you won’t be a victim if fire or robbery should strike your home. Try AssetWatch today for free – no credit card is required.

For more information on the fraternity fire please see the link below.

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_18324542?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

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Arizona Fires expected to strain already hard hit Insurance Companies

We are only half way through 2011 and we are already seeing one of the most destructive 6 months due to weather related events. Already this year, State Farm has estimate they have paid over $1.75 billion in weather related insurance claims. As insurance adjuster arrive at the aftermath of the Arizona Wildfires, the are handed a challenging task of not only providing claim assistance but also educated the residents on what their claim actually covered. “In some cases, the adjusters are finding that what some policyholders need is equal parts claims processing and education about the insured’s coverage limits. Some may find that they are underinsured, and still others will question actual value vs. replacement value coverage limits.” -Angela Thorpe, a spokesperson for State Farm.

Virtually no homeowner knows that in order for your insurance company to pay you a Full Claim you must have Full Documentation. Home Inventory Services provide you with an easy system to Document, Inventory and Store your important information for later retrieval.
To learn more, visit AssetWatch.

To Read more about Arizona Fires and Insurance Companies, visit INN

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What’s the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?

This question comes up quite frequently in my law practice. Simply, they are different means to the same goal of carrying out your wishes.

A Trust is essentially a contract between the Trustee who manages the Trust assets and the beneficiary of the Trust. A Trust takes effect the moment it is executed. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable depending on the needs of the Trust creator(s). Usually, the assets of the Trust are managed by its creator and when the creator(s) becomes incapacitated or passes away, the successor Trustee takes over to carry out the intent of the creator(s). Trusts are flexible and can be amended at any time while they are revocable. Trusts avoid probate (which can be quite costly) and are usually administered privately.

A Will is only a legal tool that becomes operative on the death of its maker. The Will should list the heirs and what they will receive and appoint an executor to handle the administration of the estate. Wills are probated – the legal process activating the will and empowering the executor. Probate can be slow, cumbersome and costly (as with most court proceedings).

Generally speaking, a Will is less expensive to initially create but they require probate. On the other hand, a Trust is typically more expensive initially but can avoid the potentially high cost of probate. Each of these planning tools has a purpose which depends on your own needs and desires.

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Would Your Kids Know What To Do If A Fire Broke Out In Your Home? Read These Top Fire Safety Tips

At AssetWatch we are always looking for relevant safety information to share with our members and blog readers. I was doing some research and found a website that has a great list of fire safety tips so I thought I would share it. (see the link below)

Safety Tip Highlights

For Your Personal Safety

Discuss with your family emergency evacuation plans a fire should occur in your home. You can make a game out of planning by discussing a different fire breakout location each week until your responses become second nature.

In the event of an emergency establish a place for your family to meet outside your home, that way you will know everyone is safely outside you house.

Be sure to have smoke detectors located by the bedrooms, kitchen and in hallway. The detectors should be tested each time the seasons change or at least twice a year.

Have at least one emergency stored in a location where it can be quickly assessed in an emergency.

Keep working fire extinguishers in the kitchen and in the garage, both are very common places for fires to start.

If you have a two story home you should have a fire ladder on the second floor so you can escape safely and quickly. If you are unable to get to the fire ladder hang from the window and get your feet as close to the ground as possible before dropping to the ground.

For Your Financial Safety

Prepare a detailed home inventory, your home inventory should include pictures, descriptions of items and receipts. Make sure your home inventory is safely stored outside of your home and can be accessed if you ever need to make an insurance claim.

Keep a back up of your important documents, outside your home. Important documents include but are not limited to, insurance polices, wills or trusts, and banking information.

Make sure you have adequate insurance to cover your loss. Remember you can raise your deductible to lower your premium and or increase your coverage. It is not about getting the cheapest insurance policy, it is about getting enough insurance to get your life back should a major disaster occur.

I hope you find the following link useful
http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/fire.html#

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