Summers mean backyard grilling – safely!

Just like steaks, hamburgers and hot dogs, a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer — and grilling isn’t just about great food. Backyard cookouts often create treasured memories with friends and family.

Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents.

There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers – and not your house – the next time you fire up the grill.

TIPS FOR ALL GRILLS

Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames (bushes, fences, or other flammable articles). 

NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes are deadly.

Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.

Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children play near it.

CHARCOAL GRILL TIPS 

From Kingsford.com

  • Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of liquid and burn you.
  • Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.
  • Use flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees. 
  • To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or bucket of water. 

GAS GRILL TIPS

From the National Fire Protection Association

Check your grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you have a leak, and it will not stop after the grill and gas are turned off, call the fire department. If the leak stops when the grill and gas are turned off, have your grill serviced by a professional.

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department, do not move the grill.

Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.

Store propane tanks in an upright position, and never indoors. The Wurzel Insurance Agency is here for you! Give us a call at (407) 977-5700 to speak with one of our experienced agents, or email us: hello@wurzelagency.com.

Let’s Keep Our Florida Lawns (and Ourselves) Safe

For many of our Florida neighbors, summer means more than sunshine and vacations. It also means working in the yard — often with tools that can be dangerous if not used properly.

Each year about 400,000 people are treated for injuries from lawn and garden tools, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Don’t let your landscaping efforts land you in the hospital! Follow these handy safety tips.

Tool safety tips from the CPSC:

  • Dress appropriately. To protect yourself from debris when using lawn tools, wear eye protection, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, close-fitting clothes and no jewelry. Sturdy shoes are recommended, and ear plugs may be appropriate depending on how loud your device is.
  • Before starting, remove objects from your work area that could cause injury or damage, such as sticks, glass, or stones.
  • Keep children indoors and supervised at all times when any outdoor power equipment is being used. Never let a child ride or operate a garden tractor or riding mower, even if the child is supervised. And never assume children will remain where you last saw them.
    Use extreme caution when backing up or approaching corners, shrubs, and trees.
  • Teenagers using power equipment should always be supervised by an adult.
  • Handle gasoline carefully. Never fill tanks while machinery is on or when equipment is still hot. Of course, you should never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline or any gasoline-powered equipment.
  • Do not work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions. For protection against electrocution, use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
  • Be sure that extension cords are in good condition, are rated for outdoor use, and are the proper gauge for the electrical current capacity of the tool.

Lawn Chemical Safety Tips from Texas A&M University

  • If you use chemicals to control weeds or pests in your lawn, read the product label carefully so you understand the potential effects on humans, animals and the environment. Follow all instructions.
  • Keep children and animals away from the application area, and protect your skin, eyes, and nose during and after application.
  • Remember, use only the recommended amount. Using more of the chemical will not do a better job.
  • Ask yourself if you truly need to use a general pesticide. Is there a product that will specifically treat only the problem you need to solve?

From all of us at The Wurzel Insurance Agency, here’s to keeping both you and your lawn healthy and safe this summer!

Home Insurance: Protect Your Biggest Asset With the Right Policy

Living in Oviedo, FL or the surrounding area can mean a beautiful location and a lot of great amenities close by. But while you’re enjoying life in the sunshine state, don’t forget to make sure you have the proper home insurance. The Wurzel Agency is here to help, with the homeowner’s policies that can meet your needs. You’ll want to be sure you’re covered for hurricanes and other events, along with the basic coverage you have on a home. In order to get the right level and type of coverage, you should work with a trusted agent who can answer your questions and ensure that your largest asset is being adequately protected so you can have some peace of mind.

Whether you have a mortgage company that requires insurance or your home is yours alone, it’s still a good idea to have a homeowner’s policy that’s thorough and complete. With the right level and type of coverage, you can feel secure that your home and family will be protected. It’s exciting to own a home, but it’s also a big responsibility. Fortunately, you have quality insurance agents on your side to make sure you’re getting the help and support you need. Feel free to ask us plenty of questions, too, so you can make an informed decision on your coverage levels and other considerations. We’re happy to help you be an informed consumer.

By reaching out to The Wurzel Agency today, you can get started on finding the right home insurance policy for your Oviedo, FL house. We know you have options for policy coverage, and we’ll be here to advise you so you can make a good choice you’ll be happy within the long run. It’s also a good idea to review your policy at least once per year to make sure everything’s up to date. Sometimes when life situations change, this means a change in coverage should happen, as well. Contact our office to have your questions answered.

Spring cleaning tips from The Wurzel Insurance Agency

Spring is a time for new beginnings, so cleaning and organization around the house are top-rated this time of year. 

If you’re ready to tackle that monumental chore, knowing as spring cleaning, read on for some helpful information! (And if you’re so tidy and organized throughout the year that spring cleaning isn’t a big chore for you, well done! We might be a little jealous!) 

Take it one room at a time. Deciding to clean or organize your entire home can quickly become overwhelming. If you focus on just one area or room, then move to another only when you’re finished, you’ll likely work more efficiently.

Follow the six-month rule. Generally, if you haven’t used something in six months (except seasonal items), it’s a good idea to consider throwing it away, recycling it, or donating it. 

Don’t forget the kitchen. Just like other rooms, your kitchen likely stores items that haven’t been used in some time — and this includes food in the refrigerator or freezer. Give those appliances a thorough cleaning, get rid of expired foods, and donate unexpired foods you won’t be eating.

Set yourself up for success. Paper clutter is something we all could probably cut back on pretty quickly. Setting up a few recycling bins throughout the house gives you a convenient alternative to setting that old magazine or paperwork down somewhere and watching the pile grow.

Make some money! The spring-cleaning garage sale is a tradition for many homeowners and can be a great way to bring in some extra income. Talk about a win-win situation — you get rid of stuff you don’t need, and someone pays you for it!

Stay safe. When you’re cleaning or maintaining your home, be mindful of the physical risks involved. Lift with your leg muscles, not your back. Avoid prolonged repetitive motions. Use ladders, lawnmowers, and other dangerous tools with caution.

Happy spring, and happy cleaning!

Ready to Remodel? Time to Call Your Insurance Agent!

Ready to make your home improvement dream a reality? It’s essential to have the right type of insurance and the right amount of coverage first! 

Insurance should be in place during and after construction. If you’re considering a remodeling project, it’s essential to contact your agent before the process begins. Waiting until the project starts or is already finished can be an expensive mistake, so be sure to take the following essential steps first: 

1. Discuss home improvement plans with your agent. Ask about updating your homeowner’s policy, and ask whether other types of insurance will be needed for protection during the construction process. Only those who are qualified to perform DIY projects should attempt them. People who are not construction workers should not help unless there is sufficient liability coverage for their protection. Many homeowners must raise their no-fault medical protection limit for such workers. For a larger project, it is best to consider a “course of construction” policy. This covers the home during the building process from weather or theft damages.

2. Make sure the contractor is covered. Before allowing a contractor to start work, ask to see his or her insurance policies. Contractors should carry both workers’ compensation and commercial general liability insurance. If one of the insured contractor’s workers sustains injuries, that individual will not be able to sue the homeowner. Contractors who are unwilling to provide insurance documents should never be hired.

3. Store all receipts and records. Be sure to take photographs before, during, and after the remodeling project. This provides a virtual history of what the property looked like during each phase. Hold on to all contracts from contractors, and be sure to save the receipts for all materials purchased. Keep receipts for any other belongings bought for the home during the project as well.

4. Update insurance policies again after the project. Let your agent know when any home improvements are completed, as insurance amounts may need to be increased following a major renovation. All of the records and receipts may need to be copied and sent to the insurance company. This helps them assess needs and assign accurate values for the improvements. Your agent will be able to recommend any coverage needed for more expensive items. You may need additional liability coverage if a pool or spa was added, or an umbrella policy may be the right solution for this situation.

Be sure to ask your agent about discounts as well! When you install smoke detectors, stronger doors, deadbolt locks, or burglar alarms, they may qualify for discounts. Some insurers also offer more significant discounts to people who install more sophisticated burglar alarm systems, sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, or other devices. 

If you’ve updated your plumbing, electricity, roof, or windows, those may also qualify for discounts. This is especially true if any energy-saving features were installed. In areas prone to intense storms, shutters, reinforced roofs, and shatterproof windows could also earn you a discount, so be sure to ask your agent about what your insurance company offers. 

Don’t forget: If a remodeling project is the result of a growing family, be sure to consider your other insurance needs, such as a life insurance policy, as well. 

Have some new jewelry in the house? Protect it!

Valentine’s Day is near, and love is in the air. Well, love and a few other things – like chocolates, romantic dinners, candy hearts that say “BE MINE,” and, of course, jewelry.

It’s exciting – not to mention romantic – to receive jewelry from a loved one or give it as a gift. If you’re lucky enough to have received some new jewelry this Valentine’s Day, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes and think about something you probably don’t find exciting or romantic: insurance.

Don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry. At The Wurzel Insurance Agency, we think it is exciting to help our customers protect what’s most important to them — so we’re ready to help and can answer all of your questions.

Things to consider when insuring jewelry:

You may need to purchase additional coverage. Your homeowner’s policy covers valuable items such as jewelry only up to set amounts. If the cost of replacing your jewelry exceeds that limit, you will want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage. 

You might want to reconsider your deductible amounts. As always, this impacts your policy premium. It’s a good idea to take a look at your deductibles whenever you make a change to your policy.

Do you need an appraisal? You may need to have an independent evaluation if the insurance company requires it or if you don’t know the value of your jewelry. Each item should be listed with a description and value on paper.

What kind of coverage is offered? You’ll want to determine if items are covered no matter where they are, whether they’re safely stored at home or being worn on an international trip, and if the policy offers full replacement cost. You also should ask if you will be required to replace your jewelry if lost or stolen, or if you can keep the cash settlement.

Photographs can be helpful. Lost or stolen pieces of jewelry can sometimes be recreated if the jeweler has a good photograph to work from.

Should I go with a company that specializes in jewelry insurance? Some insurance companies specialize in jewelry insurance, and we only represent companies that are reputable and stable. We’re happy to advise you on all the options available. 

Is the value of your jewelry mainly sentimental? Is an item irreplaceable? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you might consider foregoing insurance. But please talk to us before making that decision. We’re here to help you assess what’s needed when it comes to insuring your valuables. 

Of course, it’s essential to store your jewelry securely when it’s not in use. A safe in your home or a safe-deposit box is best. We want your jewelry to be replaced if it’s lost or stolen — but we’d rather your sentimental and valuable pieces stay with you and your family for years to come.

Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is full of fun and romance. And if there’s no jewelry involved, well, there’s always next year!

The Christmas Tree Conundrum: Real or Fake?

The kind of tree that adorns a person’s home during the holidays can provoke debate as much as Coke versus Pepsi or Chevy versus Ford.

When it comes to Christmas trees, do you choose live or artificial? Do you cut your own at one of our local tree farms, or pop by the tent in the Home Depot parking lot? Alternatively, do you prefer the convenience of an artificial tree that won’t shed its needles, doesn’t need water, and already has lights?

Both live and artificial trees have their advantages and disadvantages, and we here at The Wurzel Insurance Agency certainly aren’t going to try to convince you that one is better than the other. However, in the spirit of giving, we thought we’d provide some information to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Artificial trees

According to the North Carolina Consumers Council, artificial trees pose fewer safety concerns than live trees, but that’s not to say they don’t have risks of their own. Even fake trees can catch fire when socket are overloaded with Christmas lights, and it only takes seconds for any tree to become completely engulfed in flames. Also, yes, even flame-resistant artificial trees will eventually succumb to a fire. 

When using a pre-lit tree, always follow instructions, and place the tree in an open area where a fire won’t quickly spread to furniture or other things nearby.

The benefits of artificial trees, of course, are well-known. They’re convenient and often less messy than real trees. You can reuse them year after year, saving money and saving the environment. So, there’s no need to spend time searching for the perfect tree since it’s usually easy to adjust the branches to your liking.

Live trees

OK, so you want the real deal. That’s great! However, you’re going to have to take a little more care than you would with an artificial tree. First of all, pick a tree that’s in good shape. If needles come off quickly when you give it a shake or a quick pull on a branch, find another one. 

When you get it home, cut off the bottom two inches of its trunk, and fill the tree stand with water regularly to prevent a fire. Remember not to overload it with lights and decorations. Also, the longer you keep your tree up, the drier — and the more dangerous — it will become. 

Dispose of your tree properly as well. Don’t burn it or put it in your fireplace, as a burning Christmas tree can be harder to control than other types of fires.

If you’re a fan of real trees, you probably don’t need us to tell you the benefits. Just take in that smell and enjoy the season!

No matter what tree you choose, the important thing is to keep safety in mind as well. If you do that, your holiday enjoyment will be real, even if your tree isn’t! 

The Wurzel Insurance Agency is here for you! Give us a call at (407) 977-5700 to speak with one of our experienced agents, or email us: hello@wurzelagency.com.

Why a Home Inventory Is Important

Let’s try a little exercise: Can you list everything you own from memory? I didn’t think so.

The fact is that most people own more things than they realize. It’s easy to remember the cars, the computer, the TV. However, what about that holiday china in the garage? Alternatively, every pair of shoes?

Did you know this is personal property for insurance purposes? Also, if a fire or some other disaster destroys your home,  a list of possessions makes filing a claim easier. It also helps you put your life back together.

Why should you complete a home inventory and what’s the best way?

Comparing the value of your belongings to the “contents” limit listed in your policy helps you make sure you have enough insurance. You need coverage to replace the items if they are lost, stolen, or destroyed. The easiest way to take an inventory is to video with your smartphone, recording, and describing items as you walk through your house. Then email it to yourself, so the files are stored in the cloud. Alternatively, you can use a regular camera and create a home inventory checklist.

Here are a few tips for completing and storing your inventory:

  • Add brand names and descriptions where you can, especially on large-ticket items. Serial numbers are helpful to note.
  • Keep any receipts you have with the list to make the claims process more manageable.
  • Store your video or photo inventory offsite, so you won’t lose it if your house is damaged.
  • Update your personal property records when you purchase new furnishings and valuables.

Though the task may seem daunting, it’s essential to try. An incomplete inventory is better than nothing at all. 

How much insurance do I need?

We can assist you in analyzing your insurance needs and help you decide how to protect your personal property most effectively. You should consider full-value coverage, which will pay for the replacement value of your personal belongings. A standard policy typically covers your property only up to its actual cash value, determined by taking the replacement cost and deducting depreciation, which can be substantial. (For example, a 5-year-old TV is usually worth much less than what it would cost to purchase a new one.) 

Finally, remember your homeowner’s policy covers valuable items such as jewelry, furs, art, and antiques, only up to set dollar amounts. If the cost of replacing them exceeds these limits, you may want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage. We hope you’ll never need the home inventory, but preparing for the worst can prevent much hassle later!

The Wurzel Insurance Agency is here for you! Give us a call at (407) 977-5700 to speak with one of our experienced agents, or email us: hello@wurzelagency.com.

Halloween Safety

Make your house a haven for trick-or-treaters

Halloween is one of the fall season’s most loved holidays. Kids love to dress up, get together with friends, and go door-to-door in search of the biggest and best goodies. 

If your neighborhood tends to be teeming with little superheroes and princesses, you’ll want to be sure your yard and stoop are safe and welcoming. A little pre-planning can prevent unfortunate accidents that could turn out to be tragic for kids and trying for you. 

Here are some pointers for ensuring your house is a safe place for trick-or-treaters on October 31. 

Pets first

Many dogs, cats, and other furry family companions get scared when oddly dressed strangers approach their door in droves. Make sure your pet is in a safe and comfortable space or take them to a secure, relaxing offsite location for the evening. 

Clean it up

If your yard gathers stuff — like toys, rakes, and other yard tools, hoses, tree branches, you name it — take the time to clean it up. Make sure your yard is free of potential hazards and create a clutter-free walking path well before dusk falls this Halloween.

Light it up

Make sure you offer a well-lit path. You can do this using any yard lights, from solar, string, LED, existing outdoor lighting, or glow-in-the-dark. 

Turn it off

When done for the night, make it obvious by turning all inviting lights off. However, if you’re still offering candy in a bowl outside, do make sure to keep the path well-lit until your sweet treats are tucked away inside the house.

Your friends at The Wurzel Insurance Agency hope you enjoy a safe Halloween full of treats (not tricks)!

The Wurzel Insurance Agency is here for you! Give us a call at (407) 977-5700 to speak with one of our experienced agents, or email us: hello@wurzelagency.com.

Homeowner’s Insurance for First Time Buyers

Owning your home is an important part of a financially stable lifestyle. However, first-time homebuyers often underestimate the importance of a high-quality home insurance policy. How can a customized homeowner’s insurance policy from the Wurzel Agency in Oviedo, FL help you protect your Florida residence? Here are some things you should know about homeowner’s insurance as a first-time buyer.

You Really Do Need Insurance

The state of Florida doesn’t require you to have an active homeowner’s insurance policy. If you’re financing your home, however, your lender probably will need you to carry a comprehensive policy through the life of your loan.

Even if it isn’t required, you really do need an active and adequate insurance policy. Home repairs often cost more than expected. A big event like a storm, fire, or theft could drain your savings and leave you vulnerable to future emergencies. Your homeowner’s insurance policy protects your personal assets and ensures you will always have a comfortable place to call home.

All Contracts Are Not Created Equal

Homeowner’s insurance policies are designed to meet the needs of each individual subscriber. While there are some common elements to each contract, yours can be customized to speak to your specific needs. Your policy could include coverage for:

  • Liability
  • Structural damages
  • The contents of your home
  • Personal belongings
  • Additional structures on your property
  • The surrounding grounds
  • Internal structures like sewage systems and sprinkler systems

The representatives at the Wurzel Agency are always happy to help you find the perfect coverage for your family home.

Opt for a Lower Deductible

Many insurance subscribers choose a high deductible plan. This strategy reduces their monthly payments and helps them keep more of their cash. However, when a disaster occurs, these subscribers often find themselves scrambling for the funds to cover their portion of the repair bill. Choose a lower deductible to ensure you can afford needed repairs when they come up.

Talk to the agents at the Wurzel Agency for more information on homeowner’s policies for first-time buyers in the Oviedo, FL area.