Best Type of Insurance To Get

When it comes to property insurance, there are many choices and the decision to settle on one plan and company is daunting. Is it best to choose a chain, a broker via the internet, or the cheapest option?

As licensed public adjusters, M. Miller & Son constantly deals with all kinds of insurance carriers, ranging from online brokers to large chains. What is best, according to Michael Miller of M. Miller & Son, is forming a relationship with a local, independent agent. This is a real person to whom a client can ask questions, who can give them advice, and who can come to see their home. An independent agent represents multiple carriers and can match clients with a carrier who supports their distinct needs.

Having a direct connection with an independent agent is superior to shopping specifically for price and settling on big name, large companies such as State Farm or All State. These companies, among other chains, are mainly selling price and offer watered-down service. They are less expensive than local agents but they don’t give clients the best bang for their buck because the insurance is ultimately inadequate if a major loss occurs.

Buying property insurance online is impersonal. The online insurance provider can’t truly evaluate the specific needs of the customer if they never met them or saw their property. M. Miller & Son has worked with clients who have had severely negative experiences dealing with their online insurance carrier. The deal seemed inexpensive and attractive when they first signed up online. Only once they had a loss did the client realize they were inadequately insured. This is a terrible position to be in, especially in a time of despair during the aftermath of a loss. To avoid this situation, having better, capable coverage is necessary. Go local and connect with an independent agent.   

The Point of Sprinkler Systems in Building Complexes

What’s the point of sprinkler systems in building complexes?

They look funny dangling up on the ceiling, those curious little things. Why do we need sprinkler systems anyway? The purpose of sprinkler systems in buildings is to hold potential fire in its path and to stop it from spreading. The heads are typically activated from heavy smoke conditions or heat, with water, pressurized air, or powder being released. In most large multi-family housing centers and commercial buildings, sprinkler systems are required by law, with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) dictating these building codes.

There are two main types of sprinkler systems for large apartment buildings: NFPA 13 (Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems) and NFPA 13R (Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies). Basically, NFPA 13 protects the life safety of occupants and attempts to extinguish fire. NFPA 13 buildings are completely “sprinklered” -- sprinklers can be found between walls, floors, bathrooms, attics, etc, and this code is required for hospitals, nursing homes, high rises, and more. On the other hand, NFPA 13R code buildings are only partially covered with sprinklers, which can be found in recreational and meeting areas and upon exits.

There are some massive downsides to sprinkler systems. Of course there is the increase in cost of construction of a building because the system requires special plumbing and piping. Sporadic future maintenance will also be necessary. Additionally, during cold weather conditions, sprinkler heads can freeze and pop, which can cause extensive damage. Also, when when sprinkler heads open up they can cause damage to stock in warehouses. 

If you are choosing to move to a large apartment building, or perhaps you are looking at nursing homes for your elderly parent, do inquire about the building’s fire protection and sprinkler system. If the building is only partially “sprinklered,” make sure to take extra precautionary fire safety measures: keep a small extinguisher at reach in every room, check fire alarms, and review fire safety protocol of the building. 

Thanksgiving Safety

On Thanksgiving, the whole family is gathered in and around the kitchen cooking,
laughing, and telling stories. It’s no wonder that the highest number of cooking fires each year
occurs on Thanksgiving. With all the activity and energy abuzz, kitchen fires can easily erupt—
perhaps the stove is unattended, the oven overheated, or a candle fell over. Whatever the
cause, avoid catastrophe this Thanksgiving with these safety tips:

• Make sure fire alarms are functioning— not just in the kitchen, but throughout the whole house. Change their batteries if it’s been a while and push the test button to confirm that they work.

• Make sure electrical cords from phone chargers, toaster ovens, and other sources are not close to heat or flame.

• Stay in the kitchen when grilling, frying, or broiling food. If food is simmering, roasting, or baking, check on it often.

• If there is a fire in the oven or microwave oven, turn off the heat and close the oven door. The oxygen will deplete and the fire will dwindle. If there is a stove top fire, do NOT carry the hot pan to the sink. Turn off heat and slowly slide a cookie sheet on top. If the fire persists in either case, be sure to call the fire department.

• Roll up the sleeves of your big, cozy fall sweater when cooking so that the sleeves do not catch fire.

• Be mindful of splashing oil from fryers. They can cause serious burns and flash fires.

• Keep the number of people in the kitchen to a minimum. It will be easier to focus on cooking the meal and chances of burns, falling pans, and other issues are reduced.

• Blow out candles when leaving the room, and make sure they are not accessible to children

• Remember to turn off all kitchen equipment when the preparations are complete. With these tips in mind, have a safe and very happy Thanksgiving. Warmly from our family at M. Miller & Son to yours.