Flood Insurance: Protecting Your Home and Family

Flood Insurance: Protecting Your Home and Family

Shield Insurance Agency Blog | Flood Insurance | Start a Quote Today!

As a homeowner, you know that your home is one of the most important investments
you will ever make. It is where you and your family live, where you create memories, and
where you feel safe and secure. However, your home is also vulnerable to natural
disasters such as flooding, which can cause significant damage and financial loss. That
is why it is essential to have flood insurance as part of your home insurance policy.
Home Insurance Flooding

Many homeowners assume that their home insurance policy covers flooding, but this is
not always the case. Most standard home insurance policies do not cover flood
damage, which means that if your home is damaged by flooding, you will have to pay for
the repairs out of your own pocket. This can be a significant financial burden, especially
if the damage is extensive.

Rain Storms

Rain storms can cause significant flooding, even in areas that are not considered
high-risk flood zones. It is important to remember that flood insurance covers damage
caused by any type of flooding, not just from rivers and lakes. This means that even if
your home is not located near a body of water, you may still be at risk for flooding during
a rainstorm.

Home Flood Insurance Quote

To protect your home and family from the financial impact of flooding, you need to have
flood insurance. Flood insurance is a separate policy that covers damage caused by
flooding. It is important to note that flood insurance is not included in your standard
home insurance policy, and you will need to purchase it separately.

Home and Flood Insurance

Flood insurance can be purchased as a standalone policy or as an add-on to your
existing home insurance policy. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, it is
recommended that you purchase flood insurance as an add-on to your home insurance
policy. This will ensure that you have comprehensive coverage for all types of damage,
including flooding.

Homeowners Insurance with Flood Coverage

If you are purchasing a new home, it is important to consider flood insurance as part of
your home insurance policy. Many mortgage lenders require homeowners to have flood
insurance if they live in a high-risk flood zone. Even if you do not live in a high-risk flood
zone, it is still a good idea to have flood insurance to protect your home and family from
unexpected flooding.

Flood Insurance Quote

If you are interested in purchasing flood insurance, it is important to get a quote from a
reputable insurance agency. Shield Insurance Agency represents over 40 insurance
companies, which means that we can provide you with a variety of options for flood
insurance coverage. Our experienced agents can help you find the right policy to meet
your needs and budget.

Protection for Your Family and Home

Flood insurance provides protection for your family and home in the event of a flood. It
can cover damage to your home, personal belongings, and even living expenses if you
are forced to evacuate your home due to flooding. This can provide peace of mind
knowing that you and your family are protected in the event of a natural disaster.

Shield Insurance Agency Represents Over 40 Insurance Companies

At Shield Insurance Agency, we understand the importance of protecting your home and
family from unexpected events such as flooding. That is why we represent over 40
insurance companies, so we can provide you with a variety of options for flood
insurance coverage. Our experienced agents can help you find the right policy to meet
your needs and budget.

Contact Shield Insurance Agency at (616) 896-4600 for a Free Quote Today
If you are interested in purchasing flood insurance, contact Shield Insurance Agency
today for a free quote. Our experienced agents can help you find the right policy to meet
your needs and budget. Protect your home and family from the financial impact of
flooding with flood insurance from Shield Insurance Agency.

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Condo Insurance: Protecting Your Home and Your Wallet

Condo Insurance: Protecting Your Home and Your Wallet

Shield Insurance Agency Blog | Condo Insurance | Start a Quote today!

As a renter or homeowner of a condo, it is important to understand the importance of having condo insurance. Condo insurance, also known as renters condo insurance or condo homeowner insurance, is a type of insurance that provides coverage for your personal belongings, liability, and the interior of your condo unit.

The cost of Condo Insurance

The cost of condo insurance can vary depending on a number of factors, including the location of your condo, the neighborhood and city you live in, and the type of coverage you choose. However, the cost of not having condo insurance can be much higher in the event of a disaster or accident.

One of the benefits of living in a condo is the sense of community and the shared responsibility of maintaining the property. However, it is important to remember that the responsibility for insuring your personal belongings and the interior of your unit falls on you, not the homeowners association (HOA).

When shopping for condo insurance, it is important to consider the coverage options that are available to you. Some policies may only cover the interior of your unit, while others may also provide coverage for your personal belongings and liability.

In addition to the coverage options, it is also important to consider the cost of the policy. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest policy available, it is important to remember that the cost of the policy should not be the only factor you consider. It is important to choose a policy that provides adequate coverage for your needs and fits within your budget.

Shield Sells Condo Insurance

At Shield Insurance Agency, we understand the importance of protecting your home and your wallet. That is why we represent over 40 insurance companies, allowing us to provide our clients with a variety of coverage options at competitive prices.

When you contact Shield Insurance Agency for a condo insurance quote, we will take the time to understand your unique needs and provide you with a policy that fits your budget. Our experienced agents will also provide you with information about the coverage options available to you, so you can make an informed decision about your insurance needs.

In addition to providing you with a policy that fits your needs and budget, Shield Insurance Agency also provides exceptional customer service. We are committed to building long-lasting relationships with our clients and providing them with the support they need when they need it most.

Living in a condo can be a great experience, but it is important to remember that accidents and disasters can happen at any time. By having condo insurance, you can protect your personal belongings, your liability, and the interior of your unit in the event of a disaster or accident.

If you are in need of condo insurance, contact Shield Insurance Agency at (616) 896-4600 for a free quote today. Our experienced agents will work with you to find a policy that fits your needs and budget, so you can have peace of mind knowing that you are protected.

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Five Parts of an Insurance Policy

Five Parts of an Insurance Policy

Shield Insurance Agency Blog | May 19, 2023 | Insurance | Start a quote today!

Insurance policies can be complex and confusing, but understanding the different parts of a policy is essential to ensure that you have the right coverage for your needs. In this blog post, we will discuss the five parts of an insurance policy: premium, deductible, policy limits, exclusions, and riders.

1. Premium: The premium is the amount you pay for your insurance coverage. It is typically paid on a monthly or annual basis and is based on several factors, including your age, location, and the type of coverage you need. The premium is the cost of your insurance policy, and it is important to choose a premium that fits your budget.

2. Deductible: The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. For example, if you have a $500 deductible and your car is damaged in an accident that costs $1,000 to repair, you will pay $500, and your insurance company will pay the remaining $500. Choosing a higher deductible can lower your premium, but it also means you will pay more out of pocket if you need to file a claim.

3. Policy Limits: Policy limits are the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for a covered loss. For example, if you have a $100,000 policy limit for liability coverage and you are sued for $150,000, you will be responsible for paying the remaining $50,000. It is important to choose policy limits that are high enough to protect your assets in the event of a lawsuit.

4. Exclusions: Exclusions are specific situations or events that are not covered by your insurance policy. For example, if you have a homeowner’s insurance policy that excludes flood damage, you will not be covered if your home is damaged by a flood. It is important to read your policy carefully to understand what is and is not covered.

5. Riders – Additional coverage and options: Riders are additional coverage options that you can add to your insurance policy. For example, if you have a homeowner’s insurance policy that does not cover earthquake damage, you can add an earthquake rider to your policy for an additional cost. Riders can provide additional protection for specific situations that are not covered by your standard policy.

Does Your Insurance Meet Your Needs?

Understanding the different parts of an insurance policy is essential to ensure that you have the right coverage for your needs. It is important to review your policy regularly and make changes as needed to ensure that your coverage meets your current needs. If you have questions about your insurance policy or need help choosing the right coverage, contact your insurance agent for assistance.

At Shield Insurance Agency, we are committed to helping our clients find the right insurance coverage for their needs. Our experienced agents can help you understand the different parts of your insurance policy and make sure that you have the coverage you need to protect your assets and your family. Contact us today to learn more about our insurance products and services.

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Fireplace Safety Tips

Fireplace Safety Tips

Foremost Blog | August 26, 2021 | Fireplace Safety | Home Insurance | Start a quote today!

As the weather gets colder and your fireplace becomes more than a decorative focal point, be sure it’s up for the task of keeping your family warm and toasty – and safe. Our list will help you keep track of proper maintenance and make sure your fireplace is ready for regular use this winter.

Inspect the fireplace and chimney

Have a professional inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney each year before you begin using it for the season. If you’re using a gas or wood fireplace, open the chimney flue prior to starting the fire to let fresh air feed the flames and allow smoke to exit. Close the flue once the fire is put out.

It’s also important to keep the area surrounding the fireplace free from flammable objects. Be extra cautious of this during the holidays. Keep decorations and stockings a safe distance away from a fire and don’t ever use your fireplace to burn Christmas trees or wrapping paper. Pine boughs and paper burn intensely and can lead to a roof or chimney fire.

Gas fireplace safety tips

Gas fireplaces are exceedingly popular for their efficiency and cleaner burning properties. Enjoy them safely by acknowledging the following safety conditions:

Know your clearance zone. Many gas fireplaces have technology that makes it safe to place electronics and décor near the fireplace or on the mantle. However, certain items should never be placed within your fireplace’s clearance zone. These items include paper items like books, newspapers, and magazines; fabrics, like blankets or drapes; and wood.

Proper ventilation is key. Natural gas and carbon monoxide can kill. Make sure your flue and vents are all functioning properly.

Maintain your safety barrier. Whether it’s glass or metal, keep your safety screen in excellent condition. This will prevent flames or burning material from getting out of your fireplace, and keep flammable items from getting in.

Electric fireplace safety tips

Electric fireplaces make it possible to have a fireplace in a location that wouldn’t normally be able to fit one. The flame isn’t real, but that doesn’t mean they are without risk. As a source of heat, an electric fireplace should always be treated with care. In addition to maintaining the clearance zone discussed above, observe the following safety tips when using an electric fireplace.

Use proper cords. Many companies do not recommend using extension cords for electric fireplaces. Some will allow grounded, heavy-duty cords that are the appropriate gauge and wattage rating. Make sure to follow your manufacturer’s specific guidelines to ensure your safety.

Plug into an appropriate socket. An electric fireplace is essentially a forced air heater, and it is subject to the restrictions of a standard household socket, wiring, and fuse box. Be sure not to draw more power from your socket than it can handle, or else you run the risk of starting a real fire.

Wood fireplace safety tips

Replaced by more efficient, cleaner, and safer options, wood fireplaces are less popular than they have been in the past. However, it’s difficult to deny the ambiance of a crackling fire with real burning wood.

Consider what type of fire you want so that you can select the right type of wood. If the fire is more for aesthetics, lighter wood or a synthetic log are good choices. If your fireplace is being used for heat, oak or ash may be a better fit, since they’re heavier and burn hotter.

  • Avoid using wood from recently cut trees. They contain high levels of moisture, which can lead to more smoke and deposits forming inside the chimney.
  • Synthetic logs can burn unevenly, so be careful when using them. Even though they’re not real wood, the flue should still be open for proper ventilation as they still produce carbon monoxide.
  • Wood should be seasoned and dry – appear darker, have cracks at the ends, and will sound hollow when hit against another piece of wood.
  • Have a metal container handy when removing and storing hot ashes. Store it outside at a safe distance from your home, since embers and ashes can stay hot for a while.
  • Start your fire with newspaper, dry kindling, or organic fire starters. Never use gasoline, kerosene or charcoal starter.
  • Use a stainless steel liner to help keep the fire and ashes contained.
  • Install heat-proof glass doors to keep live embers from escaping the fireplace.
  • Look for signs of creosote and soot buildup. Creosote is a dark substance that can accumulate if the wood isn’t burning completely. It’s a highly flammable fuel and can burn at about 2000°F. Soot, which can also be flammable, is softer than creosote. Both should be cleaned out of the chimney regularly.

With these fireplace tips, you can help ensure that a cozy fire will be a safe and welcome addition to a chilly winter season.

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Failing to properly maintain your washing machine can result in expensive repairs and a shorter life overall for your appliance. Certain problems such as hose malfunctions can also result in water damage to areas of your home surrounding the washer.

8 Washing Machine Maintenance Tips

Nationwide | September 15, 2021 | Washing Machine | Home Insurance | Start A quote today!

Washing machines provide homeowners with endless utility. The ability to wash everything from clothes to bedding at home with minimal effort is life-changing. But most don’t realize there is a laundry list of washing machine maintenance boxes to check. Failing to properly maintain your washing machine can result in expensive repairs and a shorter life overall for your appliance. Certain problems such as hose malfunctions can also result in water damage to areas of your home surrounding the washer.

That said, much of washing machine maintenance boils down to proper usage of the appliance and some regular cleaning and checking of its important features. Let’s get into eight easy washing machine care tips to keep yours operating safely and effectively.

1. Check the hoses of the Washing Machine

Water damage in homes is often caused by the washing machine leaking. When the washer is the culprit, that leak can frequently be traced to the hoses. The wear and tear of regular use cause traditional rubber hoses to lose flexibility over time, and water will ultimately win that battle. You should check your hoses for cracks, blistering, or kinks every few months to confirm that none of these warning signs have developed. If they have, it’s recommended that you replace the hose. Even if your hoses remain in good shape, you should still replace them every five years or so.1

2. Clean the lint filter of the Washing Machine

A clean washer filter is essential for a well-functioning washer! Most homeowners are familiar with the lint traps in their dryers and regularly clean them out in between cycles, but did you know your washer may have a lint filter too? Newer, high-efficiency models have self-cleaning pump filters for getting rid of lint, however, many washers have lint traps for filtering the general debris that comes out of clothes and other fabrics mid-wash. If your washer has a filter, you should check and clean it at least four times per year to ensure that debris doesn’t build up and cause mildew.2

3. Don’t overload the Washing Machine

Just a few more shirts, what could go wrong? Plenty! Overloading the washer is a common mistake many homeowners make with their washers. Oversized

loads add pressure that can throw the machine off balance mid-cycle and cause damage to various parts. Just remember: you can always do another load after this one!

4. Leave the washer door open after use

The inside of your washing machine doesn’t dry immediately after the cycle finishes. Moisture lingers for a while after you remove the load and closing the washer door can cause it to stick around even longer, eventually causing mold and mildew. Always leave your washer door open for at least 15-30 minutes after using it to help air circulate and dry the inside. You can also wipe down the gasket or rubber seal around the washer door to accelerate the process.

5. Use recommended laundry detergent

The detergent you use matters. Always check your washer’s manual to see which kinds of detergent are recommended. Detergents that are too heavy in alkaline can damage the machine and any clothes or other fabrics you load them with. This is particularly important with high-efficiency models. Powdered or high-efficiency detergent can be used with these models to minimize residue build-up. Using high-efficiency detergent can also save energy since less water is required to wash it away.2

6. Clean the washer

Even a washing machine needs to be cleaned sometimes to remove detergent residue, dirt, soap scum, and hard water build-up.3 Luckily, DIY solutions of white vinegar and baking soda can be used on most washers. Simply run a cycle on hot with the solution or use a self-cleaning cycle if your model has the option. This solution can be used as high efficient washer cleaner as well.

7. Clean the drain pump filter

If you notice your washer having trouble draining, it’s time to have a look at your drain pump filter. Debris can build up in the filter and cause the drain pump to clog, preventing your washer from draining properly between cycles. You can typically find the filter on the front of your machine, either in plain sight or behind a kick strip.5 Simply unscrew and pull it out to clean.

8. Keep your washing machine level

Keeping your washing machine on an uneven surface can unbalance it, causing it to rock and vibrate. In addition to being very loud, this can also damage various parts of your washer. Make sure that your machine is on a level surface, with all four legs firmly planted on the floor.

It’s easy to forget that the things we use to clean also need to be cleaned themselves from time to time. But if left unchecked, appliances like your washing machine and dryer can quickly go from a beloved appliance to an expensive repair. It’s best to take maintenance measures first, but when hoses burst or machines start causing unexpected damage to your home, it’s important to have homeowner’s insurance. Learn what coverage a homeowner’s policy provides against water-related damage.

1https://www.tlcplumbing.com/blog/preventing-washing-machine-hoses-bursting/, Accessed July 2021
2https://www.consumerreports.org/laundry/energy-saving-laundry-tips/, Accessed July 2021
3https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-clean-a-washer-lint-trap-2147322, Accessed July 2021
4https://simplegreen.com/cleaning-tips/rooms/laundry/high-efficiency-washing-machine/, Accessed July 2021
5https://www.ariel.in/en-in/washing-machine-101/how-to-use-a-washer/how-do-i-check-pump-filter, Accessed July 2021

The information included is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial, or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates, and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2021 Nationwide and Shield Insurance Agency

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Did you know that every year, the probability of your house getting struck by lightning is 1 in 2001? Luckily, the probability of you getting struck by lightning is only 1 in 500,0002, but that begs the question – what happens if your home is that 1 in 200?

Protect your house with a lightning protection system

Nationwide | March 14, 2022 | lightning | Home Insurance | Start A Quote Today!

What happens if lightning strikes your house

Did you know that every year, the probability of your house getting struck by lightning is 1 in 2001? Luckily, the probability of you getting struck by lightning is only 1 in 500,0002, but that begs the question – what happens if your home is that 1 in 200?

No one wants to think the worst can happen to them, but it’s important to be prepared in the instance lightning does strike because it can wreak havoc on your house, property, and family.

Lightning is extremely common across the U.S., and during severe storms, you can experience dozens of lightning strikes an hour. Lightning can strike just about anywhere, so how can you tell if lightning has struck your own home?

An average flash of lightning is around 300 million volts and 30,000 amps3 in strength. That can do some severe damage. If your home has been struck by lightning, you’ll likely experience the aftereffects almost immediately. These effects include:

  • Loud ‘boom’ that shakes the house
  • Power outage
  • Fire
  • A burning smell
  • Electrical buzzing
  • Charring
  • Holes in the roof/walls
  • Burnt electrical switches

If you notice any of these signs during a severe storm where lightning is present, it’s important to first call your emergency department to get the fire department and local authorities to your property immediately to ensure everyone is safe.

Once you’ve secured the safety of everyone in the house, you might be wondering what’s going to happen to your property – and you’re not alone. In 2021, there were over 71,0004 insurance claims filed in the U.S. for lightning losses. Luckily, most homeowners insurance policies cover lightning damages.

Nationwide offers comprehensive homeowners insurance coverage to give you peace of mind even during the most harrowing of circumstances.

However, there are steps you can take to protect your home against damaging lightning strikes.

What is a lightning protection system?

A lightning protection system is used to prevent property damage due to lightning. The system works by diverting the electric charge produced by the initial strike to the ground through the path of least resistance5.

An effective lightning protection system comprises four key compartments: copper air terminals, copper cables, copper-clad ground rods, and surge suppressors.

From the outside, the only visible aspect of the system is the lightning rods connected to the chimney or roof.

What are lightning rods?

Lightning rods are used to protect a house against damage from lightning strikes. It’s important to note that these rods don’t prevent lightning from striking, but work to divert the energy the lightning produces so it doesn’t damage your home or property.

Lightning rods must be connected to an accompanying lightning protection system to ensure maximum benefit from electrical surges and damage.

But lightning rods are just one key component of lightning protection.

Electrical surge protection

There are many steps you can take inside the home to protect against lightning damage. In many instances, lightning can cause electrical fires, so ensuring your outlets are protected is key to ensure your entire home is safe against detrimental lightning.

One way to do this is by installing a whole-home surge protector for appliances and electronics throughout the home in the case of voltage spikes. These surge protectors will limit the damaging effects of a power surge to ensure that your appliances don’t die or worse, catch fire.

Additional lightning protection tips

Thunderstorms are a common occurrence across the country, but that doesn’t mean you have to bear the brunt of weather damage.

Always make sure you take shelter during a storm if you aren’t already indoors. Being inside will keep you away from the most harmful aspects of a severe storm.

When you’re in the home, it’s important to avoid water, electronics, corded devices, concrete surface, windows, and doors6. These all provide easy access for lightning strikes to wreak havoc as electrical currents make their way to the ground.

Before your next storm, make sure to catch up on our thunderstorm tips so you can weather the storm with ease and peace of mind.

1http://lightningsafety.com/nlsi_pls/probability.html, Accessed Sep 2021
2https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/lightning/victimdata.html, Accessed Sep 2021
3https://www.weather.gov/safety/lightning-power/, Accessed Sep 2021
4https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-lightning, Accessed Sep 2021
5http://www.lightningsystemsofva.com/html/what.htm, Accessed Sep 2021
6https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/lightning/safetytips.html, Accessed Sep 2021

The information included is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates, and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2022Nationwide and Shield Insurance Agency

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When to Replace Your Roof

When to Replace Your Roof

Nationwide | September 09, 2022 | Roof | Home Insurance | Start a quote today!

Homeownership comes with lots of responsibilities, and one of the most expensive is replacing your roof at the end of its life expectancy. But before choosing to replace your roof, there are some things to consider—and you should always consult a professional before making any decisions.

How often does a roof need to be replaced?

How often a roof will need to be replaced depends on a number of factors, such as the quality of the roof’s installation, the quality of materials used, and the type of roof. Generally speaking, this is how long a roof made of each material can last[1]

  • Composition shingles: 12-20 years
  • Asphalt shingles: 15-30 years
  • Wood shingles: 30-40 years
  • Rubber roofs: 30-50 years
  • Metal roofs: 40-70 years
  • Clay tile roofs: 50-100 years
  • Slate tile roof: 75-200 years

Harsh winters and severe humidity can cause these materials to wear down faster. Looking at your roof after high winds and intense storms can help you keep your roof in top shape. Whether conducted by yourself or led by a roofing contractor, a twice-a-year inspection of your roof might also help you spot any damage before it becomes too great. [2]

Signs that a roof needs to be replaced

While there are a few things that can indicate your roof is no longer in its best shape, any one sign on its own doesn’t necessarily mean your roof needs to be replaced. If you are worried about any visible signs of damage to your roof, a professional can help you decide whether a total replacement is necessary.

Loose, cracked, damaged, or missing shingles

Missing, loose, or damaged shingles can be detrimental to the integrity of your roof and can lead to problems such as water damage and lack of insulation. Finding exposed spots on your roof where shingles are missing or damaged can be difficult. Professionals are usually much faster at spotting missing shingles than homeowners. But if you’d like to take a look for yourself, you can safely do so with both feet on the ground using binoculars or with the help of a drone. You’ll want to look at each shingle to ensure that they’re sitting flat. Any shingles that are missing should catch your eye fairly quickly. If enough shingles are damaged or nails are exposed, patching your roof probably won’t suffice; you will need a total replacement. [2][3][4]

Signs of water damage, mold, or roof rot

Boards of wood that span the trusses of your roof are known as roof decking or sheathing. Wet wood decking leads to wood rot, which can cause issues in additional areas of your home. Your roof probably has wood rot if the roof deck has dark spots, discoloration, crumbles, or cracks; feels spongy, or has a damp, musty smell. A roofer can also detect wood rot by stepping on shingles above the rot and feeling them give more than usual. If you suspect you may have wood rot, seek the help of a professional home inspector. Initial signs of water damage to your roof may go unnoticed until the damage becomes substantial. These are some signs of water damage to look out for: [5]

  • Fungal and mold growth, which can reduce air quality
  • Bulging or bowing, which will be visible on the roof from the outside; the shingles above this part of the roof might not work properly, and the roof decking can eventually fall in
  • Damage to wood in your home, including structural wood
  • Damaged insulation, which can increase the cost of heating and cooling your home
  • Damage to other home systems, such as your electrical system, particularly if wood rot goes unresolved

Damaged flashing

Flashing helps protect your roof from leaks. It’s made of sheet metal, galvanized steel, or aluminum, and you can typically find it around plumbing vents, skylights, and chimneys. When working properly, flashing helps divert rainwater to the ground. However, when flashing fails, there are several noticeable signs: [6]

  • Cracks, dents, and bends: This makes your flashing more prone to rusting
  • Rust: If your flashing has rust, it will need to be cleaned, sealed, or replaced
  • Missing parts: Repairs should be made promptly if any of your flashings are missing
  • Holes: Sometimes small animals can create tiny holes in your roof that can result in leaks and should be sealed as soon as they are noticed
  • Leaks inside your house: You may find indicators of leaks around your fireplace, windows, skylights, and attic
  • Mold or stains on fascia boards: If your flashing wasn’t installed correctly, mold and water stains might develop on fascia boards
  • Damaged shingles or siding: This will look like bending or darkening on your shingles or siding near the flashing

A professional who is inspecting a roof for leaks or failed flashing will look out for loose nails, holes, and broken seals at flashing edges.

The current roof was installed 20+ years ago

If your roof was installed 20 or more years ago, consult a professional home inspector or roofer. Roofs typically last about 20 years, and your roof may be reaching the end of its life span. [1]

Additional consideration: Are you planning on selling the house?

A new roof can be expensive, but one benefit is that it can add value to your home. While you may not necessarily recoup the cost of a roof replacement in the sale of your home, there are still several benefits to having a new roof installed. You may be more likely to get the full asking price for your home, spend less time with your home on the market, or have shorter negotiations. [7]

If you suspect your roof is damaged or you’re nearing the end of your roof’s life expectancy, consult a trusted professional before making any decision on repairs. Your roof is an essential part of your home, protecting the structure from leaks and damages. Furthermore, Nationwide and Shield Insurance is here with personal insurance plans to protect your home in case of disaster.

[1] “How Long Do Roofs Last? 5 Roof Types and Their Lifespans,” fixr.com/resources/how-long-do-roofs-last (accessed June 2022).

[2] “How Often Should You Replace Your Roof?” roofadvisor.com/how-often-should-you-replace-your-roof (accessed June 2022).

[3] “Should I Replace My Roof? Here Are 21 Things to Consider” familyhandyman.com/list/should-i-replace-my-roof-here-are-21-things-to-considerfamilyhandyman.com/list/should-i-replace-my-roof-here-are-21-things-to-consider (accessed June 2022).

[4] “How Can I Tell If I Have Missing Roof Shingles?” hopewell-roofing.com/can-tell-missing-roof-shingles (accessed June 2022).

[5] “What is Wood Rot & When to Replace Roof Sheathing,” io.com/na/pro/building-professional-tools/roofing-101/rotted-roof-deck-how-to-replace-roof-sheathing (accessed June 2022).

[6] “Roof Flashing Failure: Why It Occurs and Ways to Address It,” negutters.com/blog/roofing/roof-flashing-failure-why-it-occurs-and-ways-to-address-it (accessed June 2022).

[7] “How Much Value Does a New Roof Add?” zillow.com/sellers-guide/should-i-replace-my-roof-before-selling (accessed June 2022).

Disclaimer: The information included here is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial, or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2022 Nationwide and Shield Insurance Agency

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22 Spring Cleaning and Decluttering Tips

22 Spring Cleaning and Decluttering Tips

Nationwide | January 20, 2021 | Spring Cleaning | Home Insurance | Start your insurance quote today!

Spring Cleaning time has arrived – which means it’s time to get your home in tip-top shape. A good, deep spring clean-up is a tradition that not only promotes wellness by keeping your environment clean and organized, but it also helps carry the fresh-start feeling brought on by a new year well into the summer.

We’ve compiled some of the best DIY spring cleaning tips so you can declutter and deep clean your house to make it sparkle all year round.

1. Remove water stains with lemon for a natural faucet fix

This spring, make faucets clean and sparkly by rubbing a lemon half on the water stains. The citric acid helps remove hard water marks. Then, use the other half of the lemon for our next tip.

2. Spring Cleaning your microwave by heating lemon juice and rinds in water

Cut a lemon into halves, squeeze the juice into 1/2 cup of water, and drop the rinds into the mixture. Microwave for three minutes and let it stand for five minutes without opening the door. The trapped steam will loosen the grime, so you can wipe the microwave clean with less elbow grease.

3. Use white vinegar to beat shower head buildup for Spring Cleaning

Looking for more natural ways to clean your bathroom? Vinegar can dissolve the mineral deposits that accumulate in showerheads over time, causing reduced pressure and water flow. Fill a plastic bag with white vinegar, secure it over the showerhead with a rubber band, and leave it overnight to get rid of buildup. Just be sure to run the shower before you hop in, or you risk smelling like vinegar all day.

4. Spring Cleaning stainless steel sinks with baking soda

Simply wet your sink and faucet, sprinkle baking soda, and scrub with a sponge. If you need more heavy-duty scrubbing power, add salt to the baking soda.

5. Use newspaper to clean dirty windows and mirrors

Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar, 2 cups of water, and 2 teaspoons of liquid soap into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the glass and scrub with newspaper for a streak-free window or mirror. The ink acts as a mild abrasive and allows you to make use of old newspapers.

6. Organize your fridge and cabinets with rotating turntables

Don’t limit rotating turntables and Lazy Susans to your tabletops. After discarding old condiments and spices, organize your pantries and refrigerator with this useful storage hack.

7. Place a wet dryer sheet on your ceramic stovetop to remove burnt-on residue

Dryer sheets are non-abrasive and a great way to remove burnt-on food from your stove. Place the wet dryer sheet on your stovetop at least 15 minutes before rubbing the gunk away. Follow these tips to clean your oven.

8. Spring Cleaning your grill with an onion

Get your grill cleaned up and ready for the warm weather. First, heat it up and spray some white vinegar onto the grates to help loosen the residue. Then, scrub the area firmly using half an onion. The acid from the onion will rid your grill of any leftover remnants.

9. Let coffee filters do more than put a spring in your step

Does your TV screen or computer monitor show fingerprints, smudges, and dust? The fiber in coffee filters is gentle enough to rub them away, even on delicate TV screens. Just don’t press too hard!

10. Unpack and stack your spring/summer clothes vertically

Are your dresser drawers a mess? Instead of putting away folded clothes flat, stack them vertically for easy access. You can stack your clothes inside shoeboxes to keep tidy rows inside your drawers.

11. Use cream of tartar to clean toasters and tea kettles

Combine 1 tsp of cream of tartar with just enough water to create a milky paste. Rub the solution onto your stainless steel appliances and wipe away to reveal their original shine.

12. Know your couch or rug before spring cleaning it

Don’t ruin your upholstered furniture by using the wrong cleaner. Not all manufacturer labels state what type of solvent to use. Familiarize yourself with the cleaning codes below.

Upholstery Cleaning Labels:
W: Use water-based cleaning solutions.
S: Use dry-cleaning solvents. Do not saturate. Do not use water.
S-W: Use water-based cleaners or dry-cleaning solvents.
X: Use a vacuum or brush only.

13. Use a window squeegee to scrape pet hair from your carpet or rug

The rubber edge of the squeegee is a great tool for gripping and removing pet hair from your rug. Use a firm grip and make sure to clean up the excess hair as you go. Finish by running the vacuum to catch any hair still on the surface.

14. Avoid scratching floors by placing clean towels under furniture while rearranging

Looking to freshen up your home by rearranging furniture? Slide heavy pieces like couches and tables easily and without damage by placing folded, clean towels under each end of the furniture.

15. Use Velcro strips to keep drawer organizers in place

Attach the grippy strips to one end of your drawer and the other to your drawer organizers. This keeps the organizers in place but lets you remove them when needed.

16. Put the spring back in your dirty keyboards with cotton swabs

If certain keys or sticking, or your entire keyboard just doesn’t have the same pop that it used to, chances are dirt and crumbs are the culprits. Sweep cotton swabs between your keys to dislodge dust and grime. And for a real deep clean, use compressed air to blast away any leftover dust, and follow it up with one more sweep through your keys, this time using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to kill germs.

17. Use a dustpan to help fill a large mop bucket

Not all mop buckets fit in bathtubs or sinks. If your bucket is too large, try using a dustpan as a spout by placing it flat on your sink to transfer water to the bucket. This handy hack is also helpful for other large containers you want to fill.

18. Use a butter knife to clean air vents

Don’t let that dust build-up for another minute; use a butter knife to reach those tough get places between and behind your vents. Simply wrap the knife in a rag and wipe it between the slats. Then, open the windows and run your central air to fill your home with fresh spring air (just be sure your heat or AC isn’t on while you’re running the fan).

19. Wrap a towel over a broom to clean hard-to-reach places

Cobwebs and dust can collect in room corners and on ceiling fans. Wipe them away by securing a towel over the bristle end of a broom with a large rubber band. The dust and cobwebs stick to the cloth.

20. Recycle old socks to use as dusting mitts

Cotton is a great fabric for trapping dust particles. Try using a (clean) pair of socks as dust mitts and you’ll have more control over where dust goes.

21. Spring Cleaning also means to Declutter your home

As you’ve been hibernating throughout the winter and piling on the sweaters and blankets, there’s a good chance that clutter—and your lists of chores—have been piling up as well. Start small – don’t try to attack your entire house at once. Think about clearing one room, or even one closet, at a time.

When this is complete, sort it out. Go through your space and separate your belongings into categories. Determine the things you will keep on hand, store for later, sell, donate, or throw away.

22. Organize and freshen up for Spring Cleaning

Once you’ve cleared out the clutter, give your home some much-needed TLC.

  • Empty your kitchen fridge and thoroughly clean it.
  • Sweep under your large appliances, like the stove and the fridge, and larger furniture pieces, like dressers, desks, and beds.
  • Wash the windows, both inside and out.
  • Clean blinds and take any curtains or drapes to the cleaners.
  • Flip your mattress. Don’t just clean your sheets; wash your pillows and mattress covers as well.
  • Clean your upholstery, or hire a professional to do it.
  • After these more thorough tasks, do your usual scrubbing, mopping, dusting, and vacuuming.

If it’s warm enough, open the windows, and let the fresh air in as you freshen up your home. When your work is done, not only will the sun be shining your house will too.

Whether you’re doing your annual spring clean-up or a weekly deep clean, find out how to clean your house fast.

Spring is also a great time to clean up your insurance. Make sure you have the right homeowners insurance policy that suits your needs and budget.

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Personal Finance Tips for Dealing with Inflation

Personal Finance Tips for Dealing with Inflation

Nationwide Insurance | September 16, 2022 | Inflation | Start a Quote Today!

Inflation is at the top of everyone’s minds right now. Our recent Nationwide Retirement Institute® survey found the majority of U.S. parents (60%) listed inflation or the rising cost of living as their top financial concern right now. [1] Coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen supply-chain issues, as well as rising consumer demand. Add in the fear of a potential recession, there’s a lot in the current environment that is putting pressure on families.

Personal Finance Tips for Dealing with Inflation

We’ll discuss what is causing inflation and how to save money with our personal finance tips that you can take to help deal with inflation.

What is causing inflation?

To put it simply, inflation is a measure of the rate that goods and services are rising in the economy. Inflation can occur nearly everywhere, from basic daily needs and services such as food and housing, and also in luxury goods, such as cosmetics, vehicles, and more. [2] When inflation is rising, it can make consumers’ purchasing power less valuable. If the inflation rate in a given year was 5% and your yearly salary increase was only 3%, you would have less purchasing power in the next year.

So, what exactly causes inflation? There are a variety of factors that can play into the inflation rate rising, but we’ll break down a few here.

Supply and demand

When consumers want to spend more either with cash or by accessing extra credit, businesses could raise prices due to not being able to keep up with supply at the rate that consumers are wanting. Businesses also might see this as an opportunity they can raise their prices more without losing customers, as demand is so high that consumers will buy regardless.

Supply chain issues

Supply chain issues can also lead to increase inflation. The coronavirus pandemic forced many factories to either shut down or limit production. This led to less supply across many different industries. On top of that, there has been a shortage of workers across different industries and it is more expensive to ship products right now.

In short, there is often not one single issue that drives the increase in inflation, and there are a variety of factors that come into play and affect different industries all at once. [3]

How to deal with inflation

While we can’t personally affect how inflation is roaring throughout the country, there are different steps we can take to help ourselves save money and not feel the sting of inflation as hard.

Make a budget

One good step is making a budget to track how much you are spending each month to hold yourself more accountable. You might be spending more than you realize in some areas or find that you have a recurring expense that you forgot about. You can then reallocate your spending to different areas, invest your money, or save some money based on your budget. For some more tips on how to create a budget, view these tips from The Balance or start developing a realistic plan with our budget worksheets.

Save money at the grocery store

While many of us are feeling the extra cost of food and groceries, there are many ways we can try to grocery shop on a budget. Our previous blog goes into detail on 14 different ways that you can save on groceries so you have that money to use elsewhere.

Make extra money with a side job

Side gigs have become increasingly popular these days, as many of us look for some extra cash to meet our financial goals. There are a variety of different ways you can make extra money with a side job, depending on your time commitment and how much you are looking to make.

Here are 13 different side jobs that provide a high reward for low commitment.


Investing can be a way to get out ahead of inflation and potentially receive a better rate of return on your money. Traditional savings accounts will most likely not provide a larger rate of return than the cost of inflation, so you may not be taking full advantage of your money by leaving it all in a savings account.

Nationwide has many different options when it comes to helping you prepare for your financial future with investing and retirement. Learn more about our annuity, life insurance, mutual funds, ETFs, retirement plans, and more here.

If you are looking for a financial specialist who can help you with your investing needs, you can find one here.

Take advantage of insurance discounts

Insurance discounts are also a great way to keep yourself on budget and save some extra money. Nationwide offers discounts on car insurance and gives our members a variety of different ways to save. We also believe that dependable homeowners insurance shouldn’t strain your budget. View our full range of available home insurance discounts here to help yourself start saving more today.

Work with a finance professional

To make sure you are staying on track with your financial goals, a financial professional can help with money and retirement planning. No matter your stage of life or where you are at in your retirement planning, you can find a financial professional who fits your unique situation to help you reach your financial goals.

Find a financial professional here.

Inflation Conclusion

While we can all certainly feel the sting of inflation in our daily lives and the products and services we buy regularly, there are various ways that we can work to save money and come out ahead. Whether it’s making a budget, finding ways to save at the grocery store, investing, finding a side job, or using Nationwide’s insurance discounts, find what works best for you on how to save money in your daily life.

Inflation Sources:

[1] Nationwide Financial Family Finances Flash Poll Findings, August 2022

[2] https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/111314/what-causes-inflation-and-does-anyone-gain-it.asp

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/article/inflation-definition.html


Investing involves market risk, including possible loss of principal, and there is no guarantee that investment objectives will be achieved.


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First Time Home Buyers

11 First-Time Home buyer Tips

Nationwide Blog | March 14, 2023 | Home | Home Insurance | Start A Quote Today!

Few experiences are more exciting or rewarding than purchasing a home for the first time. However, the process can be more complex than it may seem. Working with a skilled agent can make things go more smoothly, but remaining involved at all phases is essential. Anticipating and addressing critical issues directly can make the buying experience easier and more enjoyable. It can also help ensure you come away with the best deal. Consider the advice for first-time homebuyers below:

1. Identify your needs in a home.

You have options when purchasing a residential property, including a single-family home, a duplex, a townhouse, a condominium, or a multifamily building with two to four units. Each option has pros and cons, so you must decide which property will help you reach your homeownership goals. [1]

2. Begin building your home savings in preparation

Browse first-time homebuyer programs in the city and state where you want to buy. Look at your weekly and monthly expenses to find ways to trim your spending. Rather than saving in an account that pays little to no interest, compare interest rates on options to park your money, such as CDs or high-yield savings accounts. [2]

3. Be prepared to commit to a home loan.

The most popular type of mortgage is the 30-year home loan, which gives homebuyers three full decades to pay it off, meaning smaller payments over a more extended period. Search for help finding the best personal loan and get prequalified loan offers in 2 minutes or less. [3]

4. Make sure you understand important terms.

Many homebuyers begin the process of getting a home loan with little or no knowledge of how mortgages work. Here are a few mortgage terms you should consider before signing anything with the lender. [6]

  • Annual percentage rate (APR) — The interest rate on a mortgage. This is the percentage of the loan amount that you will pay each year in interest.
  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) — also known as a variable-rate mortgage. Interest rates on an ARM change based on a specific index or benchmark interest rate. With an ARM, the buyer’s payments may fluctuate significantly over the loan term.
  • Closing costs/settlement costs — This covers any costs associated with buying or selling a home and can include origination fees, escrow payments, attorney fees, appraisal fees, title insurance, and any other fees required by the lender to complete the transaction. Review these with your mortgage broker to better understand each fee’s purpose.
  • Fixed rate mortgage (FRM) — Interest rates on an FRM stay the same through the life of the loan.
  • Mortgage Term — The length of the mortgage loan in years. Common term lengths are 15, 20, and 30 years.

If you aren’t sure what a term means, you should ask your mortgage broker; you can also search for it online.

5. Use internet research to help find a real estate agent.

You want to find a real estate agent who understands the market and what you want. Get customer reviews on specific agents in your desired location and discover their recent sales online.

Have you ever seen a house for sale and wanted to learn more about it but didn’t want to call the selling agent? With Homesnap, take a photo of the home, and you’ll get instant information about the property.

6. Take a closer look during the neighborhood search.

You may think you’ve found the right home in price, size, and style. But sometimes, less obvious details are more important than what is readily apparent. It may take extra legwork to uncover important points or to confirm your initial judgment about a property; start with a neighborhood search.

You might take a closer look at whether a neighborhood fits your lifestyle. Is it close enough to shopping? To parks and recreational opportunities? Is the neighborhood close-knit? What types of individuals live in the community? Speak with local homeowners about their likes and dislikes.

Calculate your commute to your job. Longer commutes can add stress and additional costs to your budget when paying for gas, parking, or public transportation.

Check the quality of the local schools regardless of whether you plan to have children. Areas in higher-quality school districts often maintain higher property values. However, when considering school districts, you may also want to assess property taxes; in some communities with outstanding public schools, property taxes may be as high as private school tuition.

Finally, visit the neighborhood throughout the day, especially in the evening. The atmosphere could be very different after dark. You want to feel comfortable at all hours.

7. When negotiating a home’s price, act quickly and walk away when necessary.

As a first-time homeowner, list your must-haves, nice-to-haves, and deal-breakers. Then, if a house fits your needs and budget, don’t be afraid to make an offer. In hot real estate markets, and especially in high-demand neighborhoods, you have to move fast to get the house you want.

However, if you make an offer and find something about the house is a deal-breaker, such as a compromised foundation, don’t be afraid to walk away. It’s much easier to change a visually imperfect house into a comfortable and stylistically pleasing home than to deal with much more serious fundamental flaws.

It’s also easy to become emotionally attached to a house when negotiating home prices. Getting caught up in a bidding war over a property can devastate your budget. Before making an offer, have a clear expectation of how much you’re willing to pay should another buyer outbid you. Then, if you’ve hit your maximum, do yourself and your budget a favor and walk away.

It may seem strange to make one of the most significant purchases of your life after spending so little time looking at it. But when buying a house, you will often need to make an offer after only spending around an hour or so inside. But if you make your offer contingent on inspection, you can withdraw the offer should the inspector find something wrong with the home. This is a critical step that can secure your bid on a property while mitigating the risk of unknown flaws in the house.

8. Have a professional home inspection.

Home inspections allow a buyer to identify and assess any significant issues with a home before closing. Hire an unbiased construction expert or professional inspector to thoroughly inspect the foundation, roof, other major structural components, and electrical and plumbing systems. Your agent will likely have a recommendation for the inspector.

Stay professional home inspection process and ensure that the contractor you hire is looking at hard-to-see areas. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions. If you have concerns about something, it’s better to ask them before the sale is complete.

Avoid using inspectors recommended by the seller’s agent or employing someone unqualified. That can result in a less thorough inspection and, in some cases, raise conflict-of-interest issues. [4]

9. Check local zoning ordinances.

If you plan to make improvements, such as adding a bedroom or expanding a home’s footprint, contact the local zoning board before you buy. Most municipalities try to work with homeowners, but ensuring your project meets local guidelines is best. That may be particularly important for homes in hillside communities or near water because those areas may have more restrictive ordinances.

10. Don’t underestimate the hidden costs.

Even after you find a desirable home that fits your budget, you’ll still need to account for other costs, such as closing costs, property tax, utilities, mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, and a maintenance fund. Allocate about 1% to 4% of the purchase price for annual maintenance. [7]

Closing costs are typically about 2% to 5% of your loan amount, with a smaller percentage for larger loans. Some closing costs are set in stone, but many aren’t. Lenders have a lot of flexibility over the fees they charge. Borrowers like you can shop around for the lowest closing costs as well as the lowest rate. [5]

11. Protect your new home.

Purchasing a first house ranks among life’s most memorable moments. But, after all the work it took to buy your first home, ensure it is protected. If you have questions about homeowners insurance or other aspects of starting life in your new home, Nationwide has resources to help you make the right decisions.


[1] “First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide,” Amy Fontinelle, investopedia.com/updates/first-time-home-buyer (Nov. 4, 2022).

[2] “How much money do you need to buy a house?” David McMillin, bankrate.com/mortgages/how-much-money-do-you-need-to-buy-house (June 1, 2022).

[3] “U.S. mortgage statistics and FAQs,” David McMillin, bankrate.com/mortgages/mortgage-statistics (July 11, 2022).

[4] “What Is a Home Inspection Contingency and Why Is It Important?” Amy Fontinelle, investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/home-inspection.asp (Aug. 12, 2022).

[5] “Average closing costs in 2023: Complete list of closing costs,” Gina Freeman, themortgagereports.com/35800/guide-to-mortgage-closing-costs-what-average-mortgage-costs-are-and-how-to-keep-yours-low (Oct. 17, 2022).

[6] “Mortgages key terms,” consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/mortgages/answers/key-terms/ (Mar. 7, 2023).

[7] “How much does the average home cost to maintain per year? $3,000, according to Angi,”usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/real-estate/2022/02/12/average-american-home-costs-3-k-per-year-to-maintain/49780837/ (Mar. 8, 2023).

The information included here is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates, and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Shield Insurance Agency. © 2023

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