What's lurking below your mobile home - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

What’s lurking below your mobile home?

What’s lurking below your mobile home?

Do you remember when you were young and had to check under your bed for monsters before you could go to sleep? I sure do! Because of my hyperactive imagination and the poor decision to watch one too many cheesy 80s horror movies, I was absolutely terrified of monsters when I was a kid. Every night I would thoroughly inspect all of the best hiding places in my room before I reluctantly switched off the light and frantically dashed for my bed, fully expecting to be ambushed by a mob of gremlins as soon as everything was dark. I certainly didn’t want any mischievous little critters to snack on one of my exposed limbs as I slept, so I wrapped myself in a cocoon of blankets as an extra precaution.

The slightest noise would make my heart race with fear and my mind travel to nightmarish situations. Peace of mind wouldn’t arrive until I had finally drifted off to sleep.

Now that I am an adult who is fairly confident that there are no monsters under my bed, I have a more important question to ask: What’s lurking below your mobile home? The answer probably isn’t monsters, but here are three things that you may find:

Animals

Mice, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, insects, and other critters may invade the space below your mobile home and cause messes, loud noises, bothersome odors, and other damages. Keeping your trash and recycle bins tightly closed and making a point to keep the underside of your home clean of trash and debris are good strategies for keeping otherwise curious animals away. It also helps to keep bird feeders a good distance from your home, as they attract pesky squirrels and raccoons. According to SFGate, sprinkling chili or habanero flakes in the dirt around your home is an effective way to repel many animals. But if you do end up finding an animal under your home, don’t try to remove it yourself. Instead, calling your local animal control service−they can help you find a safe solution.

Water

If there is an abundance of clay in the soil around your mobile home or if your yard is not graded well, any water that collects under your home may not be able to drain properly. Rainfall and even plumbing leaks can lead to excess moisture, and if you don’t act quickly to fix this problem, your home could become musty and moldy. My Mobile Home Makeover suggests addressing the issue of pooling rainwater by stapling plastic sheeting to the bottom frames of skirting so that any water that collects will be absorbed beneath the plastic and will not damage the bottom of your home. You can also install gutters to prevent rainwater from pooling underneath or around your home.

Holes

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Shield Insurance Agency Meijer Gift Card Winner

Gift Card Winners Compliments of Shield Insurance Agency!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Every week, Shield Insurance Agency draws a winner of a local gift card from its clients and social media followers.

Be sure to LIKE our Facebook Page to get yourself entered to win and see who the winners are!

Shield Insurance Agency has given away thousands of dollars in local gift cards over the last 20 years serving Michigan.

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Target Shield Insurance Gift Card Give A Way
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Your Referrals to Shield Insurance Agency Help a Local Family in Need

Shield Referral Program Supports Local Family

Shield Referral Program Supports Local Sparta, Michigan Family

Your Referrals to Shield Insurance Agency Help a Local Family in Need

Your referral can make a difference for Roslyn and Maddox who both have a form of Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenital. Shield Insurance is helping this Sparta, MI family by donating $25 for each non-client who gets a quote from us.

No purchase necessary!

CLICK HERE to get a quote and we’ll donate $25 to them! (Be sure to mention Roslyn and Maddox in the comment section!) You can also call or text the office (616) 896-4600 and one of our agents will take a few minutes of your time to offer up a quote. Don’t forget to mention Ros and Maddox

“The highest compliment we can receive is the referral of your friends, family & business associates. Thank you for your trust!”

Meet Roslyn
Roslyn and Shield Insurance Agency Referral Program

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ow to Clean an Oven - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

How to Clean an Oven

By: Jeremy Glass  |  Jan 4, 2021

It can be a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

It’s finally time to clean your oven. Yay.

Look, we understand the inherent lack of fun in such a laborious activity, but to clean an oven means a cleaner household with fewer harmful fumes infiltrating your kitchen and food. With little more than baking soda and vinegar, you can give your oven the kind of makeover that’ll eviscerate grease, dirt, and burned-on odor. Here’s how it’s done.

How to Clean an Oven

  1. Don a pair of rubber gloves before starting.
  2. Choose the best cleaning agent. Whether you have baking soda and vinegar on hand or want to spring for the professional-grade stuff, the first step in oven maintenance is preparation.
  3. Remove any debris. We’re talking chunks of food, chipped-off pizza crust, lone pepperonis, and generally anything that can be removed by hand. Clear all that stuff out and toss it in the trash.
  4. Take out your oven racks. For those who didn’t know you could actually remove oven racks, surprise! For a deep, deep clean, you can take out your oven racks and stick them in a bathtub or large sink. Soak your racks in dishwasher detergent and boiling water. Let them sit for about two hours. Scrub with a stiff brush before returning to the oven. In lieu of a full bathtub cleanse, you can sprinkle baking soda on your oven racks and then spritz with white vinegar. Scrub with a good, stiff brush.
  5. Make a paste. Spread a thick paste of 2 cups baking soda and 3/4 cup water on the inside of your oven. Allow the paste to sit for six to eight hours before scrubbing it clean. If you’re using a commercial cleaner, spray it all over the oven from a distance of 9-12 inches (22-30 centimeters), close the oven door and leave it for two hours. Then wipe clean with paper towels or a wet cloth.
  6. Don’t forget the oven doors. Spray the outside of the oven doors with some white vinegar or commercial cleaner to make them shine. On the inside you can clean them with that baking soda and water paste. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before cleaning.

Or try a self-cleaning oven. Most ovens with a self-clean feature require only a couple of hours for a good-as-new look that’ll save your food from taking on any nasty odor. Plus, the clean-up will be minimal. Follow the directions in your oven’s manual for how to use your oven’s self-clean feature, should it have one.

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4 risk-management challenges of using cross-laminated timber in construction - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

4 risk-management challenges of using cross-laminated timber in construction

In the last few years, a surprisingly conventional material has swept the sustainable building industry: wood. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction, a building method in which wood is layered to create a strong and durable frame, is now competing with traditional concrete and steel foundations. This method, which has become increasingly popular in Europe, is now making headway in the United States. According to the Globe News Wire, the industry is projected to grow by 12 percent between 2021 and 2027.

Construction companies, architects, and environmental advocates alike are embracing CLT because it’s more sustainable than traditional materials, durable, lightweight, and suitable for prefabricated construction projects. But this building method also poses new risk-management challenges for owners, builders, and insurance providers. In this article, we’re examining the challenges of CLT across multiple insurance lines—and sharing suggestions for contractors to help mitigate potential risk.

Challenge 1: protecting the project during construction

In terms of builders’ risk coverage, CLT has some benefits. Because it can be built off-site and transported, the method can result in shortened building cycles, which means contractors may save money on insurance costs. However, builders will need coverage in the event of fire or water damage. CLT is made entirely of wood and—even though the material has been proven to burn slowly in fire tests—it is at a higher risk of fire damage than more traditional materials. On top of that, staining and charring of the wood from water and fire damage can cause aesthetic issues, and project owners might require builders to replace the panels even if the building is still structurally sound.

How to mitigate risk: contractors should ensure that CLT is pre-treated with a fire retardant before building. It’s also crucial that all members of the building team understand transport, storage, and staging best practices to limit exposure to the elements.

Challenge 2: evaluating environmental risks

When it comes to environmental risks, CLT has a leg up over traditional building materials. Although CLT is bonded with glue, most manufacturers use formaldehyde-free adhesives to improve air quality and reduce off-gassing. However, when building with CLT, construction companies should take notice of potential water damage and subsequent mold exposure risks. The 2021 International Building Code allows for CLT buildings up to 18 stories—but these taller buildings are exposed to the elements for more extended periods during construction, increasing the risk of water damage and mold growth. If property owners discover mold, contractors may be liable for any damages or associated health risks.

How to mitigate risk: builders should treat CLT with water repellents, particularly on the end-grain where the wood is more porous. During construction, using tent structures that cover exposed materials can also reduce the risk of water damage that can lead to mold growth.

Challenge 3: understanding cross-laminated timber performance capabilities

Because CLT is a newer material for many builders, design-build contractors should take special care to ensure their designs are structurally sound and materials meet quality standards. Both designers and builders should reference and comply with the applicable International Building Codes and stay up to date on evolving research. For example, as this study highlights, the shape and number of layers of CLT can influence the risk of delamination, in which the adhesive holding boards together fails and can put a structure at risk.

As an example of delamination, work came to a halt on a $79-million building under construction at Oregon State University after two layers of CLT floor panel came unglued and fell. While the incident did not cause any injuries, it did result in a several-month-long investigation, extensive rework to replace the damaged panels, and a delayed opening.

By staying informed on CLT performance capabilities, designers and builders are better able to build safely and on schedule and help mitigate the risk of damage, work delays, and related builders’ risk and liability claims.

How to mitigate risk: designers and builders should ensure that building codes align with the use of cross-laminated timber. Using building information modeling (BIM) during the planning process can also help ensure that all stakeholders—including owners, designers, engineers, and architects—are on the same page during the project. 

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8 Fall Chores You Can't Afford to Ignore - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

8 Fall Chores You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Do these maintenance tasks now and reap the rewards later

By Paul HopePublished October 15, 2016, | Updated September 22, 2021

Early fall is the right time to get your yard and house in order because come winter, small problems can turn into expensive nightmares.

Consumer Reports’ money-saving checklist covers everything from fallen leaves to your furnace. And many of these fall chores cost little more than time and effort. “A little bit of preventive maintenance now will help you avoid big hassles in the future,” says John Galeotafiore, who oversees CR’s testing of outdoor power equipment and other home gear.

Outdoor Fall Chores With Immediate Payoff

Once the winter freeze-thaw cycle kicks in, a tiny leak in your roof can turn into a crevasse—and a $10,000-plus repair job. Clogged gutters and dribbling spigots can also do a lot of damage, so take advantage of the cooler weather to do home and yard repairs and spruce-ups.

Get Some Leaf Relief

Fallen leaves can kill grass when they’re matted down by snow. Leaf piles can also attract rodents. But using leaf bags means work, and waste if they go into a landfill.

What to do: Make use of your lawn mower’s mulching mode. Ground-up leaves nourish the soil, which saves you money down the line. You might need to make a few passes to slice the leaves small enough to decay.

What you save: Along with saving the cost of leaf bags (Americans spend millions of dollars a year on bags alone), you sidestep the back-breaking stooping and bending of raking and bagging. When it’s time to replace your mower, use our ratings to find a model that’s the right fit for your yard.

Check the Roof

Leaks can eventually damage the wood sheathing and rafters below your shingles, leading to thousands of dollars in repairs.

What to do: Use binoculars to spot cracked, curled, or missing shingles safely from the ground. Consider having a roofing pro check flashing around chimneys, skylights, and roof valleys for leaks, and the rubber boots near vents for cracks that can let moisture seep in.

What you save: At roughly $3 per square foot installed, new sheathing would total $6,900 for a 2,300-square-foot house if you had to replace all of it. Figure on an additional $7,000 to $10,000 to install new shingles, plus added costs if the roof rafters need replacing. Worst case, and you need a new roof? See CR’s top-rated shingles across the three categories we test, below.

Clear Gutters

Gutters stuffed with leaves, pine needles, and other debris can let the water spill over the side, pool around your home’s foundation, and seep inside. Water that freezes in gutters can force snow and ice into roof shingles, causing damage and leaks.

What to do: Consider a gutter-guard system to keep debris out. Make sure that gutter drains extend 5 feet from the house and that soil slopes away from the foundation 1 inch per foot for 6 feet or more.

What you save: It costs about $300 per year for a pro to clean gutters in the fall and spring. That might be worth it rather than risking a fall off a ladder if you do the job yourself.

Close Your Hoses

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Shield Insurance Agency - Types of insurance and the insurance companies Shield is proud to represent

Shield Insurance Agency Product List

Types of Insurance Shield Agency Provides

Shield Insurance Agency has been in business for so many years, we can shop a lot of different companies for a lot of different types of insurance to be sure you get what you need for the price you can afford. Check out the list!

Personal

  • Auto Insurance
  • Boat Insurance
  • Condo Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Event Insurance
  • Farm Insurance
  • Flood Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Mobile Homeowners Insurance
  • Motorcycle Insurance
  • Motorhome Insurance
  • Recreational Vehicle Insurance
  • Renter Insurance
  • Term Life Insurance

Business

  • Auto Facilities
  • Bond Insurance
  • Business Interruption
  • Cannabusiness
  • Church Insurance
  • Commercial Auto
  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Contractor Insurance
  • Cyber Liability Insurance
  • General Liability Insurance
  • Group Health Insurance
  • Group Life Insurance
  • Liability Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Security Bond Insurance
  • Workers Compensation

Insurance Companies Shield Agency is Proud to Represent

AAA
Accident Fund
Aegis
Ambetter
American Modern
ASI
Assurity
Berkshire Hathaway GUARD
Berkshire Hathaway Homestate
Blue Cross Blue Shield/BCN
Bristol West
Companion Life
Conifer
Delta Dental

Foremost
Freemont
Genworth
Golden Rule
Grange
Hanover
HAP
Hiscox
Humana
ING
Liberty Mutual
Liberty Union
Medishare
Molina Healthcare
National General
Nationwide

North American Company
Philadelphia
Principal Financial Group
Priority Health
Progressive
Reinsurepro
RLI
Safeco
State Auto
Superior Flood
The Hartford
Transamerica
Travelers
United Healthcare
Unum
Wolverine


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How to Survive a Prolonged Power Outage - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

How to Survive a Prolonged Power Outage

Approach appliances with caution, use gas to cook, and more tips on how to safely get through a power outage.

1. Write Important Information on Paper

During a power outage, your cell phone is your lifeline and you’re likely to want to keep it charged in case of an emergency.

Because you can’t depend on your phone indefinitely, write down phone numbers and addresses you might need, such as a nearby hospital, a school that’s providing supplies, the local library or storm shelter, or other public places that might have power—places where you’ll be able to go to recharge your electronics and contact loved ones.

Then conserve your phone’s battery life by switching the phone to a power-saving setting, such as airplane mode on an iPhone or economy mode on an Android device.

When you make your way to a local shelter or library, it’s a smart idea to take a power strip, says Maria Rerecich, senior director and head of product testing for CR.

This way, when you do find power, you can charge multiple devices at once—or share the makeshift charging station with others.

2. Use Gas to Cook Food That Will Spoil

In homes that have lost power but suffered little other damage, you can safely cook on a gas stove. But you’ll probably need to light the burner with a match or lighter because the electronic ignition on a stove won’t work if the power is out. And if you have a gas grill, cooking with it is another option. If you were able to properly store your grill before the storm, in a dry space such as a garage, and notice no water damage to the grill or gas tank, it should be safe to use it to grill food.

Food in your refrigerator can maintain a safe temperature—below 40° F—for about 4 hours on average. Cook any perishables (raw meat and soft cheese, especially) within this time period; otherwise, toss these items. Even after that 4-hour window, food can spend an additional 2 hours above 40° F before it becomes unsafe to cook. A full freezer should stay cold for about 48 hours after the power is lost; a half-full freezer should stay cold for about 24 hours.

Anything that you cook but don’t eat, you’ll need to throw out after 2 hours because you’ll have no way to keep it cool enough to prevent it from spoiling. (You can always share with the neighbors.) Good to know: Lots of homeowners insurance policies will cover the replacement cost of spoiled food, so it’s really not worth taking the risk of consuming it.

3. If You Have a Generator, Use It Safely

Running a generator improperly can kill you in as little as 5 minutes if the concentration of carbon monoxide is high enough. And it happens: An average of 60 to 70 people a year die a year from generator-associated carbon monoxide poisoning, according to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas, so you won’t even know you’re inhaling it,” says Don Huber, CR’s director of product safety. “No matter what, resist the urge to move a portable generator inside the house or the garage.”

Operate a generator as far from the house as possible—CR recommends at least 20 feet—and direct the exhaust away from doors or windows. If you don’t have a transfer switch installed, you can run an outdoor-rated extension cord of the appropriate gauge from the generator’s outlets to individual appliances, provided the cords are properly rated and you follow certain precautions. The gauge of extension cord your generator requires will be specified in the user manual.

4. No Generator? Unplug Your Appliances.

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When Disaster Strikes What to Put in Your Medication Go Bag - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

When Disaster Strikes: What to Put in Your Medication Go Bag

Atlantic hurricane season is a good reminder that everyone should prepare this potentially lifesaving kit

By Consumer ReportsLast updated: July 05, 2021

A well-stocked Medication Go Bag can be used to soothe a cut or burn—or to save your life during a hurricane, flood, fire, or other emergencies.  

But it’s important not to wait until you’re faced with the need to leave your home in a hurry to assemble your medication go bag, says Geoffrey C. Wall, Pharm.D., a professor of pharmacy practice at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Whether you buy a kit from a drugstore or build it yourself, Wall recommends that all households keep a medication go bag on hand. It should contain the essentials, including: 

  • At least seven days’ worth of over-the-counter and prescription medications you take on a regular basis. Label the containers clearly, and include a printed-out list of everything you take and the regimen for each medication, plus a copy of your health insurance card (in case you need medical care while you’re away from your home).
  • An antihistamine for allergic reactions, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl Allergy and generic) or loratadine (Claritin and generic).
  • Pain relievers, including acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and generic), or naproxen (Aleve and generic).
  • Stomach and antidiarrheal remedies, including loperamide (Imodium and generic) and bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol, and generic).
  • An antacid for heartburn, such as Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, Tums, or generic.
  • Antiseptic wipes; an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin, Bacitracin Plus, Curad, or generic (use only for infected wounds); and bandages, gauze, and tape, for treating burns, cuts, and wounds.
  • Mosquito repellent to prevent bites, and aloe gel, hydrocortisone cream, or calamine lotion to soothe bites and skin irritation.
  • An eyewash solution for flushing out eye irritants.
  • Water-purification tablets.
  • Scissors.
  • Thermometer.
  • Tweezers.

If you and your family have special medical needs, you can build a more sophisticated medication go bag—for example, one that contains hearing aids with extra batteries, an epinephrine auto-injector, glasses, contact lenses, or syringes.

Fill Prescriptions in Advance

For prescriptions, you and your family members take, consider asking your doctor for 60- or 90-day refills rather than a month’s worth. That way, you’re more likely to have extras on hand for your medication go bag. (This can also save you money.)

Always fill prescriptions on the first day you become eligible for a refill, rather than waiting until the day you run out. If you are able to obtain an emergency supply, establish a plan for rotating your go-bag supply so that it remains up to date. And remember to check medications periodically to ensure that they have not expired.

“During an emergency, some states allow pharmacists to dispense an emergency supply of medications without doctor authorization,” Wall says. But, he adds, “certainly if a known potential disaster, such as a hurricane, is predicted, make sure you have prescription meds and supplies before it hits.”

You might also ask your health insurance company to assist you in obtaining enough medication and supplies to have on hand.

Storing and Maintaining Your Kit

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How to Get Rid of Ants - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

How to Get Rid of Ants

By: Francisco Guzman | Updated: Aug 13, 2021

Ants invade homes for one reason: food. Whether you left crumbs on the kitchen table or forgot to take the trash out, where there’s food, there are ants. Ants aren’t all bad. They help to clean up dead animals and naturally create topsoil as they burrow into the ground. But they can also pose a danger to you and your home.

Ant bites aren’t only annoying, they can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. A typical ant bite can cause pain and discomfort, but bites from a fire ant can lead to difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, nausea, and dizziness. While fire ants pack a big sting, other ants can do different types of damage.

Carpenter ants, similar to termites, can cause damage to your home’s walls, decks, doorframes, and other wooden materials. These ants create nests in wooden areas that are moist and starting to decay and cause damage by tunneling through the wood.

But if your home has become infested with ants, don’t worry. Getting rid of them is fast, easy, and cheap. Most of our suggestions below use ingredients that are safe to use around babies and pets. Here are some home remedies to quickly and successfully rid your house of ants.

How to Get Rid of Ants

  • White vinegar: Mix a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water or just use straight vinegar. Wipe your counters, tables, appliances, and jars with the solution to kill ants and prevent them from returning. Although you won’t be able to smell the scent after a while, ants will.
  • Hand soap: Spray a soapy water solution into holes and crevices that may be the entry point for ants in your home. Soap is an effective remedy for preventing ants from entering your home because it removes the scent of ant pheromones, which ants use to communicate with each other.
  • Lemon juice: Similar to vinegar and hand soap, lemon juice can remove an ant’s scent trail. Mix one part lemon juice with three parts water and spray the solution on entryways or around your home.
  • Baking soda: Mix one part baking soda with one part powdered sugar (ants love sweet things) and place it in an area where you see ants. Once they eat the baking soda mix, it will react with an acidic material in their stomachs and usually kills them.
  • Cinnamon: You can use two different types of cinnamon to either kill or repel ants. Mix cinnamon essential oil with water to use as a spray-on ant trail and around cracks in your home. You can also sprinkle powdered cinnamon around openings, which will suffocate ants when they inhale it.
  • Mint: Ants are not fans of mint, especially peppermint. Mix 10 to 20 drops of peppermint essential oils with 2 cups of water and spray the mixture in places where you find ants. Make sure to keep the mixture away from pets.
  • Black pepper/cayenne pepper: If you find an anthill in or near your home, sprinkle black pepper or cayenne pepper into their nest. The spicy powder will prevent them from coming back but won’t kill them.
  • Borax: Although this is not child-friendly, borax is considered a very effective way to kill household ants. That’s because borax kills ants slowly so they have time to take the bait back to the colony for other ants to eat. Sprinkle it in powder form or mix 1.5 tablespoons of borax with a half-cup of sugar and 1.5 cups of warm water. Spray the liquid into ant nests or set it in a small container as bait. (You can also make a paste of borax and honey or corn syrup and set it out). Make sure to keep borax away from babies and young children, because it can cause skin irritations and headaches.

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