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By Ilyce Glink, CBS MoneyWatch
(MoneyWatch) Spring has finally sprung, and that means it’s time for seasonal home maintenance. Whether it’s a fresh coat of paint or a new roof, the experts at Travelers Insurance have tips to help homeowners get their space ready for the warmer months. Before you call the handyman, do a thorough check of your home both inside and out.
“Every dollar you spend on little repairs or fortifications can save four dollars in storm damage,” says Jim Gustin, senior property specialist with Travelers’ risk control department.
A visual survey of your home is the first step to preventing damage from water,
wind, and fire. Regular maintenance is necessary in every season to make sure your
home is a danger-free zone.
Prevent water damage from heavy spring rains. “Make sure the main components of
your home — the roof, foundation, windows, and doors — are directing pooling water
away from your home,” Gustin says. Check gutters to ensure they are hanging properly
and are free of debris, which could force water to collect on the roof. Position
downspouts so they drain at least three feet away from your foundation.  Don’t forget to check indoors for signs of existing leaks. Look at the ceilings and rafters for discoloration or water damage, and examine windows for peeling paint and caulk. If the paint or caulk is peeling up, fill the cracks and re-paint to ensure water doesn’t find its way in.
Make sure your appliances and pipes are in working order. According to Gustin,
homeowners have more than rain to worry about. “Water damage from inside the home
is one of the most frequent causes” of insurance claims, he says. Inspect your plumbing to ensure there are no signs of leaks or corrosion. Flexible supply hoses, like those found on washing machines and dishwashers, should be examined annually for cracks or bulges.  Inspect all plumbing for leaks, and check toilet tanks for leaking flappers and fill valves. Gustin warns that these need to be replaced as soon as there’s a problem because they waste water and “can fail
catastrophically causing serious water damage.” He also notes that dryer vents can be a
leading cause of fire and reminds homeowners to clean out the exhaust duct. If you’ve never done this before, it may require professional help.
Inspect your roof for damage. Get on your roof and look for signs of damage. This includes missing or lifted shingles, holes, or wear. If you can’t do this safely, call in a professional to check it for you and make any necessary repairs.
Look around your home for potential flying debris. In high winds anything can
become airborne, so do a thorough examination of what’s outside your house. Remove
dead trees or limbs that are precariously close to your home. Are there any plants
overhanging utility wires? Call the utility company to trim them. Make sure all deck
furniture and grills are secured to keep them from flying into your home in high winds.
Trees growing too close to your home can cause major damage in high winds.
Check your smoke detectors. This should be done twice a year. Gustin suggests
changing the batteries when you change the clocks for daylight savings. The folks at
Travelers recommend a smoke detector on every floor and near all bedrooms.
Look over all electrical systems. Inspect your fuse or circuit-breaker box for excessive
wear or tripped breakers. If you haven’t done so already, label each circuit breaker with
the location it serves. Check all electrical cords for fraying and replace if necessary.
Be smart: Fire is a risk any time of year, but Gustin notes that grilling can increase the
danger during the spring and summer months. Look over your grill to make sure it’s in
good working order and make sure to pull it far away from the house when it’s in use to
reduce the risk of fire.
Looking for a property insurance quote?  Call (508) 653-3131!
Please take a moment to look away from the inundation of ads telling you to name your own price or save, save, save on your insurance coverage.  The basic premise of insurance does not change with competition – it is intended to protect you and your assets from an unintended and unexpected loss.
Rather than searching for the “cheapest” insurance, consumers should use the competitive market to enhance their insurance protection, and possibly save premium at the same time.  A few points to follow to accomplish this goal;
·         Combine your auto and home policies to the same insurance carrier.  Substantial account, loyalty, and loss free discounts can become available to you by doing this.
·         Make sure your home is insured to its full replacement cost, and increase your homeowners policy property deductible to $1000.00.  The saving for this change is meaningful, and submitting a claim for under $1000 would mean a minimal claim payment, and possible premium increases down the road
·         Automobile Insurance – increase your Bodily Injury to others (part 5) to $250,000/person $500,000/accident, and your Property Damage (part 4) to at least $100,000.  To offset the premium increase, change your collision deductible to $1000, this results in a measurable discount. 
·         Bodily Injury and Property Damage are automobile policy coverage that protect you when a third party sues you.  To purchase low liability limits is leaving all of your assets exposed to the unforeseen event.
·         Purchase an Umbrella Liability policy – a $1,000,000 limit which is excess of your auto and home liability limits is a must, and it is fairly inexpensive.
The key point to remember is to take advantage of the competitive market and insure physical loss to your own property with higher deductibles,  use the premium savings to secure proper third party liability limits.
Written by:
Arthur B. Fair, III,
Fair & Yeager Insurance Agency
10 Main Street Natick MA
508-653-3131 x107

The annual Maple Magic at the Natick Community Organic Farm drew good-sized crowds on Saturday 3/10, first to Memorial School for the pancake breakfast, then to the farm for maple-sugaring tours.

The breakfast itself featured gluten-free pancakes along with the regular stuff; a raffle in memory of Harriet Buckingham, a longtime supporter of the farm who died in January; a host of local organizations, from Project Bread to the Natick Historical Society; a performance from the Silver Leaf Jazz Band; and more.

At the farm, visitors could tour the grounds, learn how native and colonial Americans made maple syrup, visit the sugar shack to see sap boil, purchase farm products and more.  As of Saturday, the farm has produced 137 gallons of maple syrup.

Fair & Yeager Insurance is offering a special deal — get an insurance quote from them next time you’re renewing your policies, and the agency will donate $20 towards the farm’s drive to build a commercial kitchen.

For details, call Fair & Yeager at (508) 653-3131 and ask for Tony. Say you’re a friend of the farm; you will be asked to fill out a short informational form. You may also email [email protected].

Source:  http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/blogs/natick-blog/x1907503845/Natick-Community-Organic-Farm-weaves-its-Magic