In This Issue

Tip Sheet

October 6, 2008

Ask an Expert

Q: If my basement floods due to a sewer or drain backup, am I covered?

ERIE Agent Frank Spicer

Frank Spicer Jr.
Fairfax, Va.

A: Water damage is the toughest of all claims. If water comes in through the foundation of your home, the damage will not be covered, and if it comes in through a sewer, drain or sump pump backup, it will only be covered if you have the Sewer and Drain Endorsement or Enhancement Endorsement.

The endorsement on your policy will cover the damages up to the limit that you set when buying the policy. So many people have elaborately finished basements with home theaters, bars, gyms or offices and computer equipment. It’s important for the limits of the endorsement to be enough to protect all the niceties of your underground den. So if you’ve made improvements, make sure to let your Agent know.

In our agency, we highly encourage our customers to purchase these homeowners endorsements—in addition to flood insurance. (Each covers different types of water damage.) If you don’t have coverage, or if you’re not sure if you have enough, give your Agent a call to find out.

Have a question for an insurance expert? Let us know. E-mail or send us a letter.

Take a Right

Looking to improve your gas mileage and save some money? Take a lesson from The United Parcel Service (UPS) and make a right. UPS minimizes the number of left turns on truck routes, limiting the amount of time left idling at red lights since most states allow you to turn right on red. In 2007, the technique saved UPS time, money and three million gallons of gas.

More fuel-saving tips.

Autumn Checklist

Autumn’s falling leaves signal that it’s time to get ready for winter. Before the cold arrives, protect your home from the upcoming season:
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector. The chance of carbon monoxide poisoning increases when houses are closed up.
  • Clean furnace ducts. Have a professional service clean the furnace ducts to ensure heating efficiency.
  • Change furnace filters. And consult the owner’s manual to see if any annual fix-ups are necessary.
  • Have the fireplace cleaned. This is tough to do and do right. Consider hiring a chimney sweep.
  • Check weather-stripping. Check around doors and windows and replace any strips that are worn.
  • Check gutters. Remove leaves and other debris, check for loose joints and structural problems and seal leaks.
  • Drain sprinkler systems. You should also shut off outdoor faucets and install freeze-proof covers as needed.

Information from

Use “P” to Handle Heat

Four Ps to safeguard your homeand family from fire

Fires kill more Americans each year than all natural disasters combined, and a home fire is the disaster that children are most likely to experience. But fire doesn’t have to be deadly.

Know the four Ps of family safety:

  1. Prevent house fires. Avoid storing items that easily catch fire—such as cloth and wood—near furnaces, stoves or fireplaces. Know the hazards of portable heaters, outdoor grills and gasoline. Teach children never to play with matches and lighters.
  2. Protect your family. Install smoke alarms in each bedroom and on every floor of your home. Check batteries monthly and change them annually.
  3. Prepare a plan. Develop at least two fire escape routes out of your home. Establish a safe meeting place away from immediate danger. Make sure everyone knows to call 911 only after they are safely out of the house.
  4. Practice the drill. Conduct a home fire drill at least twice a year. Teach children to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothing catches fire. Stress the need to crawl “low and go” should a room fill with smoke.

October is fire safety month. Celebrate with Ernie, the Erie Insurance safety dog at Encourage children to join Ernie’s Fire Safety Club to learn more about how they can prevent fires and stay safe in case one happens.

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