Tag Archives | Orange

How To Avoid Christmas Tree Fires

We know that many of you already put up your Christmas trees, and hopefully you’ve been enjoying their wonderful pine scent, festive looks and twinkling lights. Some people wait until closer to Christmas to choose the tree and decorate it.

Either way, you’ll probably hang treasured ornaments on it, and place your carefully chosen presents underneath it—presents you’ve probably spent a pretty penny on. Continue Reading →

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Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

At BMR Insurance Agency, we know how much our customers love their families. And we know that many people consider their pets to be part of the family, and some consider them their children. So we felt it was important to discuss some ways to make sure the four-legged family members stayed safe and healthy this holiday season. Continue Reading →

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How to Prevent Your Home from Flooding

Although we're on the West Coast, big storms can hit us too.

It was difficult for us in Southern California to understand the devastation left behind on the East Coast by Hurricane Sandy, especially as we were enjoying record temperatures and true “beach weather”.

But just think back to two Decembers ago, when downtown Laguna Beach was under four feet of water right before the Christmas holiday. Although not as bad as a hurricane by any means, that storm devastated south Orange County, and had people being rescued from their roofs, homes were destroyed and old-growth trees uprooted. Then there were the windstorms last year at this time that were sweeping the Southland, causing millions in damages to homes, businesses and cities. Continue Reading →

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Is Your Jet Ski or Yacht Insured Correctly?

Jet skis are extremely fun, but insurance is required! Photo by Tony Dowson.

With constant images of the beach, surfing and hot sunny days posted on television programs and the Internet, California is well known for its natural water sources and the plethora of available recreational sports. Water skis, jet skis, yachts, canoes, kayaks—all provide hours of fun and excitement. But did you know that just like a car, you are expected to have insurance coverage for your boats and personal watercraft? Continue Reading →

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Crackdown on Workers Comp Insurance Fraud In California

California is not known as the friendliest place for small business owners—in fact, it’s ranked as third from the bottom. One of the big costs for small business owners, especially those in the trades (construction, roofing, flooring, landscaping, HVAC, etc.), is workers compensation insurance.

Yes, it’s a nuisance. But we’ve written many blogs about how important having workers comp insurance is—it’s essential. Without it, your whole business could be ruined in a shot.

Yet there seems to be an “underground economy” in California, where business owners are either under reporting payroll or paying people under the table to avoid high workers comp insurance premiums or payroll taxes. Continue Reading →

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Do You Support the Nationwide Texting Ban?

It's funny because it's true. Don't cause an accident because you're texting while driving!

Orange County is probably one of the worst offenders in violating the texting ban. Let’s face it, Los Angeles and Orange County have some of the worst traffic in the United States, and because of our minimal public transport systems, we don’t have much choice than to use our cars.

(That said, we also have some of the best weather in the world, and should probably start using our bicycles a little more!) Continue Reading →

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BMR’s Top Five Home-Improvement Tips for 2012

Although many of you may be still be recovering from the weekend’s parties, we at BMR Insurance are, as always, focused on the well-being of our customers. That’s why we’ve knuckled down and thought about the things it would be best for our homeowners insurance customers to do in 2012, and here’s what we came up with.

First of all, once your head clears from the champagne overdose, have a look at your  2012 budget for repairs and maintenance on your home, and see what you can afford. If possible, work in these five projects that will be important for the protection of your home and family in the coming year.

1. Batten the Hatches: We’re not advocating that you put in a full security system, with cameras and motion sensors—that is, unless you can afford it. But if you can’t, there’s a lot of simple things that you can do to improve the security at your home that won’t break the bank. Some of these tips can help you save on your insurance premiums too!

Start by having a look at the shrubbery outside of your windows that are visible from the street. Either cut down or thin shrubs and bushes that would give intruders a place to hide, or replace them with something nice and thorny, like cacti, rosebushes, hawthorne, pyracantha or even “hardy orange”, which also produces fruit!

Then look at your door and window locks on access points to your home, and see if they need replacing or reinforcing. If you can’t afford a high-end security system, there are still motion-detector outdoor lights that are budget-friendly that deter burglars.

Also look at securing doggie doors, or replacing a door if the doggie-door entrance is now unused. You can also add a metal screen or decorative wrought-iron gate to your front door, which will not just add curb appeal, it can also increase the value.

Check with your local post office to see if they will deliver to a mail slot built into your door, to replace your street-side mailbox. This will prevent identity thieves from getting checks and credit card numbers.

2. Think Green: No, we don’t mean recycle in the usual sense, but when you think of remodeling, don’t just go to the local Home Depot or lumberyard and start buying new materials. There are many architectural salvage places in Southern California, like Tony’s Architectural Salvage on N. Olive Street just off the Circle in Orange. It’s right in the heart of Orange County’s small Victorian district, so there are many a great find to be had. Look for decorative hardware, light fixtures, wood cabinets (made like they used to!), ornate crown moldings, real floorboards and plumbing fixtures.

3. Be Legit: Before you start adding on the new deck or garage, you’re probably aware that you’ll need to check with the city and get a permit—especially in places like Laguna Beach with their formidable Design Review Board. But what about electricity or plumbing upgrades? Changing out your water heater? Altering your driveway? Replacing shingles or changing the location of your sink or tub? That’s right, you need permits for all of those things. And before you think that the city will never know your toilet moved from one side of the bathroom to another, just wait until it floods and you need to claim on insurance…

4. Code Red: Was your home built before 2000? There were a lot of homes built in Orange County in the 60s and 70s—and did you know that Tustin is one of the oldest cities in the county? It was incorporated in 1927, but it sprang up around El Camino Real in the 1880s. And Irvine began in 1971, so most of The O.C. has homes built before the turn of the latest century. So why not bring your home up to code, especially if you have children? Here’s few that can not just save you money in the long run, it will also increase safety:

  • Hard-wired smoke alarms in every bedroom and in the hallway outside of sleeping areas
  • Ground-fault circuit interrupter receptacles in the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, garage and any other space where both water and electricity are available
  • Powerful and water-efficient toilets to replace old, water-guzzling ones
  • Larger, dual-pane, windows — with at least 3½ feet of open, removable area that will allow a firefighter and his air tank easy access
  • Handrails on all staircases both internal and external
  • A water heater expansion tank, which can prevent extra pressure and the possibility of an explosion

5. Rainy Day: When it rains in SoCal, and it does, it usually comes hard and fast. And that’s why we need to be prepared. Did you know that even a fairly new and sturdy roof can be penetrated by wind-driven rain? Many of us were affected by the windstorms that came through the Southland in November and December, and it’s likely that your roof is damaged without you even knowing.

Mold damage is three times more expensive to repair than water damage. And if the damage was done because of an earlier problem that wasn’t fixed, you may have a hard time claiming on insurance. Have a professional check your roof for leaks, especially if you have a contemporary-style home with a flat roof.

You should be able to carefully use a ladder to check skylights for caulking that has deteriorated, and replace it with polyurethane caulk—our recommendation, as it keeps the water out better than acrylic or latex. Clean out your gutters and make sure that you don’t have places where water can pool near your house walls, which can cause slab leaks and foundation damage.

And if you are looking for flood insurance, please call us immediately. Some homeowners policies do not include flooding, and you could be under a false impression that you have complete coverage. If you are a current BMR customer, it’s likely we discussed this with you when you bought the policy; and if you’re not, we will be happy to review your policy for you at no charge. Call us on (714) 939-1811 or use our online form.

We wish you all a wonderful, prosperous and safe 2012! Happy New Year from all of us at BMR!

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Please Water Your Christmas Tree To Avoid Fires

We’re always concerned about our customers’ well being, and we are hoping that everyone will have a safe and happy holiday season.

But here’s some sobering facts from the National Fire Prevention Association: Between 2005-2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 240 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year.

These fires caused an average of 13 deaths, 27 injuries, and $16.7 million in direct property damage annually. That’s a lot of unnecessary death, injury and damage for what is supposed to be a joyful season. Watch the NFPA’s video on the speed at which a dry tree can be engulfed in flames:

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Manufacturers: What Do You Do When Your Product is Recalled

Do you have insurance if one of your products needs to be recalled?

Remember Toyota a few years back? All of those brake problems and people getting injured for faulty manufacturing? What about that Tylenol recall? Even with the liability issues and damage to their image and brand aside, how much do you think that product recall cost these companies? You’re right—it wasn’t cheap.

But even if you aren’t manufacturing cars, a product recall can be devastating for any company, especially in this economy. And in Orange County, we still have many areas where manufacturing is predominant: Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin, Anaheim, Lake Forest, even Huntington Beach and Irvine. Continue Reading →

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