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Summer Safety Tips for Grilling and Fire Pits

Summer’s here and the time is right for grilling and fire pits.  But don’t ruin a perfect summer evening with an avoidable accident or trip to the ER.  Here are some safety tips that will keep your summers low-key and enjoyable, just like they ought to be.

The Grill

According to the National Fire Protection Association, outdoor grilling accounts for nearly 10,000 house and structure fires and an average of 19,000 emergency room visits a year.  And, believe it or not, gas grills cause more fires than charcoal grills.  Here are a few tips to keep your home and your family safe when grilling.

  • Grill outside and away from structures and no, in the garage with the door open doesn’t count!
  • 29% of fires were started on an exterior balcony or open porch. Keep grills well away from homes and railings.
  • Look up ­for tree branches, overhangs, or balconies.
  • Keep your grill clean: Remove grease and drippings from the grill and elements underneath to prevent flare-ups and grease fires.
  • Monitor children to prevent burns and do not wear loose clothing that can catch fire.
  • Check gas grills for leaks. Allow charcoal grills to cool completely before disposing coals in a metal container.
  • Be prepared to put out a fire. Have baking soda handy for grease fires and an extinguisher nearby for other fires.


Fire Pits

Backyard fire pits have become more popular in recent years.  But before pulling out the stuff for s’mores, make sure that you are aware of the local rules and weather restrictions in your area before you light a fire.  Unattended or illegal fires can cause serious wildfires like the one in Oroville, California that was started by someone who built an illegal campfire.

  • Build your fire pit on a level surface and at least 10 feet away from your home, fences, trees, or sheds.
  • Keep a close eye on children, pets, and guests to prevent burns. If an adult guest utters the words, “I can do that – hold my beer!” immediately move them a safe distance away from the pit.
  • Do NOT use gasoline, kerosene, or lighter fluid to start a fire. Accelerants can cause a fire to quickly get out of control.
  • Never leave a fire unattended and extinguish the fire with water at the end of the night.
  • Be prepared. Keep a garden hose, sand, or a fire extinguisher nearby in case the fire spreads beyond the pit.

For many, summer cookouts and quiet evenings by the fire pit make for the perfect.  Be sure to follow these tips so you can safely enjoy these times with family and friends.

Have a safe and happy Summer.

Get to Know Your Homeowner’s Insurance

Do you really know what’s in your Homeowner’s Insurance?  Most people assume that all policies are basically the same, but they can vary, depending on policy and company. It is important for you to understand what your policy covers before your house suffers winter damage and you file an insurance claim.

There are several types of policies. The majority are considered “standard.” “Fire-only” will not cover as many types of damage as an “all-risk” policy. If you are not sure what type of policy you have and what it covers, call your agent for an explanation.

Here are some examples of what might not be covered in your policy –

Ice Dams    

Not any policies pay for ice dam removal. However, interior or exterior damage caused by an ice dam on your roof is usually covered.

Snow Removal

Homeowner’s insurance does not cover injuries sustained by a homeowner during snow removal.  Accumulation of snow and extreme cold are considered “acts of God,” but not considered damage per se. Damage caused by snow and cold is covered. Damage to your yard and driveway is not covered.

Frozen Pipes

Not all companies pay to have frozen pipes thawed by professionals. Most policies cover pipe replacement and water damage. The coverage may not apply if you turned the furnace off for the winter without winterizing your home.

Interruption of Services

If you lose power during a storm, there are policies that pay for spoiled food, repairs to damage caused by loss of power, and appliances damaged by the outage. Many policies also will pay for shelter when you lose power for extended periods during the winter. If you lose heat and fail to take steps to prevent pipes from freezing, your policy may not cover the resulting damage.

Commercial Coverage

Commercial property insurance varies dramatically from policy to policy. Check with your agent to find out what kind of coverage you have before damage occurs.


If you have damages caused by one of these unfortunate events and are not sure how to proceed, give us a call.  We are here to support you and find out your best course of action.

Holidays 2019: Blow Them Out, Turn Them Off

The winter holidays are quickly approaching and many of you may already be busy decorating and preparing to celebrate with family and friends. But before you light the Menorah, Kinara, or Advent wreath, remember that more than a third of home decoration fires are started by candles and 42% of decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.  Please, follow these tips to keep your house and family safe during the holidays.


  • Keep lit candles away from decorations, furniture, draperies, trees, and other things that can catch fire.
  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high or in a locked cabinet.
  • Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both. Check the UL listing on the box for proper usage.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, loose bulb connections, or that unintentionally flicker as you handle them.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Test your smoke alarms.
  • Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.


Be sure to review last year’s post on Holiday Safety Tips for more reminders of how to keep safe during winter holiday celebrations.

Wishing you safe and happy holidays and a peaceful new year!

Tips to Stay Safe During a Hurricane

Hurricane season has just started, so now is a good time to point out what you should do if one is headed your way.  Here are the Top 15 things to consider before a storm hits.

  • Restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
  • Review your evacuation zone, evacuation route and shelter locations. Plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
  • Review insurance policies and catalog belongings.
  • Collect and safeguard critical financial, medical, educational, and legal documents and records. Make copies and safeguard, if you have time.
  • Back up electronic data. This is best if done offsite or through cloud storage.
  • Pack a “go bag” to bring with you if you have to leave quickly.
  • Keep your car in good working condition and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.
  • Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
  • Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
  • Consider covering all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
  • Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.
  • If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are.
  • Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer.
  • Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.

If a storm does cause any damage to your property, please reach out to us.  We are always here to help.


Flooded Basement

This winter’s cold temperatures has kept the bulk of our snow fall hanging around. Warmer weather this week combined with rain will cause a rapid thaw, which will bring water into many finished basements. Do you have the proper coverage for your basement level? Many insurers make you buy additional coverage for the basement in what is called a sump pump rider.

flooded basement

In the event of a power outage or sump pump overflow, the structural and property damage in your basement will be covered. Check with your insurance agent to see if your basement is covered for water damage.

Damage From Frozen Pipes is a Homeowners Insurance Covered Loss

frozen pipesThis weekend is set to be the coldest in the past few years with temperatures dropping to the single digits overnight. While we know to bundle ourselves up to keep warm many people forget to check to make sure their pipes stay warm as well.

Ice forming in a pipe does not typically cause a break where the ice blockage occurs. After a complete ice blockage in a pipe, continued freezing and expansion inside the pipe causes water pressure to increase downstream — between the ice blockage and a closed faucet at the end. Usually the pipe bursts where little or no ice has formed.

Here are some tips to help avoid this common cause of winter property damage:

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
• Pipes that have frozen in the past or near exterior walls are obvious candidates for special attention.
• Insulate areas where vulnerable pipes are located.
• When insulation isn’t enough, consider pipe wrappings embedded with electrical coils (heat tape) that provide an outside source of heat.
• Remove hoses from outside yard faucets. The faucets can’t drain properly with a hose attached and will freeze and break if the hose is left attached.
• During severe cold weather, resist the urge to lower your thermostat to save money while you are gone for the day.
• Open the doors to kitchen and bathroom cabinets under your sinks so heat from the room will help warm the pipes.
• Running water does not freeze very readily. During severe cold weather, keep a stream of water trickling out of faucets or spouts attached to vulnerable pipes.
• If you have a sprinkler system, drain all outdoor pipes and turn off the water supply to the system

What To Do If A Pipe Freezes
• To prevent a frozen pipe from bursting, open the faucet it supplies with water. Then add heat to the area where the pipe is located.
• Turn off the water supply to that line.
• If a pipe does burst, immediately turn off the water to your home.
• Know where your main water emergency shut-off valve is located.

If the worst should happen Property Adjustment Corporation can help you pay for damages to your home from water damage. We Make Things Right! 877-355-FIRE



Oil Heater Puff Backs Ruin Your Home

oil heater puff backsWhat is a puff back?

Puff back is a malfunction in the heating system which causes soot and debris to blow through the exhaust system, often leaving a dark residue all over surrounding items and surfaces.  A common cause is an oil burner that doesn’t ignite immediately. Vapors build up before ignition, resulting in an explosion similar to the backfiring of a car.

Other causes include a clogged nozzle, weak transformers or a bad oil pump.  Recently, we have even seen puff back from gas fireplaces with clogged nozzles.

Having your heating system inspected by a licensed professional at least once a year can prevent puff backs as well as changing the oil filter once for the summer and once for the winter.

Damage to your home from a puff back can affect every room with a heater vent and even leave soot in your attic. Soot is not just a powder like substance it is a petroleum by-product that is black and sticky. This dirty residue needs to be cleaned from every inch of your home as soon as possible. In addition to the sticky soot puff back causes there is also an odor that is difficult to remove.

It will require a good restoration cleaning company for your home to be cleaned properly. Luckily puff back damage repair and cleaning may be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Property Adjustment will help you get all the help you need to put your home back to normal.

Property Adjustment Corporation will help prepare an estimate of the numerous items in your home and determine what can get cleaned and what needs to be replaced. This can be quite an overwhelming task if the puff back makes your home unlivable and you need to find temporary housing.

If you make Property Adjustment Corporation your first call when you or someone you know experiences a puff back in their home. We can make things right and put your life back to the normal. (877) 355-FIRE

President’s Message

Message from Kevin Kaufmann, Public Adjuster and President of Property Adjustment Corporation

Kevin Kaufmann

By contacting Property Adjustment Corporation you have taken the first and most important step toward achieving the best possible settlement for your loss. Our professional staff is respected by insurance carriers throughout the tri-state area for their specialized knowledge, honesty, and integrity.

Clients put their trust in Property Adjustment Corporation because they know we take the pain and aggravation out of the loss settlement process by handling all aspects of the claim. Not only do we report the claim to your insurance company, estimate the damages, and negotiate the highest possible settlement to which you are entitled, we also know what to ask for and how to properly navigate and present a property claim to optimize a settlement. We explain your rights and coverage to you and keep your insurance company accountable, every step of the way. And, if you have any questions or concerns throughout your claim process, your adjuster is only a phone call away.

Thank you for choosing the experts at Property Adjustment Corporation, where we make things right!


Kevin Kaufmann, President