Monday, 19 March 2012

Preventing Basement Flooding

A backflow valve will ensure that your basement
remains unflooded!
As winter transitions to spring, the risk of basement flooding increases. Large deposits of snow melt and runoff can seep into your home, causing a serious headache. There are, however, a number of measures you can take to reduce the risks of basement flooding.

1. Divert water away from your home. 
  • Keep your gutters clean. One of the most easily preventable causes of home flooding is ensuring that your gutters are free of clogs. Rainwater should flow smoothly into your downspouts and away from your home. 
  • Ensure downspouts divert water far from home. Make sure your downspouts direct the water at least 3 metres from your home. This will ensure that water doesn't drain into the basement. 
2. Consider investing in a backflow valve and sump pump
  • Install a backflow valve. Backflow valves (also known as check valves) allow sewage to exit the home through the sewage pipes, but stops sewage from going the other way. When sewage is forced back into your house, which would normally cause a sewage backup, a flap closes and prevents it from doing so. 
  • Install a sump pump. To prevent rain water from flooding your basement, a sump pump is a highly effective solution. Excess rain water is pumped safely away from the house, stopping you from being inundated. 
  • Be sure to check with your municipality first, since these kinds of installations often require a permit. 
3. Take preventative measures
  • Keep valuables off the floor. If you live in a flood-prone area, keep your valuables off the floor. Instead of storing your old photo albums in a box on the ground, install a shelf so that in the event that you're overwhelmed with flood water, your most priceless memories will be safe. This also goes for items of monetary value -- for instance, be sure your home theatre system is stored above the ground. 
  • Keep furniture elevated. Finally, you can elevate your furniture with shims and casters, to give yourself a little bit of time before your couches and chairs are destroyed.  

Monday, 12 March 2012

How To Save Money On Car Insurance

A high-end sports car like a Porsche 911 will cost you more in
insurance premiums than a less-expensive vehicle. 
As insurance brokers, one of the most commonly asked questions is: how can I save money on car insurance? The unfortunate reality is that most people are probably paying more than they should, and could be saving hundreds (if not more) of dollars a year by doing a few simple things. As this is one of the most pressing questions for insurance customers, we’ve decided to compile a list of the best ways to save money on your car insurance.

1. Shop around
The best way to save money on your insurance is to shop around as much as you can. In today’s Internet age, it’s incredibly easy to get quotes from many different insurance providers. You can also save yourself a great deal of time and money by talking with an insurance broker. Brokers have years of experience in the industry and can find you the best insurance policy from a wide range of companies.

2. Drive responsibly
Your insurance rates are determined primarily on the basis of your driving experience. The more tickets and accidents you have, the more you will be paying on your insurance premiums. Remember that every time you speed or commit a traffic violation, you’re not only paying for the price of the ticket, you’re also going to pay for an increase in your insurance rates.

3. Choose your car wisely
Insurance rates are calculated largely on the basis of the type of car you drive. This is especially important when it comes to Collision Insurance, since the replacement or repair cost of your vehicle will vary greatly depending on the vehicle. For example, a Porsche 911 will cost you more to insure than a Nissan Sentra, simply because the Porsche is pricier to repair and replace. Your Comprehensive Insurance rates, which insure you against theft, will also vary depending on your car. For instance, Honda Civics have a bad track record of being thief-magnets, and so Comprehensive rates for them will be considerably higher than other vehicles.

4. Consider an alarm system
While the initial cost may be steep, an alarm system in your vehicle will decrease your Comprehensive Insurance rates. Over time, the reduced costs of your premiums will more than pay for the cost of your system. If you have any questions about how much you can save, and what kind of car alarm system to install, talk to an insurance broker.  

5. Take a driving course
If you haven’t already taken a driving course, consider doing so as it may drop your insurance rates considerably. This is especially true if you are a new driver with little road experience. The best way to show your insurance company that you’re serious about driving and want to know how to drive safely is to take a driving course. The skills you learn there may also save you from becoming involved in an accident in the future!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Winter Driving Tips

Winter driving in Alberta can be a dangerous task. Be safe out there in the colder months by following these simple driving tips from the insurance pros at Sharp!

Keep a safe distance from the car ahead of you. It takes much longer to stop on icy roads, so be sure to stay at least four seconds behind the car in front of you. Tailgating in winter is a sure way to get into a fender bender, or worse!

Keep your speed appropriate for the road conditions. When the roads are snowy or icy, be sure to drop your speed below the posted speed limit. The posted speed limit is intended to be the speed you should drive when conditions are optimum. Don't be afraid to drive below the limit.

Accelerate and brake slowly. If you hit the gas hard while accelerating, it's likely you'll lose traction and not move very far at all. When stopping, be sure to brake slowly to avoid skidding.

Be visible. In blizzard conditions, it's important for cars around you to be able to see you. Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible.

Know how to handle a skid. If you find yourself skidding and out of control, release the brakes if you were pressing them, and steer in the direction you want to go. If you're skidding in a straight line, hold down the clutch or shift into neutral.

With these simple tips in mind, you will be that much safer on the road during winter conditions!