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March Newsletter

How to Prevent Water Damage to your Home

With all the rain we’ve been having lately, you may be concerned about potential water damage to your home. However, you may not be aware that water damage that’s caused when ordinary household appliances fail can be just as destructive as an torrential rain storm.


According to the Insurance Industry Institute, water damage accounts for billions of dollars in losses to homeowners and renters each year.  In fact, water is ten times more likely to damage your home than fire.Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to help prevent water damage from appliances, and protect your home. It is helpful to understand some of the common causes of water damage, which include leaky air conditioning condensation drains, and failed water heaters, washing machine hoses and plumbing.These household appliances don’t always offer warning signs until the damage has already occurred. That’s why it’s important to check them regularly. The simple steps below can help you protect your home from the most common causes of water damage:

  • First, know where the main water supply is located in case of emergency.
  • If you’ll be away from home for an extended period, shut off the water supply and drain the pipes.
  • Consider having your air conditioning system inspected regularly by a professional. Check the drain lines annually and clean them if they’re clogged.
  • Inspect water heaters, showers, tubs, toilets, sinks and dishwashers annually, and have them repaired if there are any signs of leaks or corrosion. When possible, install water heaters in areas with floor drains to minimize damage if leaks should occur.
  • Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilet bases, and make repairs as needed.
  • If your refrigerator has an ice machine or water dispenser, the hose between the wall and the refrigerator should be made of braided copper, which has greater cracking and corrosion resistance.
  • Check pipes for cracks and leaks. Have pipe damage fixed immediately to prevent more costly repairs in the future.
  • Check appliance hoses and plumbing fittings for breakage, crimping or bending.

In addition to taking these precautions, you should always review your insurance policies to be sure that you’re properly protected in case of water damage or other claims. Call Apollo Insurance Services at 800.426.1088, option 2or click here or a complimentary insurance review.

Brighten your Garden with Spring Blooms!

We all love the first flowers of Spring! The bright pinks, deep lavenders, and joyful yellows are all true signs of Springtime. Of course, sustaining visual interest in the garden is a goal for all garden enthusiasts at this time of year. Boasting flowers of spring and a manicured lawn is entirely possible to achieve (not just in those home and garden magazines!). Here are your tips to get your garden looking its best for Springtime:

  • Select quality bulbs – Look for those which are plump and firm. Avoid those which are soft, mushy, and on the small side.
  • Pick the right spot – Even healthy bulbs will fail if they’re planted in the wrong spot. Most bulbs do best when exposed to the sun and are settled in well-drained soil.
  • Get the timing right – Spring-blooming bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils should be planted in September or October. For Summer-blooming beauties, such as dahlia and gladiolus, plant in Spring.
  • Plant them deep enough – Generally, they should be planted in a hole two to three times deeper than the bulb is tall.
  • Place them pointy side up – The pointed end should be sticking up.
  • Give them good quality soil – Well-drained soil rich in organic matter helps encourage good blooming.
  • Bulbs are plants too – They will always appreciate a good drink after you plant them.
  • Make it easy! Planning an overhaul of your garden? Let professionals take the reins for a beautiful outcome.

Wishing you many beautiful blooms this Spring!

4 Things to Know about Taxes and Identity Theft

In 2014, almost 18 million people in the U.S. were victims of identity theft. Two-thirds of them said they suffered a direct financial loss because of it, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
 
During tax season, your personal information is particularly vulnerable. After all, your Social Security number (SSN) is on W-2 forms, your tax return and other financial documents being sent through the mail, transported to accountants and otherwise used to complete your annual IRS ritual. So it’s a good time of the year to be especially vigilant.
 
To help, here are four things you should know about identity theft — from what thieves can do to how you can help protect yourself — from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Federal Trade Commission:
 

  1. Thieves won’t just open new accounts — they can (and will) file “your” taxes. Someone with access to your data could file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund under your name. You may not know until you go to file your own return and it comes back rejected. If it happens, call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
     
  2. Scammers will try to reel you in. Ever get a call or email from someone asking you to verify your account information or SSN? Legitimate organizations, especially the IRS, won’t do that. If there’s a problem with your tax return, the IRS will contact you by mail.
     
  3. Technology can help. If you send tax forms or other sensitive documents via email, password-protect them. Furthermore, security software can help keep your data safe, and password generators will help ensure your various login credentials aren’t easy for a thief to figure out. As for documents, such as tax records, store them in a locked desk or filing cabinet and don’t send them through the mail unless it’s certified.
     
  4. Reporting the crime is a must. Ninety percent of identity-theft victims don’t alert the police. But you should. A police report can help prove to financial institutions and businesses that someone stole your identity. It also allows you to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report, get inaccurate information removed, stop debt collectors from reporting fraudulent accounts and more. This is extremely important because once criminals have your information; they may use it to perpetuate many types of fraud.

Protecting your identity is, of course, something to be mindful of all year round – not just during tax season. For more tips, visit IdentityTheft.gov.

March is National Nutritional Month

Nationally recognized as National Nutrition Month, March is a month when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses on the important role of healthy eating and including physical activity in daily routines to control weight and prevent chronic disease.

Your health is significantly impacted by what you eat. If you load up on nutritious meals, your health will reap the benefits.As it is with everything, the effects don’t happen overnight. Plan to build up your better eating habits and physical activity during National Nutritional Month. Follow these tips for a better chance of health success:

Never rely on self-control
: Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables while reducing your consumption of meat, carbs, and sugar. Pretty standard, right?  You can stick to this by stocking up on fruits and veggies and avoid keeping bad foods in the house. You’ll be less inclined to give into chocolate if you don’t have it available.
Load up early, go light later: Americans tend to eat a light breakfast or skip it entirely. Then they grab lunch and eat the bulk of their calories from dinner Instead, stabilize hunger hormones and avoid evening cravings by eating a fuller breakfast. This way you will shrink dinner portions and limit nighttime snacking.
Prep snacks: It can be hard to hunt down healthful snacks on the go – so bring your own! Pack nuts, trail mix, fruit, whole-grain crackers, and peanut butter for a healthy snack on the run.
Earn your calories: Add physical activity into your hectic life in different ways, depending on the season. Go for a walk or run, go to the gym on your own, or play team sports to burn sufficient calories and maintain a healthy weight.

We at Apollo hope that you enjoy adopting better lifestyle habits in National Nutrition Month.