Fireplace Safety Tips for Cooler Weather

Written By Charlotte Insurance on September 25, 2017. It has 0 comments.

With cooler weather approaching, your fireplace is starting to look appealing. Sitting in front of a nice crackling fire sounds great on a cool night. You can be warm and cozy and leave the heater off. Before you get your wood, lighter, or matches out, make sure your fireplace and your family are safe.

Check out these fireplace safety tips before you use your fireplace this season.

  • Have your fireplace inspected once a year by a professional. They’ll check the interior and exterior for wear and tear or damage and catch problems before they cause damage.
  • Have your chimney inspected once a year, too. Any cracks or other damage can be caught and repaired before you use your fireplace.
  • Schedule a chimney cleaning each year. Make sure debris, like leaves, branches, and even nests, are removed.
  • Ask your chimney cleaner about creosote. This is a byproduct of previous fires. If it builds up too much it can catch fire while your fireplace is in use. They should clean out any creosote buildup they see.
  • Keep a window cracked while you have a fire going. This allows extra oxygen to flow into your home.
  • Open the damper and flue while the fire is crackling.
  • Avoid using green or wet wood for your fire. Old, aged wood burns much better.
  • Clean ashes from previous fires out of the fireplace before starting a new fire.
  • Stack wood and kindling away from the fireplace to reduce the chance of sparks jumping out and hitting the floor, furniture, or family members.
  • Use smaller pieces of wood for your fire. They burn more easily and cause less smoke.
  • Keep the area around your fireplace clear. Move furniture, books, magazines, toys, plants, and other household items away from the fireplace.
  • Teach your children to stay away from the fire and the dangers fires can pose.
  • Never leave small children unattended while a fire is burning or smoldering.
  • Consider adding a safety screen to the front of your fireplace to prevent anyone from getting too close. This is a good idea even if your fireplace has a glass covering.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by and make sure it’s in good working condition.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms work properly. Replace the batteries every six months.
  • Keep lighters, matches, and other fireplace supplies out of reach of children.

Before you light the first fire this fall or winter, make sure you have your fireplace and chimney inspected, repaired, and clean. You’ll prevent problems before they begin and have a better experience with your fireplace. A crackling fire can be nice and soothing, but extra smoke and fire hazards cause damage and health problems.

Fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms in your home are excellent safety features whether you use a fireplace or not. The safer you make your home, the more you reduce the risk of accidents. If you’ve added new safety features to your home recently, give us a call at Charlotte Insurance. We’ll find out if you’re eligible for any discounts on your homeowners insurance.

Our Favorite Restaurants in and around Charlotte

Written By Charlotte Insurance on September 21, 2017. It has 0 comments.

When you want something unique and delicious, it’s not always easy to know where to go. Having too many options is almost as bad as not having enough. Here at Charlotte Insurance, we love good food. We’ve experienced a lot of Charlotte cuisine – a lot of it great! If you’re looking for something new to try, here are a few of our favorite restaurants.


Located on Sharon Road in Charlotte, Baku is home to delicious and authentic Japanese cuisine. Much of the menu is cooked in an open kitchen on Robata and Yakitori grills. The foods are simple, clean, and excellently prepared. They also serve some of the best sushi and sashimi in Charlotte. Just a few items on their menu include Chilean Sea Bass, Queen Kappa Maki rolls, Tiger Prawns, and so much more.


Since opening in 2012, 5Church Charlotte has made quite a splash. Located on Tryon Street on the corner of 5th and Church, owner Patrick Whelan says “5Church has a rebellious spirit.” One look at their menu, and you know it’s true. They’re open for brunch, lunch, dinner, and late night and offer delicious options like the lamb burger, wasabi crusted yellowfin tuna, wild mushroom omelets for brunch, just to name a few.


If you’re looking for an old school steakhouse filled with amazing steaks and great ambiance, you’ll want to head to Mickey & Mooch. In Charlotte, you can have a great dinner at the Arboretum location on Providence Road. They also have the Lake Norman location in Huntersville if you’re out that way. Of course you’ll get the classics like prime rib and filet mignon, but they also offer live music three or four nights a week to make the entire visit an amazing experience.


Want a taste of sushi and hibachi that combines scrumptious and authentic flavors? You’ll want to check out Yama Asian Fusion located on Governor Morrison Street in Charlotte. They serve lunch Monday through Saturday and offer lunch specials as well as a full menu. If you want something with more of a date-night feel, come for dinner and enjoy sushi, sashimi, hibachi, and of course, sake.


Chaupaati Casual Indian Kitchen, located on Pineville Matthews Road in Pineville, prides itself on being casual, fun, and delicious. They’ve brought the authentic street food of Mumbai right here to the Charlotte area. Nothing pretentious here, just great food and unique flavors. Curry, lentils, plenty of vegetables, and spices you haven’t tried before are just a few things waiting for you here. If you’re not sure what to try, feel free to ask. They offer a kids menu and combinations to make sure everyone can find something they love.


Looking for another taste of authentic Indian cuisine? The Persis Grill offers the “delicacies of royal kitchen of the Hyderabadi Nizam Dum Biryani” according to the owners. You’ll find vegetarian options, non-vegetarian choices, and plenty of new and exciting dishes. Try the Murg Malai Kabab, Tandori Murgh Tikka, Chicken Vindaloo, and so much more. The Persis Ballantine is located on Conlan Circle and the Persis Cafe is on North Cedar Street in Charlotte.

We don’t just insure Charlotte, we live here, too. When the same old lunch or dinner just won’t do, these are the restaurants we enjoy! We hope you will, too!

National Grandparents Day: 9 Way to Show your Grandparents that you Care

Written By Charlotte Insurance on September 18, 2017. It has 0 comments.

You might not want to think about it, but your grandparents won’t always be around. It seems impossible, since they’ve been a part of your life for as long as you can remember. Every day is a good day to let the people in your life know you love them, especially your grandparents. For National Grandparents Day on September 22, we have a few ideas to help you show just how much you care.

    1. Call your grandparents. We all walk around with smartphones in our hands. Take a few minutes to call and ask how they’re doing.
    2. Go over for dinner. When you’re in town or if they live nearby, go over for dinner every few weeks. They might try to send you home with a bunch of leftovers which is almost never a bad idea.
    3. Take your grandparents to breakfast. Ask where they really want to go and then take them out. If they have a favorite place, you may even meet a few of their friends. They’ll love showing you off.
    4. Run errands together. If you’d rather not think of your grandmother or grandfather out on the road, offer to drive them around to appointments or the grocery store. It’s time well spent and you’ve kept them from getting into an accident.
    5. Give them photographs in albums or frames. Most of us keep our pictures on our phone or computer. Your grandparents might be old school enough to prefer the real thing. Print out a few of your favorites and frame them as a gift.
    6. Help around the house. If your grandparents tire easily or have some big projects they can’t manage on their own, offer to help out. One day every few weeks won’t hurt you, and it could make a big difference in their lives.
    7. Listen to their stories. You don’t have to spend money or tackle big projects to show you care. Sit still and let them share their memories of when they were younger. You never know how much you’ll learn from them and their experiences.
    8. Make sure they’re ready for winter. Do they have enough blankets? Is their heater working properly? Has their fireplace been inspected and cleaned recently? Handling these things can give you both peace of mind.
    9. Buy long term care insurance for them. As your grandparents age, they may need home health care or to move to an assisted living facility. Both can be extremely expensive and may not be covered by Medicare. Buying an insurance policy makes sure they’re taken care of when they need it most.

Your grandparents may tell you not to fuss over them. They may even prefer to make a fuss over you instead. But they’ll love the effort you make and the time you spend with them. We all want to believe our grandparents will be around forever, but we know it’s not true. Cherish the time you have with them and make sure they know how much you care this Grandparents Day and every other day of the year.

Want to know more about long term care insurance and how it can help your grandparents? Contact Charlotte Insurance today. We’ll be able to put together estimates and explain exactly what these policies cover.

Inexpensive Home Updates with a Big Impact

Written By Charlotte Insurance on September 12, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Live in your home long enough, and eventually you’ll want to remodel. Sometimes, though, our budget and our desire for a remodel don’t match. With a bit of elbow grease and a trip to the hardware store, you can make inexpensive updates around your home that make a big impact.


If you hate clutter but don’t have much storage, it’s time to get creative. Try adding closet storage with the help of an inexpensive shelving unit and some paint. Set the shelving unit into your closet. Add rods, hooks, and baskets, and you’ll have more room to store stuff and less clutter on the floor.


It’s part trick of the light and part optical illusion, but adding mirrors to a wall can make a room appear bigger. Add one large mirror to a wall in your living room and frame it for an elegant look. For more practical use, add full-length mirrors to the closet doors in your bedroom. You’ll make getting ready easier and you’ll add a special touch to the room.


Wanting a kitchen or bathroom remodel is one thing. Affording it is quite another. You can quickly and cheaply change the entire look of both rooms with one swap – new hardware. New handles and knobs brighten up your cabinets and add a freshness to the look of your home.


New flooring looks great and can add to the value of your home, but if you’re on a budget, it’s not always a practical option. In small rooms, like your bathroom, try peel and stick vinyl instead. It’s cheap, easy, and requires no special skills or tools. A sharp box cutter and some time is all you need.


Want a new kitchen countertop but can’t afford marble or granite? Try DIY-ing your own butcher block countertop. Buy several thick planks of wood and stain them to the color you love best. You’ll get a luxe look at a bargain basement price.


If you’ve ever looked around your bathroom and worried that it seemed dingy, you’re not the only homeowner with that problem. No matter how often you clean, something just isn’t right. There’s a good chance you simply need to re-caulk around your tub, sink, and toilet. Over time it cracks and chips and never looks neat and clean. A couple of tubes of caulk, and the entire room will look like new.


Home security systems aren’t just great to keep your family safe, they add value to your home and save you money. But having one installed and then paying the crazy fees for a few years is out of your budget. Try a DIY smart option like SimpliSafe. You can install it yourself and monitor your home from your smartphone. Yes, there’s a monthly fee, but it’s much less than what other companies charge.

Touching up your home can add value to your property. Adding a security system can lower your insurance premiums. If you make security a priority with an inexpensive update, call your agent at Charlotte Insurance. We’ll make sure you get the discounts you deserve.

Flood Insurance is No Longer Optional

Written By Charlotte Insurance on September 7, 2017. It has 0 comments.

After watching the devastation that Hurricane (and later Tropical Storm) Harvey did to Houston and the surrounding areas, one thing should be clear: flooding can happen anywhere. With tens of thousands of homes completely destroyed, it’s hard to imagine what the rebuilding process will be like.

Here’s a stark reality for Houston homeowners: Less than 20 percent have flood insurance. That’s 80 percent of people with likely no way to rebuild their homes without outside help. Why is that number so high? Many homes in the area weren’t in a designated “flood zone” and didn’t require insurance. Does this sound familiar? It’s something that most homeowners are guilty of all around the country.

The reality is that a quarter of all flood claims come from homes that aren’t in a floodplain. What many people don’t realize is that you can buy flood insurance even if you’re aren’t in a high risk area. Now that we’ve seen what Harvey did, if you don’t have coverage, now is the time to get it.


Your homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover flooding. In a hurricane or other storm situation, you’ll be covered for damage from the wind. If your roof blows off or a window blows out, and water gets into your home as a result, that damage will likely be covered. But damage from rising waters, storm surges, and flash foods aren’t part of your standard homeowner’s policy.


To buy a flood insurance policy, as your insurance agent, we can help you select your policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). While it’s required by anyone with a mortgage living in a Special Flood Hazard Zone, it’s available for everyone else, too. When you buy a policy, you have to wait 30 days before it’s in effect. Trying to buy it right before a storm hits won’t help you if your home is flooded.


Flood insurance through NFIP are backed by the federal government and includes limits for damage. The maximum coverage you can get for the physical structure of your home is $250,000 and $100,000 for your possessions. If you need more, you can buy private excess flood insurance for amounts exceeding those limits.


While federal disaster relief benefits may be available for victims after a flood, they don’t make you whole. If your home is completely destroyed, you won’t receive enough to rebuild. What amount you do get isn’t free money, either. It’s a loan, and you’ll have to pay it back over time with interest. Basically, you may have what amounts to a second mortgage to pay back and still not be able to rebuild completely.


Choosing the right flood insurance policy is important. Like your homeowner’s insurance, you want to make sure you have enough to cover a worst-case scenario. Prevention is the best medicine for most floods. Imperial Flood Services policies include $1000 in coverage for preventative measures like sandbags and boards for your windows with a $0 deductible.

If you can’t imagine how you’d rebuild if a Harvey-like storm hit the Charlotte area, make sure you have flood insurance. You home isn’t immune to flooding because a map says you’re not in a flood zone. Anywhere it can rain, it can flood. Contact us at Charlotte Insurance today and let us help you protect your home and family from whatever a storm may bring.