When Does Hurricane Season Start?

For the U.S., in the Atlantic region, the hurricane season lasts from early June to the end of November. Hurricanes are some of the most devastating and costly natural disasters. Therefore, it’s essential to prepare your home and family before a hurricane strikes. We’ve got some fundamentals that will help protect your property and keep you and your loved ones safe and secure.

Prepare Your Yard and Home For A Hurricane

  • Know where your water, electric, and gas shut-offs are.
  • Brace doors or windows, including your garage door, which is likely to blow out in a storm.
  • Consider turning your Refrigerator and Freezer to the coldest setting; this will keep your food colder longer if you lose power. Or, have a cooler with plenty of ice ready that you can transfer food to if needed
  • Hurricane wind speed can range from 74 – 156+ mph. It’s essential to store or bring in outdoor lawn furniture, tools, toys, or anything else that the wind could pick up. Make sure to securely anchor items that can’t be moved.

Have A Way To Communicate

Whether you are a family of one or six, you have family members and friends in other places that will worry. Remember to communicate with them (when appropriate) that you are safe.

Make An Emergency Supply Kit Before Hurricane Season

Part of hurricane preparedness means having an emergency kit. An emergency kit is a collection of essential things you and your family may need in the event of an emergency. Have your kit ready ahead of an emergency, and be sure to rotate items as needed and remove or add items as your family changes. You may also consider updating your emergency kit with hand sanitizer and face masks.

Stay Up To Date

Pay attention to emergency alerts, follow your local news, know where emergency shelters are and know your evacuation route if needed. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Center is another great resource that tracks hurricanes and tropical storms.

Know How To File A Claim

Be sure you have your policy numbers handy in case you need to file a claim. You can file a claim on our website at bankersinsurance.com or call 727.308.0496. Rapid response to water damage is critical to protecting your home. If you should need emergency water mitigation, contact one of our preferred vendors. Rytech: Emergency Line 800.868.8787 or ADS Emergency Line 888.898.0699.

We’ve Got You

These are just a few ways you can prepare for a hurricane. We have a free hurricane survival guide with more tips on preparing for a hurricane, what to do after, and a preparation checklist that will help provide peace of mind when it matters.


House with fall leaves. 8 Tips on How to Prepare Your Home for Fall and Winter

How to Prepare Your Home for Fall and Winter

It’s time for sweater weather, boots, and pumpkin spice. We may be ready for fall mentally, but our homes need some sprucing up as well. We’ve got some tips on how to prepare your home for fall and winter. So you can feel truly safe and warm while you are cozying up to the fire this season.

Fire Place & HVAC Maintenance

Speaking of warm and cozy, this is a great time for a fireplace inspection and cleaning. Be sure the damper functions correctly, check that the flue is free of debris and that you can see sunlight at the top of the chimney.

If you have a heating and cooling system, now is an excellent time to schedule an appointment to get it checked and tuned up for the coming season. A checkup can run between $50 to $100, but the peace of mind is priceless. Does your HVAC include a built-in humidifier? If so, ask the contractor to replace that filter as well.

Remember to change your filters regularly. This is an essential step in keeping your system functioning properly.

How to Seal Your Home for Winter

Sealing your home is a must! It can help save you money by preventing air leaks that waste energy and help prevent moisture from getting into your walls. Pick a few caulk tubes that match your home’s interior and exterior colors and seal up cracks around windows, trim, pipes, etc. Be sure the temp is above 50 degrees (this will help the caulk flow smoothly). This is also an excellent opportunity to check and, if needed, replace weather stripping.

Garden Hoses, Plants, and Sprinkler Systems… Oh My

Remember to Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets to prevent damage if the temperature drops below freezing. For extra precaution, turn off all shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets to guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet. Don’t forget to drain the garden hose and store it in your garage or shed.

Fall is the time to prune plants and trees. Keep limbs and branches a minimum of 3 feet from your house. This will help keep moisture from dripping onto roofing and siding and prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.

Buried irrigation lines can freeze and lead to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads. To keep pipes from freezing follow the steps below.

Steps for prevention:

  • Turn off the water to the system at the main valve.
  • Shut off the automatic controller.
  • Drain water from the system by opening the drain valves.
  • Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them. Replace once dry.
  • You can also hire a pro to do this for you.

 

Clean Out Your Gutters

Ice dam prevention can be simple. Once the leaves are gone from your trees, clean out your gutters to reduce the risk of ice dams. Check your gutters and make sure they aren’t sagging and trapping water. Tighten, repair, or replace any gutter hangers and downspout brackets that need it. Downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from the house to prevent foundation problems, if needed, add downspout extensions.

Perform A Roof Inspection

Conduct a visual inspection of the roof from the ground, grab binoculars to get a closer look for steep roofs, or climb on up for a better view, if you are able to do so safely. Check for missing, damaged, or loose shingles. If you have a flat roof, be sure to remove leaves and debris. In case you need it, here are 5 reasons you should check your roof to make sure it is ready for fall.

Safety Device Maintenance

Replace batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices. Test them to confirm they’re working correctly in case of an emergency. Have an evacuation plan and walk through it with the family to make sure everyone understands it.

We hope these tips help you and your family answer the question of how to prepare your home for fall and winter. For an in-depth look at fireplace safety, check out our blog on Fireplace Safety Tips.


Fireworks in the night sky, fourth of July safety tips

The Fourth of July is just a few days away, and with that usually comes fireworks, crowds, and injuries. Fourth of July safety tips will look different from previous years as most counties are canceling their firework displays to cut down on crowds and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Counties are encouraging community members to watch from their homes or are streaming their display online. Check with your county to see if they will be streaming a virtual show or try searching “fireworks near me” to see if your county is still putting on a display.

Backyard Barbeques or pool parties are always popular for the fourth. Make sure you are being safe and continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, maintain frequent hand hygiene, and stay home if you’re sick! We understand the temptation to gather for large parties is extremely high; however, people should still avoid large gatherings and non-essential trips and visits. 

In our current environment, party planning must be all about managing risk and advance communications with all your guests! It’s important to always think about how our behavior affects others. We have put together some fourth of July safety tips for you and your guests.

Fourth of July Safety Tips :

  • No communal carafes of sangria or other beverages. 
  • Banish the chip and salsa bowls.
  • Keep everyone outside, where the virus is less likely to spread. 
  • Keep the guest list down to the number of people you can safely keep at least six feet apart in your yard and invite only those you can trust to follow your rules.
  • Think about who you’re inviting and what’s their level of risk.

As mentioned earlier, firework displays could be canceled in your counties. Now more than ever, there may be more families buying and setting off their own fireworks. It is essential to practice safety around fireworks. On average, over 150 people visit the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the weeks around July fourth. While most injuries are to the hands and fingers, fireworks can cause severe damage to your eyes as well.

Fireworks Safety Tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
  • Never light them indoors.
  • Only use them away from people, houses, and flammable material.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
  • Never ignite devices in a container.
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.
  • Never use illegal fireworks.

For more July fourth and Summer safety tips, check out this article from ADT and our recent blog about pool safety. Stay safe and Happy Independence Day!


Summer is here, and it is usually a time for DIY’s, home renovations, and new additions, including a pool! If you already have a pool or are considering investing in one, we wanted to share some maintenance and swimming pool safety tips to make sure your summer is filled with wonderful memories with family and friends.

According to the U.S. Product Safety Commission, 47 percent of children who suffered swimming pool injures did so at a residential swimming pool. We believe these 13 safety and maintenance tips are essential to anyone who owns a pool.

Swimming Pool Safety Tips:

  • Have a secure above ground pool safety fence (5 ft or taller) and a locked entrance around the pool and deck area.
  • Consider installing a self-closing and self-latching pool safety gate.
  • Never leave a child alone in the water or pool area.
  • Teach children essential water safety tips and enroll them in swimming lessons.
  • Less experienced swimmers should be accompanied by a swimmer who knows CPR.
  • Install your door, gate, or pool with an audible pool safety alarm to alert you if someone enters the pool area or falls into the pool while it is unattended.
  • Have life-saving pool safety equipment in the pool area, including life preservers, a reaching pole, or a rescue hook.

Pool Maintenance Tips:

  • Keep electrical devices, including outdoor entertainment systems, away from pools or wet surfaces.
  • If you do use electrical devices outdoors, be sure to plug them into a GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter).
  • Keep pool chemicals safely stored away from the pool area.
  • Keep the pool and deck area clear of glass, toys, or other accident hazards (e.g., protruding nails, loose boards, etc.).
  • For above-ground pools, check metal supports for rust or deterioration. These may indicate areas where the pool could rupture or a person could be injured.
  • Ensure your pool has compliant anti-entrapment drain covers and inspect them regularly.

For more information on pool safety, please feel free to check out the CDC website for pool and hot tub owners.

Hurricane Season is in full swing! Here are 5 things you need to know about Hurricanes.


Together we are experiencing unprecedented changes in our communities and workplaces due to the developments surrounding COVID-19. Bankers Insurance Group maintains and regularly tests a comprehensive business continuity plan and we want to assure you we are able to serve our customers without interruption. 

At Bankers, we are focused on the health and safety of our employees, agency partners, and communities. Our employees have transitioned seamlessly to a work from home environment. We have suspended face-to-face marketing visits to all offices. All meetings will take place via phone calls and video conferencing.

We understand your customers may not want inspectors coming into their homes during this time. We are encouraging our agents to recommend Bankers’ self-inspection (SMS text messaging) program to their customers, when necessary. Our self-inspection program is an excellent alternative to an in-person inspection.

Here at Bankers, we are committed to being your partner. Together, we will get through these trying times. Please reach out to us if you have any questions.


8 Holiday Decorating and Safety Tips
8 Holiday Decorating and Safety Tips

While decorating and getting into the holiday spirit this year, don’t forget about these 8 Holiday Decorating and Safety tips for a beautiful home.

8 Holiday Decorating and Safety Tips:

  1. Try using a plastic-coated paperclip to hang ornaments instead of the metal hooks they come with. The plastic coating will prevent unwanted scratches on the ornaments.
  2. Hanging a wreath? Drive a small screw at the very top of the door, only halfway in. Then tie a fishing line around the screw and tie your wreath to the other end of the fishing line, then drive the screw in completely to secure it.
  3. If you are using an artificial tree, don’t forget to check the label and make sure it is fire resistant.
  4. Be sure to keep all trees at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators, etc.
  5. If you do have a real tree, be sure to cut 2 inches off the trunk so it can better absorb water.
  6. Instead of using real candles, consider using fake ones, you can remove the fire hazard altogether.
  7. Plug in your lights before you start hanging them along the house or tree and be sure to use indoor lights and outdoor lights properly (indoor for indoor, outdoor for outdoor).
  8. When hanging outdoor lights, consider using clothespins, zip ties, or specialty clips to avoid nailing or drilling through the house and the electric cord of the lights.

We hope these tips make your holiday decorating easier and safer!

More Winter Safety Tips:

The holidays mean cooler weather and winter-proofing your home. Check out this article on How To Winterize Your Home this season, or one of our previous blogs on Fireplace Tips For A Safe Home.


Now that we’re well into the winter months with blustery storms bearing down, it’s a great time to put your feet up and sit by the fire. More than likely, you’ve already been keeping your home warm and cozy with your fireplace for the last few months so let’s make sure it’s performing at peak function to continue keeping you safe and warm.

Let’s start with a few wood-burning fireplace tips:

  • Have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a professional on a yearly basis. Ash and creosote can build up in your chimney and if not cleaned properly could cause damage to your home.
  • This may seem like an obvious tip, but make sure your damper is open while your fire is burning and until it’s completely burned out.
  • When starting your fire, make sure not to use flammable liquids like lighter fluid. These liquids can release toxic fumes and could even cause an explosion.
  • Make sure to only burn wood or manufactured logs in your fireplace. Different coated papers, greenery, and other materials can produce harmful gases that can spread throughout your home.
  • Use a metal screen or appropriate fireplace cover to keep embers inside the fireplace and out of your living room.
  • Finally, always keep a fire extinguisher in a convenient location in case something happens to go awry.

While gas fireplaces are much more low-maintenance than wood-burning fireplaces, it’s important to follow these few tips for keeping your home safe:

  • Just like a wood-burning fireplace, schedule yearly maintenance to make sure your fireplace is performing as it should.
  • Make sure you have a safety screen, and that the screen is intact with no cracks or imperfections.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless but is poisonous so it’s important to know right away if you have a leak.
  • Warn members of your household, especially kids, that the glass/screen can get very hot and that they should keep a safe distance.
  • Finally, even though gas fireplaces don’t emit wood embers, it’s important to keep highly flammable materials like fabric, paper, wood, etc. away from the fireplace.

Now, sit down and enjoy your fire, knowing that your home is safe and protected.