General News

Schaefer & Delauder Insurance Agency - Sweet Rewards Referral Program Winner - 2018We're happy to congratulate Dorie Tyson of La Plata, MD, as the 2018 Sweet Rewards Grand Prize winner of $500.00.  Dorie is a long time client of our agency. She became eligible for the prize becuase he referred others in the community who then came to Schaefer & Delauder Insurance on Dorie's recommendation to discuss their own insurance needs.

Our 2018 Winner is employed at a local veterinarian's office in the Germantown area.  You might guess that she is quite an animal lover.  She even brought along one of her furry friends when she visited our office to receive her prize.  

Are you wondering how you might be eligible for the 2019 Sweet Rewards referral program?  It's really quite simple... get all the details here... 

We love referrals, so please keep them coming!  

Every time you tell a friend about Schaefer & DeLauder Insurance who then reaches out to our office to discuss their insurance, you not only will receive a Dunkin Donuts gift card; your name will go into a monthly drawing for a $25.00 gift card to an area retailer; and you will be entered in an annual drawing for $500.00 in cash!    Each referral increases your opportunity to win!

Saturday, 02 February 2019 13:04

Winter Safety Tips for Pets and Home - Schaefer & Delauder Insurance, We all know to dress to stay warm before venturing out on a winter day, but there are a few topics worthy of a reminder since they are not often top of mind as we go through each day.  Our pets depend on us to keep them safe in the cold. Likewise, two winter-related home risks that need our attention are pipe-freezing and home fires caused by space heaters.  We have gathered advice and tips from the experts to help you have a safe and comfortable winter for yourself and your pets.

Bring your pets in from the cold

Some pets are more tolerant of extremely cold temperatures than others, but that does not mean that they are not just as vulnerable to the harmful effects.  It’s up to you as the pet owner to protect them.  Many pets — especially dogs — aren’t aware of just how cold the weather can be. You’ll have to be sensitive to their limits, and you may have to wrap your pet in a coat or boots to go outside. The ASPCA offers the following advice to help keep your pets safe as temperatures plummet.

  • Just as leaving your pet in your car when it’s hot can be deadly, so can leaving them in your car when it’s cold.  The car traps the cold air and acts like a refrigerator, causing the animal to freeze.
  • Keep your pets safely indoors during extremely cold weather that can cause them to be disoriented or actually freeze.  How to know when it’s too cold for your pet to be outside:  If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.
  • Protect your pet from drafts and give them a warm place to sleep that is off the floor such as a dog or cat bed.  Adding a warm blanket or pillow will help as well. 
  • Because your pets burn extra energy to stay warm when it’s cold, they’ll require extra food for the calories they’ll need. Likewise, extra water for extra hydration will help prevent dry skin

Keep pipes from freezing

When temperatures reach freezing, it is especially important to protect the water pipes in your home so that they do not freeze and potentially burst.  If your pipes are on an outside wall or above an unheated space, such as a garage, the best precaution, especially if you lose heat or power, is to run water at a trickle in sinks and bathtubs. This keeps the water moving through your pipes and makes it more difficult to freeze. 

See this article from the American Red Cross for much more about preventing and thawing frozen pipes.

Take great care when using space heaters

According to a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) study, space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for 2 of every 5 home heating fires and 4 out of 5 home heating fire deaths.  Placing flammable items too close to the heater was most frequently the cause of the fire.

The folks at Energy.gov offer the following advice for buying and installing small space heaters.

  • Purchase only a newer model heater equipped with current safety features and carrying the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
  • To avoid wasting energy by overheating a room, select a heater that is appropriately sized for the space to be heated; and be sure that it is thermostatically-controlled.
  • Be sure that your space heater is placed away from foot traffic, out of the reach of pets and children.  Be sure that the heater sits level so that it will not tip over. 

Homeowners Insurance Tip

The winter months are the worst for home fires. You’ll want to be sure that your homeowners insurance policy offers you the best coverage for your circumstances.  Spend some time inspecting your home to be sure that your heating system, fireplace and space heaters are installed and maintained properly well before you have the need to ever file a homeowners insurance claim.  Speak with your insurance agent for advice and to discuss your coverage options.

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at Schaefer & Delauder Insurance either in Germantown or Frederick, MD to discuss any  home insurance-related questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances.

Friday, 04 January 2019 11:16

smart & green new years resolutions - home maintenance - Schaefer & Delauder Insurane, Germantown & Frederick MDIf you’re a homeowner, you already know that keeping your home safe and in top condition is an ongoing effort. You likely already have a list of maintenance chores for each season of the year, and maybe you’ve been exploring new ways to make your home more comfortable for your family.  If you’re an out-of-the-box thinker, then consider committing to a few productive New Year’s resolutions that will help to improve the health of your largest investment – your home. 

Make Your Home Smarter

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about improving your home’s energy efficiency or making it more secure by using technology.  In fact, is it possible that many of the devices in your home besides computers and smartphones could connect to the Internet? We’re talking about “IoT” – the Internet of Things. It’s basic to home automation and smart homes, and it could significantly change your life. 

Check out this article: How Smart is Your Home? (PC Magazine) for some very exciting details and options. You’ll be surprised at how reasonable the cost to make life at home much more convenient.

Be More Energy Efficient

Small changes over the course of the year – done if/when they are needed – can save money on your energy bill and make your home more environmentally friendly as well.  For example, consider replacing alkaline batteries with rechargeable batteries as the old batteries fail.  Instead of replacing failed incandescent light bulbs with new ones of the same kind, give some thought to replacing with LED bulbs – much longer lasting and still relatively inexpensive. If you continue to seek out alternatives in this way, you will begin to see the difference in your utility bills over time.

If you’re considering some remodeling projects this year, remember to do your homework.  If you are planning a kitchen upgrade and will be replacing appliances, be sure to compare the energy saving features before making your purchase. If it’s your bathroom that will be redone, look into replacing your fixtures with water-saving low-flow options.

Plan your Home Maintenance for the Year

Keeping up with home maintenance is not only critical to the life and health of your home, it can also be daunting if you don’t approach it systematically.  Even if you are not a “list person” by nature, you will find that creating and following a year-long schedule of your home maintenance work will save you stress. 

Check out this article: 7 Apps to Get Stuff Done Around the House for help and project organization to download on your phone or tablet.

Homeowner Insurance Tip

As you make improvements to your home and increase its value, be sure to sit down with your insurance agent to review your Homeowners Insurance policy to see that your coverage is keeping up with the changes.  If you’ll be making any large changes to your home such as building an addition or adding features such as a swimming pool, deck, garage, then you’ll want to check with your insurance agent ahead of time to learn about any insurance limitations.

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at Schaefer & Delauder Insurance either in Germantown or Frederick, MD to discuss your home insurance questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances.

Monday, 17 December 2018 10:17

Cyber Monday offers special vulnerability for identity theft and cyber crime warns Schaefer & Delauder Insurance - Germantown and Frederick MDChances are that you, like many other shoppers, are making your holiday purchases online.  Retailers have noticed an increasing trend in online shopping over the past few years, and this is not likely to change.

As shoppers grow weary of braving the cold and standing in long lines to buy this year’s hot products, those who are computer savvy are increasingly opting for the convenience and great deals that they find online.

The result is the rise of Cyber Monday. Even those who venture into the mall on Black Friday or small business Saturday welcome the following Monday as a time to log on to the internet and see what sales are taking place to finish or perhaps start their shopping.

Unfortunately, cyber criminals know this and are finding that targeting victims online is not only easier but does not pose as much risk as capturing shoppers’ ID information and scamming them at the mall or on the phone. 

What’s at Risk on Cyber Monday?

In fact, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) cautions that shoppers will likely face a variety of risks during this holiday season, such as the following.

  • Falling prey to online deals even though they seem “too good to be true”.
  • Paying for purchases with debit cards instead of credit cards, thus putting not only their credit card accounts at risk but their bank accounts as well. 
  • Not choosing secure online networks and instead being vulnerable to identity theft by using public Wi-Fi networks to make purchases online.

Take Necessary Precautions to Avoid Identity Theft

While Cyber Monday is indeed a favorite holiday for hackers, identity thieves, scammers and other cyber criminals, there are some steps you can take to secure your identity and still enjoy the ease of shopping online.

Know your antivirus software – Antivirus software is much more effective today than in years past at blocking malicious threats to online shoppers. Sadly, cybercriminals have kept pace, finding new tools to steal your identity, your confidential information and more. So, while cyber thieves now use ransomware, trojans, worms, phishing scams, keyloggers and so much more, online shoppers can now be protected by using security tools for their devices such as VPNs, tracking blockers, parental control apps to protect them when browsing privately online.  However, no security tool will protect you unless it is used properly. Be sure that your security software is properly installed and configured before shopping begins, and see that it is updated regularly to remain effective.

Keep track of your payment method – If there is suspicious activity on your account after you have purchases, you must be able to trace it back to the website where your purchase was made.  Your payment methods could include Pay Pal or some other online payment platform, debit cards, credit cards, or perhaps even gift cards, it’s important to document the method you used for each purchase and note which website was used.  In fact, it is likely best to designate one credit card for online shopping and use it exclusively to avoid confusion.

Look before you click – Once you find a website from which you wish to purchase, take time to check the site’s URL to be sure it begins with HTTPS and not just HTTP. A site using HTTPS uses a secure network and will better protect your data. Even so, before you enter any personal information or payment details, make sure you are dealing with a reputable company and not a fake website or copycat website built to look like a real retailer’s site but ready to steal your data. A quick Google search for the name of the company or the URL of the website should let you know if there are negative reports available, and a look at the Better Business Bureau can show posts by dissatisfied customers.

Home Insurance Tip

Even with your best efforts, you might still fall victim to cyber crime and possibly to identity theft.  So before you begin your online shopping, it is wise to check with your insurance agent to discuss Identity Recovery insurance which can often be added to your Homeowners insurance or Renters insurance. Find out what coverages and services are available to you and see how affordable this protection can be.

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at Schaefer & Delauder Insurance either in Germantown or Frederick, MD to discuss your home insurance questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances.

Monday, 12 November 2018 09:45

Winterizing your house to be ready for winter plus homeowners insurance - Schaefer & Delauder Insurance - Germantown and Frederick MDAs a homeowners, you are probably accustomed to handling home maintenance chores mostly in the springtime.  But the potential for damage to your house from the cold temperatures and brutal weather conditions of winter call for extra maintenance effort in the autumn as well. Don’t let Mother Nature get ahead of you.  Consider the following fall home maintenance tips.

  • Examine all gutters and downspouts for damage and remove any debris such as leaves.  This will help you avoid potential water damage inside your home from melting snow and ice.
  • Arrange for your chimney to be inspected and cleaned by a professional to help you avoid chimney fires caused by the buildup of creosote on the internal chimney walls. Your chimney technician can also check for structural problems in the chimney liner that could lead to sparks and embers escaping into walls, roof or attic.
  • Check your fire extinguisher to assure that it is in good working order and fully charged   This should be a multipurpose fire extinguisher (effective for ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids and electrical fires).
  • Be sure that your heating system is cleaned and functioning well before you need it.  Check manufacturer’s instructions for replacing your furnace filter and make the change before using your heating system. Fall could be the perfect time for an annual inspection by your local HVAC technician. 
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions to clean out any dust and lint that has built up inside your clothes dryer. Don’t overlook the area behind and under the dryer and especially the exhaust duct – all areas with the potential for a dryer fire.
  • Test your smoke detectors to assure they are functioning properly. Change the batteries if/as necessary, and replace any malfunctioning smoke detectors. 
  • To avoid frozen water pipes, insulate any pipes that pass through exterior walls and unheated areas such as the attic, garage and basement to help prevent freezing.
  • Prevent drafts around windows and door by checking the seals and repairing the caulking if necessary. 

By taking these steps before winter weather sets in, you can avoid more damage and the need for urgent repairs during the cold months.

Homeowners Insurance Tip

Did you improve your home over the spring and summer – perhaps with a new backyard pool or deck or a room addition or something else? If so, then your property value has likely increased.  Plan to have a conversation with your insurance agent to be sure that your homeowners insurance policy still offers complete coverage.

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at Schaefer & Delauder Insurance either in Germantown or Frederick, MD to discuss your homeowners insurance questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances.

Tuesday, 09 October 2018 13:24

Be Back-to-School Ready - Teens Auto Insurance - Schaefer & Delauder Insurance Germantown and Frederick MDCan you believe that the lazy days of summer vacation are almost at an end? Soon we’ll all be back into the regimen of school days, homework and fall and winter activities. To be sure that your kids and, in fact, the entire household is prepared to get back into the groove, it is important to begin well in advance. A smooth transition will promise a successful school experience. Perhaps these tips will help your family to get prepared.

  • Moving to a stricter bedtime and wake-up schedule overnight would be difficult.  Try a more gradual approach for a better result.
  • Organization is the key to seeing that everyone is where they need to be at the right time.  This will be much easier if you begin by pulling together everyone’s schedule into a single calendar well ahead of the first day of school.  Start by entering all events that you already know about. Then, when school schedules arrive, you’ll be ready to add them to an organized calendar.  This way, you’ll be able to manage the household schedule efficiently.
  • Back-to-school shopping can be daunting.  If you start by making a complete list of clothing and supplies for each child as soon as possible, you’ll be ready to shop.  Consider online shopping as a time saver, but if you need to visit the stores, at least your list will help you to manage your time and effort.  Doing so as far in advance as possible will help you avoid the crowds and prevent the disappointment of finding items out-of-stock.
  • If your child will be new to school or attending a different school during this upcoming school year, then it will be important to familiarize them with it as much as possible in advance of their first official day.  Arrange a tour of the school and, if possible, an introduction to the teachers.  By taking a walk through the new campus, you can reduce your child’s apprehension and stress and thus better ensure their success during the school year.

Auto Insurance Tip for Teens

If you have teens in your family, you’ll want to remind them to keep their grades up since it will help with the cost of their auto insurance once they are of age to get their driver’s license.  To find out more about saving money on teen drivers, have a conversation with your insurance agent.  The sooner you get the details, the sooner you’ll be able to start guiding your teen to get prepared. 

We invite you to contact any of the experienced agents at Schaefer & Delauder Insurance either in Germantown  or Frederick, MD to discuss your insurance needs.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection to meet your needs.

Thursday, 02 August 2018 13:08
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