Spring Cleaning Tips for RV Owners

Rewcreational VehicleAfter your RV is awoken from its wintertime slumber, it’ll need a bit of TLC to get it road ready once again. And while you’re at it, it’s the perfect time to attend to some spring cleaning chores to make your road trips as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. We recommend that you get started a few weeks before a planned vacation so you have adequate time to accomplish your RV to-do list before hitting the open road. So where do you begin?

 

De-Winterize and Tune Up

To take your RV from winter mode into spring mode, flush the system of antifreeze, reinstall fuses that may have been removed for storage, flush the water system and test the battery. It’s a good idea to take your RV to a mechanic to ensure that all systems are in working order. It’s also recommended that you get an oil change, check all fluid levels, replace the spark plugs, service the fuel injection system, replace the air and fuel filter, rotate/inflate the tires, lubricate hinges/locks and any other necessary maintenance.

Clean the Exterior and Interior

A good exterior wash not only keeps you RV in great condition, but it also provides you the opportunity to inspect the panels, seams, seals etc. for any damages, which you should have repaired before a trip. Once that’s done, it’s time to clean up the interior. Vacuum, wash the linens, scrub the bathroom, air out the cabin, check the kitchen for insects etc. Perform all the cleaning tasks that you would in your home.

Organize

Because an RV has such limited space, de-cluttering and organizing is key for a relaxing road trip. Go through your RV and remove anything that you haven’t used in over a year. The extra space can be used for new items that will garner more use. You may also wish to make use of racks, hooks and any number of organizational options to optimize the space.

Before backing out of your driveway, review your RV insurance policy to make sure that it’s valid. And don’t forget to call us with any questions or concerns at (915) 562-0009.

Get RV coverage before your next big trip. Get a free El Paso RV insurance quote.

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How to Prevent Home Theft

Home robberies occur every 15 minutes in America, most of which happen while you’re away at work. It takes an average of 10 minutes for burglars to get in and out with your stuff if your home is visibly unarmed. This means that the harder you make it for a person to break into your home, the less likely they are to target it in the first place.

Installing dead bolts in all exterior doors provides an extra layer of protection between thieves and your valuables. Since most burglars enter homes through unlocked doors or windows, simply locking up when you leave and before bed can be an effective deterrent for less experienced thieves. If you have a sliding glass door, placing a wooden rod in the track prevents the door from being opened from the outside.

To prevent luring burglars to your home, keep valuables out of plain sight. Use blinds and/or curtains to block the view of expensive items such as TVs, computers and fine artwork. Many criminals break into homes to steal car keys, allowing them to drive your car off your property. Keeping car keys hidden away in a drawer helps prevent such crime. Similarly, most burglars head straight for the master bedroom to look for jewelry, money and other expensive treasures. Storing such items in another room can protect them in the event of a break in.

If you’d feel more comfortable taking a more proactive approach to home security, you can try motion-sensor outdoor lighting and a security alarm. The outdoor lighting gives the appearance of an easy, dark target, until the motion sensors are tripped and the thief is caught in a flood of light. This scares away many inexperienced criminals. A security alarm, though a pricey option, offers the most protection with 24/7 monitoring by representatives who will call the authorities if the alarm is tripped.

Other anti-theft methods include installing security cameras, glass-break alarms and even owning a large dog. If funds are low but you still want peace of mind, you can select a few cheap methods (like dead bolts) and buy dummy security cameras and yard signs for security monitoring. This can trick thieves into thinking your home is protected more than it actually is.

Add another layer of protection. Call Pan American Insurance at (915) 562-0009 for more information on El Paso home insurance.

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What Are the Benefits of Forming an LLC?

A limited liability company, commonly known as an LLC, is a form of business that protects its owners, members and itself from certain legal liabilities. It’s like a compromise between a partnership and a corporation in the sense that it possesses a pass-through tax status like a partnership, yet offers limited-liability protection like a corporation.

Members of LLCs are not held personally responsible for the actions or debts of the company, meaning that a business lawsuit will not result in a personal car or home repossession. However, an LLC cannot protect members from personal liability for their own wrongdoings, in which case, their assets may be at risk in a lawsuit.

Forming an LLC also involves considerable tax benefits, which, when paired with the limited personal liability exposure mentioned above, often makes it a more favorable option than incorporating. A single owner of an LLC is taxed as a sole proprietorship; owner compensation in the form of distribution of profit is taxed at the individual owner’s marginal tax bracket (which is potentially lower than that of the business itself). The pass-through tax status can also offset any of the owner’s other nonbusiness income.

An LCC with multiple owners still offers similar tax benefits, along with the added benefits of a corporation. Owners can elect to have their LLC taxed as a partnership or as a corporation.

Even with limited personal liability, it’s still important to insure LLCs as you would insure a corporation. Property and liability insurance are business standards that are often enhanced with additional coverages such as lost income, commercial auto, umbrella, data breach, equipment breakdown and worker’s compensation. Your local agent can help you select a comprehensive policy that meets the needs of your LLC.

Protect your business from the unexpected. Call Pan American Insurance at 888-726-3380 for more information on El Paso business insurance.

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How to Detail Your Car at Home

Getting your car professionally detailed can be extremely costly. Luckily, this process is easy to complete at home for a fraction of the price. This guide will walk you through a DIY car detail, which can be completed in a couple of hours.

Car Interior

Use a can of compressed air (found at computer or office supply stores) to blow dust out of vents, the instrument panel and any other small areas. Stubborn debris can be removed with cotton swabs and pet hair can be removed with tape. Clean hard interior surfaces, such as your dashboard and instrument panel, with a damp cloth and a mild all-purpose cleaner that you can spray and wipe. If surfaces look dull, treat them with a rubber and vinyl conditioner.

Vacuum dirt and dust out of your carpets and door pockets, using the crevice nozzle to reach underneath seats and around the center console. Be sure to remove the floor mats and vacuum underneath them as well. If your floor mats are rubber, wash them with a mild cleanser. Use a foaming cleanser on any carpet stains. Do not oversaturate; this can cause mildew to develop.

Use a household upholstery cleanser to remove stains and clean cloth seats, or a leather conditioner with aloe on leather seats.

Car Exterior

Soak the exterior of your car, including under the wheel arches. Mix a car cleanser (household cleansers and detergents can break down the paint job) in a bucket of water and sponge your car in a circular motion, working from the top down. Rinse and dry with a chamois or cotton cloth.

Use a stiff brush to loosen dirt and grime from the wheels and tires, rinsing as you go. A non-acidic cleanser can be used, along with a high-pressure jet of water.

The glass and side mirrors should be cleaned last with a household glass cleanser and a microfiber cloth. Roll down the side windows slightly so you can clean the grim off the top edges.

The last optional step is car wax. This will add a protective layer on top of your paint for up to six months in order to absorb stains and small scratches. These blemishes wear off with the wax, leaving your paint job unscathed.

A well-maintained car can last years longer than a neglected car. Call Pan American Insurance at 888-726-3380 for more information on El Paso auto insurance.

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Preparing Your Retail Business for Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping can be a double-edged sword for retailers; the shopping frenzy can result in huge profits, but it takes a lot of extra effort and resources to prepare for the skyrocketing demand for sales. Most shoppers are looking for unbeatable deals on electronics, appliances and media, so if your store sells greeting cards or swimming pool equipment, you may not find it worthwhile to partake in holiday sales and promotions. However, if you are planning on participating, the following guidelines are designed to help you run a smooth retail holiday season:

·         Review your inventory: Study the demand trends of various items your store sells, particularly any items that are forecasted to be “hot” over the holidays. Look over the past few months of sales, and the sale histories over the past few years. Make sure your store is stocked with enough inventory to meet the increased demand of the season. Remember, empty shelves means lost sales. Order extra supplies well in advance and have your staff fill the shelves with additional inventory from the stockroom throughout the rush of the day.

·         Plan staff hours: You may ask your staff if anyone would like to put in overtime and/or you may choose to hire seasonal help to plan and execute the shopping rush. Hold a training session to educate employees on how to handle the influx of shoppers and customer service concerns.

·         Sales bring in customers: Shoppers are driven by deals. Competitive retailers try to one-up each other, offering limited quantities of goods with extremely reduced prices. The bigger your deals, the bigger incentive shoppers have to visit your store. Getting people in the door is a big first step since many shoppers will buy more than what initially brought them in. You may even choose to advertise free services such as gift wrapping or warranties.

·         Marketing adjustments: If you’re offering sales, you need to increase your marketing efforts to promote what you have to offer, both in print and online. You may also consider temporarily adjusting your hours of operation to compete with other retailers and to accommodate shoppers. Post new hours on store doors, in marketing materials and on your business’ website.

·         Website Testing: Many people want to avoid the crowds, but still want to shop the bargains safely from their home computer. Double check every link and button on your website in advance and fix any bugs that may result in reduced sales or a tarnished image of your store. Information should be up-to-date and sale items should be clearly marked. Ensure that your e-commerce warehouse is also appropriately stocked.

Protect your business and your livelihood. Call Pan American Insurance at 888-726-3380 for more information on El Paso business insurance.

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5 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Home

Much like healthy eating habits and regular doctor visits improve how your body ages, the efforts you put into maintaining your home can affect how it ages as well. A well taken care of home is generally more reliable, secure and valuable. As the housing market grows more competitive, people are staying in homes much longer than they used to. Because of this, taking proper care of your home in order to extend its life has never been more important. Not to mention, a home that lasts longer can be passed down for future generations to enjoy. Try these five tips to extend the life of your home:

1.       Keep up with maintenance: Finding and repairing minor issues, such as a leaky faucet or stained drywall, should be taken care of in a timely manner. It’s easy to put off a repair in lieu of your busy schedule, but a minor problem left unattended can easily turn into a bigger, more expensive problem down the road. The more you do to keep up your home, that better equipped it will be to withstand the elements, even as it ages. Keep in mind that for every $1 spent on maintenance, you can avoid up to $100 in resulting repairs.

2.       Add a fresh coat of paint: Painting is not only an easy way to freshen up your home, but a new coat of paint every five years can actually extend the life of your home by approximately ten years. Applying new paint helps protect your walls from rust formation, dirt, contaminants, odors and general deterioration, which can lead to expensive damages. As an added bonus, preparing your walls and trim for painting can alert you to damages, such as drywall cracks or water stains, that you may not have otherwise noticed. This gives you the opportune chance to repair any problems before they grow out of control.

3.       Inspect routinely: Make it a habit to walk around and check your home each month for any areas that need attention, particularly in rooms you don’t visit often, such as a guest room. Certain parts of your home, such as your chimney or AC unit, will need annual inspecting/cleaning. Other parts, such as your driveway or roof, need little attention for ten or more years at a time (though it’s still a good idea to eyeball them every so often, just in case). Regular inspections help to catch minor damages that can then be repaired before they become much bigger, and much more expensive problems.

4.       Don’t get cheap: It’s like the old saying—you get what you pay for. When purchasing items to maintain your home or repair minor damages, invest in quality materials. Cheap products may save you money initially, but they tend to live a short life, causing you to spend more money on replacements. Quality materials will generally last much longer, saving you money in the long run.

5.       Hire help: Some home maintenance, such as changing light bulbs and cleaning gutters, can be done on your own time. However, larger tasks, such as inspecting air ducts for leaks or re-carpeting a room, should be performed by professionals. Hiring someone who knows what they’re doing will get the job done with little to no hiccups, saving you money by doing it right the first time around.

Protect the home you take such great care of. Call Pan American Insurance at (915) 562-0009 for more information on El Paso home insurance.

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Various Car Insurance Discounts

There are very few people on the planet who aren’t interested in finding a bargain, and that goes for insurance buyers as well as other types of deal hunters. If you are willing to shop around for El Paso auto insurance, there are a few discount opportunities you should be aware of.Multi-policy discounts: The multi-policy discounts function several ways. First, if you own multiple automobiles and family members to insure with one insurance company, you may be able to get a discount when you do. Second, if you own a house and a car, or a car and a recreational vehicle to insure and you do so with one company, you may be entitled to discounts.

1. Safe driving classes: Being a safe driver is essential to you and your family because it restricts your risk of accident—but it’s also important to your insurance company for a similar reason. When you take a safe driving class you not only show your insurance company that you are dedicated to being a safe driver, but you also learn the skills that allow you to actually become one. This reduces the amount of claims you are likely to file and makes you a less expensive risk for car insurance companies. How do they compensate you? With a lower rate.

2. Good student discounts: Insurance companies love to compensate good performance—because those customers who behave in such a manner generally exhibit less risk from an insurer’s perspective. High school students with high grades may find that their auto insurance company offers significant discounts when they maintain a GPA above a certain level.

3. Paid-in-full discounts: Insurance policy premiums can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annually. Because insurance companies can earn more money on an annual premium paid-in-full at the beginning of the term, they frequently offer financial incentives for you to do so.

4. EFT discounts: The transfer of your insurance premiums straight from your bank account to your insurance company isn’t only a simple method of getting your insurance policy paid, it’s an efficient method. You will have one less check to write each month, one less stamp to buy, and your insurance company may offer you a discount for doing so.

For more information about auto insurance, give Pan American Insurance a call at 888-726-3380.

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