Archive for the 'Home Insurance' Category

FIRE is America’s Biggest Disaster

The biggest disaster threat in the United States isn’t floods, hurricanes or tornadoes; it’s fire.


In our community I have personally been at the scene for dozens of house fires. As an insurance agent, I am often the second person that the homeowner calls, after “911.” It’s incredibly sad to stand on the front lawn and witness first-hand the destruction of property. You feel defenseless. Fire moves fast, and often takes hours to extinguish.

This article is filled with statistics on purpose. I really want to show the devastating numbers. They are real.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency:

Home fires

  • Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
  • One quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
  • 60% of home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Roughly one of every 320 households had a reported home fire per year.
  • A fire is reported in the United States every 85 seconds.


  • 40% of home fires started in the kitchen.
  • Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires.
  • Failure to clean was a factor contributing to ignition in 17% of reported home fires involving ovens or rotisseries.


  • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean. This usually involved creosote build-up in chimneys.
  • Portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) home heating deaths.
  • In most years, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries.

Smoking Materials

  • Most deaths in home smoking-material fires were caused by fires that started in bedrooms (40%) or living rooms, family rooms or dens (35%).
  • Possible alcohol impairment was a factor in one in five (19%) of home smoking fire deaths.


  • About half (48%) of home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Other leading types of equipment were washer or dryer, fan, portable or stationary space heater, air conditioning equipment water heater and range.


  • More than one-third of these fires (36%) started in the bedroom;
  • Falling asleep was a factor in 11% of the home candle fires and 37% of the associated deaths.

Smoke Alarms

  • 60% of home fire deaths are caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 93% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 79% of the time.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.

Wallin Insurance teams up with the American Red Cross.

As an insurance agency we wanted to do something to help this community. We chose this project “Home Fire Preparedness Campaign” where we evaluate and install smoke alarms in area homes. We also educate homeowners on having an escape plan in the event of a fire.

If we can make a difference to just one homeowner, we will feel good about our service to the community.

To date the agents and staff at Wallin Insurance have installed more than 50 smoke alarms in 15 homes in Chemung County. We are the only trained and certified volunteers performing this service.

For more information or if you’d like your home to be evaluated contact me, Peter Wallin at 607–734–8799 or We normally perform installations on Thursdays.


NY Flood 2014 Insurance update

FLOOD 2014 Update                          

By Peter Wallin, Insurance Agent
Elmira NY

These past few years have seen many changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that has affected residents of Chemung County, NY.  I have studied these federal program updates and am concerned that the rates may be going up, elevation certificates may be required and delays may occur when trying to buy or sell a home.

In October 2013 the NFIP released new requirements for  Elevation Certificates be completed prior to buying a home in a designated flood zone.  These certificates are completed by land surveyors and generally costs $400-500.  The purpose is to show exactly where the home is positioned in relation to the flood level.  The home may be a few feet above the flood level, or a few feet below, which will then determine the price for flood insurance.    As an insurance agent I must also inspect the property and submit photos to the insurance company

With these new changes – prices for flood insurance may rise dramatically over the next few years – upwards of 25% increase each year.  And because this is a National program administered by the government, the prices are the same no matter where you buy the insurance.  I suggest you work with a knowledgeable insurance agent who understands this process and can assist with deductible option and coverage issues on contents.

Banks require flood insurance – usually in the amount of the loan, or 80% of the replacement cost of the home.  It’s important to check your bank or mortgage company to understand your situation and what is required.

Please read your insurance policies carefully so you fully understand what is covered and what is not.  As always, we are available to answer your questions.

Peter Wallin
WallinInsurance Agency Inc
1364 College Ave
Elmira, NY 14901

College Students and Insurance

College Student in Your Household? Check Your Insurance Coverage

Peter Wallin, Insurance Agent Elmira NY

If you’re helping one of your children go off to college for the first time, or return to college, we may be able to help you save some money and gain some extra protection.

Here are four things to consider about insurance when a child enters college.

1. You could get a discount on your auto insurance. Because you’ll have one less driver living at home when your son or daughter goes off to school, your household might get a discount — as long as they don’t take a car along. If he or she does take a set of wheels, contact our agency. We can review your coverage to make sure your child is properly insured.

2. Your homeowners insurance might extend to his or her belongings. Usually, the belongings of your child-turned-college-student will be covered by your homeowners insurance, but it’s best to be sure. If for some reason the coverage doesn’t extend, consider purchasing renters insurance. Students who live off campus may not be covered by their parents’ homeowners policy and may need to purchase their own renters insurance.

3. Student loans might call for extra protection. If student loans are involved, you might want to consider life insurance* for your son or daughter. It can help financially in the case of an unexpected tragedy (although no one wants to think about that). If a tragedy never occurs (thankfully), your son or daughter can also opt to carry the life insurance to the next stage of life – making it a wise investment.

4. Insurance can help in the most unexpected cases. Accidents happen — sometimes tragically. Extra liability coverage through a Personal Catastrophe Liability policy, commonly called an umbrella policy, can help protect you should a lawsuit ensue from a big mistake.

Most importantly, let your insurance agent know of the changes happening in your household so we can double check your specific situation and coverage needs.

Fire Claims – Be prepared when disaster strikes

2011 was a rough year
for some of our valued
homeowner clients:
by Peter Wallin, Insurance Agent


Here’s a few actual fire claims that occurred right here in our community:

**Lighting struck a tree and spread to a storage shed in Big Flats – resulting in major loss of household contents and business inventory.  Thankfully the homeowner had the right insurance coverages for their home and business.

**Fire at a beautiful log home in Lowman.  The entire house burned to the ground, along with all the contents.  I was on the scene with the homeowner as we worked closely with Erie Insurance to provide immediate financial assistance.

**A gas spill in an auto repair shop in Alpine.  The owner tried to extinguish the blaze but it was out of control.  He will be out of business for several months as his facility is rebuilt. It’s a good thing he has “Loss of Income” coverage.

These are not only devastating financial losses, but they are also very emotional.  I have learned in the 25 years I have been in this business the importance of providing proper insurance coverage (at a reasonable price!) but also that it is my job to be there when the client needs me the most. 

In a letter to the Editor in the Elmira Star-Gazette the following was written:
   Family says thanks for help after fire
“Many thanks to the firefighters, our insurance agent, Peter Wallin, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers who helped us through the devastating fire that destroyed our home on October 14.  You have all been so very kind and we are so very grateful.”
              Bob ad Debra Watts, Lowman

As we enter 2012 I urge you to take a look at your own home insurance policy. Make sure you are comfortable with the coverage limits.  Be sure you are prepared for whatever disaster (big or small) may come your way.  And please contact my office if you have any questions or would like to discuss your situation in detail.  It’s our job to help you!

Peter Wallin
Elmira, New York

Candle Safety in the Home

Insurance agent Peter Wallin discusses
safety in the home

Tricks of the Wicks

House-warming candles, left unmanaged, can lead to dangerous fires


Candles are a great way to make a house feel like home, but if left unattended, they can have devastating effects.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, candles cause an estimated 15,600 fires in homes each year. Over half of those fires start because the candle is too close to combustible material and one in 10 are related to the homeowner falling asleep while the candle is lit.

Thankfully, most candle-related fires can be prevented. Here’s what to know (courtesy of the U.S. Fire Administration):

  • Avoid using lighted candles.
  • If you do use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass, or ceramic holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Set a good example by using matches, lighters and fire carefully.
  • Children should never be allowed to play with matches, lighters or candles.
  • Never put candles on a Christmas tree.
  • Never leave the house with candles burning.
  • Extinguish candles after use.
  • Establish a fire-safe home, especially a safe sleeping environment.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended

For more safety tips on using candles, see the National Candle Association Web site, or visit

in Elmira, New York

Fireplace Safety Tips

By Peter Wallin, Insurance Agent
Elmira, NY

Nothing adds warmth to the cold winter evenings than a nice fire in the fireplace – or woodstove or pellet stove.  Before you light up another fire, though, check this safety list:

  • Keep a chimney cap to keep out debris and small animals
  • Always use a metal screen or glass fireplace door.
  • Have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned as necessary by a qualified specialist. As it burns, wood can leave a deposit called creosote along chimney walls, and it can catch fire if not removed regularly.
  • Burn well-seasoned hardwood that has been split for a minimum of 6 months.  Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood.
  • Never burn cardboard, newspapers, or trash in your unit.
  • Keep furniture, decorations, and other potentially flammable material at least two feet from the fireplace.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy.

For more information contact Peter Wallin at

Elmira NY Insurance Agent gives Insurance Maintenance Tips

Insurance Tips

An Ounce of Prevention
– By Peter Wallin, Insurance Agent
Elmira, New York

Turns out, your mom was right when she always said “an ounce
of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Whether you’re maintaining your home
or your car, a few easy preventative steps can keep your home in tip-top shape,
and your car purring like a kitten.


  • Clean up any water spills immediately to prevent mold growth. Exhaust fans can help draw out excess moisture as well.
  • Even if you think you live in a safe town, lock your doors and windows at night and when you leave. It’s a tiny step that can keep you safe just in case someone with sticky fingers slides into town.
  • Only you can prevent house fires. All right, it’s not exactly how the saying goes, but by making sure that your smoke alarms are in working order, and that you have fire extinguishers strategically located, you can greatly reduce your chance of serious house fires.



  • Change your oil regularly.
    Oil keeps your engine lubricated, reduces friction and reduces nasty sludge from building up in your engine. Regular oil changes can keep your car running better for longer.
  • Replace your windshield wipers every six months. If you see streaks on your windshield or hear strange squeaking sounds, it’s time for a new set of windshield wipers. A new set of wipers can significantly improve your vision during bad weather, which might make all the difference in the world.
  • Rotate your tires.
    Your front and rear tires wear differently, and rotating them can help increase their lifespan and prevent blowouts. Every car is different, but many tire manufacturers recommend rotating your tires every 6,000-8,000 miles.

By following these simple steps, you can reduce your chances
of car and home trouble, and save yourself time, hassle and money. Want another
way to save those things? Bundle your insurance with ERIE Insurance. By covering your home and car both
through us, you’ll pay less, and have the peace of mind of having just one
insurance Agent to turn to whenever the need strikes. Contact me at to learn more

February 2019
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