Harris, Reed & Seiferth
Ah, the RV awning. It's a wonderful feature to have - for looks, for shade - but also one that needs regular maintenance. How many times have you heard your awning creaking in the howling wind when you forgot to lower it? How many times have you heard of somebody else's awning blowing off completely or seen one sagging to the point of no return after a storm?
The key to avoiding damage to your awning is being prepared. Knowing how to handle your awning can save it - and you - from loss in case of a “rainy day.”
When to hold it, when to fold it
Awnings are a standard part of most motor home and travel trailer equipment today and they can handle the typical everyday wear if they're cared for. Generally, your awning should be secured at its feet, pegged down so it will not flip in the wind. Awning straps are also available to help keep it secured.
In terms of weather conditions, a light drizzle or breeze should not be cause for alarm. At the first sign of menacing dark clouds or a whipping wind, however, roll up the awning. The best thing to do is practice rolling your awning on a nice day, so you'll be prepared to do it quickly when a storm really is about to hit. Nobody wants to be caught in the rain, struggling to roll up their awning while lighting abounds.
An awning that is rolled up a while will need to be aired out and cleaned as soon as weather clears. This type of maintenance is simple compared to fixing a broken awning or having to replace one altogether. Unroll the awning, rinse with warm water and a mild cleansing solution (you can gently scrub it with a brush or sponge) and then let it dry.
This is a good general practice for your awning regardless of whether it's been wet or rolled. Regular accumulation of dirt and other pollutants on a fabric surface can shorten the life of the structure, and quicken the deterioration of the fabric. Periodic cleanings are best in the long run to keep your awning in good condition.
Though some losses on the road may be out of your control, your awning shouldn't be one of them. Taking good care of it will help keep you "in the shade."
Need RV insurance?
In addition to RV awning care, make sure you have insurance coverage specialized for your RV. Check out our RV Insurance coverage options or start a quote.
It's important to keep in mind that the life of an RV tire cannot be measured by miles alone, nor can you always rely on tires that "look good."
Given the stop-and-go nature of many RVers, RVs often sit for extended periods of time in-between use. When they are in use, they are often subjected to heavy loads during extreme weather conditions such as high heat. Both situations can lead to tire damage and failure, which can quickly put a damper on any trip — or turn into a dangerous situation. The primary reasons for RV tire deterioration include the following:
Ozone and UV Exposure
Over time, RV tires are exposed to a great deal of UV rays and ozone poisoning. This can lead to cracks in the rubber, especially in a tire's sidewall. Though a tire's exterior may look just fine at first glance, further inspection may reveal small cracks on and within aging sidewalls that worsen with time.
Improper Tire Inflation
Under- and over-inflation can both lead to blowouts. To help prevent this, check the inflation pressure or your tires at least once a month, and always before starting a trip. Do this when tires are cold, as heat generated during driving temporarily increases air pressure. Never remove air from a hot tire, which may result in under-inflation when the tire cools.
Excessive Load Weight and Uneven Weight Distribution
Tires frequently subjected to maximum loads will wear faster, while tires that carry loads below their rated capacity can be expected to last longer. Be sure to load your RV evenly. Uneven load distribution leads to uneven tire wear.
Tires of different constructions, such as radial and bias ply, as well as different sizes and stages of wear, can harm vehicle handling and stability.
Use the same size and type of tire on all wheel positions. All RVs built since 1972 have a certification label that contains the following important information:
Tire Care Tips
The most important thing you can do to extend the life of your tires is to inspect them regularly. The following tips will also help:
Need RV Insurance?
In addition to RV tire care, make sure you have insurance coverage specialized for your RV. Check out our RV Insurance coverage options or get a quote.
Don't forget those loyal family members — your pets. They need preparation just as humans do.
Find shelter for your pets
Unless you rely on the assistance of a guide or leader dog, Red Cross and other public shelters cannot accept pets. It's up to you to make other arrangements for your pet. Contact your veterinarian, Humane Society or Animal Control office for more information. There may be space available at 'pet shelters' on high ground in your community. Make sure your pets have up-to-date shots. Pet shelters require proof of vaccinations.
Your pet survival kit
Before a hurricane strikes, be sure to put together a Pet Survival Kit:
Keep an eye on your pet after a hurricane
After the danger has passed, be careful in allowing your pet outdoors. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered, and that could be confusing to your pet. Be careful that your pet doesn't become lost. Downed power lines present real danger to your pet, as do snakes, insects or animals driven to higher ground by floods.
Most turtles begin to move as the weather warms. This may be for mating, nesting or many other reasons. Of course, turtles move much slower than cars (and don't understand human traffic laws), which makes crossing the road incredibly dangerous. To celebrate and protect all of the turtles out there, here are some tips for safely helping them reach their destination!
If you see a turtle on the road, remember to use the correct signals when pulling over. Keep your flashers on to warn oncoming vehicles and always check your surroundings.
Moving the Turtle
If the turtle is moving at a decent pace, you may be able to stand nearby and watch it cross. If the turtle is stagnant (or if you are uncomfortable touching the turtle), you may use a blunt object to help push it. Make sure the object isn't sharp, and be gentle! This will be your best option for moving a snapping turtle, they may bite if you use your hands.
Picking up the Turtle
Most turtles will hide in their shells if they are frightened, which makes it easier for you to pick them up. Place both of your hands behind the front legs and towards the back legs. The turtle may try to kick, so don't hold it up high – you don't want to drop it! Also, it's very important to never pick up a turtle by the tail, as this can severely injure them.
Another option for moving the turtles is using a car mat. This works best for larger turtles that you may not be able to lift. You can allow the turtle to walk onto the mat, or help gently push it onto the mat. Be sure to carry the mat low to the ground in case the turtle falls off.
Going the Same Direction
Be sure to move the turtle in the same direction it was trying to go. If you place it back where it was coming from, it will most likely turn around and return to the road.
Do Not Take it with You
Turtles and other wildlife are meant to stay in the wild. No matter how cute turtles can be, resist the temptation to bring it home. When taken out of their home areas, they will most likely try to go back. They are not pets so they need to be in their natural environment.
An injured turtle may look dead, so if you are unsure as to whether or not the turtle is injured, there are a few tricks you can try. Try gently touching the back of their foot, or touch the corner of its eye to test for a reaction. The turtle may try and kick, or move its head or eyes. If a turtle has a crack in its shell, it might drown if it returns to the water. If the turtle you find has a damaged shell, or seems seriously injured, contact a professional. Many veterinarians, animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centers will treat them for free.
You've stored your bike all winter long safely, protecting your investment from the harsh temperatures. Follow these helpful motorcycle safety tips from the Foremost Insurance Group and the American Motorcyclist Association to make your first trip worry-free.
Get a service check
It's a good idea to have your bike serviced prior to taking it out for the first ride. Since you've already changed the oil and trickle-charged the battery prior to and during storage you should be in good shape. Have these items, the tires and the coolant checked (if your bike is liquid-cooled) during the service appointment.
Carry a tool kit
Flat tires can cut a ride short. The best way to prepare yourself is to carry tools to temporarily repair a flat and know how to use them. You should always carry a pressure gauge and use it often to help avoid flats. However, accidents do happen. Always carry a tire repair kit and know how to plug the damage and inflate the tire by means of CO2 cartridges, or by using a pump, so you can get to a garage and have the tire replaced. Practice on an old tire.
It's also a good idea to carry a flashlight and a spare fuse. You can't plan when your bike will get a flat or breakdown, so have the tools you need to make minor repairs to get you back on the road. If you're going on a longer trip it's also a good idea to carry a spare electrical relay, fuel filter (if these apply to your bike), headlight bulbs or other similar items that can malfunction. Always carry a cell phone especially if you're riding solo.
Wear the proper gear for your comfort
Your body is exposed to the elements when you ride so protect yourself from temperature and moisture changes. Even a short trip can take you through a variety of temperatures. Carrying an extra pair of dry gloves can make a world of difference. Also consider wearing jackets with venting and removable linings, and layer your clothing so you can add or remove depending on the temperature. In warmer weather bring along a rain suit. The goal is to stay warm and dry.
Enjoy the ride
Take precautions and pack smartly and you'll make great memories. Create a list of things you'll need before you start out, and then add or remove items depending on your experience and your bike.
Another important motorcycle safety tip is to make sure you have the right motorcycle insurance coverage. Take a look at our coverage options on our motorcycle insurance page, or get a quote.
Welcome to our new insurance agency blog!
This is our very first post. We're not quite sure what we're going to write about here, but the plan is to create helpful content for customers and prospective clients about information that is relevant to you.
We hope you'll come to view this as a top resource for keeping your family and your finances safe.
Here are a few of the topics we may be writing about:
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