Creating and storing a home inventory

How familiar are you with all the things that you own? If you needed to, could you make a list of everything in your home without looking at it?  Imagine trying to get that list together when none of it exists anymore due to a catastrophic loss. Would you forget whole categories of things? Could be. At Gallina and Sons of the Pittsburgh, PA area, we are independent insurance agents who have been providing personalized service for more than 70 years. 

If you need to file a claim, having an inventory ready will make the claim process much easier and less stressful. Your chances of having a better result from the claim will be increased if you do the inventory in advance when all your possessions are where they should be. 

Get your pad and pen and pick a room to start. Bring your camera or phone along as well. Photos are a big help. You also want to gather any receipts or sales slips that you have. For costly items, having an appraisal is a good idea. 

Write down everything in the room with as much detail as possible. For electronics,  provide model, brand, and serial numbers. Open drawers and closets. Go from one room to another and don’t forget the attic and basement if you have them. Take pictures of each room from a variety of angles. 

When it is complete you need to find a safe place to store it. Off property is the ideal location, but if it must be in the home, get a water and fire resistance holder. You may also want to make a copy to store in the cloud, you want it to survive anything that might destroy your home. 

Contact Gallina and Sons of the Pittsburgh, PA area to provide the home insurance review or policy that you need.

Home safety tips during spring season

Home safety tips during spring

The beautiful spring season comes with warmth and cheerful trees bursting with color and flowers. It comes with one message—time to brighten up. For most people in Pittsburgh, PA, cleaning and safety come first. Spring is the perfect time to think about home and insurance advisers at Gallina and Sons recommend reviewing and updating your home insurance policy to protect your family and loved ones. So, apart from insurance, what else can you do to improve safety during spring?

Check, replace, and repair your security alarms and smoke detectors

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors should be checked with the test button and dusted. Replace the batteries if necessary or replace the unit if faulty. Burglars often lie low during winter and start operating again during spring. For that reason, you may want to check and replace your security system and ensure everything is working in excellent condition.

Don’t forget the weather

Don’t be fooled by flowers and the bright sun. The spring weather can be extremely unpredictable, especially if you live around the coastal regions. While you spend more time outdoors, be sure to watch out for storms and warning signs for the weather change. Always dress appropriately and stay up to date with the weather forecast.

Inspect for mold

The cold weather may not be kind to your laundry room and bathroom. However, the warm weather provides an excellent opportunity to inspect and get rid of mold before it becomes a health hazard for you and your family. If left alone, it can spread and cause serious respiratory problems.

Spring-cleaning takes time and effort, but when done right, your home is much safer and comfortable. If you need help with your home insurance policy, please feel free to contact Gallina and Sons in Pittsburgh, PA, and we will be happy to help.

Do I need home insurance in Pittsburgh?

The Pittsburgh, PA area continues to be one of the largest cities in the state of Pennsylvania. This city continues to offer local residents with many different amenities including plenty of recreational options and a good job market. Due to this, buying a home here could be a great option. Along with the purchase of a home, you also need to carefully consider your insurance needs. There are several reasons why you will need to have home insurance in this area of Pittsburgh. 

Required to Protect Asset

The main reason that you need to get home insurance is that it is required to protect your assets. Anyone that buys a home is going to be making a big investment in their future. The last thing that you would want would be to lose this asset due to serious damage. With a home insurance policy, you can receive the protection that you need to manage this risk.

Lender Requirement

You will also need to get home insurance because it could be a lender requirement. If you have financed your home with a mortgage, your lender will want to ensure that you have the proper home insurance coverage in place. They will do this by approving your insurance policy and requiring escrow payments to ensure continued coverage. 

Those that are looking for a new home insurance policy in the Pittsburgh, PA area should make sure that they speak with someone that is experienced and can answer all of their questions. A great resource for all of your home insurance questions and advice is Gallina and Sons. The team at Gallina and Sons continues to ensure that you are properly represented when choosing a new policy. They will help you to understand all of your needs and then build a policy accordingly. 

Do I have enough home insurance?

A home insurance policy is a requirement when you finance a home, and it is a good investment when your property is paid off. However, when you bought your home, the policy you picked may not be the best policy for you now. Home improvements and investments in the personal property over time increase your need for insurance. To ensure you have adequate coverage, contact Gallina and Sons serving Pittsburgh, PA. Agents are prepared to review your financial situation, make policy recommendations, and provide quotes for the coverage you need.

What should I expect from a home insurance policy? 

Invest in a homeowner’s policy that is capable of rebuilding your home if it is damaged and replacing your personal possessions. It should also provide the funds needed for temporary quarters while your home is repaired or rebuilt.

Replacement cost or actual cash value?

A replacement cost policy provides the funds to rebuild your home as it was, less your deductible. An actual cash value policy subtracts any property depreciation before you receive your funds. This can mean making compromises in a rebuild or fronting the cash to cover the gap. However, actual cash value policies are more affordable than replacement cost policies, making them attractive to individuals on a tight budget. 

What about my home improvements? 

Whenever you invest in your home — whether it’s a new HVAC system or upgraded kitchen cabinets — you need to adjust your home insurance coverage to incorporate in the added value to your home and the costs of these items. The same applies if you invest in a dining room full of antique furniture or the audio and visual equipment for a home theater room. Contact your agent to discuss changes immediately after your investment. 

Should I up my liability coverage? 

Liability coverage protects you if someone is injured in an accident on your property. If you have any assets you can’t afford to lose, consider upping your liability coverage to the maximum amount your budget allows. 

To learn more about home insurance and the level of coverage you need to protect your investment through the years, contact Gallina and Sons. We serve the Pittsburgh, PA area and are always ready to help.

Winter Problems and Homeowners Insurance

Winter brings snowball fights, glittering icicles, and cozy evenings by a fire. However, winter weather can also bring hazards like frozen and broken pipes, tree limbs that snap because of ice and snow loads, and power outages. Here are some tips about winter weather in Pittsburgh, PA from Gallina and Sons.

Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter Weather

If you haven’t taken reasonable precautions to protect your plumbing, you may not be covered for losses related to frozen pipes and flooding that may occur when the pipes thaw. You can use these tips to help protect your plumbing.

  • Keep your home heated to at least 60 degrees. If you plan to leave town for a few days, turn down your heat, but don’t turn off your heat. A cold snap could cause your plumbing to freeze if your home is left unheated.
  • Disconnect outdoor garden hoses, drain the hoses and store them indoors. Cover and insulate the exterior faucets on your home to avoid damage due to freezing. 
  • Check your crawlspace or basement to make sure that winter drafts aren’t making these areas too cold. If they are too cold, use heat tape to keep exposed pipes from freezing.
  • In very cold weather, keep your faucets running at a slow drip. Running water is less likely to freeze in the pipes.

Clear Your Gutters

Ice dams form when chunks of ice prevent the gutters from draining the ice melt from your roof. The water can back up under your shingles and cause roof leaks and structural damage. Keeping gutters clear of leaves and other material can help prevent ice dams.

Have Your Trees Trimmed

Hire a tree trimming company to trim branches that could fall on your home if a heavy snowfall or ice storm occurs. You don’t want overhanging limbs to fall on your home and damage it. 

Clear Sidewalks, Porches, and Steps of Ice and Snow

While your homeowner’s insurance may cover the injuries of people who fall on your property, keeping walkways clear is always best. Shovel, salt, and scrape your walkways to keep yourself and visitors safe. 


If you have a claim due to winter weather, call your insurance agent to get the process started. Take pictures of the damage, and don’t make permanent repairs until the insurance adjustor can take a look at your problem. You can do temporary repairs to prevent further damage to the home while waiting on the claim to be processed.

If you have questions about homeowner’s insurance in the Pittsburgh, PA area, contact Gallina and Sons today. 

Home Insurance and the Properties that Can Be Covered

 Home insurance is something that is required for many homeowners and that can help to truly protect your home. There are some properties, though you may live in them, that do not qualify for home insurance policies and knowing what can be insured is a great help. For those in the Pittsburgh, PA area, the agents with Gallina and Sons can help you find the policy that works best for you.

For the most part, the basic underlying principle that qualifies a property to be insured as a home is that it is legally considered a place of residence. This means that you cannot insure something like a warehouse on a home policy, you cannot insure an RV on a home policy, you cannot insure just a shed on a home policy, and so on. There needs to be something that legally considered a residential structure.

Even if you live in a warehouse, unless it has been rezoned as a residential property and has been outfitted with living quarters that follow regulations, you cannot insure it on a home policy. Now, there are some loopholes, if you have a property that is being insured as a home with a homeowner’s policy and there happens to be a non-residential structure on the property, you can insure it along with the home. You can also insure things like the contents of your garage, the contents of the home, and other items that are on the property that is insured even if you do not live in them.

With any insurance policy, it is always best to take the time to talk with an agent to determine what can be insured and to consider other types of insurance to help protect your possessions. For those in the Pittsburgh, PA area, the agents with Gallina and Sons can help.

Take the Time to Get Your Home Ready for Winter During the Summer

During the summer months, you may be enjoying the sunshine. The last thing on your mind may be winter. But, during the summer, it is easier to prepare your home and get it ready for winter. At Gallina and Sons, serving Pittsburgh, PA, we want to remind you that your homeowner’s insurance policy requires you to properly maintain and care for your home. Here are a few of the things you can do during the summer months to help maintain your home and get it ready for winter. 

Trim Back Your Trees

During the summer months, take the time to examine your trees for any damage or disease. Also, take the time to trim back your trees and cut away dead or damaged limbs. This can prevent a limb from unexpectedly falling and hitting your home or a car. 

Repair Cracks in Your Concrete and Asphalt Surfaces

The summer months are also a great time to repair cracks in your concrete or asphalt surfaces, such as your driveway, patio or walkways. This can help to prevent someone from tripping or slipping. 

Have Your Roof Inspected and Repaired

Lastly, have your roof inspected and have repairs done. This can prevent an unexpected leak during the winter months. Also, making repairs is harder in the winter months due to the icy conditions and cold temperatures. Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to have roof repairs completed. 

Preparing your home for winter can help to decrease the chances of unexpected events happening, such as roof leaks or someone slipping and falling on your property. Unfortunately, though, you cannot stop every unexpected event from happening. This is why having a great home insurance policy is so important. If you are in the market for your first homeowner’s insurance policy or you want to purchase a new one to protect your home in the greater Pittsburgh, PA area, turn to Gallina and Sons. Contact us today and let us help you. 

Insuring the Place You Call Home

When we think of "home insurance" or protecting our home, we normally see the typical three bedrooms, one and a half bath house with attached garage. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what the size of your home is or where you call home, insurance is an investment in a home. 

Insurance for Any Size and Every Home

Home insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all design. Instead, like our friends and neighbors in Pittsburgh, PA, and the surrounding areas, home insurance is tailored to fit your home, no matter what size or where it is you call home. That includes renters insurance, for those who haven’t yet bought a house, but we realize that this is more than a place or apartment, this is home.

Like anyone who has a residence, you don’t have to own your home to have years of valuable, keepsakes and basic household items from electronics to furniture. The worry, the headache and the financial burden of replacing lost items can be daunting. Regardless of the size or location of the place we call home. Gallina and Sons have dealt with finding the right policy for the multi-million dollar homes and for those who lease and rent.

Insuring the Place You Call Home

The residents of Pittsburgh, PA trust the professionals at Gallina and Sons, to take the time to listen, find an insurance plan that fits your life, your budget, and your home. If you are looking for home insurance, wanting to compare rates or would like to learn more about home insurance and renter insurance options, contact us today. Keeping the place you call home protected is a decision that will offer you peace of mind and really help when you need it, wherever home is.

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Spring Thaw Flooding?

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover flooding due to the spring thawing of snow and ice. In order to be protected, you need to purchase a separate flood insurance rider to add to your policy from Gallina and Sons.

How to Prepare for Possible Spring Thaw Flooding

Every spring has homeowner’s in Pittsburgh, PA worrying about the spring thaw and possible flooding of their homes. The winters seem to be lasting longer with more ice and snow each year. When the temperatures warm, the ice and snow melt and create much more water than usual around your home, especially if you have a basement. 

How to Protect Your Home from Spring Flooding

Your first area of defense in preparation is to clean the debris from all of your rain gutters twice a year in the spring and fall. This keeps them clean so that they don’t overflow. You should also check all of your gutter connections to make sure they are watertight and do not leak. The drainage system on the ground should be far enough from your home to the downspout, so the water is diverted away from your house. A good rule of thumb is for the downspouts to empty at least 10 feet away from your foundation.

Your landscaping around your foundation can help to divert melted snow and ice naturally. Make certain that the ground slopes away from your foundation and basement so that water can run off and away from your home. Another good tip is not to shovel snow near your foundation, or you will only make matters worse when it melts.

In Pittsburgh, PA, it is a good idea to enlist the help of a humidifier plus a deicer in your basement. Your basement can harbor musty odors, mold, rust and sweating pipes, and humidity. Controlling the humidity levels and keeping your basement dry will help to control all of the smells in your basement. 

Check all of your plumbing pipes and make sure they are well insulated before the first freeze approaches. Any leaks should be repaired quickly so as not to cause water or flood damages to your home. 

We at Gallina and Sons are here to help you navigate the waters of flood insurance so that your home, as one of your most significant assets, is protected fully. You can contact us by phone or in person to learn more about flood insurance on your homeowner’s policy.

Remodeling Your Home? Why You Should Take a Look at Your Current Home Insurance Policy

As you prepare to remodel your home, it is important to take the time to glance at your home insurance policy, and even consider making changes to the policy, if needed. Here at Gallina and Sons, serving the greater Pittsburgh, PA area, we would like to let you know why it is essential to do so. Here is why you will want to take a look at your current home insurance policy when you are remodeling your home. 

What to look for?

When you are remodeling your home, odds are, you are using materials that are of higher cost than what is already in your home. In the event of a fire, flood or other incidents that are covered by your home insurance, your home insurance company will pay to replace the materials that were damaged, as long as you have enough coverage. Unfortunately, many people do not think about increasing their coverage level after a remodel, and as such, they may not have enough coverage to pay for these higher costs. They only receive what their maximum coverage level is, and that may not be enough to get your home back to its pre-existing condition. This is why it is so important to take a look at your policy when remodeling your home. 

If you have taken a look at your policy and have come to the conclusion that it no longer meets your needs, it may be time to get a new one. At Gallina and Sons, serving the greater Pittsburgh, PA area, we can help you find the right coverage levels and policies for your needs. Give us a call now to get started.