Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why use a Property Management Company?

Get a discount for using a PMC.
       Rental property is a big investment, and you want your investment to be profitable. That’s why during certain situations it may be in your best interest to hire a Property Management Company (PMC) to manage your rental property. A PMC might be helpful in the following scenarios: if you live a significant distance from your rental, if you have several properties, or if you’d simply like to enjoy the rewards of owning investment property without the headaches of managing it.
Property Management Companies can act as a liaison between you and your tenant. They generally stay current with rental laws and requirements, minimizing the chances you’ll be liable for an unexpected situation.
Specifically, property managers handle duties including:

   Tenant screening and background checks
   Rent collection
   Legal proceedings and eviction coordination
   Round-the-clock emergency service
   Preventive maintenance programs

Does your insurance carrier support your decision to use a Property Management Company?
As part of their commitment to professional landlords, Horizon offers a discount for landlords who use a Property Management Company.

Not sure what your policy provides?
Call me to discuss your coverage and find out more about the Horizon Landlord program.
Product availability is based on authority and all products may not be available in all areas.

This does not constitute legal advice. For a complete list of the specific landlord and tenant laws in your state visit www.landlordassociation.org/statelaws.html, or for legal advice, speak with a real estate attorney.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Water Damage Safety Tips for Homeowners: How to Prevent Costly Leaks

Stop leaks before they start.
       How to prevent costly leaks
Water damage – whether caused by leaks or condensation – can do more than cause unsightly stains in your home.
It can cause permanent structural damage to the home and erode its strength.
When damage is from poor or infrequent maintenance, neglect or general deterioration, water damage isn’t
covered by your insurance policy. But proper home maintenance can help you prevent messy and costly repairs to
your home. Defend your home by stopping that leak before it starts.

Start with the roof
• Check your roof once a year. To avoid damage, keep your weight directly on the rafters. If you have a bowstring or low-pitch rafter, place a plywood sheet across the rafter so you can distribute your weight evenly.
• Check for corrosion or deterioration of your roof; wind or hail damage; improper installation of vents, flues, chimneys, air conditioners, etc.
• Inspect your roof for punctures or cracks. Clean any you find and apply a compatible patching compound or sealant.
• Clean and inspect rain gutters and downspouts for leaks or holes. Remove dirt, leaves, branches and any other debris on your roof or gutter.
• Seal manufactured home metal roofs with a good roof coating at least every other year – or more often in damp or warmer climates. Apply around all vents and seams, coating along the drip edge of the roof. Cover all exposed screw heads, fasteners and other areas susceptible to leaking.
• Look for and repair loose, damaged or missing shingles, vent caps, raised nail heads and anything else in disrepair.

Check your home’s exterior
• Inspect outside walls, doors and windows each spring and fall for unusual wear or tear. Water and moisture can penetrate these common areas if they’re not maintained regularly.
• Repair or replace caulk, weather stripping, glazing, window seals, door seals or any other exterior area damaged by use, abuse or normal weathering.
• Examine your exterior siding and replace any missing or damaged fasteners or screws. Repair or replace punctured siding.
• Remember to look under your manufactured home for a sagging, torn or water-spotted bottom barrier. This can indicate leaks as well as poor or damaged insulation, which may cause water lines to freeze and break.
• Check your home’s pneumatic storm door closer and safety chain. If these are loose or not working properly, the storm door may blow open and let water in.

Horizon Insurance has specialty insurance products.
Not only can you trust safety information from Horizon, but you can trust our broad insurance policies that give you the coverage you want.

Contact your local Horizon agent today for a policy that gives you more!

Choose Horizon
Check out our other insurance programs at HorizonIncome.com for Manufactured Homes,
Specialty Homeowners including Landlord, Vacant and Rental Properties, Motorcycles, Off-Road Vehicles, Motor Homes, Travel Trailers, Boats, Personal Watercraft and Collectible Autos.


Water Damage Safety Tips
for Homeowners
Not all products available in all areas.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Loss Prevention Guidelines for Landlords

Call Horizon for insurance.

    Being a landlord isn’t always easy. Problems with tenants can result in loss of time and money as well as unnecessary hassles. If you don’t want to deal with rent collection, maintenance and tenant screening, consider using a Property Management Company to manage your rental properties. However, if you do handle things on your own, the following guidelines may help ensure a good relationship with your tenants, maintain your rental home and make your life as a landlord much easier.

   Tenant Screening

·         Check references. Request at least three references (preferably previous landlords) and take the time to follow up on them.

·         Keep records. To protect your interests and the interests of your tenants, document everything in writing and keep the paperwork throughout the entire rental agreement.

·         Run a credit check. It’s always wise to check an applicant’s income, employment and credit history to verify they can afford to pay rent each month. However, make sure you obtain your prospective tenant’s written consent before doing so.

·         Prepare a clearly-defined lease. Develop an appropriate set of rules and have them reviewed by a real estate attorney. Provide all prospective tenants with a copy of the rules and have them initial each page and sign an acknowledgement.

Important information to consider in a lease agreement

Be sure your lease agreement outlines the specific obligations of each party and is written clearly enough for the tenant to understand what they must or must not do. Standard items to consider include:

·         Rent. Be specific about when the rent is due and when it’s considered late.

·         Deposit information. Outline the amount of deposit required and what circumstances may result in a loss of deposit money.

·         Prohibited activities. Create a concise list of the types of activities you will not allow, such as grilling on porches or decks, use of portable space heaters, renovations or remodeling without landlord consent.

·         Maintenance and repairs. Document who is responsible for routine maintenance and repairs and provide the amount of time you will be allowed to respond to requests.

·         Responsibility for utilities and waste removal. Clearly define who is responsible for each utility and service.

·         Your right of entry to the premises. It’s a good idea to include circumstances in which you have the right to enter.

·         Pet restrictions and policies. Specifically list any pets or breeds you will not allow in addition to any regulations that need to be followed.

·         What stays and what goes when the tenant vacates. If your home provides any removable items, be sure to note that they need to stay in the home when the tenant leaves.

·         Length of notice to vacate. Provide how many days notice you will need when a tenant decides to move out.

·         Renter’s insurance policy. Require that your tenant have an insurance policy in the event of a fire, theft or liability issue.

Product availability is based on authority and all products may not be available in all areas.

This does not constitute legal advice. For a complete list of the specific landlord and tenant laws in your state visit www.landlordassociation.org/statelaws.html, or for legal advice, speak with a real estate attorney.

For more information visit us at:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to Determine if You Need Flood Coverage

Are you covered for flood damage?

Too many people assume that if their home is not in a flood zone, their homeowners’ policy will pick up the tab if flood damage occurs. This is not the case. In fact, most standard homeowner policies don’t include flood coverage. So how do you determine whether you need it?

For a preliminary assessment, go to www.floodsmart.gov  and enter your address information in the flood risk profile. The level of risk is determined by your property's location on your community's flood map.

The lower the degree of risk, the lower the flood insurance premium.

However, keep in mind it doesn’t always take a coastal disaster or being in a high risk zone to bring flood damage your way. Excessive rain, poor drainage systems, broken water mains and rapid snowmelt could all lead to flooding. In fact, according to the National Flood Insurance Program, nearly 25% of flood insurance claims come from moderate to low risk areas. Therefore, even if your home is not in a high risk location, you may still want to consider purchasing flood insurance as a precaution.

Horizon can help.

If you choose to purchase your National Flood Insurance Program policy through Horizon, I can help
make sure that your home and its contents have the coverage you want in the event of a flood.

Not sure what your policy provides?

Call me to discuss your coverage and find out more about a flood policy through Horizon. Or, for more information on flood coverage, visit the following websites:

For more information on our products, please visit:


Product availability is based on authority and all products may not be available in all areas.

This does not constitute legal advice. For a complete list of the specific landlord and tenant laws in your state visit

www.landlordassociation.org/statelaws.html, or for legal advice, speak with a real estate attorney.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Water Damage Safety Tips for Homeowners

Protect your property in an emergency

What to do in an emergency


    If you discover a build-up of water on the floor, find standing water in your home or experience severe, sudden and accidental water damage, take steps to begin ventilating and drying out your home immediately. Here are some precautions to start with until help arrives:

Shut off the water source, if possible.

Protect your property from further damage with temporary, reasonable and necessary repairs, like

plywood or plastic covers over roof or wall openings. Move household items to an undamaged area of
your home or cover them with plastic.

Mop, blot up or wet vac as much water as possible.

Don’t leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpeting.

Remove oriental or other colored throw rugs from wet wall-to-wall carpeting. Remove the pad from
under saturated carpets.

Place wood blocks or aluminum foil between furniture legs and wet carpeting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture.

Open drawers and cabinets to aid in faster drying.

Open windows to speed drying. Turn on the air conditioner or fans for maximum drying in hot weather.

Make small holes in sagging ceilings to drain trapped water, using a pan or bucket below to catch the
water. Never turn on a ceiling fixture if the ceiling is wet!

Replace any wet insulation with new, dry insulation.

Treat minor mold growths quickly with a solution of one cup chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.

Leave this solution on the mold for approximately 15 minutes to kill the mold spores. Wipe away the
debris with a disposable cloth and discard it. Thoroughly dry the area where you applied the bleach
and water.

Make sure flooring and carpets are dry before starting any repairs or making replacements.

Hire a professional to clean and re-lay your carpet after the carpet pad has been replaced.

If you discover mold in the areas you are cleaning, consider calling in a professional cleaning firm.

There is speculation that some mold may lead to health problems.

For further information on this and many other topics regarding your personal or business property, please call or visit us online at:  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sept. 11 is Grandparents Day and Patriot Day

On Sept.11 fly flags at half-staff

   Wondering what to do this Sept. 11?

   Why not spend it visiting your grandparents, or an elder person who may appreciate having company. Here are some ideas for things to do this Sept.11, 2011 along with a reprint of some great information from The Joe Foss Institute.

Visit your grandparents, or take your kids to visit their grandparents. Take them out to lunch, then attend a memorial or lay flowers for a Veteran for Patriot Day. Don't forget to fly your flag at half staff.

Here's a reprint from The Joe Foss Institute:

Patriot Day

Patriot Day takes place on September 11th each year in order to remember those killed in the attacks on the US, by a group of terrorists who were able to hijack and take control of four commercial airliners in 2001. Two of those planes struck the World Trade Center and one struck the Pentagon.

The fourth plane was intended to collide with either the White House or the Capitol Building; however, a group of heroic passengers on that flight were able to overpower the hijackers and the plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, PA. Sadly, there were no survivors from any of the four planes and a total of approximately 3,000 lives were lost that day.

On October 25th, 2001, Congress voted unanimously for President George Bush to designate September 11th as Patriot Day as a result of the immense sadness this day carries with it. On September 4th, 2002, President Bush officially proclaimed September 11th Patriot Day.

As a discretionary holiday, it is nationally accepted that all American flags should be flown at half-staff; especially the flags that decorate the White House and US government buildings both home and abroad. The President also requested that a moment of silence be observed on this day at 8:46am, the time at which the first plane hit the North tower of the World Trade Center.

Patriot Day Activities

To help foster an appreciation for the sacrifices of Americans who bravely lost their lives on September 11th, here are a few suggestions for Patriot Day school activities.

  • Sing The National Anthem: There is no greater way to show your patriotism than to sing the national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner. Teach your students the words to the Star Spangled Banner and then have them sing it prior to beginning any of the other activities listed here, much like what is done at a sporting event. Click here to see why the National Anthem is Important.
  • Create Cards For Local Firefighters And Policemen: Unless you reside in New York or Washington D.C., the members of your local firefighting and/or police departments were not directly involved with the September 11th attacks. However, because all firefighters and policemen refer to each other as brethren, sharing your gratitude for the services your local departments have rendered will still make a difference to the recipients.
  • Fly Your Flag At Half-Staff – Allow your children or students to help you fly the flag and explain to them that the purpose of flying your flag at half-staff is to illustrate respect and/or mourning.
  • Observe A Moment Of Silence – This does not necessarily have to take place at the aforementioned 8:46am, but it would show students how a tragic day in American history is typically observed.
  • September 11th Lesson Plans – Although there are few lesson plans that encompass this dismal day, there are things that children can do that may increase their capacity of understanding of what happened in 2001. A few suggestions include Q & A, giving a brief lecture on the events of that day, and having the students write a letter to a student 50 years in the future explaining what they have learned about the holiday. Click here to see more Patriotic school activities.

Patriot Day Activities Beyond The Classroom

Another Patriot Day school activity that you can partake in is to have your children actual speak to a veteran of a US war. You can do this through The Joe Foss Intstitute's VIP (Veterans Inspiring Patriotism) Program.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Do You Really Understand Your Insurance Policy?

Horizon offers the best policies.


   Most everyone has some type of insurance policy containing the terms below. Familiarize yourself with each section.

   The common sections of most policies include the following:


  Declarations. The Declarations Page is basically the first page(s) of the policy package. It “declares” who the insured is and what time period the policy covers. It also provides general information including address, description of what’s insured, coverages and limits.
·       Definitions. This section defines certain keywords in an insurance contract. It’s important to read these definitions, because your personal definition of a certain word may be different from the policy’s definition. If you still come across wording you don’t understand, log on to the Insurance Information Institutes site at www2.iii.org/glossary.
·       Coverages. The coverage area describes the specific insurance provided by listing what property is covered and for what perils. Many insurance contracts provide comprehensive coverage, meaning everything is covered unless it’s specifically listed as excluded. Be sure to read this section carefully so you know whether your policy is listing a peril as covered or not covered.
·       Exclusions. The exclusion portion describes what coverage limits exist or how coverage may not apply depending on how the loss occurs.
·       Limits and special limits. This section explains how much the insurer pays for particular losses or types of property. So, while something is covered, it may only be covered for a specific dollar amount or for a limited percentage of the entire loss.
·       Conditions. This area basically lists the ground rules of your policy. It tells you what the insurer’s responsibilities are, and what your responsibilities are as the customer. This includes information on how to cancel your policy and subrogation.
·       Endorsements. Endorsements are optional coverages you can add to a standard policy.

Horizon offers policies to provide the coverages you want.
Not everybody insures vacant, landlord and rental property, but Horizon does. Horizon provides specialized coverage with a program that can be easily customized.

Still not sure what your policy provides? Call me to discuss your coverage and find out how to get a flexible package from Horizon. (866) 479-2777

Get a free quote online at: http://horizonincome.com/quote+home.html

More information can be found at:



Friday, August 19, 2011

Horizon Income Summer Contest "What I Did This Summer!"

   It's been a great summer for car shows, day trips, and longer road trips. Now that summer is winding down, and everyone is getting ready for back to school, we thought it would be great to hear what you did this summer. So, it's time for our summer contest, "What I Did This Summer!".  Tell us what you did this summer. Earn extra points if it involved your car, and extra extra points if you post a picture to share.  Our winner will earn a Horizon Income trucker hat, and a surprise gift!  Since every great contest has rules, here are ours:

No purchase necessary to enter
Contest runs until September 30, 2011
Winners contacted via email
Once notified, winners are responsible for providing their contatct information.
Postal address must be provided within two weeks of notification
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, Facebook,Blogger, or Twitter. You understand that you are giving your information to Horizon Income and not to Facebook, Blogger, or Twitter.

As a bonus, a lucky person who friends us on Facebook between now and September 30, 2011 will get a surprise gift.

Here are pictures of some awesome cars we saw this summer.

For a quote on your Classic Auto, or any auto please visit us at

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Revving Up

Reprint from ksbw.com

Every year, on the third Sunday of August, 200 of the most rare and priceless cars and motorcycles in the world roll cruise onto the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach. Tire meets turf for one of the most competitive events in the automotive world: The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Car enthusiast enjoy wandering among exquisitely restored cars with Pebble Beach's coastline as a backdrop. Concours automobiles and motorcycles are judged based on their historical accuracy, technical merit and style from the grand prize, Best In Show.
PHOTOS: 2011 Monterey Auto Week 
The 2011 featured marques and special classes include: Mercedes-Benz and 125 Years of the Automobile, Stutz Centennial, Ferrari 250 GTO, Edwardian Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts and Italian Motorcycles.

During the week leading up to Sunday's competition, innovative concepts and new cars are unveiled for the first time, antique cars with multimillion dollar price tags are auctioned off, and glistening one-of-a-kind automobiles are paraded around town.

Gordon McCall's Motorworks Revival at the Monterey Jet Center
Gordon McCall's Motorworks Revival at the Monterey Jet Center is one of the most exclusive lifestyle events of its kind in the country. The one night event privately kicks off the World-Class automobile week held each August on the Monterey Peninsula. With an "A-List" of VIP guests from Hollywood celebrities to Captains of Industry, this "Jet Set" crowd arrives in first-class style, to feast on the latest offerings from some of the world's top luxury brands in a relaxed and elegant party setting.

Pebble Beach Tour D'Elegance Presented By Rolex
The Pebble Beach Tour D'Elegance is open to all entrants in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Spectators are invited to view the tour at key points along the route, particularly along Ocean Avenue in Carmel. Admission is free. Schedule: 7-8 a.m. cars line up near Collins Field in Pebble Beach, 8:30 a.m. tour departs, tracing portions of 17-Mile Drive and nearby scenic roads, 11:30 a.m.-noon tour arrives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, noon-2 p.m. cars are displayed on Ocean Avenue, 2-2:30 p.m. tour returns to Pebble Beach.

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering
Held at the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club at 8205 Valley Greens Dr. in Carmel, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. "The Quail provides an unequalled lifestyle experience that combines landmark automobiles, a culinary presentation able to please the most demanding palate, a setting contrasting rolling green lawns and rugged mountain peaks and the renewing of old friendships and the making of new ones in an incomparable atmosphere of serenity, luxury and exclusivity."
RM Monterey

Automobilia Monterey 9th Annual International Expo
"The largest automobilia show in America, and the only time during Concours/Race Week to find these top international dealers in a single venue." Admission is $15 and it runs from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. at the ballroom of the Embassy Suites hotel in Monterey.

Pebble Beach Auction presented by Gooding & Company
Held at 5 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, within the Pebble Beach grounds at the corner of Portola Road and Stevenson Drive. "Gooding & Company is recognized the world over as a leading exotic and rare car auction house specializing in the finest antique, classic, sports and racing cars. We have consistently achieved record-breaking results including the highest exotic car sales."

Monday, August 8, 2011

United States Starts Hosting America's Cup Races Begining in 2012

Are you as excited as we are to learn that America's Cup will be hosted here in the U.S. for the first time since 1995?  As boating enthusiasts, us folks here at Horizon Income are beyond ourselves with joy! There is no more beautiful place on this earth to view the magnificent boats than on San Francisco Bay. Book your hotels early!  Here's a reprint of the Golden Gate Yacht Club press release to give you a little more info.  And if you need a quote on your boat insurance don't forget to check us out first at http://horizonincome.com/boat+insurance.html

2013 America's Cup in San FranciscoPress Release
San Francisco, December 31, 2010
California here we come.
Image: 2011 Gilles Martin-Raget/americascup.com
Competition for oldest trophy in international sport once again returns to American waters.
San Francisco has been selected as the host venue for the 34th America's Cup. An official celebration event will be hosted in San Francisco on January 5th, event location details to be announced.
"We sought a venue that fulfills our promise to showcase the best sailors in the world competing on the fastest boats," said Richard Worth, Chairman, America's Cup Event Authority. "And hosting the America's Cup in San Francisco will realize that promise."
"We thank Mayor Newsom, Board President Chiu, Supervisor Mirkarimi and all of the Board of Supervisors, the staff at City Hall and the Port Authority, Mark Buell and San Francisco America's Cup Organizing Committee, and all who have worked so diligently on securing the bid," Worth continued. "We look forward to working closely with City of San Francisco over the coming months to create a world-class America's Cup event, and a large and lasting beneficial impact on the City."
The world-famous San Francisco Bay will be home to the 2013 America's Cup Finals and the Challenger Selection Series for the Louis Vuitton Cup, as well as an America's Cup World Series event in 2012. This will be the first time the America's Cup has been hosted in the United States since 1995.
"Today is one of great celebration, with San Francisco winning the right to host the America's Cup, and all of the economic benefit, jobs and excitement that comes with it," said Mayor Gavin Newsom. "San Francisco is the best place on Earth to host an event of this stature, and we could not be more proud to be the city that brings the America's Cup back home to the United States."
Independent studies show that the America's Cup delivers the third largest economic impact in sport to host countries, behind the Olympic Games and soccer's World Cup. The 34th America's Cup is projected to pump an estimated $1.4 billion dollars into the San Francisco region.
"As a native San Franciscan, I grew up sailing in front of the City. Racing for the America's Cup in San Francisco is something I have dreamt of my whole life," said Paul Cayard, CEO of Sweden's Artemis Racing, a challenger for the 34th America's Cup. "By hosting sailing's most important event in the Bay, the world will see sailing as it never has before. As a team, Artemis Racing is particularly looking forward to competing in San Francisco."
Racing will be held on the iconic San Francisco Cityfront and be visible from world-renown tourist destinations such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, Crissy Field, the Embarcadero and Fisherman's Wharf. An influx of millions of tourists is expected for the Challenger Series for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup Finals in late 2013.
"My support for San Francisco hosting the America's Cup goes beyond the opportunity to see our team competing on home waters," said Russell Coutts, CEO, Oracle Racing, the current America's Cup defending team. "We are excited to sail for our sport's greatest trophy, on a stretch of water legendary among sailors worldwide."
The Race Village will be constructed on Piers 19 and 29, with the team bases at and around Pier 30/32. As part of the plan, the America's Cup Event Authority will redevelop these piers as well as the surrounding infrastructure to support the racing, while rehabilitating the piers for the enjoyment of generations of San Franciscans to come.
With a goal of creating the most dynamic America's Cup in history for fans and participants, changes have been introduced to the 34th edition. Enhancements include the introduction of groundbreaking new 72' wing-sailed catamarans capable of speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour, new race formats and rules, and a transformed media and online broadcasting approach to enable an interactive viewer experience.
In the summer of 2011, America's Cup teams will commence racing in the new America's Cup World Series in the new wing-sailed AC45 catamaran. The America's Cup World Series calendar of events will be published in early 2011.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Taking Care of Your Boat Engine


 Engine Exhaust Manifolds

   Marine engine exhaust manifolds and risers must be inspected and replaced regularly or they can fail and cause catastrophic damage to the power plant. Risers and manifolds are the part of the engine that allows exhaust gases and cooling water to be discharged from the system during operation.

   Manifolds and risers are water-jacketed, which means the water chamber is separated from the gas section by a dividing wall. Over time, hot exhaust gases and raw cooling water, especially salt water, corrode the chamber allowing the water to enter the dry side of the part. When this happens, the water can fill the engine, causing all kinds of damage that can put the engine out of commission permanently. The failure often occurs when the engine is running, which means the misdirected water enters the cylinders when the pistons are moving. Because water does not compress, the connecting rods, push rods, and engine block end up distorting and breaking. Sometimes the damage is so severe that the block is not even suitable as a core for rebuilding. To prevent damage of this magnitude, many manufacturers recommend replacing risers every three years and manifolds every five years. Although changing these parts this often may be may be questionable, inspecting them often is not.

   One telltale sign of impending failure is rust around the manifold to riser joint. This joint will often leak during operation, because the water passages are partially obstructed and cannot handle the volume of water that is pumped through the engine. Another sign of a failing riser is an engine that overheats. Many boat owners spend a lot of time and money replacing water pumps, exchangers, and thermostats only to find that their engines still overheat. A competent marine repair facility can pressure test manifolds and risers to check for leaks. Visual inspection is also valuable.

   If you take good care of your manifolds and risers, you’ll save money, and maybe even your boat, in the long run.

   For more information go to http://horizonincome.com/boat+insurance.html 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Helpful Tips for Long Motorcycle Trips

Plan a motorcycle trip this summer.
   When it comes to traveling the highways and byways on a motorcycle, it is often said that the joy is not in the final destination, but in the journey. Seeing the country on a motorcycle should be all about freedom, exhilaration, the open road...but there are things that could happen that could turn your wonderful adventure into a nightmare.

Remember that handling a bike takes more skill and awareness than operating a car. You need to think of balance, maneuvering, the possibility of inclement weather conditions and maintaining your stamina. Experience is the best teacher, but here are a few good tips to help you feel better prepared to go on that long journey.

·       Know your limits: If you don’t have experience taking long rides, plan your trip to allow for an adequate number of stops. Put in longer days on the front end of the trip as they are probably going to be the days you feel the best and have the most stamina. Keep a close check on how you feel. If there’s any breakdown in your attention, you are putting yourself and others in danger.

·       Don’t rely on caffeine to keep you awake: If you’re feeling tired, you need to stop. Operating a motorcycle when your senses are less than one hundred percent is hazardous.

·       Prepare your bike before the trip: Change the oil and filter, check fork oil levels and fork seals, adjust cables, adjust drive and lube chains, inspect tires, check tire pressure and tighten fasteners. Check all gauges, lights and signals to ensure everything is working properly.

·       Test out any new accessories or gear before the trip: Don’t wait until you’re out on the road to pull that new rain gear out of the package or test out a new helmet only to find it doesn’t fit correctly, is defective or is different than what you thought you bought. 

·       Upgrade your tool kit before heading out: Make sure you have the necessary tools to avoid being stranded on the side of the road if something comes disconnected, or needs to be tightened or replaced. Consult your owner’s manual or shop manual for your bike and see what types of tools are recommended for your model. If the bike comes with a tool kit, examine it and determine if you need more tools. At any rate, always take the tool kit with you on the bike. You should at least carry the following tools with you: screwdrivers (assorted regular and Phillips), pliers, wrenches (Allen, Torx, spark plug, open-end, adjustable, and combination in sizes needed for your model), and Loc-Tite to keep fasteners from loosening or falling off.  Make sure you carry a flat repair kit and know how to use it.
Enjoy the scenery and have fun!

·       Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage with Towing and Roadside Assistance: Although you don’t want to think about bad things happening on your trip, there is peace of mind in knowing that if something goes wrong you have a customized insurance policy to cover it. And if your bike breaks down and can’t be ridden, there is nothing that takes the place of Towing and Roadside Assistance to bring you gas, a battery or to tow your bike to the nearest repair shop. Some companies will even offer Trip Interruption coverage, in the event that your bike can’t be ridden due to a covered collision, to help pay for meals and accommodations if you’re far from home.

·       Pack wisely: Make sure that you are aware of what you’re taking, that you pack light and only bring what you’ll need. Some things are necessary such as clothing, toiletries and rain gear, but limit the amount of things you pack and try to distribute weight evenly. Make sure that you have ways to secure your belongings, whether you take your luggage with you when you stop to eat or pack your valuables in lockable storage areas on your bike. Items that are left unsecured are a target for thieves, even if you’re only going to be away for a minute or two. Make a checklist and go over it a few times to ensure you have everything you need.

·       Eat right: When you’re out on the road, it’s important that you keep your energy and stamina up by eating well and frequently enough. Make sure that you build time for these stops into your travel plans. Carry water with you at all times and stop occasionally to drink and keep yourself hydrated.

·       Dress appropriately: Even in the summer, it can get chilly at night and in higher elevations. Bring along extra layers or an electric vest for warmth. Purchase good quality rain gear and put it on before it starts raining. Once your clothes are wet, you’ll be very uncomfortable with damp clothes on underneath your rain gear. You should also dress to be seen. Make sure your outer layers are bright colors, and a brightly-colored helmet is helpful as well. The better other motorists can see you, the safer you are.

·       Get gas before you need it: Don’t wait too long, otherwise you could end up far from a gas station and in need of fuel. Bring a cell phone along just in case you need to call for Towing and Roadside Assistance.

·       Plan ahead: Spend time each night going over you travel plans for the next day. Get a feel for the route, how long you think you’ll ride and places where you might want to stop.

·       Keep it fun: Remember the reasons you chose to take a long trip on your motorcycle. Enjoy the scenery, use opportunities you get to meet new people and see new things if that was one of your reasons...or enjoy your freedom and time alone if that was your goal.

If you plan ahead and are prepared, long motorcycle trips can be incredibly rewarding, fun and memorable. Following these tips can’t guarantee that nothing will go wrong... the possibility surely exists when you’re dealing with the elements and unfamiliar places. But it will help ensure that you’re prepared for just about any surprises that may occur.

Visit www.HorizonIncome.com and see what Horizon can offer with the Motorcycle program or any of our other specialized programs for off-road vehicles, mobile homes, motor homes, travel trailers, personal watercraft and boats!

For more information go to http://horizonincome.com/motorcycles.html