Bill Sparks 2023William M. Sparks   1945 - 2023

My father, William (Bill) Sparks, passed away sadly but comfortably  Sunday morning, surrounded by his family. He was a kind and loving man with a heart of gold.  There are so many who loved him and will feel this loss –  in the business world and far beyond.  He would say thank you to all of his small-business customer for their support, and he would wish everyone peace and happiness. I have run the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency for many years now, and I will continue to run it just as my father did and as he would want me to do.  On behalf of my family, I thank you all for your kind words, well wishes and support at this time.   --- Danielle Sparks

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Items filtered by date: January 2023

Monday, 30 January 2023 09:09

Is it Time to Winter Proof Your Home

Many winter-related disasters can be prevented if you take a few simple steps to protect your home from freezing temperatures, snow and wind. If you have not winter-proofed your home yet, the time is now.

The Insurance Information Institute warns that more than 10 percent of all catastrophic losses are the result of winter storms. They offer the following tips:

Winter Proofing the Outside your Home

  • Clean out gutters. Remove leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters, so melting snow and ice can flow freely. This can prevent ice damming – a condition where water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house causing water to drip from the ceiling and walls.
  • Install gutter guards. Available in most hardware and home stores, “gutter guards” prevent debris from entering the gutter and interfering with the flow of water away from the house and into the ground.
  • Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice, snow and wind could cause weak trees or branches to break – damaging your home or car, as well as injuring someone walking on your property.
  • Repair steps and handrails. This may prevent someone from falling and seriously being injured. Broken stairs and banisters can become lethal when covered with snow and ice.
  • Seal cracks in holes in outside walls and foundations. Use caulking to protect water pipes and make sure that skylights and other roof openings have proper weather stripping to prevent snowmelt from seeping in.

Winter Proofing the Inside your Home

  • Keep the house warm. Set the thermostat for at least 65 degrees, since the temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are located, is substantially colder - a lower temperature will not keep the pipes from freezing.
  • Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. If too much heat escapes through the attic, it can cause snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water can then re-freeze, causing more snow and ice to build up. This can result in a collapsed roof, and can contribute to ice damming. Ideally, the attic should be five to ten degrees warmer than the outside air. Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces will also help protect pipes from freezing. You may also consider insulating unfinished rooms such as garages to keep pipes from freezing.
  • Have the heating system serviced. Furnaces, boilers and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage.
  • Check pipes. Look closely for cracks and leaks and have the pipes repaired immediately. Wrap exposed pipes with heating tape.
  • Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will protect them against increased pressures caused by freezing pipes and can help prevent your pipes from bursting.
  • Make sure that smoke and fire alarms are working properly. Residential fires increase in the winter, so it is important to protect your family with working alarm systems. Also, consider installing a carbon dioxide detector, since a well sealed home can trap this toxic gas.
  • Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located. If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence. The quicker you can shut off the water or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.
  • Hire a licensed contractor to look for structural damage. If damage is discovered, have it repaired now rather than waiting for a problem to occur. Also, ask about ways to prevent water damage due to snow-related flooding. Plastic coatings for internal basement walls, sump pumps and other methods can prevent flood damage to your home and belongings.

Planning a Winter Vacation? 

  • If you are going to be away for an extended period, take special care.
  • Turn the water off and/or have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting.
  • Arrange for someone to check your home on a regular basis so that, if there’s a problem, it can be fixed quickly to minimize any damage.

Don't Forget to Check Your Home Insurance

If you have not recently done so, be sure to check with your insurance agent to be sure that your Homeowners Insurance coverage is as complete as possible and that you're still receiving the best rate available.  It's too late to do so after winter weather damage occurs. 


Friday, 20 January 2023 16:43

New Year -- What Now?

new years resolutions scrabbleWhether you have made New Years Resolutions to improve your personal or business life, a few tips and tools from the experts might help to make this the year that you reach the goals you aspire to.

Are you one of the 45% or so of American adults that make New Year’s resolutions each year? How does that work out for you? Do you stick to them, or do you tend to lose your resolve as over half do after the first month? Regardless of whether you have met your goals in the past, it’s a good idea to keep trying. The folks at tell us that those who make explicit resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals in life than those who don’t make such resolutions.

Keep Resolutions Clearly in Mind

An unforgettable way to visualize your goals is with a Vision Board. Learn more about creating and using your own vision board here. 

Make Those Resolutions Meaningful advises not to make “cheap resolutions” but to focus on only one or two goals that you really want to reach and forget about what other people want you to accomplish. They also suggest automating your efforts to let your technology help to keep you accountable.

Take it Easy on Yourself

How about trying “mini-resolutions” – taking small bites of a big goal to assure success. 

Insurance Tip:  Don't Guess at Your Coverage

No matter what you resolve to change this year, plan to sit down with your insurance agent to review your policies and discuss any new insurance needs. Whether it is auto, home, life or business insurance, knowing that you have the best coverage in place to meet your needs gives you the peace of mind you need to pursue all other resolutions.

Here at the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency, our experienced agents are ready to help you consider your insurance options so you can make the right decisions. Why not arrange a policy review or contact our office at your convenience?

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