Personal Property Inventory

November 19, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Posted in Event Planning, Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Safety Tips, Specialty Policy | Leave a comment
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Why is taking inventory of your Personal Property so important?

If your home was destroyed, or a theft occurred, could you compile a complete list of your personal property from memory?  Most people couldn’t; WHY? Maybe because they’d be too devastated by the loss itself to be able to write down all that was destroyed. Or maybe because after a lot of years, it’s hard to keep track of what one owns! Compiling a complete list is something you’d be asked to do at the time of filing your claim.

We know that putting a dollar value on possessions you’ve accumulated over many years is difficult and that only you can decide the extent of your insurance needs. However, if the unthinkable happened, would you have enough coverage for everything?  Your Personal Property Inventory serves two important functions:

  • as a valuable record of your possessions
  • as a way for you to judge the adequacy of your present coverage – do you have enough?

The inventory list should be stored somewhere safe, preferably away from your home. Our suggestion would be to take a video of each room in your home and store that video off premises – a relative’s home, safety deposit box, etc. Then if the worst happened, it would be available at the time you report your loss.

 

Benefits of a Home Inventory

Obtaining a comprehensive home inventory:

  • Ensures you have the necessary amount of insurance coverage.
  • Identifies items—such as jewelry, coins, antiques, artwork, and silverware—that have limited coverage on a home or tenant policy and helps to determine if additional insurance is needed for those items.

The decision can then be made to purchase additional coverage (known as a “rider”) so the items will be insured for their full value. This then…

  • Allows an evaluation on whether to insure your property and contents at “replacement cost” or “actual cash value.” Replacement cost is the amount it takes to replace or repair your home and possessions with materials of similar quality. Actual cash value is a lower amount that consists of replacement cost less depreciation.
  • Verifies the condition of your assets before moving or placing them in storage in case of loss or damage.

So break out your camera and say action!cinematographer marker

Don’t be caught “underinsured” and/or unable to remember what you own. Call us today to discuss your homeowners or renters insurance policy, and find out what you need to ensure you’re protected in case of loss at our toll free number: 888-850-9400.

 

Tenant Coverage

October 29, 2015 at 2:33 PM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Regulations, Renters, Specialty Policy, tenant, tenant policy | Leave a comment
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While renting an apartment, a house or condominium, the dwelling or structure may not be your responsibility but you still have property to protect. The landlord does not carry any coverage on their property policy for you. A tenant policy is also known as HO4 policy, for the tenant who opts to buy coverage to protect their personal property and to obtain personal liability coverage. Most insurance carriers allow coverage as low as $20,000 for personal property and can be purchased for approximately $200 annually. A general guide to determine the amount of coverage needed is to multiply each full room by 10,000 and make necessary adjustments to that figure. Also keep in mind this is a property policy and makes you eligible for the account discount if you also write your auto policy with the same insurance carrier, or with an affiliated company. This policy could respond by replacing your household items, such as clothing and furniture, from loss caused by fire, theft or vandalism.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What if there is a fire in the building? Or if your apartment is vandalized or burglarized?

  • Could you afford to buy your own replacement items?
  • Could you also afford to relocate while building repairs are being made?

The police report will be on file, the fire department will extinguish the fire, but neither will replace your belongings.  If you had purchased a tenant policy in these scenarios, you would need to pay the policy deductible for a covered loss and would be eligible to replace your items up to the limit of coverage you had purchased.

Call us at (888) 850-9400 to obtain the annual rating of this valuable coverage.

It’s That Time of Year to Start Preparing Your Home for Winter

October 22, 2015 at 8:26 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Reminders, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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Beautiful New England foliage is at its peak and the leaves are falling, along with the temperature. Last winter was brutal – who knows what Mother Nature has in store for us this year?? We came up with a list of things for you to consider before winter sets in:

  • Tune Up Time – Snow blowers and generators should be tuned up; check to make sure they’re running correctly.
  • Shovels & Sand– Stock an adequate supply of both.
  • Tree Maintenance – Trim branches away from power lines, your roof and gutters.
  • Heating System & Chimneys – Have these items professionally cleaned before the heating season starts.
  • Clean the Gutters – If your gutters are full of debris, water can back up against the house and damage your roof, siding, and wood trim, and also lead to leaks and ice dams.
  • Inspect Your Roof & Attic– Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may cause leaks, especially if you had icicles hanging off your roof last winter, or even worse, suffered from ice dams. Make sure you take preventative measures to fix any air leaks and ensure you have adequate insulation in your attic. Making sure these things are taken care of will prevent any snow melting and leaking into your attic, causing potential water damage to the inside of your house.
  • Divert Water Spouts– add extensions onto your downspouts to divert water away from your foundation to prevent ground water seepage into your basement.
  • Shut-Off Exterior Water Faucets – Drain water from pipes and hoses to prevent them from freezing and bursting.
  • Space Heaters – Inspect all heating appliances thoroughly before using them. Make sure you’re up-to-date on Space Heater safety.
  • Emergency Supplies – Replace and restock before/after power outages. Include batteries, flashlights, non-perishable food supplies, and blankets.

Checking off this list and being prepared for the winter months will help ensure you have a worry free and claim free season. Please feel free to call us with any questions about your coverage and how to best keep yourself protected at 888.852.8500.

Take Preventive Measures Against Ice Dams Before Winter

September 24, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Reminders, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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With the colder weather approaching, now is the time to start thinking about getting your home ready for the winter; particularly your roof. A roof catches all of the precipitation winter has to offer, and if unprepared, winter can break through its protective barrier and damage your home, using ice dams as its main weapon. Ice dams are a home owner’s nightmare, but taking preventative measures, and educating yourself on how they occur, can help keep your roof secure.

Cycles of warm and cold air closest to the roof are the primary cause of ice dams. Keeping warm air out of your attic, and cold air circulating in, is critical to minimize the warming of the underside of your roof. As a homeowner, there are steps that you can take ahead of time to avoid water damage from ice dams.

  • Insulate the attic floor and put weather stripping around pull-down stairs
  • Increase ventilation in attics by installing eave, soffit, ridge and gable vents
  • Install water and ice shield on the entire roof
  • Install heating coils on the roof

Water damage to the contents in your home resulting from ice dams is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy unless you purchase “All Risk on Contents” coverage. If you do not have this type of coverage, or are unsure if you do and would like to discuss more about insuring your home against ice dams, call us at 1 (800) 850-9400.

Preventative Steps to Avoid Pool Collapse

September 10, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Home, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Reminders, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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Even though the warmer temperature outside is breaking records, the leaves are slowly turning color, and you will begin to consider closing your pool. Follow these helpful tips to insure you have a seamless opening next season.

  • Treat the pool with proper winterizing chemicals and make sure you have the proper levels before you cover the pool. Chlorine should be especially high.
  • Disconnect the pump and all hoses from the pool and drain. Make sure there are no leaks if you use a cover plate with gaskets.
  • Keep about 1-3 inches of water on top of the winter cover to prevent damage caused by wind
  • During the fall, make sure to remove excess water from the top of your pool cover with a small electric pool cover pump.
  • Damage can occur if snow and ice is allowed to weigh on the pool cover. It becomes stretched, and as most pool covers are kept on by a cord that runs around the pool, the cord also becomes too taught. Try your best to keep snow weight to a minimum to avoid collapse.
  • Water displacement during the winter months is a huge concern. Keep an eye on the water level, especially before heavy snow events. Look under the cover and see where the water level rests. If it’s down more than when you closed the pool, then you will need to do some snow removal. DO NOT ADD WATER TO A FROZEN POOL. Getting the snow off the top is the best thing you can do to save your pool.
  • Never Touch a Frozen Pool! Do not walk atop the ice. Use a blunt tipped roof rake to pull the snow off the top. When springtime comes and your pool water thaws, you will be all set knowing you removed all that weight.

Here is a great site you can refer to for more details: http://www.poolandspa.com/page107.htm

Pools fall under Coverage B – Other Structures under a Homeowner policy. Please call us at 888-850-9400 to discuss your coverage plan in case of a claim.

Cyber Liability

September 2, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Home, Identity Theft, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Every day, whether you know it or not, you are at risk to becoming a victim of a cyber-attack. Educating yourself about cyber-attack prevention and security can help keep you and your loved ones protected.

Who is exposed to Cyber Liability?

  • Family members on Facebook or other Social Media sites
  • On-Line Shoppers
  • Cyber bullying

Cyber-attacks may come from terrorists, criminals, activists, external opportunists and company insiders (both intentional and unintentional). Cyber criminals attack to gain some type of political, military or economic advantage. They usually steal money or information that can eventually be monetized, such as credit card numbers, health records, personal identification information and tax returns.

Cyber risks include:

  • Identity theft as a result of security breaches where sensitive information is stolen by a hacker or inadvertently disclosed, including such data elements as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, employee identification numbers, drivers’ license numbers, birth dates and PIN numbers.
  • Introduction of malware, worms and other malicious computer code.
  • Human error leading to inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information, such as an email from an employee to unintended recipients containing sensitive business information or personal identifying information.
  • The cost of credit monitoring services for people impacted by a security breach.

These are just a few of the exposures you may have in your own home. Do you or your family members meet any of the above?

There are some ways to protect you from these exposures. Most property insurance carriers offer some type of coverage under your home, condo, tenant or dwelling fire (non-owner occupied) policies. Some of the coverages we mention may be added as a separate endorsement to your policy or may be available in package endorsements as well. These include, but may not be limited to, Personal Injury Protection, Identity Fraud coverage and Personal Umbrella coverage.

Contact us at 888-850-9400 to discuss your options and insure you have the right coverages in place.

Yard Sale and Online Buyer/Sellers Beware!

August 27, 2015 at 9:14 AM | Posted in Event Planning, Home, Personal Property, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Tips to keep you, and your items, safe while bargaining…

Online selling

  • Get to know your seller/buyer by talking on the phone to get an impression of the person.
  • Be careful meeting in person.
    • Pick a place to meet;
    • Ask for the best approximate area where they live/work;
    • Never have someone come to your house.
    • Ask questions about the area so you feel comfortable dealing with the seller/buyer.
  • Keep an eye out for red flags of deals that are too good to be true.
    • A seller may not disclose the condition of the sale item.
    • Things may appear different in pictures than in true life.
    • Try to avoid out of state sales
    • If the buyer offers your asking price right of the bat.
    • If the buyer and shipping address are different and you have to jump through hoops to ship the item.
  • Make sure you don’t make a payment before you have the item in hand. Use a secure payment portal rather than wiring money to someone and to ensure there is no repercussion to get a refund if need be. Best way to accept payment is cashier’s check or using a service such as PayPal
  • Don’t give out personal contact information. Craigslist makes this easier since your identity is anonymous and they can forward to your personal email, so if anyone is really interested they can email you. DO NOT give out your phone number or address.
  • Ensure that the item gets to the buyer. Deliveries may be falsely accepted and items undelivered to the recipient. The best way is to track the shipment, requiring a signature at time of delivery. If the item is of high value, it may be worth it to purchase shipping insurance.

Yard sales

  • Recalls on products – confirm on Consumer Product Safety Commission website cpsc.gov
  • Keep in mind that some people may be professional dealers that will buy with the intent to resell to make a profit. This buyer may be aggressive and they normally show up early and pitch hard bargains.
  • Be careful accepting large bills since they may be counterfeit. You may want to consider getting a counterfeit detecting pen. A buyer will attempt to buy a cheap item to get change for the fake money. You can also avoid this situation by simply stating “Sorry, I don’t have that much change.”

With summer coming to an end, people will be cleaning out homes and garages, so sales will be on the rise and you might be able to get a deal!  Keeping these tips in mind will help you stay safe and make you a smart buyer/seller!

Empty Nesting

August 13, 2015 at 9:03 AM | Posted in Event Planning, Home, Insurance Policy, Reminders, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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This is the time of the year when kids of all ages go back to school. Whether the last child is going off to school, or just leaving the nest, new “empty-nesters” have big adjustments to make to their lifestyles once all of their children have left the home. If you’re an empty-nester, not only will you find yourself with more time on your hands, you will now have more time to focus on you. Here are some ways to stay busy if you are a new empty-nester:

  • Volunteer in your local community
  • Find a hobby
  • Get a job or start a business
  • See the world
  • Reacquaint yourself with your spouse

Before you send your child off to school, and for the sake of some piece-of-mind, be sure to call your agent and review your policies. You may need to adjust your auto policy, especially if your child is taking a vehicle away with them. Also, consider purchasing a renter policy for coverage of your child’s personal property while away at school.

Even though it seems like you have a lot of extra time on your hands now, it won’t be long before your days are filled to the brink again. Enjoy them!

Enjoy Your Vacation, and Prevent Burglaries While Away

July 15, 2015 at 11:24 AM | Posted in Event Planning, Home, Personal Property, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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To help ensure the safety of your home while away on vacation, experts recommend the following:

  1. Give the impression that someone is always home.
    • Ask that mail and newspapers be held and/or forwarded temporarily.
    • Set timers for lamps in various parts of the house.
    • Leave shades, curtains, and blinds in their usual position.

 

  1. Have a trusted person watch the home.
    • Notify a trusted neighbor, friend or family member about an upcoming vacation, and ask that person to stop in from time to time.

 

  1. Make the home burglar resistant.
    • Remove spare keys hidden outside.
    • Lock windows and doors.
    • Secure sliding doors with wooden blocks in the tracks.

 

  1. Be careful what you share on social media about your upcoming vacation, or while away on vacation.

 

Now enjoy your time off knowing your home is secure!

 

Insurance Coverage for Property in Storage

June 18, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Renters | Leave a comment
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According to the Self-Storage Association, 10.8 million people in the US rent a self-storage unit. If you are one of those people, have you ever considered whether or not you have insurance coverage for the property that you are storing? Have you made your insurance agent aware that you have a storage unit? Here is some information that may help you determine if you will have coverage should something happen to your stored property.

If you have a standard Homeowner or Renters insurance policy, you have coverage for personal property you own anywhere in the world. Therefore, the coverage would apply to the property that you have in storage. However, the coverage is different from the way it applies to the property in your home. Most policies will provide 10% to go towards “personal property at another location” out of the total amount of coverage that you have for personal property. So if you have a total of $100,000 for personal property, you only have $10,000 for the property in the storage unit.

One type of personal property that will never be covered by a Homeowner or Renters policy is a vehicle. If you are storing a car, ATV, motorcycle, etc. there would not be coverage. The only exceptions are a vehicle in “dead” storage, a vehicle used to service your residence (ride on lawn mower), or a vehicle designed to assist the handicapped (motorized wheel chair). All other vehicles require a separate type of policy.

The bottom line is, you can be covered in most cases by a standard Homeowner or Renters insurance policy and other types of policies are available to purchase. If you have a storage unit and want to make sure that you have adequate coverage for your situation, contact us today and we will review your insurance coverage with you at 888-850-9400.

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