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.

Road Hazards

October 8, 2015 at 12:30 PM | Posted in Auto, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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In the auto insurance industry, a “road hazard” can be defined as anything on the road that poses a threat to a driver, placing drivers at risk of being in an accident. Some common examples can be road repair in anticipation of winter, potholes, uneven/unpaved roads, or a foreign object in the road, causing drivers to swerve and possibly lead to an accident.

The frequency of road hazard accidents is at a high, and it’s not just due to a higher population of pot holes; objects being transported on the road risk coming loose if they are not secured properly, in turn posing a risk to drivers and others around them. Now that autumn is upon us, leaves will soon be littering the ground and everyone will be doing fall lawn clean-up, driving to waste yards to dispose of leaves and branches. If yard debris is not tied down with ropes, tarps, or nets, a portion of the load can fall off the vehicle during transit, creating a risk for accidents as drivers may need to swerve to avoid the falling yard debris, or debris left behind in the road.

With the knowledge of road hazards in mind while traveling, please use caution out on the road. Practice road safety. Keep your speed within the speed limit and maintain a safe distance behind any vehicle to avoid upcoming potholes or debris in the road; there’s a chance the driver ahead of you will swerve to avoid such road hazards.

Be sure you know the specifics of what your auto policy covers in the event of an accident. Any damage to your tire or wheel as a result of a pothole is not covered by MA auto policy. In the event of a collision due to a pothole, or coming in contact with anything on the road, auto policies can provide coverage, but you may be subject to a deductible. If you have questions about your auto policy, or would like to discuss your policy coverage in the event of an accident caused by a road hazard, our client representatives are here to give detailed and helpful direction. Call us toll free at 888 – 850 – 9400.

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.

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.

Submitting a Claim on Your Home or Auto Insurance

March 25, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Auto, Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy | Leave a comment
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Due to this year’s severe winter, you are possibly one of the many that has sustained damage to your house or vehicle. Claims issues ranges include everything from ice dams and house fires, to broken windshields and auto accidents. No matter what type of loss you have, the following steps will help make your claim process go as smoothly as possible:

  • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible.  Some questions you may want to ask are:  Is the damage covered? How long do I have to file the claim? Will the deductible apply? Do I need an estimate? How will this affect my future insurability?
  • Submit a claim. Once your questions have been answered and you make the decision to submit the claim, your agent can transfer you to your company’s claims department or help you contact them directly. The company representative will take your statement and assign you to a company adjuster that will handle your claim. Most likely your adjuster will send someone out to inspect the damage and help settle the claim. There is no charge for this service. You may also be contacted by a Public Adjuster who has no relationship with your insurance company. Public Adjusters charge you a fee for their services that can be as much as 15 percent of your claim settlement. Be advised, they can’t get more money for you than what is stated in your policy.
  • Create a file for your claim. The better organized you are the easier the entire process will be. Write up a summary of what happened, take pictures, and keep lists of damaged items. Keep copies of all forms that you send to or receive from the company or your agent. Write down the name of everyone you speak with along with the date you spoke to them.
  • Know who to contact for claims assistance. If you have questions regarding your claim, your company adjuster is the best person to contact. If you are still not happy with any aspect of your claim, contact your insurance agent and they will get involved on your behalf.

It is in the insurance company’s best interest to pay claims quickly and fairly to keep their customers happy. Most companies stake their reputation on how they handle their claims. Our agency recognizes that claim handling is one of the most important insurance services we offer, therefore, we have a dedicated Claims Adviser on staff to advocate for our customers. If you need guidance with your claim, please give us a call at 888-850-9400.

 

 

When It Rains – It POURS!

February 19, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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With possible rain predicted this weekend, the already heavy snow becomes even heavier. It is very important to clear decks and roofs in order to remove the weight. For anyone needing to file a claim right now, here are some of the most common questions being asked:
Q: Is the cost to remove snow and ice from my roof, deck, or car port covered under my home policy?

A: The cost to remove snow and ice dams from your roof would be considered regular home maintenance and claim prevention. If there is already damage to your home such as interior water due to ice dams, the cost to remove snow and ice would be considered part of the claim. Your deductible would apply.

Q: Is the damage to my roof, windows, and interior walls & floors due to leakage covered?

A: Yes, your deductible would apply.

Q: Is the collapse of a roof, deck, or car port resulting from the weight of ice and snow-covered under my home policy?

A: Yes, your deductible would apply.
Continued removal of ice and snow is important as the season continues. If additional damages are reported that occur after a claim is filed, it will be considered an additional claim.

Call us at 888.850.9400 should you have further questions regarding your policy and the proper coverage you need to protect your home and properties.

Avoiding Dog Bites

May 21, 2014 at 9:02 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Personal Insurance, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Dogs may be man’s best friend, but according to the Insurance Information Institute, one third of all homeowners liability claims paid out in 2013 were from dog bites. The cost of those claims in 2013 alone was more than $483 million. Each year, the number of dog bite claims rises.

All dogs have the potential to bite under the right scenarios. The best way to protect yourself from claims is to prevent your dog from biting in the first place. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Make sure a dog is suitable for your household and neighborhood before adopting or purchasing it. Research and check with a professional dog trainer to learn what will work best for your situation.
  • Spend the time to train and socialize your dog to ensure positive interactions with people or other animals.
  • Invest in professional training sessions.
  • Ask whether a child or adult is fearful of your dog and separate them while that person is in your home.
  • Small children should never be left alone with a dog.
  • Don’t let anyone, especially children, disturb a dog that is eating or sleeping.
  • Seek professional advice immediately if your dog develops aggressive behaviors.
  • Always display calm caution, and never surprise an unfamiliar dog upon approaching.
  • Avoid staring directly into a dog’s eyes as this may be a threatening gesture to the animal.

May 18th through the 24th is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. This annual event provides consumers with information on how to be responsible pet owners and increasing dog bite awareness. You can learn more by visiting the American Humane Associations website at www.americanhumane.org or the American Kennel Club at www.akc.org/insurance/tips_dogbites.cfm

Pothole Damage to Your Vehicle

March 12, 2014 at 9:01 AM | Posted in Auto, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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The extreme fluctuations in temperature this winter created more potholes than ever! Not only are there more of them, but many of them seem like mini sinkholes. If you’ve sustained damage to your vehicle from a pothole, there are some actions you can take:

  1. You can try filing one with the city or town where the damage occurred, but be aware that most of them will never pay out on a claim for pothole damage.
  2. Your auto insurance will cover pothole damage if you carry collision coverage. Keep in mind – your collision deductible will apply and you will be surcharged if the cost of the damages exceeds $500. Filing a claim under your
    auto insurance is a good idea only if the damage is extensive.
  3. A proactive option is to purchase the tire warranty at the time you buy tires for your vehicle. When you purchase a tire warranty, the tire manufacturer usually covers any repairs to the tire. However, the warranty will not cover damage to the tire rim or your vehicle. If you need to replace a tire that is under warranty, they will give you a credit for any remaining tread towards the new tire. This is especially important if you have all wheel drive and don’t have the option of replacing just one tire at a time.

The best way to prevent pothole damage is to keep your speed down and avoid the pothole altogether. Some cities and towns have hotlines that you can call to report pothole locations, which is a great start to repairing some of some of the worst potholes out there.

Drive safely and steer clear of those pesky craters in the roads.

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