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.

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.

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.

Two Holidays in the Same Week

February 14, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Auto, Holidays, Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance | Leave a comment
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Valentine’s Day carries the tradition of showing loved ones how much they mean to us. On President’s Day, we remember all U.S. presidents past and present. It’s not often that we have two holidays in the same week like we do this year, and both of these holidays are popularly known for people making unique, and valuable, purchases; jewelry for Valentine’s Day and vehicles for President’s Day.

Whether you are giving or receiving, we want to help you make sure that your special, and expensive, gifts or purchases are adequately insured. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Jewelry – Jewelry can be a fun gift to pick out or receive, and may even end up being passed down in your family through generations. We want to help keep something of such monetary and sentimental value in your possession. Your Homeowner policy has limitations on the types of losses that are covered and on the amount of coverage provided for jewelry. Consider adding a rider to your policy such as a “Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement” or a “Blanket Endorsement.” Both of these endorsements provide coverage for all types of losses and they do not have a deductible. You can also purchase the right amount of coverage that you need for your jewelry by having an appraisal or receipt for each item.

 

  • Vehicles – Purchasing a car is not only an expense financially, but also physically; it takes time, consideration, and planning. One thing to consider when purchasing a car: as soon as you drive your brand new vehicle off of the dealer’s lot, its value starts to depreciate. If your vehicle happens to get totalled within the first few years of ownership, you could end up owing more on the loan than the vehicle is worth. To avoid out-of-pocket expenses to make up the difference, you should have GAP coverage added to your Auto insurance policy at the time you insure the vehicle. The cost for this coverage is usually not more than $50, and can prove to be a valuable decision.

After this week’s holidays, whether you acquire a new item of jewelry, start your week off driving a new car, or decide you would like to look into further insurance options for your possessions, we want to help you insure the safety and value of each. If you have any questions about the policies stated above, or your existing policies, please contact us at 888-850-9400.

Preventing Puff-backs

January 21, 2015 at 9:44 AM | Posted in Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Regulations, Safety Tips, Seasonal, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A “puff back” is an explosion in the burner chamber of a furnace or boiler. They are usually small and confined to the burner chamber, however, they can do considerable damage to the heating system. In addition, a puff back can send soot and smoke throughout the house, covering walls, ceilings, carpets, furniture, etc. The cleanup of such damage must be done by a professional cleaning company.

The cause of a puff back can always be traced back to a lack of maintenance or repairs to the heating system. Here are some tips to help prevent this dangerous and extremely messy event from happening in your home.

  • Have all of your oil-fired heating appliances serviced annually by a licensed technician.
  • Stay alert for noises, odors, or soot, and watch for oil leaks or air leaks in the oil piping system and at the oil burner. If you notice any of these, contact a licensed technician for an inspection, diagnosis, and repair if necessary.

Keeping up with regular maintenance, and being alert for symptoms, will help prevent the risk of having to cover the cost of cleanup and the disruption in your life that a puff back would create. Fortunately, your homeowner policy will usually cover damage to your home and contents caused by a puff back.

If a puff back occurs, we recommend that you do not attempt to clean it yourself. Using standard cleaning products could cause further damage and may not get rid of the oil residue and odors. The cost of hiring a professional cleaning company would be covered as part of the claim.

If you have any questions on puff backs or the coverage your policy offers, call us at 888-850-9400. It is always recommended to have your furnace cleaned and boiler checked before the winter cold sets in to avoid the chances of a puff back in your home.

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