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.

 

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.

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!

Back to School – Make Sure Your Kids Know Bus & Bus Stop Safety

August 20, 2015 at 10:11 AM | Posted in back to school, Reminders, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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It’s time for sending the kids back to school again! If your child(ren) take the bus or walk to school, it is important you review some basic rules with them:

If Your Child Walks…

  • make sure to choose a safe route
  • Stay alert and watch for cars; you may see them, but they may not see you.
  • Wear bright-colored clothes or reflective gear.
  • Always look left, right, left and behind you and in front for any oncoming traffic before crossing the street
  • walk with an adult or develop a buddy system
  • stay away from the street, no pushing or shoving
  • Never talk to or hitch a ride from strangers

If Your Child Takes the Bus…

  • Behave while waiting for the bus stop
  • Wait until the bus fully stops and the door opens before proceeding towards the bus
  • Wait for the bus to fully stop before getting up from your seat
  • If you need to cross in front of the bus, make sure you are far enough from the bus that the driver can see you and signal you that it is OK to cross the street.

Keeping these tips in mind, and sharing them with your child(ren), can help to ensure you both have a safe and happy school year!

Bicycle Safety First!

August 5, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Posted in Laws, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Riding a bicycle recreationally can be fun; however, being safe should be the priority when you’re out and about on the road.

Here are some safety tips to follow when riding:

  • Always ride with the direction of traffic. It’s Safer. It’s Courteous. It’s the Law.
  • Wear a helmet – It’s the only thing that can protect your head in case of an accident
  • Avoid busy streets –Pick a route that has less traffic and slower traveling vehicles
  • Lights – See and Be Seen. Make sure your bicycle is equipped with reflectors and easily stands out at night-time with lights (head light/rear-lights)
  • Signal your turns – Indicate which direction you intend to go so others around you know you’re about to turn.
  • Avoid using music players or mobile phones – Make sure you stay alert and know what’s happening around you; any distractions will increase your risk.
  • When appropriate, use the whole lane of traffic- Sometimes in certain situations it’s safer to use the whole lane than to travel on the side. Cars that are in intersections can see you better up ahead than on the side where they might overlook you.
  • Wear bright, reflective clothing – Get your bright reflective clothing on so people can see you

Now get out and enjoy the outdoors! Just keep these safety tips in mind and stay safe.

Here is a helpful link for more information:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/?1dmy&urile=wcm:path:/dmv_content_en/dmv/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl37

 

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!

 

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