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!

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Space Heater Safety

November 13, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Posted in Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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More home fires are reported during the winter months as outdoor temperatures dip from bitter cold to freezing.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires. When using space heaters, you can follow these safety tips to keep your home and family safe:

  • Space heaters should only be used as supplemental heat and never as a primary heat source
  • Avoid using an extension cord or power strip to plug in a space heater
  • Heaters should be placed on a flat, level surface
  • Never use the heaters in damp or wet areas, such as bathrooms
  • Keep space heaters at least 36 inches from any flammable materials
  • Look for a space heater that meets the specific safety standards certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory
  • Look for a heater that has an automatic tip over, shut down feature
  • Never leave a heater unattended
  • Check the heater regularly for any defective or fraying wiring
  • Place heaters where children or pets do not have access to them
  • Always use the right fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters
  • Mobile homes should only use vented fuel-fired or electric heaters

Click here for more space-heater/fire-safety information to help keep your family warm and safe this winter.

Insuring Snow Plowing Operations

November 6, 2013 at 9:28 AM | Posted in Auto, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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The first snowfall of the year can happen any day now, so it is time to get the snow plowing gear ready. If you plow during the winter months with your own vehicle, here is some information regarding your personal auto policy and when you should consider a commercial auto policy.

Under a personal auto policy:

  • If you are plowing for a fee, your auto policy should be endorsed to Business Use to avoid issues at the time of a claim due to business use exclusions. The cost to add this endorsement is relatively small.
  • You  should provide a receipt or documentation of the value of the plow and hitching equipment so the policy can be changed to include it in the Physical Damage coverage. Otherwise, if you have a loss the cost of the plowing equipment would not be included in the claim.
  • The personal auto policy does NOT offer any Completed Operations coverage. This coverage responds in cases where someone may slip and fall after hired snow removal is completed.

When you need a commercial auto policy:

  • If you are required to carry combined single limits.
  • If you are required to list an Additional Named Insured on the policy.
  • If you are required to produce a Federal Motor Carrier Service Association Filing.
  • To obtain Completed Operations coverage. We suggest that if you are plowing for others that you always carry Completed Operations coverage.

If you have any questions, contact us at 888-850-9400.

Calculating Personal Auto Premiums

September 18, 2013 at 9:45 AM | Posted in Auto | Leave a comment
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It has been 5 years since a competitive auto rating structure was introduced in Massachusetts. A lot has changed for the better – companies are offering coverages that were not previously available here such as accident forgiveness, disappearing deductibles, and good student discounts.

Along with the new coverages comes new ways of calculating the premium for a personal auto policy. It used to be so simple because the rate was calculated using just driving experience, driving record, type of vehicle, and the town you live in. Now there are over 200 rate variables or risk factors that were never used before such as:

  • Driver to vehicle ratios.
  • The average number of miles put on a vehicle each year.
  • Whether or not the named insured has a property policy.
  • Late or non-payment billing history.
  • Operator status.
  • Multi-vehicles versus single vehicle.

With so many new rating factors being used, it is difficult to predict what will happen to a premium when a change is made to the policy. For example, deleting one vehicle from a policy could result in the remaining single vehicle premium going up, or deleting an operator could result in a premium increase.

Some auto rating factors that are still prohibited in Massachusetts are credit scoring, marital status, level of education, home ownership, and age.

Another thing to keep in mind is that insurance companies’ rates change every year as approved by the Insurance Commissioner. However, even though a company can file a rate change at any time during the year, your policy will not be affected until its renewal.

It has been a challenge bringing Massachusetts up to speed with the rest of the country when it comes to competitive auto rating, and more changes are in store for the future. The good news? Protector Group can help make sure you have the right coverage at a price you can afford.

Cover Your Assets with a Personal Umbrella Policy

August 21, 2013 at 9:03 AM | Posted in Insurance Policy | Leave a comment
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These days, so many factors can increase your family’s liability risks. A new school year starting is a great time to think about adding a personal umbrella policy. Kids will be kids, and a personal umbrella policy can easily cover incidents that could arise from innocent postings on the internet, upsets while at a party, foolish fights, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Never mind the possible scenarios once your child gets behind the wheel of a car!

In today’s society lawsuits occur with alarming frequency, and the monetary implications can be staggering. When you add up the total value of your home, cars, savings, and investments, those assets can make you a target of a major law suit. The benefits of obtaining a personal umbrella policy begin here:

  • You receive worldwide coverage for all household members.
  • You are protected against libel, slander, invasion of privacy, malicious prosecution, defamation of character, or discrimination suits.
  • You are covered for the cost of legal defense should a suit be filed against you or a household member.

Your auto and home policies have a limit for Liability. Personal Umbrella protection extends coverage beyond that limit, at a very reasonable price. Whether your household includes children, pets, or you live alone — Call Protector Group at 888-850-9400 — a personal umbrella policy covers you when the “what ifs” in life actually happen.

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