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:

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.


January 8, 2015 at 9:16 AM | Posted in Home | Leave a comment
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Could this be the next polar vortex? One day we have mild temperatures and the next we go to freezing cold temperatures.  With the weather going from one extreme to another, it is very important to keep an eye on your pipes and do what you can to prevent them from freezing. Here are some tips that can help you:

Preventing Frozen Pipes:

  • Maintain the temperature of your home to a minimum of 55 degrees at all times
  • Wrap any exposed pipes that are not well insulated
  • If a faucet is exposed to unheated areas or is on a wall that is not well insulated, turn the faucet to a slow trickle to help prevent the pipe from freezing especially overnight when the heat can plummet
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat circulation to your pipes

If Your Pipes have Frozen:

  • Locate the frozen area and make sure the pipe has not cracked or burst
  • Turn the hot water faucet to the open position allowing the steam produced by your thawing activities to escape
  • The safest way to thaw a frozen pipe is to:
    1. Wrap a heavy towel around the pipe
    2. Place a bucket under the pipe to catch the runoff
    3. Pour hot or boiling water over the towel
  • Using a heat lamp or hair dryer is less messy, just be careful to keep an electrical device safely away from any water source

If you can’t locate the frozen pipe or suspect that they may have burst or cracked, turn off the water main shutoff and consult a professional plumber immediately.  If you have had substantial water damage due to a burst pipe, you may want to contact a water remediation company to begin clean up immediately to prevent further damage.

Please call Marsh & McLennan Agency at 508-852-8500 if you have any questions regarding your specific coverage with regards to frozen pipes! Stay warm!

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 Home Improvements

October 16, 2013 at 9:55 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy | Leave a comment
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When hiring professionals for your home improvement projects, know the basic guidelines you should follow:

  • Make sure all necessary permits are pulled.
  • Request Certificates of Insurance from the contractor.
  • Call Dig Safe before work begins whenever digging below ground occurs – It’s the law!
  • Communicate clearly and effectively with contractors throughout each phase of the project.
  • Always get a written warranty and receipt.
  • Notify your insurance agent of the work being performed so they can adjust your insurance policy accordingly.

Getting a good price on any work you have done is important, but price alone should not be the driving factor.  Did you know that any loss or damage to your dwelling resulting from defective, inadequate or faulty planning, construction, or maintenance of any property resulting from alteration, construction, repairs, renovation, remodeling or maintenance including materials used is excluded under all home policies?  Any ensuing damage might be covered if it is not otherwise excluded but faulty work, planning, and materials would not be.

Simply put:  If you have work done on your home and that work is not done correctly — or the correct materials are not used — your insurance will not pay for that work to be re-done correctly.
For example: …If you had a water loss due to the faulty work done to your roof, the ensuing damage “might” be covered, but the cost of repairing the roof would not be. You would be responsible for pursuing the contractor for the faulty work performed.

It is very important that you hire a reputable contractor and research their references prior to doing any work, because there is no coverage you can buy back once faulty workmanship or materials result in further damage.

Faulty work or materials are not all you want to think about. Town ordinances or zoning laws change over time.  If you have a partial loss in your home and the city or town zoning laws changed since your home was built, you could be required to update some undamaged portions of your home to meet the new zoning requirements when you start to repair or rebuild after the loss.  Fortunately, there is some coverage under your home policy for these types of claims.  The basic home policy is usually limited to 10% of your dwelling coverage but there are higher limit options available to purchase.

If you have any questions regarding policy limits or how your policy will respond to a specific scenario, call Protector Group at 888-850-9400.

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