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.

Tips to Help Prevent Your Sump Pump from Failing You

April 1, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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As warmer temperatures rise, some people are finding their sump pumps working in over-drive. There are several reasons, from a power outage to old age, that may cause your sump pump to fail you when you need it the most. The following tips might help prevent this from happening:

  1. Invest in a sump pump that is at least 1/3 horsepower that is capable of pumping 35 gallons of water per minute. If you are located in an area with a higher water table, you may want to choose a 1/2 horsepower pump which can usually pump about 60 gallons per minute. Either way, you definitely want to purchase a pump that has a battery backup in the event of a power outage.
  2. There are several different types of sump float switches. Plumbers recommend a vertical float because tethered floats are notorious for getting stuck.
  3. Make sure that the sump discharge pipe is pitched properly to avoid water from collecting and freezing. The result of this could be a blockage of the pipe, forcing the water to fall back into your sump pit and eventually onto your basement floor.
  4. Sump pumps should be replaced every five to seven years.

Homeowner insurance does not automatically cover water damage due to sump pump failure. However, most companies will add a limited amount of coverage to your policy for an additional cost. As seasons change, exposure to potential losses vary. To review your policy and make sure you have the proper coverage in place, contact us today at 1-888-850-9400.

 

 

SNOW REMOVAL SAFETY TIPS

January 28, 2015 at 11:16 AM | Posted in Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Removing snow and ice from your property is an important winter safety activity. How you remove the snow and ice is also very important. The following tips may help you properly maintain your home while preventing injuries to yourself and others:

  1. To prevent injuring yourself, warm up by doing ten minutes of stretches or light exercises. Dress in layers so that you can remove clothing if you become too hot. Wear waterproof boots with slip-resistant soles. Take a bottle of water with you and drink regularly so that you don’t become dehydrated. To avoid back strain while lifting shovels of snow, keep your back straight while bending your knees and squatting down with your legs apart. Carry the shovels of snow to where you want to place the snow instead of throwing it over your shoulder or to the side. Keep your arms close to your body rather than outstretched when carrying the snow.
  2. To prevent injuries to others, keep your driveway and walkways clear. Once the snow has been removed apply salt/sand to provide traction and help melt away any ice. Remove any hanging icicles from roof edges and gutters so that they don’t fall on anyone.
  3. To avoid traffic fines, be sure to remove snow and ice completely from your vehicle – including the roof – you’ll be protecting not only yourself but other motorists driving near you.
  4. To prevent home leaks and ice dams remove snow from your roof. The safest way to do this is from ground level using a rake. Don’t stand directly below the area that you are working on to avoid pulling the snow down on top of yourself. If you must go onto the roof to deal with the snow, get someone to act as a spotter. Wear boots with good traction or add boot chains and use a harness or rope for extra security.
  5. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, clear snow away from the vents around your home.

As always, it’s best to play it safe and hire a professional to remove snow around your home. However, if you have to do this task yourself, these tips may help keep you, your home, and others safe.

Tips for a Tasty Turkey

November 26, 2014 at 11:25 AM | Posted in Event Planning, Food, Holidays, Home | Leave a comment
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Tips for a Tasty Turkey

As folks gather with family and friends to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, the center of attention on many a dining table is TURKEY! Below are step-by-step roasting instructions to help you achieve a golden brown, moist, tasty turkey that everyone will rave about:

  1. Remove giblets that are stored in a packet in the neck area of the bird. Remove any large pockets of fat that may be present in the neck area.
  2. Drain any juices out of the cavity and blot it dry with paper towels.
  3. Rub the inside of the cavity and neck area with salt.
  4. Place the turkey breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
  5. Brush the bird with oil or melted butter.
  6. Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh area of the bird being careful not to touch bone.
  7. Roast, uncovered without liquid, according to the chart below. If the poultry browns too quickly you can tent it with foil.
  8. Remove from the oven when the temperature is 5 degrees below the desired temperature.
  9. Cover with foil and let stand for 10 to 20 minutes.
Unstuffed Turkey Weight Cooking Time (Minutes Per Pound) Oven Temp.

Internal Turkey

Temp.

8 to 12 lbs. 15 to 20 325° 170° to 175°
12 to 14 lbs. 15 to 17 325° 170° to 175°
14 to 18 lbs. 14 to 16 325° 170° to 175°
18 to 20 lbs. 13 to 14 325° 170° to 175°
20 to 24 lbs. 12 to 13-1/2 325° 170° to 175°

**For stuffed turkeys add 15 to 45 minutes to the cooking time.

If you choose to Deep-Fry your turkey, please keep the following safety tips in mind:

  1. Use the proper equipment – choose a fryer that is specifically built for deep-frying turkeys.
  2. Only deep-fry a thawed turkey – thaw the turkey in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 days prior.
  3. Don’t use too much oil – hot oil spills often result in significant injury and/or fire.
  4. Never deep fry indoors – Always keep a fire extinguisher near by.

We wish you a happy (and safe) Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

 

 

 

Space Heater Safety Tips

November 19, 2014 at 8:53 AM | Posted in Home, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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SPACE HEATER SAFETY TIPS
With the rapidly changing temperatures, many people are looking for ways to supplement their heating costs. Space heaters are a common choice however they are also the reason for thousands of fires and casualties across the country. If you choose to use a space heater in your home, offered below are some simple tips that can drastically reduce your chances of an accidental fire.

1. Carefully check the heaters for frayed wires, broken wires, or frayed insulation
2. Be sure the plug fits snuggly into the outlet
3. Always keep heaters on the floor
4. Keep heaters at least three feet away from flammable materials (bedding, drapes, furniture)
5. Never lay clothing on heaters for drying
6. Children and pets should be kept away from heaters
7. Turn off heaters before going to bed or leaving your home
8. If you must use an extension cord, be sure to use one that is marked #14 or #12 AWG

While keeping your family and home warm during the upcoming months is necessary, keeping them safe and alive takes precedence.

New Optional Insurance Coverages for Homeowners

October 22, 2014 at 10:12 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy | Leave a comment
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Many insurance companies are starting to offer additional coverage options to their insureds that are not included in a standard homeowner insurance policy. The following are examples are a few of the valuable coverages that can be added to your policy for an additional cost:

Equipment Breakdown – provides coverage for damage to major equipment (i.e. heating systems, coolant systems, electrical equipment, and major appliances) in the home caused by mechanical, electrical, or pressure system breakdown.

Assisted Living Care Coverage – provides coverage for insured with relatives residing in an assisted living care facility or nursing home. Protection includes personal property, personal liability, and additional living expenses.

Service Line Coverage – provides coverage for loss or damage resulting from a service line failure. Service line consists of underground piping and wiring that is located at the residence and provides a service such as delivering water or power to the dwelling or other structure from a utility or private water supply.

If you are interested, and want to discuss which additional options best fit your needs, call us at 888.850.9400 to review your homeowners policy.

Furnace “Puff Back” Q&A

October 15, 2014 at 1:03 PM | Posted in Home | Leave a comment
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What is a “Puff Back”?
A “Puff Back” is an explosion in the burner chamber of a furnace or boiler. If you have forced hot air you have a furnace, and if you have forced hot water you have a boiler. These explosions are usually small and confined to the burner chamber but they can cause quite a bit of damage to the heating system. Most “Puff Backs” occur in oil-fired heating systems. In a system fueled with gas, the explosion is usually bigger and more damaging.

What causes a “Puff Back”?
A “Puff Back” may have many causes but is always traced to a lack of maintenance or a failure to make needed repairs. Having your heating system cleaned and inspected annually to help you avoid problems.

What damage can a “Puff Back” cause?
A “Puff Back” can result in major damage by sending soot and smoke throughout the house. Walls, ceilings, carpets, furniture, and curtains become coated with a fine film of soot and smoke. The damage is usually worse with a forced hot air heating system or central air conditioning because the duct work provides a path through the house allowing the soot and smoke to reach more areas.

What do I do if this happens to me?
If you have a “Puff Back”, report it to your insurance agent and contact a professional cleaning company to begin clean up. Soot and smoke can create quite a mess and be very hard to clean up. Special techniques and materials are usually required to avoid leaving greasy smears. In severe cases, furniture and carpeting may need to be replaced.

Am I covered under my homeowner policy?
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 how your policy will respond, call us at 888-850-9400.

Schedule your furnace to be cleaned before the cold weather takes hold to avoid the chances of a “Puff Back” in your home.

The Real Value of a Renters Policy

October 1, 2014 at 4:08 PM | Posted in Home, Renters | Leave a comment
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Winter is coming quick and if you rent, you can’t afford to be without Renters insurance. A renters policy costs as little as $4.00 a week and the benefits of the policy far outweigh this cost. A renters policy includes the following valuable coverage in the event of a loss such as fire, theft, vandalism or water damage:

Contents Coverage: Not only will a renters policy replace your belongings but it will provide you with an immediate relief check after a major loss to replace essential items and restore family basics (i.e. clothing, identification cards, keys etc…) so you can return to your work or school routines quickly. Without a renters policy in place you would have to seek help from friends, family and government organizations.

Loss of Use Coverage: It pays for the increased expenses to temporarily relocate while repairs are made to the space you rent.

Liability Protection: If you are responsible for someone’s injuries, the liability portion would pay for your legal defense in a lawsuit as well as any judgment made against you up to the limit you choose.

If you are renting, lack of maintenance by your landlord or irresponsible actions by other Tenants in your building can cause you to suffer a loss. You can take control and secure your piece of mind by obtaining a renters policy today!

Preparing Your Home & Auto for the Changing Seasons

September 17, 2014 at 9:22 AM | Posted in Auto, Home, Reminders, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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The change of season brings in colder weather ~ like it or not. As warm summer days give way to the cooler air, we know the winter months aren’t far behind. While enjoying autumn’s changing weather, take a moment to pay full attention to the following items before the cold winter temperatures take hold:

Vehicles

  • Car Batteries – Cold weather drains a battery quickly make sure yours is charging at full capacity
  • Antifreeze – Make sure you have the levels required to handle low temperatures
  • Wipers and Windshield Washer Fluid – Check for proper working order and appropriate levels
  • Oil – Replace with winter grade oil
  • Tires – Make sure you have the adequate tread to handle the snow and ice
  • Ice Scrapers & Snow Brush – Stock your car with these essential snow and ice removal tools
  • Emergency Kit – Be sure to includes a shovel, blankets, flashlights, matches, food, and water

Home

  • Tune Up Time – Snow blowers and generators should be running correctly and currently tuned up
  • Shovels and Sand – Stock an adequate supply of both
  • Tree Maintenance – Trim branches away from power lines and your roof and gutters
  • Furnace & Chimneys – Have these items professionally cleaned before the heating season starts
  • Space Heaters – Inspect all heating appliances thoroughly before using them
  • Emergency Supplies – Replace and Restock before power outages. Include batteries, flashlights, non-perishable food supplies, and blankets
  • Medication – Always keep an emergency supply accessible to cover a few extra days in case you become stranded

Being prepared provides you the reassurance and comfort that will enable you to enjoy the changing seasons and the unexpected weather that is inevitable!

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