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.

 

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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: 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.

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!

 

SPRING Your Home From Winter’s Wrath…

March 11, 2015 at 9:19 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Property, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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After this winter’s extremely cold temperatures and ridiculously large amounts of snow, it’s hard to believe the first day of spring is only ten days away. Many of us are wondering if we will get to see the crocus and daffodils this year, or will our lawns be white until July? Even though you may not be able to start cleaning up your yard, you can start de-winterizing your home. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Springtime tends to bring more rain than sunshine. Remove all debris from your gutters, drains, & spouts to allow for proper drainage. Inspect them for any issues that could lead to possible leaks that may cause water damage or toxic mold growth.
  • Your roof takes quite a beating in the winter months causing cracks and erosion to the shingles. Once it no longer has snow on it, inspect if from the ground for any missing or damaged shingles. Also check for any damaged flashing around plumbing vents, skylights, and chimneys. Make any necessary repairs to prevent wood rot that could eventually lead to leaks or other issues.
  • Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around doors, windows, railings, and decks. Wood compresses with the cold air causing gaps for water and snow to seep into. Repair any damaged trim to avoid wood rot that could result in leaks or creating a welcome habitat for insect infestation.
  • Check outside faucets for freeze damage.
  • If you have a central air conditioning system, arrange for a qualified heating & cooling contractor to clean and service the outside unit. Annual service calls will keep the system working at its peak performance. Also be sure to change the interior filters regularly.

With each season change, we suggest you review your insurance policies, and we always recommend you hire professional contractors to make any major repairs and perform regular maintenance inspections to your home.

FREEZING WEATHER IS UPON US – MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE PREPARED

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!

Preventing Ice Dams

December 17, 2014 at 3:24 PM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Property, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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One culprit of an unpleasant winter experience could be hiding beneath the snow on your roof! This sneaky culprit is better known as an Ice Dam.

 

The first sign of a potential ice dam is the formation of icicles. Icicles occur when water from melting snow is unable to flow freely off of the roof. The heated air in your home rises and can spread into your attic, warming the roof area above. As the snow melts and the water rolls down your roof, it freezes. The freezing water continues to build up, forming an ice dam along the edge of the roof. Often times, melting water will start to build up under an ice dam and work its way under roofing shingles causing internal leaks and water damage.

As a homeowner, there are steps that you can take ahead of time to avoid water damage from ice dams.

  • Increase the insulation above ceilings
  • Install exterior ice melt solutions, such as heating cables
  • Increase ventilation in attics
  • Seal off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof
  • Remove snow with a roof rake or still-bristled brush
  • Make sure that ducts connected to the kitchen, bathrooms, and dryer vents all lead outdoors through either the roof or walls but not through the soffit (underside of 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.

Staying ahead of an ice dam can be difficult. By calling us at 888.850.9400 today, we can easily review your policy together, and ensure you are covered by more than just the roof over your head!

 

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.

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