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.

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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.

Insurance Coverage for Property in Storage

June 18, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Renters | Leave a comment
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According to the Self-Storage Association, 10.8 million people in the US rent a self-storage unit. If you are one of those people, have you ever considered whether or not you have insurance coverage for the property that you are storing? Have you made your insurance agent aware that you have a storage unit? Here is some information that may help you determine if you will have coverage should something happen to your stored property.

If you have a standard Homeowner or Renters insurance policy, you have coverage for personal property you own anywhere in the world. Therefore, the coverage would apply to the property that you have in storage. However, the coverage is different from the way it applies to the property in your home. Most policies will provide 10% to go towards “personal property at another location” out of the total amount of coverage that you have for personal property. So if you have a total of $100,000 for personal property, you only have $10,000 for the property in the storage unit.

One type of personal property that will never be covered by a Homeowner or Renters policy is a vehicle. If you are storing a car, ATV, motorcycle, etc. there would not be coverage. The only exceptions are a vehicle in “dead” storage, a vehicle used to service your residence (ride on lawn mower), or a vehicle designed to assist the handicapped (motorized wheel chair). All other vehicles require a separate type of policy.

The bottom line is, you can be covered in most cases by a standard Homeowner or Renters insurance policy and other types of policies are available to purchase. If you have a storage unit and want to make sure that you have adequate coverage for your situation, contact us today and we will review your insurance coverage with you at 888-850-9400.

Submitting a Claim on Your Home or Auto Insurance

March 25, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Auto, Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy | Leave a comment
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Due to this year’s severe winter, you are possibly one of the many that has sustained damage to your house or vehicle. Claims issues ranges include everything from ice dams and house fires, to broken windshields and auto accidents. No matter what type of loss you have, the following steps will help make your claim process go as smoothly as possible:

  • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible.  Some questions you may want to ask are:  Is the damage covered? How long do I have to file the claim? Will the deductible apply? Do I need an estimate? How will this affect my future insurability?
  • Submit a claim. Once your questions have been answered and you make the decision to submit the claim, your agent can transfer you to your company’s claims department or help you contact them directly. The company representative will take your statement and assign you to a company adjuster that will handle your claim. Most likely your adjuster will send someone out to inspect the damage and help settle the claim. There is no charge for this service. You may also be contacted by a Public Adjuster who has no relationship with your insurance company. Public Adjusters charge you a fee for their services that can be as much as 15 percent of your claim settlement. Be advised, they can’t get more money for you than what is stated in your policy.
  • Create a file for your claim. The better organized you are the easier the entire process will be. Write up a summary of what happened, take pictures, and keep lists of damaged items. Keep copies of all forms that you send to or receive from the company or your agent. Write down the name of everyone you speak with along with the date you spoke to them.
  • Know who to contact for claims assistance. If you have questions regarding your claim, your company adjuster is the best person to contact. If you are still not happy with any aspect of your claim, contact your insurance agent and they will get involved on your behalf.

It is in the insurance company’s best interest to pay claims quickly and fairly to keep their customers happy. Most companies stake their reputation on how they handle their claims. Our agency recognizes that claim handling is one of the most important insurance services we offer, therefore, we have a dedicated Claims Adviser on staff to advocate for our customers. If you need guidance with your claim, please give us a call at 888-850-9400.

 

 

TIPS ON SPRING-CLEANING YOUR YARD

March 18, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Home, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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It happened! This winter, New England broke the 1995-1996 record of 107.6 inches of snow in a single winter with a total of 108.6 inches. However, with the approaching milder temperatures, sporadic breakthroughs of sun, rain, and fog, there is also a lot of melting going on. Hopefully, we will get to see springtime daffodils and crocuses after all.

Previously, we provided tips on de-winterizing your home. With the first day of spring arriving Friday, March 20th, we would like to offer some tips on spring-cleaning your yard:

  • The combination of melting snow and spring rains tend to over-saturate the ground and can lead to water in your basement. Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil.
  • Remove firewood that has been stored near the house. It should be stored at least two feet away from any structure.
  • Rake up dead leaves and twigs from the yard and garden beds. Last year’s leaves can make a great compost, but not if they keep the grass from absorbing sunlight.
  • Inspect concrete slabs, driveways, and walkways for cracks or movement and make any necessary repairs.
  • Prune away dead and damaged tree branches, bushes, and perennials.
  • Prepare all of your outdoor equipment for proper use. Make sure your mower blades and tiller tines are sharp and your mower belts are free of cracks, fraying, or other signs of wear. Check garden hoses for cracks and dry rot. Have supplies of gas and oil stored safely on hand for weed-whackers, lawn mowers, and leaf blowers.
  • If you are hiring a professional clean-up crew, ask for their certificate of insurance as added protection, should you need to file a claim.

As you work through the clean-up process, protect yourself as well! Try not to over-do, stay hydrated, and take extra care against muscle strain. Whistle while you work and call us if you have any questions about your home-owners policy. It is time to THINK SPRING!

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.

Daylight Savings Time!

March 4, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Reminders, Safety Tips, Seasonal, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This Sunday, March 8th at 2:00A.M., Daylight Savings Time will begin, so before you turn in – make sure that you “spring ahead” one hour on all of your clocks! Daylight Savings Time is a great opportunity to prepare for the coming of spring with a “seasonal safety check”. Besides adjusting your clocks, here is a suggested safety checklist of other items to check up on around the house at this time:

  1. Safety experts recommend replacing smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries twice a year; DST is a great way to remember to do this bi-annual update, as well as change any battery operated clocks. As you go around the house adjusting times, change out batteries as well!
  1. Fire extinguishers can become useless over time. Use DST as an opportunity to test your extinguisher and replace if needed. If you don’t own a fire extinguisher in your home, it’s recommended that you purchase one.
  1. Check your first-aid kit and replace any missing supplies.
  1. Check under sinks, toilets, in the basement, behind your washer, shower/tub, and other household plumbing to make sure you don’t have even a small leak.
  1. Review your family’s emergency plan, or create one for the first time. Set a plan in place for yourself or you and your family in case of emergency. Update phone numbers, addresses and contact information, and post an emergency information page near the phone. You can find information that you may need to know in case of disaster or emergency by visiting redcross.org, www.FEMA.org, and www.ready.gov.
  1. Review your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure you have all the coverage you need to protect you, your family, and your belongings. To begin, it is important to know what your policies do and don’t cover. For a review of your homeowner’s insurance policy, call us at 888.850.9400

The Marsh & McLennan Agency wishes everyone a safe and happy transition into SPRING 2015!

Preparing Your Home For Your Winter Get-A-Way

February 4, 2015 at 9:35 AM | Posted in Event Planning, Home, Personal Property, Seasonal, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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After all these snowstorms, how many of you are ready to take that winter vacation? Whether it’s to the mountains or to the seashores, taking the time to prepare your home for your absence can prevent a potential disaster from happening while you are away.

Here is a checklist to help you prepare your home:

  • Arrange for someone to plow or shovel so that your home appears occupied
  • Turn the thermostat down to 60 and leave interior doors open to circulate air
  • Put your lights on automatic timers and consider an outdoor motion detector
  • Make sure that all windows and doors are locked
  • Have a trusted neighbor or friend pick up your mail and newspapers every day, or suspend delivery
  • Purge the refrigerator of perishables and take out your trash and secure it
  • Run a computer backup and then turn it off
  • Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your place and leave a key with them
  • Conduct a home inventory and make sure your homeowner insurance policy is up-to-date

These simple preparations will give you peace of mind while you are enjoying your winter get-a-way. For a review of your Homeowners insurance, please feel free to contact us at 888-850-9400.

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