Leaf Peeping Means Leaf Up-Keeping

September 25, 2013 at 9:06 AM | Posted in Reminders, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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Fall in New England is a beautiful time.  However, the leaves that paint beautiful scenery can also become nuisance if proper up-keep and awareness isn’t applied.

Leaves collecting on a sidewalk, roadway or steps are particularly dangerous when wet.  Keeping your gutters and walkways clear is important for safety and to avoid unwanted insurance claims. Each year, the leaves falling from trees combined with moisture on the ground can produce slick roads and walkways, often causing slip and fall injuries or auto accidents.

Here are some tips to keep you safe:

  • Keep roof and runoff gutters clear to avoid potential damage to your home
  • Clear your steps and walkways of fallen leaves
  • Be careful when walking on sidewalks covered in leaves – not just because of the slip hazard, but so you can see any defects or height differences in your path
  • Watch your speed when driving on roads with fallen leaves that are wet and slick and could cause you to slide when trying to stop
  • Fallen leaves are particularly dangerous to Motorcycles – extreme caution on covered roadways should be used

Relax knowing you have taken every precaution and enjoy this beautiful time of year.

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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.

Proposed Changes to the Registry of Motor Vehicles

July 31, 2013 at 9:16 AM | Posted in Auto, Personal Insurance, RMV | Leave a comment
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If you have visited a Registry of Motor Vehicles office lately, you know the wait times are extremely long. In an effort to reduce wait times, lower costs, and encourage online transactions, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has developed a proposal to create “Regional Centers” to replace the current branch configuration. Below are the highlights of the proposal:

  • Create “Regional Centers.” Central Massachusetts would have centers in Leominster, Worcester, and Framingham. Northeastern Massachusetts would have centers in Burlington, Haverhill, and Lowell. Southeastern Massachusetts would have centers in New Bedford, Raynham, and Braintree. There would be one in Boston, one on the Cape in Barnstable, one on Nantucket, and one on Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Close branches in South Yarmouth, Fall River, Plymouth, Brockton, Taunton, Attleboro, Roslindale, Revere, Watertown, Danvers, Wilmington, Lawrence, Natick, Milford, Southbridge, Chicopee, Easthampton, and North Adams.
  • Reduce transaction options in branches that can be handled online, by phone, or through insurance agents.
  • Set up online pre-stage models for suspension hearings that would eliminate branch visits for people who are ineligible to receive resolution.
  • Offer more registry services at AAA offices, insurance agencies, dealerships, and unmanned kiosks at various locations.
  • Better utilization of mobile applications for smart phones.

This proposal is being opposed by state legislators and the future of it is uncertain. If it is put into place, it could be years before we see any relief from the long lines.

In the meantime, The Protector Group Insurance Agency will continue to provide Registry runner services free of charge to our customers. We will keep an eye on the Registry changes and adapt as necessary, always keeping our customers’ convenience in mind.

Fourth of July ~ Happy Independence Day!

July 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM | Posted in Seasonal | Leave a comment
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 Protector Group Insurance Agency would like to wish
EVERYONE a Safe and Happy Independence Day Holiday!

Click here for a List of Scheduled Fireworks Displays in Massachusetts 

Find other ways to celebrate the 4th of July by clicking here!

Mulch Fire-Safety Massachusetts Regulations

May 1, 2013 at 9:22 AM | Posted in Home, Regulations, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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As you start cleaning out your gardens and putting in a layer of mulch to prevent those weeds from growing, there are many types of mulch you could use.  The most common is wood product mulch.  It keeps the weeds away, your plants cool through the summer and warm through the spring and fall.

Unfortunately, wood product mulch is combustible.   After a rash of fires in large buildings and millions of dollars in property damage, a new Massachusetts state regulation was put into place last fall.  The regulation prohibits those who own a building from placing mulch less than 18 inches away from a structure’s wall.  Residential buildings with less than six units are exempt.

Even when your property is exempt, it is still a good idea to follow the regulations to be sure you don’t put your home at risk.  The following tips will help you safely mulch your property:

  • Place mulch no less than 18 inches away from a building’s wall.
  • Use stone or crushed rock for the first 18” as a barrier around your foundation.
  • Space mulch piles 30 feet apart and keep them 25 feet away from a property line.

For more information on this regulation please visit: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/dfs2/osfm/pubed/fs-topics/fs-topics-a/mulch-fire-safety.html

Purchasing A Vehicle From Out-of-State?

March 27, 2013 at 9:56 AM | Posted in Auto | Leave a comment
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 If you live in Massachusetts and you purchase a vehicle out-of-state, there are things you should be aware of before you sign on the dotted line. Knowing the following facts will help you put you behind the wheel with fewer delays:  

Massachusetts does not recognize temporary plates. 

  1. This means if you are getting new plates, you will need to get the vehicle registered in Massachusetts before driving it off the dealer’s lot from another state
  2. When transferring plates from an old vehicle you are using as a trade, you can attach your current plate to the new vehicle. You’ll have 7 days to get the paperwork processed at the Massachusetts registry from the date you sign the title on the new car. 
  3. In most cases, the paperwork can be sent overnight to your agency, and once the new vehicle is registered in Massachusetts, arrangements can be made for the plates to be delivered to you promptly.

Most states require the dealer to collect the sales tax

  1. In Massachusetts, the Registry of Motor Vehicles collects the sales tax at the time you register the vehicle. This may require you to pay sales tax in the state you purchase the vehicle and again in Massachusetts, then you may apply for a rebate from the state you purchased the vehicle in. 
  2. Before you buy, check with the dealer in the state you are purchasing to see if they require the sales tax payment be made to them.

You will be required to get a Safety Inspection within 7 days of registering a vehicle in Massachusetts.

For the most part, the paperwork required to complete a sales transaction outside Massachusetts is the same paperwork that would be required if you purchased a vehicle here. Out-of-state vehicle purchases usually take a little longer than in-state purchases simply due to the mailing turn-around time. Depending on your particular situation, the transaction could take up to one week or more before you are able to legally drive your new car.   

If you are thinking about purchasing a vehicle outside of Massachusetts, call Protector Group at 888-850-9400 and we can work out the details ahead of time.

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