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.

 

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.

Snowmobiling Safety Tips

January 14, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Personal Insurance, Regulations, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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Now that Mother Nature has decided to send us some snow, people are starting to take out their winter toys, with snowmobiles being one of the most popular.  Provided there is a combination of caution and common sense, snowmobiling can be one of the best ways to get out and enjoy this beautiful season. Here are some tips to help keep you and others safe while engaging this fun pastime:

  • Keep your sled properly maintained – make sure everything is in working order before taking it out for the first time.
  • Dress properly – wear wind/waterproof outer layers and wear a safety certified helmet.
  • Bring a first aid kit with you – include survival items such as a knife, flares, flashlight, compass, and a fire starting kit. Also bring along water and snacks in case you are stranded for a long period of time.
  • Do research before heading out – know the regulations of the area you will be riding in and check weather forecasts. Keep your speed in line with the conditions and your level of expertise. Slow down in hazardous areas such as around water or in the mountains at night.
  • Don’t go alone – not only is it more fun to be with friends, but more importantly, it’s always best to ride with someone else in case something happens.
  • Learn and use the proper hand signals – it is important to communicate with other drivers.
  • Never drink and drive – alcohol will not keep you warm, it will actually increase your risk of hypothermia.

Before you put your snowmobile to use, call Marsh & McLennan to make sure you have the proper insurance coverage to protect you, other riders, and your sled.  Ensuring safety, also ensures fun!

 

Protecting Yourself from Tree Damage

August 13, 2014 at 9:24 AM | Posted in Home | Leave a comment
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These mild summer days are actually the best time to prepare for the coming storm seasons. If you have trees on your property, you may want to be aware that falling trees and limbs are very common causes of property damage, personal injury, and sometimes death. Windstorms, ice storms, and snow storms can bring even the healthiest tree crashing down. Heavy rains can saturate the ground causing trees to uproot and fall. In addition, trees with large roots can damage septic systems, foundations, utility lines, and sidewalks.

The following signs may require special attention:

  • Trees that are hollow or have cracks in the trunk and major limbs
  • Trees that are decaying or have mushrooms growing from the bark
  • Branches hanging over a roof or that directly contact a roof, siding, or power lines
  • Trees with V-shaped forks rather than U-shaped forks may be more likely to split

Most homeowners are able to attend to these conditions by pruning or removing trees themselves, however, it is always best to consult with a licensed tree care specialist.

Not all homeowner insurance policies automatically provide coverage for tree damage and removal of fallen trees. Contact your agent to see what coverage options are available to you before a loss occurs.

Sprucing Up for Spring

April 23, 2014 at 9:37 AM | Posted in Home, Personal Property, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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Spring is a great time to make some changes to your home. Whether you are planning some major renovations or minor touch ups, now is a great time to do it. Here are some inexpensive ideas to spruce up your home:

  • Declutter – Taking away clutter makes for a less stressful home.
  • Reorganize closets – Put away those winter items and bring out the summer clothes.
  • Paint – A fresh coat of paint in a new energizing color can make quite a difference.
  • Rearrange – Rearranging furniture you already have can make a room look fresh.
  • Accessorize – Changing up your accessories can make the room feel completely different.
  • Plants – Whether you add some new house plants or add a burst of color to outside gardens, plants can really liven things up.
  • Clean the windows – After a long winter, we all need a better view of spring!

Small, inexpensive changes can go a long way. Don’t forget – if you are planning any major renovations, make sure you get a certificate of insurance from a contractor, and let your insurance agent know what you plan on doing in case it affects your insurance coverage.

Happy Spring!

Seasonal Vehicle Coverage

April 9, 2014 at 9:04 AM | Posted in Auto, Camper, Insurance Policy, Motor Home, Motorcycle, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Specialty Policy, Travel Trailer | Leave a comment
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It is that time of year again. The motorcycles, campers, and collector cars and other recreational vehicles are starting to make an appearance now that the weather is better. Here are some insurance reminders before you take them out:

  • Motorcycles: If you decreased your coverage when you put your motorcycle away last winter, don’t forget to increase coverage before taking a ride. When deciding what coverage to put on your motorcycle, Medical Payments is very important to you and anyone that is on your bike at the time of an accident.
  • Campers: They can be covered under your auto policy, but you will get much better coverage at a comparable price if you insure your camper on a travel trailer policy. It includes things like towing and roadside assistance, accessory coverage for awnings, etc… and campsite liability if stationary.
  • Collector Cars: If you have a classic or collector car that is at least 15 years old, you will want to make sure you have collector car insurance coverage. The coverage is designed for the special needs of the car collector. It covers everything your regular auto policy will cover in the event of a loss but the method of determining the value is an agreed value rather than an actual cash value — there is no reduction taken for depreciation. Since a collector or classic car is only driven for a short period of time each year, the premium is usually much lower than a regular auto policy.
  • Off Road Vehicles: Whether you drive an ATV or a golf cart, you could potentially injure someone or cause property damage. You need coverage that will respond to any situation. Some of the extras on a recreational vehicle policy include: Equipment coverage, helmet and safety apparel, and trailer coverage.
  • Watercraft: Boats of all sizes and jet skis need the proper coverage as well. Physical damage to the vessel, liability to other boaters, medical payments, and trailer coverage are just some of the coverages available under a watercraft policy.

No matter what your passion is, make sure you and your family are protected with the right coverage before you experience a loss.

Tips to Help You Navigate a Claim

February 26, 2014 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Auto, Frequently Asked Questions, Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property | Leave a comment
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This is the time of year when you are more likely to suffer a home or auto loss. We have recently seen everything from ice dams and house fires to broken windshields and auto accidents. No matter what type of claim you have, you should know the steps to take in the claims process:

  • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible.  Make sure you understand the basics of how this claim will affect you. Some of the questions you may want to ask them:  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 the claim. You can contact your insurance company directly to report the claim or you may contact your agent. Don’t be surprised if your insurance agent transfers you to the company to file the first report, because the insurance company will most likely want a direct statement from you with the details of what happened in the loss and may even record your statement. Keep copies of all forms that you send to the company or your agent. Most likely a company adjuster will be sent 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.
  • Document the loss. 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. Write down the name of everyone you speak with at your agency or company, along with the date you spoke to them.
  • Know who to contact for claims assistance. If you have questions on any aspect of your claims process, your assigned insurance company adjuster is the best person to ask. If you are still not happy with any aspect of your claim, contact your insurance agent and they will get involved on your behalf. Most consumers find that their claim is paid quickly, easily, and fairly.

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. Because our agency recognizes claims handling is the most important aspect of insurance, we have a dedicated Claims Advisor on staff to advocate for our customers. You should never be expected to know every aspect of how the claims process works – that’s our job.

Call Protector Group at 888-850-9400 if you need claims guidance.

Tips on What You Can Do About Frozen Pipes

January 8, 2014 at 10:18 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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This weather is crazy!  One day we have freezing cold temps, next we go to rain and high temps, then back to freezing, and all within a couple days.  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 your pipes from freezing.  The following tips could 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:
    • Wrap a heavy towel around the pipe.
    • Place a bucket under the pipe to catch the runoff.
    • 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 it 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.

Call Protector Group at 888-850-9400 if you have any questions regarding your specific coverage with regards to frozen pipes.

Review Your Personal Liability Limits

December 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM | Posted in Auto, Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property | Leave a comment
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If you plan on hosting or attending holiday parties, now is a good time to review the liability limits on your personal policies. In addition to providing you a specified limit of liability, the coverage also covers the cost of your legal defense, which in most cases is as much if not more than the settlement itself.

Depending on your situation, here are some liability coverage options you should consider:

  • If you rent, you need a renters policy. Liability is one of the coverages automatically included in this policy. You pick the limit and depending on the limits you choose, the cost is usually less than $20 a month for the policy. Your landlord’s home policy will NOT cover you or your belongings.
  • If you own your home or condo, check the limit of liability on your homeowner policy. If you are carrying the average of $300,000, the cost to increase it to $500,000 is usually less than $50 a year.
  • A Personal Umbrella policy sits over your basic property and auto policies. It starts at $1,000,000, extends your liability above and beyond the basic limits, and covers you and your family members worldwide.
  • Check the limits of liability on your auto policy as well. Bodily injury caused by an uninsured or underinsured auto will cover you and the occupants of your vehicle should you be hit by someone else. Bodily injury to others covers others you may injure if you are at fault. Both coverages are equally important throughout the year and especially now during this slippery winter season.

If you have any questions on your coverage or the options available to you call us at 1-888-850-9500.

We want to insure you have a safe and happy Holiday Season!

Preventing Furnace Puff Backs

October 23, 2013 at 9:15 AM | Posted in Home, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Furnace “puff backs” occur most often in winter, and if you have ever had a puff back occur in your home, you know how messy and smelly they can be. It can take weeks to get the smell of oil out of your house, furnishings, and clothing. Most times it needs to be professionally cleaned so you are not smelling oil for months. Here is some information on puff backs provided by ServiceMaster by Williams.

What Is A Puff Back? A puff back is a messy and potentially dangerous event in which smoke and soot are released into the furnace, often resulting in oily black “webs” of soot being distributed throughout the house, requiring extensive cleaning and sometimes professional restoration.

How Does A Puff Back Occur? Puff backs occur when an oil-burning furnace doesn’t ignite when it should. Oil vapors build up in the ignition chamber, causing an explosion when the igniter finally triggers. This explosion blows soot and other debris through the furnace’s exhaust system and into the heating system, which carries it into the house. Even if you have forced hot water instead of forced air, the puff back can blow soot out of the furnace.

How To Prevent A Puff Back. Preventing puff backs in oil-burning furnaces is largely a matter of performing regular maintenance on the oil-burning furnace to keep it in proper operating condition. Inspect the furnace periodically for oil leaks, and pay attention to any odd smells or soot in the furnace room.

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.

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