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.

 

Road Hazards

October 8, 2015 at 12:30 PM | Posted in Auto, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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In the auto insurance industry, a “road hazard” can be defined as anything on the road that poses a threat to a driver, placing drivers at risk of being in an accident. Some common examples can be road repair in anticipation of winter, potholes, uneven/unpaved roads, or a foreign object in the road, causing drivers to swerve and possibly lead to an accident.

The frequency of road hazard accidents is at a high, and it’s not just due to a higher population of pot holes; objects being transported on the road risk coming loose if they are not secured properly, in turn posing a risk to drivers and others around them. Now that autumn is upon us, leaves will soon be littering the ground and everyone will be doing fall lawn clean-up, driving to waste yards to dispose of leaves and branches. If yard debris is not tied down with ropes, tarps, or nets, a portion of the load can fall off the vehicle during transit, creating a risk for accidents as drivers may need to swerve to avoid the falling yard debris, or debris left behind in the road.

With the knowledge of road hazards in mind while traveling, please use caution out on the road. Practice road safety. Keep your speed within the speed limit and maintain a safe distance behind any vehicle to avoid upcoming potholes or debris in the road; there’s a chance the driver ahead of you will swerve to avoid such road hazards.

Be sure you know the specifics of what your auto policy covers in the event of an accident. Any damage to your tire or wheel as a result of a pothole is not covered by MA auto policy. In the event of a collision due to a pothole, or coming in contact with anything on the road, auto policies can provide coverage, but you may be subject to a deductible. If you have questions about your auto policy, or would like to discuss your policy coverage in the event of an accident caused by a road hazard, our client representatives are here to give detailed and helpful direction. Call us toll free at 888 – 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.

Yard Sale and Online Buyer/Sellers Beware!

August 27, 2015 at 9:14 AM | Posted in Event Planning, Home, Personal Property, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Tips to keep you, and your items, safe while bargaining…

Online selling

  • Get to know your seller/buyer by talking on the phone to get an impression of the person.
  • Be careful meeting in person.
    • Pick a place to meet;
    • Ask for the best approximate area where they live/work;
    • Never have someone come to your house.
    • Ask questions about the area so you feel comfortable dealing with the seller/buyer.
  • Keep an eye out for red flags of deals that are too good to be true.
    • A seller may not disclose the condition of the sale item.
    • Things may appear different in pictures than in true life.
    • Try to avoid out of state sales
    • If the buyer offers your asking price right of the bat.
    • If the buyer and shipping address are different and you have to jump through hoops to ship the item.
  • Make sure you don’t make a payment before you have the item in hand. Use a secure payment portal rather than wiring money to someone and to ensure there is no repercussion to get a refund if need be. Best way to accept payment is cashier’s check or using a service such as PayPal
  • Don’t give out personal contact information. Craigslist makes this easier since your identity is anonymous and they can forward to your personal email, so if anyone is really interested they can email you. DO NOT give out your phone number or address.
  • Ensure that the item gets to the buyer. Deliveries may be falsely accepted and items undelivered to the recipient. The best way is to track the shipment, requiring a signature at time of delivery. If the item is of high value, it may be worth it to purchase shipping insurance.

Yard sales

  • Recalls on products – confirm on Consumer Product Safety Commission website cpsc.gov
  • Keep in mind that some people may be professional dealers that will buy with the intent to resell to make a profit. This buyer may be aggressive and they normally show up early and pitch hard bargains.
  • Be careful accepting large bills since they may be counterfeit. You may want to consider getting a counterfeit detecting pen. A buyer will attempt to buy a cheap item to get change for the fake money. You can also avoid this situation by simply stating “Sorry, I don’t have that much change.”

With summer coming to an end, people will be cleaning out homes and garages, so sales will be on the rise and you might be able to get a deal!  Keeping these tips in mind will help you stay safe and make you a smart buyer/seller!

Bicycle Safety First!

August 5, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Posted in Laws, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Riding a bicycle recreationally can be fun; however, being safe should be the priority when you’re out and about on the road.

Here are some safety tips to follow when riding:

  • Always ride with the direction of traffic. It’s Safer. It’s Courteous. It’s the Law.
  • Wear a helmet – It’s the only thing that can protect your head in case of an accident
  • Avoid busy streets –Pick a route that has less traffic and slower traveling vehicles
  • Lights – See and Be Seen. Make sure your bicycle is equipped with reflectors and easily stands out at night-time with lights (head light/rear-lights)
  • Signal your turns – Indicate which direction you intend to go so others around you know you’re about to turn.
  • Avoid using music players or mobile phones – Make sure you stay alert and know what’s happening around you; any distractions will increase your risk.
  • When appropriate, use the whole lane of traffic- Sometimes in certain situations it’s safer to use the whole lane than to travel on the side. Cars that are in intersections can see you better up ahead than on the side where they might overlook you.
  • Wear bright, reflective clothing – Get your bright reflective clothing on so people can see you

Now get out and enjoy the outdoors! Just keep these safety tips in mind and stay safe.

Here is a helpful link for more information:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/?1dmy&urile=wcm:path:/dmv_content_en/dmv/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl37

 

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!

 

Summer Fire Safety Tips

July 1, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Posted in Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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WickedLocal Woburn has shared some fire safety tips for the summer season! See the article at: http://woburn.wickedlocal.com/article

Now that summer’s finally here in Massachusetts, residents are able to spend time outdoors at family barbecues, going to the beach, mowing the lawn and taking trips. “Be sure to keep burn prevention and fire safety in mind to ensure these activities are as fun as they should be,” said State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan.

Grilling safety

Grill fires, burns from flare-ups and improper use of charcoal lighter fluid increase during barbecue season. More than 70 percent of gas grill fires occur between May and September. Be sure to grill outdoors and keep the grill 10 feet from the side of the house. Establish a 3-foot circle of safety around the grill just for the chef to ensure children and pets don’t get hurt. Don’t leave the grill burning unattended and know what to do if the flame goes out on a gas grill (shut off the gas at the tank and wait 15 minutes before relighting).

Smoking and mulch safety

Be sure to provide appropriate ash trays or ash cans for smokers, so they won’t be tempted to put out butts in the landscape mulch, potted plants, trash bins or directly on the stairs or porch. The number of outside smoking fires has been growing in Massachusetts the past few years. These fires often grow undetected for some time. Several have been considered deadly in the past year.

Gasoline safety

More than half of the victims of gasoline burns in Massachusetts are under the age of 25. While it’s great to have your teenager mow the lawn for you, it’s important to teach them how to handle gasoline safely. Visit stopgasfires.org for information on preventing gas fires and to see a video that can help teens and parents talk about gasoline safety.

Fireworks safety

Enjoy professional, supervised fireworks displays. But remember that the possession and use of any fireworks by private citizens is illegal in Massachusetts. This includes sparklers that can burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers and cherry bombs.

Prevent sunburns

Be sure to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF of at least 15 when outdoors in the sun. Use SPF 30 for extended time outdoors. Reapply every one and a half to two hours and after swimming. Avoid exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and wear sunglasses with UV light protection to protect eyes. Sunburns and extended exposure to the sun’s rays in childhood can lead to skin cancer later in life.

Hotel and motel safety tips

Select accommodations that are equipped with sprinklers and smoke alarms in guest rooms. Search the Fire Safe Hotel List on the United States Fire Administration website to see if your hotel is listed: apps.usfa.fema.gov/hotel/#searchlist.

Camp fires

Use the campfire ring or pit provided by the campground where fires are permitted. Build a small fire starting with tinder, kindling and small wood. A tent shape works well. Add small amounts of wood as the fire catches. Keep your fire under control and never leave it burning unattended. Be sure to have a bucket of water handy and to completely extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the campsite. Supervise all children and keep them a safe distance away from the fire. Clear trip hazards away from near the fire pit. Reasonable cooking fires are allowed without a permit in communities that do not have open burning bans.

For information: visit mass.gov/dfs and type Fire Safety Topics in the search box.

Caught Outdoors in a Lightning Storm? Travelers Shares Some Safety Tips

June 24, 2015 at 11:28 AM | Posted in Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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Travelers Insurance shared some advice about lightning safety we thought was important to share as well, especially with this month being the peak of “thunderstorm season”!

Thunderstorms often strike with little warning, particularly during the warmer months when they are most likely to occur—and when we are most likely to be enjoying outdoor activities.

Know where to run to – the 3 safer spots in a lightning storm
When you hear thunder, you should immediately seek:

  1. Indoor shelter
    Get inside the nearest available vehicle or building— keeping all windows shut—and stay there for at least 30 minutes after the storm passes before returning outside. Avoid picnic tents, pavilions or other open, outdoor structures.
  2. Low ground
    Avoid hilltops and open areas. Lightning always seeks the highest ground, so if indoor shelter is not available, crouching down in the nearest, lowest, unexposed point is a better bet.
  3. Distance yourself from tall objects
    Never stand near pointy, towering structures — particularly metal ones — which can act as lightning rods. Avoid lone trees, flagpoles, telephone poles, fences and antennas.

Being outside during a thunderstorm is never safe. Lightning strikes accompanying these storms pose a serious threat to people and property. Always listen to weather reports when you have an outdoor activity planned, and reschedule if thunderstorms are in the forecast.

Despite your best efforts, you may still find yourself caught outside as an unexpected thunderstorm approaches. In cases when a safe, indoor shelter is absolutely not available, here are some scenario-specific tips that may help lessen your chance of being struck by lightning.

Person on the golf courseON THE GOLF COURSE
If you are nowhere near the clubhouse, move away from hilltops, open areas and water. Stay as far away from tall trees and metal conductors (like wires and fences) as possible. Move away from your golf cart and clubs. Try to maintain at least 20 feet of distance between you and other golfers on the course.

Man crouching

Boat on the waterON A BOAT
Most lightning-related injuries and deaths on boats occur on vessels without a cabin. Larger boats with cabins are relatively safe, particularly when a lightning protection system is properly installed. If you cannot return to shore before the storm hits, drop anchor and get as low as possible or retreat to a cabin if your boat has one. Remember to stay off the radio unless there is an emergency, too. It is also a good idea to keep away from metallic surfaces, which may conduct electricity.

Person walking on a trailON THE TRAIL
Always avoid lone trees and other tall objects. Stay away from rocky outcrops, ledges, water and wet items like ropes and towels, too. If you are deep in the forest, retreat underneath a group of small trees, preferably surrounded by taller ones. In more open areas, retreat to and crouch down in the closest dry, low area.

Man crouching

BeachAT THE BEACH
If you are swimming, get out of the water immediately. If your car is parked within walking distance, return to it immediately. Do NOT stand under picnic or other open-sided shelters. Never stand under the lifeguard chair or near metal objects (fences, poles).

Car

Do not be lulled into a false sense of security if the storm is several miles away. In general, a significant lightning threat extends outward from the base of a thunderstorm cloud about 6 to 10 miles.

Summer Safety Tips

May 27, 2015 at 2:08 PM | Posted in Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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We’d like to share John Tessier’s, Central Insurance Companies blog on summer safety tips.

Marsh & McLennan Agency
hopes everyone enjoys a very happy
SUMMERTIME!

With the reminder to always place SAFETY at the top of your activities list.

PROM AND GRADUATION SAFETY TIPS

May 13, 2015 at 4:53 PM | Posted in Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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It’s that time of year when we start to see very excited teenagers wearing prom dresses, tuxes, caps and gowns. Proms and Graduations are always a great reason for parents and their children to celebrate. Many will celebrate by attending or throwing parties which, more often than not, lead to the consumption of alcohol. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the number of traffic accidents and deaths for teens is higher than any other time of the year. Here are some tips to help keep you and your children safe during this exciting time.

ATTENDING PARTIES

For Youth:

  • Share all of your plans with your parents – give them locations and phone numbers
  • Make sure that your cell phone is fully charged
  • If you don’t have a cell phone, keep extra money on you in case you need to call for a cab
  • Always stay with a group of friends and watch out for each other
  • Don’t leave any of your food or beverages unattended
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs – if you do consume either, do not drive
  • Call your parents, a trusted friend or a cab for a ride – do not get in a vehicle that will be operated by someone who has been drinking or using drugs

For Parents:

  • Make sure that you know you child’s plans – get locations and phone numbers
  • Contact the adult hosting the party to verify that they will be home and that there will be no alcohol or drugs permitted
  • Arrange for transportation beforehand and let your child know that you are available to pick them up if they feel unsafe regardless of the reason or the time
  • Discuss the consequences of violating the school’s rules and your rules pertaining to prom and graduation
  • Agree on the time that your child should be home and let him/her know that you will be awake until they arrive

HOSTING A PARTY

  • Set clear rules in advance and discuss the consequences of breaking them
  • Parents should be present during the entire party – greet guests at the door to make sure they were invited and you know them
  • Watch for bags large enough for alcohol or drugs to be smuggled in – have guests leave their belongings in a room that you can monitor
  • Have snacks and non-alcoholic beverages in the area where the teens are congregated
  • Randomly wander through the area where the teens are congregated to say hello – be visible
  • Do not allow any teen who leaves the party to return

We hope that parents and youth work together to make Prom and Graduation one of the happiest, most memorable times in their lives by keeping everyone as safe as possible.

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