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!

Empty Nesting

August 13, 2015 at 9:03 AM | Posted in Event Planning, Home, Insurance Policy, Reminders, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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This is the time of the year when kids of all ages go back to school. Whether the last child is going off to school, or just leaving the nest, new “empty-nesters” have big adjustments to make to their lifestyles once all of their children have left the home. If you’re an empty-nester, not only will you find yourself with more time on your hands, you will now have more time to focus on you. Here are some ways to stay busy if you are a new empty-nester:

  • Volunteer in your local community
  • Find a hobby
  • Get a job or start a business
  • See the world
  • Reacquaint yourself with your spouse

Before you send your child off to school, and for the sake of some piece-of-mind, be sure to call your agent and review your policies. You may need to adjust your auto policy, especially if your child is taking a vehicle away with them. Also, consider purchasing a renter policy for coverage of your child’s personal property while away at school.

Even though it seems like you have a lot of extra time on your hands now, it won’t be long before your days are filled to the brink again. Enjoy them!

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.

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.

Consider Making Every Day EARTH DAY!

April 22, 2015 at 11:39 AM | Posted in Reminders, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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There are so many small and easy choices we can all make to contribute in the preservation of our environment. Implementing good green habits at home may also save you money. Below is a list of ideas you can choose today:

  1. Wash your laundry using cold water instead of hot water
  2. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater
  3. Turn off the lights when you leave the room
  4. Shut down your computer completely at night
  5. Unplug chargers and appliances when not in use
  6. Fix leaky faucets
  7. Create less paper waste by paying your bills on-line
  8. Purchase reusable bags for all your shopping
  9. Collect rainwater and use it to water your garden
  10. Donate to and shop at thrift stores

Consider passing these habits on to the next generation and double the effort by teaching children green habits. Starting the habits today will become second nature with practice.

Make Every Day – Earth Day!

Seasonal Vehicle Coverage

April 8, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Auto, Camper, Insurance Policy, Motor Home, Motorcycle, Personal Property, RMV, Seasonal, 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 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.

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