When It Rains – It POURS!

February 19, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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With possible rain predicted this weekend, the already heavy snow becomes even heavier. It is very important to clear decks and roofs in order to remove the weight. For anyone needing to file a claim right now, here are some of the most common questions being asked:
Q: Is the cost to remove snow and ice from my roof, deck, or car port covered under my home policy?

A: The cost to remove snow and ice dams from your roof would be considered regular home maintenance and claim prevention. If there is already damage to your home such as interior water due to ice dams, the cost to remove snow and ice would be considered part of the claim. Your deductible would apply.

Q: Is the damage to my roof, windows, and interior walls & floors due to leakage covered?

A: Yes, your deductible would apply.

Q: Is the collapse of a roof, deck, or car port resulting from the weight of ice and snow-covered under my home policy?

A: Yes, your deductible would apply.
Continued removal of ice and snow is important as the season continues. If additional damages are reported that occur after a claim is filed, it will be considered an additional claim.

Call us at 888.850.9400 should you have further questions regarding your policy and the proper coverage you need to protect your home and properties.

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PREVENTING DAMAGE TO YOUR HOME FROM SNOW & ICE

February 11, 2015 at 4:38 PM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Property, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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We are now seeing claims for home water damage and the collapse of roofs due to the weight of snow and ice dams. The best way to prevent having damage to your home this time of year is with proactive maintenance. Please continue to keep these tips in mind to help you properly maintain your home while preventing injuries to yourself and others.

  1. To prevent home leaks and ice dams, remove snow from your roof. The safest way to do this is from ground level using a rake. Don’t stand directly below the area that you are working on, to avoid pulling the snow down on top of yourself. If you must go onto the roof to deal with the snow, get someone to act as a spotter. Wear boots with good traction, or add boot chains, and use a harness or rope for extra security.
  2. To prevent ventilation issues, clear snow away from all vents, including any on the roof and around your foundation.
  3. To avoid collapse of flat roofs and decks, shovel them often to keep the weight at a minimum.

We recommend the hiring of a professional to remove snow around your home. However, if you wish to do this task yourself, these tips may help you continue to stay safe through the winter. If you have questions about your Homeowners insurance concerning winter damage, please feel free to contact us at 888-850-9400.

SNOW REMOVAL SAFETY TIPS

January 28, 2015 at 11:16 AM | Posted in Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Removing snow and ice from your property is an important winter safety activity. How you remove the snow and ice is also very important. The following tips may help you properly maintain your home while preventing injuries to yourself and others:

  1. To prevent injuring yourself, warm up by doing ten minutes of stretches or light exercises. Dress in layers so that you can remove clothing if you become too hot. Wear waterproof boots with slip-resistant soles. Take a bottle of water with you and drink regularly so that you don’t become dehydrated. To avoid back strain while lifting shovels of snow, keep your back straight while bending your knees and squatting down with your legs apart. Carry the shovels of snow to where you want to place the snow instead of throwing it over your shoulder or to the side. Keep your arms close to your body rather than outstretched when carrying the snow.
  2. To prevent injuries to others, keep your driveway and walkways clear. Once the snow has been removed apply salt/sand to provide traction and help melt away any ice. Remove any hanging icicles from roof edges and gutters so that they don’t fall on anyone.
  3. To avoid traffic fines, be sure to remove snow and ice completely from your vehicle – including the roof – you’ll be protecting not only yourself but other motorists driving near you.
  4. To prevent home leaks and ice dams remove snow from your roof. The safest way to do this is from ground level using a rake. Don’t stand directly below the area that you are working on to avoid pulling the snow down on top of yourself. If you must go onto the roof to deal with the snow, get someone to act as a spotter. Wear boots with good traction or add boot chains and use a harness or rope for extra security.
  5. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, clear snow away from the vents around your home.

As always, it’s best to play it safe and hire a professional to remove snow around your home. However, if you have to do this task yourself, these tips may help keep you, your home, and others safe.

Personal Auto vs. Commercial Auto when Snow Plowing

November 5, 2014 at 11:09 AM | Posted in Auto, Insurance Policy | Leave a comment
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The first snowfall of the year has arrived! If you plow during the winter months with your personal vehicle, it is time to get the plowing gear ready. The following information, regarding your Personal Auto policy, may help you determine when you should consider obtaining a Commercial Auto policy:

Under a personal auto policy:

  • If you are plowing for a fee, your personal auto policy should be endorsed to Business Use to avoid issues at the time of a claim due to business use exclusions. The cost to add this endorsement is relatively small.
  • You should provide a receipt or documentation stating the value of the plow and hitching equipment so the policy can include it in the Physical Damage coverage. Otherwise, the cost of the plowing equipment would not be included in a claim should you report a loss.
  • A personal auto policy does NOT offer any Completed Operations coverage. This coverage responds in cases where someone files a claim from an incident (i.e. slip and fall injuries) after hired snow removal is completed.

When you need a commercial auto policy:

  • When you are required to carry Combined Single Limits.
  • When you are required to list an Additional Named Insured on the policy.
  • When you are required to produce a Federal Motor Carrier Service Association Filing.
  • When you need Completed Operations coverage. We suggest that if you are plowing for others you always carry Completed Operations coverage.

Call us at 888.850.9400 ~ we can help you protect your business investment to the fullest extent possible.

Snow Removal Tips

December 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Posted in Holidays, Home, Safety Tips, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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It’s beginning to look a lot like… a very snowy winter! Even though the snow creates beautiful scenery, it can be a hassle to clean up. By following this list of snow removal suggestions you can help prevent liability issues and injury:

  • Clear snow and ice off your vehicle surfaces before you drive away. Snow and ice flying off a vehicle can damage other cars and cause accidents. The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority can prohibit vehicles from using the roadway if debris, including snow or ice, could fall from the vehicle and endanger individuals or property. Massachusetts Turnpike Police also have the authority to fine drivers $200 for failing to clear vehicles.
  • Clear and sand walkways and steps. Make sure that your walkways and steps are clear of snow and ice to ensure the safety of visitors and delivery personnel. As things melt during the day and freeze again at night, it makes it necessary to re-apply sand and salt. Don’t forget – due to a recent Massachusetts law, homeowners are now responsible for clearing the sidewalk in front of their homes.
  • Have your roof raked after each significant snowfall. Raking the snow away from the edges of your roof prevents the melting and re-freezing that creates ice dams. This will protect your roof as well as prevent icicles from forming that could fall and injure someone.

This is just the beginning of the winter season and much more snow is expected. At Protector Group we hope these tips will keep you safe and incident free this winter.

Insuring Snow Plowing Operations

November 6, 2013 at 9:28 AM | Posted in Auto, Seasonal | Leave a comment
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The first snowfall of the year can happen any day now, so it is time to get the snow plowing gear ready. If you plow during the winter months with your own vehicle, here is some information regarding your personal auto policy and when you should consider a commercial auto policy.

Under a personal auto policy:

  • If you are plowing for a fee, your auto policy should be endorsed to Business Use to avoid issues at the time of a claim due to business use exclusions. The cost to add this endorsement is relatively small.
  • You  should provide a receipt or documentation of the value of the plow and hitching equipment so the policy can be changed to include it in the Physical Damage coverage. Otherwise, if you have a loss the cost of the plowing equipment would not be included in the claim.
  • The personal auto policy does NOT offer any Completed Operations coverage. This coverage responds in cases where someone may slip and fall after hired snow removal is completed.

When you need a commercial auto policy:

  • If you are required to carry combined single limits.
  • If you are required to list an Additional Named Insured on the policy.
  • If you are required to produce a Federal Motor Carrier Service Association Filing.
  • To obtain Completed Operations coverage. We suggest that if you are plowing for others that you always carry Completed Operations coverage.

If you have any questions, contact us at 888-850-9400.

Winter Ice Dams Require “Special” Insurance Coverage

January 9, 2013 at 9:53 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Reminders, Seasonal, Specialty Policy | Leave a comment
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The January thaw has arrived, and winter is far from over. We can expect the weather to warm up off and on from week to week. After every storm, make sure you remove any snow from the edges of your roof as soon as possible. When the snow melts from sunshine and warmer temperatures, it can re-freeze during the next cold blast and during the cold nights and cause ice dams. This can not only ruin your roof, but can cause major leaks and destroy the interior of your home as well.

When hiring outside help to remove snow, remember to make sure they are properly insured.

Now is the perfect time to call and review your policy to make sure you have “special” coverage on your contents, because a standard homeowner policy does not automatically include this coverage. Without additional coverage, if an ice dam should happen, your contents are not covered from any damage caused by water seeping in from the outside of your home.

Call Protector Group Insurance at 888-850-9400 with any questions you may have regarding the prevention of ice dams or to discuss your specific insurance coverage concerns.

Common Winter Claim Coverage Gaps

September 19, 2012 at 9:38 AM | Posted in Auto, Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Reminders, Rental Vehicles, Seasonal, Specialty Policy | Leave a comment
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The crisp autumn days and cool nights are a reminder that winter months are closing in fast, promising to deliver wind, snow, and ice storms. This is the perfect time to review your policies, to make sure you have the coverage you need before the first winter storm.  Special Coverage for Personal Property: Warmer sunny days and freezing cold nights cause ice dams.  Your Homeowner policy will cover the damage an ice dam causes to your home, but the contents inside your home will not be covered for any resulting water damage.  In order to cover your contents you want to make sure you carry the Special Coverage Personal Property Endorsement.   Debris Removal: Storms are nature’s way of trimming the trees, leaving debris in your yard after strong winds, and snow or ice storms.  Your Homeowner policy will respond to tree limbs and branches that damage a structure, but it does not cover the debris left in your yard after a storm.  That is considered property maintenance.  In order to get coverage for this type of loss you need to have the Debris Removal Endorsement, which is offered by most companies.  This provides a certain dollar amount to help you with the cost to clean up large amounts of debris left behind after a major storm.  Refrigerated Food Coverage: We have learned to expect power outages after a storm.  Power outages that last for several days will cause food in refrigerators and freezers to go bad.  Homeowner policies exclude this coverage, but most will offer the Refrigerated Food Coverage Endorsement. When available, a deductible would apply.  Autos: Slippery roads are a leading cause of auto accidents during the winter.  If you want coverage for your vehicle – even if you are at fault in an accident – you want to make sure you have collision coverage on your auto policy.  You also want to check your property damage to others limit as well to make sure that is adequate.  In order to get coverage for tree limbs that fall and damage your vehicle, you will want to add comprehensive coverage.  This is also a great time to make sure you have rental car coverage when you need to rent a vehicle while your car is tied up in repairs due to a covered loss.  Call The Protector Group and make sure you have the proper coverage you need to be prepared for whatever New England weather comes our way.

Baby It’s Cold Outside… Snow Plows Prepare!

December 21, 2011 at 2:53 PM | Posted in Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property | Leave a comment
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It might be a good time to review your liability coverage.

Property Owners – All property owners are now legally responsible for the removal of snow and ice from their property. Be sure to keep all areas the public and visitors have access to clear of snow and ice.

Plows – If you will be using your personal vehicle to plow this winter, you should be aware of the following:

  • If the entity you are plowing for requires you to name them as an additional insured or requires you to carry combined single limits, you will need to obtain a commercial auto policy.
  • If you are being paid to plow, your personal auto policy must be endorsed to a business classification in order to provide coverage.
  • Your policy may need to be endorsed to include the value of your plow. Each insurance company handles this differently, so be sure to ask if the value of your plow equipment is covered.
  • Regardless of whether or not your vehicle is insured commercially or personally, we recommend that you also obtain a commercial general liability policy with completed operations coverage. This covers your liability if someone gets injured as a result of the work you’ve done.

Call us at 888-850-9400 if you have any questions on your coverage.

Protect Yourself When Hiring Others to Clear Your Snow and Ice

November 30, 2011 at 9:03 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property | Leave a comment
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Property owners are legally responsible for making sure ice and snow are removed from their premises. How do you protect yourself when you hire someone to shovel and/or plow for you?

 

  • Communicate your expectations clearly. If you expect snow to be removed at certain times or when the accumulation is at a certain depth, put it in writing and have both parties sign the contract.
  • Always ask for a certificate of insurance. A certificate of insurance will tell you whether or not the person you are hiring has insurance coverage. Keep in mind that a certificate of insurance is only good for the day it is issued. You will not be notified if the insurance gets canceled after the certificate is issued.
  • Make sure the certificate shows both auto liability and completed operations coverage. Auto liability covers damage to your property and responds if the contractor injured someone while plowing. Typically, recommended limits are at least 250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident. Completed operations coverage responds if someone is injured after the work is finished, and is usually purchased in increments of $500,000 up to $1,000,000.
  • Consider a personal umbrella policy. An umbrella policy provides higher limits for any liability issues brought against you. Even though you are hiring someone else to do the work for you, you may still be named in a lawsuit if someone is injured.

If you have any questions or would like additional information on this topic, please call us at 888-850-9400.

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