Our Massachusetts Insurance Agency is inundated with homeowner and auto insurance claims. Ice dams are flowing, pipes bursting, cars are hidden behind snow banks and icy roads are making driving slippery.
Our Agency phone keeps ringing and we keep reporting claims to our clients’ different insurance companies.
The only ones with weary smiles on their faces are the contractors, glass companies and plow guys.
The rest of us are left to ask: Are we having fun yet?
The answer, here at MassQuotes, is a resounding: Yes! We are having “fun.” This is why people have insurance. This is why we are here. This is what we do.
We have insurance to protect us from catastrophic events. We sell insurance to protect people from unforeseen disasters. We are here to take claims, advise and help through times of distress.
How are you doing with all this Massachusetts weather?
The time to review your insurance is before you have a problem.
Call or click us at MassQuotes. We love this stuff.
It’s common knowledge that if you own a home, you most likely need homeowners insurance to protect your investment and belongings. But if you rent a home or apartment, there’s a misconception that you don’t need similar insurance protection.
This is far from the truth. Renters insurance protects you from damage or loss of your personal belongings just like homeowners insurance.
Let’s imagine there’s a fire in the apartment building where you live. Your landlord’s insurance surely will pay for damage to the property, but none of the contents inside will be covered. You could be left with nothing, nowhere to live and no money to restart.
Renters Insurance Is Similar to Homeowners Insurance
If there is a fire, theft, storm damage, or accident where you live, renters insurance, like homeowners insurance, can cover your loss. But unlike homeowners insurance, renters insurance doesn’t cover the property since you don’t own it. It does cover your personal belongings, offer liability coverage, and provide additional living expenses.
- Personal Belongings. All the items you own, including furniture, clothes, and any other contents are covered by your renters insurance for any insured disaster. Most standard polices cover your items at actual cash value, meaning the amount the item is worth at the time of damage or loss. Replacement cost coverage pays out what similar new items cost without factoring depreciation.
- Liability Coverage. This is usually standard with renters insurance, just as it is with homeowners insurance. Liability coverage protects you from legal claims that may arise from injuries to others or their property. For example, if your dog bites your friend, your liability coverage will pay his medical expenses up to the policy limit.
- Additional Living Expense – Your renters insurance will usually pay for hotel and meal expenses should you need to relocate while damage is repaired.
What Renters Insurance Doesn’t Cover
Be sure you read your policy carefully. There are disasters that usually aren’t covered, including floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. If you live in a high-risk area for these, you may want to buy supplemental insurance to cover you.
How Much Will It Cost to Replace all Your Belongings?
This is the question you need to answer when deciding how much renters insurance coverage to purchase. Let’s go back to the fire in your apartment building. Assume it was a total loss and you have nothing left. Do you know how much your belongings were worth? You might be surprised to realize just how much you have.
Take an inventory of everything you own by making video or shooting photographs. Also save receipts and owner’s manuals for large purchase items, if possible, and keep the information safe at an offsite location.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
Renters insurance is typically much less expensive than homeowners insurance, yet it can bring you the same protection. According to the Insurance Information Institute, renters insurance premiums usually range from $200 to $250 per year.
Of course the actual amount will depend on where you live, the coverage amount you choose, supplemental coverage, discounts, and the deductible (the amount you’ll pay for damages before your insurance kicks in). Remember, the higher the deductible the lower the premiums.
Call, Click or Stop by for a Massachusetts Apartment Insurance Policy Today
The good news is as your independent insurance agent, Smith Insurance is here to help. If you find yourself the victim of a fire, theft, or other insured disaster, we want to make sure you are covered. Having renters insurance can help bring you peace of mind today and protect you tomorrow when you least expect it.
Call or click for a free, no-obligation quote. We’ll help you get the coverage you need before you need it.
It sounds like a horror movie or a new reality TV show, but it’s not.
It’s the ultimate distraction: Driving with Children!
It seems like kids are hard-wired to get hungry and more demanding as soon as the car starts. While driving across town or across the country, if you’re not hearing cries of “I’m hungry,” more than likely it’s “I’m bored.”
But in that second it takes to reach to the passenger seat for the pacifier-du jour you could find yourself in the back seat of the car in front of you, with a rear-end accident, possible injuries and potential auto insurance claims.
While it’s tempting to want to placate children immediately, it’s important for drivers to remember that their primary responsibility is to pay attention to the road to make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.
Here are some safety tips to help keep your next trip with small children accident free.
- Keep your mind on the road and off the snacks by making sure the kids have what they need before you hit the road.
- You may find it helpful to keep a bag packed with snacks, activities or toys in the back seat that your child can reach easily, especially if you’re going on a long trip. Change items out frequently so they don’t get bored with the selection.
- If your child is very little there are products on the market that allow you to attach toys and snack cups to the car seat to keep them at hand. However, if food is a choking hazard for your little one at home, don’t give it to them in the car.
Train the Troops
“Training” your children for proper automobile behavior is also key for avoiding highway hassles – and potential auto insurance claims. Making sure they have snacks and books before you hit the road is a start. The second part of the equation is to let them know that if they drop it, it’s gone for good. Period.
- Do a final check-in with everyone before you take off to make sure that they have what they need: music, snacks, activities. Then remind your children that once you hit the road, they’re on their own.
- Remain focused: cell phones and electronics only complicate the issue even further. Turn handheld devices off or leave them in the trunk to avoid the temptation to answer a call.
- If the backseat erupts into chaos, keep yourself calm and your eyes on the road. If you’re unable to diffuse the situation safely or unable to ignore it, pull over at your first opportunity.
- If you must pull over, make sure you pull over in a safe place. The side of the freeway is not the place to calm a child and is something law enforcement officers frown upon.
Retrain Your Brain
It is part of the human condition to want to sooth a child in distress, and parents are especially in tune with satisfying kids’ every need. Remind yourself that your job in the car, first and foremost, is to arrive safely at your destination.
Ultimately children respond to adult’s reactions. Once you retrain yourself not to react, your kids will do the same. If you can remain calm and firm, your kids will eventually learn to accept that they are not going to get their way the minute they make a request. They may not be happy when you get where you’re going, but at least they’ll be in one piece.
Contact MassQuotes.com: We are your online, Massachusetts Independent Insurance Agent
You will do whatever it takes to protect your family, on the road and at home. That includes making sure your insurance protection is adequate and up to date. MassQuotes will be happy to sit down with you to review your coverage. Click, call or stop by today to make sure your current policy is right for your family.
- Make sure that everyone knows two ways out of every room.
- Teach children to crawl on their hands and knees in an effort to stay low under smoke.
- Close doors behind you to slow the spread of fire and smoke.
- Plan a meeting spot outside the house, at a neighbor’s or in a special place in the yard a good distance from the house.
- Teach kids that once they get outside, they should stay outside.
- Hold frequent fire drills, including some at night and make sure everyone is following the plan perfectly. Assign someone to call 911.
- Smoke alarms save lives.
- Install a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area and on each additional level of your home. Replace the batteries every six months.
- Do not rely on one way to escape from your home.
- Do not forget about the levels of your home. Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floor.
- Do not assume everyone will remember how to exit your home during a fire. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
- Do not reenter a burning building. Nothing is as valuable as your life.
- Do not open a door without feeling it first. If it is warm, the fire is nearby and you could cause the greater risk of spreading the fire and injuring yourself.
Does your homeowner insurance policy have the Personal Property Replacement Cost Endorsement?
Claims can be settled two different ways: Actual Cash
Value basis (ACV) or Replacement Cost basis.
ACV is based on the replacement cost of the property, minus a deduction for physical depreciation and obsolescence. Your 10 year old recliner might not be worth much when figured this way and the payment from the insurance company might not be enough to buy a new one.
However, if you have the Replacement Cost Endorsement (cost is about 10% of the policy’s premium), the company will pay the cost to replace the property with a similar type and quality of property without a deduction for depreciation.
Having this replacement cost endorsement can be very valuable at claim time.
Remember: even policies with Replacement Cost have limits for “special items” such as jewelry, antiques, collectibles, fine arts, and silverware. These items should be “scheduled” on your policy separately.
Is your Massachusetts homeowner insurance policy renewing? Do you have the right coverage? Are you getting the best value?
Our independent, MA insurance agency has put together a homeowner insurance renewal checklist for items to review as your policy renews:
- Do you own jewelry, furs or watches with values over $1,000?
- Do you own silverware with a total value of over $2,500?
- Do you have a collection of valuables, including: coins, stamps or other?
- Do you own any of the following: Musical Instruments, Fine Arts or Antiques, Camera Equipment, Sports Equipment, Personal Computer?
- Do you own a boat?
- Is there a trampoline on your property?
- Do you have any tools, equipment or other property used in your business or occupation?
- Would you like your insurance to provide: Replacement Cost Protection on your Dwelling, on your Personal Property, Credit Card/forgery protection, Ordinance or Law coverage, Earthquake coverage?
- Flood is not a covered loss on a homeowner policy. Would you like to obtain rates for flood insurance? Also excluded from coverage are such things such as: rot, mold, mildew or animal/vermin/insect damage.
- Do you have personal liability Umbrella Coverage?
- Have you packaged your home insurance with your auto insurance carrier?
- When’s the last time your Agent reviewed your coverage?
Give us a call (or a click) an we would love the opportunity to review your Massachusetts home insurance coverage.
Here in Massachusetts, it’s inevitable. Nobody likes them and they’re not a lot of fun, but every winter they keep coming and coming.
They are Ice Dams and, fortunately, they are preventable.
Ice dams are caused by the build up of ice and snow on your roof. Melting and re-freezing contributes to more snow and ice building up.
- Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts.
- Keep gutters free of leaves and debris so melting snow and ice can flow freely.
- Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into your house destroying walls, floors and personal property.
Ice Dam water damage is a covered peril on the standard Massachusetts homeowner insurance policy. Coverage, however, is subject to your MA home insurance policy deductible. Also, a homeowner insurance claim can negatively affect the premium and your insurability.
Halloween is around the corner and, as scary as that may be, MassQuotes offers some even scarier new driver driving statistics:
- 43% of first year drivers and 37% of second year drivers get into accidents.
- The average driver’s education student in MA only gets 6 hours of professional training. Plumbers and electricians often apprentice for 8,000 hours to get a license to practice their job!
- Driving accidents are the #1 killer of teens. The rest of the top ten killers (#2 -#10) combined don’t kill as many teens.
- 93% of all teen accidents are caused by “driver error.” The majority of fatal teen accidents do not involve speeding or alcohol.
Recently our insurance agency received an e-mail from a long time client asking if he is “all-set” as far as his personal property coverage goes. Especially, he mentions because they’ve spent quite a bit of money on jewelry and watches over the years.
That’s when my inner, insurance agent alarm started ringing:
“SPECIAL LIMITS ALERT! SPECIAL LIMITS ALERT! SPECIAL LIMITS ALERT!”
The standard, broad form, Massachusetts homeowner insurance policy has “Special Limits of Liability” for special items.
Such as: the most the insurance company will pay for loss of money, bank notes, bullion, gold, coins etc is $200; $1,000 limit for jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semi-precious stones theft loss; $1,000 limit firearms theft; $1,000 loss securities, deed, manuscripts, tickets, stamps (etc).
In order to have adequate coverage for such items (& antiques, fine art & collectibles), you can schedule onto your policy per appraisal.