Tips and Advice

Watch those Surcharges!

In a recent Boston Globe article they wrote of some insurance companies charging a surcharge to a customer that shouldn’t have received one. In 2015 the Mass legislature approved higher thresholds for surcharges resulting from an auto accident.

If you get into a fender bender and cause $900 worth of damage you should not have a surcharge on your auto policy.  If you do, appeal it! The new limit is anything under $1000 should not be a surcharge on your auto insurance.

Two of the companies still using the unfair lower thresholds are Geico and Liberty Mutual.

Here is the article, which explains everything in greater detail.

The above is meant as general information and as general policy descriptions to help you understand the different types of coverages available to you. Always consult your policy for actual coverages and exclusions.


A passion for Trees

Matt Mitko - Expert Tree Removal & PruningAfter talking with Matt Mitko for more than 5 minutes you will get a very good sense of his passion for trees. I have met hundreds of business owners over the years and none have come close to showing the passion he has for what he does.

Matt is an expert tree climber. He is the one the large tree removal companies go to for the difficult jobs. He is the person to prune your trees so they grow elegant and strong, the person to trim a dangerous limb close to your home and the person to do an assessment of your trees to see which are unhealthy and in need of removal.

So if you live on the South Shore or Cape Cod and had some trees damaged in yesterday’s storm or need to clear a sunny view to your pool for the summer give Matt Mitko a call. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll get an appreciation for someone passionate about what he does.



Beware the Silent Killer


We hear it on the news all the time and think that will never happen to me. But unfortunately it happens all too often, especially this time of year.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, invisible gas that results when certain fuels do not burn completely. And it can be deadly. That’s why it’s important to know how to prevent it, detect it, and protect yourself and your family from its effects.

In the home, carbon monoxide is most commonly formed by flames and heaters, as well as vehicles or generators that are running in an attached garage. As temperatures drop and more people are cranking the heat and hovering over the stove inside and warming up the car’s engine before hitting the road, it’s especially critical to ensure your family’s safety against this lethal gas.

Since carbon monoxide cannot be detected without a carbon monoxide detection device, it is essential to install and maintain one or more detectors in your home.

Detector Tips
At Hannon-Murphy Insurance, we want you and your family to stay protected, so check out the following tips from CAL FIRE San Diego County Fire Authority for safeguarding your household.

  • The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. A detector should be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door, and there should be one near or over any attached garage.
  • Each detector should be replaced every five to six years.
  • Battery-only carbon monoxide detectors tend to go through batteries more frequently than expected. Plug-in detectors with a battery backup (for use if power is interrupted) provide less battery-changing maintenance.
  • Thoroughly read the installation manual that comes with the individual detector you purchase. Manufacturers’ recommendations differ to a certain degree based on research conducted with detectors for specific brands.
  • Remember that carbon monoxide detectors do not serve as smoke detectors and vice versa. You can, however, purchase a dual smoke/carbon monoxide detector that can perform both functions.
  • Do not install carbon monoxide detectors next to fuel-burning appliances, as these appliances may emit a small amount of carbon monoxide upon startup.

In case of exposure
At Hannon-Murphy Insurance, we hope you never have to use the following tips from the Mayo Clinic, but please read on for good information that could help save a life.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has been exposed to carbon monoxide, check for the following symptoms:

  • dull headache
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • shortness of breath
  • confusion
  • loss of consciousness

If any of the symptoms exist, move the individual into fresh air and seek emergency medical care immediately.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Holidays!



IF we get winter…

Challenge AcceptedIf and when (come on, you know it’s coming!) winter does finally arrive here in New England I thought I would share some tips provided by Mapfre Insurance. In case you haven’t noticed the change, Mapfre Insurance is the former Commerce Insurance.

The website has some good information on ice dams, frozen pipes & driving tips. Although the driving tips are common sense its still good to give it some consideration. Ice dams were brutal last year and deserve all the media attention they have received.

Follow the link here to the Mapfre microsite.

Enjoy the warm weather today and stop procrastinating on your X-Mas list, you’re running out of time!



Oh it’s deer season…

While driving on Route 3A about 7am last Saturday a deer jumped out of the woods directly in front of me. Fortunately for both of us I only managed to hit his backside and hooves. He never skipped a beat and ran off into the woods.

I’m not a hunter, but for the estimated 85,000-95,000 deer in the state, watch out! They seem to be most active around dusk and dawn so please be careful driving. I barely hit the deer and the estimated cost to repair my front-end was $3,000.

Did you know striking an animal falls under the comprehensive part of your auto insurance policy and not collision? Also it won’t affect your safe driver rating points.

Comprehensive coverage tends to be much less expensive than collision coverage. We usually recommend comprehensive coverage even for an older car because it will pay for a new windshield with no deductible, cover you for theft, flood and yes, even….hitting a deer!

The moral of the story? Buy comprehensive coverage for your car, drive carefully and lookout for deer. Thank goodness it wasn’t a reindeer. My kids would never have let me live that one down.



The above is meant as general information and as general policy descriptions to help you understand the different types of coverages available to you. Always consult your policy for actual coverages and exclusions.

Deadly Left Hand Turns

I was surprised to see just how bad left hand turn accidents can be. Being from Massachusetts we all assume the other person will slow down because, well duh, you can see me! After reviewing these statistics you will see that not only are these accidents deadly, but they also occur at a greater frequency.

Left Hand Turns Infographic.

Bottom line, just be careful and drive safely. Winter is on the way and with it comes slippery driving conditions. Stay tuned for next weeks post with my oldest daughter getting her permit! NOOOOOO!!!

Be safe and have a lovely weekend. Looks like we have a great day for the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Plymouth Saturday morning.


IRS Scam Info


IRS scams are one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. I received a phone call last week from someone claiming to be from the IRS. It was kind of funny as they mangled different corporate names we have, but it is no laughing matter if you are one of the unfortunate victims to these low-life scammers.

They typically use threats of police arrest and jail to intimidate victims into paying up fast – usually by money transfer or prepaid cards.

One important thing to remember is the IRS does not use the phone or even email to notify people if they owe taxes – and they do not request money-wire transfers or debit cards for payment.

For more information on these recent IRS scam alerts click here for the IRS consumer alert.

Enjoy this beautiful fall day!




Accident Forgiveness is worth it!

Mapfre-Commerce recently dropped the cost of adding Accident Forgiveness coverage to your policy to 5% of your premium. Hopefully you’re asking yourself “What is Accident Forgiveness Steve, and why is it important to me?” and not “when will you correctly learn where to place a comma?!”.

I had an accident about 7 years ago. I hit a neighbor’s rock (don’t ask!) and caused $2,200 worth of damage to my car. Yes, I said $2,200! Ugh anyway, my insurance went up $468 that first year as a result of my accident. And I had to live with that surcharge for 6 years (although it did go down each year).

The answer to that problem, Accident Forgiveness. For 5% of your policy premium Mapfre-Commerce will waive the premium surcharge if you have an at-fault accident. There are several other items to discuss with this coverage, but that’s what we are here for so call our office today to add this great coverage.

If you want find out more follow this link to Mapfre-Commerce.

Happy Opening Day, Go Sox!


The above is meant as general information and as general policy descriptions to help you understand the different types of coverages available to you. Always consult your policy for actual coverages and exclusions.

New Dead Battery Law? 04/07/15

Well, it’s not called the dead battery law, but that’s what you’ll want to call it when you leave your lights on due to new law that takes effect April 7, 2015.

The new Massachusetts law (Chapter 481 of the Acts of 2014) now requires motorists to turn on their headlights when “when the vehicle’s windshield wipers are needed.”  Mass. General Laws Chapter 85 section 15 also states that headlights should be in use for a half hour before sunrise and sunset or when visibility is under 500 feet.

Here is the kicker for your insurance….If cited you will also receive a surcharge on your auto insurance policy. That will no doubt be significantly more expensive than the $5 violation. So lights on Massachusetts, but don’t forget to turn them off when you shut off your car or you’ll be cursing the dead battery law.

Have a lovely day!

Steve Murphy

Don’t get Scrooged by Identity Theft

I had my identity stolen a few years ago and it’s not a simple process to have your credit repaired. While there are insurance options and plenty of identity theft products available sometimes the best protection is being careful. As we all begin the scrambling process of finding those last minute gifts (relax, plenty of time!) here a few tips:

  • Proceed with caution when shopping online. Make sure you are buying products or services from a reputable, familiar company with a secure network. And never buy anything online from a website that does not have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. (You will know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// instead of just HTTP://).
  • Monitor your accounts. Do not rely on your credit card company, or bank, to alert you of suspicious activity. Monitor your bank and credit card statements to make sure all transactions are accurate. If you suspect a problem, contact your credit card company or bank immediately.
  • Be cautious with personal information. Whether on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet, do not divulge sensitive information or your social security number unless you initiated the contact, are familiar with the person or company and are confident that they have a secure line.

Have Safe and Happy Holiday and don’t forget to leave the light on….for Santa that is ;)