Tips and Advice

Blizzard tips? I don’t think so.

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I was reading all the tips and suggestions from our insurance companies giving advice on what to do in case of a blizzard. Seems to me the simple answer is just don’t go out! Buy your milk and bread ahead of time. When did this become America’s staple emergency food? I never understood that. Anyway, I digress.

If you have a generator, make sure you have extra gas on hand. Prepare for losing power. Have candles on hand, batteries for your flashlight, charge all those foolish electronic devices — we have like 20 in our house & board games for the family or even better have fun neighbors that know how to pass 15 hours of no power.

One thing I am serious about is please check on any elderly neighbors or friends. Call your mother. Don’t assume they are ok. These storms can be frightening to them.

I will post a update on our office hours tomorrow morning.

Enjoy the quiet for tonight.

Steve

Preventing Frozen Pipes

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With the blast of cold air this past week one concern that comes to mind is frozen pipes. A friend of mine had a cold water pipe freeze at her house this week, but fortunately they were home and able to fix the problem. When a pipe does burst it can create a very nasty claim and lots of damage if you are not home when it happens.

Here are some tips to prevent frozen pipes.

Outside plumbing tips:

- Caulk around pipes where they enter the home.
- Close all foundation vents and fill vent openings with wood or Styrofoam blocks
- Wrap outside faucets or hose bibs with insulation if you don’t have a separate outside valve to turn them off. Use molded foam-insulation covers which are available at hardware stores. Newspaper or rags (covered with plastic wrap) are another option.
- Disconnect garden hoses and drain in-ground irrigation systems.

For inside plumbing:

- Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as attics, crawl spaces and basements.
- When below-freezing weather is forecast, open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms. This allows these pipes to get more heat from inside your home.
- If you leave home for several days, put your furnace on a low setting. This may not prevent freezing pipes but it can help.
- Let a slight drip of water run when temperatures dip below freezing. Use cold water to avoid water heating charges.

What if pipes freeze?

Thaw plumbing lines safely with a hair dryer or heat lamp. Once the pipe has thawed, make sure to leave a little water running so the pipe doesn’t freeze again. Do not open the water meter box near the curb. It could increase the chance of freezing water at the meter.

What if pipes break?

Close your main water shut-off valve to your house. Most shut-off valves are located where the water line enters the house, either at the front of your house where you connect your hose, or basement near the hot water heater, or inside the garage.
Turn off the water heater. Locate the dedicated shut-off valve on the cold water inlet.
Remember, the repair of broker pipes on the customer’s side of the meter is the customer’s responsibility. Contact a plumber for repair work.
Hopefully these tips will help prevent problems at your house this winter! Click here to learn more about protecting your home from frozen pipes.

Information courtesy of the Portland Water Bureau.

Turkey Day Turkeys

Thanksgiving should be a time for family and friends to gather together, enjoy each others company, eat too much and possibly sneak in an afternoon nap on the couch. And for most people that’s just what it is. But accidents can happen and people get hurt (don’t even get me started on the whole fried turkey thing).

So what does any of this have to do with insurance? Glad you asked. Let’s say Uncle Earl, while carving the turkey, manages to carve a piece of his hand with the electric knife. Your homeowner’s insurance policy will pay up to $5,000 for his medical expenses. This coverage is simply called Medical Payments. There are higher limits available for a very minimal charge.

Your policy will pay the medical expenses of someone injured in your home regardless if you are at fault. It is often hoped that by paying the medical expenses of someone injured in your home that the injured person will not pursue a lawsuit. One thing to keep in mind is that coverage is excluded for household members.

So enjoy your family and friends, eat as much as you like, watch every minute of football, and don’t let Uncle Earl use the electric knife.  

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.

Food Spoilage & Tree Removal FAQ’s

Two of the most common insurance questions and claims are food spoilage and tree removal. I will try to give you a quick overview of these common claims. Please remember this is a broad explanation, but always read your policy or call your agent for coverage questions.

TREE REMOVAL 
If a tree falls in my yard but does not damage my home or property, will my insurance company pay to remove it?
Generally, the tree must cause damage to your home before your insurance company will pay to remove it. There are endorsements available to add this coverage.

If my neighbor’s tree falls on my home, will his insurance company pay for the damage?
Unless negligence can be proven, your neighbor’s policy covers his home and your policy covers your home.  Generally, if the tree is damaged due to a storm, the owner would not be considered negligent.

My tree is hanging over my house. It hasn’t fallen, but it is posing a danger to the property and my family. Will the company pay for the cost to remove it?
Most policies do not provide coverage for removing trees that may fall on the property.

A tree is on my roof. Will my insurance company pay to have the roof tarped?
Insurer’s expect homeowner’s to make any necessary repairs to protect their property from further damage and will pay the reasonable costs associated with proptecting the property. Placing tarps on the roof is a way of protecting your property from further damage.

FOOD SPOILAGE
There was no damage to my home, but $400 worth of food was lost because of the power outage. Can I file a claim for the loss?
Unless you have a special endorsement, generally there is no coverage if the power outage occurred off your premises. If it did occur on your property then you may have coverage subject to your deductible.

What is the benefit of a food spoilage endorsement?
Typically you will have a $50, $100 or even no deductible option and it will provide food spoilage coverage whether the power outage occurred on or off your premises.

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is fast approaching the East Coast and while its path appears to hitting the New Jersey shore the effects will still impact New England this Monday, the 29th of October. While we all are keeping our fingers crossed that it will weaken and just go away, there are steps you should take now to be prepared.  Here are a few resources we’ve put together to help you with some timely information and tips, should you experience a loss.   Click any of the following three links to download and view the respective PDF format document:

Direct Claim Phone Numbers

Hurricane Preparation Tips

Restoration Companies

 

 

 

Haunted helpings from Hannon-Ryan

Who thinks about insurance on Halloween? Well, me of course. If you’re thinking of insurance then you either have a problem or you need to come see me about a job. I was a kid once a very long time ago and I was a punk just like all my friends. As a teenager Halloween meant free candy and a free pass to wreak havoc. As a reformed punk here are some tips to keep your trick-or-treaters and home safe:

  • Turn on all outside lights and leave them on all night to deter those pesky vandals.
  • Repair walkways, railings and steps to your home.
  • Move cars, bikes and planters to the garage.
  • Pet owners – watch your dog. I have a bulldog who loves people, but she can get freaked out by the costumes. Keep your dog in another room. Some kids have allergies or are afraid of dogs.
  • Drivers – Slow down. It will be dark and children will be excited and running all over the place.

And lastly, PLEASE don’t leave your entire supply of candy in one giant bowl with a note saying “Only take one please” because that’s just too much temptation for any kid!

Have a fun week!

Steve

Top Ten Flood Insurance Facts

I bet when you woke up this morning you rolled out of bed and sat silently pondering the intricacies of flood insurance. Okay, maybe you have never thought of flood insurance in your life. No one cares about flood insurance until you suffer a loss cause by a flood. Did you know coverage for flood insurance is excluded on virtually every insurance policy known to man except….wait for it….Auto Insurance?. I bet you would never have guessed that one.

Back to my point. There is a wonderful website developed by FEMA called Floodsmart.gov. There is a treasure trove of information about flood insurance. I wanted to call to you attention a brief flyer they created called the Ten Flood Insurance Facts. It is easy to read and gives you a basic understanding of flood insurance.

That’s it for today. If there is ever anything you would like to see posted or had questions on feel free to email me at steve@hannon-ryan.com. Have a nice weekend and don’t forget to go shopping for Mother’s Day next week.

Thank You,
Steve Murphy

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.

 

What Insurance Policy are You Guaranteed to Use?

Give up? Or more to the point don’t care? I’ll just pretend you’re interested….Life Insurance! Yes, if you think about it we all buy car insurance, homeowner’s insurance and for some even an umbrella policy. We can go 30 years without an accident (not a simple task in Massachusetts) or possibly never have a homeowner’s claim. But we are all going to die someday. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The good news is that life insurance rates are very affordable right now. For example I just quoted a $500,000 30-year term life insurance policy for a 35 year old male in good health, non-smoker and the monthly premium is less than $38 a month. I spend more than that a month at Dunkin Donuts (and that’s probably killing me).

It may be one of the more challenging insurance policies to buy just because we all procrastinate, but it is one of  the most important. Your family will never regret your decision to buy a life insurance policy. You will never get scare tactics from me, just the reality we all face.

Feel free to call me at 508-746-0030 or send me an email at steve@hannon-ryan.com for a quote or if you have any questions.

Thank You,
Steve Murphy

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.

Will my insurance rates go up if…?

A common question we are asked is “Will my homeowner’s insurance premium go up if I file a claim?”. The simple quick answer is no. You could potentially lose your loss-free credit if you have one on your policy. That would cause your premium to go up the following policy term. Homeowner’s insurance rates are not determined by loss history. Your homeowner’s insurance rates are based on a multitude of factors including the location of your home, the size, the age, your insurance score (insurance company lingo for a credit score) to mention a few.  

Insurance companies are more concerned with frequency rather than a single loss. If you file 3 small claims in a year more than likely you will be looking for a new company when your policy expires. So, if you have a loss with significant damage, the right thing to do is file the claim. After all, you’re paying a premium every year, why not use your insurance for what it’s designed to do?

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.

5 Business Card Challenge

I came across this article on Realtor.com. It is a prospecting challenge for yourself. You don’t have to be a Realtor to see the value in the idea. Simple, yet effective and very low budget. I won’t restate the article. Just follow this link….

http://lockbox.realtor.com/realtor-marketing/prospecting-on-a-budget/.

Can you do it?

Enjoy the day!

Steve