Home insurance to homeowners is sometimes seen as just another expense that needs to be dealt with. It’s easy to forget that you’re taking precautions to protect what is likely to be the biggest investment you’ll ever make. Use this as your guide to homeowners insurance, so you can get a policy that works for you.
Home Insurance Basics
If homeowners have a mortgage, they’re generally required to cover the structure. However, the rest of the policy is largely left up to the homeowner. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t have the protection they need if their home and property suffered a natural disaster or criminal encounter. It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to consider their priorities before determining how much coverage they need. Home insurance can also cover legal fees or liability claims against the owner.
Humphrey, Covill & Coleman Insurance is pleased to announce the addition of another new homeowners market to our line up. Universal Property (www.universalproperty.com) is a Florida based company that is very good at writing coastal homeowners insurance.
The company is very competitive with other coastal markets like United, Fair Plan, MPIUA, Providence, Narragansett. Universal gives you the option to completely eliminate your extra wind/hurricane deductible.
Homeowners in the following coastal commuties should give us a call to see if you are eligible for this new company: New Bedford, Dartmouth, Westport, Fall River, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Marion, Wareham, Plymouth & Cape Cod.
If you would like a quote give us a call or go to our website at: www.HCandCinsurance.com/quote
All the signs are pointing to a “Hard” Market for 2012. What does this mean for you? Rates are going up! Due to large losses and several recent catastrophes; poor economy; increased cost of doing business; poor return on investments; increased cost of reinsurance. Expect increases anywhere from 3% to 10% – depending on line of business. We have recently seen auto insurance rates take a slight turn upward. Homeowners, especially coastal homes, have taken a larger jump this year. We are starting to see the commercial market tighten up and prices are slowly starting to creep up across the board. While many businesses can expect a flat renewal, the trend is generally upward for most commercial lines.
We have also noticed underwriters taking a harder look at exposures. Inspections have become more stringent than in the past.
The insurance industry has enjoyed a “soft” market for the past several years. Prices have been consistently low for at least 6 years now. Inevitably, prices are going up. I don’t expect huge jumps this year.
The best part of being an “Independent Insurance Agent” is that we have several insurance companies that we represent and we can find the right market for each client. Let us give you a quote on your insurance today!
Happy Valentine’s Day! We hope that you have a wonderful day celebrating the love you share with the special people in your lives.
We also want to let you know, that should you get a valuable or sentimental gift on this holiday we can help you insure it.
Most homeowners and renters policies have a limitation on jewelry. If you have a high valued piece, you may want to schedule it on your policy as a personal articles floater. By scheduling valuables on your policy, you get better coverage and the piece is insured for an agreed amount. Give us a call to get a quote for your valuables. (508) 997-3321 or email us at info@HCandCinsurance.com
SNOW ON ROOFS– some roofs can handle more snow than others. In New England, roofs should be designed to hold between 40 and 70 pounds per square foot. The total accumulated weight of two to four feet of snow could be as high as 60 pounds per square foot! If there is ice, it is much heavier – one inch of ice equals a foot of snow. You should not climb on your roof to remove snow – rather, use a snow rake while standing at ground level, or have it professionally removed.
SMOKE AND FIRE ALARMS– since house fire frequency increases in the winter, ensure that all smoke and fire detectors/alarms are in good working condition. Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector in addition to smoke and fire alarms.
POWER FLUCTUATIONS – power outages can cause damage to appliances, the electrical system, ignition switches, timers and relays. There are some simple things you can do to protect the electrical equipment in your home from damage:
- In a power outage, pull plugs from wall sockets – this will avoid any power surge. Once power is restored, plug equipment back in one piece at a time.
- Install surge protection – surge protection devices should be placed both inside and outside a building. Power lines are not the only path for voltage surges to enter – surges can also come through data lines and telephone lines. Have a qualified electrician install any outside surge protection. Inside surge protectors can be purchased at any hardware store.
- When installing inside surge protectors, make sure you are protecting all of your equipment – computers, televisions, appliances, security systems, and any vulnerable items.
FROZEN PIPES– frozen water in pipes can cause pipes to burst due to the water pressure buildup behind the ice blockage. Pipes that are located in areas more susceptible to freezing temperatures, such as attics, basements, and outside walls, are more likely to freeze and burst. All pipes should be well insulated, and any damaged pipes should be replaced. Other things you can do to prevent frozen pipes are:
- Keep the house warm – interior temperatures should be set to at least 60 degrees.
- Seal cracks in outside walls and foundations to prevent cold air penetration.
- Wrap pipes that are more exposed to cold temperatures with heating tape or insulation.
- Keep cabinet doors open during very cold weather to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
- Open water faucets to allow a slow trickle of water, which keeps the water flowing through the lines and prevents freezing. Make sure the sink drains are open.
- Know where the main water shut off valve is located, and maintain clear access to it so that the water can be shut off if freezing to pipes does occur. Water should be shut off at once if pipes have frozen, and a plumber should be called immediately. The more quickly you take action, the better chance you have to prevent your pipes from bursting and causing damage to your home. Never try to thaw a pipe with a blowtorch or other open flame device yourself.
- If you plan to leave your home for several days or longer, shut off the water and drain the pipes. Alternatively, you can also install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system.
PUFF BACKS –a malfunction in a furnace or boiler can create an oil film that can be circulated throughout the home via the heating system. All interior surfaces as well as personal property are affected by a puff back. Extensive and time-consuming cleaning will be required. To prevent puff backs, have the furnace or boiler serviced regularly – at least yearly, and preferably just before the start of the heating season.
CHIMNEYS– chimney fires are a major hazard in the winter. Have the chimney cleaned before the start of heating season to remove harmful and flammable creosote buildup. Chimney fires can move from the chimney to interior walls, to rafters in attics, and to the roof itself, which can lead to catastrophic damage to a home. Older homes can be even more susceptible to this as long term settlement issues can cause a chimney to pull away from the building structure over time, and mortar will deteriorate causing small openings in the chimney that hot gases and sparks can get through and into surrounding structures.