Home Insurance Questions

home insurance questions

Life can be messy. To help prevent some of the messiness, consider calling us to review your home insurance coverage. Home insurance questions:

1. Is my home covered if we need to rebuild?

Have us complete an updated Replacement Cost Survey. Upgrades to a kitchen or bathroom, new kitchen appliances, or updates to a basement can all affect the cost to repair or rebuild your home.

2. Do I have enough coverage for my expensive items?

Your homeowner coverage includes “special limits of liability” which, for example, the most the insurance company will pay:  $1,000 for loss by theft of jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semiprecious stones; $2,500 for loss by theft of silverware, silver-plated ware, goldware, etc.; $2,000 for loss by theft of firearms. If you have any special items consider scheduling the item by appraisal.

3. Do I have enough liability coverage to protect my assets?

Home and auto policies carry liability limits that help protect you from judgments against you and legal fees, up to policy limits. Do you know your policy limits? In our litigious society, you may want to have us help you review your limits. If you don’t have one already, consider purchasing additional coverage in the form of a personal liability umbrella policy. Umbrella coverage starts at $1M and “sits-over” your auto and home liability limits.

4. Do I qualify for additional discounts?

An annual insurance review is a great time to ensure you’re receiving all applicable discount. For example, have you installed a security system? If so, additional protective device discounts may be available. Are you getting the proper account discounts? What would be the savings/cost if you were to increase/lower your deductible? Give us a call so we can review.

5. Does my newly finished basement affect my coverage?

Finishing your basement increases the cost to rebuild your home, in addition you may want to make sure you’ve added an additional, optional sump pump failure/ water backup endorsement.

6. Does my policy provide enough coverage for landscaping equipment or outdoor appliances?

When you install a new sprinkler system, larger shed, new pool or hot tub, or if you’ve purchased a fancy, backyard grill or riding mower, you might want to upgrade your insurance coverage. Significant investments require a review of your Dwelling and Personal Property Coverage.
Like home maintenance, an annual insurance review is an important part of protecting your biggest investment.

7. Do I have coverage for an oil leak?

In order to qualify the “Oil Heating System Upgrade and Insurance Law” requires either a non-metallic sleeve around the pipe that feeds the burner or a safety valve to prevent leaks. Companies require “certificate of compliance” signed by oil burner technician.

8. Do I have Ordinance or Law coverage?

Ordinance or Law insurance coverage provides limited protection for costs associated with repairing, rebuilding, or constructing a structure when physical damage to the structure by a covered cause of loss triggers an ordinance or law. Limited coverage can be added by endorsement.

Give us a call, a click or a visit and we will be happy to review your insurance coverage with you.

Oil Tank Coverage

oil tank coverage

Does Your Home Insurance Include Leaky Oil Tank Coverage? It’s been in the paper (Boston Globe) and on television (WCVB-5):

A leaky oil tank could cost a young couple their dream home.

The home insurance policy excludes oil spill coverage but limited coverage is available by endorsement.

Insurance companies require proof of safety equipment designed to prevent or limit oil spills.

Proof should be in the form of oil burner permit or Certificate of Compliance.

Cost and coverage varies between companies, one company (Safety Insurance) offers $50,000 of personal property coverage and $100,000 personal liability for $139.00 annually.

Does your home insurance policy include leaky oil tank coverage? Please call us with any questions or to discuss.

Help Prevent Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes lead to an expensive mess. Here, compliments of Travelers Insurance, we offer some ideas to help prevent frozen pipes.

Cold temperatures can reach areas of your facility that you seldom visit or cannot see, such as:

  • Crawl spaces
  • Closets
  • Enclosed spaces (e.g., attics, lofts, roof spaces)
  • Warehouses
  • Isolated storage areas

Preparing for cold weather can help reduce potential business interruptions and related losses resulting from cold temperatures.

Domestic Water Piping

In severe cold, domestic water pipes have the potential to freeze and break. If it’s safe to do so, make sure pipes that are located in isolated or poorly heated spaces are shut off and drained or protected with a supplemental heating source.

Protect Your Fire Protection Sprinklers

Fire protection sprinkler systems are dependent on the ability of water to flow freely when needed. Ensure that wet piping systems, which may be subject to cold temperatures, are sufficiently heated to prevent freezing.

Severe cold weather can also delay the response time of the local fire department. It’s imperative to properly maintain your fire protection systems.

Lastly, if heating is lost in a building protected by wet sprinklers, it should be restored immediately. Sprinkler systems should be shut off and completely drained only after exhausting all options to re-establish sufficient heat. If this is necessary, be sure to take appropriate precautions, including notifying local fire officials. Also remember to contact your insurance carrier. If you’re a Travelers customer, notify Travelers by using the Travelers impairment notification program “Fire Protection Impairments – Are You Prepared?”

Strategies to Help Prevent Frozen Pipes

Some prevention strategies to consider:

  • Properly insulate and/or provide approved heat tracing for water-filled pipes located in exterior walls or unheated spaces.
  • Drain any piping that is not required during the winter months.
  • Maintain a minimum temperature of 40° F (4.4° C) in building areas with processes susceptible to freezing, wet-pipe sprinkler systems, fire pump houses and dry-pipe valve enclosures.
  • Ensure that anti-freeze sprinkler systems have sufficient concentration (appropriate specific gravity readings) of antifreeze to withstand freezing weather.
  • Inspect dry systems to help ensure air settings are correct, air maintenance systems are in good operating condition, and any pipe closets are well insulated. If any heat tape or heating systems are being used, ensure that they are UL-listed for this specific purpose and are in good operating condition. Dry-pipe sprinkler systems low points and auxiliary drains should be opened and drained of any water or condensation.
  • Any branch lines on wet sprinkler systems exposed or subject to extreme cold weather should be insulated and heat traced. Electric heat tracing products should be UL-listed for this specific purpose.
  • Fire pump test headers should be checked to ensure they have been properly drained.
  • Fire pump and dry-pipe sprinkler system equipment rooms should be checked routinely to ensure the heaters are in good operating condition.
  • The use of low temperature supervision can help to ensure rooms are being properly heated.

Contact your insurance agent to discuss your specific coverage needs to protect your business.

help prevent frozen pipes

Consider Higher Deductibles

consider higher deductibles

Consider higher deductibles. Is your home in excellent condition?  Are you a “do-it-yourselfer” that fixes small problems around the house? Do you have a new roof, heating & electric systems, and plumbing? Are you a risk taker that would prefer to save money up front and spend more at claim time because of a higher deductible?

If yes to any of these questions, your Massachusetts Home Insurance Tip:

To save money consider higher deductibles.

Without claims, the money you save by deciding on a high ($2,500 or $5,000) deductible  is, literally, money in the bank.

Consider higher deductibles.

When your parents bought their first home, most likely their deductible was $250.

As a general rule of thumb you can save 10% of the annual premium if you carry a $500 deductible; an additional 10% if you carry a $1,000 deductible, and an additional 10% if you carry a $2,500 deductible.

For those of us that go years & years without claims, higher deductibles is, literally, “money in the bank.”

In addition, by carrying a higher deductible you self-insure yourself a little more thus making the chance of filing a small claim less appealing. By doing such consumers can keep their “loss free” credits and, without claim frequency, you remain more insurable.

Massachusetts Flood Insurance

Massachusetts Flood Insurance

Recently we were asked by a client to shop their Massachusetts Flood Insurance Policy which is with NFIP.

NFIP stands for The National Flood Insurance Plan offered by FEMA which stands for Federal Emergency Management Association which is under the control of United States Department of Homeland Security.

According to NFIP’s website:

“The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners, renters and businesses and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures. Overall, the program reduces the socio-economic impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance, but also of flood insurance, specifically.”

Unfortunately the part about “providing affordable insurance to property owners,” doesn’t always seem too accurate.

Our client owns a small cottage on Cape Cod, unfortunately located in a VE flood zone.

VE flood zone is described: Areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event with additional hazards due to storm-induced velocity wave action. Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) derived from detailed hydraulic analyses are shown. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements and floodplain management standards apply.

NFIP’s “affordable” annual, renewal premium offer was:

$4,602.00 for $88,000 of building coverage, subject to $5,000 deductible.

or

$5,205.00 for increased building coverage of $96,800, subject to $5,000 deductible.

We then marketed this property to the emerging, evolving private flood insurance market.

We were able to secure a quote of: $3,056.64 for $90,000 of building coverage, subject to $5,000 deductible.

Impressed, we were less so when we received an additional quote, from another private flood insurance market, for: $1,180.00 for $90,000 building, subject to $1,000 deductible.

With some marketing effort, our client was able to reduce their flood insurance from $4,602.00 to $1,180.00.

So, the morale of the story is, just because the NFIP brags about offering “affordable” Massachusetts flood insurance coverage, it’s not always the case.

Seek the advice and shopping power of your trusted independent insurance agent.

Lynnfield, MA Home Values

Lynnfield, MA home values

According to Zillow’s “Home Value Index”/ Lynnfield, MA Home Values, the average home in Lynnfield, Massachusetts is worth $665,200.

Over the past year:

  • -0.4% 1-year change
  • -0.9% 1-year forecast

According to Zillow:  “Lynnfield home values have declined -0.4% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will fall -0.9% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Lynnfield is $298, which is higher than the Boston-Cambridge-Newton Metro average of $296. The median price of homes currently listed in Lynnfield is $699,450.

Foreclosures will be a factor impacting home values in the next several years. In Lynnfield 0.0 homes are foreclosed (per 10,000). This is lower than the national value of 1.2

Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The percent of delinquent mortgages in Lynnfield is 0.3%, which is lower than the national value of 1.1%. With U.S. home values having fallen by more than 20% nationally from their peak in 2007 until their trough in late 2011, many homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their home is worth. The percent of Lynnfield homeowners underwater on their mortgage is 2.4%, which is lower than Boston-Cambridge-Newton Metro at 3.5%.”

All this bodes well for local residents and our Lynnfield, MA home values.

Massachusetts Home Insurance Review

Massachusetts Home Insurance Review

Why is it important to have an annual Massachusetts Home Insurance Review?

We’ve seen it hundreds of times over the years. A prospective client shows us their home insurance coverage Declarations Page and there, at the top of the page, is: an eye-popping number.

“How long have you lived in your home?” I ask.

Over 20 years.

“Have you ever had a claim?”

No.

“Do you have a Pit Bull?”

No.

What on earth is going on here? A beautiful home, perfect clients and an insurance premium that is out of sight.

I go to our home insurance comparative rater and I verify my suspicions.

The home is over-insured and under-discounted.

I’ve heard it called: “the insurance two-step.” One step one way, another step the other way.

Left unchecked, a home insurance policy can go the way of a runaway train. Every year insurance companies increase the policy’s coverage A, Dwelling, amount by an average of 3 – 4%. When dealing with large numbers, over a number of years, the home insurance policy’s dwelling amount can get way too extravagant.

The dwelling amount should represent the home’s pure construction cost, or replacement cost. This number is very different than assessor or market values.

Another reason it’s important to suffer through an annual Massachusetts home insurance review is because insurance companies role out different discount programs every year.

With the assistance of HomeownerQuote, we’ll shop for the latest and greatest package discounts to ensure you’re not over-paying for home insurance.

Homeowners Insurance

homeowners insurance

Homeowners insurance is designed to protect your home from certain perils such as fire, theft, wind, hail, falling objects, riot, vehicle damage, explosion, smoke and bursting of pipes. Notable exclusions are: flood, earthquake, mold, mildew, rot or animal damage.

When setting up your policy your Massachusetts Independent Insurance Agent will attempt to come up with The Replacement Cost of your home. Not to be confused with Market Value, The Replacement Value is the amount of money it would take to replace you home if it were destroyed by an insurance loss. The Coverage A, Dwelling, amount should represent this Replacement Value.

Protect Your Home-

Your home is one of the largest investments you will ever have. You want to make certain that your coverage is tailored to your individual home and personal needs. Your Independent, Massachusetts Insurance Agent will offer quality, basic coverage with many features and many coverage options to enhance your protection.

Homeowners Insurance Coverage Protects:
  • Dwelling (your home)
  • Other Structures, such as a detached garage, shed, fence, mailbox or doghouse
  • Personal Property, including furniture, clothing, appliances and much more
  • Loss of Use, for living expenses, when the home is damaged and uninhabitable
  • Personal Liability Coverage, protects you and your family against a claim or lawsuit if someone is injured or their property is damaged while at your home
  • Medical Payments to Others
Coverage Options:

Personal Property Replacement Cost Protection. Provides full replacement cost (no depreciation)for your personal belongings

Replacement Cost Protection on your Dwelling. Provides the extra insurance you need to rebuild your house if your coverage amount is inadequate

Personal Injury. Protects you against libel and slander

Schedule Valuable Items. Provides a blanket of coverage that is broader than what a basic Homeowners policy provides. It is the right coverage for people who own valuable possessions such as jewelry, fine arts, collectibles, antiques and other “special items”

Umbrella Policy. Offers an additional $1 million to $10 million of liability protection.

Inexpensive Massachusetts home insurance

Inexpensive Massachusetts home insurance

Everyone is looking for inexpensive Massachusetts home insurance.

This writer, who lives in Massachusetts and happens to be an insurance agency owner, also looks for inexpensive home insurance.

Notice the word: “inexpensive” vs. the word: “cheap.”

Cheap implies something not good, not well made, something that will get broken under intense scrutiny.

As in: “I wish I had known that I had such a cheap policy before my pipes froze ….”

Over the past 25 years I’ve moved my home insurance twice. Both times packaging with my auto and taking advantage of new, hot discount programs.

How do you find the most inexpensive Massachusetts home insurance?

You find a trusted insurance agent that will shop your home and auto insurance with numerous carriers.

You contact us at: HomeownerQuote.com.

Call, click or stop by.