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.

How can I save money on my home insurance?

Save money on home insurance

How can I save money on my home insurance? If this were the Family Feud we’d say: 100 people surveyed, top 8 answers are on the board!

Let’s hear it for:

Consider larger deductibles. Different property deductibles are available for choosing; $250, $500, $1000 and $2,500 deductibles are available. Savings in increments of 10% are commonplace per deductible.

Try to remain in the Voluntary Market! Insurance Companies reserve the right to insure or renew properties. If you have had a few losses within the past couple of policy years your insurance company may decide to not renew you.

The MPIUA (Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association) offers  insurance to properties that are not insurable on the voluntary market. The cost to insure with them is usually considerably more expensive than the consumer will find on the voluntary market.

Some of the credits that are available to insurers are:

Protective Device Credits … starting with deadbolt locks, extinguishers, and smoke detectors are available. Larger credits are available for Local and Central Station burglar and fire protection systems.

Non-smoker credits … if you and household members are non-smokers some companies offer discounts to non-smokers.

Loss Free Year Credits … if you have not had any losses in multiple years some companies offer “Loss Free Credits.” Check with your Independent Insurance Broker to see if you qualify for any companies’ programs.

Home Renovation/New Home Credits … if you have renovated your home within the past 10 years some companies offer Renovation Credits. If you are buying a new home, some companies offer large New Home credits.

Account Discounts … some insurance companies offer 10% “Account Discounts” if you insure your home and auto with the same company … in addition, some companies may waive service charges.

Shop Around!

Different companies offer different discount programs for different properties and property owners. Shop around with different companies to see who is offering the best deals. HomeownerQuote utilizes the power of your local, independent Insurance Agent to find you the best rates & service!

Massachusetts Home Insurance Quotes

Massachusetts Home Insurance Quotes

HomeownerQuote is the website for Massachusetts Home Insurance Quotes.

Homeowner 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 we will help you come up with the appropriate Replacement Cost of your home. Not to be confused with Market Value, 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.

Massachusetts Home Insurance Quotes

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.

Massachusetts 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 $5 million of liability protection
  • Flood Coverage. Flood damage is typically not covered under a home
    • insurance policy. This affordable coverage covers damage to your property and provides cleanup reimbursement
    • Earthquake Endorsement

    HomeownerQuote.com will find you products that are competitively priced & that offer great value with many money-saving discounts:

    • New or renovated home discount
    • Account discount when you insure both your auto and home with the same company
    • Loss free credit
    • Non-smoker credit
    • Security discounts are available for homes with: smoke detectors, dead bolts, fire extinguishers or alarm systems.

    Helpful site for Buyers, Sellers & Owners of Homes – Zillow.com

Storm Safety Tips

Storm Safety Tips

Storm Safety Tips

Stay calm, Massachusetts! Although we think the groundhog saw his shadow (6 more weeks of winter?), we’re less than 5 weeks away from the first day of Spring (March 20th)! We offer our Storm Safety Tips:
  • Stay indoors if possible.
  • If you do go outside, protect yourself by dressing for the season, wearing several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing.  The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens are better than gloves. Wear a hat, as most body heat is lost through the top of the head. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • Be careful when shoveling snow. Over-exertion can bring on a heart attack – a major cause of death in the winter.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in the extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose.  If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.  If symptoms are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove any wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages, if the victim is conscious.  Get medical help, as soon as possible.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.

All of us at HomeownerQuote wish you a safe and warm rest of the winter!

Massachusetts Home Insurance Tip

Massachusetts Home Insurance Tip
Massachusetts Home Insurance Tip

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 a high deductible.

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.

Home Insurance vs. Karate

Home Insurance vs Karate

Home Insurance vs. Karate. Who wins?

Let’s go to the tale of the tape:

Home insurance is pretty powerful stuff typically providing all-risk coverage (subject to exclusions) to the structure, broad coverage for personal property and world-wide personal liability coverage.

Karate, on the other hand, is an actual martial art. The art of self-defense.

Home Insurance vs. Karate:

Let’s say, your kid takes karate and he accidentally karate chops your 6 year-old neighbor in the nose. Is there coverage on the home insurance?

The standard HO-6 homeowner policy includes section 2, Liability Coverage consisting of Personal Liability Coverage (typically $300,000 – $1M) and Medical Payments to Others Coverage (typically $1,000 – $3,000).

Medical Payments Coverage should reimburse your neighbor for out of pocket medical expenses.

If your neighbor decides to sue, your Personal Liability Coverage will provide legal defense and potential coverage.

Per usual, things can get complicated.

Let’s say your husband was running his karate studio out of the garage and your son chops the neighbor while training for their yellow belts then, unfortunately, the homeowner insurance business exclusion will, most-likely, exclude all coverage.

Or, if your son and your neighbor have arranged a fight after school when the chop occurs, then perhaps coverage would be excluded as a premeditated event, which was not an accident.

In reality, home insurance vs. karate is a battle that nobody wants to see and nobody wins.

 

Oh no: Mold!

 

father-son-happy

As independent insurance agents, we always hope there’s coverage for a client’s claim. However, sometimes when I hear certain things, such as “mold,” all the hope in the world probably won’t help.

When I hear the word “mold,” I think of homeowner insurance coverage exclusions.
Things that are excluded from dwelling coverage include: wear & tear, rot, mold, mildew, animal damage, earth movement (earthquake), flood & nuclear explosion.
If you’re worried about mold and mildew in your home, it’s better on the bank account to take care of sooner, rather than later.

Winter Tips: Save Your Home From Ice Dams

Damn the Ice Dams

Presented by Safety Insurance:

The winter of 2015 produced record snow fall and extremely cold temperatures. This combination resulted in a catastrophic number of ice dam claims. With winter weather quickly approaching, now is a good time to prepare our homes and businesses to minimize winter weather threats. Taking a few preventative measures now will help your policyholders get through the upcoming winter.

Ice Dams

What is an ice dam? An ice dam is an accumulation of ice at the lower edge of a sloped roof, usually at the gutter. When interior heat melts the snow on the roof, the water will run down and refreeze at the roof’s edge, where temperatures are much cooler. Eventually, the ice builds up and blocks water from draining off of the roof. This, in turn, forces the water under the roof covering and into the attic or down the inside walls of the house or other structure. Once an ice dam forms, the potential damage can be serious. Taking the following steps will decrease the likelihood that ice dams will form or, at least, will reduce their severity.

Keep the attic well ventilated. The colder the attic, the less melting and refreezing on the roof.
Keep the attic floor well insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
If heavy snow does accumulate on the roof, have the snow removed from the outer edge.Frozen Pipes

Frozen water in pipes can cause water pressure buildup, which eventually will lead to pipes bursting at their weakest point, causing water damage to your home or business.

To keep water in pipes from freezing, take the following precautions:

Keep the temperature in your home or business above 65 degrees at all times.
Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow the heat transfer.
Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking.
Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom.

Heating

Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of house fires. With a few simple safety tips you can prevent most heating fires from occurring.

Have your furnace and oil tank serviced annually.
Have your wood stove inspected before seasonal use.
Keep the area around your heating system clear of debris and flammable materials.
Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
Install smoke and carbon dioxide detectors in your home and check the batteries twice a year.

Candles

An open flame easily can ignite anything that can burn. The following precautions will help prevent candle fires.

Do not leave lit candles unattended.
Have a flashlight ready during a power outage; never use a candle.
Keep candles at least 12 inches from any flammable materials.
Place candles in a holder on a sturdy uncluttered surface.

Home Insurance Credits

Massachusetts Home Insurance Discounts

Everybody loves a discount.

When shopping for home insurance in Massachusetts, consider these basic home insurance discounts:

Protective Device Credits – starting with deadbolt locks, extinguishers, and smoke detectors are available. Larger credits are available for Local and Central Station burglar and fire protection systems.

Non-smoker credits – if you and household members are non-smokers some companies offer discounts to non-smokers.

Loss Free Year Credits – if you have not had any losses in multiple years some companies offer “Loss Free Credits.” Check with your Independent Insurance Broker to see if you qualify for any companies’ programs.

Home Renovation/New Home Credits – if you have renovated your home within the past 10 years some companies offer Renovation Credits. If you are buying a new home, some companies offer large New Home credits.

Account Discounts – some insurance companies offer 10% “Account Discounts” if you insure your home and auto with the same company . in addition, some companies may waive service charges.