Do you have jewelry scheduled on your homeowner policy?

February 24, 2012

While it doesn’t necessarily make sense to specifically insure every piece of jewelry you own, it’s certainly wise if you have expensive pieces…especially if you wear them frequently.

When you “schedule” a special piece of jewelry on your home, condo or renter policy, it provides additional coverage outside the regular policy limits. It also covers situations such as losing a piece of jewelry that isn’t covered under a regular policy. Agents use the term ‘all risk’ coverage to scheduled jewelry items as when you schedule the item you are getting coverage in the event the piece is lost, stone chips, goes down the drain, etc.

To schedule an item, you usually need to have an appraisal that provides a detailed description and the value. But, something that we sometimes forget is that the value of a piece of jewelry isn’t fixed. With the skyrocketing price of gold and other precious metals over the last few years, you might be surprised that the value of your jewelry has substantially increased. If you currently have scheduled jewelry, you may find that the insured amount is no longer enough and in the event of a loss you are not property protected.

It’s generally recommended to re-appraise jewelry every four to five years. However, when you see a big increase or decrease in commodity prices, you may need to update appraisals sooner to ensure that your coverage is sufficient. Unless, you’ve done so in the last few years, now is a good time to re-appraise your jewelry. Once you re-appraise your jewelry items make sure you get the updated jewelry appraisels to our office so that we can update your home, renters or condo policy.

Keep in mind. This applies not only to jewelry but any high value items such as fine art, antiques, instruments, furs, stamp and coin collections, etc…

As always, we are hear to answer any questions you might have give our office a call or visit us online at


Snow is October?? Answers to your claim questions.

November 4, 2011

Well that was a week most of us won’t forget! Power outages, trees on cars, a foot of snow, and it is only October. I hope everyone has gotten there power back and can now enjoy the weekend ahead.

In wake of the Nor’easter that came this past weekend and all the damage that was caused I wanted to use this blog to answer some of the questions that we have been getting this week in our office. Hopefully this will help everyone better understand how their Massachusetts homeowners insurance policy will respond to damages.

1. Will my homeowner policy pay to remove the trees that have fallen in my yard?

The standard Massachusetts homeowner insurance policy provides $500 of tree removal coverage for damage due to a covered peril. Such covered perils include damage caused by a windstorm and/or weight of ice and snow, provided the tree(s) damages a covered structure such as your house, garage, shed or fence. The $500 is the amount paid for any one occurrence, regardless of the number of trees. A few companies do offer a small amount of additional coverage when you purchase their own company specific endorsements. It does vary by insurance company, but we have seen up to $500 additional offered by some.

2. Are my Trees, Shrubs and landscaping plants covered?

No coverage is available for damage to trees/shrubs/lawns/plants caused by the peril of weight of ice and snow or wind.

3. We have no power and as a result we have no heat. Will my homeonwer policy pay for me to stay in a hotel?

When we talk about power failure, we must first establish the cause and location of the power outage. Failure of power or other utility service that takes place off the resident premises is excluded under the standard Massachusetts homeowner insurance policy. If your area is experiencing a power outage but you have no damage to your home, then coverage is not available for additional living expenses. If the power outage is on premises – say the electrical wires were torn from your home from a falling tree, then coverage for additional living expenses would be available for a reasonable length of time in order to restore the electricity. This scenario would fall under the additional living expense coverage.

4. All the food in my refrigerator and freezer is no good because of the power outage. Is there coverage?

Under a standard Massachusetts homeowner insurance policy, no coverage is available for food spoilage as a result of power failure. However, many Massachusetts insurance companies offer a small amount of coverage, usually $500, through their own company specific endorsements. It varies by insurance carrier. Many only provide food spoilage coverage if the outage occurred on premises. Whether or your deductible applies, and the amount, will vary by company.

We hope this helps in answering some of the common questions relative to the damage that most of us are seeing in the area. Give our office a call to further clarify any questions you may have relative to your specific homeowner policy.

Let’s all hope for a much calmer weekend ahead. Thanks again for allowing our office to service your insurance needs.

Grill Safely This Summer

June 22, 2011

Tis’ the season to be grilling as the heat gets turned up a notch and the air conditioner works its magic in your home. BBQ-ers around the country are gearing up to fire up the grill, but before you throw on the steaks reading over some helpful guidelines will help you to avoid homeowner’s claims this summer.

Dress the part- by wearing aprons and grilling gloves you avoid the risk of burning yourself.

Keep your distance- Grills, fryers and smokers should be kept at a safe distance from homes, garages and children. Also keep your grill equipment in a safe and designated location when not being used to prevent accidents or tampering.

Gas tanks- make sure that the cylinder for your gas is always stored outside and away from your home. Ensure that the valves are thoroughly turned off when not in use and check regularly for leaks to prevent gas from escaping.

Make sure you have some type of fire extinguisher near by in the event the grill were to catch on fire.

Let it be- When you are done using your grill it takes a while for it to fully cool down. Make the grill a designated caution zone so that others know to be careful around it when it is heating up and cooling down.

By practicing safe grilling habits, you can avoid accidents and claims to your Massachusetts homeowners insurance policy. However, it is crucial that you secure a comprehensive homeowner’s insurance plan to protect you in case of an accident. Come visit our office, or call one of our agents today to make sure that you have proper insurance coverage whether it is on your home, condo or your apartment that you are renting.<a


January 21, 2011

Well we just endured our latest snowfall this morning and looking at the long range forecast it seems we are in for a BITTER COLD stretch that we haven’t seen in a couple of years. The winter has many dangers but one danger that homeowners may push to the back of their minds is bursting pipes. Bursting pipes can be dangerous to you personally, and the damage to your property can be astronomical.. Though this add to the list of winter’s hassles, along with shoveling, snow banks and high heating bills, this headache can be avoided with the proper precautionary steps.

In order to avoid a potential plumbing disaster this winter, here are a few helpful tips to prevent frozen pipes; first and foremost, during cold days be sure to have your central heating system on, insulate the pipes (you can use either insulation or newspapers and plastic), keep faucets slowly dripping or drain the water out of the pipes if you’re going to leave your property vacant for a period of time during a cold season, keep garage doors closed if water lines run through the garage area, and it may even be a good idea to hire a professional to take a quick survey of the status of your home’s piping. Additionally, it is important to review your Massachusetts Homeowners Insurance policy before leaving your home for an extended period of time or simply as a precautionary measure, just in case of an unexpected accident!

For additional information on how to keep your pipes from freezing and bursting, check out the links below:

Burst Water Pipes: Causes, Consequences and Precautionary Measures
Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes

Contact our office to discuss your homeowner policy and make sure you are fully covered in the event of a tragic pipe burst. Call us at 978-365-2302 or find us online at

Stay warm and have a wonderful weekend!

Space Heater Fire Safety

January 19, 2011

I think it is safe to say that most of us are getting sick of the snow, ice and cold temperatures as we just endured another snowstorm.

People are turning to other options to stay warm in their house as the price of oil is skyrocketing. When considering your options, you may find that a space heater wil give you a quick and easy solution. You must be EXTREMELY cautious when using space heaters! Here are some important Space Heater Safety Tips that should not be ignored:

1. Never leave a space heater unattended or plugged in while you are sleeping.

2. Keep the heater at least 3 ft. away from furniture, curtains, carpets and anything else flammable.

3. Keep the heater on a level surface that is out of the way of traffic(you don’t want anyone to accidently knock it over)

4. Don’t put heaters in bathroom or near water, they are electric!

These are more than just words to the wise, according to the Massachusetts Public Safety site, “One of every seven space heater fires causes a fatality”. Fires can start fast, spread fast and come without warning. So please don’t take any chances! For more information on ways to stay warm this winter and to make sure that your home and its contents are properly insured under your Massachusetts Home Insurance policy, call our office today at 978-365-2302 or visit us online at

Early January thaw could cause flooding

December 28, 2010

Hopefully everyone survived yesterday’s Blizzard!! Looking at the five day forecast the weather men and woman are indicating that we are going to have an early January thaw. The warm temperatures will be nice BUT could pose some more significant problems to our area with flooding. The melting snow might have trouble draining properly because of the frozen ground.

Snow can hold a lot of water. There are some steps you can take as a homeowner to try and limit the flooding.

Avoid having snow drain next to your house. Make sure your downspouts carry water several feet from your house to a well-drained area. One foot of snow on a 1,000 sq. ft. roof can produce approximately 2,500 gallons of water.
Don’t allow snow to accumulate on the ground next to your house especially if the ground is flat. As snow melts, water could accumulate and seep in. Your moving accumulated snow just a few feet away from the house can can help avoid a wet basement.

If you have a sump pump, test it periodically and keep it clean from debris. Make sure the discharge hose carries the water several feet away from the house to a well-drained area. Also make sure that the pipe is on sloped ground so it drains to prevent it from freezing.

Remove large piles of snow to a well-drained area. A 20-foot diameter, 10-foot high pile of snow contains about 2,600 gallons of water.

Most people do not realize that flooding is not covered under their Massachusetts homeowners insurance policy. Contact our office at 978 365-2302 or to find out more about obtaining a flood insurance policy for your home.

Christmas Tree Fire Hazards

December 7, 2010

Water That Tree!
What’s a holiday party or even the traditional Christmas morning scene itself without a beautifully decorated tree? If your household, as those of more than 33 million other American homes, includes a natural tree in its festivities, take to heart the sales person’s suggestion—”Keep the tree watered.” That’s good advice and not just to create a fragrant indoor winter wonderland atmosphere. Christmas trees account for 250 fires annually, resulting in 14 deaths, 26 injuries and more than $13.8 million in property damage, better hope you’ve updated your homeowners insurance policy. 1 Typically shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are not a problem. Dry and neglected trees can be

The video clip above from the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology illustrates what happens when fire touches a dry tree. Within three seconds of ignition, the dry Scotch pine is completely ablaze. At five seconds, the fire extends up the tree and black smoke with searing gases streaks across the ceiling. Fresh air near the floor feeds the fire. The sofa, coffee table and the carpet ignite prior to any flame contact. Within 40 seconds “flashover” occurs – that’s when an entire room erupts into flames, oxygen is depleted and dense, deadly toxic smoke engulfs the scene.

Wet trees tell a different story. For comparative purposes, the NIST fire safety engineers selected a green Scotch pine, had it cut in their presence, had an additional two inches cut from the trunk’s bottom, and placed the tree in a stand with at least a 7.6 liter water capacity. The researchers maintained the Scotch pine’s water on a daily basis. A single match could not ignite the tree. A second attempt in which an electric current ignited an entire matchbook failed to fire the tree. Finally they applied an open flame to the tree using a propane torch. The branches ignited briefly, but self-extinguished when the researchers removed the torch from the branches. As NIST fire safety engineers say: REMEMBER, A WET TREE IS A SAFE TREE!

Source: National Fire Protection Assocation Home Fires