Life insurance costs have come down consistently over the past 20 years, reflecting the fact that people are living longer. Medical advances, awareness of the benefits of diet and exercise, and vehcle safety all contribute to this trend. The hardest part about life insurance for most people is initiating the process. Nobody wants to pressured into buying something they don’t need and don’t want. Fortunately today, it’s easier than ever to get a no-pressure quote from us. We use SBLI for most customers needs, since they’re always competitive, and always easy to work with.
SBLI has an online needs calculator to assist you with deciding on an amount. We offer the same great rates and coverage options, but you also get our help with deciding the best match for you, as well as navigating the underwriting process. You choose the time period you want insurance to last, and you’re on your way…
Underwriting is easy too. When you first speak with us, we’ll ask a few questions about your height and weight, family history, and any hazardous hobbies you do to get a realistic sense of your underwitting category, so you can plan on costs that are realistic. Once you decide on what you need, we arrange to have a licensed paramedic meet you at your home or office for the medical part. Getting around to the right amount of life insurance is fast, easy and economical.
The flood maps changes in many Massachusetts communities means your flood risk may become higher or lower. This will affect what you pay for flood insurance.
Here are some scenarios that explain different flood map changes:
Scenario 1: If the flood maps change from a low or moderate flood risk to high risk (flood zone B, C, or X) to zone A, AE, AR, A99, AH or AO).
These requirements and options apply to Scenario 1 according to the National Flood Insurance Program:
- Flood insurance is mandatory for most mortgage holders. Insurance costs may rise to reflect the true (high) risk.
- The PRP Eligibility Extension Program can offer savings. To ease a homeowner's transition from a moderate-to-low risk area to a high-risk area, which would require the mandatory purchase of flood insurance and an increase in flood insurance costs, the National Flood Insurance Program is extending eligibility for the lower-cost Preferred Rate Policy to properties that were remapped on or after October 1, 2008.
- "Grandfathering" can offer savings. The National Flood Insurance Program has "grandfathering" rules to recognize policyholders who built in compliance with the flood map in effect at the time of construction or who maintain continuous coverage. Sometimes, though, using the new flood maps can actually result in a lower premium, especially if the home is high enough above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). In addition, buildings newly mapped into a high-risk area may be eligible for the lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) for two years after a map change, before they grandfather in the lower-risk zone rates.
Scenario 2: The flood maps show a change from high flood risk zone to a low or moderate risk (flood zone A, AE, AR, A99, AH, AO to X or shaded X)
These requirements or options apply for scenario 2:
- Flood insurance is optional but recommended. The risk has only been reduced, not removed. Flood insurance can still be obtained, and at lower rates. Even though flood insurance isn't federally required, anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of high-risk areas file over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding. When it's available, disaster assistance is typically a loan you must repay with interest.
- Conversion offers savings. An existing policy can be easily converted to a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy, if the building qualifies. Note that lenders always have the option to require flood insurance in these areas.
Scenario 3: The flood maps show an increase in the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
These requirements or options apply to scenario 3.
- An increase in BFE can result in higher premiums; however, "grandfathering" can offer savings. The National Flood Insurance Program grandfathering rules allow policyholders who have built in compliance with the flood map in effect at the time of construction to keep the earlier base flood elevation to calculate their insurance rate. This could result in significant savings.
Scenario 4: No change in flood zone risk level .
These requirements or options apply.
- No change in insurance rates. However, this is a good time to review your coverage and ensure that your building and contents are adequately protected.
Our agency www.agordon.com is happy to assist with securing or reviewing flood insurance coverage.
Are you in the zone? A change in flood maps could result in a change to a high risk flood zone for many unknowing property owners. Many communities in Massachusetts will be experiencing a change in flood hazard maps in July, 2012. The maps are used to determine a property's flood zone.
Flood hazard maps, also known as Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs), indicate whether properties are in areas of high, moderate or low flood risk. Towns throughout Massachusetts are receiving these updated flood hazard maps that are scheduled to become effective July 17. This is all part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's nationwideprogram to modernize Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
Many homeowners may find that their risk is higher or lower than it was prior to the map changes. If the risk level for a property changes so may the requirement to carry flood insurance.
Those who have a federally backed mortgage or plan to refinance with a federally backed lender, will be required to purchase flood insurance if they find that their home is shown in a high-risk flood area known as a Special Flood Hazard Area on the updated maps.
Purchasing flood insurance before the flood maps become effective will lock in the lower-risk zone and could lead to significant savings. In addition, if you plan to sell your property you can "lock in" the current flood zone which can be a significant selling point down the road. If you currently are zoned in a "preferred" flood zone, you could buy into this zone before the new maps become effective in July.
The updated flood maps can be viewed at each community’s Town Hall. Typically, the building inspector is the community coordinator of the flood program. Each community received both a paper copy and a digital copy of the new maps to share with their residents.
Communities affected are: Abington, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Hull, Kingston, Lakeville, Marion, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, Middleborough, Norwell, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rochester, Rockland, Scituate, Wareham, West Bridgewater and Whitman.
If you need assistance understanding how your property may be affected, our agency www.agordon.com can help educate you on flood insurance. Timing is important and it is best to learn before the flood map changes so you have more choices on managing a change in flood zones.
Over the past few months, about half a dozen break-ins have been reported to our office alone. Crow Point in Hingham was affected just last week. There is a trend; that much cannot be denied.
What are they looking for?
Most of the robberies have consisted of easily snatched items. TV’s, laptops, iPods, and any other small, expensive electronic device are the top choices on the robber’s wish list.
How do they get in?
The basic technique of robbers is to simply knock on the door. If someone answers, they ask if so and so is there then apologize for coming to the wrong house. If this happens to you, copy down the plate number and call the police immediately. If nobody answers, they go around back and check all the doors, bulkheads, and windows, if not easily visible to the neighbors.
Lock your house up. Seriously, lock every door, window, and other entrance to your home. Without basic locks, there is very little stopping burglars from entering. Don’t assume Fido alone will deter robbers. If your dog is a regular barker, neighbors may not take notice. Many houses are equip with an alarm system. Don’t hesitate to use it. If you notice suspicious activity in your neighborhood, let the police and your fellow neighbors know. Check out our blog about car alarms in case of a break-in.
Catching the Criminal
Trail cameras are a great way to record activity in your yard (see all the animals that trot through), and can record any visitor, even the unwelcome ones. Based on the reviews we’ve looked at and my own experience with a Moultrie trail camera, I’d recommend the more expensive model for the best overall experience. When my Moultrie fails, I’ll get this Bushnell:
If you see any suspicious activity at all, notify the authorities right away. Be sure you’re protected in case of a robbery and get a quote for your home. Check us out at www.agordon.com for insurance resources and useful information.