More likely than not, your home is your most valuable asset and should be protected by a homeowner policy. This is a package policy that gives coverage for the structure itself and also includes coverage at no additional cost for other structures on site, (such as a detached garage, sheds, inground pools, fences, etc.), for contents (personal belongings), and for loss of use (for alternative housing and living costs such as meals, laundry, etc.) while you are displaced following a covered loss.
If you have particular items of value, such as jewelry, furs, fine arts, silverware, etc., these may need to be individually scheduled. The homeowners policy provides limited coverage for these items, but always with a stated limit. The most common examples of stated limits are $1,500 for theft of jewelry and furs and $2,500 for silverware. Adding specific "schedules" coverage for your personal items can be done at a low with a recent appraisal or detailed receipt. By scheduling the items, they will not be lumped in with all of the general contents which are subject to a deductible compared to no deductible being applied for a loss to a scheduled item.
Other valuable articles is that the standard policy provides only limited coverage for loss by theft for cash, bank notes, securities, deeds, firearms, gold ware, watercraft, trailers, and business property etc. that are not individually scheduled.
An additional benefit is that scheduled items enjoy broader coverage than that provided under a traditional homeowners policy. The standard HO-3 provides "named perils" coverage; scheduled items get "open perils" coverage. For more about named perils vs open perils, click here.
We recommend that you have appraisals updated every 3–5 years to maintain adequate values. We have seen significant increases in value, especially for jewelry.
If you have any other questions about insurance and other sorts of coverage, do not hesitate to contact us. One of our staff will be happy to discuss policies with you.
Some of the best insurance is policy-free.
A lot of the time, insurance is about the money. Yes, yes, we understand. We pay bills too; we know what it's like to deal with insurance. Car insurance, home insurance, life insurance- it just seems to add up WAY to quickly for comfort. There are other ways to be comfortable too.
What am I talking about now?
I'm talking about things like seatbelts and helmets. These things are available to you, and definitely worth it. Have you ever bought a car without a seat belt? (The answer should, hopefully, be "no".) The seatbelt is there for you. What if you ever got into an accident? What if another driver's car simply SMASHES yours? That tiny little belt, strapped across your waist and over your shoulder, could be the very thing that saves your life. There could never be a price put on that.
Helmets are the same way. For a one-time fee to buy the helmet, you get super extra head protection. Falling off a bike, skiing into a tree- there are just so many FUN things that can be so RISKY. So why not just wear the helmet? Again, what's the value of the helmet versus the value of your brain, or even, your life? That thirty dollar helmet doesn't seem so expensive now.
These items that are made available for safety are truly only there to: KEEP. YOU. SAFE.
If you look closely, you can see that there is insurance underlying everything. Insure your children from drowning by taking them to swim lessons, insure your feet from the cold by purchasing and wearing warm wool socks, insure your knees and elbows with pads when you first learn how to rollerskate. The ways to "insure" yourself never seem to end. And what is insurance, after all?
We remind ourselves that insurance is protection against loss, a guarantee of safety and security. We do these things everyday, whether unconsciously or consciously. That's why we do things like taking swimming lessons- to reduce our risk of having fun with something enjoyable.
It only makes sense, right? We want to enjoy our lives with the least possible amount of risk involved. As a result, we do things that prevent injury and other forms of pain- such as financial pain. Sometimes the financial pain clouds our vision. Sometimes other things, such as being lazy, also cloud our vision. It takes not even a second to buckle a seatbelt, so why not do it? Why not buy the helmet and prevent the brain damage?
Take advantage of some of these risk reducers from the get-go. You'll never know when disaster will strike, and being prepared sooner rather than later is best because sometimes, later is too late.
If you have any questions on reducing your risk, or about insurance in general, feel free to contact us by clicking the button below.
Ice storms, snow storms, tornadoes, hurricanes- oh my! These were just a few of the catastrophic weather events that Massachusetts homeowners faced over the past few years.
What does this have to do with your home insurance premium rising?
Throughout the insurance industry, these weather happenings resulted in record setting property damage and home insurance claims. Across the board, home insurers in Massachusetts marked historic losses for 2011. Insurers are evaluating the adequacy of their home insurance pricing after these catastrophic events slammed insurers balance sheets in 2011 and 2012.
What is the net result?
Home insurers will be charging more to cover expected claims and the rising cost of reinsurance- the insurance on their insurance. Many insurers rate increases are in the 10% range for 2012 and 2013. In addition, stricter underwriting guidelines are being used to determine eligibility including credit scores. The net result is the home insurance market is tightening for Massachusetts consumers in 2013.
If you were one of the lucky ones not impacted by any of these weather events and or did not file a claim, a premium increase is a tough pill to swallow. Or if you did file a claim, a premium increase is still hard to understand particularly if this was the first time that you ever filed a home insurance claim.
How can I get the best price?
Our agency www.agordon.com is reviewing home insurance renewals for customers to make sure the best priced option and coverage is provided to our clients. An example, over the past few months, I reviewed several home insurance renewals for four customers. The rates increased in the 10% range for each of these homeowners in 2012. None had filed a claim and all were taking advantage of discounts including account credits for packaging auto and home insurance together. We went to work and compared pricing with more than a dozen companies for each customer. The analysis showed for each of these customers that their current home insurance program was still the best priced option even with the premium increase.
For each of these customers, we made other suggestions to save premium. Three of the customers opted for higher deductibles and the other decided to self insure some scheduled jewelry they listed on the policy. The net result was all four customers were able to reduce their premium back to the price they were paying in 2011.
This winter when you look out the window at the moderate temperatures on the thermometer and dry pavements, the meteorological events of 2012 may be a mere memory. It’s not quite the same recall for home insurers as they tally their balance sheets and adjust rates for 2013. You can be assured that our agency www.agordon.com strives to assure the best priced option and coverage is afforded to all new and renewing customers.
Imagine a world where everytime something bad happened, someone was there for you. Your car could crash into a house, fall into a ditch, and explode into a million pieces all within the same second, and you would still be covered. Your house could be hit by a named storm, catch on fire, and have all the remaining valuables stolen, and you would still be covered. The sky could fall, it could rain cats and dogs, and zombies could rise and eat your flesh. Still covered? You bet.
This ideal world is known as Insurance Planet. But is Insurance Planet truly ideal?
On Insurance Planet, Murphy's law applies in the worst ways. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That's why every Insurance Planet citizen has insurance. Insurance dominates everyday activites because everything keeps going wrong. It's truly an awful lifestyle. Thank goodness we live on Earth.
On Earth, Murphy's law is applicable some of time- not all of time. However, when things do go wrong, it's nice that us Earthlings have insurance available. It's not everyday that we're going to crash our car, experience a hurricane, or have our identity stolen. (It's like that on Insurance Planet. Something goes wrong EVERY SINGLE DAY.)
The one disadvantage earthlings have when compared to the citizens of Insurance Planet is that, generally, we don't entirely understand all of our policies. We have experts here and there, but most of us don't work in the insurance business.
Insurance can be just a tricky thing. Some people know that you can file a claim for spoiled food, but forget to ask themselves if it would be worth it. Weirder claims than spoiled food have been made. And insurance has so much paperwork! "What is the difference between the HO-3 and the HO-5 forms?!?" you might ask, "It's just a number, right?!?"
Although we aren't aliens from Planet Insurance, we at Andrew G. Gordon, Inc. do our best to meet all of your insurance needs. Whether it's finding a quote, helping you prepare for natural disasters, or just explaining what your insurance policy will do for you, we are here to help!
So if you ever find yourself experiencing a day that's simply filled with events that stem from Murphy's law, just find a desk and chair and look us up. Feel free to contact us at anytime, ask us your questions, and be happy that you live on Earth instead of the dreaded Planet Insurance!
It’s almost the holiday season and that can mean only one thing- presents. With high school seniors eagerly waiting acceptance letters and college kids returning for the break, technology is going to be a "must-have." Students flock to Best Buy, the Apple Store, and the internet for the best deal on the best computer. Many people choose different sides of the argument as if they are picking team Jacob or Edward (ok, maybe it’s more like Coke vs. Pepsi). You’re either a Mac or a PC person (remember that ad a few years back?) So, what’s the big fuss about?
Windows operating systems have been a staple in home and business computers for decades. No one can deny the plentitude of options and variations allows for a custom computer how you want it. Most programs and institutions have their base in PCs, meaning if you have one, you’re probably already compatible. The operating system for Windows is not the issue. Windows 7 is a fine tool and excellent to work with. Now with the launch of Windows 8, there are more options for everyone. However, the most common problem for PCs are the hardware. Dell, Acer, Lenovo, etc. all make the computers that run windows, and most of the problems come with design flaws and issues within these machines.
Don’t go based on looks. These computers perform very well at a lot of tasks. Options and configurations aren’t as plentiful as the PC counterpart; however, the two have been coming together in the compatible programs and documents department. No doubt, technology is moving to the cloud. Apple utilizes this feature and has made their products integrated with the web base storage and sharing options. Not to mention the ease of use that is associated with Macs. Apple utilizes a vertical integration business model; meaning they own or operate all aspects of the computer build process, meaning if there is a problem, Apple can be held responsible to fix the issue. A major advantage of Mac computers is they can run a windows operating system like Windows at the same time as OS X, so you can literally get the best of both worlds.
For more on the great debate: visit Intel’s, APC's, Popular Mechanic's, and Apple's pitch for the products. I use both PCs and Macs frequently; my personal preference is Mac for the reliability, speed, and overall appeal.
There are pros and cons to both models of computer, and inherent risks to owning one. Computers are an investment, no matter which way you roll. Protect your investment and make sure that your new laptop is covered under the parent’s homeowner personal property coverage on the homeowner policy or sometimes there is a computer or electronics endorsement. If the student resides in an off-campus apartment, they may need to buy a renter’s policy as most insurers do not extend coverage to a rented apt from the parent policy. Take photographs and save the receipt of purchase in a safe place.
See our previous blog about preventing theft in college for a comprehensive list of crime deterrent tips. What about those pictures from last year’s vacation and your sister’s wedding? Back up your files on an external hard drive, or send it to the cloud where even fire, flood, and theft can’t access it.
So which one are you, blog reader? Are you subscribing to us on a Mac or a PC? Leave a comment below with your opinion.
In Massachusetts in 1999, over 42% of 16 year old drivers had an accident resulting in over $1,000 of reported damage before turning age 17 (this was 47% in 1997, before the Junior Operator’s Law took effect) ! 23% of 17 year olds had a reported accident; for 18 year olds, the rate dropped to 18%. Experience matters. So does observance of the Junior Operators Law.
One of the steps you can take towards safety is to sign this “New Driver-Parent Contract” along with your new driver. The contract outlines responsible driving practices and parent actions. See the contract here, or load a copy to print out.
click to download the New Driver-Parent Contract
Safety is always a vital aspect of life for us at A. G. Gordon, Inc., and we encourage you to check out some of our features at our website, or get a web quote.
Insurance can be puzzling- the more you know, the better. As surprising as this may sound, insurance is not entirely about the price. Thus, we’ve created a list of things-to-know about insurance for your convenience.
1. Amount of coverage
What do you want to protect? That’s the overall question for deciding the amount of coverage you need. The best advice we can offer you is for you to think about all the things that could potentially happen. Or consult a professional agent who will ask lots of questions to uncover areas you need to pay special attention. Although you might want to push these thoughts to the side (i.e. “that could never happen to me!”), someone has to think of these situations. Nobody plans for a car accident or a guest being injured at his/her house, yet these sorts of things happen all the time. A good way to cover a lot of these is by running down a prepared list such as this checklist for your homeowners insurance.
2. Risk level
The amount of risk you take sometimes depends on one aspect of your life: money. If you have available money, then choosing a policy with high deductibles is probably the best option for you. Remember, “Insure only what you can’t afford to lose.”
Obviously, this part of our list is also going to discuss risk. Some policies cover more than other policies do, so be informed on what risks you can afford to take, as well as what is the cost of transferring that risk (via insurance)? An example of this is would be a dog with a biting history. The only company that will offer coverage after a dog has bitten someone (reulting in an insurance claim) is the Massachusetts Fair Plan (MPIUA). But they might do so with a $25,000 limit of liability for dog bites. So you have to ask, is the dog worth that much to me that if he/she bites someone and it results in a $100,000 claim (we’ve had one here that exceeded that, and not even from a dog ‘on the list’), are you prepared to pony up the next $75,000? Make sure you know what is covered on your policy, and be careful with what chances you take where insurance doesn’t go.
3. Insurance company
People often assume that the insurance company will be able to handle anything and everything- you should never assume. If the company goes under, or even if the company stays around but has poor finances, then you won’t get what you need. The best way to make sure that your company will be able to provide for you is to check a credit rating agency. We recommend A.M. Best Company for this. Other credit rating agencies include Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s.
Everybody loves saving money; discounts can be available all around you, and you might not even know it! For a list of most prevalent auto insurance discounts, click our video and list. For homeowners discounts, visit our short video on homeowners discounts here.
Account discounts, where you have two lines or more (such as home and auto), are often the most compelling.
Always ask your agent questions, he/she is there is serve YOU. If they are not helpful, just contact us.
5. When do I need to look at new insurance?
Certain life changes will cause you to look at new insurance. These changes include:
-Starting a new business
-Buying an additional home
-Adding a driver to the auto policy
-Changing jobs (especially if you leave a rich benefits plan for a bare bones benefits employer)
-Volunteer work (such as serving on the board of a non-profit organization)
This list just helps prove a very important point: insurance is not only about the price. For a few extra dollars, you can have all sorts of things protected. Think back to the dog example- imagine how expensive it would be to defend a bad dog bite without insurance! When it comes to insurance, price is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters.
If you have any questions about insurance, contact us. For quotes, click here. We are dedicated to getting you the best insurance possible for you and your needs.
When I first started my job here at Andrew G. Gordon, Inc.,I wasn’t much of an insurance expert. (I’m still not.) So, in order to know what all my co-workers were talking about, I started to educate myself by the easiest means possible- Google!
I found some pretty interesting stuff. I’m not talking about the regular policies- home insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, etc. The funny and weird stuff caught my attention.
Now, I understand how important all the “normal” insurance policies are. Without “normal” insurance, disaster could strike and keep on striking. However, I thought I might share with you some atypical insurance stories I found on my Google odyssey.
Much to my surprise, there are entire websites devoted to ridiculous insurance claims. Most of these claims try to reword the claim “cleverly” so the claimant looks innocent. Here are some of my favorites:
-“A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.” (Those darn pedestrians always get in the way.)
-“I didn’t think the speed limit applied after midnight.” (It does?!)
-“I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.” (Stationary...?)
-“Windscreen broken. Cause unknown. Probably voodoo.” (This one is by far my favorite. Clearly, voodoo is the most reasonable explanation.)
While it might come as no surprise that celebrities insure the things (vocal chords, legs, smiles) that contribute to their fame, you might be surprised to hear that there are people that also cover mustaches, taste buds and even chest hair.
Even more fascinating, people can get insurance for alien abductions. We’re talking about people paying money so in case little green men ever take them off this planet, they’re covered. (The people, not the aliens.) To elaborate even further, if aliens impregnate the abductee, the claim is worth even more. Since we earthlings are uninformed about the capabilities of alien technology, men are also available to purchase this type of insurance. Astonishingly enough, there are insurance companies that have paid some of these alien claims.
I also stumbled upon some entertaining stories. Insurance can be a tricky thing, and these stories are prime examples of odd circumstances and loopholes.
For instance, a person had a washing machine that broke and the steam damaged the entire kitchen. When this person filed for a claim, the insurance company said that steam was not covered on the insurance policy. The case was brought to court and was won. Why? This person had a policy for water damage, and steam is just the gaseous form of water. (Looks like that insurance company needs to take a basic chemistry class.)
Another humorous story discusses a man who insured fancy cigars for fire damage. After he smoked those cigars, he filed a claim. The insurance company denied his claim, and this man brought the case to court. As surprising as it may sound, the judge ruled in favor of the case. However, the insurance company quickly responded back by suing the man for counts of arson. The man ended up being the loser in this situation; he was found guilty and went to jail.
Perhaps the most important thing I learned from this experience was that insurance can be complicated- the more you know the better. And, seeing as insurance can cover nearly everything under the sun, make sure you at least have the basics (home, auto, life, etc.) before you get your mustache insured.
If you have any questions, contact us by clicking the button below. We'll also assist you with free homeowner's and auto quotes.
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.
Painkiller overuse is an unfortunate side effect (pardon the pun) of our society’s ceaseless march in the direction of instant gratification; but while the bad boys of the painkiller world (the opiates) like Vicodin and Percocet continue to make headlines as the ‘danger pills,’ the NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (advil, motrin) slip under the radar.
In fact, most American’s use their innocuous reputation as an excuse to down them like candy without understanding the potentially fatal effects of these drugs. I am guilty of this as well. I could name at least three places that Ibuprofen is kept inside my house. I even have a travel bottle to take it with me!
An article published by PeoplesPharmacy.com asserts that over 20 million Americans take at least one over-the-counter NSAID each day. This does not include the chunk of Americans who are also taking prescription drugs. I can’t say I’m surprised; since the beginning of time, humans have always known physical pain as a very strong motivator.
The article continues to cite research suggesting that these innocuous drugs:
- Increase the chance of developing heart rhythm disturbances called atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter
- Cause heart attacks and strokes prematurely, especially in patients with high blood pressure
- Cause hypertension, especially in the elderly
Painkillers are quickly earning the last two syllables of their name.
I’m in no position to be offering anyone medical advice, but these findings will make me think twice the next time I reach for the bottle of Motrin when afflicted with a headache. I may just opt for the less agreeable alternative of “sucking it up.”