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    Donna Bellavance

    Recent Posts

    Compulsory Insurance vs. Comprehensive Coverage

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 04:41 PM

    Drive_safely_and_warn_other_drivers_with_blinkers_and_auto_insurance_from_andrew_gordon_inc_norwell_ma-1Many insureds confuse compulsory insurance with comprehensive insurance. 

    Compulsory insurance is what is required by the state of Massachusetts and provides coverage at minimal limits for Parts 1 – 4.  Part 1 is for bodily injury coverage at 20/40 limits for anyone injured or killed by an insured’s vehicle, and Part 2 is for Personal Injury Protection coverage up to $8000 as long as a deductible was not selected and covers the insured, anyone who drives the insured vehicle, anyone living in the insured’s household, passengers and pedestrians. Part 3 is for uninsured motorist coverage at 20/40 limits which provides coverage for insureds, anyone who has borrowed the insured vehicle, household members and passengers if injured by someone who does not have insurance or who has let their coverage cancel, and Part 4 is for property damage at a $5000 limit which pays for damage an insured may cause to other people’s property whether a vehicle, fence, building, etc. The limits for parts 3 & 4 can be increased by choice and Part 1 can be increased by adding coverage under Part 5, Optional bodily injury coverage, and Part 2 coverage can be enhanced by selecting increased limits under Part 6, Medical payments.

    Comprehensive insurance is Part 9 and provides insured with physical damage coverage for their vehicle(s) following a fire loss, theft of the vehicle, vandalism damage, or glass loss.  The chosen deductible applies to all claims except glass.

    Contact us if you have any insurance needs! Or browse the auto insurance section of our website and read this blog about comprehensive coverage.

    Driving with Insurance in Mind eBook


    Underwriting Home Insurance

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Mon, Jan 05, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

    Learn_about_insurance_scores_and_homeowners_from_andrew_g_gordon_inc-1In Massachusetts, home insurance is not compulsory as is auto insurance.  Since carriers are not required to write homeowner coverage they are able to set their own guidelines for the types of homes and insureds they want to write.  They set their maximums and minimums for dwelling coverage.  They have set coastal distance requirements and most now have hurricane deductibles based on coastal proximity.  They also all now run CLUE reports or insurance scores for potential insureds.  This provides them with the claims history for both the insured and the location, credit scores, and payment history for the prospective insureds.  These reports are run in most other states for auto insurance as well, but this is not yet done in Massachusetts.  Most insurers are now also doing inspections of the homes they insure.  This is actually in the best interest of the insureds as it ensures that agents are providing adequate coverage for homes which are usually an insured’s biggest asset.  As you can see, the underwriting of homeowner coverage is very involved and details are extremely important.

    Contact us with any questions on homeowner insurance, and check out our HO3 vs HO5 and DP3 vs HO3 pages to learn more about your home insurance options. 

    Top 10 Things about Home Insurance


    Youthful Permit Operators

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Wed, Oct 22, 2014 @ 12:55 PM

    Cover_your_new_teen_driver_with_discounts_and_auto_insurance_from_Andrew_Gordon_Inc-1As soon as a child obtains their driver’s permit, the agency receives calls to add these new drivers to their parents’ auto policies.  At this time we only have one auto carrier (PURE Insurance) that requires this.  Our other auto carriers will only add a  youthful operator once he or she is actually licensed in the state.  However, several umbrella carriers now require that operators on permits be added to their parents’ umbrella coverage even though they may not yet be a listed operator on the auto policy.

    Many parents question how an accident or violation will be handled for permitted operators.  The Registry will track these incidents and they will be applied to the operator’s driving record when he or she is licensed.  It should be noted that there are strict guidelines as to how these can affect the newly licensed operator.  Attached is a list of the violations and penalties for junior operators as applied by the MA Registry.  Since these new operators run the risk of losing their permit or license, it is imperative that they follow the rules of the road and the MA laws governing the operation of a vehicle while on a permit or under a junior operator license.

    Another serious result of youthful operators with surcharges on their driving record is the fact that their parents can lose their standard umbrella coverage and may have to apply for new coverage through the excess market.  This can prove to be more expensive but most umbrella carriers do not wish to insure youthful operators who incur violations during their brief driving experience.

    Driver’s Training is most beneficial both as an educational tool as well as an insurance rating benefit as the auto insurance carriers provide significantly lower rates for operators who have completed the course so we strongly recommend that the driver’s training program is completed.   Advanced driver’s training courses are also available and provide an additional credit on the insurance.  You may login to one of these programs for more information by visiting their website at

    For more information on teen drivers, check out our resources for new drivers page! Contact us with any of your insurance needs, and read some more articles on young drivers!

    -Insure a Teenager: How to Add Your Teen to Your Insurance

    -Junior Operators: What is the Passenger Restriction?

    -Junior Operators: How to Pass Your Road Test

    Auto Quote Teen Driver Kit


    Replacement Cost Estimators

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Fri, Oct 17, 2014 @ 03:15 PM

    Notify_your_insurance_agent_of_home_construction_with_homeowners_from_Andrew_G_Gordon_IncOne of the primary factors in rating a homeowner policy is the completion of a replacement cost estimator. 

    Each homeowner carrier has their own software to determine the estimated cost to rebuild the home which is then used as the limit for dwelling coverage on the policy.  This tool requires specific information on the dwelling itself which includes original year of construction, type of construction, square footage of the living area, customization of any areas (such as kitchen, bathrooms, etc), whether basement is finished, attached structures (such as porch, deck, garage, etc), type of flooring and wall covering, type of heat and if air conditioned, etc.

    We normally try to obtain as much information from the homeowner as possible, but sometimes we need to verify information from the town assessor sites.

    If homeowners add onto their existing homes or update/customize any living area(s), they should notify their agents to ensure that proper coverage for the home is always maintained.  It is actually a requirement that a new replacement cost estimator is done in these instances when the policy is providing replacement cost coverage on the dwelling.

    Learn more about some common home insurance policies, or check out our main homeowners page! Feel free to contact us with any questions!

    Home Quote Request   Top 10 Things about Home Insurance


    Desk Yoga

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Wed, Jul 02, 2014 @ 09:53 AM

    Keep yourself healthy at your desk with chair yoga exercises and personal from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maThose of us who have office positions that keep us seated at our desks and hunched over our computers for the majority of the day often have tight, sore muscles that lead to tension headaches and neck pain by the end of the workday. Employees that are subject to these long hours of a sedentary work situation may look to some avenues for stress reduction during the day.

    Some suggestions to try might be various types of yoga exercises done while seated at your desk. 

    While seated at the front edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor and knees directly over your ankles, you could try neck rolls by gently dropping your head forward and rolling from side to side.  You could also try shoulder rolls by gently lifting your shoulders and rotating them backwards in slow circular motions.  Repeat a few times and then reverse the motion. One more exercise to try is moving your arms behind you until you can hold onto the back of your chair.  You should keep your elbows straight and adjust the height of your hands until you feel a good stretch in your chest, arms and shoulders.

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    Tags: health, work, exercise, insurance, office, relief, desk, yoga, stress, muscles

    Insurance for Working From Home

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Sat, May 17, 2014 @ 04:20 PM

    describe the imageHomeowner policies are “personal lines” policies and by their very nature are not intended to cover “commercial” exposures.  However, considering the current times and technology that is available, some insureds find themselves setting up home offices. 

    If an insured works for a company and has an office to go to but sets up a part-time home office within the home for processing of paperwork, making telephone calls, etc. or has a part-time business at the home with no foot traffic then coverage can be provided by adding an incidental occupancy endorsement to the policy at a minimal cost if available through the homeowner carrier.  (Some carriers do not offer this endorsement)

    If, however, the insured sets up a home office in a DETACHED structure (such as a detached garage or outside shed) then not only does the incidental business occupancy endorsement need to be added but coverage for the detached structure must be purchased to cover the structure due to the business exposure.  Normally other structures are provided coverage at 10% of the dwelling limit provided by the policy but when there is a business exposure in the detached structure, the carriers exclude the automatic coverage for this detached structure and insureds need to buy back the coverage at the estimated rebuilding cost of the building.

    Lastly, if an insured has a full-time business at the home then he/she would actually need to purchase a commercial policy, known as a BOP or Package policy as this exposure is more than the incidental occupancy endorsement can cover.

    Learn more about home insurance here.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?    5 Things to Know: Home Insurance

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    Tags: home, work, insurance, homeowner, from, office, home business, residence

    Insureds with Out of Country Licenses

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Fri, May 02, 2014 @ 03:54 PM

    Learn about insurance if you have an out of country license with andrew g gordon incVery often we are asked to write auto policies for insureds who have recently immigrated to Massachusetts.  Since auto insurance is compulsory in this state, we are required to write coverage upon request.  To write coverage in this instance we would need evidence of their foreign license.  We would also need documentation from their country indicating the date they were first licensed as well as their driving record in that country.  This documentation must be provided in English.

    If the new insured(s) were licensed more than 6 years ago in their country they will be rated as an experienced operator.  If evidence is provided that they had no accidents or incidents they will be given the step 99 credit.  However, if there was a violation or accident out of country or if no documentation is provided, their policy will be issued with a neutral step with no credit applied.

    The carriers ask that a MA license be obtained by the first renewal date.  However, they  understand that there may be extenuating circumstances that can delay the issuance of a MA license.  If there is intent shown that they are in the process of obtaining the MA license but need more time as additional information may be required by the Registry, the carriers are usually willing to extend the time frame.


    Donna Bellavance

    Tags: immigration, foreign license, Auto Insurance, license, car insurance

    Rental Reimbursement on Auto Policies

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Mon, Jan 27, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

    When your car is laid up in the shop after a fender bender or when it’s been stolen, the thing you miss most, is your personal freedom of movement. Unless of course you have a loan car; or ‘substitute transportation’ as insurance companies properly call it.

    Substitute Transportation (let’s call it ST for short) covers the possibility of you using car rental vehicle while you are without wheels. With this optional comprehensive auto cover, ST is valued from $15 a day up to $100 / day. It is an optional piece of insurance (under part 10 of your policy), that needs careful thought at renewal time. The important word here is OPTIONAL.

    You can, of course, save some insurance costs if you can get by without ST. Can you?

    If personal ‘automobility’ is essential to you, say because of work or family commitments, then there follows another key question; Have you got your ST coverage at the right level? You get what you pay for:

    • ST will start 2 days after you report your car stolen and stops, if and when it is recovered. If you are without a car due to an accident, you can rent a replacement while yours is in the shop or before a new car is delivered. The standard of your ST depends upon the limit you signed up for on your policy - $15, $30, $45 or $100 a day - and for the number of days approved by the claims adjuster.

    • If you drive an SUV or van, it’s a smart move to buy one of the higher ST standards so you can rent a ‘like for like’ car.

    • Even if you don’t buy optional ST you can claim third party rental from the other driver’s insurer. But only if the other driver is at fault. This of course needs to be proven to the satisfaction of their insurer and will be subject to their approval. Normally the loan car will be ‘like for like’.

    The whole claims process will be less hassle if you go through your own carrier for all coverages. Let them do the job of getting your money back from the guilty party.

    Contact Us

    Donna Bellavance

    Tags: auto policy, auto, rental car, reimbursement, rental reimbursement, auto rental, rental

    Homeowner 101

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Tue, Dec 17, 2013 @ 09:16 AM

    Learn about homeowners insurance for your home with andrew g gordon incA homeowner's policy is considered a “package” type of policy where the premium is derived from the coverage for the dwelling and other coverages are provided based on this limit at no additional premium. The dwelling limit is based on details of the home (year of construction, type of construction, finished or unfinished basement details, number of bathrooms, quality of  construction, wall and floor finishes, heating type, etc) which are plugged into carrier estimating software which then provides an estimated cost to rebuild for the home. This amount is what is used as the dwelling limit on the policy. The other coverages are usually provided at a percentage of the dwelling limit and no premiums are attached. Other structures (such as fencing, garage, shed, pool, patio, gazebo, etc) is usually at 10% of the dwelling coverage, contents (personal belongings as well as above ground pools) is usually at 50% or 70% of the dwelling limit, and loss of use (when insureds are displaced following a covered loss) is usually at 20% of the dwelling limit.

    An issue that can arise is if the dwelling limit has not been increased for renovations or has not kept up with inflation and there is a covered loss and the carrier has determined that the limit is not at least at 80% of the replacement cost estimate. If this occurs, a co-insurance penalty is incurred. If the replacement value is $1,000,000 but coverage is at $750,000 (this is only 75% of the replacement cost) then the carrier would only pay 75% of the total loss. 

    Liability and medical payments are the other coverages provided by the policy and do include premiums for injuries incurred.

    A homeowner policy can be written as an HO-3 which is the standard policy offering “open perils” coverage for the dwelling and limited “named perils” coverage for contents or as an HO-5 which is “open perils” for both thus broadening coverage for an insured’s belongings.

    There are several endorsements to the homeowner policy which most people opt to include in their coverage. Some of the more common are replacement cost coverage for the dwelling.  Carriers provide either “guaranteed” replacement cost coverage on the home or coverage at 125% or 150% of the dwelling limit. To be eligible for this endorsement, it is required to maintain the coverage at the estimated cost to rebuild based on the company’s software determination. Replacement cost coverage on the contents allows for the full replacement without taking depreciation following a covered loss. Homeowners can add Identity Theft coverage, Water Back-Up/Sump Pump Failure coverage, Ordinance or Law Coverage which allows for the additional costs to rebuild/repair according to new town codes which may have been put in place since the original construction of the home and schedules for valuable articles, which requires current appraisals. There are other additional endorsements available which are applicable to particular scenarios that are present in the lives of our customers.

    Hopefully this brief synopsis of a homeowner policy provides an overview so that you can review your coverages with a little more insight. Learn more about home insurance here.

      Top 10 Things to Know about Homeowner's Insurance Home Quote Request

    Donna Bellavance

    Tags: home, liability, premium, HO-3, HO-5, homeowner, open perils, named perils, dwelling, dwelling limit, ho3, limit, ho5

    Insurance Scores

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Tue, Nov 12, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

    When writing insurance policies and homeowner policies in particular, agents are now required to obtain much more detailed information than in the past.

    Learn about insurance scores and homeowners from andrew g gordon incPreviously, agents have been expected to gather details about the home, such as year of construction, type of construction, style of home, and updates to the structure and internal systems. This information helps insurance to get a sense of the risk involved with writing a policy for the home.

    While it is still very valuable to insurance agents to know the characteristics of a home before insuring it, especially involving any previous damage it might have incurred, they also must consider human factors when developing your insurance policy.

    Claims history is a very useful tool for agents to understand your history as an insurance customer. Although this does not provide any more information about the structural soundness of the home to be insured, it helps to develop a risk profile of a customer, and how likely they are to place a claim in the future. In the case of home insurance, claims history will be provided for both the insured customer as well as the home itself, so if the home in question has recently been purchased, claims filed by a previous owner will be included in the history.

    Insurance scores are a numerical value determined by certain characteristics of a customer. In many ways, they are comparable to the financial credit scores involved with money lending. However, insurance scores predict the risk associated with a customer, instead of credit, and the values of the two are not necessarily related to one another.

    At this point in time, Massachusetts only requires insurance scores on homeowner policies whereas other states require this on auto policies as well.

    If you have any questions about how these changes may affect you personally, please contact us and we will try to help you. Learn about your home insurance options here.


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    Tags: claims history, insurance scores, policy change, scores, homeowners insurance MA, homeowners

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