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    Personal Insurance Blog

    Sandra Cornell

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    Posted by Sandra Cornell

    Wed, Dec 21, 2016 @ 08:00 AM

    The “Other Structures” portion of your homeowner policy covers a variety of items.

    For instance, did you know that the beautiful cedar stockade fence you’re thinking of having installed might be considered an “other structure”? How about an in ground pool? And a driveway? Under the right circumstances, these might all be considered other structures. The deciding factor is whether or not these items are ‘attached’ to your home somehow or if they are ‘detached’ by clear space.

    Let’s take the example of your fence. If the fence surrounding your property is not attached to your house at any point, it would be considered an “other structure” and covered under that portion of your homeowner policy.

    However, if the fence is attached to your house it would be considered part of the building and covered under the ‘dwelling’ portion of your policy. You would need to be sure that the dwelling limit on your policy reflects not only the value of your home, but that of the fence as well.

    Another example would be a shed or barn. If these buildings are separated from your house by clear space, they would be considered other structures. However, if they are attached to your house-perhaps by a covered walkway-they would be considered part of the house. As such, just like the example of the fence, you would want to be sure that the dwelling limit of your homeowner policy included not only the value of your home, but that of the ‘other structure’ as well.

    So, just to reiterate – the deciding factor here is whether or not the structure is ‘attached’ to your house or ‘detached’ by clear space.

    When you decide to install any of these items, be sure to contact your insurance agent to determine if you need to update your policy to reflect additional limits to either the ‘DWELLING’ or ‘OTHER STRUCTURES’ portion of your homeowner policy.

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    Tags: homeowners insurance, dwelling, additional insurance, structures

    Fire Pits & S’mores

    Posted by Sandra Cornell

    Wed, Jun 01, 2016 @ 10:37 AM

    Thinking of setting up a fire pit in your back yard and enjoying s’mores with the kids on a fine fall night? Here are a few facts to consider before you strike that first match.

    Thousands of Americans are injured by backyard fires every year. When you decide to build your fire be sure to take into consideration the weather – avoid building it when it’s windy or when there has been an extended period of dry weather.

    Open space is best!  Avoid setting up the fire pit underneath low hanging trees, as sparks can ignite the branches and create a full blown fire. Don’t set it up too close to your home or any other building either...better safe than sorry.

    Hardwood is best. Pine and cedar snap and send sparks everywhere (beware of Christmas trees!). Never, ever use treated wood, as it creates toxic smoke and leaves toxic metals in the ashes. Plus it’s illegal to burn treated wood.

    Now bring out the grahams, chocolate & marshmallows and enjoy your s’mores!

    Once you’ve enjoyed your fire and eaten too much, be sure to hose the pit down until it’s completely soaked. Let it sit overnight and next morning dispose of the ashes in a metal container. Double check that there are no live embers or hot spots; if so, hose down again.

    Fire pits are a great source of enjoyment, but be sure to treat them with caution and always remember to be safe!

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    Tags: safety, fire, firepit, smores, campfire

    Traffic Rules

    Posted by Sandra Cornell

    Thu, Feb 18, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

    Wondering why auto insurance rates continue to rise?  Surely increased numbers of accidents have a bearing on the rates. What might be the cause?

    Travelling to and from my workplace every day, I’m amazed at how some drivers seem to have a total disregard for traffic rules and lack of consideration for their fellow drivers. Highway signs seem to have no meaning for them.  Here a few of my pet peeves:

    STOP SIGN:  Stop means STOP!  I’m amazed at the number of drivers that sail through stop signs without even slowing down. 

    YIELD:  Speaking of slowing down, that’s exactly what a yield sign implies.  Slow down, yield to traffic that has the right of way and then, when it’s safe, join in the flow.




    RIGHT ON RED:  This one’s a doozey!  Once again, the key word is STOP.  Stop for the red light, assess the oncoming traffic and when it’s safe to do so, take your right hand turn.


    If everyone would adhere to these simple, basic rules, driving would be much safer for everyone.  And who knows, fewer accidents might result in better auto insurance rates!

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    Tags: Traffic Satefy, Traffic Rules, Traffic Etiquette

    Write a Review for Our Insurance Agency!

    Posted by Sandra Cornell

    Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:24 PM

    If you'd like to share your experience with our insurance agency, here are some great places to do so!

    Have something to say?  Pick one or two:

    • Google:  (easy from gmail) – if you have a google account: click this search, then click review, then “write a review”
    •             YellowPages   then click “write a review”
    • Superpages   give your rating (hopefully a 5 star!), then add a few words.
    • CitySearch   then click “write a tip”
    • Merchant Circle  scroll down to “write a review”
    •              Manta Then click “Write a recommendation”, on the lower right

    You can also visit and like our Facebook page and write a review.

    Contact us and visit our website for direct information, and check out these great testimonials!

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    Steady Your Ship with a Sea Anchor

    Posted by Sandra Cornell

    Thu, Jun 26, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

    Last month’s blog centered on getting your boat ready for the upcoming summer season.  Hopefully, it will be a happy time with no surprises.  On that note however, what if you do encounter a situation where you are on the open water and a sudden storm occurs?  In keeping with that thought, I came across the following article published by United Marine Underwriters which offers a way to keep your boat in place until help arrives.

    "It is common for small boats to be caught offshore in squalls or storms. Greater fuel capacity and modern engines allow them to venture well offshore without fear of having enough fuel to make port. An item normally found on sailboats and trawlers but seldom on small pleasure crafts is a sea anchor.

    Protect your watercraft boat or yacht with insurance from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAA Sea Anchor is a conical shaped device that, when properly deployed and of the proper size, will hold a vessels bow to the sea and reduce the danger of broaching. A sea anchor will not hold your boat in place but it will hold your vessels bow to the seas until help arrives or you are able to complete repairs to allow you to get underway.

    Once deployed it should be set to ride just below the surface, on a wave ahead. When on the crest of a wave, the sea anchor should be on the crest of the next forward wave. Depending on the distance between waves, you may get a smoother ride with the sea anchor 2 or 3 waves ahead of your position.

    Understand how to protect your watercraft in any weather with boat or yacht insurance from Andrew Gordon Inc Norwell MAYou must use a trip line (release line) when using a sea anchor. It is attached to the apex of the anchor and is used to dump the sea anchor and allows it to be retrieved backwards. The line is smaller in size, usually equipped with a float or two, and it must be longer than the main rode. The main rode of the anchor should be at least 10 to 15 times the length of your boat. Use of chain at either end of the rode will allow the nylon line between the chains to stretch and act as a shock absorber in the pull of the sea anchor.

    Sea anchors are made of canvas or nylon material, compactly fold up and take very little space to store. When shopping for one read the packaging carefully. Some are made for trolling, they slow a vessel’s speed when trolling but are not made to serve in a “storm.”

    If you are caught offshore in heavy seas and do not have a sea anchor, try tying a bucket, canvas bag or any object that will float just below the surface to a line fixed to your bow. It may act as a makeshift sea anchor long enough to help steady your vessel until conditions improve. When you put a sea anchor aboard, test the distance that is most comfortable and try positioning it on various bow cleats. You may wish to use a bridle at the bow to fasten it. If you practice with it a few times, you will know the easiest and fastest way to deploy it should the need arise."

    This article was published with permission from United Marine Underwriters. Read the original article on their web site here. Learn about watercraft insurance here

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    Tags: safety, ocean, sea, anchor, ship, insurance, boat, yacht, storm, watercraft

    Boating Insurance

    Posted by Sandra Cornell

    Wed, May 21, 2014 @ 03:54 PM

    Enjoy your boat this summer with watercraft insurance from andrew g gordon inc

    Boating Season Begins – Now.

    Time to remove the shrink wrap, put the boat in the water and perform those necessary checks to be sure everything is “ship-shape."

    Have you checked all your equipment to be sure it is in good order?  Are all the electronics working as they should?  What about life vests?  Do you have the required number for the people who might be enjoying time on your boat?  Are they the proper type as recommended by the Coast Guard?

    Just one more item to address.  Have you read your boat policy lately?  Have you ever actually read it from front to back?  Once you do, you may have questions that your insurance agent can answer.  Since policies issued by different carriers may contain differing content, it’s always best to review the coverage with your agent. 

    Are you familiar with the “lay-up” provision in your policy?  What lay-up period did you choose when you bought your policy?  April 15 to October 15?  May 1 to November 1?  Does your policy offer a 12 month navigation option?  Did you know that if you use your boat during the lay-up period and suffer a loss, coverage can be declined by the carrier?

    Some boat policies include a “live aboard” exclusion.  “Live aboard “ can be broadly interpreted.  Is one overnight stay considered live aboard?  One week?  One month?  Best to check it out before you decide to spend time onboard overnight.

    An important part of your policy is the “exclusions” section.  Be sure to review these items so that you  won’t be surprised if you suffer a loss that is not covered. 

    Have you taken any boating courses?  The U. S. Coast Guard offers a boating course and on completion provides you with a certificate, which when presented to your insurance carrier will gain you a discounted premium.

    Now it’s time to hop aboard and enjoy a summer of boating fun!


    Tags: policy, insurance, boating, boat, yacht, lay up

    Tis The Season - For Ticks That Is…..

    Posted by Sandra Cornell

    Tue, Apr 08, 2014 @ 03:13 PM

    Although it is still only March and the weather is cold and snowy, an occasional warmer day will bring out the little critters in force.  With Spring just around the corner, we’ll soon be out raking and pruning, but be aware that ticks are lurking everywhere.  They especially like tall grass and will also hitch a ride on the wind to propel them from place to place, ultimately ending up on us and our pets. 

    Protect yourself from tick diseases with life health insurance from andrew g gordon inc

    According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, some 300,000 Americans are infected with Lyme disease every year. In 1975, the disease was first discovered in children in Lyme, Connecticut. At the time, it was determined that the disease was spread by tiny ticks carried on the bodies of deer.  The disease has now spread to all fifty states. 

    If you do happen to be bitten, slowly and carefully remove the tick.  Then over the next few days keep watch for a “bulls eye” around the site of entry.  This bulls eye is a signal that you may be infected with Lyme, so be sure to seek medical advice immediately.

    As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so while doing that yard work, here are a few precautions you can take.  Tuck your pants into your socks, button shirts up to the neck and wear gloves and a hat.  It’s also a good idea to wear light colored clothing making it easier see the ticks as some are barely the size of a pencil point.

    File:Erythema migrans - erythematous rash in Lyme disease - PHIL 9875.jpg

    Don’t forget to check your pets daily, as ticks will catch a ride on them and ultimately end up in your home.  It’s also a good idea to have your pets vaccinated for Lyme; however, to date there is no preventive vaccine for humans.

    In addition to the deer tick, other types abound in our area – the American Dog Tick, also named the dog tick or wood tick and the common Brown Dog Tick.  Fortunately for humans, the dog ticks are just that – they only bite dogs, not humans. 

    For additional information for learning about and protecting yourself from ticks check out the web site




    Tags: lyme disease, disease, tick, lyme, deer tick, CDC

    Getting to the Root of the Problem

    Posted by Sandra Cornell

    Wed, May 08, 2013 @ 04:01 PM

    Know how trees affect your house pipes and homeowners insurance with andrew g gordon incTree roots and sewer lines- never should the two meet. 

    But if they do, will a homeowner's policy respond to the damage? Following is a scenario involving damage by tree roots and the responses from some of the experts.

    Say a person had tree roots punch through the sewer lines buried in her yard leading to/from the house. This has interrupted her water and sewer service, and it will be quite an expense to replace the piping. The problem, however, has not caused any resultant water or sewer damage to her home. She calls and asks if this is covered under her homeowner's policy. While there doesn't appear to be a specific exclusion, is the sewer line considered part of the dwelling?

    The experts weigh in as follows:

    Expert 1

    Examining damage to the sewer line itself caused by tree root intrusion, the key issue revolves around the facts of the claim... did the tree roots cause the damage? If so, the consensus is that there is no exclusion in the ISO HO form that precludes coverage, thus, this should be covered. However, if the roots simply enter though a break caused by pressure/earth movement, then there is no coverage, as earth movement is excluded. (You must buy earthquake coverage separately).

    Expert 2

    This clearly is an "open perils" type of loss, thus, direct damage is covered, unless excluded. The closest thing to an exclusion in the HO3 is "wear and tear," although that usually involves gradual deterioration through use. There is no specific exclusion for damage to covered property by tree roots.

    Expert 3

    The consensus is that since the HO3 policy provides "open perils" coverage for building items, this would include pipes, drains, and sewer lines. The homeowner's program doesn't have an exclusion for items like "underground pipes, flues, and drains" as a commercial property program does. However, remembering that the HO policy covers "risk of direct loss" there must be actual damage. If the lines are just clogged up and not actually damage, there may not be any coverage.

    Expert 4

    Based on the "open perils" or "direct risk of physical loss" wording in the policy that does not specifically exclude the actions of tree roots, we argue that there is coverage as long as it is fortuitous. The problem with root claims is that they take so long to occur and most insurers conclude that there must be a "sudden and accidental" element. The requirement doesn't appear in today's homeowner's policies, so the only exclusion that might apply is the unwritten fortuity (accidental) exclusion. Not much for an insurance company to go on. Again, we argue that this should be covered.

    There are several other possible scenarios involving tree roots. As noted in the experts' opinions, coverage depends on the facts of the loss. Was there damage to the sewer lines? Was there damage to the home? Obviously, if there's no damage, there's no coverage. Will such damage even be covered?

    This is the kind of loss where you need an advocate who understands the nuances of the policy contract, and knows the difference between the general practice and the letter of the contract.

    For more information about open vs named perils, click the link here. Any other questions? Simply click the buttons below.

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    Tags: tree damage, root damage, sewer damage, insurance interpretation, ask an expert, open perils, named perils

    Happy Memorial Day from Andrew G. Gordon, Inc.

    Posted by Sandra Cornell

    Fri, May 25, 2012 @ 11:26 AM

    Happy Memorial Day from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAWith Memorial Day just around the corner, we look forward to annual town parades, that first cookout of the season, and gathering together with family and friends. The following information gives a brief history of the holiday, courtesy of Google.

    Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 30 in 2011). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. It was first enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, but has since expanded; it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

    Memorial Day also often marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day its end.

    Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on Memorial Day.

    So while we enjoy that extra day off, attending the parades and cookouts, we should also time to take a few moments of thanks for all those who have given their lives for their country, as well as all the men and women who are serving in the military in foreign countries, away from families and loved ones, to assure our safety.


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    Tags: American Civil War, Indianapolis 500, Labor Day, Memorial Day, World War I, history, Federal holidays, United States, ma

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