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    Personal Insurance Blog

    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

    Changing Your Smoke Detector Batteries

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Thu, Nov 07, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

    The end of Daylight Savings Time has come once again, and last weekend we all set our clocks back an hour. Although we get an extra hour of light in the morning, darkness will now be falling much earlier in the afternoon, and it can be difficult to adjust at first to the change.

    Along with being a signal of the winter weather to come, changing the clocks this time of year should also be a reminder to all to change the batteries of smoke detectors throughout your home or workplace.

    Keep your home safe change smoke detector batteries and get homeowners insurance from Andrew g gordon inc

    Here are some tips for checking your smoke detector.

    • After replacing the battery, use the ‘test’ button to make sure the alarm is audible. If the alarm doesn’t work, even with a fresh battery, the entire unit may need to be replaced.

    • Some smoke detectors may beep to signal that the battery needs to be replaced. However, if all smoke detectors in your home are beeping at the same time, a power outage or tripped circuit breaker may be to blame. Try to find the source of the problem before replacing the batteries.

    • It is also a good idea to clean your smoke detectors with compressed air every now and then, and doing this at the same time as you replace the battery could extend the life of your detector.

    However, there is no reason to wait for problems with your smoke detector to change the battery. Smoke detectors have been proven time and time again to save lives in the event of a fire and for the cost (an average 9 Volt battery costs less than $3) it is very much worth it to change it BEFORE it starts beeping or just plain stops working.

    Remember to change your smoke detector batteries as soon as you can, and next fall, start a tradition of changing your clocks and your batteries at the same time. It could save your life!

    Top 5 Home Discounts Home Quote

    Tags: home insurance, fire, fire safety, technology protection, smoke detector, home liability, batteries, fire hazard

    Holiday Safety

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Thu, Nov 29, 2012 @ 12:02 PM

    'Tis the season... for accidents.Stay safe during the holidays with homeowners auto life personal commercial from Andrew gordon inc insurance norwell ma

    There are so many things that go wrong while in the pursuit of showing off who has the most holiday spirit. One way that people chose to do so is to have their house smelling like the season. Another way people battle for the holiday spirit crown is by having candles light the night from their windows. Even though spirit isn't a competition, safety can be. Make sure you're the winner when it comes to holiday safety.

    Scented Candles

    This time of year, we tend to like the warmth and ambiance that candles give us and with all the holiday scents. How can you resist? There's all sorts of wonderful holiday scents: vanilla, cinnamon, peppermint, pine, etc. The list goes on and on!

    However, with candles comes responsibility.  Candles can be tipped over by children and pets, have their flames ignite the drapes, or even crack the holder and fall out. The result of all of these: a fire, and fires can be extremely devastating with all the damage they cause.

    Remember, we love the smell of candles, not the smell of a burning home.

    Window Candles

    There is nothing so warm and welcoming as driving by a house to see candles in the windows. Who cares if they're electric or battery operated? The message is still the same, and they are certainly much safer than having tiny flames located throughout a house.

    Again, keep in mind that they can be knocked off the window sill and if the bulb breaks, a fire could start. However, the probability of a fire starting is less with a bulb than with an actual flame from a candle!

    If you have any questions about insurance, feel free to contact us. Have a wonderful holiday season, and remember to be careful!


    Tags: home, winter, safety, fire, holiday, prevention, candle, season, fires

    Mac or PC?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Thu, Nov 22, 2012 @ 06:00 PM

    The timeless question mac vs pc answered by andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maIt’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?

    PC (Windows)

    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.

    Decide mac or pc for your personal insurance with andrew gordon inc norwell ma


    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.

    Know mac or pc for your personal with andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maInsurance aspect

    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.

    Other protection

    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.

    Which one?

    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.

    Learn about personal insurance here.


    Tags: theft, work, computer, insurance, fire, apple, coverage, homeowners, Flood, mac, pc, college, macbook pro, intel, windows, microsoft, personal computer, laptop, tablet, notebook, comprehensive

    Loss: Tips on Prevention and Restoration

    Posted by Sue Bird

    Wed, Jun 27, 2012 @ 09:34 AM

    Here are some helpful suggestions on loss prevention as offered on the Bunker Hill Ins. Co. website. Remember, your Homeowners policy is not a maintenance plan and you should maintain your property. Also, included below are tips on what to do if you do have a loss.

    Preventing Loss

    Cover your home in case of water or fire damage with homeowners from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MA

    Quick tips checklist


    • Maintain your roof and inspect it once a year.
    • Trim trees and prune dead limbs.
    • Keep gutters and downspouts clean and free of debris.
    • Check washing machine hoses periodically and replace them every 5 years.
    • Test your sump pump regularly.
    • Know how to turn off your water supply.
    • Consider installing automatic shut-offs on appliances and water main.
    • Replace hot water tanks before they corrode (every 7 to 10 years).


    • Test smoke detectors frequently and replace batteries as needed.
    • Use wood stoves and electric heaters with extreme care.
    • Don’t leave candles unattended.
    • Keep outdoor grills away from decks and siding.
    • Dispose of smoking materials carefully.
    • Never smoke in bed.


    • Stairs should have secure handrails and be clutter-free.
    • Make sure there are working night lights at the top and bottom of all stairs.
    • Keep exterior walks free of debris, ice and snow.
    • Install fences and self-closing gates around your pool.

    Protect your home from theft water fire or storm damage with these tips and homeowners from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAHome Security

    • Lock doors and windows.

    Going away?

    • Arrange for mail pick-up and yard maintenance.
    • Cancel newspaper deliveries.
    • Keep lights on timers.
    • Have a friend or neighbor check your property frequently.

    And if you have a claim, here are some tips to prevent further damage:

    • Call us to report your loss, or visit us at
    • Call a professional if you need help.
    • Clean up standing water.
    • Cover holes in the roof or walls.
    • Report theft to local police.
    • Keep receipts for any work performed.
    • Find more tips on how to mitigate water or fire & smoke damage.


    Get a list of home cleaning and restoration companies in your area or check out our home insurance resources and white board videos. Learn more about the basics of homeowners insurance here


     Sue Bird

    Tags: house, home, theft, damage, restoration, insurance, fire, prevention, loss, homeowners, water, accidents

    The "Ordinance or Law Endorsement:" What Does It Do?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Fri, Apr 13, 2012 @ 03:44 PM

    Protect your home but cover it in case of a fire or accident with homeowners from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAIf there’s a fire in your home and only one room is damaged, insurance should pay for its repair or replacement.  What happens when the local electrical inspector comes in after the fire, and requires full replacement of an old and obsolete electrical system – none of which was actually damaged by the fire?   The owner has no choice: fix it to get back in the house.  While fixing undamaged (but outdated) parts of the house aren’t insured under a standard property policy, there is a solution.

    The Ordinance or Law endorsement provides additional funds, commonly up to 10% of your dwelling limit, for costs you incur due to the enforcement of any ordinance or law which requires or regulates:

    1)       The construction, demolition, remodeling, renovation or repair of that part of a covered building or other structure otherwise damaged and insured;

    2)      The demolition and reconstruction of the undamaged part of a covered building or other structure, when that building or other structure must be demolished because of insured  damage to another part of that covered building or other structure; or

    3)      The remodeling, removal or replacement of the portion of the undamaged part of a covered building or other structure necessary to complete the remodeling, repair or replacement of that part of the covered building or other structure damaged by a ‘Peril Insured Against’.

    What does this mean for you, a home owner? 

    Simply put, sometimes the enforcement of a regulation or law means taking down or removing “undamaged” stuff: like old wiring.   Recall that a homeowners (and other property) policy provides coverage when something is damaged, but doesn’t provide coverage to undamaged parts.   If your town building inspector requires you to replace undamaged (but outdated, possibly dangerous) parts by enforcing existing building codes, you’ll incur additional costs.  Since these are not included in the standard homeowner policy, the Ordinance or Law endorsement is designed to fill that gap by providing coverage for these additional costs.

    Although the standard policy only provides 10% of the dwelling limit for Ordinance or Law coverage, higher limits, up to the full dwelling limit, may be added for an additional cost.

    For more information about this important coverage, please contact us at

    Top 10 Things to Know about Homeowner's Insurance

    Tags: house, home, damage, repair, construction, law, electric, ordinance, endorsement, replacement, upgrades, standard property policy, insurance, fire, remodeling, homeowners

    Insurance for Investment Properties – DP3 vs. HO3

    Posted by Val Feeney

    Wed, Jan 18, 2012 @ 05:19 PM

    houseInvestment properties are purchased by individuals to make a profit.  That profit is usually realized 5, 10, 15, or 30 years after the purchase date depending on how the financing has been setup.  During this ownership period, the property needs to be adequately insured against fire and other destruction.   Obtaining a comprehensive insurance policy will allow an owner to rent out his or her investment properties with confidence.  It’s “sleep easy at night” coverage. 

    If the property is a multi family (2-4 family) and you, as the owner, live in one of the units, then you can use the tried, true, and tested HO-3 homeowners policy (with a few tweaks) to cover the entire building, its contents, and your liability exposure. 

    However, if you, as the owner, do not live at the property, you will need the proper Dwelling & Fire Policy to cover the building properly.  The most popular of the policies is the DP-3. 

    The DP-3 is an “open Peril” policy that covers losses to the home’s structure, loss of use or rental coverage, and personal liability.   

    If the multi-family owner has an HO-3 on the property and lives elsewhere, they will NOT be covered for any losses by the insurance company.  This is considered a material misrepresentation of facts.  Most rental properties that are not owner-occupied must be insured under a DP-3. 

    Here is a comparison:

    Homeowners’ Policy


     Dwelling & Fire Policy


    The HO-3 has been the most common homeowner’s policy for 60 years and is adequate for the majority of homeowners and their insurance needs. 

    The DP-3 is for rental properties that the owner does not occupy. It only covers the basics of the house.

    Coverage A. Dwelling. The amount of money your policy will pay to rebuild your home if it is destroyed.

    Coverage A. Dwelling. The amount of money your policy will pay to rebuild your home if it is destroyed.

    Coverage B. Other Structures. The amount of money your policy will pay to rebuild other structures on your property such as sheds & patios.


    Coverage C. Personal Property. The amount you have to replace all of your “stuff” in the event of a loss.


    Coverage D. Loss of Use.  The funds you will have to rent another place while your damaged home is fixed or rebuilt.

    Coverage D. Loss of Use or Fair Rental Value.  The funds you will have for the tenants to rent another place or stay at a hotel while your damaged house is fixed or rebuilt.

    Personal Property Replacement Cost.  Ensures you get the full price to fix or replace any lost personal items in a total loss.


    Coverage E. Personal Liability. In the event that you become a defendant in a lawsuit, the insurance company will provide up to $1 Million is coverage.

    Coverage E. Personal Liability. In the event that you become a defendant in a lawsuit, the insurance company will provide up to $1 Million is coverage. Especially important for rental properties.  Not all DP-3 policies offer Personal Liability and the insured may have to get a separate Liability Policy for this protection.  

    Coverage E. Medical Payments to Others. If someone falls and is injured on your property, the medical payments will be covered up to this amount.

    NOTE: If the insured owns a primary home and has personal liability on that homeowner’s policy, he/she can extend the liability to cover the rental (multi-family) property.

    Optional Coverages & Endorsements.  There are many additional coverage items you can add to your HO-3 such as sewer backup, personal jewelry, identity fraud coverage, business pursuits, etc. 

      Investment Properties &  Insurance eBook  

    Val Feeney

    Tags: policy, insurance, fire, DP3, HO-3 vs DP-3, financing, open peril, investment, destruction, homeowners, rental, properties, multi-family, HO-3, ho3, DP-3, HO3 vs DP3, comprehensive

    Adding Fuel to the Fire

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Wed, Oct 26, 2011 @ 06:01 PM

    Protect and cover your home in case of fire or other accident with homeowners insurance and safety tips from Andrew Gordon IncDid you know that the #1 cause of house fires is COOKING? Having just entered fall, which means grilling less and cooking more, we think a kitchen fire awareness post is due. After all, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner, two holidays notorious for their food. The National Fire Protection Association provides the following information for dealing with cooking fires; use them to make sure you cook without too warm a welcome from your kitchen. 

    Microwave Fire

    Keep the door closed!  And unplug it. Be sure to have it serviced before you use it again. (Personal experience has taught me to watch anything cooked in the microwave.  Overcooked microwave popcorn can fill your home with an acrid smoke that is impossible to breathe in). 

    Oven Fire

    Again, KEEP THE DOOR CLOSED and turn off the heat. If the fire doesn’t go out immediately, call the Fire Department! 

    Grease Fire

    Nothing smells better on a Sunday morning than bacon cooking and coffee perking, but the potential for a grease fire is high.  The best way to handle a grease fire is to carefully slide a lid over the pan.  Turn off the burner, DON’T MOVE THE PAN, and keep the lid on until the pan cools completely. (Baking soda can also be used to suffocate the fire.) NEVER put water on a grease fire – water causes the grease to splatter and the fire to spread.  

    This all having been said, here’s a tasty recipe for your next brunch or cookout: 

    Cut Italian Sausages (mild or hot, whichever you prefer) into 1” pieces.  Put the sausage pieces into a one gallon ziplock bag, along with green pepper and onion slices.  Drizzle generously with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and let sit for an hour or two. When ready to cook, put the mixture in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until the sausage pieces are cooked through.  Delicious! 

    For more information about insurance visit our website,, for insurance resources, like our whiteboard video series.

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    Tags: house, home, Cooking, grilling, cook, safety, fire, prevention, food, heat, gas prices, coffee, propane tanks, wood burning furnace, heating, kitchen

    House Insurance: Fire Damage

    Posted by Geoffrey Gordon

    Thu, Sep 29, 2011 @ 05:42 PM

    If life always went as planned, it would be a lot more stress-free …but I would be out of a job. Unfortunately, sometimes disaster does strike; and rarely does it give much advance warning. Preparation and prevention only go so far, which is why insurance is incredibly valuable when you need it.

    A house hit by lightning, with an ensuing house fire, is today’s best example:

    The Fire Problem

    Prepare your home for fires or other disasters with homeowners from Gordon Insurance

    Understand one thing about house fires: once they start, they accelerate geometrically, burning faster and faster until the house is consumed.  Every second that a fire burns translates to a increasingly large fire and more damage.   Response speed is critical; average response time is such an important metric for fire departments.

    The Firefighting Problem

    Fires are so damaging simply because of the steps necessary to put them out. When the fire department arrives to put a blaze down, they’re not thinking about your grandmother’s china. They’re going to get the water and flame retardants to the area as quickly as they can and as destructively as they need to.  The first objective is to extinguish the fire.

    Is Water Worse?

    Even so, in many cases, the largest cause of damage after a fire is actually water. The thousands of gallons of water used to exterminate the conflagration will spread across the rugs, down the walls, into the flooring, and onto electronic appliances and toys.  No wonder fires are one of the most devastating disasters that can occur to a house.

    Real Life Example of Fire Damage

    Enter yesterday, when I got a call at dinner from a family that Gordon Insurance insures. Their house had caught on fire; the culprit, a lightning strike. It struck the house, blowing the electrical panel nearly off the wall and starting a fire right away.  Mrs. X was home, and went upstairs to investigate; she was shocked to see orange flames licking across the peak of her roof and moving fast.

    She called 911 first and her husband right after, who was only a minute away. When Mr. X got home, he grabbed a portable fire extinguisher and unloaded it at the source of the fire.

    Reasonable people will differ on the risk of trying to extinguish a house fire without training, versus the risk of losing the house while watching and waiting for the fire department. But in this case, the small fire extinguisher probably cut the ultimate damage of this fire in half, by stopping its progression.  Fortunately this fire was still small enough where quick thinking really made a difference.

    Soon enough, the Norwell Fire Department arrived. One thing I will say about our fire department is that they do an awesome job at damage control.  They laid a tarp down to minimize water damage in the room affected, kept the water focused, and took proactive steps to minimize the damage to non-threatened property.  I’ve visited several fire sites in my day, and the guys from Norwell are about as good as they come.

    After the Fire

    With the fire out, we coordinated the water extraction contractors, discussed whether staying in the house was possible (insurance pays for a place to stay), got a company to seal the roof, and had a claim file set up and an adjustor assigned with the insurance company.  Work starts right away.

    The blaze destroyed an addition on Mrs. and Mr. X’s colonial style house, but nobody was hurt.  All things considered, it could have been much worse.   Still, having your home burn makes for a scary lifetime memory, and the cleanup takes time, but quick thinking by the owner and great work by Norwell FD kept this house standing, and life is moving forward again.


    Geoff Gordon

    Tags: house, home, damage, insurance, fire, Business, prevention, lightning

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