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    Personal Insurance Blog

    Insurance University: Tips for the College Bound

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Sat, Feb 25, 2017 @ 12:06 PM

    Insure your college student with personal from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAFor many young adults, college is an incredibly liberating experience and a time of emotional and intellectual growth as fledgling freshman adventure further along the path of higher education. Unfortunately, many of the high tech gadgets and electronics that pepper dorm rooms can also find it an incredibly liberating experience… as they adventure out of the dorm in the hands of a thief.  The reality is that theft on college campuses does occur, according to the Newton’s 2nd law of theft:

    Expensive Electronics + Doors Left Open + The Occasional Dorm Party = Theft

    Fortunately, insuring the things your student takes away to college can be insured easily and affordably. Here’s what you should know.

    1. You’re probably already covered: Most students are covered under their parents’ homeowners policy, as long as they still list their primary residence as their home address rather than their dorm room. No need to fear if your student has enough electronics littering his or her dorm room to disrupt aircraft radar within a five mile radius; there is generally a 10% coverage rule that protects 10% of the value of your personal belongings worldwide (which includes hotel rooms, temporary residences, etc).  Even so, it’s probably a good idea to call your insurance provider and double check that your college bound daughter or son is covered.
    2. Yes, that includes Healthcare: A recent change in national law recently superseded the state’s coverage policy.  The old law stated that all full time students who are still dependent are covered under their parents’ policy to age 25. The new healthcare legislation further extended this to all non-married children up to 26 years of age.
    3. The abandoned car: many students go off to college and leave their cars at home. Make sure you aren’t paying top dollar for a car that will sit in your garage all year and only endanger the lawnmower next to it. Call your insurance agent and ask for a discount if the car will not be at school.  Furthermore, ask if good student discounts are available should your studious scholar return home to use the vehicle. 
    4. After Graduation: After your college student graduates and takes up residence elsewhere, the rules of the game change. They will no longer be covered under your homeowner’s policy, but will instead most likely need tenant insurance for their apartment or rented house. However, these policies are very affordable and will cover anything in the apartment that would break if someone “turned the apartment upside down and shook it” (Meehan Insurance).

    Cover your college bound student with personal from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAEven with this information, it’s a good idea to call your professional insurance provider and have a conversation about your son or daughter’s coverage before they leave for college. The short amount of time on the phone could save you time, money, and headaches in the future.

    Additionally, an ounce of prevention is worth a time honored cliché (or a pound of cure). It’s worth taking the time to prevent the theft of items that your students own. You can protect laptops from theft by purchasing a notebook combination lock (several affordable products are listed here). Another good use of time is to photograph all valuable items and take down serial numbers and other information then store them in a GoogleDocs document; if you have a google account, you already have access to this feature. If you don’t, setting up an account is free, easy, and you can access your documents from any computer with internet access. Taking preventative measures before the next dorm party can keep your son or daughter’s electronics from “walking out” in the middle of the chaos.

    For more insurance tips, information, resources, and quotes, visit us at the A. G. Gordon, Inc website. Learn more about personal insurance here

      INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: home, theft, auto, policy, insurance, student, massachusetts, prevention, university, college

    A Homeowner Claim Scenario: A Break-In

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Fri, Feb 10, 2017 @ 12:53 PM

    You just pulled into your driveway, and you notice that the door has been kicked in.  What do you do?

    file00023842434.jpg
    • DO NOT enter the house.
    • CONTACT the police.
    • WAIT for the police to arrive; they will need to make sure the burglar is not still in the house.
    • When it is safe to enter the house, take a walk around and see if anything is missing. It could take days before you discover all that is missing.
    • If you have pets, check on them to make sure they are safe.
    • MAKE a list of items that are missing, include an approximate value.  
    • MAKE a list of the damage that was done to the home.
    • Once you have your list(s) AND a copy of the police report, NOTIFY your agent or the insurance company directly. Use our site to find your carrier: agordon.com/claim
    • PROTECT the property from further damage. You must make reasonable and necessary repairs to the door, or door frame or both.
    • KEEP an accurate record of the repairs and all costs.
    • CHECK with your neighbors, did they see or hear anything.
    • A break-in can be very stressful. You feel violated that someone was in your home. How do you feel comfortable in your own home again?

    Maybe now is a good time to think of getting a burglar system installed that is monitored at a Central Station.  Not only will it give piece of mind, but most insurance companies will give a discount for a monitored central station alarm.

     Contact Us

    Tags: home, break-in, claim, violation, personal property

    Fallout of Private Flood Insurance Market and Effect on NFIP Policyholders

    Posted by Geoffrey Gordon

    Thu, Aug 11, 2016 @ 01:58 PM

    IMG_0595.jpgA private flood insurance market is beginning to emerge for homes and businesses in existing flood zones. The effect of this development on the NFIP's monopoly on flood coverage here in the United States will be significant.  If you are able to transition from NFIP to one of our private flood markets, read on!

    A private market will provide innovation and cost savings for many consumers in flood prone areas.  Ultimately this will lower costs for many property owners.   But for others, watch out.

    Rates used today by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) have little relationship to actual risk.  This is a program designed by Congress, so political factors influence many characteristics.  For example, consider two houses side by side, same age, same size and value, same exposure to a flood.  But one is a ‘primary’ home where the family lives full time, the other ‘secondary’, a vacation home.  The primary home pays less because a secondary homeowner presumably can afford higher prices.   Affordability is not a risk factor with catastrophe insurance.  Thus some properties are subsidized, while others are priced to subsidize other properties.  Until now, the NFIP has had a monopoly on pricing: take it or leave it.  Private insurance challenges all that.

    The private flood insurance market will be most competitive where they can underprice insurance for properties subsidizing others, that is, overpriced relative to actual risk.  They’ll do this by applying true  risk based rates, rather than those devised by the NFIP or Congress using factors such as homeownership as rating mechanisms.

    The effect on the NFIP program is already evident.  Losing policyholders who subsidize other policyholders is chipping away at the foundation of National Flood subsidized rates.  NFIP likes its comfortable monopoly, and is not eager to give it up.  If properties priced to subsidize others leave the program, prices will have to increase, perhaps substantially.

    NFIP isn’t making transitions easy for its customers.  We recently had a homeowner customer change from NFIP to a private program, saving about 50% or $2,000 in their case.   We sent the customer’s signed request to cancel the NFIP policy prior to the renewal date.  Unfortunately the bank (mortgagee) paid the NFIP premium from the escrow account.   NFIP would NOT cancel the policy, since they do not yet officially recognize the private market  (this may change with another act of Congress, but don’t hold your breath).   Thus, once the policy is paid, the premium won’t be returned, even with a signed request to cancel.   An appeals process is available, but again, don’t hold your breath. Careful coordination with your bank (to prevent payment) is important.   The bank must also recognize the private flood insurance.

    The main lesson is in the payment details: If you switch to a private carrier and the flood insurance is part of the bank’s escrow for taxes and insurance, notify the bank in writing NOT to pay the NFIP bill.  If they pay it, you probably won’t get your money back from NFIP.

    In addition, if you leave the National Flood insurance program and decide private flood isn’t for you, expect to need an elevation certificate and possibly higher prices when you do return.

    The long-term economic issue is this: as private insurance offers lower prices to overcharged properties, subsidized insurance in high risk, loss prone areas must rise.  We have long predicted that the economics of the National Flood Program were precarious, and believe that the private markets' disruption of the existing program will hasten the national program’s decline.

    The current program is today about $24 billion in debt to the U.S.  Treasury and Congress has been struggling with making the program revenue neutral for years.  With subsidized policies under threat from private insurance markets, this job just became harder.

    Look to Gordon Insurance for guidance on this ever changing and fluid insurance program.

    Contact Us

    Geoff.jpg

    Tags: home, insurance, flood insurance, new england, private flood insurance

    Pool Laws and Insurance

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Tue, Aug 19, 2014 @ 11:15 AM

    Insure your pool with a personal umbrella liability homeowners policy from Andrew G Gordon IncDo you already have a swimming pool, or are you thinking about getting one? Make sure you're aware of the laws and risks that come with pools. Abiding by the state laws for private pools not only protects the lives of those using the pool, but also ensures that you avoid fines from your homeowners insurance company or the Massachusetts State Board of Building Regulations. 

    Pools must be surrounded by a fence four feet or taller, with a self-closing gate. Doors from your house leading to the pool must be alarmed. Swimming pools must be at least 20 feet away from the borders of the property lot, and they shouldn't be near your septic tank. 

    Did you know that even inflatable pools you buy from Wal-Mart need a building and electrical permit (if they hold 24 or more inches of water in height)? You and your kids should have your outdoor fun, but be careful and contact your city or town hall. 

    To save on your energy bill for your pool, get a solar cover to heat the pool for free and prevent evaporation. Keep your filters clean so that the pool runs smoothly.

    Insure your pool by increasing your liability and home insurance. Pools count as "other structures" under your home insurance policy, which are typically given 10% of coverage for the amount written for your home (if your homeowner's policy is $150,000, then your other structures are covered with $15,000. If this isn't enough, increase it with your home insurance agent). 

    Contact us with any questions about your homeowner's insurance or for a personal umbrella policy quote. Read some more about swimming pool laws and insurance at insureme.com and coverhound.com (thanks to them for supplying much of the information in this article). Have a safe and happy summer!

    Home Quote Request  Top 10 Things about Home Insurance

    Tags: home, insurance, laws, massachusetts, homeowners, pool, swimming, personal umbrella

    Harvester Ants Wreaking Havoc on Your Lawn? Kill Them with Cotton Candy!

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Tue, Jun 03, 2014 @ 03:15 PM

    Harvester ants, aka red ants, are reddish to dark brown in color. They form large mounds at the entrance of their nests. Their nests are located outside, under the ground. This is not a problem when they reside in a field, but it's a huge problem when they reside in your lawn!

    Protect your home lawn from pests with homeowners insurance from andrew g gordon incI am told that Harvester ants are good for the environment, but my experience has been just the opposite. Harvester ants will pull on your lawn grass to cover, protect and shade their ant mounds. Unfortunately, this causes the grass roots to be exposed to the sun and the grass dies. The grass does not recover. Bare patches on your lawn, 6 to 8 feet in diameter, then become evident!

    There are liquid and granular applications that you can apply to your lawn, but these are only topical solutions. These applications will kill the ants that are on top of your lawn but will not kill the ants within the underground nests. The ants will continue to surface to your lawn.

     

    Prevent pests and ants from destorying your home lawn with homeowners insurance from Andrew g gordon incAn effective solution that I have found was offered by my landscaper.

    Boil 2 cups of water, 1 cup of Borax, 2 cups of sugar (optionally, add some honey).

    Let cool and dip cotton balls in the solution.

    Place some cotton balls near the ant mounds.

    Caution: do not allow your pets to have access to the cotton balls.

    The ants will carry pieces of the tasty  “cotton candy” back to their underground nests. Since they cannot digest the Borax, they will die.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?

     

    Tags: home, harvester ants, solution, pesticide, landscape, natural, lawn

    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

    describe the image

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

    Homemade Cleaners

    Posted by Marge Libby

    Tue, May 13, 2014 @ 03:10 PM

    Make your own home cleaners save money get homeowners insurance from Andrew G Gordon Inc

    There has been an increasing interest in homemade cleaners.  There are several reasons for this.  It’s cheaper to make your own.  You know exactly what’s in it.  Some people have allergic reactions to some cleaners or are troubled by their strong odors.

    One common ingredient in many homemade cleaning formulas is white distilled vinegar.  Vinegar is very effective in killing most germs, bacteria and even mold.   It’s also economically and environmentally friendly.  Some people are reluctant to use vinegar because they don’t like the smell.  Vinegar’s odor dissipates as it dries and it dries very quickly. 

    This brings us to another common ingredient in homemade cleaning formulas – scented oils.  There are many scents to choose from – Whole Foods has a great selection and testers are provided so you can check them out before purchasing.  Maybe you like the calming effects of lavender for your furniture dusting solution in your bedroom.  Maybe you like the invigorating effects of mint for your bathroom.  Maybe you like citrus cleaners but want something different than the traditional lemon.  How about lime?  For a tropical twist, add a touch of coconut to the lime.  Maybe in the fall and holiday season your thoughts turn to cinnamon and cloves.  When making your own formulas you have complete control over the scents you use in your home.

    Microfiber cleaning cloths are a necessity.  Some people simply clean with microfiber cloths and water.  I find that may work great for mirrors but I like the disinfecting qualities of using a homemade cleaner with vinegar. When cleaning with a microfiber cloth, if it gets too wet you many notice spots and streaks forming.  Toss the cloth aside and grab a clean one.  The cloths can be cleaned simply with hot water.  I toss mine into the wash but I place them in a lingerie bag so that they won’t cling (and possibly snag) other articles in the wash.  Keeping them in the separate bags also reminds me NOT to put them in the dryer – this is very important.  Simply hang them to dry.  I’m not fond of the cloths found in the dollar stores.  Thicker cloths will simply work much better and thin cheap cloths are a waste of money.  You can buy the cloths in bulk at Costco and BJ’s as well as online at Amazon.com.

    Although I don’t purchase my microfiber cloths at the dollar stores, I do purchase spray bottles there.  These too are a necessity.  I usually mix my formulas directly in the bottles so it’s helpful to purchase bottles which have measurement markings.    I label each bottle with the type of cleaner i.e. bathroom cleaner, glass cleaner, etc.  I also attach a label with the formula I used saving me the added step of having to look it up when it’s time to make more.

    If you have pets, sometimes you feel you are moving the pet hair from one place to another.  To avoid this, I highly recommend the Gonzo Pet Hair Lifter   A quick swipe with this sponge to remove fur before using your cleaner and microfiber cloth will solve this problem. Here' the link: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/cleaning/cleaningSolutionsAccessories?productId=10020631&N=77386&Nao=40

    Here’s a basic formula for a general all-purpose cleaner that I use to clean my bathroom to get you started:  Simply combine equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle – pretty simple!  Add  a few drops of the essential oil of your choice. 

    This is the formula I use in my kitchen:  1 cup water, 1 Tbs Castile soap and 6-10 drops of essential oil.  Castile soap comes in a variety of scents as well as unscented – if using scented tread lightly with the scented essential oil.

    Check out the blog next month for more tips and formulas.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?
    Marge Libby

    Tags: home, cleaning, diy, home cleaning, clean, cleaner, homemade

    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

    On-line Banking

    Posted by Sue Bird

    Wed, Sep 04, 2013 @ 09:02 AM

    Pay for your personal home auto life insurance online with Andrew G Gordon IncIf you participate in on-line banking and have set up your policies to be paid by your bank, you need to pay special attention to notices from your insurance company of any policy #, remittance address or premium changes. Additionally, be sure to allow enough time for your payment to reach its destination. Not all insurance companies receive payments electronically and are mailed to the company.

    We often see remittance addresses changing in our industry and on a less frequent basis, we see the policy #'s changing which is usually due to system conversion at the company. You should review your policy each time it renews or any time you make a change to the policy as the price will change and you will need to adjust your payment amounts on your on-line banking account.

    The easiest way to avoid a late payment for any of the reasons above is to sign up for Electronic Funds Transfer so that your payments are just withdrawn automatically. This way, you usually avoid installment fees and your payments are spread over a longer period of time, thereby reducing the monthly installment amounts.

    Learn more about personal insurance here.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Susan Bird

    Tags: home, health, auto, personal, online, policy, life, insurance, payment, banking, credit, card

    10 Commandments of Insurance

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Wed, Aug 28, 2013 @ 09:18 AM

    If you're going to do insurance, you should do insurance right. Here we've compiled the 10 Commandments of Insurance.

    Never miss an insurance online payment with Andrew G Gordon Inc1. Thou shalt not miss a payment

    There are so many payment options available, including electronic payments, that an insurance payment should never be missed. If you miss a payment, your policy may be canceled.

    2. Thou shalt drive safely

    Road rage, reckless driving, distracted driving- all bad. Drive as safely as possible to avoid accidents and bodily injury. Maybe you should increase your property damage if you aren't going to be the safest driver. Better safe than sorry.

    Take care of your house property with homeowners insurance for home from Andrew G Gordon Inc

    3. Thou shalt take care of property

    A lot of work goes into maintaining a property. There are a bunch of underrated dangers that should be taken care of. You must also actively do things such as repair roof shingles, organize your items, take care of puffbacks, and the like. Having insurance is one thing, but letting your home go to shambles is something completely different.

    4. Thou shalt take care of health

    Health is very necessary to live a good and happy life. On top of doing things to take care of oneself, such a wearing sunscreen, staying properly hydrated, and being cautious to over-the-counter medications, life insurance is a must. People might wonder why life insurance should be pursued, but it's one of those things that's well worth it. For more information on life insurance, click here.

    5. Thou shalt know the laws

    Obey driving laws with auto insurance for your car from Andrew G Gordon Inc

    There are a lot of laws out there that should be known. There are a lot of minor violations that can affect auto insurance, as well as some laws that are specific to junior operators (passenger restriction, time restriction, etc.). Following these laws can keep one out of legal trouble as well as insurance trouble.

    6. Thou shalt actively understand insurance

    Make sure you know what type of coverage you have. There's a difference between collision and comprehensive coverage, and the difference is huge. Knowing your insurance vocabulary is an important step.

    7. Thou shalt take advantage of available discounts

    There are so many discounts available! Why not take advantage of them? You could take extra driving classes, install an alarm, bundle your policies, etc. The point is, if you can pay less for the same exact policy, why wouldn't you?

    8. Thou shalt not lie

    If you do not provide accurate information when receiving a quote, a policy might be issued and all, but the policy will not adequately cover what you need covered. If you face a home insurance inspection, there's no way you can lie about things of that nature. Another bad example of lying is having a trampoline on your property if your insurance company doesn't know about it. Be truthful for correct coverage.

    Take care of your pets with health insurance from Andrew G Gordon Inc9. Thou shalt take care of pets

    Dog bites attract a lot of liability claims. With that being said, make sure your pets are taken care of. There are many dangers that pets can face, and you should know them in order to keep your best friend safe.

    10. Thou shalt be prepared

    In the case of natural disasters or storms, one should take advantage of storm and hurricane resources that Gordon Insurance has made available to them. You don't want to regret things after the storm, and by being prepared, you don't have to.

    For more insurance information or to get a quote click the buttons below. If you have any other insurance questions, do not hesitate to contact us here at Gordon Insurance. Learn more about personal insurance here.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Tags: home insurance, home, auto, liability, Auto Insurance, dogs, driving safety, money, commandments, things to know about insurance

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