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    Personal Insurance Blog


    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

    Homeowners Insurance for a new Home Purchase

    Posted by Val Feeney

    Wed, Nov 12, 2014 @ 04:53 PM

    Purchasing a new home can be a complicated process with many moving parts.  It may have taken months to find that dream home, to negotiate the sales price, and to get approved for the loan.  With the closing date soon, there is still one piece of the puzzle that needs to be completed: home insurance.  This piece will have its greatest effect long after the closing has faded from memory.

    A month or so before the closing date, your mortgage broker or loan officer will remind you to provide a binder, which is proof of insurance for the new home, to close on the loan.  Don’t fret; a good independent insurance agent will help you build the proper insurance program for your family’s new home.  The agent collects the necessary information from you including facts on the home, some personal information such as current address or home insurance claims you have had in the pas, about unique items at the house (wood stove or pool), and if you plan on running a business or working from the home. These all matter for crafting appropriate insurance protection.

    The agent should do the heavy lifting to design an appropriate insurance program, integrating your needs with the best insurance carrier.  What does this process look like?


    1.  The first step is to determine a replacement cost estimate for the building coverage limit on the house.  This is not the assessed value, nor mortgage amount, nor market value, but the amount of money it would cost to rebuild the house if it was ever destroyed, by a fire, hurricane, or whatever else. 

    2.  Next, the agent (we) secure cost estimates from several different companies based on the geographical location of the house and the building amount calculated by the replacement cost. 

    3. The agent (we) tailors the insurance offer from the best priced companies to provide protection for the standard risks (fire, wind, etc), plus your unique issues with the house.  Thing like a large barn or outbuilding, collections, business exposure, or other distinct characteristics that would affect your insurance program. 

    At this point, we also typically recommend pricing your auto insurance, as it often makes sense to “bundle” the home and auto policies together with the same insurance company.  Some companies offer bundled discounts even if both policies with different companies, but with the same agency. 

    The agent (we) will help you to make choices on the best insurance options for you in your new home. 

    Once you select which company and policy options you’d like to go with, you will determine how the bank wants you to pay for the policy.   In most cases, the bank requires you to pay the homeowners policy in full prior to the closing, and then will begin to escrow – setting 1 /12th of the premium aside monthly -  next year’s premium,  In some instances, the bank may allow you to pay for the insurance at the closing. 

    Once the paperwork (application veryfying info) is done we provide the bank and closing attorneys with an insurance binder (proof of insurance).  You are now cleared to close!

    It is helpful to have a good independent insurance agent who can make this process easy for you.  It is important that your agent learns about your family, the home, and how you plan to use the home to create the most comprehensive program, for a fair and competitive price. Also, once the policy is selected, a good agent wwill coordinate the binder documentation process seamlessly with the bank or closing attorneys. 

    Good luck on your new home search, and remember that it is never too early to find a good insurance agent who will help you along the way.

     Top 10 Things about Home Insurance


    Tags: homeowners insurance, Educated

    Liability Issues: Safety Around Your Home

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Wed, Apr 25, 2012 @ 05:52 PM

    Liability issues and claims are proving to be more costly than actual physical damage losses under homeowners insurance policies. 

    Be aware of the many hazards your home may have with personal and homeowners from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAAccording to the Center for Disease Control there are 4.7 million dog bites each year, and 50% occur on the residence premises. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites or dog-related injuries account for approximately 1/3 of all homeowner liability claims, and the average cost is more than $37,000. Carriers often decline writing coverage if there are particular breeds within the household, such as Bull Dogs, Pitbulls, German Shepherds, Akitas, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Siberian Huskies, and others that may exhibit aggressive behavior or have previously had a biting history.  Some companies may accept such a breed if they are provided evidence of the dog’s participation in an obedience training course.

    Another major issue of concern for homeowner carriers are swimming pools, since drowning is the leading cause of fatal injury to children between the ages of 1 and 4. Homeowners are required to comply with local regulations regarding the pool such as fencing and locked gates.  It is also worthwhile to note that homeowners can be held liable for injuries to strangers using their pool without permission.

    Trampolines account for over 100,000 emergency room visits per year according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Companies can refuse to provide coverage for homes that have trampolines on the premises or may place exclusion clauses or require safety measures, such as nets surrounding the apparatus.

    trampoline pic

    The National Safety Council has reported that falls account for 26% of injuries and deaths in the home. Approximately 2.8 million children were treated in the emergency room last year for fall injuries. Tree houses have been the cause for many of these injuries due to the height of these structures, so carriers may exclude or decline coverage, or apply a surcharge for these risks. 

    Homes with guns on the premises increase the risk of homicide by 40% according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Insurance companies require that guns remain properly secured with safety locks and kept out of the reach of children.

    Heating fires account for approximately 36% of home fires. Since many insurance customers use wood stoves as a secondary source of heat, companies now require proof that these were properly installed, adhere to town building codes, and have been inspected.

    Other causes of potential declination of coverage are the presence of zip-lines and exotic pets at the home.

    Homeowners (and renters!) should make it a point to discuss with their agents if any of the above situations apply to them. It is not worth jeopardizing coverage or having a liability claim denied if the carrier was never made aware of all exposures. To discuss your own liability safety, call a Gordon Atlantic Insurance professional toll free at 1-800-649-3252. Prefer to type versus talk? Click below!


    Tags: home, dog, fall, safety, homeowners insurance, insurance, massachusetts, liability, animals, trampoline, pool, agent, tree house, gun, fire places, wood stove, zip line, swimming, bite

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