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    Personal Insurance Blog

    Microbursts: Surprise Storms

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Mon, Aug 26, 2013 @ 09:59 AM

    Have you ever heard of a microburst? I sure hadn't until one of my fellow coworkers in this very office explained to me what they are. Naturally, I had to research them, and what I found is mind-boggling.

    Weather Words

    So if you're into weather speak and meteorology talk, then you'll be intrigued to hear that a microburst is just a bunch of sinking air. However, when this air sinks, it sends little tornadoes and strong winds just in that area.

    Be prepared for home damage from surprise storms with homeowners insurance from andrew g gordon inc

    Microbursts consist of three stages: contact, outburst, and cushion. The first stage is when the air descends from the clouds and to the ground, making contact. The second stage is when the air move aways (typically horizontally along the ground). The third stage is when the horizontal winds accelerate but the initial winds begin to slow down.

    Regardless of which stage a microburst is, there will be very, very strong winds that have the ability to known down trees and buildings. And while hurricanes and other tropical storms can have both strong winds and heavy precipitation, microbursts are different. Why? Mostly because they can appear out of nowhere and are very difficult to predict.

    Damage and Insurance

    I just spent some time telling you how microbursts differ from any other storm. Now I am going to contradict myself and tell you the good news when it comes to insurance!

    Even though microbursts are weird little storms that can really pack a punch, insurance covers for their damage. They are just like any other storm. Most of the damage caused by microbursts comes in the form of falling trees. To protect yourself against loss, make sure you have a wind policy that adequately covers your home's worth, especially if you live in a heavily wooded area.

    For those "wet-microbursts" that come with a lot of flooding, only a flood policy can protect you from loss in the event of a flood. So, similar to the wind situation, as long as you have the appropriate policy, your insurance will cover you in case of a microburst. Hooray!

    Microbursts in MA

    Fortunately, microbursts are not that common. However, that doesn't mean that they do not occur. Recently, Agawam was faced with a microburst that caused lots of damage. For more information on that damage, click here.

    Microburst Video

    Here is a video explaining microbursts and showing some of the severe damage these storms can cause.

     

    If you have any other insurance questions about anything- home, auto, commercial, life- feel free to contact us at any time. Learn about homeowners coverage here.

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    Tags: home insurance, house, home, house insurance, microburst, strong wind, fallen tree, tree damage, tree, Flood, storm, wind, windstorm, property damage, flood insurance

    Why Do I Need a Home Insurance Inspection?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Wed, May 01, 2013 @ 07:16 PM

    Do you need a homeowners insurance inspection? Gordon Atlantic InsuranceHave you been asked to have your home inspected for a new insurance policy? Don't be alarmed. The primary reason is to make sure the policy's dwelling amount reflects the cost to rebuild the home in the event of a total loss. When you receive an insurance offer, replacement value calculation software is used by your insurance representative to estimate the home's replacement cost, or cost to rebuild from the ground up. The software is good, and often draws from public records, but every property is unique so the best way to validate the cost to rebuild for the homeowner is through an insurance inspection.  

    The other reason for an inspection is to see what kinds of hazards might exist, and whether they can be corrected.  Inspectors are trained to recognize those conditions that raise the risk of a loss, such as roofs in need of repair or dangerous conditions not known from a phone conversation or web form.  But as the entity who has the most to lose when risky conditions exist, many carriers insist on inspections to protect their interests. 

    It has become common for home insurance companies to conduct insurance inspections within 30 days of a new policy's inception date. Previously, insurance companies or the agent may have taken exterior pictures and or measurements of the property; today these are available on line.  Now  inspections often include a walk through of the interior as well.

    The home insurance companies often outsource to licensed independent insurance appraisal companies such as Mueller Inspections. The inspection company will contact you directly to arrange for the inspection. Most inspections typically take about 30-45 minutes.  You will need to be home for the inspection and should expect that the inspector will ask to see each room along with the basement and furnace. They will also take pictures of your home from both inside and outside.

    Homeowners insurance inspections Gordon Atlantic InsuranceThere are two primary purposes of a home inspection:

    1. To validate the replacement estimate calculated with a combination of public information and information you’ve provided, and,

    2. To identify conditions where a loss might occur: safety items such as a deck with no handrails; or susceptibility to loss, most commonly water.

    What will be inspected?

    The inspector will generally measure external dimensions; property tax information is not always accurate. They will often ask about the age of the roof, will inspect gutters and downspouts to be sure they are connected properly, and review installation or updates to furnace, electrical system, and plumbing.  If you have a dog, they may also ask questions about his temperament and may even take a picture of the pup if he is photogenic (dogs account for about 30% of personal liability claims payments nationwide).

    If you are buying a house, be honest with your insurance agent if you are moving into the home right after the closing or if you are planning to remodel the home. Both situations can be addressed ahead of time but it is always best to handle while setting up the policy.  An insurance company can cancel a policy for misrepresentation if there is major remodeling and/or you have not moved into the property.  Underwriters don't like surprises.  Honesty is always the best policy.

    Benefits for you

    Other benefits of a home insurance inspection can be that discounts are identified by the inspector that the customer was not aware of. For example, some homeowners with central fire and burglar alarms may also have low temperature sensors. Or the home has an automatic generator that we never knew about.  These situations may prompt additional discounts.

    When the home inspection is complete, it goes to the insurance company. An underwriter reviews the building coverage and will outline concerns (hazards) that need to be addressed with the homeowner.  If action is needed, it is forwarded to the agent, who communicates any changes or concerns or requests from the carrier to the customer.

    Having your home inspected helps keep the cost of insurance down. Companies that conduct thorough inspections get discounted rates on reinsurance which this is passed along to customer Reinsurance is the insurance that companies buy to protect themselves from large individual losses or many catastrophic losses. 

    The home insurance inspection can be a simple process providing peace of mind that your home is properly insured and that losses can be avoided by recognizing risk through the eyes of a professional.

    If you would like to discuss your homeowners coverage with a Gordon Atlantic Insurance professional, please call us toll free at 800-649-3252.  Prefer to type versus talk?  Use the form at the top left of this blog.

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    Tags: house, home, policy, homeowners, insurance cost, water, home inspection, water insurance

    Where Should My Homeowner's Bill Go?

    Posted by Sue Bird

    Fri, Nov 16, 2012 @ 06:21 PM

    Know where your homeowners bill should be paid with andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maIf your homeowner’s insurance is escrowed, then you would probably prefer to have your homeowner’s insurance bill mailed directly to your mortgage company rather than to you. However, keep in mind that if your mortgage company's address changes and we are not notified, the bill could be sent to the wrong address.  If this happens, the insurance company will not receive a payment and will issue an "Intent to Cancel for Non-Payment", probably apply a late fee, and then allow a few more days in which to pay. After these extra days with a late fee, your policy will be canceled.

    You should consider having your homeowner's insurance bill mailed to you so that you can forward it to the correct mortgage company.

    I know of at least one company that now offers a "Paid in Full" discount on homeowner's insurance ONLY IF the policy is set up to bill the mortgage company.

    If you have any other questions about insurance, or are just looking for some insurance advice, do not hesitate to contact us. Learn more about home insurance here.

      Top 10 Things about Home Insurance Home Quote Request

    Sue Bird

    Tags: house, home, insurance, discount, escrow, billing, mortgage bill, homeowners, homeowner

    Mosquito Control- The Little Brown Bat

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Thu, Nov 01, 2012 @ 08:16 AM

    Build a bat house to rid your home of mosquitos and get homeowners from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maIn these days with EEE warnings and EEE-caused deaths, we can only wonder how we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

    Aside from spraying as a way to control mosquitoes, bat houses are an excellent means of getting rid of those dangerous bugs.

    Did you know that an average bat (such as the Little Brown Bat) can eat up to 500-1000 mosquitoes in one hour? This incredible rate can add up to 4000-8000 mosquitoes in a single night.

    So, how can you attract some of these helpful creatures onto your property?  One of the ways is to build a bat house. This is a fun and simple activity that you can do with your children. There are many places in which you can find plans for a bat house, or you perhaps buy a pre-made one (usually for under $40).

    Just keep in mind that Bat House should be made of exterior plywood (rough on the inside. The inside should have grooves at least every ¼ inch or some sort of plastic mesh for the bats to grab onto). The house should be at least 24 inches tall, 13 inches wide and about 3 inches deep.  The opening at the bottom of the house should be about ¾-1 inch.  Your house should be placed at least 15 feet up (the higher the better) and should face a south to southeasterly direction so it gets 6 hours of sunlight a day.

    Then, you can sit back in the evenings and watch the quick little critters scooping up all those unwanted mosquitoes.

    If you have any additional questions about insurance and risk management, feel free to contact us. Learn about home insurance here

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    Tags: house, home, safety, insurance, Pest, warnings, homeowners, control, EEE, bat, mosquitoes, mosquito, nature

    Over Your Head: Shingles for Your Home

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Wed, Sep 12, 2012 @ 04:23 PM

    Cover your home for shingle repair with homeowners from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maI recently hired a roofing contractor to replace my house shingles. Although we do have a page for insurance resources, I thought the experience and some tips were worth sharing from a homeowner’s point of view.

    First, hire a reliable roofer. The roofer with the biggest advertisement or fanciest business card isn’t always the best. I watched a roofer install new roof shingles on my neighbor’s house. The roofer and his employees appeared to do a professional job. After it was completed, I asked my neighbor: where did he find this roofer, was he happy with the quality of the work, how much time was spent on the job and of course, what was the price? My neighbor highly recommended him to me, and I couldn’t be happier; I have since referred him to three other neighbors.

    There are some factors you should consider when choosing a shingle product. Unless you have wood, rubber, clay, terracotta or metal roofing, chances are you fall into the majority of us who have asphalt shingles. Obtain good size samples. Small sample chips (business card size) will not reveal what the roof color(s) will actually look like. My wife & I chose a sample from a small sample chip. The shingles are multi colored & shaded, blue/green & brown…I love them, my wife hates them. Consider the life span of the shingles you choose. The average brands come in 25 year limited warranty, 30 year limited warranty & 35 year limited warranty years. There are shingle products that are also available with a limited lifetime warranty. Discuss this with your contractor. Decide if you want Architectural shingles. This type of shingle has a 3-dimensional look to it and has great curb appeal. These are usually more expensive than three-tab shingles which have a flatter look. Three-tab shingles are the most economical. Consider the extras. Always have your roof replaced with drip edges and also ice & water shield membranes. Ice shields are a membrane that are installed under the shingles, from the gutter line up to about four feet, the purpose is to prevent ice dams.

    Always have your shingles stripped before the new ones are installed. If a second layer of shingles is installed over a first layer, then any hidden damage won’t be exposed. After my contractor stripped the shingles, he showed me there were some random boards that were rotted and needed to be replaced.

    Roofing is an expensive proposition. Hopefully, you’ll have a positive experience with your roofing contractor and roofing products as much as I did. And of course, request a certificate of insurance for General Liability and Workers Compensation from your roofer!

    Any other questions on maintaining your home? We've got some other blogs for you here. As always, if you have any questions about insurance, contact us. Learn more about home insurance here

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    Tags: house, home, repair, insurance, shingles, roof, roofing, homeowners, maintenance

    In the Doghouse

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Wed, Aug 15, 2012 @ 11:38 AM

    Understand your dogs impact on your insurance with homeowners from Andrew Gordon Inc Norwell MAFor many homeowners, a dog is a cherished member of the household; according to the Humane Society of the United States, there are 77.5 million household dogs in the U.S., a whopping 39 percent of all households. Normally, human-dog interaction is a positive experience for both animal and person, but lately, dog-bite statistics have been increasing. Dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims paid out in 2009, costing $412 million and up 8.70 percent from 2008, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

    More than 4.7 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs annually, and nearly 900,000 of those, half of them children, require medical care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those injured, 386,000 require treatment in an emergency department. The rate of dog bite related injuries is highest for children aged five to nine years old; the rate decreases thereafter. With more than 50 percent of bites occurring on the dog owner’s property, the issue is a major source of concern for insurers.

    Dog Owner Liability

    Insure your home and pet dog with homeowners from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MA

    There are three kinds of law that impose liability on owners:

    1. Dog-bite statute: The dog owner is automatically liable for any injury or property damage the dog causes, even without provocation.
    2. “One-bite” rule: In some states, the owner is not held liable for the first bite the dog inflicts. Once an animal has demonstrated vicious behavior, such as biting or otherwise displaying a ‘vicious propensity’, the owner can be held liable. Some states have moved away from the one-bite rule and hold owners responsible for any injury, regardless of whether the animal has previously bitten someone.
    3. Negligence laws: The dog owner is liable if the injury occurred because he or she was unreasonably careless (negligent) in controlling the dog.

    The owner of a dog, however, is not liable if the dog injures a trespasser.

    The CDC recommends the following steps regarding human-dog interaction:

    • Train your dog to help with your homeowners insurance rates with Andrew Gordon Inc Norwell MAConsult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household and neighborhood.
    • Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a home with an infant or toddler. Dogs with histories of aggression are inappropriate in households with children.
    • Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful of or apprehensive about a dog and, if so, delay acquiring a dog. Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.
    • Have your dog spayed or neutered. Studies show that dogs are three times more likely to bite if they are NOT neutered.
    • Socialize your dog so it knows how to act with other people and animals.
    • Discourage children from disturbing a dog that is eating or sleeping.
    • Play non-aggressive games with your dog, such as “go fetch.” Playing aggressive games like “tug-of-war” can encourage inappropriate behavior.
    • Avoid exposing your dog to new situations in which you are unsure of its response.
    • Never approach a strange dog and always avoid eye contact with a dog that appears threatening.
    • Immediately seek professional advice from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.

    Using these strategies should hopefully allow your personal relationship with Fido to be a positive one.

    For the full article, click here.

    At Gordon Atlantic, we have an opportunity to work alongside many outstanding businesses, one of which is Trouwe Hond, a professional dog training and kennel business that is truly top in its class. If you have a dog, check out their site.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: house, home, dog, property, insurance, dog training, obedience, trainer, stop biting, liability, homeowners

    Home Inventory – How to Organize

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Fri, Jul 13, 2012 @ 11:55 AM

    Do you know how much “stuff” you own? Don’t find yourself scrambling to recreate a list of your possessions if you suffer a fire or other devastating loss. An up-to-date home inventory will help you get your home insurance settled faster, help you purchase the correct amount of insurance and verify losses for Uncle Sam when tax time rolls around.

    Tackling the inventory list can be simplified if you:

    1. Organize your home to stay safe and get homeowners coverage from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maTake pictures of rooms and important individual items. Don’t forget to open your closets and drawers for items hidden from view.
    2. Videotape- walk through your house, condo or apartment videotaping and describing the contents. You can also do the same with a tape recorder.
    3. Use your computer-many personal finance software packages include room by room inventory software programs.
    4. Remember to send the list off-site to save in case the computer is damaged or ruined.
    5. Keep any photos or videos or receipts in your safety deposit box or at a friend’s home.
    6. Remember to update your list periodically so the inventory is current.

    For more on taking the risk our of your home, visit our home page at www.agordon.com. Learn more about homeowners insurance here.

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    Tags: house, home, building, insurance, public adjusters, lawyers, contents, cheap, coverage, homeowners

    How Much Should I Insure My House For?

    Posted by Val Feeney

    Wed, Jun 27, 2012 @ 11:41 AM

    A Guide to Determining How Much Insurance to Buy for Your Home

    On nearly every homeowners quote I present to customers, the #1 question I receive is how I determined the amount of coverage to use for the home, or the “Dwelling Coverage” amount.

    What is Dwelling Coverage?

    The Dwelling Coverage (often referred to as the ‘Replacement Cost’) is not the market value of the home, the assessed value of the home, nor the mortgage amount used to buy the home, but the amount of money it would cost to rebuild the home if it is ever destroyed by a fire.  Land is also not a factor in this amount.

    Understand the cost of insuring your house with homeowners dwelling coverage from Andrew Gordon Inc Norwell MA

    How does Dwelling Coverage work?

    Your independent insurance agent will calculate the dwelling coverage by entering the square footage, year built, style of home, foundation type, garage type, # of bathrooms, type of kitchen, material of the interior & exterior walls, type of flooring, and energy infrastructure (to name a few) into a replacement cost calculator provided  by the insurance company.  The insurance companies keep up to date replacement cost calculators by continually updating the current prices for building materials and labor.  The insurance companies create these calculators to ensure that their customers are getting the proper protection and so the insurance company is covering homes to their proper replacement value.

    Now, here is the important part.  Once the agent presents the quote to the customer, the customer decides if they are happy with the dwelling coverage.  I would urge, if you trust your agent, to use the dwelling coverage amount the agent has come up with. After all, this is what an agent is for.  This will ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home. 

    Cover your house with the right pricing of home dwelling coverage with homeowners from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MA

    Can't I opt for less dwelling coverage?

    In a tough economy, customers try to find savings anywhere possible, and one area is their insurance.  Most homeowners believe they can simply lower their insurance coverage (dwelling coverage) to save some money.  This is true, but it comes with a heavy cost due to the coinsurance clause

    Insurance companies require homeowners to carry at least 90% in coverage of the dwelling/replacement cost, which is the coinsurance clause. So in our example of $300,000, the insurance company would require at least $270,000 in dwelling coverage to satisfy the 90% or more insured-to-value requirement.  Insurance companies offer discounts for homeowners who insure to the full replacement cost.  The customer will sleep easy having full coverage on the home.

    What does that mean in a claim?

    Now let’s say that the homeowner decided that he/she wants to lower the dwelling coverage to $250,000, which is 83% of the replacement cost.  Let’s also say the homeowner suffers a $100,000 claim. The insurance company will penalize the homeowner with a penalty of 17% taken directly from the claim.  It is calculated by the following:

    ($250,000/$300,000) X $100,000 = $83,333.

    The homeowner may have saved a few hundred dollars in premium by lowering their dwelling coverage to $250,000, but have now taken a penalty of $17,667 at the time of the loss, vastly eliminating the saving they thought they found earlier.  Instead of receiving $100,000 for the claim, the insured is now only receiving $83,333.

    In conclusion, it may seem like the obvious area to save money on your homeowners insurance, but lowering the dwelling coverage on your policy can negatively affect you during a time of a claim, or a total loss.  That is not the time to realize you made a bad decision. 

    Use an independent agent to ensure you are getting the best coverage available for your home, and allow the agent to find discounts for you that don’t affect your coverage.

    Top 10 Things to Know about Homeowner's Insurance

    Val Feeney

    Tags: house, home, cost, how much, insurance, coverage, homeowners, premium, dwelling, agent

    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

    Water

    • 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).

    Fire

    • 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.

    Accidents

    • 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 www.agordon.com
    • 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

    INSURANCE QUESTION?  

     Sue Bird

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

    Homeowners Insurance Claims Hints

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Mon, Jun 25, 2012 @ 09:57 AM

    A burst of flames, wind damage from a summer storm or water damage from a burst pipe can all cause substantial damage to your home. Submitting a homeowners insurance claim is a simple process if you follow these steps:

    Insure your home in case of any fires or accidents with homeowners from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MA1. First, notify your insurance company that your home has suffered damage.

    Let the company know the type and extent of damage as they will prioritize claims adjuster visits based on the severity of the claim. Give your contact information so the company can reach you to set up an appointment.

    2. Document your loss

    You will need to prepare for the claim adjuster visit by providing a list of damaged items. Starting a home inventory list before a loss makes this process simple.

    3. Keep receipts

    for any additional living expenses such as hotel or meals if you are unable to stay at your home.

    4. Make temporary repairs

    to prevent further damage if it is safe to do so, it is your responsibility. Make arrangements and save any receipts.

    5. Keep organized

    Along with receipts, keep a list of all contacts involved with the claim.

    6. Don’t be a victim of a scam

    Check references before giving deposits to contractors.

    7. Keep your agent at Andrew Gordon Insurance informed

    If we can be of any assistance with your claim.

    Look to Gordon Insurance for overall risk and insurance advice. Click here for specifics on your home insurance, and view our whiteboard presentations here.

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    Tags: house, home, insurance, lawyers, adjuster, cheap, coverage, homeowners, Flood, claim, public

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