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    Personal Insurance Blog

    Hurricane Defined for Insurance

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Thu, Sep 19, 2019 @ 01:06 PM

    Prepare yourself for storms with hurricane insurance from andrew gordon incIn the aftermath of Dorian, the question remains: what makes a storm a hurricane?

    The answer to this question is a significant indicator as to how claims are handled by insurance carriers.

    So, let us determine what constitutes a hurricane.  Here are some of the conditions that must be met:

    1) Low pressure system.

    2) Warm temperatures over the ocean.

    3) Moist environment (precipitation).

    4) Tropical wind patterns over the equator.

    Once these conditions are met, a hurricane must have sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or more. The eye of the storm is usually 20 to 30 miles wide and the storm itself may extend up to 400 miles across. The inherent dangers of this type of storm are torrential rains, high winds and tidal surges (super high tides). A hurricane can last for two weeks or more over open water and run a path the length of the Eastern seaboard, from the Caribbean to Nova Scotia.

    What caused of Hurricane Dorian to stall over the Bahamas?

    When a hurricane moves, the time spent in any particular area is limited.  But when it stalls, as Dorian did over Great Abaco for over 36 hours, the devastation continues. The damge Hurricane Harvey caused in Houston was not so much the wind, but the 52" of rain that fell in 48 hours after Harvey's landfall.  Hurricanes break apart, or move, when upper level air, the air above the hurricane's most violent force, prevents storm air from rising.  Strong air movement above the hurricane creates shear, disrupting the pattern of spinning storm.  We like upper atmospheric shear on a hurricane.  Similarly, continental high pressure from land (westerly) also pushes hurricanes out to sea limiting damage to homes and businesses.  We also like high pressure from the west, southwest or northwest.  

    On average, 100 tropical storms develop each year between May and November over the Atlantic Ocean.  Only six eventually develop into hurricanes and of these six, two are likely to strike the coast of the United States. The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30 of each year, with the most active time being from mid-August through mid-October.  The winter hurricane threat is virtually non-existent.

    For homeowners living near the coast, having wind or named storm deductibles is common.  For more about these - and which is the better among evils - visit our Named Storm vs. Windstorm deductibles page

    If you have any other insurance questions, please contact us here at Gordon Atlantic Insurance. We'll help you understand any confusing definitions or tricky aspects of insurance.  We make insurance make sense.

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    Tags: personal, hurricane, insurance, definition, storm, wind, sandy

    Hurricane Awareness

    Posted by Ben Gordon

    Fri, Jun 21, 2013 @ 10:07 AM

    As of June 1, we have officially entered Hurricane Season, and we won’t be out of it until November 30, so there are a few things that you may want to keep in mind this season.

    Hurricane

    Hurricane Keep your home safe in case of storms or hurricanes with homeowners from andrew g gordon inc

    First off, it’s helpful to know what’s what, so here’s a chart covering the different storms:

    What it’s called

    What defines it

    What to expect (for a well built home)

    Tropical Cyclone

    A rotating system of clouds and storms that originates over tropical waters.

     

    Tropical Depression

    A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 38 mph or less

    Occasional snapped branches, damaged wind chimes.

    Tropical Storm

    A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 39-73 mph

    Gusts may snap larger branches, possible mild damage to shingles and gutters.

    Category 1 Hurricane

    A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 74-95 mph

    Large branches may snap.  Gutters, shingles, and shutters may be torn away.

    Category 2 Hurricane

    A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 96-110 mph

    Major damage to the roof and its sides. Many trees may snap or be uprooted. Some roads blocked and near-total power loss for a few days to weeks.

    Category 3 Hurricane

    A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 111-129 mph

    Major damage to roofs, gables, and sides of buildings.  Many roads blocked, electricity and power unavailable from days to weeks.

    Category 4 Hurricane

    A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 131-156 mph

    Severe damage to exterior walls and roofs. Possible roof collapse. Most trees snapped or uprooted. Most of area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

    Category 5 Hurricane

    A tropical cyclone with sustained winds greater than 156 mph

    Possible destruction of entire house, with total roof and wall collapse.  Fallen trees and power lines will isolate whole neighborhoods.  Power outages will last for weeks or months.  Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

    Considering that we live in New England, we aren’t as likely to be hit by a high level storm as states farther south, but that may lull us into a false sense of security. Just because we PROBABLY won’t get hit with 156 mph winds, doesn’t mean the 95 mph winds won’t do serious damage.

    Stay safe during hurricane season with homeowners insurance from Andrew G Gordon IncSome things to be wary of:

    ·         Falling Trees – New England is full of large, broad leafed trees that, unlike that palms down south, are more likely to snap in high winds than bend and survive.  Downed trees can knock out power lines, block major roads, or damage your roof, patio, or car. Consider trimming trees back, especially if they are close to the house.

    ·         Pooling Water – The heavy rains associated with hurricanes will also accumulate and create large puddles or pools.  Around the yard, these may be fine, but if they build up next to your home, you may face water damage or flooding in your basement.  My own basement used to flood from regular summer showers, but we installed a French drain, which has done wonders.

    ·         Coastal Surges – If you live near the coast, or have a vacation home near the beach, you will want to watch out for storm surges, water that is forced by winds to create outrageous tides.  The damage incurred from the surge is covered under your flood, not wind, insurance.

    Flying Debris –The high winds will not only tear down trees, but also whip around random detritus. The aesthetic pebble paths or gravel driveways may bite you in the rump during a hurricane, and your exterior walls will look pox marked and torn up after the stones get hurled from a 100 mph gust. Soft mulch and asphalt may be a safer alternative to consider.

    If you suspect that you may lose power, or that your road may get blocked by trees, consider preparing an essentials kit well beforehand. You can put some of the following into your kit:

    • Extra batteries and flashlights
    • First aid kit
    • Cash (ATM’s may not be working)
    • Ample water (1 gallon per person per day)
    • Personal hygiene items
    • Non-perishable food
    • Pet supplies
    • Entertainment (board games, books, cards)

    Remember to keep up with the weather reports this season, and pay especially close attention if you hear a hurricane watch or warning, they demonstrate a 36 or 24 hour arrival time of the storm, respectively.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?  Hurricane Resources

    Ben Gordon

    Tags: tropical, irene, hurricane, preparation, hurricane season, bad weather, emergency kit, what to do hurricanes, chart, storm chart, different kind of storms, storm types, winds, wind damage, cyclone, depression, category, flooding, Flood, storm, rain, sandy

    Should I Buy a Generator for My Home?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Wed, May 15, 2013 @ 07:35 PM

    Protect your home from storms with homeowners from andrew g gordon inc insuranceIf you’ve ever experienced the inconvenience of an extended power outage from a storm, perhaps something like Storm Nemo, you’ve probably wondered if you should invest in a generator. Not only is it a huge nuisance, but an extended power outage can result in frozen pipes, food spoilage, and sump pump failures. There is also an additional risk of a house fire when rarely unused fireplaces are put to the test or candles are knocked over accidentally.

    While portable generators are less expensive, there are a few disadvantages. Portable models do not go on automatically should you be away from your home. In addition, some portable models will only power a few items. The portable models are usually fueled by gasoline. A full tank may only last a day. Oftentimes, there is a shortage of gas during a power outage. This may be due to blocked roads, closed gas stations, or fuel trucks unable to travel and replenish gas supplies. This happened during Hurricane Sandy and the Blizzard of 2013.

    For this reason and many others, automatic generators are a better option. A permanently installed generator will supply power directly to your home’s electrical circuit breaker box as soon as the outage commences. After power is restored, the generator will shut down. Permanent generators are safer because the risk of carbon monoxide is lower than a portable generator. Permanent installed units are placed outside a home and are powered by the natural gas or liquid petroleum supply. There is no need to run to the gas station as you must do with a portable generator.

    Protect your home in case of a power outage with homeowners insurance from Andrew G Gordon IncAn automatic generator cost varies based on the wattage and features. A small generator with 7-10kw will power just a few basic household appliances. One of those will cost around $1,850 to $4,000.

    A large automatic generator with 22-45kw will allow you to power your entire home. This will cost in the $9,000 range. A midsize 12-20kw automatic generator can handle a heating or cooling season. Cost can range between $4,000 and $10,000.

    The automatic generator will run as long as its fuel supply remains uninterrupted. A licensed generator installer can install the fuel supply and generator. You should also have the unit serviced annually to assure it is in good working order.

    You can determine the right size generator by first identifying a list of appliances that you would want powered during an extended power outage. This may be a few appliances or your entire home. Check how may circuits are used by each appliance. Think about how many appliances you will use at the same time. Some appliances use more when they first start up and less when running. Since a generator is an investment, pick a model that you may add circuits. The permanent generator may also be an investment that pays off when it is time to sell your home. It is becoming a great selling point in areas such as the northeast that regularly experience power loss.

    Installation of an automatic generator by a licensed installer should be less than a day. The usually place on top of gravel or concrete pad. The wiring is connected between the generator panel and the circuit breaker panel in the house.

    You may be interested to learn that several of our home insurance carriers offer policy discounts if you install a permanent automatic generator. They do this because if the power comes on automatically there is less risk of an insurance claim from fire, food spoilage, frozen pipes, and sump pump failure. In addition, we have several carriers  that offer manufacturer discounts for automatic generators. Contact us for an insurance quote and we can check how much a permanent generator will save on your home insurance premium. Simply click the button below. Learn more about home insurance here.

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    Tags: home, irene, hurricane, electricity, home generator, heater, storm, nemo, blizzard, sandy

    Damage Caused by Nemo

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Wed, Feb 27, 2013 @ 12:50 PM

    Insure yourself for blizzard damage with homeowners from andrew gordon incNow that Nemo has left its imprint on the area, we hope that all survived its destructive force and are on the road to normalcy. For those who had to file claims, we hope they are resolved quickly and satisfactorily; and for those who escaped damage to their property, we’re sure you’re thanking the powers that be.

    Tree Damage

    As you may surmise, the agency was quite busy this past week counseling clients and placing claims on their behalf. The majority of the losses involved tree damage, whether it involved trees hitting structures or vehicles, pulling wires off houses, or blocking driveways. Most homeowner carriers provide a limited amount of coverage (usually $500-$1000) for tree debris removal after the deductible. Even then, some companies require that the tree strike a structure before payment will be made.

    Temperature Damage

    The combination of several days of power outage combined with frigid temperatures also resulted in several claims caused by burst pipes and cracked furnaces. (To learn how to prevent frozen pipes, click here). These losses may prove to be significant, especially those involving water damage. We recommend taking steps to prevent this from occurring, such as letting faucets trickle, insulating basement pipes, or draining the pipes if power is expected to be out for any length of time and/or shutting off the main water source.

    Flood Damage

    Some coastal homes suffered significant flood damage due to the high tides during the storm.  As you may have seen on recent television commercials following Hurricane Sandy, homeowner policies do not cover this type of loss and the claim would need to be filed with the flood insurance carrier. An important thing to remember about flood coverage is that there is no coverage for contents located in the basement. The items in the basement that would be covered by the building coverage portion of the policy would be the equipment that services the home such as furnaces, hot water heaters, central air conditioners, sump pumps, well water tanks and pumps. Also covered would be the drywall for the walls and ceilings, nonflammable insulation, and electrical outlets, switches and circuit breaker boxes. The contents coverage portion of the policy would cover washers, dryers, freezers and the food in them, and portable air conditioners stored in the basement. Since the basement area is most susceptible to potential flooding it is obvious why FEMA has taken this position.

    Let’s hope the groundhog was right this year and that spring is right around the corner!

    If you have any other questions about insurance, risk management, or would like some advice involving claims with regards to storms such as Nemo, feel free to contact us at anytime. If you're thinking about a new homeowner's policy, we'll quote you for free! Simply click the button below. Visit our winter storm center here.

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    Donna Bellavance

    Tags: damage, hurricane, pipes, tree, frozen, claims, nemo, blizzard

    Binding Authority

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Fri, Dec 21, 2012 @ 04:10 PM

    Insurance carriers provide their agents with binding authority for the various lines of insurance written by the agents through these companies. With this capacity, agents are allowed to bind coverage for most home purchases, for mortgage refinancing, for new auto purchases or changes in auto loans, for new boats and motorcycles. This authority helps streamline the process of writing coverage for the various exposures presented to us by you.

    Understand binding authority in insurance with andrew gordon incWhen agents do not have binding authority

    However, there are several instances where agents are not provided with binding authority and must solely rely on the carriers to place/bind the coverage. These instances include the issuance of a personal umbrella or excess liability policy. This coverage must be approved by the carrier and relies on driving records, underlying exposures, youthful operators, and if there are pending open claims. Agents do not have binding authority for any flood insurance, which means that you would need to apply for this coverage and pay in full in advance. The Fair Plan, or MPIUA, writes the various homeowner and dwelling fire forms, including primary homes, secondary homes, condominiums, renters or apartment insurance, and properties rented to others and they do not provide binding authority to agents. You need to apply for the coverage needed and MPIUA reviews the documentation provided and upon approval, will forward a proof of insurance to the agent thus binding the coverage requested. Oftentimes, MPIUA is placing the coverage as there may have been a lapse in coverage or if your previous policy had been non-renewed, or the residence is in close proximity to the coast and another carrier is unable to write the coverage. Excess markets who may also be willing to write the more difficult exposures, such as vacant dwellings, or coastal properties do not provide binding authority to their agents.

    Another instance whereby agents do not have binding authority is during a hurricane or major storm when a moratorium may be declared by some or all of an agent’s carriers on placing new business.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Donna Bellavance

    Tags: hurricane, carriers, insurance, Flood, bind, binding, MPIUA, Fair Plan, major storm, authority

    Hurricane Sandy- Déjà Vu

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Tue, Oct 30, 2012 @ 03:16 PM

    HurricaneA lot of us might be feeling some déjà vu after Sandy.

    Last year, Irene caused power to go out across the eastern coast, and Sandy has done the exact same thing. More than 75% of homes in Norwell, the town in which Gordon Insurance is located, have lost power from this storm.  All across Massachusetts and the south shore, schools canceled classes for Monday and Tuesday.

    The winds from Sandy caused several trees and branches to fall. These trees and branches landed on the roads, cars, power lines, and homes.  And, not only were the roads covered in tree debris, but these roads were also flooded. Flooded roads have an extremely higher risk of hydroplaning and car damage. Driving in these conditions is certainly not safe.

    Sandy was considered a hurricane until Monday night. At that point, she downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm.

    Last year, Irene caused approximately 16 billion dollars in damage. It will take a few days to evaluate all the damage left from Sandy, but Sandy’s damage is estimated to be in the same ballpark as damage from Irene last August.

    One thing is certain: tropical storms and hurricanes do affect Massachusetts. Especially after seeing all the damage from Irene and Sandy, risk prevention and insurance certainly seem worth it.

    We have several hurricane resources for you, including checklists, a video, and other helpful links that can help you prepare for a storm.

    Read about what our staff have to say about hurricanes:

    If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact us. Learn about your hurricane resource options here.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Tags: home, tropical, damage, irene, hurricane, preparation, insurance, storm, Coastal, sandy, lessons

    Hurricane Season 2012: Be Prepared

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Thu, Jun 28, 2012 @ 03:32 PM

    Hurricane Debby’s damage to Florida is a reminder that hurricane season is here; it’s time for all of us who lie in a potential hurricane path to be ready and get prepared. That means get ready for the worst storm before hand, know what to do during the hurricane, and be on top of dealing with the aftermath.

    Before the Storm

    hurricane

    Never get caught “up a creek without a paddle” as some might say. Be ready for the worst case scenario storm.

    Know what to do with you and your family should disaster strike. This includes having a pre planned evacuation route, how to shut off utilities, having extra fuel. A pet plan is necessity if you want to protect Fido. (see our blog about pet plans).

    We provide a free checklist prepared by our in-house insurance experts. Any checklist you find will be a blessing if you follow it.

    • Prepare a survival kit

    Canned food, FIRST AID KIT, portable radio, clothing: our checklist has a more comprehensive list

    During a Hurricane

    The key word here is stay safe. Don’t adventure outside until the storm is long gone.

    Aftermath

    Listen for any flood warnings and other public service announcements, follow suggestions. One of the best things you can do if your home has suffered damage is to make the temporary repairs necessary (take pictures of damage for evidence.) Your policy probably requires this anyway and costs should be covered. Make your claim as soon as possible as well. If you have questions on your policy, contact us and we’ll make sure you’re prepared to be covered.

    Keep your home dry and prevent mold from taking hold.

    And for more info on Hurricane season 2012:

    INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Tags: home, plan, damage, hurricane, preparation, insurance, debby, tornado, prevention, homeowners, disaster, storm, tips, survival kit

    Why Does Home Insurance Cost More in Coastal Towns?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Tue, Oct 18, 2011 @ 02:25 PM

    Homeowners pay higher insurance rates when their house is coastal because of the increased risks learn more with Andrew Gordon Inc

    It’s a simple truth. If you live in a seaside community, you pay more for home insurance than your friends in neighboring inland towns. This may be true even if you live on the far outskirts several miles away from the pounding surf. The underlying reason you pay more is that the insurance company buys insurance to protect the company from financial ruin. An event such as a hurricane has the potential to cause widespread damage to an insurer's entire book of business. 

    Reinsurance

    The insurance that insurers purchase is called reinsurance. The cost of this reinsurance is built into your home insurance premium. Since companies pay more for reinsurance for homes near the coast, the lion-share of the cost is passed on to these homeowners. 

    How does reinsurance work?

    Let's use an example of fictional home insurer Windy Mutual with $100 million in assets. The number crunching actuaries determine that if a hurricane hits Massachusetts that Windy Mutual could pay out $200 million in losses. You don't need to be an accountant to see that that Windy would be out of business and unable to pay for policyholder losses.

    Let's say Windy Mutual purchases $180 million in reinsurance coverage with a deductible of $15 million every calendar year. Here's how a catastrophic event would play out. Hurricane Gaga strikes and Windy Mutual sustains $200 million in claims. Windy would pay the first $15 million from their own assets and the reinsurer would pay the remaining $185 million. This process occurs behind the scenes seamless to the policyholder. Windy Mutual recovers from the hurricane and stays in business with the help of reinsurance.

    Reinsurance broadens options globally across all lines of insurance coverages.  In the case of our coastal friends, reinsurance helps to stabilize the market and also helps consumers have more home insurance options. On the flip side, coastal homeowners are paying more for their home insurance than property owners in landlocked neighboring towns. Some would say this is fair distribution of the cost because the risks are higher for residents with beachy borders.

    Our agency, www.agordon.com, offers many solutions to property owners near or far from the coast. We can help you get the best price for your insurance if it is close or far from the shore.

    Learn more about coastal home insurance here.

    Home Quote Request Coastal Insurance  eBook  

    Tags: home, hurricane, insurance, reinsurance, seaside, beach front, Coastal

    Hurricane Recovery: Cleaning the Wake of Irene

    Posted by Donna Bellavance

    Mon, Sep 19, 2011 @ 05:15 PM

    Now that Hurricane Irene is behind us, having left in its wake numerous claims for damage to property, perhaps it is timely to give some advice to homeowners who are recovering from damage to their homes. 

    Damage ControlPrepare for hurricanes or disaster by covering your home with homeowners from Gordon Insurance

    When there is damage sustained at the residence, we always recommend that people do what they can to help the circumstances.  If a tree has landed on the structure, we advise that steps should be taken to prevent potential weather damage, such as placing a tarp over the affected area.  Stay up to date on post hurricane information with battery-operated radios; you never know how long the power may be out. Try to remove moisture from the home, dehumidifiers, cat litter, and fans all absorb and dry well. Check websites either when power returns, if it is lost, at a friend or relatives house, or at a nearby library for recovery tips.

    Before the Storm

    Damage prevention is ideal. If residents have large deck or patio areas, we recommend bringing in outdoor furniture when possible and removing loose items from both in-ground and above-ground pool surroundings.  With the recent power outages affecting so many towns during Irene, we would also recommend not making large food purchases when storms are in the forecast.  In the event of lightning strikes, we advise that all electronics be shut off when possible.  Make sure that all windows are shut and locked to prevent internal damage. It helps to take photos of inventory and the home I case a claim is necessary.

    Overall

    Hopefully, some of these recommendations may prove to be helpful in preventing additional damage. Remember to keep an ear open to news and neighbors for storm warnings and prevention advice, and check out our website for any questions about your insurance needs!

    INSURANCE QUESTION?
    Donna Bellavance

    Tags: damage, repair, hurricane, property, insurance, homeowners, recovery

    Hurricanes and Home Insurance Policy: What Irene Taught Us

    Posted by Val Feeney

    Fri, Sep 09, 2011 @ 09:48 AM

    Last month, Hurricane Irene swept across the east coast of the United States with gale force winds and flooding tropical rains.  Like many, I sat by the window watching the storm whip the neighborhood trees and power lines into a frenzy, causing widespread damage. 

    hurricane wikipedia resized 600

    When I noticed a large tree limb had fallen onto my neighbor’s garage, I instantly thought about my own insurance policy. What coverage did I have if my house or garage were damaged?

    Most people don’t understand the coverage they have on their policy until they have to file a claim. At that point, it may be too late.

    Here are the parts of every homeowner’s insurance policy you should be cognizant of:

    Dwelling Coverage

    Also known as “Coverage A” on your policy, dwelling coverage is the amount of money your policy will pay to rebuild your home if it is destroyed.  Find out if you have enough by asking an insurance agent do a free replacement cost estimate on your home. 

    Other Structures

    This is the amount of money your policy will pay to rebuild other structures on your property besides the house, such as a detached garage, shed, fence, or patio if it is damaged.

    Personal Property

    Also known as “Coverage C” on your policy, is the amount of money you have to replace all of your “stuff” in the event of a loss.  Envision taking your house and tipping it upside down, anything that falls out is your “stuff,” i.e. clothes, electronics, appliances, furniture.  Think about your house and all of your “stuff,” how much would you need to replace it all?

    Personal Liability

    In the event that you become a defendant in a lawsuit, you insurance company provides personal liability protection. This should not be lower than $500K.  For example, if your mailman is permanently disabled by an accident on your property and sues you for $400K, your policy would cover that amount. If you own more than one home and more than one auto, this figure should be $1 Million. 

    Endorsements

    There are many optional endorsements that you can add to your policy that will cover you for identity fraud, sewer & sump pump backup, food spoilage, watercraft, jewelry, silverware, fine china, artwork, personal injury, tree removal, lock replacement, fire dept service charge, and many more.  You should have your insurance agent add the proper endorsements that best suit your lifestyle. 

    Knowledge is power. Speak with a professional insurance agent today to make sure you are properly covered.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?
     
    Val Feeney resized 600

    Tags: home, damage, irene, hurricane, insurance, homeowners

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