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    Personal Insurance Blog

    Insurance Agents: The Good Guys

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Wed, Feb 15, 2017 @ 11:41 AM

    Respect your insurance companys personal home storm policies after reading this story from Andrew Gordon IncA short story, from real life:

    A lawyer in Charlotte, NC purchased an extremely expensive box of cigars that he thought he could get for free by ‘beating the system.’ He had the cigars insured against floods, storm damage, and fire (I think you see where this is going).

    The lawyer smoked the expensive cigars over the course of a month and then contacted his insurance company. According to him, the cigars had ‘been lost in a series of small fires.’ Of course, his insurer refused to pay him, assuming (correctly) that he had just smoked the cigars. The lawyer brought the insurance company to court where he used legalese to convince the judge that the insurer had never stated a condition for an ‘unacceptable’ fire.  He was awarded $15,000 in order to replace his property.

    He must not have paid very close attention in law school, because the insurance company brought him back to court, where he was found guilty of over 20 instances of arson and thus insurance fraud. He was sentenced to 2 years in prison and paid $24,000 in insurance fraud fines.

    It’s astounding to me that despite the incredible security that insurance policies offer people (give that a moment of thought; what would you do in a catastrophe if uninsured?), there are some who are convinced that they have the right to manipulate the system to make money.

    There seems to be a pervasive sentiment that insurance companies are the ‘bad guys,’ looking to pay as little as possible for the tragedies of their clients. While I can’t speak for all insurance agencies, as far as ours is concerned, the insurer is batting for the same team as the insured. Our job is to protect  our clients, not rob them.

    Yes, Insurance is a business; and our philosophy is that the most successful businesses are the ones that work for their customers.

    Read another staff member's blog on direct writers vs. independent agents here

    Contact Us

    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: insurance, Charlotte North Carolina, Cigar, Lawyer, financial services

    Boat Theft Prevention

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Mon, Feb 13, 2017 @ 11:40 AM

    Protect your vehicle and prevent identity theft with watercraft insurance from Andrew Gordon IncWhen you’re driving your car, how many times do you leave the key in the ignition or the engine running if you’re not there? Never, right? So why do people leave the keys to their boats in the ignition, or leave their boat running while they go to grab fishing poles from their car?

    What is the Danger?

    If I’m wondering it, then thieves are wondering it as well. Boat theft is one of the most underrated forms of vehicular theft in the United States. But just because it’s underrated doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen frequently. Experts estimate that at least 1000 boats are stolen per month, less than half of which are recovered.

    Preventative Steps

    Here are some steps you can take to keep the harbor hooligans away from your beautiful boat:

    1. Never leave the keys in your boat.
    2. Keep your boat in a well guarded, well lit area – This one is common sense.
    3. Consider investing in an emergency kill-switch or alarm for your boat – this is one of the most straightforward and effective ways to protect against boat theft.
    4. Consider also prop locks and wheel locks.
    5. Scratch your Driver’s license number in a hidden place (such as under the engine cover) – This will give the police a way to identify the boat as yours if stolen.

    When times are tough, criminals get tougher.

    Learn more about watercraft insurance here.

    Contact Us
    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: theft, insurance, boating, boat, South American, groups, prevention, Vehicle, identity

    Risk Management: When Intuition Fails Us

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Sat, Feb 11, 2017 @ 11:37 AM

    Appreciate your brains decisions on risk management and auto life commercial and personal from Gordon InsurancePeople often fail to appreciate what amazing machines our brains are. How many times have you wished you could do math like a calculator in your head (especially when figuring out a 22% tip on a $321.56 lunch bill split between 13 people)? Well, we shouldn’t be so quick to condemn our brains.

    It’s safe to assume you’re reading this post right now. Your brain is translating the thousands symbols you see into sounds; sounds into words, words into sentences. It’s drawing upon thousands and thousands of memorized meanings to get what I’m trying to say into your head.

    Further, you’re probably reading in a chair right now; so on top of decoding this post, your brain is also performing countless calculations to balance your hundreds of muscles so that you don’t fall to the floor as you read… God help you if you’re standing. Oh, and not to mention that your brain is also controlling the millions of cells and enzymes that regulate your breathing, feeling, and digestion …all this without you even realizing it. The amount of electrical activity in your brain would easily short-circuit your pocket calculator, and your brain can maintain that activity for about 80 years.

    So we have remarkable machines within our skulls, which usually do a pretty good job of assessing danger; we know not to shower with radios, etc. But sometimes, our brains are so active that they make mistakes and our intuition fails us. This happens commonly with risk.

    If you haven’t read our post about the math behind insurance, I suggest you read it quickly, because the probability functions behind the simple games in that post are very similar to what your brain does automatically. For every risk you take, your millions of neurons perform a cost-benefit assessment.

    Let’s say that it’s a nice day. You know that you’ll enjoy yourself outside and you also know that there’s a very small probability that you’ll get hit by a meteorite. However, your brain quickly calculate that the rewards are much greater than the risks, and you go sunbathing. Normally, this process is very effective, but our emotions sometimes distort this process and mislead our intuition.

    Think about how many times you’ve seen people drive to the beach and then refuse to swim because they’re ‘really afraid of sharks.’ This is a classic misrepresentation of risk. The chance of getting into a car crash on the way to the beach is thousands of times higher than the chance of being attacked by a shark, but it’s the shark attack that people are scared of.

    This is what psychologists would call a misrepresentative heuristic: the process that we use to calculate chances is distorted by our thoughts. Even though we have a better chance of winning the lottery than being munched on by JAWS, the fear that accompanies a shark attack leads us to assign an artificially high concern level for an event with a very low probability.

    This is also the case when talking about poisonous spiders, lightning strikes, and other things that go bump in the night. Our impulses are good things to keep in mind when fear prevents us from having fun or enjoying life.

    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: psychology, risk, management, insurance, intuition, shark attack, math

    Frame Damage: Car Accident Aftermath & Collision

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Tue, Feb 07, 2017 @ 11:33 AM

    Be informed and aware of your auto risk and insurance options with Andrew Gordon IncHave you considered damage to the frame of your car after a collision? It may surprise you to know that most cars today don’t actually have frames; most cars today use what is known as a ‘unibody,’ a technology that originated for use in aircraft design but was adopted by automobile companies in the late 20th century. The idea is that a strong exterior shell is more sturdy and impact-resistant than using an internal frame with structures around it.

    Post Crash

    However, what’s important with unibody design is that it must be repaired very meticulously to perform as well in a second crash. Any car manufacturer or engineer will tell you that you don’t want to be in a car that has incomplete structural repairs.

    The Danger

    Improper chassis repairs can severely affect the drivability, tire wear, and structural performance of your car. Further, improper chassis repairs can prevent your airbags from deploying correctly. Get a second opinion after taking your car to an auto-body shop. Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it’s ready to head into battle again.

    Learn more about your auto insurance options here.


     Corbin Foucart

    Tags: damage, repair, auto, frame, insurance, accident, Vehicle, car

    MA Surcharges: 20 Minor Violations That Increase Insurance

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Sun, Feb 05, 2017 @ 11:31 AM

    Cover your automobile with auto insurance from Andrew Gordon IncMost people understand that a major moving violation (DUI, reckless driving etc) will lead to a surcharge by giving you ‘points’.  But not everyone knows that many minor moving violations will also result in surcharges.

    Here are some you may not have known:

    1. Failing to stop for a blind pedestrian- regardless of circumstance, you MUST stop for a blind pedestrian
    2. Leaving your car running unattended – we’re all guilty of this one, but it could get you ticketed
    3. Lane change without a directional signal (either a hand signal or a blinker) – again, a common infraction that is more than courtesy; it’s the law
    4. Failing to yield right of way to an emergency vehicleBe prepared for automobile accidents with auto from Gordon Insurance
    5. Failure to fasten a trailer with proper safety chains and/or equipment
    6. Tailgating –yes, you can be ticketed for following another car too closely -  do your fellow driver a favor and stay off his tail 
    7. Keeping your high beams on – be mindful of who you’re flashing with your brights; if it’s a trooper, you could get ticketed
    8. Failure to use headlights from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise
    9. Wearing ear buds or headphones while operating- Bluetooth is ok, headphones are not
    10. Improper use of your horn – if you honk just because you’re angry; you’re guilty. A horn is used to alert other cars of danger. 
    11. Leaving your keys in the ignition – even if your engine is off, your keys should not be in the ignition Protect your vehicle and automobile interests with auto and advice from Gordon Insurance
    12. Passing on the right 
    13. Liquor: any minor cannot have liquor in the vehicle and anyone over 21 cannot have an open container in the vehicle
    14. Operating a vehicle without all mirrors functioning properly
    15. Passing on a motorcycle not in single-file
    16. Operating your vehicle on a bet or wager
    17. Obstructing funerals and processions
    18. Operating through a ‘peekhole’ in the windshield – if you have an incompletely defrosted windshield, don’t drive the vehicle. Let the windshield defrost first
    19. Passing any vehicle with less than 400 feet of view
    20. Employing any unlicensed operator
    For more information, visit the RMV website and check us out at


    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: auto, insurance, surcharges, minor, violations, ticketable, offenses, laws, ma, driving

    Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Fri, Feb 03, 2017 @ 11:28 AM

    Understand your auto insurance options to cover your vehicle with Andrew Gordon Inc

    Many people don’t know the difference between ‘Collision Insurance’ and ‘Comprehensive Insurance.’ So we’ll give you the basics.

    Collision Insurance

    Collision insurance covers the damage done to your vehicle if you are in an accident, whether you are at fault or not. However when not at fault, some people choose to settle the whole thing through the insurance of whoever IS at fault, meaning that they don’t have to go through their carrier.

    We recommend that you do go through your carrier, even if you are not at fault, for 2 reasons;

    1. If you are not at fault, you generally pay no deductible (an insurance deductible is the amount of money you pay towards repairs before your insurance kicks in; the higher deductible you’re willing to pay, the lower the cost of your policy will be).  So you don’t pay for the repairs to your car if you are not at fault; even if you go through your insurance provider. Ultimately, at the end of the day, your insurance provider is going to be giving the bill to the other company; you just get to deal with the people you know throughout the process.
    2. As a paying customer, you have much more leverage with your insurance company than with the insurance company of whoever hit you.

    Collision insurance is not required by law.  But if you owe money on your car or truck, the bank is going to require it.

    Comprehensive Insurance

    Comprehensive insurance is similar to collision insurance, but it offers protection from damage caused to your vehicle by unknown losses, including any ‘act of God.’  It is also known in some states simply as “other than collision” coverage.

    So let’s say someone breaks into your car, or steals it while you left it parked; these are covered through your comprehensive coverage. Collision with an animal such as a deer or moose are included too, but as always, be sure to check with your agent on the details of your policy to know where your coverage begins and ends.

    Comprehensive also generally covers flood, hurricane, fire, and other damage caused by ‘acts of God.’ Like collision insurance, comprehensive coverage will pay for repair or replacement, up to the fair market value of your car.

    Learn more about auto insurance here.


    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: auto, insurance, coverage, ma, collision, comprehensive

    What is Reckless Driving?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Fri, Jan 20, 2017 @ 12:12 PM

    Do not drive recklessly and cover your automobile with auto from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maWhat is reckless driving, what are the penalties, and how will it affect your insurance?

    I’ve found that very few people have actually put time into answering these questions on the internet; so here’s a guide outlining the basics of reckless driving in Massachusetts.

    Reckless driving is legally defined as a mental state in which the driver displays wanton disregard for the rules of the road. The standards of reckless driving in Massachusetts are not specifically defined, but subjectively noted as a manner that shows you are indifferent to whether someone could be seriously injured or killed. Here are some things that will generally constitute a reckless driving charge:

    1. An egregious violation of the speed limit (this usually means driving 20-30 mph over the limit or on the highway or in a residential area)
    2. Unsafe lane changes (we’ve all seen this happen; people weaving in and out of lanes on the highway to pass as many people as quickly as possible)
    3. Drag Racing
    4. Passing on a solid line or passing on a curve.
    5. Passing a stopped school bus.
    6. Leaving the scene of an accident

    Reckless driving also usually goes hand in hand with impaired/drunk driving charges.

    Stop reckless driving and stay safe with auto from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell ma

    Reckless Driving Penalties

    Reckless driving by itself is a misdemeanor in the state of Massachusetts and is generally handled on a case-by-case basis. Because it is a criminal charge, there will be a fine and not more than two and a half years of incarceration in extreme cases. There is also the possibility of your license being suspended or revoked again depending on your offense.

    The harsher penalties are going to come from your insurer

    Reckless Driving and Your Insurance

    Reckless driving not only carries with it legal costs and time in court; it also upends your insurance. The cost is only the first part - losing your choice of an insurance company is the real kicker. We rated a 2008 Ford Taurus, with $100,000 / $300,000 liability limits, and including collision and comprehensive coverage, driving 12,000 miles per year, living in Pembroke. Of our dozen or so companies that we represent, Peerless Insurance offers the best rate for our rater, at $543 per year.

    Then she gets caught and pinned with a Reckless Driving charge.

    Goodbye Peerless.

    Hello MAIP, the Massachusetts Auto Insurance Plan, aka, the Pool. Because insurance companies don’t want to insure someone with a reckless driving charge, MAIP is a state run mechanism that assigns a carrier to take that driver. MAIP is subject to a ceiling rate, meaning whoever gets the assignment can only charge as high as the MAIP rate, which in our case is now $1,489. Same coverage, same Pembroke home town, but one Reckless driving charge.

    Thus, not only did your auto insurance cost nearly triple, you lost your choice of insurance companies as well. Two hands on the wheel!

    Learn more about your auto insurance options here

    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: auto, insurance, reckless, rules of the road, ma, driving, car, safe

    How is the Cost of My Car Insurance Policy Determined?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Fri, Jan 20, 2017 @ 12:10 PM

    Have you ever wondered how your car insurance rates are calculated?  What affects that number on the bottom of the page? Here’s the answer:

    1. Understand how your auto insurance policy and rates are determined with Andrew Gordon IncWhat type of car you drive- some cars cost more to insure than others do. Your rate can be affected by how likely your car is to be stolen, its age, the cost of any future repairs, and how safe it is (or isn’t).
    2. Your driving record- your driving record largely determines how well you drive (at least in the eyes of your insurance provider). The fewer incidents you’ve been involved in, the lower your premium will be. If you have a slew of accidents and driving violations on your road resume, expect to pay significantly more than if you have a clean record.
    3. Where you live- Outside of your own driving ability, some areas are simply safer to drive in than others, both in terms of crime and accident statistics. Your rate can vary depending upon where you garage your car as well.
    4. The number of miles you drive each year- Statistics says by the law of large numbers that the probability of an accident increases with the amount that you drive. Therefore expect a higher rate if you put hefty mileage onto your vehicle each year.
    5. Your age- Young drivers (especially males) will have to pay augmented rates. Generally insurance providers divide the “steps” into drivers who have been on the road for under three years, three to six years, and more than six years.
    6. Your credit- for many insurance providers, your credit score can have an impact on your insurance rates.
    7. Coverage- like any other insurance rate, the price is partially determined by the coverage you already have. Make sure you shop around and get the best possible price for the coverage you need.

    The good news: There are a variety of auto insurance discounts available to insurance customers. Learn more about our auto insurance policies and watch whiteboard videos for more information. Here’s one video made by our agency that explains the various discounts you may be eligible for:

    Learn more about your auto insurance options here, and read a staff member's blog on understanding your auto insurance policy here.


    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: auto, insurance, cheap, Automobile, Vehicle, driving, car, quote, financial services

    The Simple Math Behind Insurance

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Fri, Jan 20, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

    Educate yourself about insurance with Andrew Gordon IncToday, I was figuratively slapped in the face by the realization that I’ve never blogged about the mathematics behind insurance. This is surprising to me, having blogged about insurance for over a year now and having loved math since childhood as a Rottweiler might love a T-bone steak.

    If you really can’t stand math and have no interest in how insurance agencies can afford to replace huge losses frequently, then look at another post. But the concepts behind why insurance works are relatively simple and easy to grasp; for me, they offer a great example how inferential statistics never lie when calculated correctly. The following is a VERY simple description of the math that lets your insurer protect you.

    The first concept that insurance relies on is known to statisticians as “the Law of Large numbers” and it’s best explained by example.

    Let’s say you’re sitting in your office, bored by whatever menial task is sitting in your inbox, and you decide to play a game. You pull out a coin and you see how many heads you can flip in a row. You flip one or two heads in a row easily. But you start to find that it’s much harder to keep getting heads (assuming you’re flipping fairly).

    This is because the probability of you flipping a head is 1/2 or 50%. But 2 heads in a row is (1/2)*(1/2) or 1/4 or 25%. So statistically you’ll only flip 2 heads in a row once out of every 4 tries. That’s discouraging. The probabilities get lower and lower very quickly. The probability of flipping 6 heads in a row is 1/64 or 1.5%. You could try 100 times and have it happen only once or twice. Suddenly, your neglected paperwork seems much more friendly.

    Let’s say you get discouraged and you decide you’re going to play a different game instead. Let’s also assume that you’ve grown up under a rock and you don’t know that the probability of flipping a head is 50%. So you decide to record the number of heads and tails you flip.

    The first two coins you flip are heads! Wow! It appears as if the rule is that every time you flip a coin, you get a head! The probability of flipping a head is 100% according to your data! You are unsure though, so you keep flipping. Next is a tail. Aha! So you were wrong… the probability of flipping a head must be 2/3 or 66% right? Because that’s what you’ve flipped so far…

    As you continue playing this game, we both know that your record will get closer and closer to 50% as you flip more and more. In other words, because of what you discovered with your first game, it gets harder and harder to ‘fudge’ the probability the more you flip. Mathematicians go one step farther to say that if you take any event (say, a tornado blowing Dorothy’s house away) and record lots and lots of trials, the results get closer and closer to the actual probability with each new trial, eventually getting so close that you can just accept the result as the actual probability.

    The second concept behind insurance is called a ‘weighted probability.’ This is a little more complicated, but much more relevant to insurance.

    Let’s say that you decide to leave your office and start using your new-found understanding of probability to gamble. You encounter a man on the street who offers to play a game of chance with you. You roll a fair dice; if you roll a 6, he gives you $6. If you roll anything else, you give him $2. Should you play?

    The answer is no. You will lose money if you play long enough. Here’s how I know. Mathematicians have developed a formula for finding the average amount of money gained or lost in situations like these. Simply, the result is obtained by multiplying each probability by the money gained or lost and adding the results.

    For this game, here’s what we know:

    • The probability of rolling a 6 is 1/6 (there are six numbers, so you roll a six one time out of every six)
    • The probability of not rolling a six is 5/6 (rolling any of the other five numbers)
    • You get $6 for a 6
    • You get -2 dollars for anything else

    So on average: (-2)*(5/6) + (6)(1/6) =  -0.66

    You lose an average of 66 cents per game. And we know from game number 2 in the office, that the more you do this, the closer the average loss will be to negative 66 cents. If you play 1,000 times, you will lose 1000(0.66) = 660 dollars. Hopefully you’ll stop playing before that happens!

    So what does this have to do with insurance? Well, we know that insurance agencies insure lots of people (they have to, or else it wouldn’t work, just like the coin!). Every person pays a small amount of money each month and nothing happens to them. But every once in a while, an insurance company will have to pay lots of money to a single person.

    So let’s play one last game:

    • You’re a small insurance company that insures 1000 people.
    • Let’s say that 1 house will catch on fire per year.
    • So the probability of a house catching on fire is (1/1000)
    • Therefore the probability of a house not catching on fire is (999/1000)
    • If a house catches on fire, you have to pay $200,000
    • Every person pays you $20 a month, $240 per year

    Let’s use our formula:

    -200,000*(1/1000) + 240*(999/1000) = -200 + 239.76 = 39.76

    So you’ll make $39.76 on average per person insured. Therefore you’ll make 1000*(39.76) = $39,760. Now our hypothetical insurer can use that money to buy 1/2 a cup of coffee at Starbucks!

    Now this is a really simple example (with really small numbers), but it’s the same math that insurance companies hire statisticians to calculate for them. In fact, there's a whole branch of mathematics related to this concept called Actuarial Science, which I've always found cool.  By collecting lots of small payments, companies know that probability will protect them from the occasional loss. That’s how we stay in business.

    Hopefully this post helps you understand a little more of how the insurance world works.

    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: insurance, Mathematics, concepts, behind, math

    I’ve just had an accident, what do I do now?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Fri, Dec 23, 2016 @ 12:15 PM

    I just stopped for a red light.  I was sitting there waiting for the light to turn green, when all of a sudden I was rear ended.  What do I do now?

    1. Remain Calm.  If possible, move out of the way of traffic.

    2. Make sure everyone is okay; if not call 911.

    3. Exchange information with the other party: (Hint: get out your phone!)

      • Name & address of owner – from the registration

      • Name & address of driver if different – from their license

      • Year, make & model & color of the other car – also from registration

      • Registration number - the license plate

      • Damage to the other car

      • Note Date & Time, and where accident happened.

      • This is when your cell phone comes in handy: take pictures of the other party's license and registration and damage to the cars.  Pictures can be sent to:

    1. If your car was towed, ask for name & address of tow yard or garage.

    2. Discuss the accident with your agent (call us at 800-649-3252 or 781-659-2262).

    3. Call the claim into the insurance company. (Click here for a list of our carriers). Veh accident.jpgThey will want  to speak with you directly, and coordinate the repairs.

    4. The RMV has a standard crash report (linked here) which you should complete for any accident where damages could exceed $1,000.

    5. Is your car drivable? If you buy rental coverage on your policy, you can rent a car when your car goes in for repairs; if it is not drivable, coverage begins immediately.  Confirm with the adjuster the amount of time approved for the rental. 

    6. If you do not buy rental coverage, and the other driver caused the accident, you should be eligible for rental coverage under the other person’s insurance. Contact the other carrier; we can assist you with this, but cannot represent you legally. Usually they won't authorize a rental until they hear from their own customer.

    7. If you do not have collision coverage on your vehicle and the accident was caused by another party, you can file a claim with the other person’s insurance company for thedamage to your vehicle & always request rental car coverage to be used when the car is in the shop (or not drivable). 

    8. If you do not have collision and the accident was your fault, your insurance will still pay for damage to the other person's property under the 'property damage' portion of your insurance. 

    What to expect from the insurance company:

    1. After the claim has been reported to the carrier, a claim representative will contact you to assist with coordinating the repairs.Truck.jpg

    2. This representative will assign an adjustor (the person who will actually see the damage at your home, workplace, or garage); or may ask you to visit a drive-in claims center in some cases. 

    3. The claims adjustor will coordinate with the claims representative the cost of the damages, or if the car is a total loss.  Bear in mind the claims adjustor can only price for the damages that they see.  Once your car is in for actual repairs, the shop may find more damages.  This is fairly common: in these cases, your garage should contact the company directly for a supplemental appraisal.

    4. Once the claim representative has the information back from the adjustor they will contact you with figures to either repair the car, or in some cases, they have to total the car.  If that is the case, the claim is then transferred to a total loss unit, which will contact you with the payout figures.

    The main things to remember in the case of an accident are:

    • Make sure all injured are taken care of, keep them calm and call 911 to get help out there as soon as possible.

    • Cars can be repaired or replaced.

    • Use your agent as a resource to keep the process moving if things don't go as you expect.

    Contact Us

    Tags: insurance, accident, car insurance, accident prodecures

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