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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

    Wind Deductible vs. Hurricane vs. Named Storm Deductibles

    Posted by Geoffrey Gordon

    Thu, Aug 15, 2019 @ 09:40 AM


    You call the insurance company after a big nor'easter or hurricane, with a tree sitting on your house, and they tell you that you have a "wind deductible."  What's that?  

    It's a separate deductible from the one that applies to everything else to lower the cost of storms to insurance companies in wind-prone regions.  There are a few variations beyond just "wind," and we'll look at which are better (if your location limits your choices and have this provision).

    House damaged by tree-927040-edited.jpgWhen a storm hits, the distinction between Named Storm deductibles, Wind storm deductibles and Hurricane deductibles can be important. The distinction is particularly important if you live or own property in a coastal county in Massachusetts, such as Plymouth, Dukes, Barnstable, Bristol, Suffolk and Essex, because all are generally available and choosing the right one might make a difference in the cost to repair your home after a storm. 

    Here's how it works:  these deductibles are applied separately for a higher dollar amount than your standard deductible, known as “all other perils” (AOP) deductibles.  For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible for fire, theft and all other perils and you live on the coast, you may have a $2,000 or higher deductible for windstorm and hail losses.

    More common than dollar amounts however, wind deductibles are often expressed as a percentage of the coverage amount on your home. For example, a 1% wind deductible on a $300,000 home would be $3,000 and a 2% wind deductible would be $6,000.  A 5% wind deductible on a $700,000 home is $35,000!!  Here in coastal Massachusetts counties, 1%, 2% and 5% wind deductibles are common if your property is within a mile of the coast.  

    These deductibles are part of an effort by the insurance industry to limit their storm losses by having homeowners share more of the repair costs when the wind blows.  Informed property owners - that's you - can take steps to protect homes when especially vulnerable to wind damage.  After all, if you have a 5% deductible on half a million dollar house, you’ve got 25,000 good reasons to consider storm shutters, a generator, the highest quality shingles, fewer trees in the yard, and other protections. 

    If you have a wind deductible it normally will appear right on the "declarations" (first) page of your homeowner’s insurance policy.   Different insurance companies use different metrics for these specific peril deductibles. The three most common approaches are:

    1. Windstorm deductibles (the broadest, meaning it will affect the most people)  
    2. Named Storm deductibles (common) and
    3. Hurricane deductibles. 

    The broadest of these three, meaning where it will apply to the most consumer claims, is a Windstorm deductible.  These deductibles apply whenever damage is caused by wind; these include not only hurricanes and other tropical storms but also winter nor'easters and summer thunderstorms.   Any kind of wind damage will prompt this higher exposure to the owner.

    The next category is Named Storm deductibles.  To illustrate, remember the notorious “no-name" storm?  Damage from that storm would not have been subject to a higher Named Storm deductible, but would have under a Wind deductible.  The regular, smaller AOP deductible would have been used for any damage caused by the no-name storm under a Named Storm deductible.    But damage from Hurricane Irene or Hurricane Sandy, or other named storms would have invoked the Wind and/or Named Storm deductible. 

    Finally, there are the most restrictive Hurricane deductibles.  Hurricane Sandy is a good example of the distinction between Named Storm and Hurricane deductibles.  When Sandy made land fall in New Jersey she had been downgraded from a Category I hurricane to a tropical storm. Thus, the lower AOP deductible applied to folks with a Hurricane deductible. Hurricane deductibles have become less common due to the potential for political interference after the fact, as was evident with Sandy.  Some suggested that the downgrade of Hurricane Sandy was precisely announced to shield homeowners from the Hurricane deductible.   Good for consumers with that one event, but insurance carriers quantify risk precisely, and after the fact interference prompted changes for the next event.  Thus what were Hurricane deductibles have morphed into Named Storm deductibles in most coastal regions.

    Many considerations should factor in your choice of insurance companies for selecting homeowners and other property insurance.  But all else being equal, and given the option between Windstorm vs. Named Storm, choose Named Storm as it is more restrictive. Given the choice between Named Storm and Hurricane deductible, you should choose a Hurricane as it’s the least likely to be invoked.  

    For more information on the subject, check out our short but super-informative whiteboard video where we give cost examples of various deductible options near the coast.

    If you've just discovered you have a higher wind deductible than you are comfortable with, contact us at 800-649-3252We can also research better offers for you - just click the link below. 

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    Geoff Gordon

    Tags: insurance, homeowners, storm, deductible, wind, windstorm, Coastal, deductibles, named, all other perils, AOP

    Steady Your Ship with a Sea Anchor

    Posted by Sandra Cornell

    Thu, Jun 26, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

    Last month’s blog centered on getting your boat ready for the upcoming summer season.  Hopefully, it will be a happy time with no surprises.  On that note however, what if you do encounter a situation where you are on the open water and a sudden storm occurs?  In keeping with that thought, I came across the following article published by United Marine Underwriters which offers a way to keep your boat in place until help arrives.

    "It is common for small boats to be caught offshore in squalls or storms. Greater fuel capacity and modern engines allow them to venture well offshore without fear of having enough fuel to make port. An item normally found on sailboats and trawlers but seldom on small pleasure crafts is a sea anchor.

    Protect your watercraft boat or yacht with insurance from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAA Sea Anchor is a conical shaped device that, when properly deployed and of the proper size, will hold a vessels bow to the sea and reduce the danger of broaching. A sea anchor will not hold your boat in place but it will hold your vessels bow to the seas until help arrives or you are able to complete repairs to allow you to get underway.

    Once deployed it should be set to ride just below the surface, on a wave ahead. When on the crest of a wave, the sea anchor should be on the crest of the next forward wave. Depending on the distance between waves, you may get a smoother ride with the sea anchor 2 or 3 waves ahead of your position.

    Understand how to protect your watercraft in any weather with boat or yacht insurance from Andrew Gordon Inc Norwell MAYou must use a trip line (release line) when using a sea anchor. It is attached to the apex of the anchor and is used to dump the sea anchor and allows it to be retrieved backwards. The line is smaller in size, usually equipped with a float or two, and it must be longer than the main rode. The main rode of the anchor should be at least 10 to 15 times the length of your boat. Use of chain at either end of the rode will allow the nylon line between the chains to stretch and act as a shock absorber in the pull of the sea anchor.

    Sea anchors are made of canvas or nylon material, compactly fold up and take very little space to store. When shopping for one read the packaging carefully. Some are made for trolling, they slow a vessel’s speed when trolling but are not made to serve in a “storm.”

    If you are caught offshore in heavy seas and do not have a sea anchor, try tying a bucket, canvas bag or any object that will float just below the surface to a line fixed to your bow. It may act as a makeshift sea anchor long enough to help steady your vessel until conditions improve. When you put a sea anchor aboard, test the distance that is most comfortable and try positioning it on various bow cleats. You may wish to use a bridle at the bow to fasten it. If you practice with it a few times, you will know the easiest and fastest way to deploy it should the need arise."

    This article was published with permission from United Marine Underwriters. Read the original article on their web site here. Learn about watercraft insurance here

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    Tags: safety, ocean, sea, anchor, ship, insurance, boat, yacht, storm, watercraft

    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

    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

    Winter Storm Nemo

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Wed, Feb 13, 2013 @ 08:13 AM

    If you're reading this, then congratulations, you have power! If you aren't reading this, then you don't!

    Cover your home for winter storms with homeowners from Andrew gordon incWinter Storm Nemo (dubbed so by the Weather Channel) caused a lot of damage. Whether you want to believe this violent storm was named after the cute little clownfish from Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo, or after Captain Nemo from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, or even after the Latin word meaning "no one", absolutely nemo can say that Nemo was just like any other winter snowfall. (Hahaha, see what I did there?)

    However, the effects of Nemo are not a laughing matter. In fact, Nemo caused quite a lot of damage. You can see on the right, a picture of a tree sliced into two from a falling tree branch. (Sorry the quality is bad; I took the pic on my phone.)

    More than 97% of my town went without power for days; some homes still do not have electricity. Trees snapped, branches broke, and for the first time since 1978, the Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick, banned driving on the roads. The penalty for breaking the ban was heavy- a $500 fine and a one-year prison sentence.

    Personally, I think the driving ban was well within reason. Granted, my neighborhood is enclosed by lots and lots of trees, and the snow piled up rather quickly. I remember hearing copious amounts of snow falling from the tree branches onto my house and listening to trees snapping as if they were only toothpicks. Snow is heavy, and all the extra weight on the trees caused quite a lot of branches (as well as trucks) to fall to the ground, occasionally taking power lines down with them.

    What's even more scary is that trees landed on houses, garages, cars, fences (our fence fell victim to the collapse of a smaller tree) and destroyed A LOT of property. Besides the whole electric inconvenience of not having electricity, the places where people lived got damaged- and that let in even more cold.

    Fortunately, my family invested in a generator after Hurricane Irene two summers ago. Thank goodness we did that. Although the summertime is generally warm, with slight chills in the night, the generator during Irene helped a lot. And now, especially that Nemo took place during the wintertime, the generator provided much needed heat to our home when our fireplace couldn't do the job. So, as a word of advice, I recommend purchasing a generator for the next time there's a power outage. With that generator, make sure you buy gas to fuel it (we had to refill ours two or three times before we got power back). And if you plan on investing in one, be sure to do it sooner rather than later. Imagine all the people who think about purchasing generators immediately before storms, and then imagine the stores being out-of-stock when it's your turn to purchase. Don't be that person left out!

    If you need to file a claim, click here. If you have any other insurance questions or would like some more safety advice, feel free to contact us.

    INSURANCE QUESTION? Winter Storm Center

    Tags: home, winter, damage, insurance, homeowners, storm, weather, snowfall, nemo, blizzard

    Power Surges and Technology Protection

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Sat, Nov 24, 2012 @ 09:00 AM

    Protect your technology from power surges with personal from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maThunder and lightning aren’t so frightening- but they can be other things, like “annoying.” If you’ve ever experienced a power surge, you know what I’m talking about.

    Power surges happen when the electrical charge of power lines increases. With the greater electric potential, more electricity is free to flow from the outlet in the wall to your technology. When this happens, the excessive voltage causes the technology to create heat. This heat can immediately damage the system, but it can also affect the system gradually. For example, if a computer appears to function perfectly after a power surge, the system may be fine enough to operate, but internal damage has probably occurred.

    You might be thinking that the chance of a power surge is very slim. After all, lightning can’t strike so often it affects us, can it? Truthfully, lightning probably won’t be the cause of your power surge. However, there are several other causes of power surges, and these are far more common than your typical lightning-induced surge.

    For one thing, technology that uses a lot of electricity, such as air conditioners, refrigerators, clothes driers, etc., utilize a lot of power but at different times. The irregularity of these devices’ electrical use creates an unstable electric flow. In fact, about 70% of power surges originate from within one’s household. The remaining 30% of power surges are caused by wiring issues and downed power lines. As a society that uses electricity 24/7, the chance of a power surge happening is far more common than before.

    Protect your technological devices from electric power surges with personal from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maSo, now that you know that power surges post an imminent threat to your technology, what are some things you can do to protect it?

    1. Unplug. This is probably the most obvious solution. If your technology is not connected to the power lines, than any damage in the power lines cannot reach your technology. It’s that simple. However, unplugging everything may seem a little excessive. We definitely recommend that for rechargeable devices (such as laptops, cell phones, tablets, etc.) you charge ahead of time before any sort of lightning storm.

    2. Surge protectors. Available at your local electronic store for around $20-$50, surge protectors have built-in protection against power surges. The amount of protection each surge protector provides varies depending on the brand and the actual item. One of the best aspects of surge protectors is that they are easy to use, and they often have several outlets, so you can have multiple devices protected from the surge.

    3. Surge arrester. A surge arrester is a device that is installed at the main electrical panel of your house. It protects all the circuits in your house from any sort of power surge. Like protectors, these arresters have limits. Investing in one is definitely a good idea, even though these products are slightly pricier ($200-$400 range). These products are more likely to be sold in a home improvement store than an electrical appliance store.

    We cannot stress the importance of protecting your technology from power surges. Managing risk is part of our job description, and protecting your technology certainly falls under that category.

    If you have any other questions about insurance or risk management, feel free to contact us at anytime. Learn about personal insurance here.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Tags: damage, electricity, power, surges, protection, technology, storm, lightning

    Hydroplaning- When the Weather Gets Rough

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Tue, Nov 13, 2012 @ 05:28 PM

    Stay safe while driving in storms and avoid hydroplaning with auto from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maMassachusetts is one of many places subject to a very specific weather phenomenon. During this certain type of weather, the sun often hides behind clouds, strong winds blow, and the air might become a tad bit chillier. Most incredibly, water falls from the sky in sheets!

    This, my friends, is called rain.

    When rains fall from the sky, it hits everything. It hits you, your umbrella, your car… and the road.

    More often than not, rain won’t be enough to prevent you from going about your daily routine. You drive here, do this, drive there, do that, drive home, and then remember you need to drive somewhere else. So hey, what’s a little water going to do to your overall driving experience?

    You may be surprised that water can do a lot, and the streets don’t even have to be flooded. The thinnest layer of water on the road can cause your vehicle to hydroplane.

    Hydroplaning is what happens when a layer of water separates your vehicle’s tires from the road. While the depth of the water does influence whether your vehicle will hydroplane or not, there are many other factors to consider.

    Drive safely in rain or storms with auto from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maFirst of all, your tires. Tires with low traction are not going to be able to drive through water as easily as tires with higher traction. Traction is determined by the treads in the tires as well as the width of the tires. Keep in mind that worn tires are going to have less tread depth due to greater use on the road. Also, the inflation of the tires and the air pressure will affect the vehicle’s likelihood to hydroplane as well. If you have a tire that is not fully inflated, it is more likely to hydroplane even at lower speeds.

    The speed at which you are driving will also affect your probability of hydroplaning. The unwritten rule is to drive about 2/3 of the posted speed limit sign. For example, if the speed limit is 45 mph, it is recommended that you drive at 30 mph during hazardous weather conditions, such as a heavy rainstorm.

    Fun fact: In Massachusetts, you can get a ticket for driving 40 mph on the highway if the limit is 50 mph if you are driving during a heavy rainstorm. Don’t believe me? It says so at the bottom of page 80 in the Driver’s Manual (link can be found here).

    To prevent hydroplaning, you should mostly use common sense. Drive slowly, especially in flooded areas. If cars in front of you create large splashes as they drive ahead, be extra cautious around those areas with greater volumes of water.

    However, even with all the precautions that can be taken- cars WILL hydroplane under specific conditions.

    So, what do you do if your car happens to hydroplane?

    KEEP YOUR FEET OFF THE BRAKES. Braking can cause skids. Same goes with turning, DO NOT MAKE ANY SUDDEN TURNS. You want your car to continue on its destined trajectory; don’t try to mess it up.

    Hydroplaning is serious. When your car hydroplanes, you have no control. You can’t stop, you can’t go- you literally just go wherever the car takes you… that place could be into another car, into a ditch, into a building… you get the picture.

    Risk management is our business, and we believe that prevention is the best solution. In case you hydroplane, remember: DO NOT PANIC. If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact us. Learn more about auto insurance here.

      Driving with Insurance in Mind eBook

    Tags: auto, risk, management, insurance, accident, prevention, driving, storm, hydroplaning, rain, weather

    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.

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

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