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Setting the record straight

 

Setting the record straight 
 
Q. Should I insure my home based on its real estate value? 
A. According to one survey, more than 50% of those responding use their home’s real estate value to determine the amount of coverage. A more accurate approach is to insure it for what it would cost to repair or replace your home. If you live in a “hot” residential real estate market where home prices are climbing, you should consider reviewing the coverage amount each year at renewal time.
Q. Is it true that red cars cost more to insure?

A. No, it isn’t true, even though it’s a popular myth. So, feel free to test drive that little red convertible.

Q. Can out-of-state speeding tickets follow me home?

A. They not only can follow you home, but you can count on it. On top of that, they can have an unwelcome impact on your auto insurance rates.

Q. I have a small car. Am I right in thinking that it costs less to insure?

A. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not true. It’s just another popular myth. In fact, the rates may be higher, since small cars are often owned by younger, inexperienced drivers who have more claims. Medical claims can be higher, too, since small cars lack the weight and protection of larger vehicles.  

You may only be half-insured

There was a time when the standard, off-the-shelf homeowners policy fit just about everyone. Not so today. Think of it more as a “hub” for “plugging in” specific coverages or endorsements. Here are a few examples:
Additional insured residence premises is an endorsement designed for those who have an interest in a property but don’t live there. Example: you may have given your son or daughter the down payment for purchasing a home. Your interest can be protected with this endorsement in case of a loss.
Other members of your household. This endorsement provides personal property, additional living expense, and protection to a named individual living in the insured’s home who is not a relative. This includes individuals such as domestic partners or significant others.
Other structures increased limits. This is not limited to buildings, but can include swing sets, patios, barbeque pits and “other structures” in the backyard. A homeowners policy limits the coverage to 10% of the coverage A limit and, quite possibly, creates an underinsured situation. This endorsement can remedy this problem.
Mechanical breakdown. This endorsement covers the mechanical breakdown of household appliances, which are normally excluded. The limit, which is an aggregate, starts at $5,000, but can be increased up to $50,000. With the cost of sophisticated appliances much higher today, having equipment scheduled is worth serious consideration.
Service line repairs. Many homeowners are not aware that they are responsible for the costs of repairing damaged water or sewer service lines that run from their home to the municipal service lines in the street, and which are not covered by most homeowners. However, a Service Line endorsement provides the necessary protection.

For information on homeowners policy endorsements, contact Renee Pike.

Attention all coastal homeowners!

WHY GIVE US A CALL?

Pike Insurance is proud to offer a new cutting edge coastal homeowners insurance provider to our customers. We would love to provide a fast and easy quote to you at no cost!

This is an exciting opportunity because our new affiliate is not yet offered by most insurance agents in Massachusetts. Specializing in coastal properties, we can present options, likely offering you better coverage at a lower premium.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at our website, www.rhpike.com, give us a call at 617-698-7850, or visit at 480 Adams St, Milton, Ma.

We look forward to working with you.

 

 

Preventing theft: garage door openers

While most people would never leave their keys in their car, a garage door remote can be just as valuable to a thief. Don’t leave the door opener in a car that is sitting in the driveway or on the street. And when driving, be proactive. Information in your glove compartment can reveal your address. Close your windows and lock your doors. Don’t leave a garage remote where it is visible or better yet, take it with you when leaving the car, just like you do your keys.

Watch out! Auto accidents on the rise

According to the National Safety Council, serious injuries and fatalities from motor vehicle crashes are on the rise, continuing a troubling multiyear surge that experts believe is being fueled in part by more people driving while distracted by cellphones and other devices. Other factors include an improving economy, lower gas prices, and younger, more inexperienced drivers. And the costs are rising with repairs and greater medical and loss of income expenses.

Massachusetts is a “no-fault” state when it comes to auto insurance. If you have the misfortune of being injured in an accident, this means each person files a claim with his or her own insurance company for personal injury protection (PIP) and other benefits. Typically, drivers cannot take one another to court for costs associated with the crash, unless these conditions are met:

  • the injured person must have incurred at least $2,000 in reasonable medical expenses, and/or
  • injuries resulting from the accident must include permanent and serious disfigurement, fractured bone, or substantial loss of hearing or sight
As part of the compulsory insurance, your insurance company pays covered benefits up to $8,000 per person in any one accident under Personal Injury Protection (PIP). It covers basic medical payments, which can include medical expenses, up to 75% of loss of wages, and replacement services (such as childcare) resulting from an auto accident. Your policy will detail who is entitled to receive benefits from this coverage.
Collision and comprehensive coverage aren’t compulsory in Massachusetts, but many drivers add this coverage to pay for repairs or replacement of a damaged vehicle.

When you’re not covered
If you are injured while driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or a narcotic drug, while committing a felony or seeking to avoid arrest by a police officer, or with specific intent of causing injury to yourself or others, it is deemed that you contributed to your own injury and you won’t receive benefits under PIP.

Also, PIP is not available for motorcycles, although a Medical Payments option is available on the MA auto insurance policy for riders and passengers.

Also, if you fail to list any “customary” operator or licensed household member, your insurance company might refuse to pay your claim.

Thinking about being a rideshare driver?

Before picking up your first customer, be sure you’re properly insured:
  • Be familiar with the coverage provided by the rideshare company. Since this coverage has strict guidelines, have your insurance agent review the coverages and explain what you need to do.
  • It could be a huge mistake to take insurance advice from other rideshare drivers, particularly anyone who tells how to “beat the insurance company.”
  • If necessary, have your insurance agent explain the differences between your personal insurance and your rideshare coverage so you don’t put yourself or a third-party passenger at risk.
  • Since ridesharing is a new industry and insurance companies are feeling their way, have your insurance agent update you regularly on changes and updates from your insurance company.

Control your liability: the costly bite of dogs

Insurance companies felt the bite last year as dog bite cases jumped 18 percent across the country, spurring more than $600 million in claims. Accounting for more than one-third of all homeowner liability claims for 2016, the costs averaged $33,230 per claim.
Whether small or large, furry, cuddly, or playful,most dogs are treated as a member of the family. And homeowners believe their dog is harmless and would never hurt anyone or anything. Yet, even the most docile dogs can bite when frightened, threatened, or defending their owner, puppies, or food.
The Massachusetts General law c. 140 § 155 (otherwise known as the “Dog Bite statute”) is very clear that dog bites are considered liability claims, and, therefore, do not require wrongful or negligent acts on the part of the owner or keeper. The only exception is if the injured person was committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog. But, if the incident involves children under seven-years-old, it’s presumed the child was not committing such acts.

And it’s not just injuries from dog bites that are covered – scratching or knocking people down, either viciously or playfully, as well as damaging property are also liabilities.

Here are some tips:
Train properly. Teach puppies that any contact of their mouth with human skin or clothes is unacceptable, even if they are playing. Create a socialization plan specifically for your dogs that exposes them to the animals, individuals, environments, activities, and objects they are likely to encounter. Take steps to control jumping on others.
Let others know about your dog. If your dog doesn’t like being petted by strangers, take steps to prevent it from happening.
Understand their fears. Oftentimes dogs are aggressive and bite because they are scared. Understand the source of fear and work with them to overcome it.
Get help for behavioral problems. For dogs with special behavioral needs, develop a plan with your veterinarian and/or another animal behavior expert.
Always supervise with children. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children. Many children don’t know how to behave with dogs and their sudden movements and acts of affection can frighten dogs and cause them to react by biting.
Place a “Beware of Dog” sign on your property. This won’t get you off the hook if there is an incident, but it places others on notice when approaching your home.
Obey leash laws.

Understand your liability coverage. Contact us if you have any questions.

Protect yourself while traveling

Summer travel is lots of fun and the last thing you want to happen is theft or identity theft. Here are ways you can help protect yourself:
  • Take one or two credit cards. Use only one during travel, so if there’s a problem you only have to deal with one company to resolve fraud issues.
  • Travel with the least amount of personal information as possible. If you are not traveling abroad, don’t bring your passport. Keep your social security card at home.
  • Separately, carry photocopies or electronic backups of your passport and other identifications as well as credit cards.
  • Don’t keep all your cash in your wallet. If it’s stolen, you will still have some cash on hand.
  • Electronic hotel keys can contain personal information, including credit cards. So protect it during your stay and return to the front desk.
  • Don’t carry your wallet or valuables on your backside – it’s fodder for pickpockets.
  • Don’t throw your boarding passes in the wastebasket – shred them when you get home.
  • Be wary of public wi-fi networks, whether in the hotel, at the airport, or a restaurant. Always avoid working with sensitive data when you’re using unsecured, public wi-fi. Control what’s accessible on your computer by turning off file sharing, enabling your system’s built-in firewalls, and keep internet-connected apps and services to a minimum. When you’re finished working online, turn wi-fi off on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Keep Your Antivirus and Antimalware up to date.
  • When you get home, check credit card statements carefully.

Keeping your cool

When it gets into the 80s, we flip on the air conditioning. Chances are it won’t let us down, but, we may pay more than necessary to keep cool if the filter (it’s usually located somewhere on the return duct) hasn’t been changed regularly. A clogged filter can increase your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%. Just slip out the dirty one and replace it with a new filter. Keep a couple on hand to use through the season.

If you’re handy, you can go online for air conditioning maintenance check lists. A few hours of work can help extend the life of your equipment and avoid costly repairs. If not, it’s a good idea to call your heating and air conditioning dealer to have a technician perform an annual check-up. You should receive a list of what was included in the check-up.

Check that extension cord before using

With all our gadgets and appliances, it seems there are never enough outlets so we get out the extension cords.Yet, improper use of extension cords is a common cause of home fires. A recent tragic fire in Milton started where an extension cord and space heater were connected.
Here are seven tips to keep you and your family safe:

Get an approved cord. When purchasing an extension cord, be sure a nationally recognized laboratory properly certifies it. Some of these include Underwriters Laboratories (UL), ETL-SEMKO (ETL) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
Check that the “load” is suitable for your needs. Demanding too much power from an extension cord risks overheating and fire. Be sure to read all packaging and instructions carefully.
Be careful where you put them. Do not place cords under furniture or rugs, and do not use them in close proximity to flammable material and accelerants such as gasoline. Heat from the cord is not able to escape, which could cause a flame to spark and ignite nearby items.
Don’t daisy chain. Do not plug extension cords into other extension cords. They should not be used this way and doing so, creates a fire risk.
Inspect cords for damage or deterioration to the insulation before use. If a cord is damaged in any way, do not use it. Plugging a damaged extension cord into the electrical system of your home risks the lives of yourself and your loved ones.
Never pull on the cord to unplug an extension cord from the wall socket, since this can cause internal and external damage to the wiring, compromising its structural integrity.

Use extension cords only temporarily, and never with space heaters or air conditioners. Always plug these appliances directly in the wall outlet and keep them three feet from anything that can catch fire.

INSURANCE COMPANY IN MILTON MA

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