Posts Tagged ‘coverage’

Your Burlington Homeowners Insurance Annual Checkup

It’s one of those Burlington documents most of us stash in a safe, out-of-the-way place—somewhere in the furthest recesses of a linen closet or at the back of a bureau drawer. Renters do the same: they don’t actually read the thing, but they know they want to keep it somewhere where they hope they’ll never have to find it.

The document that they value and simultaneously avoid is their Burlington homeowners or renter’s insurance policy—the thing they make sure to purchase and hope to forget. As much as I consider it my job to cater to my clients’ every wish, it is also a document that I’m afraid prompts me to risk violating that part of my job.

Sorry, everyone. You really should go find it and give it a read. Once a year, even.

The fact is, it’s certainly time for your Burlington homeowners insurance policy’s annual checkup!

How do I know that you haven’t done that for at least a year? It’s because when your agent sent you this year’s policy renewal, you may have read the cover letter and the top page, but that’s when your eyes glazed over and you remembered you had something else to do right then. You stuffed it back in the envelope until later (which was when you stashed it in the safe place).

Unless you are the one-in-twenty who likes legal minutiae, you figure you’ll read it when you need it, which you fervently hope is never. I sincerely join you in that hope, but all the industry experts are deadly serious in recommending that you bite the bullet and review your policy at least once a year.

Why? Many reasons—here are just a few:

  • Type of coverage. Is it ACV or Replacement cost? ACV stands for “actual cash value” which means depreciation is deducted in the event of loss.
  • Liability limits. ‘Nuff said.
  • Accurate inventory. As your possessions come and go, they need to be reflected in the policy. This is where over-insuring is most commonly spotted. Here’s the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ handy inventory worksheet.
  • The amount of deductible in your Burlington homeowners or renter’s policy is where you can reap significant savings…if you are willing to absorb more of the expense should a loss occur.
  • If you have more than one type of insurance policy with the same company or are a long-term customer with few claims, you might qualify.

After your house insurance checkup, you should experience some degree of relief. After all, not only are you newly confident that you are accurately covered, but even better: now you don’t have to read the thing for another year!

My job is helping my Burlington clients make the most of their real estate opportunities and decisions. Whenever you can use some help or advice, do give me a call!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners     cell 978-376-3978

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Top 3 Ways Billerica Homes Could Save on Insurance

For most area homeowners, the 110-decibel wail of nearby fire engines may not be a sought-after feature when selecting the ideal neighborhood.

Nonetheless, according to The Wall Street Journal, living close to firehouse has its advantages. Safety is one. A reduction in your homeowner’s insurance bill, another.

Not all homes in Billerica can have the advantage of being next door to a firehouse, but just about everybody knows that having the proper insurance is important to protect not only the structure itself but also the valuables within. Here are three possible actions you could take this month, any or all of which might reduce the cost of your homeowner’s insurance premium:

Shop Around – We are much more likely to spend our time “liking” dancing cat photos on social media annually than in planning advanced insurance plan strategies. Nonetheless, a visit to the website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners can help identify important nuances when selecting a vendor. Example: review complaints.

Reduce Coverages – Most people insure their homes for the full amount they paid at the time of purchase. If you bought your home in Billerica for $450k, you automatically insured it for that amount. But in the event of a loss event like a fire, you don’t necessarily need the full purchase price to rebuild the property—remember, that purchase price included the cost of the land. This idea should be weighed realistically against today’s costs. Take care not to go light on the replacement cost of your belongings (many folks do). A new inventory can help in that department.

Just Ask! – While discounts vary with each insurer, the following details might qualify your home in Billerica for a discount if you just go ahead and inquire:

  • Multi-policies with the same company.
  • Length of time with the same company.
  • A smoke detector or sprinkler system.
  • An alarm system, deadbolt locks, or other security measures.
  • You have not made a claim in recent history.
  • Your household doesn’t include smokers.
  • You qualify for a senior discount.
  • Your credit score has improved.

While not all of us are willing to move next door to a firehouse to save on our home insurance, there are multiple ways to whittle down policy premiums. I’m here as a resource for your Billerica property-related questions anytime: just give me a call!

Joan Parcewski —CRS, MRP, CSHP, SRES, CBR, LMC, Realtor & Notary
978-376-3978    OR
Licensed MA & NH    
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Concerns When Renting An Automobile

Welcome tonce again to our guest blogger Tony Lucacio of Merrimack Valley Insurance in Billerica

This time of year many of us head out on vacation. Often these trips require use of a rental vehicle for several days to a week. Most put very little thought into what would happen should they be involved in an auto accident while driving the rented auto.

Your Massachusetts auto insurance policy will provide coverage for damage to the rented auto as if you were driving your own auto. Coverage on your policy transfers to the temporarily rented auto and is subject to the same causes of loss and deductible that you carry. In most cases individuals carry both colllision and comprehensive coverage (other than collision) with a $500 or $300 deductible. Seems simple enough right? Well….not so fast.

True you will have coverage to repair the rented vehicle but what about the loss sustained by the rental car company for days the vehicle was being repaired and could no be rented. Or, the loss of value to the rented vehicle because it is now a vehicle that has been damaged and not worth as much when the rental company wishes to sell the vehicle. These are just two of several concerns that must be addressed.

In the fine print of nearly every rental car contract is the right to charge you for the loss of earnings the rental car company sustains while the car is being repaired and could not be rented. True you could argue that they have other vehicles they could rent so they had no loss but who wants that fight. And on more than one occasion I’ve not been able to rent a vehicle in a certain price class because there were none left. The charge to you for the rental company’s loss of rental income is NOT covered by your Massachusetts auto insurance policy. In many cases your credit card company may pick up this charge if you used your card to rent the vehicle but I strongly recommend you check with them before you rent.

A damaged car also will have a dimunition in value. The loss of value to a vehicle after it has been repaired because the vehicle will now sell for less as a previously damaged vehicle. This too is not covered by your policy and should be addressed before you rent. Nearly all current contracts also pass this charge along to the person renting the vehicle.

The above two concerns can usually be taken care of by purchasing the “Loss Damage Waiver” sold by car rental companies. You should check with the rental company when picking up your vehicle. I strongly recommend to my clients that they purchase the Loss Damage Waiver if it will free them from these two gaps in coverage. I realize it is expensive but not nearly as expensive as being charged for 2 weeks or more of a rental vehicle while it is being repaired and you’ve flown home. Remember they have already run your credit card.

Feel free to phone Tony Lucacio at Merrimack Valley Insurance Agency to ask him how to best cover these gaps and others when renting vehicle. Be sure to ask him what happens when you rent a vehicle and you allow your spouse, child, or anyone else to use the rented vehicle. Tony can be contacted at (978)667-2541.

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