Posts Tagged ‘insurance’

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    
Introductory Video
Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)    Laer Realty Partners



Insurable vs Marketable Title – reprint from Active Rain

With so many people looking at and buying forclosed properties, you should read this blog post first.  

Insurable Title vs Marketable Title

Danger in Purchasing Foreclosure Properties
Insurable Title does not Necessarily Mean Marketable Title


General Rule:  All marketable title is insurable, however, not all insurable title is marketable.

What is the difference? 

Insurable title may come with a host of defects.  However, despite these defects, a title insurance underwriter weighs the risks involved and allows the title agent to issue a title policy even though there may be blemishes and potential problems down the road.  Ironically, should the value of the property increase dramatically, the buyer is only protected to the extent of the original purchase price.

In contrast, marketable title is a title that is clean, has no defects that will come up again in a future title examination when the property owner attempts to obtain financing or more importantly tries to sell the property.  Accepting insurable title could result in problems which need to be addressed at a later date resulting in both time and money.

Title Insurance Companies may recognize a problem when you go to sell the property.  Their first solution is to ignore the problem and reinsure over it again whereby they actually profit from their previous oversight.  Unfortunately, many buyer’s, if properly represented will not accept this proposal.

Why is this important?

Standard A – Title of the standard form contracts in Collier County, Florida provides “Title to the property shall be good and marketable with legal access, subject only to the following exceptions…”

On more than one occasion in the past year, I have had frustrated sellers lose their deal because the property was not marketable.  Title companies often gamble that the issue will not come up again or will be overlooked.  When problems do come up they are more often difficult to resolve requiring corrective documents in the chain of title.


to read the rest of this post go to



Difference between “Actual Cash Value” and “Replacement Cost” – guest blogger Tony Lucacio

Most policies covering property value the damaged property at either its Replacement Cost or its Actual Cash Value. But most people don’t read their policy to understand what these two property valuations mean to them, or the impact it can have on their settlement.

I will attempt to simplifiy these valuation for you over the next few paragraphs. Let’s start with a very basic definition of each. “Actual Cash Value” is the cost new of the item less the item’s depreciation. “Replacement Cost” is the cost to replace that damaged item at todays cost with an item of like, kind, and quality.

So what does all this mean? Let’s tackle Actual Cash Value (ACV) first. Let’s say that a building policy has a valuation using ACV. That property sustains damage by fire to a roof that is 10 years old. Let’s further agree that the useful life of that type of roof is 30 years. At the time of a loss the cost to replace that roof was $50,000. Let’s look at how this claim would be settled, remembering that ACV is the item cost less depreciation. The depreciation on this item is 10 divided by 30, or 1/3. A 30 year life that has already used 10 years. Therefore payment for this $50,000 roof would be $33,333 ($50,000 replacement less 1/3 depreciation. The rationale behind this settlment is that the insured party has enjoyed 1/3 of the benefit of this roof prior to the loss.

That same loss that is settled on a replacement cost basis would be valued at $50,000. The cost to replace that roof at the time of the loss.

So, why would anyone want ACV? Well, usually you would not want ACV. Price is always a consideration and on some older properties it may be difficult to get an insurance carrier to agree to a Replacement Cost valuation. This also gives the insured person a stake in keeping the property safe from claims because they would share some in any loss.

Check your policy, and if possible ask about getting Replacement Cost valuation. Of course if you have any questions we are here to help. Visit our website or call (877)608-3708.

Trampolines Increase Insurance Risks – Reprint from

My thanks to James O’Connell from James O’Connell Insurance in Billerica for bringing this to my attention.  How many homes do you drive by that you find a trampoline in the yard.  I personally know of one down the street from my house.  Do people realize that it is an insurance risk.

While at a neighborhood barbecue this summer, I noticed a new trampoline. “How fun for the kids,” I mentioned to the homeowner. “Oh yes, just don’t tell my insurance agent,” was her quick reply.

Sounds like this neighbor did some homework, but certainly not enough. Trampolines, while fun for the family, are dangerous and will increase your insurance risk.

Trampolines Are Dangerous
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, backyard trampolines are responsible for 100,000 visits to the emergency room each year, making them more dangerous than backyard pools.

Trampolines Are Not Covered Under Some Homeowners’ Policies
As this neighbor knew, some companies might not insure your property if you have a trampoline, or they might have policy exclusions for any liability related to trampoline injuries. In fact, insurance companies can deny coverage or cancel a policy if a trampoline is not disclosed.

The complete article may be read at


MassHousing – An Option for Homebuyers

What is Mass Housing

MassHousing, created by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature in 1966, is an independent public authority whose purpose it is to increase affordable rental and for-sale housing in Massachusetts. Since 1970, it has provided $13 billion in financing. 

This year alone the Agency has come out with some new and innovative financing options:

January 15 22012 – No-MI Mortgage – A 30 year fixed rate mortgage (purchases and refis) to finance up to 97% of purchase price or home value at low rate of interest with no points, no mortgage insurance premium and low closing costs.

May 1, 2012 – Single Premium MI – A low cost single premium mortgage insruance option that allows third parties to provide downpayment and closing cost assistance to homebuyers by prepaying the mortgage insurance with a single premium.  Mass Housing MI continues to provide borower payment protection in case of job loss.

May 15, 2012 – Refinance Program for MassHousing Borrowers – Provides lower, fixed interest rates for homeowners with MassHousing loans wanting to refinance, regardless of property value.  This may help those who are upside down on their mortgage – yet have a job, income, good credit, and the ability to pay.

May 23, 2012 – Right Rate for Lower Income Borrowers – Discounted rate for borrowers who earn 80% or less of the local area median income.  It is available for both purchases and refinances.

For more information about MassHousing, visit their website at

I constantly refer buyers to Mass Housing.  They have great products and also provide classes for buyers to help them understand the process upon which they are about to embark. 

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary  (GRI, CBR, LMC, SFR, CDPE, SRES, GREEN, CIAS, BPOR, E-PRO, AHWD)

Woods Real Estate     c 978-376-3978

Storing Your Boat at the End of the Season – guest blogger Tony Lucacio

September will be here before we know it but in the meantime we have really enjoyed an awesome summer.  Still we need to think about storing some of those things we enjoy during the summer – like our boat.  Tony Lucacio from Merrimack Valley Insurance reminds us of what we need to do.   


It is sad to say but summer is more than half over and that means fewer chances to be able to go out on the boat. Once the boating season is over you are going to have to store that boat and it is best to store it right to keep your boat from being damaged. Here are some tips for storing your boat to keep it in good shape.

  • Prepare your engine to owner’s manual specifications.
  • Drain fuel lines, pumps, carburetors, and tanks
  • Drain and flush cooling system
  • Drain and refill the crankcase
  • Apply oil to inside each cylinder
  • Thoroughly clean the boat, including the hull, deck, cockpit, outer engine and all compartments
  • Coat the boat with a wax or other preservative
  • Keep all doorways and windows partially opened to avoid the air to stagnate in the room.
  • Put a cover over the boat to protect it from sun, rain, and snow. Make sure there are no spots where rain could pool on the cover.
  • Check all boating insurance to make sure it doesn’t expire while the boat is in storage. If it does expire get it insured with Massachusetts Boat Insurance.

There is still a lot of time left to go out on that boat and enjoy before you have to put it into storage. Enjoy this great summer weather before it is gone and gives way to the chilly fall season. Remember these tips when storing that boat to keep it in great shape so you can enjoy it next time you take it out.

Do You Need a Personal Umbrella Policy?

Welcome back to our guest blogger Tony Lucacio, President of Merrimack Valley Insurance Agency (Billerica MA).  I have to tell you that I have had nothing but great experience with Tony and his staff.  On several occasions buyers needed his assistance and were very pleased with the service provided. 

This is great information from him – many of us think we don’t need this added protection when we really do. 

I’m often told by clients that they don’t need any protection beyond their home or auto policy for a variety of reasons. I have heard “I don’t own anything and you can’t get blood out of a rock”, or “I’m a good driver and not worried about it”, or most commonly, “I’ll think about it”. Let’s examine what an Umbrella Policy is and what protection it offers.

An Umbrella Policy provide coverage above and beyond the limits provided in your underlying policies, typically a Massachusetts auto insurance policy, a Massachusetts home policy, watercraft policy etc. These other types of policies are placed under the umbrella to provide greater protection, thus eliminating the need to buy higher limits on each underlying policy individually. Many umbrella policies also will fill in when coverage is not provided by your underlying policy, so long as not excluded by the umbrella.

Umbrella policies are available in incremental limits of $1,000,000. This minimum limit is the most commonly sold limit however in recent years $2,000,000 has become a very popular choice as baby boomers and others have seen the value of their assets rise due to rising home prices, retirement accounts and more. Annual premiums for this coverage begins at approximately $150. Your premium will be slightly higher if you own multiple vehicles or homes, have young drivers in your household, or own watercraft, rental property, or recreational vehicles. Incidently, there are all more of a reason one should purchase umbrella protection.

No one every believes they will be involved in a major lawsuit. The simple truth is that accidents can and do happen. A young child chases a ball into the roadway, a driver is distracted and misses a stop sign, your dog bites a child, an acccident in a swimming pool, or any one of other numberous things we do in our daily life that somehow can go wrong are all instances where an umbrella would provide valuable protection. Remember, you don’t have to be responsible to be sued. People are sued often in these circumstances and still must have a defense provided for them. This too is provided by your umbrella policy. Sometimes an auto or home insurance carrier simply write a check for the policy limit when a policyholder is responsible, leaving the policyholder without any further coverage. What would you do if you needed more defense costs or a judgement was for more than the policy limit.

In summary, answering the question “who needs an umbrella policy?” is a simple. Just about everyone. If you own a home, a condo, or rent an apartment, have assets in the bank or a retirement account, you should consider an umbrella policy. For as little as $150 annually you will have piece of mind that your assets are protected. That’s less than the price of two cups of coffee per week.

For more information on umbrella policies, phone (978)667-2541 or click here.

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