You may think that umbrella policies are only for the rich but that is totally not the case. In fact, umbrellas are very inexpensive and provide A LOT of coverage! Here is the rundown about umbrellas - what they are, how they work and why everyone should have one!
1. What is an Umbrella Policy? You have a certain limit of liability coverage on your homeowners or auto policy already. This is called an "underlying" limit. On your homeowners policy this limit it is referred to as Personal Liability and is usually a limit of $300,000 or $500,000. If you are held liable for an accident occurring at your home (trips and falls, etc) your policy will pay out up to this limit for damages incurred by the other party. On your auto policy, the limit is referred to as Optional Bodily Injury to Others and is typically a limit of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident, $100,000 per person /$300,000 per accident or $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident. If you cause injury to another party as a result of an auto accident, your policy will pay out the damages to the other party up to the limit shown on your policy. This all sounds great but what happens if you are sued? These "underlying" home and auto limits can be wiped out very quickly in the event of a major lawsuit leaving you with a big financial burden not to mention the potential of losing your assets. The underlying limits do include defense costs but as you know, defense costs can quickly add up, eating up your limit.. and then you're on the hook for the difference... ouch. UNLESS you have a Massachusetts umbrella policy! If your underlying limits are exhausted, your umbrella policy will be tapped into to account for the difference. No problem!
2. How do Umbrellas Work? A Massachusetts umbrella policy provides excess liability protection over and above your underlying home and auto limits. Most people purchase a $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 umbrella. If you have an underlying homeowners limit of $500,000, and a $1,000,000 Umbrella, you have a total of $1,500,000 in coverage. Same goes for the auto limits. The umbrella is additional protection over your auto limit. So, if you have a major lawsuit on your hands and your underlying limits are exhausted, you can rest easy knowing that you have backup: an umbrella policy!
3. Why Should I have an Umbrella Policy? Bottom line: It's CHEAP! Believe it or not, umbrella policies are CHEAP! For the average household (1 home, 2 cars, 6 or more years of driving experience and perfect driving records) the premium is about $150.00 per year! That's $12 per month for a lot of extra coverage and most importantly, peace of mind! The cost does go up if you have more cars or own more homes ( or if your driving history isn't stellar) but it is still very reasonable given the added protection provided.
PLEASE don't hesitate to purchase a Massachusetts umbrella policy. Contact us at (978) 562-3464 to review your current coverage and inquire. Or, simply click HERE to request a quote! We look forward to assisting you and providing you with the best coverages and options.
Thomas E. Sears Insurance Agency, Inc.
Insurance Companies do not like trampolines, to put in mildly. But why? We at Thomas E. Sears Insurance Agency get a lot of questions about trampolines and homeowners insurance and why it's such a bad mix. Here are your top questions regarding this subject and the answers:
1. Why don't insurance companies like trampolines? Sure, they're a great time but when your child, or your child's friend falls off and gets hurt, the party's over. Most injuries involve colliding with other jumpers, landing the wrong way or falling off. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission cites nearly 92,000 emergency room visits each year with 75,000 of those injuries involving children under age 15. What does this mean for insurance companies? A LOT of claims paid out. If your child's friend is injured on YOUR trampoline, that friend's parents can sue you for medical payments and damages and your insurance company is on the hook for potentially a lot of money - and you, too, if your limits aren't high enough. Trampolines are considered an "attractive nuisance" by insurance companies and due to the large claims paid out, they have begun to restrict coverage, or in many cases deny it all together.
There is no denying that winter has arrived! According to The Hartford, the most common claims in the Northeast during the winter are frozen pipes followed by roof leaks, wind damage and ice dams. Here are 7 tips to keep you prepared for the winter:
1. Know what you have for coverage: Most standard homeowners insurance policies cover damage resulting from burst pipes or fallen trees but flooding is not covered! Contact your agent to be sure what your policy covers.
2. Trim those trees: Trim any branches that are touching the house and cut down trees that are rotting or about to fall. A tree falling over on to your house or car can cause serious damage.
3. Check your heater before it's too late: Don't wait until a very cold night to check your heater. You'll be out of luck (and very cold) if you find it's not working. Be prepared and make sure it's working well beforehand. Heat outages can also lead to frozen pipes.
4. Take a lot of pictures of damage you incur: but BEFORE you start to make any repairs. Most people are prepared to take pictures of any damage to their home but the pictures should be taken BEFORE any repair work begins to give the claims appraiser and adjuster the full extent of the damage. An appraiser will also review the damage and take pictures but having pictures on hand right after the damage occurs can help the process a lot.
5. Prevent frozen pipes: Know how your pipes are insulated and let water drip out of the faucet on really cold days - to keep the water moving. If you plan on lowering the heat while you are on vacation, don't turn it off completely. The recommend setting is 65 degrees. Yes, heat costs are expensive but burst pipes are costly, too. In the event of a burst pipe, make sure you are familiar with how to shut off the water so that you can prevent further damage.
6. Clear the gutters: Be sure to remove sticks, leaves and debris from gutters so that water and snow can flow easily - otherwise it can freeze. Once frozen, snow will then start to pile up on the roof, leading to leaks as it melts. This is known as an ice dam. Ice dams can cause extensive amounts of damage.
7. Fix what you can fix: After you take the photos of the damage, you may start making small repairs to prevent further damage. An appraiser will need to see the damage before it's fixed to get a good idea of the type and size of the loss but it's okay to do small repairs that will prevent further damage from happening - like shutting off the water and placing tarp over broken windows.
Happy New Year and please call us at (978) 562-3464 if we can be of assistance to you!
Thomas E. Sears Insurance Agency, Inc.