Easy tips and tricks to make your Massachusetts home look fresh and new? Here are 10 clever and simple ideas from top home designers and stagers:
1. Take down all of the magnets and pictures on your refrigerator. It will make the kitchen look instantly neater according to Megan Cudia, architectural designer. File all of those takeout menus in a drawer or binder and frame your kids' artwork to be hung up elsewhere.
2. Clean windows, mirrors and shower doors. According to Cudia, natural light and clear windows makes the space more inviting.
3. Trim shrubs and bushes. Tori Toth, author of Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell recommends trimming back dead flowers, overgrown shrubs and other greenery. A manicured lawn makes your home look nice and neat.
4. Shake out the welcome mat! So easy but often overlooked. Living in Massachusetts can mean very dirty welcome mats and a mat covered in leaves and dirt does not make your home look very inviting. Toth suggests shaking it out or replacing it altogether.
5. Replace switch plates. White plastic outlet covers can get worn out and discolored. If you can't get them clean with a cloth, you're better off just to replace them.
6. Brighten up dark furniture. Natalie Moreno of Premier Home Staging says that dark furniture can suck up all the light. She suggests adding a pop of color with pillows, putting two pillows on each side. A stripe or solid in the back and then a print in the front.
7. Unsheathe your knives. Big knife blocks on your counter are dust magnets. Moreno suggests putting knives in a kitchen drawer and recycling those blocks for an instant "de-cluttered" look.
8. Sweep the fireplace. Vaccuum out the fireplace and place pretty logs inside for clean, fresh look.
9. Organize your art collection. Moreno recommends hanging art on only one side of a hallway wall and always leaving one wall blank in a room. You do not need to fill up every inch as the eye needs someplace to wander. If you're displaying a collection, use the same color matte and frame for each picture.
10. Style and de-clutter your coffee table. For a classic look, Moreno suggests this look: "On the left, place a stack of two or three coffee table books. Put a succulent in the middle, and then to the right we do a bowl with decorative balls." Add a decorative tray to stash remotes.
Summer is on its way.. Finally! Before we know it there will be Memorial Day barbecues and long weekends at the lake. Ahh..
That's why now is a great time to review your MA insurance coverage on all of your summer toys. Read below for things to consider (and review with us) before the big items come out of winter storage.
RV - Your MA motorhome or travel trailer needs insurance coverage, especially if you'll be driving or pulling it this year. Even if you don't have a loan on your RV, you will want it covered for theft or damage. Whether they are parked on a lake lot for the season or driving cross country, we offer several RV policies to fit your needs. Just call us for a quote or simply request one here: http://www.tesearsinsurance.com/quick-quote
Discounts are the best way to save on your MA insurance premium each and every month... but.. a lot of people are missing out on them! With a little documentation you could see a great savings!
Multi Policy Discounts: When you have all of your insurance in one place, you save more! If your MA auto and home insurance is spread out between multiple companies or agencies, let us help you consolidate. You'll be better protected (no gaps in coverage) and save money. With our carriers, you'll save up to 20% on your homeowners policy and up to 10% on your auto policy. That's a significant savings!
Security Discounts: Does your home have a security system or fire protection system?
With Spring upon us, weddings are underway! Planning a wedding and getting married is a blissful experience but there are some considerations couples have to take into account when it comes to insurance and merging two households.
Auto: The good news is that now that you're married, you can add your vehicle to your spouse's policy and obtain a "multi-vehicle" credit. Review both of your policies and decide which policy you want to use. Keep in mind however that if one of you has points, those points will automatically be applied to the more expensive vehicle to insure - no matter who drives the vehicle primarily. If you both have excellent driving records then combining your policies into one should only be of benefit to you.
Oh trees and insurance... "If a tree falls in my yard am I covered?" "What if a tree hits my home?" These are questions we get all of the time. Let's jump right in and address the first question:
What happens when a tree falls in your yard and DOES NOT hit your home: Whether it's your neighbor's tree or your tree, most MA homeowners insurance companies will not pay for it to be cleaned up (debris removal). However, if it is blocking the street or a ramp designed for the handicapped, some insurance companies may pay for the cost of removing it. If you notice that your neighbor's tree is damaged and may possibly fall on your property, be proactive and talk to your neighbor about removing it before it falls.
So what happens when the tree falls and DOES hit your home?
When you purchase a MA car insurance or MA homeowners insurance policy, you'll be given a choice of what deductible amount you want to carry. So.. what exactly is a deductible and how does it work? Let's break it down:
What is a car insurance deductible? The deductible is the amount that you will absorb to fix the damage to your car if you are in a collision that is YOUR fault. Having a deductible reduces your premium. The higher the deductible, the less your premium is. A standard MA car insurance deductible is $500 but often times people go with a $1,000 deductible to reduce their premium even more.
What is a homeowners insurance deductible? A MA homeowners insurance deductible again is the amount you will absorb in the event of damage to your home. A standard MA deductible is $500 or $1,000 but a higher deductible can be purchased. The higher the deductible, the less your premium.
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.
Halloween is just a few days away! We love any excuse around to celebrate and Halloween is especially fun around the office, but we wouldn't be good agents if we didn't give you a few good liability tips :)
You've heard most Halloween advice over and over:
Pack a flashlight..
Put reflective tape on costumes..
Check the candy before letting your kids eat it..
But what about the risks at your home? Your Homeowners Insurance does cover you if someone is injured on your property but here are a few tips to prevent accidents before they happen:
Every month, we share easy tasks you can do to keep your home in tip-top shape all year long. So, here are 5 simple tasks you can take on in October!
1. Pack Away the Air Conditioner: If you use a seasonal air conditioning unit, then now is the time to pack it up for winter. Make sure to spend a few extra minutes cleaning all the filters and coils as well. It will keep the unit in great shape and you'll be glad you did it when you dig it out next season.
2. Winterize External Plumbing Systems: It's much better to prepare for freezing temperatures before it's freezing! Winterize all exposed outdoor pipes and you'll avoid the trouble when there is snow or ice on the ground.