As a recent victim of identity theft told us: “All it took was one use of an unsecured WiFi network combined with repeated use of similar passwords to open the door for thieves to gain access to my social security number, email addresses, banking and credit card accounts. Unwinding the damage has been un-nerving, time-consuming and fraught with additional phishing attempts to fend off.”
As students head back to campus, fighting fraud may not be at the top of their list of priorities. However, college students are very susceptible to identity theft. Don’t let this happen to your family. Review and share these 9 protection steps with your back to school online and college-bound students.
While you’ll no doubt get instructions from the local government, it’s wise to create your evacuation plan well before a disaster strikes. This way, you can know ahead of time about the nearest shelters, take your pets into account in your plan, make sure to take important papers and make a trial run.
Creating a home inventory will help ensure that you have purchased enough insurance to replace your personal possessions. It can also speed the claims process, substantiate losses for income tax purposes and is helpful should you need to apply for disaster aid. In the event you need to evacuate, be sure your home inventory is among the important documents you take with you. Our feature HOME INVENTORY contains step-by-step instructions to simplify this daunting project!
Our feature 5 FACTORS OF HURRICANE INSURANCE provides information on specific areas of coverage to review. If you own a boat, review your MARINE INSURANCE policy as well. If you are a business owner, review your COMMERCIAL INSURANCE policy. As always, if you have any questions about what your current policy will cover give us a call at 401-846-9629. We’ll help you to understand your options and provide the BEST coverage to meet your needs.
Hurricane force winds can turn landscaping materials into missiles that can break windows and doors and much of the property damage associated with hurricanes occurs after the windstorm when rain enters structures through broken windows, doors and openings in the roof. While retrofitting your home to protect against these possibilities is undoubtedly an expense, you can do it in stages.
A standard homeowners policy covers the structure of your house for disasters such as hurricanes and windstorms, along with a host of other disasters. It’s important to understand the elements that might affect your insurance payout after a hurricane, and adjust your policies accordingly.
Check your policy limit and make sure the amount is enough to rebuild your home – The cost of rebuilding or extensively repairing a home is dependent on a number of factors—and, remember that the real estate value of a house is not the same as the cost to rebuild. Therefore, it pays to understand in detail what it will cost to rebuild in the event your house is severely damaged or destroyed and make sure your insurance will cover that amount.
Unlike the standard “dollar deductible” on a homeowner’s policy, a hurricane or windstorm deductible is usually expressed as a percentage, generally from 1%- 5% of the insured value of the structure of your home. Like any deductible, a hurricane or windstorm deductible will affect the bottom line of your insurance payout. If you have a high hurricane or windstorm deductible consider putting aside the additional money you may need to rebuild your home.
Check the Declarations (front) page of your Homeowners Policy. A hurricane deductible is applied only to hurricanes, whereas a windstorm deductible applies to any type of wind. If your policy has a hurricane deductible, it will clearly state the specific “trigger” that would cause the deductible to go into effect.
Understand what disasters your insurance policy covers—and those it doesn’t – Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for hurricanes, wind, theft, fire, explosion, lightning strikes and many other disasters. However, all policies also list exclusions, which are events NOT covered by the policy. One common exclusion is flooding. People tend to underestimate this risk, but 90% of all natural disasters—especially hurricanes—include some form of flooding. If you live in a flood zone or a hurricane-prone area, a separate flood insurance policy is a must. Another common exclusion is sewer backups (which is also not covered by flood insurance) Sewer backup insurance is also good to have in hurricane-prone areas.
If you own a co-op apartment or condo – check with your management company and the bylaws to understand what is covered under the building’s master insurance policy versus what damages you need to cover in your own co-op or condo owner’s insurance policy.
Imagine the cost of repurchasing all of your furniture, clothing and other personal possessions. Whether you have homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance, your policy provides protection against loss or damage due to a hurricane. Homeowners policies provide approximately 50 to 70% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. If you rent, know that your landlord’s insurance will only cover the structure of your home—you need a renter’s policy to protect your possessions against loss or damage.
Whether you own or rent your home creating a Home Inventory will enable you to determine the value of your possessions. Cross-check the inventory total with your policy to see if you are sufficiently insured for either replacement cost or cash value of the items. The inventory will also speed the insurance claims process and help provide proof of losses for tax or disaster aid purposes.
Be sure your policy provides enough coverage for Additional living expenses (ALE) – the extra costs incurred if you need to live elsewhere because your home is rendered uninhabitable as the result of a hurricane (or any other insured disaster). While your home or apartment is being repaired or rebuilt, ALE covers hotel bills, restaurant meals, etc.—expenses over and above what your customary living expenses would be at home.
Generally, the ALE policy limit is 20% of the amount of insurance coverage on the structure of your home. Standard renters’ policies also provide for ALE. Depending on where you live (which may dictate your expenses), you may want to consider a higher ALE. Also review the time limits in your policy as reimbursements may be limited to a specified amount of time.
If you rent out part of your home, ALE coverage also reimburses you for lost rental income. Make sure your policy reflects the current amount of your rental income.
Content Source: iii.org
Do you have a fire pit in your backyard? If so, you’re in good company, a blazing fire pit has become an increasingly popular added touch to backyards everywhere. Sales soared last autumn as homeowners rushed to create cozy, inviting outdoor spaces for the COVID-19 winter. True Value Hardware, a wholesale supplier to more than 4,500 independently owned stores, said sales of wood-burning fire pits were up over 300% last fall compared to the same time in 2019. For owners and soon-to-be owners of these crowd-pleasing bastions of warmth, here are some important tips that will keep you, your children, pets, and friends safe.
Location & Clearance:
Fire Pit Fuel:
Starting the Fire:
Putting Out a Fire Safely:
It’s important to note that most RI towns and cities allow small recreational fires in their neighborhoods. To build a recreational fire means you are burning a reasonable amount of wood and there is not an unreasonable amount of smoke that can affect your neighbors. Rhode Island has state-wide regulations and each city / town has its own set of rules regarding recreational fires, but most follow similar safety guidelines and laws. These laws and burn bans are for the safety of everyone in the area.
Generally speaking, the State of Rhode Island requires:
Common local regulations:
What You Can and Can’t Burn:
Smoke, chemicals, and poisonous gases are not only offensive; they are dangerous to both people and wildlife in the area. Fumes infect the environment and enter into the water supply that various creatures drink from. Wildlife often get the brunt of toxic chemical and smoke which can kill off birds and force small mammals out of their homes. In most places it is illegal to burn the materials below as they pose significant health hazards.
What You Can Burn, Seasoned Split Wood:
Now that you know, grab the marshmallows and go!
Some Content: This Old House
Everyone benefits from trees; they reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and provide much of the oxygen we need. They also provide us with beauty and shade, but homeowners can have mixed feelings about trees. In addition to being somewhat messy during changes of season, if one falls on your tree or car— your feelings can become quite clear!
Much of the damage trees can cause to property is often covered by insurance. Generally speaking, if a tree hits your home or other insured structure, your standard homeowners’ insurance policy covers the damage to the structure and its contents.
Properly selected, placed, and maintained trees can provide excellent wind protection for a house, which can reduce heating costs and noise from neighbors and traffic. By putting thought and energy into planting and maintenance, homeowners can reap these benefits while preventing much potential damage.
While some trees don’t handle wind well, others can withstand some of the most powerful gusts. Select trees with strong root systems and thick bark to support them in windy conditions. That said, do not plant large shade trees within 2 feet of your home as growing roots can shift the soil under and around the foundation, potentially rendering it unstable.
To minimize damage from your own trees, it’s important to maintain their health and properly prepare them for winter weather and storms. A diseased tree is more likely to have branches that will break off and cause damage during high winds. Trees with inadequate root systems may blow over or break off at the ground line.
Any Questions? Give us a call to discuss your coverage at 401-846-9629.
We’re always here to help!
Recreational boating has a customary code of accepted behavior on and around the water. Boating etiquette is about safe behavior, as well as what’s socially accepted. Here are some of the basics to help you navigate the boating world with ease while not “making waves” among fellow users of the water.
Green Boating helps to save our blue backyard AND it can save you money too! Keep these 10 Green Boating Tips in mind both on and off the water this season!
The National Safety Council and the Window Safety Task Force established Window Safety Week in 1997 to heighten awareness of the actions that homeowners can take to establish window safety and fall prevention as a year-round safety priority. Window Safety Week, observed annually during the first week of April (4/4-11/21), coincides with the arrival of spring, when people naturally want to open the windows and let in fresh air. The goal of this observance is twofold– for families to understand the role of windows in escaping a fire or other emergency and to learn how to safeguard against window falls.
Follow these NSC recommendations to keep your family safe:
After sheltering your family from winter storms and howling winds, the exterior of your home and yard have taken a beating this year. A sunny spring day is the perfect time to get outdoors and take a good look around. Use the guide below to reveal possible damage and tackle a few DIY fixes.