Insurance Blog

12 Ways to Reduce Flood Damage

Here are terrific resources from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety including two of their infographics. Please contact your Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Agent for further information on important insurance coverage! Click Here.

With the beginning of spring, and latest flooding across the country, here are twelve important ways to reduce flood damage. While flooding can occur at any time of year, the spring is a particularly troublesome time of year as snow and ice melts and seasonal rains begin. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, flooding causes more damage than any other weather-related event, averaging eight billion dollars in losses and 89 fatalities annually.

As part of the recent National Flood Safety Awareness Week  hosted by NOAA, the Insurance Institute for Building & Home Safety (IBHS) suggests several improvement projects, and last-minute actions (with two accompanying infographics), for homeowners to help protect their property against flood damage this season. IBHS has additional flooding property protection resources on its website at:www.DisasterSafety.org/Flood.

Flood Resilient IBHS infographic 2014

 

Home Improvement Projects

  1. Raise Electrical System Components – Hire a licensed electrician to raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12 inches above the base flood elevation (BFE) for your area. You can find out your property’s BFE by contacting your local building department. Raising electrical system components above the anticipated flood level will help prevent damage to the electrical system and avoid the potential for fire from short circuits in flooded systems.
  2. Raise Or Floodproof HVAC Equipment – Floodwaters can extensively damage heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) equipment. The extent of the damage depends upon the depth of flooding and how long the equipment is underwater. A good way to protect the HVAC equipment is to have a contractor move it to an upper floor or build a flood-proof wall around the equipment.
  3. Direct Water Away from Building – Make sure your yard’s grading (slope) directs water away from the building.
  4. Anchor fuel tanks – Unanchored fuel tanks outside your home can damage your building or be swept downstream, damaging other properties. The supply line to an unanchored tank in your basement also can tear free and fuel can contaminate your basement.
  5. Install Sewer Backflow Valves – Flooding in some areas can cause sewage from sanitary sewer lines to back up through drain pipes. Backflow valves are designed to block drain pipes temporarily and prevent return flow into the house.
  6. Protect Wells From Contamination By Flooding – Floodwater that enters a well can contaminate it and make the water unsafe to drink. A licensed well-drilling contractor can inspect your well and suggest improvements.

In addition, when a flood is forecast for your area, IBHS recommends homeowners take these last-minute actions to protect their property against flood damage:

  1. Clear drains, gutters and downspouts of debris.
  2. Move furniture and electronics off the floor, particularly in basements and on first floor levels.
  3. Roll up area rugs, where possible, and store them on higher floors or elevations. This will reduce the chances of rugs getting wet and growing mold.
  4. Inspect sump pumps and drains to ensure proper operation. If a sump pump has a battery backup, make sure the batteries are fresh or replace the batteries.
  5. Shut off electrical service at the main breaker if the electrical system and outlets will be under water.
  6. Elevate and Place all appliances, including stove, washer and dryer on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation. 

Flood Prepare IBHS Imminent 2014 

About The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks on residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices.

Sunday, 30 April 2017 23:41

Your Renters Insurance Checklist

What to Look for When You’re Shopping for Renters Insurance

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If you rent a house or apartment, your landlord’s insurance will only cover the costs of repairing the building if there is a fire or other disaster. To financially protect yourself and your belongings you will need your own coverage, known as renters or tenants insurance.

Renters insurance includes three key types of financial protection: 

  • Coverage for Personal Possessions
  • Liability Protection
  • Additional Living Expenses 

The following checklist can help you choose the right coverage when you are shopping around for renters insurance or discussing your needs with an insurance professional.

A. Coverage for Personal Possessions

1. How much insurance should I buy?

Make sure you have enough insurance to replace all of your personal possessions in the event of a burglary, fire or other covered disaster. The easiest way to determine the value of all your personal possessions is to create a home inventory—a detailed list of all of your belongings along with their estimated value.

The Insurance Information Institute offers free Web-based home inventory software, available at www.knowyourstuff.org.

2. Should I choose replacement cost or actual cash value coverage?

Actual cash value policies include a deduction for depreciation. Replacement cost coverage costs more—but can be well worth the extra expense when the time comes to replace your belongings.

3. What disasters are—and are not—covered?

Renters insurance covers you against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm and certain types of water damage (such as when the tenant upstairs leaves the water running in the bathtub and floods out your apartment’ or from a burst pipe). Most renters insurance policies, however, do not cover floods or earthquakes. Flood coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program and a few private insurers.. You can get earthquake insurance as a separate policy or have it added as an “endorsement” to your renters policy, depending on where you live.

4. What is my deductible, and how does it work?

deductible is an amount of money you pay out-of-pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. Deductibles are generally available as a specified dollar amount; the larger the deductible, the lower your insurance premium. You will be responsible for paying the deductible each time you file a claim, so keep this in mind when determining your insurance budget.

5. What is a “floater” and do I need one?

If you have expensive jewelry, furs, sports or musical equipment, or collectibles, consider adding a floater to your policy. A floater is a separate policy that provides additional coverage for your valuables if they are lost or stolen.

6. Am I covered if I am traveling or away from home?

Most renters polices include what is called off-premises coverage, meaning that belongings that are outside of your home are covered against the same disasters listed in your policy. For example, property stolen from your car or a hotel room while you’re traveling would be protected.

B. Liability Protection

1. Do I have enough liability insurance?

Renters insurance provides liability protection that covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage done by you, your family members and even your pets. This coverage pays for both the cost of defending you in court and court awards—up to the limit of your policy. Make sure the amount of liability coverage provided by your policy is sufficient to protect your assets.

Your renters policy should also include no-fault medical coverage as part of the liability protection. Medical payments coverage allows someone who gets injured on your property to simply submit his or her medical bills directly to your insurance company so the bills can be paid without resorting to a lawsuit.

2. Do I need an umbrella liability policy?

If you need a larger amount of liability protection, consider purchasing a personal umbrella liability policy. An umbrella policy kicks in when you reach the limit on the underlying liability coverage provided by your renters or auto policy. It will also cover you for things such as libel and slander.

C. Additional Living Expenses

What happens if I can’t live in my home after a disaster?

If your home is destroyed by an insured disaster and you need to live elsewhere, renters insurance provides additional living expenses (ALE) coverage, which pays for hotel bills, temporary rentals, restaurant meals and other expenses you incur while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.

D. Discounts

Insurance companies often offer discounts on renters insurance if you have another policy with them for your car or business. You can also get discounts if you:

Have a security system

Use smoke detectors

Use deadbolt locks

Have good credit

Have multiple policies

Stay with the same insurer

Are over 55 years old 

Companies offer several types of discounts, but these can vary widely by company and by state, so review your options carefully. As always, the same rule-of-thumb applies: Shop around for the best deal.

Our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker (BWP) are happy to be of assistance and can help you find the best options!

 

Source: Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)

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From IIABA’s Trusted Choice Blog.

Are you the proud owner or founder of one of the estimated 59% of established businesses in the United States that operate from a home?

There are often concerns, considerations, and risks unique to a home-based environment. Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Insurance (BWP) can help you construct the proper protection by reviewing your current insurance and risk management programs.

Studies show that of the 11 million-plus home-based businesses, nearly 60% do not have insurance specifically recognizing and providing coverage for these unique risks. When asked about the reasons for this lack of additional insurance, business owners responded:

  • They thought they were already properly covered by their personal insurance: 40%.
  • They thought their business was too small to insure: 30%.
  • They could give no specific reason: 20%.

The first assumption is demonstrably false. The second assumption above is also wrong, and the third response, at a minimum, shows a dangerous lack of knowledge.

Four Common Risks not Covered

Standard homeowners policies are designed for personal exposures, not business. While there may be small areas or limits of coverage available for certain types of home-based businesses, the vast majority will find coverage severely limited or specifically excluded for business losses related to these four common risks:

1) Theft,

2) Vehicle usage,

3) Employee injuries, or

4) Life/health/disability.

The largest potential gap in proper coverage arises from the lack of liability protection for claims arising out of business activities, whether the claim occurs in the home or elsewhere.

Protect Your Assets

Starting and running a home-based business may be the first step on your road to successful entrepreneurship. Whether your business ultimately remains in your home or grows into the need for outside facilities or a relocation, your Baldwin Welsh & Parker (BWP) Trusted Choice® agent stands ready to be your ongoing valued partner. Schedule a time today to review your current or future business plans, and let us help you establish a comprehensive insurance and risk management program to protect what we both hope will be your most valuable growing asset.

Contact Us Today

Bedford, MA - 781-275-2114

Hudson, MA - 978-562-5652

Wayland, MA - 508-358-5383

Winthrop, MA - 617-846-0731

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