Homeowners Policy: Basic vs Special Form

There are many confusing parts of insurance. One of them is the type of form/policy that you have for your homeowners insurance. There are a few different types of forms, but we will discuss a Basic Form or “Named Perils” versus a Special Form.


The Basic Form is commonly called “Named Perils” because it only covers the perils that are specifically named. If a peril is not named, there is no coverage for the loss. The common named perils are fire, lightening, windstorm, hail, explosion, riot, smoke, vandalism and damage caused by aircraft or vehicle. Some of the common losses NOT covered by a Named Perils form are water damage from a broken or frozen water pipe. Also, damage caused by ice dams, which are formed from the freezing and melting of snow on your roof. These types of losses are very common in Massachusetts. So even though a Basic Form is less expensive, it is rarely recommended.

The most comprehensive coverage will be the Special Form. This type of policy covers almost all losses to the building, with the exception of flood and earthquake damage. The Special Form is used almost exclusively on our homeowners policies. The Special Form pertains to the actual building and not to the personal property and contents of the building. The form can be extended to cover contents for an additional premium. There are a few occasions when a Special Form can not be used; such as, when a property has substandard conditions.

If you have any questions about your homeowners policy and what type of coverage you have, please call us to discuss. We are happy to explain all of your options and give you the best type of coverage for your needs. www.mancuso-nowak.com.

Pool Safety

June is HOT, especially this week! One of the best ways to cool off is a dip in the pool. Unfortunately, in the news recently there have been incidents of people, mostly children, drowning. You can prevent most pool accidents with some basic pool safety guidelines:

swimming pool

  • Have proper pool safety equipment readily available. Have a 4 foot tall fence surrounding the entire pool area with a quick latching door that locks.
  • If your house is the 4th side of the fence then make sure you have alarms on the doors and windows facing the pool. This will alert you if a child is outside near the pool.
  • Make sure the pool cover fits securely around the pool itself. The best type of cover is a lockable pool cover.
  • Have a safety flotation device located right next to the pool.
  • Keep a first aid kit in the pool area.
  • Post CPR instructions on a fence or pool house. It is much more helpful if you are CPR certified.
  • Make sure you are a good swimmer, if not take lessons. Same is true for your children. Start swim lessons early.
  • Never leave children unsupervised in the pool area.
  • Always have one person in charge of directly watching children in the pool. Never assume someone else is watching the kids. Talk about who is in charge before the kids go in.
  • If a child is in the pool and not splashing around…check them! This can often be “silent drowning.”

Pools are a fantastic way to beat the heat. If safety comes first everyone will have a great time! Look at our Homeowners page to find out more information on what your policy covers: mancuso-nowak.com/coverage/home. Call us with any questions!

Attention All Drivers! Watch Out and Yield for Bikers and Pedestrians

As you navigate the local streets in your vehicle, it is your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings. This is especially true when lots of bikers and pedestrians are around during the summer months. Making sure you yield when necessary and watching out for unexpected risks is the best way to take caution. This way, sharing the road won’t be so difficult.

bicycle rider

Following the rules of the road will promote safety within your community. If you or someone else fails to do this, serious collisions and injuries could occur with bikers and pedestrians. As a driver, it is important to remember that a bicycle is considered a vehicle too, so it has the same rights as any other form of transportation. In addition, if you are near a cross walk, you should always expect someone to be walking across it. Here are some safety tips for you to follow as a driver to keep the roads safe:

  • Do not pull out in front of a stop sign too far. If you disobey this law, you could hit a cyclists or walker. Therefore, you should stop with enough room for anyone to get by.
  • At nighttime, always ride with the lights on. If you don’t do so, this puts you and others in danger of a collision.
  • If you are in a city, side street parking is common, as is bicycle riding and walking or running. Therefore, you should look outside before opening a door to avoid hitting someone.
  • Stop behind the white line at an intersection and not in the crosswalk.
  • When turning at an intersection, be sure to look both ways for pedestrians and bikers.

At Mancuso-Nowak Insurance Agency, we hope that by following these safety tips, you can stay in control on the road. We know that you may take every precaution to stay safe, but there is still always the possibility for an accident or injury. This is why you should have the proper auto insurance during unpredictable events. Our team understands that your needs differ from those of other drivers. This is why we are committed to building a life-long relationship with you. Let us guide you through this process so you may find peace of mind.

Your Insurance Renewal

Every year you receive your home and auto renewals in the mail or via email. What do you do with it? Do you even look at it? Or just at the premium? There are some key things you should consider when reviewing your insurance renewals:

7-6-15-form-e1436203234283-225x300What has happened to you/your family in the past year? Marriage? Newly licensed driver? Get a company car? Good report cards from school? All of this information should be updated with your insurance agent.

Are the correct vehicles listed on your auto renewal – look at model, year, drivers? Has anyone moved into or out of your house that should (not) be listed in the household as drivers?

Check the limits for your vehicles. We recommend $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident for coverage #5 Optional Bodily Injury.

Are the lean holder and/or mortgagee information correct on your auto/home policy?

Is the dwelling value accurate on your homeowners policy? Have you made any updates or remodels to your house to increase the value? Added a home security system, pool, heating system (stove, etc.)? Replaced your roof?

Did you buy a new recreational vehicle – boat, jet ski, motorcycle, snow mobile?

All of these points should be considered when looking at your home and auto renewals. Adding Umbrella Insurance is also an excellent idea. It gives you $1M worth of coverage over both your home and auto insurance for just a couple hundred dollars a year. Our famous saying: You don’t need to be a millionaire to be sued for a million dollars. Please call us if you have any questions about your insurance coverage: www.mancuso-nowak.com.