Hurricane Season – Who Is At The Greatest Risk

hurricane gloria

Hurricane season runs from June 1 – November 30 in the Atlantic Ocean. Some of Massachusetts biggest hurricanes were from the end of August into October.  Storms during this time frame include Hurricane Gloria (September 1985), Hurricane Bob (August 1991), Hurricane Irene (August 2011), and Hurricane Sandy (October 2012). Predictions for this season are above average with 18 named storms, 8 of which will be hurricanes, 4 of which will be a category 3 (wind speed of 111-129 mph) or higher. We have already seen 3 hurricanes so far in 2022!  The number of storms has no correlation to the severity of the storms. Most hurricanes affect the Gulf of Mexico and the southern states along the Atlantic Ocean. Coastal areas often endure the most damage, many of which are located in the Hurricane Evacuation Zones.

Massachusetts coastal regions are labeled as Evacuation Zone A, B, or C. It is important to know your zone at home and at work.  Many people still commute to Boston which is part of all 3 Evacuation Zones. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has created a map to help residents determine if they are in a hurricane Evacuation Zone.  Evacuation Zone A is at the greatest risk for coastal flooding and storm surge.

The most damaging element of a hurricane is the storm surge. A storm surge is when the winds from a hurricane force huge amounts of water from the ocean on to the land. If a hurricane hits at high tide the storm surge is most destructing. It is important to have an evacuation route and destination planned out in case your home or work is evacuated. Massachusetts Public Safety Administration has outlined the steps residents should take before and after a hurricane to ensure safety during a storm.

We hope the area does not have an active and destructive Hurricane Season! It is always best to be prepared for the worst.

* Hurricane Gloria pictured

Low Plate Lotto!

Calling all license plate aficionados…the low plate lottery has begun! There are 198 special low numbers up for grabs this year. If you are interested in one of these license plates you should visit the Registry of Motor Vehicles website and fill out the form. The form used to be mailed, but now its an online submission by September 2, 2022 at 5pm.


MA license plate

When you enter the lottery you may not choose a specific license plate, you are entered for all available plates. Make sure your license and registration are active and up to date. Check to see if you have any outstanding tickets, excise taxes, child support or E-Z Pass violations because if you do you are not eligible. To ensure no errors on your application, have your registration in front of you. You will be notified by September 15 via email if you submit your address or by checking the Registry’s website.

Good luck to all who enter! Let us know if you get one!!

Boat Insurance – What You Need to Know

Finally Summer!  Over the past few years with Covid many have opted for stay-cations and buying a boat instead of flying to a destination.  With the increase in the number of boaters, there is even more reason for boat insurance.  We are surprised to find out so many people have boats but no insurance.  Just like cars, boats can get in accidents.  There can be property damage or even liability issues arising out of  a boat accident.

What does boat insurance cover?

  • Property damage to your vessel (excluding poor maintenance)
  • Liability lawsuits arising out of use or ownership of your boat
  • Medical payments incurred as a result of the boat (other than family members)

What is the boat insurance premium based on?

  • The deductible you choose
  • The amount of liability coverage you have
  • The size, age and condition of your boat
  • Your boating accident history as the owner

We offer a few different companies for boat insurance; including, Travelers, Foremost and Navis.  We will place your boat with a company that has the best coverage and lowest price.  Give us a call for more information!

“100 Deadliest Days” for Teen Drivers

AAA has given the name “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers to the period of time starting Memorial Day Weekend and ending Labor Day Weekend.  For parents of teen drivers this is very concerning.  It is reported that teens get into 16% more deadly car crashes, that is 10 deaths a day, during these 100 days of summer.  There are many factors that contribute to this statistic.  In the summer teens are driving a lot more because they are not just driving to school anymore, they are venturing to the beach, to parks, to places they have never driven.  And they are doing it with their friends in the car.  The Foundations for Traffic Safety stated that 60% of teen crashes resulted from distracted driving.  The 2 major distractions for teens are:

teen driver

  • passengers in the car
  • cell phones

If a teen is driving with friends they are 44% more likely to get into a fatal car crash.  Many are surprised that texting while driving is not the number one cause of deadly crashes.  But passengers are a constant distractions, while texting distracts for a few seconds.  Parents should stress to their teens about the dangers of both driving with friends and texting. Distractions in any form take the driver’s eyes away from their sole task of safely driving a car.  AAA recommends to teen drivers a complete ban on cell phones while driving, we absolutely agree!  Let’s all try to make these 100 Days of Summer a fun and safe time.  Drive safely!

May Is Skin Cancer Prevention Month – Know the Facts

The warm weather is upon us…finally!  This weekend is going to be a hot one!  And with Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, just around the corner it is time to enjoy the outdoors. The sun feels amazing after a cold winter and rainy spring.  While we are outdoors more of our skin is exposed and we are at a greater risk of getting skin cancer. May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month.  Know the facts, there are 3 types of skin cancer: melanoma (the most serious), basal cell and squamous cell. Melanoma may form from an existing mole or may be a new mole. It is important with melanoma to look at the ABCDE’s of the mole:

Border is irregular
Color is uneven
Diameter is increasing

skin cancer

With basal cell and squamous cell a bump can form that may get a scab or bleed. It can be scaly or tender also. If you see any types of changes with lumps or moles on your skin, have your doctor check it out. Early detection is essential to successful removal of the cancer before it spreads (melanoma).

Prevention is the best course of action with skin cancer. Prevention is easy. Stay out of the sun between 10am and 2pm (if possible), use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily and reapply often when sweating or swimming, wear a hat, use umbrellas at the beach, wear long sleeves and pants while doing yard work. Regular skin checks are important year round.

Summer is fun, just protect your skin and you can enjoy the season!

Does Homeowners Insurance Go Up Every Year?

The short answer is yes.  Think about what your homeowners insurance covers.  If there is a loss the cost to repair your home increases every year, especially this year!  We are seeing significant increases in home insurance premiums.  The cost of wood is up, the cost of labor is up, the cost of gas to transport goods and labor is up.  

Aside from the cost to repair your home, the likelihood of damage to your home increases with age.  If you have out dated HVAC, your premium can be higher.  You are more likely to have a loss when your home systems are not current.  If you have made any updates to your your home systems, let us know, it could affect your premium.

What can you do to offset increases in premium?  You can increase your deductible.  The deductible is how much you will pay before your insurance coverage kicks in.  We have been seeing customers with $2500 deductibles because they want to save money.  The thought behind a high deductible is that you are only planning to use your insurance for larger claims.  You save on your premiums every year and are willing to pay out of pocket for claims under a certain threshold.

Also smart home technology is helping to lower home insurance premiums.  There are devices that detect if you have a water leak, or security systems that alert you when a door or window is opened in your house. Finally, if your home and auto are not bundled together with the same company, you are losing out on a significant discount.

If you have any questions about your homeowners policy, please let us know.  We are happy to answer all of your questions and give you advice on how to best cover your biggest asset.

What You Need to Know About MA Hands Free Law

The Massachusetts Hands Free Law started in February of 2020.  The law seems obvious, you can’t hold on to your phone and use it while driving.  That in fact is true, but there are also stipulations when not necessarily driving and a strict age restriction.

To begin with, drivers under the age of 18yrs are not allowed to use an electronic device at all, not even hands free.  No exceptions, not for GPS, not for music.  Many drivers, especially young drivers and their parents are not aware of this part of the Hands Free Law.

Drivers over the age of 18yrs have the following rules within the Hands Free Law:

  • can only touch phone to active hands free mode
  • device needs to be properly mounted to windshield, dashboard or center console not to block vision or inhibit proper functioning of vehicle
  • GPS is permitted only when electronic device is properly mounted
  • voice to text is only permitted when device is properly mounted
  • use of headphone, one ear only, is acceptable
  • can only hand hold device when vehicle is stationary and off of a public travel or bicycle lane (no red light texting!!!)

If you are caught not obeying the Hands Free Law the first offence is $100 fine.  The second time is $250 fine plus mandatory distracted driving course.  The third offence (please just keep your phone at home if you can’t stop using it on the road!) is a $500 fine.  With the third time you also need to do the distracted driving course plus get an insurance surcharge.  You will not enjoy paying more on your insurance for 6 years!  Let’s make the roads a safer place together : )

When Should I File an Auto Insurance Claim?

This is a very common question!  There are a number of different things that go into figuring out if you should file an auto insurance claim. The most important things to consider are deductible amount and points on your driving record.

Deductible Amount

First thing to consider is your deductible amount.  If you have $500 deductible and the cost to repair your car is $800, then it probably does not make sense to file a claim.  You pay the first $500, so the insurance company will only send you $300 out of the $800 to do the repairs.  Claims filed may not always go against your driving record, but it could affect your rating (your premium) of your auto policy.  For example, an insured recently called in to see if he should file a claim when the upholstery of his car was ruined from a neighbor’s dog.  The dog had ripped the seats and he wanted to have them replaced.  The cost to replace the seat covering was $800.  He had a $500 deductible.  I told him if he files the claim he will not get points on his driving record, but his rating for renewal will probably increase.  He decided not to file a claim.

Points on Your Record

The other important factor to consider are the points on your driving record.  When you get into an accident you get points on your record.  It is 3 points for a minor accident and 4 points for a major accident.  A minor accident is $1k-$5k in damage.  A major accident is over $5k in damage.  For example, if you back into a car in a parking lot, you may choose to pay for damages out of pocket.  Your car is a big SUV and sustains no damage but the other car has a dented bumper.  You would get 3 points on your driving record and have to pay for that fender bender for up to 6 years.  It does not make sense to file the claim.

If you have any questions on whether to file an auto insurance claim, always give us a call.  We will walk you through making the decision.  That is why you have an insurance agent!


Fire Prevention Week!

The first full week in October marks Fire Prevention Week.  It is extremely important to review fire prevention safety on a regular basis, especially with young children.  Did you know most fires occur in the home between the hours of 11pm and 3am?  So in order to act quickly in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping, the safety procedures must be second nature.

Smoke Detectors:

  • test smoke alarms once a month
  • make sure there are working smoke alarms on every level of your house
  • working smoke alarms in each bedroom and outside sleeping areas
  • have children listen to the sound the smoke alarm makes
  • are your smoke detectors older than 10yrs?  replace if they are

During a Fire: 

  • have a home fire escape plan
  • two escape routes from every room
  • if the handle of a door is hot or has smoke coming out underneath, keep door closed and use 2nd exit out
  • if you are using 2nd exit out of room and it is a window, make sure you can safely get out or wave light colored sheets/clothes out window to signal you are inside
  • stop drop & roll still holds true if you catch on fire
  • make a meeting spot outside your house

Prevention is key.  Make sure you check your electrical and appliances for wear and tear. Have all chimneys inspected annually for wood burning stoves and fireplaces.  Space heaters need to be used in well ventilated areas, not plugged into power strips!  And always attend to food cooking on the stove or oven.

If you have a fire in your home or apartment, please call us and we will help you with the claim process

Renters Insurance – Why You Need It

Are you currently renting the unit where you live? Or do your kids rent off-campus at college? Renters insurance is an absolute must, but many people who rent do not have it. There are many reasons people don’t buy renters insurance. They think their landlord pays for insurance for them, or that they don’t have many valuable belongings. No matter what the reason if you think you don’t need it, think again.


What Does Renters Insurance Include?

Renters insurance covers your personal belongings, on and off premises. If you have a break-in or fire and your valuables are stolen or destroyed, renters insurance will cover this. Also, if your luggage is stolen from your hotel room while on vacation, renters insurance can cover this too.

Taking a home inventory prior to purchasing renters insurance is important. By documenting all of your belongings you will not only get a good idea on their value, but you will also have a source to reference in case you have things stolen. It is very difficult to remember everything you own when under duress.

Personal liability is another important aspect of renters insurance. If someone is injured at your apartment and they sue you, your renters insurance will cover payment up to policy limits. Also, if you injure someone off premises and they sue you, your renters insurance will help pay for damages.

Similar to personal liability, but without legal action, medical payments will pay if someone sustains minor injury at your place and requires medical attention up to $1,000, or the limit that the policy indicates.

If your apartment catches on fire and your belonging are destroyed, as mentioned before, renters insurance will pay. In addition, your policy will pay the cost for you to stay somewhere else while your place is uninhabitable. It will also pay for meals and storage.

Renters insurance is relatively inexpensive compared to homeowners insurance. Your premium will be determined by the value of your belongings. Accurate assessment of items is important and scheduling jewelry is always a good idea. Buying renters insurance is a smart way to protect your investments and valuables. Call us to get more information and to set up a policy!