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!!

“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!


Ugh it is that time of year when our tires meet the inevitable potholes on so many roads in the area. As the state is trying to meet the high demands of fixing all the potholes, you will probably hit one of these road problems. Potholes on town/city roads should be reported to that municipality’s highway department.  The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) would like you to report any potholes you come across on state run roads by calling 857-DOT-INFO.   2-25-16-pothole

Since it is the season for potholes, please make sure you use extra caution on the roads. Always pay attention to the road ahead, especially if you see a puddle…it could be hiding a large pothole. If you are trying to avoid a pothole, make sure it is safe to do so. Knowing your traffic surrounding you at all times, makes it easier to make split second decisions on the road. If you can not avoid the pothole, slow down. Slamming on breaks may not be the best option if someone is in close proximity directly behind you. Letting off the gas and slowing down safely could be your only option.

If you have hit a pothole and fear substantial damage to your car, make sure you pull over to a safe area. If you believe it is only minor damage, wait to you get to your destination to check the car. Listen for unusual sounds coming from your car after you have hit a pothole. The alignment could be off or a wheel could be damaged. Bring your car to a mechanic to get a professional assessment of the damage.  If you sustained extensive property damage or injury there is a claim process on the DOT’s website:

Most potholes should be fixed during early spring, but please report any that have not been repaired. Save your car and many others’ cars!

Uninsured and Underinsured Auto Coverage Explained!

Insurance can be confusing! We have found that one of the more confusing types of coverage for auto insurance is Uninsured and Underinsured coverage. In Massachusetts Uninsured coverage is compulsory with limits of $20,000/$40,000 and Underinsured coverage is optional. From our experience we feel that limits of $100,000/$300,000 should be the minimum to carry for both Uninsured and Underinsured coverage (Parts 3, 5 and 12 of your auto policy should all be the same, so we recommend the $100,000/$300,000 limits for all three parts).


The Uninsured and Underinsured limits can cover: medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. Consequently, the higher limits are recommended.

If another driver hits and injures you and does not carry auto insurance your limits of $100,000/$300,000 for Uninsured coverage will apply. Medical costs quickly add up and you don’t want to end up paying out of pocket. If you are out of work for an extended period of time these higher limits will allow you to collect sufficient wages that would otherwise be lost with low limits.

If another driver only has low limits such as $20,000/$40,000 for Bodily Injury and he/she causes the accident you may not receive enough money to cover the injuries you sustained. Once again the medical costs and lost wages will most likely exceed $20,000/$40,000 limits. Therefore, your coverage would apply after their limits were met – Underinsured coverage.

You are involved in a hit and run accident, then your Uninsured coverage limits will apply if someone sustains bodily injury. The state minimum limits of $20,000 may not be sufficient.

Uninsured and Underinsured coverage is relatively inexpensive, so it is wise to increase Bodily Injury Coverage in the event of a major accident caused by another vehicle with no or little coverage.

We hope that you now have a better understanding of how Uninsured and Underinsured coverage works and what limits are best for your protection. If you have any further questions, please call us!

Keeping Your House Secure During the Holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching. We are all busy running errands, cooking and visiting relatives and friends. Many of us travel for the holidays and burglars know this. Make sure your home is protected while you are away by taking these precautionary steps:

Install a home alarm system. Not just one that sounds when a window or door is opened. The new alarms let you monitor your entire house from your smart phone. You can turn on lights, lock doors, turn on the heat.  The Nest and Ring have home security systems that let you monitor all of these.

Put a few lights on timers. This may not always work because if your lights go on at the exact same time everyday, then a burglar watching your house will realize the lights are on a timer, not that someone is home turning them on. So your best bet is to change the time your lights go on every week. Also, have a few lights on timers, one in each section of your house.

Update your front door. The new type of door that is top for security is a steel door. The fancy windows on the side of your door make breaking in easier. Replace the whole unit with a steel door.

Have a neighbor or relative stop by occasionally to check on the house. This benefit is two-fold: a human presence to deter a burglar and to check to make sure everything looks ok.

Leave a radio or tv on. The sounds are a good deterrent for someone looking to break-in.

Lock all doors (even inside garage doors) and windows. This is obvious, but the most common break-in spot is a bedroom window. Check all of your windows, because often in the fall when it is nice weather we open the windows for fresh air. We don’t always lock them after.

Hide your valuables. In a good spot…not under the bed! There are many creative spots, some good ones are found here.

Make sure your valuables are scheduled on your Homeowners Policy!!!

We hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season. Be safe and secure your home! Call us with any questions about your homeowners policy

Keeping Teens Safe While Driving

There is a reason teens have higher insurance premiums than other adults, they are inexperienced drivers. Inexperience often leads to more accidents. The number one killer of teens is motor vehicle accidents. Only with experience is a driver more educated on how a car handles, what to do in an emergency and how to drive in many different weather conditions.

For parents of new drivers there are things you can do to make the learning experience safer:

  • Be a good example. Your children watch you. If you text and drive they will think it is safe to do so.
  • Let them know it is against the law to text and drive. Do not ever do it. And do not get into a car with a driver that does.
  • Set up an agreement about safety in the car. This website has a great program: Countdown2Drive
  • Make sure they use their seatbelts at all times! Twenty-five percent of teens do not use a seatbelt every time they get in a car.
  • Even though talking on the phone is legal while driving, make sure all calls are made when the vehicle is stopped. A study found that it is 8x more likely for a teen to get into an accident or near accident if they are trying to dial a phone.
  • In addition to Drivers Education, a skid school is a great place to learn. In Control is a local crash prevention school.  Insurance discounts are given with some carriers.

Learning to drive is a joint effort with parents and their teens, make it a safe experience. If teens know that their safe driving will result in lower insurance premiums it will motivate them to keep these guidelines in mind. Call us with any questions on your teen’s insurance.

* Statistics are from Safe Kids Worldwide (image at right)

Tips for Hosting a Safe and Successful Holiday Party

Are you expecting lots of guests at your holiday party? Navigating a crowded home can be difficult and sometimes not safe if you are not organized about it. Maintaining a clean, welcoming, fun, and festive residence can allow for everyone to enjoy a party without worry.

If you feel overwhelmed by the expectations of family and friends, don’t let this bring you down. Instead, have confidence in your hosting abilities. As you prepare to have those you love into your place of comfort, it is important to keep safety in mind. The last thing you need is for someone to get hurt during a time of celebration. Here are some tips to be a great host for your guests:

•Celebrations are supposed to be all about fun, not stress. One person can’t do everything alone.

•Ask guests if they have any serious food allergies before purchasing the food. This way, you can avoid serious medical issues.

•Don’t hesitate to ask for help with cleaning, food prep, cooking, etc. This way, you won’t be totally exhausted before the party even begins!

•Prepare beforehand if children are coming to your home. Put away all dangerous and leave around kid friendly activities to keep them occupied as the adults mingle.

•Just because it is a holiday party doesn’t mean you have to offer alcohol. Provide a variety of drinks, such as soda, sparkling water, and juice.

•Be prepared for potential disasters to occur. Remove slipping and falling hazards and don’t leave anything out that could cause an accident.  With snowy and icy conditions in the winter make sure all paths and driveways are cleared and salted.

At Mancuso-Nowak Insurance Agency, we hope these tips help you make you and your guests feel right at home this holiday season. Of course you want your celebration to go without any problems, but sometimes these are unpredictable. Right now is a perfect time to review your liability coverage on your homeowners policy, call us to go over any questions.  If you do not have an Umbrella policy you should seriously consider this extra layer of liability coverage.  It is an inexpensive way to provide coverage in case of a large liability loss.  We care about providing comprehensive coverage that won’t let you down. Let one of our professional agents work closely with you to find reliable products that give you peace of mind today.  Happy Holidays!