Are Your Tires Winter Ready?

The slippery winter months are upon us. From mid November to mid April the roads can be treacherous. The only part of your car that meets those treacherous roads are your tires. Your tires will be affected when the temperature outside is above or below 19 degrees Fahrenheit. Below 19 degrees tires lose elasticity and thus their traction on the road. Make sure your tires are in the best condition this winter to avoid some slipping and sliding. Here are some tire tips:

  • Make sure the tires are inflated to recommended tire pressure (found on the inside of the drivers door frame)
  • If your tires treads are worn down they should be replaced, low treads make for poor traction in snow
  • Buy snow tires for the winter and put them on all 4 tires. These tires are designed to keep their elasticity when the temps go below 19 degrees.
  • At minimum have all-season tires (M+S rated) on all 4 tires
  • When winter is over do not keep snow tires on during the warm/hot months they will deteriorate

winter tire

Keep yourself and family safe when on the roads this winter, make sure your tires are winter ready! Drive slowly, avoid quickly breaking and accelerating when on the roads the next few months. Even with the best winter tires proper driving is essential. Snow tires aren’t miracle workers they need someone safely using them!

Tips to Host a Great and Safe Holiday Celebration!

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 the day without worry.

Thanksgiving orncopia

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, enlist some help – before, during and after the party.  Everyone loves to feel useful!
  • Ask guests if they have any serious food allergies before purchasing the food. This way, you can avoid serious medical issues.
  • Prepare beforehand if children are coming to your home. Put away all dangerous items 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.

At Mancuso-Nowak Insurance Agency, we hope these tips help you make 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. If you feel your home requires more protection than it already has, home insurance could be the solution. We care about providing comprehensive coverage that won’t let you down. Our team also wants to make sure that Massachusetts residents understand their insurance options. Let one of our professional agents work closely with you to find reliable products that give you peace of mind today.

Natural Disasters Covered and Not Covered By Insurance

Most people have a homeowners and an auto policy, but most of us don’t know exactly what types of natural disasters are covered. So, what natural disasters DO these policies cover? In Massachusetts the most common types of storms we see are: snow and ice storms, thunder/lightening storms, hurricanes and hail storms. A homeowners policy covers most damage from these storms. The exceptions are flood damage and earthquake damage, these are not covered. If you want coverage for these disasters, you can buy a separate flood policy or if you want earthquake coverage you can add an endorsement to your homeowners policy for additional premium. Don’t try to add flood insurance right before a storm, as there is a 30 day waiting period before federal flood coverage is effective. A convenient chart was created by the Insurance Information Institute to quickly see the types of perils covered by a homeowners policy.


Under a homeowners policy if your house is struck by lightening and it catches fire, you will be covered up to the policy limits. What if heavy, wet snow causes structural damage to your roof? This is also covered under a homeowners policy, unless the damage was from lack of maintenance. For example, if you have an old deteriorating roof, that has missing and worn shingles and it is damaged from a storm, this might not be covered. As a homeowner, it is your duty to maintain your property to an adequate state. In 2009, 2013 and last August the area had hail storms that caused a lot of property damage to houses. These claims were covered. Watch the 2015 hail storm in Waltham, MA.

In regard to auto policies, if you have comprehensive coverage most of these physical damage claims will be covered. Check out this damage done by the hail last August to this man’s car: car hail damage. The car may be considered totaled after all the damage is assessed. All of this damage should be covered if he had comprehensive coverage on his Honda. If you have any questions about your homeowners or auto policy, please call us and we are happy to help!

One Last Road Trip, Make It a Safe One!

It is August and we are all trying to stretch our summer out as long as possible!  Have you planned one more road trip to enjoy the last of the summer sun?  Driving longer distances can be taxing, but with safety in mind you can make the trip more enjoyable:

road trip

Make you last summer road trip a memorable and safe one!  Happy last month of summer vacation!

Keep Your House Safe While Vacationing

The summer is a popular time to take a vacation. Burglars also know this. Break-ins are most prevalent when a homeowner is on vacation. Here are some ways to deter a burglar:

Install a home alarm system. Not one that just 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 off the A/C.

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. We open them and then close them often for fresh air. But we often forget to lock them every time.

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

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

These are great preventative actions to take before going on vacation this summer. If you have any questions on scheduling items on your Homeowners Policy, please call us. Have a fun and safe summer vacation!

Insurance for Multi-Generational Houses

It is very common these days to have many generations living under one roof. Elderly parents often need help as they age and may move into their adult child’s house with his/her family. That family could also have adult children of their own still living in their house. The market has been difficult for Millennials to get jobs, so many of them have moved back in with their parents after college or after losing a job. How does this affect home and auto insurance? Do you have the proper coverage?

multigenerational family


Auto Insurance Changes:

If your parent and/or child is living under your roof and could possibly use your car (and does not have a policy of his/her own), you need to list them on your policy

If your parent and/or child has a policy of his/her own, make sure they are listed on your policy as deferred

You can add your parent and/or child to your policy and have them drop their current policy also. The tricky part with this is if they have a bad driving record. Your premium will increase.


Home Insurance Changes:

If you build an in-law apartment in your home, have your parents get a separate renters policy

With any additions it will increase the value of your house, make sure you are insured for the actual new value.

If your loved one is just staying in a room in your house make sure to account for any valuables they bring with them, antiques should be appraised and scheduled separately on your home policy

Also, if you do not already have an umbrella policy, you should get one. As we have said before, you don’t need to be a millionaire to get sued for a million dollars! Make sure you have the proper coverage, it will pay off in the long run.

Safety for Graduation Parties

graduation capsIt is the season for graduation parties – colleges and high schools. We all love to celebrate, especially after the year of Covid, for a joyous occasion. Graduating is a big accomplishment and many parties will be thrown to congratulate the students.

In order to have a successful party keep these things in mind:

  • Do not serve alcohol to minors.
  • Encourage each car to have a designate driver.
  • Take away keys from party goers who have had too much to drink.
  • Have a lot of water (flavored water is much more enticing, so make a few pitchers and keep them on all tables) available for people to stay hydrated and not drink more alcohol.
  • Good food is essential. If the guests are busy eating they may be too full to drink a lot!
  • Remember that you have neighbors, respect them. Keep the noise to a respectable level and don’t let the party rage all night.
  • Alert your neighbors that you will be having a party and let them know you will clean up any trash that may get in their yard.
  • There are many outdoor games that all ages will enjoy, have lots of activities to entertain guests.

Graduation parties are fun, just make them safe too! You are liable for the people drinking at your party, so make sure everyone is ok to drive before they leave. It is important to also have a personal umbrella policy! Our motto: “You don’t have to be a millionaire to be sued for a million dollars!” Protect yourself and your assets, call us about adding an umbrella policy to your account

How to Handle a Grease Fire

Did  you know that the #1 cause of house fires is cooking.  Most of us cook every day, but do you know what to do if something goes wrong?  Grease can quickly escalate the severity of a cooking fire, so we should all know the best and worst ways to handle a grease fire.

Best Ways to Extinguish a Grease Fire:

  • Turn off the burner!!!  Fire will never go out with a heat source still active.
  • Always keep a tight fitting lid for all pans/pots readily available because you can quickly put a lid on a small grease fire to smother it and put it out.
  • If your grease fire is small another option is pouring baking soda on the fire.  A large amount of baking soda is often needed, so keep this in mind.
  • A grease fire that is too big for a cover or baking soda will need a fire extinguisher.  Always have one in your kitchen for emergencies.
  • Call 911 if the fire is unable to be controlled.

Worst Things to Do for a Grease Fire:

  • Do not use water!  It will cause your oil to explode!
  • Do not try to move the pan.  You could easily burn yourself or catch something else on fire.
  • Do not use a similar product to baking soda, only baking soda.  Flour and other baking items do not work the same as baking soda.

Prevention is the best way to avoid a dangerous fire, but if there is an emergency it is essential to be prepared. It is also important to have home/renters insurance to protect you in a time of loss, call us for more information.

How an Umbrella Policy Can Prevent Financial Distress

umbrellaWhat is an Umbrella policy and why do you need one?
An Umbrella policy has a minimum coverage of $1M and as the name implies it goes over your auto and home/tenants policies. It provides an additional $1M (or more) of liability coverage over the underlying policies which typically carry limits of $250K per person/$500K per accident for auto and $300K for homeowners. Certain carriers require more/less limits on the underlying but these are the most common underlying coverage requirements.

Umbrella policies are not super expensive for the amount of coverage they provide. Most policies range from $200-$350 a year. The coverage not only pays for damages that occur on your property, but also damages that your family (including pets and kids) cause to someone else’s property.  The additional coverage is necessary because it provides the added protection most of us need in the litigious society in which we live. The large awards the court systems have been granting are astonishing. If someone slips and falls on your property or you get in a car accident that is your fault, an injured party could be awarded a sum that exceeds your home or auto policy limits. The umbrella policy would protect you and your assets by paying the additional money up to the policy limit.  You could easily prevent financial distress by having an Umbrella policy.

Families with dogs should seriously consider buying an Umbrella policy. Even if you have the most gentle, non-biting dog the statistics are there. The average dog bite claim has rose from $19,162 in 2003 to $29,396 in 2011. These numbers are for the average dog bite. If a visitor to your home is severely injured the cost could exceed $1M. According to the Insurance Information Institute dog bites account for a third of all homeowners claims. The statistics are alarming and definitely warrant a look into getting an Umbrella policy. Protect your family and assets.

Umbrella policies are one of the smartest ways to protect you and your family from a devastating financial loss. Call us for more information and to review your options:

How to Spring Clean the Outside of Your Home

As we approach the end of March, it is time to spring clean the outside of your house.  We have nice weather this week and hopefully it will continue to stay warm. We know that April showers bring May flowers, so make sure your home is ready for these showers.  Most of us spring clean the inside of our homes, but sometimes the outside is over looked.  If you take a few very important steps in protecting your biggest asset it will pay off.  Doing some general maintenance can prevent water damage in and around your home.

  1. First step is to check your gutters, clean them out, make sure they are in good condition
  2. Then make sure the soffit and fascia boards underneath your gutters are not rotted
  3. Check the condition of your roof
  4. Examine your sprinkler system
  5. Keep painted surfaces in good condition, if paint is chipped and pealing it is easier for the wood to rot
  6. Make sure your land slopes down coming away from the foundation of your home. A good rule of thumb is 6 vertical inches over 10 ft.
  7. Clean out your dryer vents or have them professionally cleaned to prevent fires
  8. Check your sump pumps to make sure they are working properly:
  9. Check for cracks in your foundation, repair if necessary



Outdoor maintenance is essential for keeping your home free from damage. We want you to have a trouble free spring and summer!