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!  www.mancuso-nowak.com

“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!

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. www.mancuso-nowak.com

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 : )  www.mancuso-nowak.com

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 www.mancuso-nowak.com.

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! www.mancuso-nowak.com

All About Kelly Boyd

The “All About” blogs are my favorite to write!  I have only been asking Miss Kelly for a couple years to answer a few questions about herself…apparently she likes quoting insurance better than filling out my forms!  Kelly Boyd is a personal and commercial lines sales producer.  Kelly is known for her fun approach to getting insurance sales.  I mean she asks the water delivery man if she can quote his insurance….every time he comes in : )  Kelly also does not shy away from an office selfie social media post.  If you want to have your home, auto, watercraft, or commercial insurance policy quoted, Kelly is your girl.

Miss Boyd has been in the insurance industry for four years.  Her career started here at Mancuso-Nowak, home grown sales!  She was referred by an employee and she took a leap of faith, the rest is history.  She has never regretted that day, mostly because Mancuso-Nowak is the best.  Kelly has said she loves it here because it is a family owned business that values humor and a relaxed environment.  Looking forward to coming to work is a definite plus according to Kelly.  If you are excited to see everyone in the office and help customers save money on their insurance, then you have found your calling.  In the office Kelly is either laughing on the phone with one of her clients, taking a selfie or entertaining us with a story of her social life.

Outside of the office, Kelly enjoys soaking up the sun on her boat or watching her nephew play t-ball. Kelly’s brother coaches the team, and it reminds her of her dad. Lots of family time is a must for Kelly, she loves spending time with her mom.  Nightlife is also key for happiness in Kelly’s life.  Dinners and parties with her friends fill up her nights!

Hope you enjoyed learning all about Kelly Boyd!

“Why mess with the rest when you can have the best” here at Mancuso-Nowak.  Words to live by according to Kelly!

Why Did My Auto Insurance Premium Increase?

At least once a day we get a call in the office asking, why did my auto insurance premium increase?  There are a number of reasons for the increase in policy premium.  Let’s break it into two categories:  things you can control and things you can not control when it comes to auto insurance costs.  First we can take a look at how you can influence your premium.

Controlling your Auto Premium:

  • Avoid moving violations, such as speeding tickets. If you get a speeding ticket your insurance premium will increase.  Insurers see that you are not a careful driver.  The faster you are going the more likely you are to get in an accident and a more serious accident at that.
  • Do not commit a traffic crime, such as reckless driving or driving under the influence.  Again premium will definitely increase and your license could be suspended.
  • Make your payments on time, better yet go on EFT so you can’t forget!  This will avoid cancellation of your policy.  On-time payments and cancellations are taken into consideration when your premium is determined.
  • Avoid a lapse in insurance.  This means continuously keeping auto insurance active.  If you get rid of a car and aren’t buying a new one for a month or two don’t cancel your plates and policy, just reduce the limits to state minimums.
  • Always bundle your home and auto with one carrier, you will get a discount.

Things You Can Not Control on Your Auto Premium:

  • Rate increases by the insurance company.  Each company sets their own rates, they increase them annually based on the increase cost to repair your car, even if your car is a year older.  The cost of labor and parts to repair a car are continually increasing; therefore, insurers increase their rates.
  • How old you are!  If you are a young, inexperienced male driver you will have the highest auto premium (all other things being constant).  As you mature your auto insurance premium will go down.  The decreases in premium are at 3yrs, 6yrs and over 65yrs.
  • Accidents.  Like the word means, you didn’t do it on purpose.  Being a safe driver definitely helps in not getting in an accident but sometimes these things are unavoidable.

Auto insurance premiums are a combination of many, many factors, if you can avoid the controllable things then you are off to a good start.  Any questions that you may have on your auto policy please give us a call www.mancuso-nowak.com.