September is National Preparedness Month

Lets Get Ready It’s National Preparedness Month! Periodically throughout this month we’ll post another activity you and your family can check out, so that you have to information to stay safe. Below is a link to an online Word Search Game for kids from www.ready.gov!

http://www.ready.gov/kids/step2/wordsearch.html

See if you can find these hidden words. Click your mouse on the first letter; then drag the cursor over the word and release the button on the last letter. If you have found a word it will cross off the list.
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(Hurricane) Irene, we hardly knew you

Many will say, this storm was kind of a yawner – at least for us here is eastern MA.  Sure, we lost electricity.  Sure, tree limbs are down.   But Irene’s major threat ran out of gas before she came as she passed west of us.  By and large there did not seem to be large numbers of injuries or major losses to property in our surrounding area.

However, Monday morning, working in my insurance agency office, I can tell you… the phones are ringing “of the hook”.    We have tons of calls from customers stating tree limbs fell on their cars and damaged them, or onto their fences or properties.  

Tree down on Hale Ave Winthrop MA

Tree down on Hale Ave Winthrop MA. Image from Suzanne Chiudina

Like any claim situation, coverage for these incidents are circumstantial, and depend on varying factors.  Please call us, or your own particular insurance agent, if you have any questions about tree’s damaging your property, or any other kind of loss.  Bear in mind that in most cases a special Wind Storm deductible would apply. 

So even though this was a bit of a “false alarm” in the Boston area, let’s not let this lull us into nonchalance on the preparedness issue.  We are still very early on in the hurricane season.  I, for one, will remember this lesson and NEVER part my car near a tree when a storm is coming.  And I still have my supply of flashlights and “D” batteries.

Earthquakes on the East Coast? Are We Insured?

Massachusetts and East Coast Experience “rare” Earthquake

What can we do? Are we prepared for earthquakes? Am I insured?

 On August 23, 2011, the east coast of the US experienced something we don’t often feel – an earthquake. Something reserved more often for those living in California, many of us have never felt an earthquake before, and there was quite a buzz surrounding the event.

Having said that, the fact that we lie on fault lines here on the east coast, has been documented. MEMA (Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency) states that Massachusetts is in a “moderate” earthquake zone, and takes the threat of a potentially destructive earthquake in this area very seriously.

Earthquakes are not covered under standard homeowner’s or businessowner’s policies. Please contact us if you would like more information about Earthquake Coverage. In the meanwhile…

FAQ’s for Massachusetts Tornado Victims

Thanks to some news fresh off the presses from FEMA, I’m happy to share some information we received that recent Massachusetts tornado victims may find helpful!   Some of the questions on people’s mind that can be answered are:

  • I have insurance. Should I wait for my insurance settlement before requesting additional assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency?
  • I already repaired my home. Can I still apply?
  • I got help from the American Red Cross. Can I still register with FEMA if I need assistance?
  • Do I have to meet a minimum amount of damage before I can register with FEMA?
  • Do I have to be turned down by my bank before I can apply for a disaster loan?
  • I don’t really want a loan. Do I still need to fill out the SBA application when I receive it?
  • If I qualify for an SBA loan, do I have to accept it?
  • I rent an apartment. Can I get help to replace my damaged personal property?

For answers to these questions, please see the full context of the press release from FEMA here.

If you are looking for an insurance agent that helps keep YOU up to date on important issues, check out Elliot Whittier Insurance, for home, auto, business & life.

What to do after a tornado

Recent tornado touch-downs and destruction in the Springfield MA area has me thinking.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a tornado, a hurricane, or a severe Nor’easter.  There are certain steps we need to keep at the forefront of our minds in the event of a severe weather event.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Personal safety is the #1 Priority
  • Stay tuned to local weather.   That’s why they say radio with batteries are good to have.  We forget this where we rely so much on web-based information.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.  Wait for authorities to tell you it’s safe to return.
  • Have an pre-arranged meeting place for family & loved ones.
  • When it’s safe to be at your home, it’s usually best if it’s possible to make temporary repairs to prevent your home from further damage.  For example, covering holes in roofs or walls with plywood or tarp to prevent water or wind damage.   Consider a professional “damage/restoration” specialist to do the work.  Take pictures and save receipts for insurance claims.  Move wet items to higher ground.
  • Review your insurance policy.  Typically,  damage to walls, roofs, floors, home contents will be covered by most policies in the event of a tornado or other windstorm.  Pay attention to your deductibles as well as special wind deductibles that will apply. 
  • Prepare a well documented list of all damaged property with pictures, receipts, and values as this will help with your insurance claim.  Do not discard any particularly expensive items. 
  • If you can’t live in your home, most policies will pay for additional living expenses for the reasonable time while repairs are being done.  Insure that you hire licensed, bonded, local, well-respected contractors to do the work for you.

Times like these give those of us a chance to be kind to our neighbors, check in on any elderly, and also check our own insurance policies.  Make sure you have enough insurance so that in the event of a catastrophe, you can have peace of mind that you will have your home back.