Rants & Repercussions

The Internet has made it significantly easier to express yourself. But that’s not always a good idea. This is especially true when voicing your opinion,
complaining or venting your frustrations. These days, the news is filled with stories of people being sued for comments they’ve made or acts of Internet-based revenge they’ve taken on people/companies.

Sadly, many people believe they can say/do whatever they like online and the perceived anonymity of the Internet will protect them. Typically, that’s not the case though. The same may also be true of your homeowners insurance.

Whether deliberate or accidental, your damaging rant may open you up to charges of harassment, defamation, libel or slander. While most homeowners policies contain liability coverage, this usually only applies to bodily injury and/or property damage. The bottom line? You may incur significant financial damages and possibly prison!

So if you’re prone to outbursts of excessive vitriol on the Internet, may we suggest putting down your phone or stepping away from the keyboard, taking a deep breath and counting to ten. Then, give us a call to learn more about personal injury coverage and whether your homeowners insurance is sufficient for your needs.

Beware of Hurricane Cars

This year, the U.S. was hit by 3 significant hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria. The damage caused by these storms impacted millions in the regions where they hit. The same may be true for people hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

Typically, thousands, if not hundred of thousands of vehicles are damaged in hurricanes that hit populated areas. Many of these cars are considered “totaled”, but they may not be consigned to the scrap heap. They’re often cleaned up, shipped to distant locations and sold to unsuspecting buyers.

So what can you do to avoid these clunkers? Check the vehicle history. Using the vehicle identification number (VIN), you can search a variety of sites to learn if a vehicle has been marked as salvage or beyond repair. CarFax, VINcheck and National Motor Vehicle Title Information System are three such sites. Some sites/services are free, but others do charge a fee, so be sure to do your homework. The National Auto Defense Association (NADA) offers 10 tips to help you spot and avoid “swamped” cars. Visit our blog for a link to more details.

Ice Dam Damage

As the weather turns cold, we once again urge our customers to do what they can to learn about and prevent ice dams. They can cause significant damage, which can go unnoticed until it’s too late. We’ve written about ice dams in the past and even posted an informative video to our website. To view it, visit the Homeowners page on our site, scroll down and look for the video labeled “Preventing
Ice Dams”.

Cold Weather, Hot Cars

 You may not know it, but car thefts increase during cold weather. Many people foolishly leave their cars idling in the driveway or while they run into the store. Their intent is to keep the interior warm, but what they’re doing is providing thieves with an ideal opportunity.

The problem of owners having their vehicle stolen after leaving them idling has grown so much that some communities have outlawed the practice. It’s not all bad news though. Technology is helping to reduce car thefts, but a car can be stolen in less than a minute, so owner vigilance is still the best deterrent. This winter, think twice before choosing between convenience and possible car theft.

E&C Community Involvement

On the evening of Saturday, September 30th, Laurie Hartrey, a local Bridgewater resident, arranged for 50 or so people to stroll from the center of town and visit several historic landmarks which included 3 homes, the Masonic Lodge and an old cemetery. One of the homes visited was the Estabrook & Chamberlain offices. As you may know, our building has ties to Paul Revere.

We served cider to those who visited and explained the connection between Paul Revere and
his family to the building. We also showed the visitors our collection of old Bridgewater photos that we possess and answered questions about the building. If you’re unfamiliar with the history of our building, please ask the next time you stop by.
We’re happy to talk with you about more than just insurance.

Shop For Safety

When buying a car, don’t let factors such as styling, price and fuel economy push important safety considerations aside. Here are some points to keep in mind when making a new or used car purchase.

Size & Weight
Larger, heavier cars provide more protection. Bigger vehicles have more structure that can absorb impact forces, which can help minimize the chances of injury or death. Drivers of smaller vehicles are also subject to greater impact forces when struck by larger vehicles, so it’s best to avoid very small cars.

Structural Design & Safety Features
Strong occupant compartments help reduce injury and death. Likewise, safety features such as air bags, restraint systems and crash avoidance features such as “lane departure alert”, can make all the difference if you’re involved in a crash. Crumple zones absorb impact forces and a strong roof helps minimize injuries/deaths in roll-over situations. Seat belts keep passengers in their seats and distribute crash forces and front/side airbags help keep occupants from hitting hard interior objects such as the steering column and side pillars.

Review Crash Ratings & Recalls
The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) publishes vehicle crash test ratings. Go to www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings to learn more about vehicles you’re considering. Preference should be given to vehicles with good front and side impact ratings, airbags (front and side), electronic stability control (ESC) and other safety features.

In addition to safety ratings, check to see if a vehicle you’re considering has been recalled or has other safety issues. You can do so at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website – www.nhtsa.gov/recalls#vehicle.

The Cost Of Claims

Auto insurers increased rates significantly in 2016, but apparently the increases weren’t high enough. Insurance buyers may not be sympathetic to such news, but the reality is that losses are outpacing rate increases. In addition to competition, factors that increase claim costs have had a significant impact. People driving more and driving distracted increase the likelihood and number of accidents as well as subsequent claims. More complex vehicle parts also increase repair costs.

A recent report suggests that insurance companies will likely continue to struggle with the cost of claims, but only time will tell.

Clocks, Batteries, Etc.

Don’t forget to set your clocks back on Sunday, Nov. 5th. That’s also a great time to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have home fire extinguishers, it’s a good idea to check them too. Even if they haven’t expired, home fire extinguishers should be checked each month to help make sure they are ready for use.

Lightning Bolt Blues

Lightning Bolt Blues

Most people know how damaging lightning can be, but people often don’t know
how to avoid that damage. Lightning protection systems, commonly called lightning rods, are a good way to avoid damage from a lightning strike, but there are other things to consider. For example – a lightning strike can cause a power outage.
When power is restored, the resulting surge may cause substantial damage to
home systems and electronics.
To help protect your home and property from lightning strikes, consider the following:
Lightning protection systems (lightning rods)*
• Whole house surge protection systems*
• Individual surge protection devices (SPD)
*Be sure to consult a qualified contractor

2017 Read & Ride Winners

Estabrook & Chamberlain partnered with the Bridgewater and West Bridgewater public libraries again this year to sponsor the 2017 Summer Reading Program. As in past years, the program’s intent is to help kids expand their knowledge and horizons through reading. The Read & Ride program also offers young readers the chance to win a new bike – just for reading one book over the summer.

This year’s participation was once again outstanding and we’re proud to announce the winners.

Bridgewater winners, front row (left to right) Cole Morrison, Luke Negrich, Joshua Kelsch. Back row (left to right) Tom Chamberlain, Petra Littlewood, Benjamin Lucia, Bradley Gates, Audrey Gates and Librarian Cindy Davis.
Winners not in picture: Ada Smith and Lily Cooley.

 

West Bridgewater winners Hannah Edlund on the left and Viviana Morales Wakin on the right. 
Pictured with the girls is Miss Teenage Massachusetts.

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