Other Structures

other structuresEvery homeowner’s policy provides automatic coverage to detached structures.  This could include a separate garage, barn, shed, pool, cabana, fence, etc.  This covers up to 10% of the insurance provided on the house.  So, a $250,000 policy on a home would cover an additional $25,000 for other structures.
There are a few significant limitations to this coverage that you should be aware of.  Should the other structure be used to store business property or if you operate a business on its premises, your homeowners policy would not cover the structure.
To be sure other structures are properly insured, you should first determine how the property is used.  If there is business-related activity occurring in the structure, you may need to consider a separate business policy.  You should also consider any renovations made to other structures.  A property owner may renovate or expand a structure, creating a building that might have a higher replacement value than that covered by the additional 10% automatically allowed under a homeowners policy.  In the example noted previously, if your renovated/expanded structure cost $60,000 to rebuild, you would need to review your homeowners policy as you would only receive a maximum of $25,000 under the other structures coverage.
To ensure that your coverage is adequate and up to date, give us a call today.  Rates for additional coverage on other structures are very reasonable and well worth looking into.

Paranoid Pooch

Paranoid poochSometimes, man’s best friend can be the cause of serious damage.  One insurance company reports a claim relating to a “paranoid” dog.  It seems the policyholder had a classic car that was waxed to a mirror-like finish. The car was so highly polished that his dog could see his reflection in the paint.  Thinking the reflection was another dog, the confused canine became very agitated and began scratching at the car, trying to get at the “other dog”.  As you may have guessed, all he succeeded in doing was ruining the door panel as well as the front and rear quarter-panels.  Luckily, even this odd situation was covered by the owner’s comprehensive coverage.  Don’t assume that comprehensive covers every odd occurrence though.  Always make sure you understand your coverage and that it’s appropriate and up to date.

Are You Running A Home Business?

Some experts claim 40% to 70% of homes are used for some kind of business endeavor.  Many people may not even realize they are operating a home business. Do you sell things on Etsy, E-bay or similar sites and make over $2,000 a year?  Do you accept money for providing child care in your home – even on an occasional basis?  If so, you’re running a home-based business.

It’s important to know that homeowners insurance likely does not cover claims for businesses like these. However, your homeowners policy can be enhanced with “business endorsements” that increase coverage amounts and provide additional protection.  Other endorsements and separate coverages are also available that may be more appropriate depending on your situation.  To find out what works best for you, give us a call today.  We’ll work with you to identify any gaps in your coverage and make recommendations that best suit your needs.

Life Insurance – As Important As Ever

According to USA Today, only 44% of households have an individual life insurance policy, and 30% have no individual or employer-provided life insurance at all.  A major culprit in these troubling statistics is the recent economic downturn.  Procrastination also plays a role, as life insurance is not required the way auto and home owners insurance are.

For whatever reason, many people delay the purchase of life insurance. This is unfortunate because young. healthy people can usually obtain the least expensive premiums.  Waiting often means running the risk of getting ill and losing out on the best rates. It’s sad to say but, most people overlook their need for insurance until it’s too late.  Don’t procrastinate!  Call Estabrook & Chamberlain today and we’ll show you how easy and affordable it can be to provide the coverage your family deserves.

 

Hurricane Planning

The hurricane season is upon us and, in addition to past hurricanes, the damage caused by this year’s record breaking tornado season underscores the importance of disaster planning.  Such planning can also be useful for less-dramatic incidents such as house fires or a prolonged power outages.

When creating your disaster plan, your family comes first.  Don’t forget about your financial documents though.  Be sure you have cash available too, in case banks or ATMs are affected.  To protect your documents, buy an airtight, water-proof and fireproof container or safe.  Be sure you can grab and carry it easily if you need to leave quickly.

Documents to include in the container:

  • Mortgage records and deeds
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills
  • Stock and bond certificates
  • Financial account numbers
  • Info regarding prescription drug and other medical needs

Photocopy the front and back of all cards in your wallet too so you have a record of credit card issuers, health benefit companies and other important contacts. Having a list of important people such as friends, family members, your bank, your insurance company, your lawyer, etc. is also good to have.

Visit these sites for info and tips on preparing for disasters:

Boat Insurance Tips

Your homeowners insurance automatically provides liability coverage for boats 26’ or less in length.  The same is true for boats of that length with outboard motors of 25 horsepower or less.

A boat left on a residential premises is only insured up to $1,000 for damage to the hull.  This coverage applies only if the boat is kept in an enclosed structure.

Your homeowners policy may not provide adequate protection for your boat.  If you need more comprehensive coverage for your boat, Estabrook & Chamberlain offers very competitive rates.  Give us a call and we’ll help you determine the best way to protect your boat and other watercraft.

Registry Reminder

The Registry no longer sends drivers license renewal forms to you.  Don’t let your license expire.  Be sure to check the renewal date!

Read & Ride

In partnership with the Bridgewater 
and West Bridgewater libraries, Estabrook & Chamberlain 
will be sponsoring the One World, Many Stories
 Read & Ride program.

Participants must read at least one book 
to qualify.

Drawings for each age group will take place on August 11th.

Winners will receive a new bicycle (value up to $220), donated by Estabrook & Chamberlain Insurance Agency.

An entry form must be filled out to include the child’s name, address, telephone number, the name of one book read, and a parent’s signature along with the date.

Register and submit entries at 
the Bridgewater Public Library or West Bridgewater Public Library.

Demystifying Claims Processing

Many clients are unsure of what to do when filing a claim. To some, the process is a mystery. There’s no need for confusion though. Just remember – The staff as Estabrook & Chamberlain is here for you. We can help you file a claim and we’re available to clear up any confusion that may arise during the claims process. We can often intervene to answer questions, contact a hard to reach adjuster, even help negotiate on your behalf.

If you need to file a claim on a weekend, our answering service can connect you with a staff member who will assist you.

For your convenience, we’ve outlined the typical steps associated with filing auto and homeowners claims below. If you need more details beyond this or need help filing your claim, just give us a call – we’ll be happy to help.

Typical Auto Claims Process:

  • Call Estabrook & Chamberlain to report the claim. You may also call the insurance company directly.
  • An adjuster will be assigned to your claim and will make arrangements to view the damage to your vehicle.
  • For simple auto claims, the adjuster may deal directly with your auto body shop.
  • Shortly thereafter, the insurance company will issue a check to the person named on the policy. If there is a loan on the vehicle the check will be made payable to the bank as well.

Typical Property and Homeowners Claims:

  • Contact Estabrook & Chamberlain. In cases of extreme damage, you may call the insurance company directly to report your claim. Insurance company reporting services are typically available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Obtain an estimate of the damage from a contractor.
  • In certain cases, repairs will need to be completed before final payment is made.
  • For your convenience, claim checks may be made payable directly to the contractor.

Homes For Our Troops

Honoring Our Troops

As part of our ongoing commitment to our communities, Hal Estabrook*, who served in the Marine Corps, provides pro bono services to members of The Massachusetts Guard and Reserve. This program is a military initiative sponsored by the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts. Hal offers pro bono financial counseling for soldiers and their families prior to and post deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. This includes advice on managing family budgets, dealing with credit card debt and making the family aware of the benefits available to them through the many organizations that serve the military.

Dawn Michael*, whom many of you know from purchasing involved with helping local service families. She was able to procure a $25,000 grant that will be presented to Homes for Our Troops – a national non-profit organization that provides housing assistance to veterans with serious disabilities due to combat injuries. Dawn belongs to the life insurance organization, Million Dollar Round Table. She applied to the MDRT and detailed the work that Homes for Our Troops does in constructing homes for injured soldiers upon their return home.

*Securities and Investment Advisory Services are offered through ING Financial Partners, Member SIPC. Estabrook & Chamberlain is not a subsidiary of nor controlled by ING Financial Partners.