Water Damage

Given how much water modern homes require for appliances and plumbing, it shouldn’t be a surprise that water damage tops the list of the most common homeowners insurance claims1.  

Q. If my home is flooded in a natural disaster, will my homeowners policy cover the damage?
A. Private insurance companies do not cover losses resulting from weather-related flooding. However, you can buy separate Flood Insurance. 
Q. Will my insurance pay for flooding damage to my floors or walls if a pipe or appliance in my home suddenly springs a leak?
A. Yes, most policies will cover these damages. Some may even cover “access” or the cost of getting to the burst pipe. However, claims can be denied if the leak resulted from a lack of upkeep.

Having a water damage claim is no fun. Managing emergency services, repairs and sometimes additional living expenses can drain your time and resources. That’s why its important to know what’s covered and ways to prevent damage from happening in the first place. Here is a list of suggestion to prevent water damage from happening:

  • Keep your roof well maintained and free of moss. 
  • Keep trees trimmed back from the house and remove dead or dying trees that are more likely to fall.
  • Extend your gutter system away from the house and keep the gutters clean.
  • Regularly check your sump pump. If you have a basement, chances are you most likely have a sump pump. Make sure you are properly maintaining it and check it at least once per year.
  • Inspect and replace hoses connected to your washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator, and water heater.
  • Drain your water heater. It is recommended that you drain your water heater at least once per year, depending on the mineral content present in your local water supply.
  • Prevent frozen pipes by insulating those that are exposed to the elements and using a smart thermostat to maintain a water temperature that will prevent your pipes from freezing.
  • Install automatic shutoffs in HVAC air handler drip trays in case drain lines clog and back up.
  • Install individual appliance shutoff systems on washing machines, hot water heaters or dishwashers. 
  • If they start to leak for any number of reasons, the water to that appliance will shut off immediately.

For more information on water damage and your individual policy, please contact your client advisor.

Inflation and Insurance Rates

Like most other goods and services, inflation can also increase the cost of insurance.

When determining insurance premiums, insurance companies look at a variety of factors including industry trends like number of claims and costs to repair vehicles and homes. If those costs increase, the price of insurance premiums will likely increase as well.

Unfortunately, due to inflation these costs are increasing. Building materials for homes are more expensive, there’s a chip shortage driving up the cost of cars, and there’s also a labor shortage. These factors mean the cost to repair your home and vehicle have increased in the event of an insurance claim.

  • Housing material and labor costs have increased
    Lumber and other construction materials have spiked in price due to less availability making the costs to repair and build homes more expensive. At the same time, we’ve also seen an increase in the cost of skilled labor and the construction industry is down about 200,000 skilled trade workers1. These factors have likely increased your property insurance costs.
  • The chip shortage
    A crucial component of cars built today, fewer available chips results in more expensive cars, and as the cost of cars rise, so does the cost to repair if an accident occurs.
  • Auto repair and labor costs have increased
    With the chip shortage, more people are keeping their old cars on the road longer, needing more repairs. The increased demand for car parts combined with supply chain issues, are leading to inflated car part costs. Auto repair shops are also experiencing staffing shortages and increased labor costs which are also driving up the costs of repairs.

If you believe your insurance premiums are increasing due to inflation, you may be wondering what company offers the best coverage for the best price that meets your insurance needs.  As an independent agent, we can help.  Feel free to contact us at any time. 

1. https://hbi.org/wp-content/uploads/HBI-Construction-Labor-Market-Report4.pdf
2. Liberty Mutual



Spring Maintenance

The milder days of spring are a perfect time to do a thorough spring cleaning and perform home maintenance. After a long winter, it is a good idea to spend time on preventive measures to help maintain your home and property throughout the year. Tasks such as cleaning out your gutters, checking for dead trees and branches and cleaning and inspecting home mechanical and plumbing systems, such as heating and air conditioning equipment, can help make spring a season of safety.

Cleaning and maintenance of your home should be done inside and out. Although the tasks are different, checking to see if all the elements of your home are in good working order can help keep your family safe and your maintenance expenses lower over the long run.

Inside Your Home

Here are a few things inside your home that should be inspected to determine if they are in good condition:

  • Electrical Outlets and Cords: Check electrical outlets and cords throughout your home for any potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Extension cords and power strips are not designed to be permanent fixtures and should only be used on an interim basis.
  • Fire Extinguishers: Check your fire extinguisher at least once yearly, including the hose, nozzle and other parts to determine if they are in good condition and that the pressure gauge is in the “green” range. Check the expiration date. If necessary, move your fire extinguisher to an accessible place so that you can get to it easily in an emergency.
  • Air Conditioning: Check around the unit for indications of leaks. Before turning it on for the season, have your air-conditioning system inspected and tuned up by a professional. Check the drain lines annually and clean them if they are clogged. Change the air filter.
  • Water Heater: Check for leaks and corrosion. Check your owner’s manual for any recommended maintenance.
  • Furnace or Boiler: Have your furnace or boiler cleaned or inspected annually.
  • Under Sinks and Around Toilets: Look for any signs of leaks or corrosion on pipes, supply lines and fixtures.
  • Plumbing: Check exposed pipes and valves in your basement or crawl spaces, if safely accessible, for signs of leaking or corrosion.
  • Appliances: Check supply lines for washing machines, ice makers and water dispensers, refrigerators, and dishwashers for signs of leaks or wear and tear.
  • Plumbing for Hose Spigots and Irrigation Systems: After opening valves for outdoor water supplies, be sure to inspect components for leaks. Don’t forget to check inside plumbing as well as outdoor spigots.
  • Dryers: Dryer lint can build up inside the vent pipe and collect around the duct. Clean both the clothes dryer exhaust duct and the space under the dryer. Use a brush to clean out the vent pipe. Look for lint buildup around the lint trap and clean it as needed.
  • Smoke Detectors: Daylight savings time is a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Inspect each smoke detector to determine if all are in working order, and make sure to test them monthly. Ideally, there should be at least one smoke detector on each floor of your home, including outside of each bedroom, and one within each bedroom itself.
  • Light bulbs: Check each light bulb in every fixture for the correct recommended wattage and replace any burned out bulbs.

Outside Your Home

The cold winter months can do damage to your house as well. Here are a few things outside your home that should be inspected to ensure they are in good condition:

  • Roof: Check for any damage from snow or ice, and make any necessary repairs to reduce the possibility of leaks. If you have a skylight, check outside for a buildup of leaves and debris. Also, check the indoor ceiling for signs of leaks. Remember to put safety first any time you are on a roof. If you have any doubt, leave it to the professionals.
  • Gutters: Clean leaves and other debris from gutters and downspouts to keep water flowing and reduce the possibility of water damage.
  • Trees: Visually inspect trees for damage or rot, and remove (consider hiring a licensed professional) any dead trees that might blow over in heavy winds or during a storm. Keep healthy trees and bushes trimmed and away from utility wires.
  • Lawn Equipment: Make sure lawn mowers, tractors and other equipment are tuned up before using. Store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, locked area.
  • Walkways and Driveways: Repair any cracks and broken or uneven surfaces to provide a safer, level walking area.

A little home maintenance in the spring can go a long way to help keep your home safe and secure throughout the rest of the year.

Ice Dams

What is an Ice Dam?

Ice dams are the large mass of ice that collets on the lower edge of the roof or in the gutters.
Indications that ice damming may be occurring:

  • Snow is melting but there is a line of ice or snow at the eaves that is not draining
  • Formation of large icicles from the eaves
  • Water is dripping out of the soffit or gutter
  • Shingles appear worn or faded on overhangs
  • Shingles have rolling humps or dips on eave line
  • Interior walls or ceilings have visible water damage under eaves

The Four Main Causes

  • Weather
  • Heat escaping to the attic
  • Uneven room temperatures
  • Roofing underlayment that water can penetrate

How to Minimize the Chance of Ice Dams Formations
Ice dams can be prevented or minimized by:

  • Keeping gutters and downspouts clear of leaves and debris
  • Identify areas of heat loss in your attic and properly insulate
  • Ensuring attic has proper, continuous ventilation under the roof deck
  • Using a snow rake or soft broom to clear fresh snowfall from gutters

Privacy Policy

Buying, Paying Off ,Owning- What You Need To Know

Getting a New Car?
In some cases, we get people that call from the car lot afraid that they will not be covered because we don’t know about their new car yet. Although it is beneficial to get us the information as soon as possible, most companies have a grace period of a few days, so if you buy a new car over the weekend it’s okay to drive it until our company opens on Monday.

When you call in, we will need the VIN number on your new car, so as soon as you are able to get that number we suggest giving us a call. The sooner we have it the better to ensure that you are getting the right coverage for your new vehicle. It is best not to rely on the dealership to call and give your new information. While many dealerships do call us to give us information on who purchased a new vehicle from them, some of them do not, or cannot give all the information that we might need. To make sure your new car is well covered always call your insurance company yourself to tell them of any new purchases.

Paid off that Car Loan?
Congratulations! Paying off your car is a huge accomplishment. Notify us about the loan payoff so that we can remove the lienholder from your policy. This means that if you maintain comprehensive and collision (full coverage) and your vehicle were to be totaled in an accident, the payout from the insurance company for the damage would go to you instead of your bank.

Made your final Mortgage payment?
Congratulations on this huge accomplishment!
Once you have paid off your mortgage in full and have no loan servicing provider, it will be your responsibility to pay homeowners insurance and property taxes. Make sure that you contact our company and let us know you have paid your home loan in full! We will make sure the mortgage company is no longer the additional insured and remove the lender’s name off the homeowner’s insurance policy. It is important to make sure all future bills are going to the homeowner to have them paid on time and avoid any lapse in coverage.

Get Your Home Ready for Back to School

Lately, our homes have become our everything, including our office, gym, classroom, movie theater and beyond. With school starting, now’s the perfect time to whip your home into shape and get ready for a smooth school year. Here is a checklist of suggestions on how to achieve a school ready home.

Check the closet: Now is the perfect time to make room by taking out anything that is no longer worn or fits.

Dedicate a space: Set up an area, or individual hooks to organize a space for backpacks, jackets and other things that are easy to grab as you run out the door and serve as a place to hang when not in the use, so its not on the floor.

Go Grocery Shopping: Stock up on those quick and easy breakfast option like frozen protein waffles and frozen fruit too! Create a snack box to help kids be more independent, let them pack their own snacks or grab their own afterschool treat to hold them off until dinner.

Check in nightly: Before preparing for bed, check in with your kids and use the time to reset the house for the next day. You can check in with the kids while letting them choose what they may want breakfast or set out snacks or lunch options for them to take the next morning. Use this time to get organized with any schoolwork, papers, or any extras they may need to bring the next day.

Prepare workspace: Whether your children are learning remotely or going back to in-person learning, it’s important they have a dedicated spot to do homework. Keep it simple with a clear space without a lot of distractions.

Allow your kids to participate in helping make your home back to school ready. Create a plan that works the best for you and your situation, and change the clutter and chaos to an organized, calm and cool space.

Summer Home Maintenance

With summer in full swing and the kids out of school, you may be looking forward to cookouts, children playing in the pool or yard, and gatherings of friends and family. Make sure you and your guests stay safe and happy this summer, by taking steps to keep your home cool and protected from costly damage. Here are a few tips to get you started:Inspect your porch or deck. The last thing you need is a painful splinter in your toe – or worse. Carefully inspect your porch or deck supports, floors, stairs, and railings for any damage or hazards that happened over the winter or spring and make repairs before you invite guests over.

Check for water leaks inside and out. You’ve probably already turned on the water to your outside faucets. Inspect the pipes and any appliances attached to them to see if there is any sign of leaks inside or outside your home. Pay attention to your water bills, as they can be a good indication of a leak somewhere that’s not obvious – like an underground sprinkler system.

Patch cracks and potholes in the driveway. Avoid damage to your vehicles by smoothing out your driveway. You can hire someone to resurface it or patch it yourself if the cracks and holes are small.


Clean your grill before lighting it up. Before you start barbecuing this summer, give your grill a thorough cleaning, inside and out. With the propane tank turned off, remove the briquettes and cooking grates, and carefully detach the gas tubes and burners. Wash the grill with warm, soapy water, then dry it with a towel, and reassemble. During the season, take time to burn off the grease on the grates – this can eliminate unwanted fires.

Cool your home efficiently. Instead of keeping your AC on full blast all summer, try lowering the blinds, investing in blackout curtains, closing off unused rooms, and placing a bowl of ice in front of a large fan (feels like a cool, sea breeze!) If temperatures are too hot upstairs, move to the basement floor and be sure to let the cool night air in by putting fans in the window after the sun goes down.

Keep your lawn in good shape. As a general rule, your lawn needs between one and one and a half inches of water per week, from rainfall or irrigation. During the hot summer months, water your lawn during the last couple hours before sunrise to keep the water from evaporating. Sharpen your mower blades to give your grass a clean cut (which will help it conserve moisture better).

Trim trees and bushes. If you live in an area that is prone to wildfires, keep your trees and bushes trimmed around your house, and pick up any lawn or garden debris, as it can feed fires.

Inspect your pool. Before opening your pool to swimmers this summer, be sure to clean it and balance the chemicals properly. According to swimuniversity.com, thousands of pool owners end up in the emergency room each year due to poisoning from pool chemicals, so use safety goggles and extra care when handling your chemicals. Make sure any steps, ladders, railings, slides, and diving boards are in good condition and installed securely, your pump and filter are working well, and the pool is brushed and vacuumed often to head off algae problems. Be sure to shock the pool at the beginning of the season to kill all the bacteria and get your water sparkling clean. After dealing with chemicals in the pool, spray down the pool deck completely. Test all of your pool’s safeguards as well – gate locks, door alarms, storage for chemicals – and set out your rescue and first aid equipment and flotation devices.

Consider your liability. Summer is a time for outdoor fun. Unfortunately, it can also be a time for outdoor accidents. Review your liability insurance policy to make sure you are completely covered for any unfortunate accidents that may happen on your property. Consider additional liability insurance coverage if you own a pool. Your insurance agent or broker can help you decide how much you’ll need.

CHUBB Insurance Article

Cyber Criminals Are At It Again!

We have been seeing an increasing number of claims involving cyber attacks, viruses, malware, phishing and other situations where electronic systems are being compromised both by directed effort and innocent mistake. These incidents can cause loss or damage to electronic data, forensic expenses, loss of income, network security and privacy lawsuits, extortion losses, notification costs, and damage to your business’ reputation. Most standard commercial insurance policies provide only limited (if any) coverage for these types of claims, and something as simple the use of email in your business can expose you to the risk of a breach or cyber event. We strongly recommend that each of our commercial customers reach out to discuss how they can benefit from additional coverage.

Additional links and resources regarding Cyber

Cyber Info Videos from CHUBB

Email Fraud and Ransomware Attacks

Home Renovations

If you’re planning a home renovation, you may want to call your insurance agent first because this decision can impact your homeowners insurance. Some home renovations will change the amount of coverage you need, while others could even help you qualify for a discount. We cover six common scenarios that could affect your insurance, so you can plan ahead.

1. Building a New Addition

When you expand and improve your home, you could likely increase its replacement value. This is the cost to repair or rebuild your home. Some additions that could increase your replacement value include: adding a second-story bedroom, expanding the living room or building a new garage.

After building a new addition, or making updates or other improvements, you may need to increase your coverage because the value of your home, and the cost to rebuild it will likely have increased. Most insurance companies require your Coverage A or dwelling coverage limit be at least 80 percent of the replacement value of your home.

Your insurance agent can recalculate your home value to determine whether you’ll need more coverage because of the addition or improvement.

2. Building a Pool

If you’re looking to add a pool, you will want to contact your insurance agent to review coverage for changes to your property’s value, as well as any increase in risk. When people are swimming and running around the pool, there’s the chance for an accident. If someone gets hurt, they could try to hold you responsible for damages. This can apply even if the accident isn’t your fault.

Check with your agent to see whether your existing policy covers a pool and if you need to increase your liability coverage. This coverage can help pay damages to injured persons and provide for a defense if you are sued as a result of their injuries.

You should also ask your agent what steps you can take to keep your pool safe so you can avoid accidents. Adding a fence with a lock is a smart move. You could also add lights with motion sensors or a pool alarm to discourage trespassers. Consider skipping the diving board, because this increases the chance of an accident and your insurance cost.

Travelers wants to help you protect the things that matter to you. We offer a wide breadth of products so you can be covered at home and on the road.

outdoor home renovation project

3. Adding a Deck

A new deck is another improvement that can add value but also risk, especially if the deck is attached to a second story or higher. You should let your agent know that you’ve added a deck, so he or she can adjust your policy as necessary.

4. Renovating the Kitchen

Upgrading the kitchen can significantly increase the value of your home, especially if you switch to higher-quality counter tops, appliances and new flooring. You should contact your agent to see if you need to increase your insurance coverage.If your contractor upgrades the plumbing or electrical wiring as part of the renovation, ask your homeowners insurance agent if you qualify for a discount or if your coverage needs to be adjusted. These upgrades can reduce the chance of flooding water damage and fire, so check if your insurance company has discounts that can help to reduce your premium.

5. Finishing the Basement

Finishing your basement can also increase the value of your home. That means, yet again, you may need more homeowners coverage. Flooding can be a concern, especially for the lowest floor in your house. It is important to note that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by floods. Ask your agent to review your coverage and look to see if there are steps you can take to help prevent future damage, like installing a sump pump.

6. Redoing the Roof

Before you redo your roof, ask your insurance agent whether this could qualify for a discount. Some companies offer a discount when you reinforce the roof or use stronger roofing materials that are wind, hail and leak-resistant. Your agent can explain how to qualify. At the same time, redoing the roof could increase your property value, which means you might need more coverage.

It is a good idea to contact our client advisor when you’re considering making home renovations. Their knowledge and expertise can help you get the most out of your discounts while making sure your home is adequately insured.

Source: Travelers Insurance