Most Frequent Homeowners Claims

Did you know wind is the most common cause of homeowners claims? Data from Travelers spanning the last five years found that wind accounted for 26% of claims year-round. Since wind damage is so common (and destructive), wind coverage on your homeowners policy is essential. Pruning your trees and reinforcing your home’s structures and windows is also key to preventing severe wind damage.

Non-weather water was the next most common risk, at 23% of home claims. And in the fall, it is the most frequent claim! Non-weather water damage involves plumbing, sewer, or appliance leaks and failures. The best way to prevent this damage is to inspect and maintain all appliances that use water regularly. This includes air-conditioning systems, water heaters, bathtubs, refrigerators, pipes, and hoses, to name a few. Also, make sure the main shut-off valve for your main water supply is functioning properly.

Hail made up 18% of home claims year-round, followed by weather-related water at 12%, like frozen pipes and leaky roofs. Of course, weather is uncontrollable. Being prepared against weather-related damage means being protected — which means having adequate coverage on your homeowners policy.

More on Travelers’s findings here.

Trust us: a little caution goes a long way!

Give us a call at 617-965-1830 if you have any questions about your homeowners policy.

3 Advantages of Flood Insurance

When floods strike, you can be sure that there will be loss and damage to property. Fortunately, you can avoid out-of-pocket repairs by investing in flood insurance from Smoller Insurance Agency of Boston, MA.

Regrettably, most homeowners don’t have flood insurance. Some think that home insurance protects them against floods only to discover the opposite when filing a claim. Others fail to buy flood insurance, hoping that the federal government will declare floods in their area a national disaster.

Are you thinking about flood insurance? You are on the right track. Here are the benefits you will accrue when you purchase this coverage.

Protects your dwelling

When you purchase flood insurance from NFIP, you get dwelling coverage of up to $250,000. Of course, if you opt for a private insurer, you can get a higher coverage limit. Flood insurance covers the following on your building:

  • Electrical and plumbing system
  • Air conditioning system
  • The building, including the foundation
  • Permanently fixed carpets

Since water damage can be expensive, financing flood damage from your pocket can drain your savings. Thankfully, with flood insurance, repair bills after flood damage are your insurer’s headache.

Protects your assets/contents

NFIP offers contents coverage of up to $100,000 and is supposed to cover the below:

  • Personal stuff, including furniture, electronics, and clothing
  • Carpeting that isn’t permanently fitted
  • Portable air conditioners, microwaves, and so on

Because it has taken you years to accumulate your assets, it would be devastating to lose them through floods. However, this can’t be the case when you have flood insurance.

For peace of mind

Who doesn’t like a peace of mind? Unfortunately, you can’t sit pretty in your home when you know that any bout of floods will set you back hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in repairs. 

Luckily, flood insurance can take care of your worries.

Buy flood insurance today!

Would you like to protect your Boston, MA home with flood insurance? Would you please talk to Smoller Insurance Agency for an affordable quote?

How does condo insurance differ from home insurance?

Condo living is a great way to break into the housing market. It offers many of the same benefits as traditional home ownership and some additional perks as well. Insuring your condo is very similar to insuring a single-family home with a few unique twists. At Smoller Insurance Agency in Boston, MA, we have the experience you expect from an independent insurance agency. We will help you to make sure your condo has the correct amount of insurance. 

With a condo, you share walls and other parts of the building with your neighbors. These common areas are not something that you personally are responsible for insuring. Your condo has a condo or homeowners association that holds a Master Condo Policy. This policy insures the common areas in your building and in the complex. How far into your unit is covered depends on the type of policy your association has. It is up to you as a unit owner to know what coverage the association has and what you need to have. 

When it comes to home insurance, you are responsible for your entire home. As a condo owner, you may be covered by the Master Policy for all the fixtures in your home, but not for any upgrades you have made from the original basic unit. 

When it comes to personal content and liability coverage, homes and condos within the unit are basically the same. In a condo, if someone is injured outside of your unit, that is the condo association’s problem. 

With a condo, you will also have the option of purchasing loss assessment coverage. If the condo association determines that the roof needs to be replaced, all owners will owe part of the cost. This insurance will protect you from having to pay this assessment out of pocket. 

Contact Smoller Insurance Agency in Boston, MA to discuss your condo insurance needs. 

Make your home inventory list today!

Don’t put off your home inventory list any longer! If there is an accident or robbery, you will need to give your insurance provider this list to guarantee complete coverage on your belongings. This list should include all household items and personal belongings.

Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Start simply with a list of rooms you need to work through. Then, head to your first room!
  • Describe each item’s make and model, value, and any other unique factors. Serial numbers are helpful identifiers for appliances and electronics.
  • Save documents like receipts and appraisals for proof of value on more expensive items.
  • Check with your agent to see if you need additional coverage on valuable items like jewelry or collectibles. This could mean an endorsement or an additional specialty policy. More on that here.
  • Consider making a digital record by taking pictures or videos of your belongings. This can save you time and guarantee that you don’t miss an item!

Building this list may take a while, but ensures true coverage.

Is your dog “banned”?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average dog bite insurance claim is $44,670. Homeowners insurance is responsible for covering dog-related injuries, so some carriers have lists of “banned dogs”. What does this mean? These companies will not provide coverage if the customer owns one of the dogs on their list, as they believe these breeds are liable to cause injury. These lists are often hidden from consumers’ view, but Forbes Advisor gathered data on 42 of these lists from different homeowners insurance companies.

Doberman pinschers, pit bulls, and rottweilers are on 100% of these 42 lists of banned breeds.

Chow chows are on 95% of the banned lists.

Wolf dogs, canary dogs, and akitas have the next highest frequencies of being banned — all three are included on over 75% of the banned lists.

Some other insurers will allow all dogs, while others decide whether or not to cover the dog based on if they have a history of violence.

In Massachusetts, there is no legislation forbidding insurance companies from discriminating against certain breeds.

Learn more here: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/homeowners-insurance/banned-dog-breed-lists/

Nevertheless, dogs are a wonderful addition to the family and not all “banned” dogs are dangerous. Give us a call if you plan on bringing a new dog home! We will review if your premium may change and can give you quotes on pet insurance.

Auto Insurance Tips

When it comes to shopping for car insurance in Boston, MA, there are a few tips that may help you purchase the best coverage available. Before buying auto insurance, do some research and shop around to find the best policy to fit your vehicle and driving needs. Those with questions should reach out to Smoller Insurance Agency to discuss auto insurance policies and coverage needs.

Compare Insurance Policies

Before purchasing an auto insurance policy, it is best to shop around and learn about your options. Ask your agent about different policies and coverage options available and costs. Additionally, call other insurance companies to compare prices for similar policies.  

Consider Deductibles

If you want lower insurance premiums, consider purchasing a policy with a higher deductible. These policies have lower premiums but require more out of your pocket should you get in an accident or have to file a claim. 

Determine State Laws

Before buying auto insurance, be informed about state laws dictating the required coverage amount. Those wanting minimal coverage must at least get the state-required minimum. Check with your local DMV or insurance agent for specifics on auto insurance laws. 

Drop Coverage 

Consider dropping coverage on older cars you are no longer driving or minimally drive. Drop the collision and comprehensive coverage to the minimum on older cars because replacing or repairing is generally not as expensive as if they were new. 

Look for Discounts

Ask your insurance agent what forms of discounts are available that can be applied to your auto insurance policy. Standard discounts include good student, low mileage, multi-car, multi-policy, and good driver. 

When needing car insurance in Boston, MA, shop around and compare all of your options. Then give the Smoller Insurance Agency a call to discuss how they can help you with your insurance needs. 

How commercial insurance protects small businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. The Small Business Administration estimates that 99.9% of businesses in the US are small businesses. A small business has less than 1500 employees. Many small businesses are much smaller and 89% have fewer than 20 employees. Owning a small business comes with lots of risks and having the right commercial insurance can protect your business from some of the risks you face. At Smoller Insurance Agency in Boston, MA, we are family-owned and operated. We believe in giving our customers the level of service they expect and deserve. 

Protects your building and equipment

Bad things happen. A fire, broken pipe, or theft can devastate your business. Commercial property insurance not only covers the physical building but also all your equipment inside. This makes it helpful for renters as well as owners of the building. If you lose your machinery, office equipment, inventory, raw materials, and records, commercial property insurance can help you to get back in business quicker or at all. 

Protects your assets

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to being sued. Protecting your assets is important. Commercial liability insurance offers that protection. It offers coverage that will pay a judgment against you as well legal expenses associated with that judgment. 

Protects your vehicles

If your business owns any vehicles, they need to be covered by commercial auto insurance in Massachusetts. The requirements are 20/40/5. 

Workers compensation

Most states require employers to cover their employees with workers’ compensation insurance. Massachusetts requires all employers no matter how many employees you have or how many hours they work to cover them with workers’ compensation insurance. 

At Smoller Insurance Agency in Boston, MA, our team is committed to providing the highest level of service and making sure that we are there for our customers when they need us.

Does home insurance cover weather damage

Anyone who lives in New England knows that the weather can be very unpredictable. A common saying is that if you don’t like the weather you are having, wait a few minutes, it will change. Hot summers and cold winters are par for the course. Fall and spring are no picnic either. Having home insurance that can protect your investment is vital. In Boston, MA, Smoller Insurance Agency offers the personalized service that only a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency can offer.

Simply stated, many types of weather damage are covered by home insurance. In Massachusetts, the risk from hurricanes is rather small. On average one or two hurricanes make landfall on the east coast every year and of those, only about 3% reach Massachusetts. However, when they do reach this part of the country they can cause devastating damage. In 2019, hurricane Dorian brushed Cape Cod with tropical storm strength winds. If you worry about hurricanes, make sure that coverage is included with your home insurance.

Violent summer storms are probably a bigger concern to most residents since they happen with regular frequency. They come with lightning, thunder, heavy rain, and strong winds. They can take down trees and do major damage to your roof and other parts of your home.

Keep in mind, that flooding caused by severe storms and hurricanes or any other weather is not covered by home insurance. You need to have specific flood insurance to be protected.

Winter storms can cause a lot of damage. Your home insurance protects your home from most damage including damage from frozen water or snow in gutters etc. as long as the damage is not caused by lack of maintenance, you should be able to count on it.

Smoller Insurance Agency is here to answer any questions you may have about weather coverage and your home. Always read your policy for specific details.