Celebrating Women’s History Month!

Pictured above are a few of the fabulous women on our team: our Director of Personal Lines, Danielle, and CSRs Erica and Taryn.

We know March is about to end, but it is never too late to celebrate the accomplishments of women! Since 1981, March has been dedicated to empowering women and celebrating their contributions to society.

Women are integral to the world of business. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, women comprised 58.9% of the insurance industry in 2021. In fact, women have comprised about 60% of the insurance workforce every year for the last decade. The same applies to independent agencies: women also make up nearly 60% of insurance agency employees, according to data gathered by Liberty Mutual. Compare this to only 47% of the U.S. workforce being female!

Perhaps the reason so many women thrive working in insurance is its flexibility. 80% of women in insurance said their job allows them to balance their personal life and work.

Learn more about women working in insurance here.

Here at Smoller Insurance, we are especially proud of the women on our team! Did you know a large majority of our team are women? Get to know our team here. 😊

How are you uplifting the women in your life this Women’s History Month?

Working from Home WORKS!

Did you know that many of Smoller Insurance’s team members work partially or entirely from home? Here are a few of our employees’ at-home desk set-ups.

Since 2009, the number of people who work from home in the USA has risen by 159%, due to both the pandemic and technology’s rapid advancement. Remote work looks like it is here to stay. Here’s why:

Studies indicate that working from home has many benefits. According to a survey from Global Workplace Analytics, 97% of office workers in the U.S. have worked from home, at least partially, during the pandemic. Of that 97%, 67% had never worked from home regularly before.

73% said they are very successful working from home and that they perform as well as they do in the office. 70% of managers agree, reporting equal or improved performance from their employees.

However, there is a consensus that collaboration is more efficient in person. Moving forward, workers say that their ideal work week would include an average of 2.5 days remote.

The full results from this fascinating survey can be found here.

At Smoller Insurance Agency, we value the flexibility, freedom, and comfort our hybrid model offers. And don’t worry — we guarantee our service is still just as excellent. 😉

Pet-proofing your holiday home

Are your holiday decorations pet-proofed? Everyone deserves a happy and healthy holiday season, even your furry friends. Here’s our holiday gift to you: a few tips to keep the whole family safe this December!

🎄 Broken ornaments can be a choking hazard and cut your pets’ paws and/or mouth. So, if you have a Christmas tree, place fragile ornaments towards the top of the tree and plastic or fabric ones towards the bottom.

🎁 Skip the tinsel if you have a cat. Tinsel can severely damage a cat’s intestinal tract and even prove deadly if ingested.

🎄 Ribbons or strings on presents or decorations can be a choking hazard for curious pets, so tuck those loose ends away.

🎁 Electrical cords can easily become a chew toy for puppies and playful pups. Run the cords through PVC pipe or an extra cardboard roll of wrapping paper, or simply tuck them away to protect your furry friends from an accidental electrical shock.

🎄 While chocolate may be a holiday staple for people, it is toxic for cats and dogs, so desserts should be securely stored away. If you want to include your pets in your holiday snacking traditions, consider special pet-friendly treats!

🎁 Poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, hibiscus, and potpourri are very dangerous if consumed by a cat or dog. Place those plants far out of your pets’ reach or use fake plants.

🎄 Many snowglobes contain ethylene glycol (antifreeze) which is highly toxic, and even fatal, to all pets. Keep your snowglobes in a very safe location so they don’t run the risk of breaking.

More tips here!

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes this Winter

According to Travelers homeowners claims spanning the last five years, non-weather water damage is the most common homeowners claim in both the fall and winter!

Burst pipes can cause devastating and expensive damage. Here are some tips on preparing your plumbing system for plummeting temperatures this winter.

• Drain and disconnect all hoses, and turn off the water to outside spigots during the winter. Even if this outdoor water freezes, it can increase the pressure of the pipes inside your home.

• Add insulation to outside walls that contain pipes. These walls can get much colder than indoor walls. If they feel cold or are showing signs of damage, try re-insulating or using spray foam.

• If you have a guest or pool house, or have a home with multiple heating zones, be sure to keep them all at at least 65 degrees.

• Try adding snap-on insulation or a heated plumbing tape/cable to pipes that are routed through unheated areas like attics, crawl spaces, and garages.

• If you’re especially considered, consider smart technology! This way, you can control your thermostats remotely, be alerted to freezing temperatures, and even have the water automatically shut off if a leak happens.

In the worst case scenario, your homeowners policy will cover water damage from burst pipes. Give us a call or send us an email if you want to check on your coverage amounts!

Debunking Umbrella Insurance ☂️

You may have clicked this wondering: “What even is umbrella insurance?”

Quite simply, umbrella insurance provides extra liability coverage beyond what your other policies cover. If a serious and unexpected event were to occur, your umbrella insurance offers you an extra level of financial protection, the same way an umbrella guarantees you extra protection from the weather!

Let’s break down some myths behind umbrella insurance:

1. “Umbrella insurance isn’t affordable. “

False! According to the Insurance Information Institute, an umbrella policy with $1,000,00 coverage costs about $150-300 annually. That is less than a dollar a day!

2. “Umbrellas are only for billionaires!”

In 2021, this is not the case. It remains true that many people with umbrella policies have a substantial amount of assets and/or savings or work in the spotlight. However, unexpected events can happen to anyone and can cost the negligent party thousands, or even millions, in a court.

3. “My auto and home policies will cover me.”

This depends on the situation. For example, if you have $400K in liability coverage on your home policy and get sued for an injury on your property for 1 million, you are responsible for paying that $600K out of pocket.

Give us a call at 617-965-1830 if you’re curious if an umbrella policy is right for you.

Rental Car Insurance 101 🚘

With the holiday season quickly approaching, you may be considering renting a car to drive out to visit family. Sorting out your travel plans can get complicated, but renting a car does not have to be! Rental car insurance is actually a lot simpler than you may think. In fact, most people won’t even need to purchase additional coverage.

Here’s why:

In many cases, your auto policy’s coverages and deductibles will apply to your rental car, especially if you have higher liability limits than the state required minimum amounts and if you carry both comprehensive and collision insurance. Additionally, if your homeowners or renters insurance covers the loss of possessions, it is likely that your belongings in your rental car will be covered.

If you don’t already have those coverages, you may want to consider the options the rental company may offer. Brick-and-mortar car rental companies will offer a few different coverage options. These may include loss damage waiver, liability insurance, personal accident insurance, and personal effects coverage.

On the other hand, car sharing services like Zip Car may have insurance costs built into their fees. It is important to thoroughly read the contract to see if there are any other fees you may have to pay in the case of an accident.

Learn more here.

If a rental car is in your future, give us a call! We will review your policies to help you determine if you need any additional coverage.

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.

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.