Friday, May 31, 2013

National Hurricane Preparedness Week May 26 through June 1, 2013

Hurricane Season officially starts June 1st!
To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:

* To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
* Know your surroundings.
* Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
* Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.

* Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
* Cover all of your home's windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8" marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
* Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.

* Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
* Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.

* Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.

* Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.

* Determine how and where to secure your boat.

* Install a generator for emergencies.

* If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
* Consider building a safe room.

Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Everyone is at risk and should consider flood insurance protection. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage. To learn more about your flooding risk and how to protect yourself and your business, give us a call: 888-900-2173

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sandy Flood Claims

Superstorm Sandy has been the largest storm to hit the area since 1936.  There are many people who have been impacted, and we are dealing with situations that many haven't come across before.  To help clients who have flood insurance, I put together this guideline on how the flood claim process normally is handled.  Some of the time frames might be extended because of the number of claims we are dealing with. I hope this helps.

Sandy Flood Claim Process

  1. File  flood claim with the company
  2. If you have contents coverage, 2 separate claims will be set up.  One for building and one for contents each claim has its own adjuster and deductible. 
  3. Receive a call from each adjuster to come to the house to do an inspection
  4. Take pictures, locate receipts and make a list of items that were flooded
  5. The inspection is usually done in 2 steps.  Adjuster should come out within 10 days for first inspection which is just a walk through. 
  6. Insured can get advances on their claim payments which takes about 7 days after the initial inspection.  The amount is based on the estimate for the total damage
  7. The Second inspection is done about 2 – 4 weeks later and is a complete inspection including measurements of all spaces involved.
  8. Once both inspections are completed and  the insured has given the photographs and the list of building and contents items to the adjuster, he forwards the paperwork to national flood
  9. National flood then reviews all the paperwork.  This can take 2 – 6 weeks.  If all is ok, they will request checks to be issued which takes another 2 weeks.  Checks are payable to insured and their mortgage company if applicable
  10. All in all checks will probably not be received until about 2 – 3 months after the claim

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sandy and frozen pipes

With over 200,000 homes still being without power, and the temperatures dropping to below freezing tonight, I thought that this would be important to share this information:

If the outside temperature approaches freezing, exposure to subzero air presents the greatest risk of pipe freezing. If you have lost power below are prevention tips to help safely prevent frozen pipes:
• Turn off or unplug electrical appliances and lights to prevent a circuit overload when power is restored.
• If you use a fuel space heater or generator, be aware of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Make sure the space heater is used with proper ventilation.
• Never run a generator inside. Set the generator up outside and down wind from the living area.
• Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help reduce food spoilage.

If your home will remain unoccupied:
• Shut off the water supply and drain the water supply system.
• Consider draining the water heater and boiler.

If you intend to occupy your home:
• Water pipes located adjacent to exterior walls or within base-cabinets or in closets are susceptible to freezing. Leave the cabinet/closet doors open to allow air circulation around those pipes.
• Let all faucets drip to prevent freezing of the water inside the pipe and if freezing does occur, to relieve pressure buildup in the pipes between the ice blockage and the faucet. The pressure buildup is the actual cause of bursting pipes.
• Cracks or holes in outside walls should be sealed or otherwise blocked.
• Exposed pipes, especially those on outside walls should be wrapped and insulated in some manner. If building insulation is unavailable, consider other materials.
• If your house has a crawl space located under it, close all of the air vents located on the foundation wall. This will help protect the pipes located in that area.
• Detach all hoses and shut off the water supply to outside faucets.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Question of the week: Does my college student need insurance while away at school?

With College starting, and dorm rooms opening, clients have been asking me if their college students need any additional insurance.  The answer is it depends.  Here are some of the variables:

College Dorm vs. Off Campus Apartment
If your student is staying on campus, you have several options. Most home insurance policies will extend to cover your student's property while living on campus.  I would recommend that you add off premises theft coverage, which is an option that most home, condominium, and renter's have.  You need to check your policy to make sure that your student's belongings are covered for theft, fire and water damage. 
If your student is renting an apartment, then your policy will not protect your student's belongings.  They will need to get a renters policy, which can cost as little as $150 a year, and is well worth it.  If they are sharing the apartment, and the other student's names are on the lease, they can share a policy as well in most cases.

US Colleges vs. Studying Abroad
Most insurance policies only cover property while in the US, it's Territories, or Canada.  If your student is studying abroad, you will need to see if you can purchase an additional policy or rider to cover them while they are away.

Types of losses
Most policies will cover your student in a dorm from the same perils that your home insurance will cover.  There is usually a limit of 10% of your Personal Property, or Coverage B limit extended to away from the premises, but dorms are treated differently in some cases.  Theft is a coverage that is often a concern at college for electronics, and this is usually covered.  The issue is that it has to be a known theft, not "Mysterious Disappearance."   If something disappears from a dorm room, without evidence of a break in, many policies won't provide protection.  If that happens file a police report and check with your insurance agent.

This is a general guide, and more information is available if you call us at 888-900-2173.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Memorial Day to all of our Veterans and their Families!

Memorial Day is being observed this year on Monday May 28th.

It commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the
military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the
American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification
after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I.

Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and
memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at
3:00 p.m. local time. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the
United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time.
Volunteers often place American flags on each grave site
at National Cemeteries.

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars take donations for
poppies in the days leading up to Memorial Day; the poppy's
significance to Memorial Day is the result of the John McCrae
poem "In Flanders Fields."

In addition to remembrance, Memorial Day is also used as a
time for picnics, barbecues, family gatherings, and sporting
events. One of the longest-standing traditions is the running
of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction
with Memorial Day since 1911.

Please join us in celebrating our brave Men and Women who
have given their life defending our freedom.

Happy Memorial Day to all Veterans from your friends at The Zabbia Insurance Agency,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Beware of thefts of items in your car!

With the warm weather comes driving with your windows open.  Unfortunately, it is also an opportunity for thieves to easily break into your car to see what you have to steal.  All auto break-ins usually have one thing in common: there's something left in the car worth stealing. One of the “Hottest” items that thieves are targeting both locally and nationally is the GPS system in your vehicle. It's very simple police say:” if you leave a GPS system in your car, the chances are it will be stolen”. Here are few tips to prevent your satellite navigation system from being taken.

If your vehicle is stolen or property is taken from the vehicle there are number of things you can and should do:
  • Call the Police. Provide a complete description of the items taken. Also provide license plate number, make a model of vehicle, year and color.
  • Etch your driver's license number on all removable valuable items. Items such as audio equipment.
  • Don't leave your driver's license or title in the vehicle.
  • Keep a record of the VIN number, License plate number, and insurance information in your wallet or purse.
  • Install a vehicle tracking and location system that can be activated after the vehicle is reported as stolen.
Hide your GPS device

Think of a GPS device as an invisible eye, one that can help you see but one that need not be seen by others. Don't leave it in plain sight because the majority of thefts occur because someone sees that it is there for the taking. Mounting the GPS device on your dashboard keeps the GPS unit out of sight.
Take it when you leave
Also opt to take the GPS device with you when you exit your car. That may or may not be cumbersome depending on what else you have to carry, but you will know the GPS device is with you.
Wipe away the evidence
If your GPS device has suction cups to adhere it to the windshield, the rings left by the suction cups advertise the presence of a GPS device. Even if you take it with you, someone may vandalize your car in search of a GPS device after seeing the rings left by the suction cups. You can keep towelettes on hand to wipe away these rings.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April Car Care Tip: Inspect the tires

Inspect your tires: Worn-down tires make it hard to stop, even if your brakes are in good order. Try the coin test on your tires: Insert a quarter into several grooves across each tire. If part of Washington's head is always covered, you still have 4/32 inch of tread left and can probably drive safely. If you have less tread, it's time to think about replacements. (A definite danger signal comes when you slip a penny into a groove and the tread does not reach Lincoln's head.)

Even if your tire tread are OK, make sure you keep them inflated to the pressure listed on the placard visible when the driver's door is open. You can boost your gas mileage by 3% or more and make the car safer as well. To get an accurate reading, check the pressure of tires when they are cold, not when you have been driving.