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Picking a Contractor for Home Repairs After This Tough Winter

 

ConstructionContractAgreementIt has been such a tough winter on homes throughout New England. Ice dams and heavy loads of snow on roofs have contributed to extensive damage. So it’s no surprise that building contractors are in high demand.

 

If you’re having difficulty finding a firm that can complete your repairs, just make sure you don’t compromise on finding a qualified contractor to complete the work. Here are tips from the FTC that can help:

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If You’re Driving (or Considering It) for a Ride-Share Service

 

man hand holding the phone with interface taxiThere are a number of issues surrounding the booming ride-sharing industry – one of which is insurance. If you are driving for one of these companies you need to be aware that there are potential loopholes in your insurance coverage that could end up putting you at financial risk. Here’s a quick overview:

 

First: what is ride-sharing?

Ride-sharing uses mobile technology to connect passengers to drivers. Customers download an app to their smartphones that allows them to request a ride. The app also lets users get price quotes for the trip, see a picture of the driver, track the driver’s location, and pay their fare using a credit card on file so no cash is exchanged at the end of the trip. UberX, Sidecar, and Lyft are all ride-share companies; they allow drivers to use their personal vehicles, with personal lines insurance protection, to transport passengers and earn extra money.

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What You Should Know About Public Insurance Adjusters

 

property-claim-formThis certainly isn’t a new flash: It’s been a terrible winter. Storm damage to homes throughout our area ranges from water damage from ice dams to collapsed roofs. And the insurance companies are doing all that they can to have their adjusters (and independent adjusters they have brought in from around the country) assess your damage and settle your claim in a timely manner.

 

Many people also know that there are public insurance adjusters who will assess damage and negotiate on your behalf with your insurance company. You pay for this service with a percentage of the insurance payment you receive. The Massachusetts Division of Insurance has released a Consumer Alert regarding public insurance adjusters to help homeowners understand what these public adjusters can offer in services and how to make the right choice in selecting one if you choose to go that route.

 

Here’s the CONSUMER ALERT to help you decide if you are considering using a public adjuster: Read the rest of this entry »

Avoid Being Taken by “Storm Chasers” for Snow Removal or Repairs

 

IceDams-HeatCables012If you’ve tried to find a crew to clear the snow and ice off your roof, you’ve probably encountered what so many homeowners have in the Boston area—a message that says that the contractor’s mailbox is full. (We’ve heard some firms have received over 400 calls a day for snow removal and damage repairs.)

 

That’s the perfect scenario for less than honest individuals to prey on distressed homeowners. So the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) warns that we all have to watch out for “storm chasers” wandering neighborhoods looking to make a fast dollar on snow removal or home repairs. Now not every individual soliciting work is disreputable, but the dishonest ones may try schemes to defraud you by:

  • Demanding upfront payment, scheduling a day to do the work and never showing up
  • Starting the job, but never completing it
  • Using inferior materials and performing shoddy work that doesn’t meet code requirements if they’re doing repairs

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Claims for damage from ice dams or other storm-related losses.

 

icedam1By the time this article posts, Boston (and eastern MA) will likely have passed all local records for the most snow in any winter. (We need less than an inch to achieve that dubious honor.) And it all arrived in less than a month! So it’s no surprise to anyone living around here that the insurance companies are beginning to see a significant number of claims.

 

Many are from water damage related to ice dams. Others are for roofs that have collapsed from the weight of over 100 inches of snow.

Many insurance companies are adding claims professionals to take calls, answer questions, adjust losses, and help customers. And all of the professionals at the Cushman Insurance Group, as always, are here to assist and support you throughout the entire process if you need to make a claim. Here is some information you may find helpful throughout that process: Read the rest of this entry »

What To Do About That Snow On Your Roof

snowroofIt’s no surprise to anybody living in our area (eastern Massachusetts) that the amount of snow we’ve had since the beginning of the year has been extraordinary. And besides the risks that it presents on the highways, it’s a major risk to your roof as it continues to pile up.

Our thanks to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety for sharing the critical advice below on how to estimate the risk to your roof, how to mitigate those risks, and if you can/don’t address the issue, what warning signs you should know that your roof is under too much stress. Here’s their advice:

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FAQs About Snowmobile Insurance

 

SnowmobilingThose of us who are exhausted from digging out from under all of the recent snow would say “ENOUGH!” But if you love to hit the trails on your snowmobiles, you’re probably thrilled with all the white stuff.

 

Before you head out, we hope you keep in mind that snowmobiling is one of the more dangerous recreational sports. Each year, snowmobiles cause around 600 deaths and over 14,000 injuries in the United States. And that’s a key reason that Massachusetts law mandates that you have snowmobile insurance. And like car insurance, there’s a lot to consider when arranging your policy. Here are just a few things to consider: Read the rest of this entry »

Shoveling Snow: Tips on how to do it safely

 

how to shovel snow safelyWe just found ourselves under a fair amount of the white stuff here in Eastern MA. And while many of us have been shoveling snow for years, that doesn’t mean we’ve all been doing it safely. Popular Mechanics generated a great list some years ago that highlighted moving snow effectively, safely, and hopefully with the least aches and pains following the effort. Here’s a condensation of that list:

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Loaning Your Vehicle? You’re Loaning Your Insurance Too!

 

loan car to friendWhen you give a friend permission to drive your vehicle, keep in mind that you’re also agreeing to loan them your insurance.

Folks frequently have the inaccurate belief that car insurance follows a driver, so it’s not surprising that we get questions from our clients about this very issue. We recommend you consider the following before you hand over the keys or think about borrowing a friend’s car yourself: Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t risk your life with a CO detector past its expiration date.

 

CO expiration dateHere are several frightening statistics:

  • Only half of the U.S. homes have a working carbon monoxide alarm (U.S. Census)
  • There are 72,000 CO poisoning incidents in the U.S. every year. (CDC)

Add to that the issue that many people think that once installed, carbon monoxide detectors work forever and you have the potential for tragedy. Here’s the reality: The life span of a CO detector is roughly 5 to 7 years. So if you installed your detectors when the MA law was put in effect in 2006…and you still have the same units: IT’S TIME TO REPLACE THEM. Read the rest of this entry »