Category Archives: Home Insurance

Get To Know Your Homeowners Insurance Policy And What It Actually Covers

When most people think of their homeowners insurance policy all they can picture is paying a lump sum of money, or making monthly payments on top of their mortgage payment. However, your homeowners insurance can be your best friend if disaster strikes. It can also be extremely useful when smaller incidents happen to occur. In fact, homeowners insurance helps protect you, your home, and your belongings from a variety of unexpected events.

Homeowners insurance policies are certainly not a one size fits all type of product. While a typical homeowners insurance policy includes particular coverage, it is usually customized in order to meet each individual homeowner’s distinctive requirements. You can purchase additional coverage for increased protection. The typically homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for damage caused by fires, lightening strikes, windstorms, and hail.

However, it is important to be aware that not all natural disasters are covered. For example, damage caused by earthquakes and floods are not typically covered by the standard homeowners insurance policy. If you live in an area of New England that tends to flood, you will need to apply for a separate Flood policy. So what specifics does a standard homeowners insurance policy cover? The following information will provide you with the answer to that question.

A Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy Includes Dwelling Protection

Dwelling Protection is one of the basic coverage’s of your homeowners insurance policy. In essence, it helps cover the replacement cost or repair costs of the structure of your home if damage is caused by an item that is covered in the policy. For example, if a fire destroys your kitchen, the Dwelling Protection will cover the repair costs. Dwelling Protection also covers other structures that are attached to the main property such as an attached garage or deck.

A Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy Includes Other Structures Protection

The majority of homeowners insurance policies also include coverage for other structures that are on the property, but are not attached to the house. In essence they are free standing structures such as a detached garage, shed, or fence.

A Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy Includes Personal Property Protection

Your Homeowners Insurance policy does not only cover damage to the structure of your home, it also provides you with coverage if your personal belongings are damaged, destroyed, or stolen. For example, if your big screen television is stolen, the Personal Property Protection may pay to replace it. Many insurance companies offer Optional Coverage that can further help protect the expensive items that you own such as jewelry, watches, and fur that have values above and beyond your Personal Property coverage limits.

A Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy Includes Liability Protection

The Standard Homeowners Insurance policy typically provides you with liability coverage when someone that is not living at the property is injured while visiting your home. For example, if a visitor trips on the stairs and breaks his or her leg than the Bodily Injury Liability coverage will help pay for your resulting legal expenses. It will also cover your visitor’s medical bills if you are found at fault. You may be able to increase the Liability Protection coverage limits by adding a personal umbrella policy if need be.

Coverage Limits And Deductibles Explained

Each of the coverage’s in the Homeowners Insurance policy is subject to a limit. In essence, the limit is the maximum amount of money that your policy will pay toward a covered loss. You may be able to adjust your coverage limits to your needs based on the value of your home and belongings. In most cases, you will be required to pay a deductible prior to your insurance benefits kick in to help cover the loss or repair. The deductible is a set amount and can be lowered or raised depending on how much you are paying for the policy. For example, a lower deductible will cost X amount more per month, while a higher deductible will save you Y amount per month.

In conclusion, you should not think of your Homeowners Insurance policy as an expense, it is more like a friend when you are in a time of need. If you have any questions, please call (508) 831-0133 to contact an associate at Zawada Insurance. We are happy to walk you through the details of your life insurance policy and explain your coverage options. We look forward to helping you with all of your personal and or business related insurance needs.

Understanding Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Purchasing a new home can be one of the most exciting times of your life. It can also cause a tremendous amount of stress. There certainly is a plethora of things to deal with. There is also a ton of paperwork to sign that is full of terms that you may or may not fully comprehend. That being stated, it is important that you are fully aware of what you are going to be responsible for before signing the dotted line. Understanding your homeowners insurance policy can go a long way in this department.

Homeowners coverage provides financial protection against a loss or losses due to accidents, disasters, and even theft. Most standard homeowners insurance policies include four types of coverage as follows….

Homeowners Insurance Covers The Structure Of Your Home

Your homeowners insurance plan covers the repair or rebuild costs if your house is damaged or even destroyed by disasters as listed in your policy such as fire, hurricane, hail, or lightening. Most homeowners insurance policies cover the main structure as well as detached structures such as the garage, gazebo, or tool shed. Standard insurance coverage does not pay for damages that are caused by a flood or earthquake, although separate policies can be purchased to cover these emergencies.

In addition, your homeowners insurance policy does not cover normal, or routine, wear and tear. It is incredibly important to purchase a policy that provides enough coverage to rebuilt your home.

Homeowners Insurance Covers Your Personal Belongings

Your homeowners insurance plan covers the replacement value of your furniture, clothing, equipment, and other personal items if they are stolen or destroyed in a fire, hurricane or other insured disaster. The personal belongings coverage also includes items that are stored off of the premises. Most plans include up to $500 of coverage for unauthorized use of credit and debit cards. Expensive personal items such as jewelry, high-value collectables, and high-priced artwork are covered.

However, there are typically dollar limits if these items are stolen. In order to insure these expensive items to their full value, a separate personal property endorsement or floater can be purchased by the homeowner. Trees, shrubs, and plants are typically covered for upwards of $500 per item, but are not covered for disease or poor maintenance.

Homeowners Insurance Covers Your Liability

Your homeowners insurance plan covers you against lawsuits for property damage or bodily injury that either you, or your family members caused to other people. It also pays for damages to other people that are caused by your pets. For example, if a visitor to your home trips over one of your children’s toys, or your pet’s toys, you are coverage for the damages it causes. The liability coverage also pays for the costs of defending your case in a court of law, and any damages that the court awards to the other party or parties up to a specific amount of money that is stated in your policy.

Liability limits typically begin at $100,000. That being stated, it makes sense to discuss whether or not you should purchase a higher level of protection with a professional insurance agent. If you have a considerable amount of assets that require additional coverage, you may choose to purchase an umbrella policy that will provide you with higher limits and a wider range of coverage.

Homeowners Insurance Covers Your Additional Living Expenses

Your homeowners insurance plan covers the added costs of living away from your home if you cannot live there based on damage that is caused by an insured disaster. In essence, the addition living expenses include hotel/motel bills, restaurant meals, and other costs that are above and beyond your typically living expenses. It should be noted that most homeowners insurance policies have limits, and many include a time frame limitation.

For example, if construction is underway and it is projected to take three months to complete, the additional living expenses may not cover anything beyond three months even if the work is incomplete. If you rent out part of your home, your policy will also reimburse you for the rent that you would have collected if the property had not been destroyed.

For more information about home owners insurance please contact Zawada Insurance Agency today.

5 Instances When It May Be Hard to Get Homeowners Insurance

Although homeowners insurance is not compulsory, it comes with various benefits especially when you need a home loan. Location, the age of your house, and your claim history are some of the factors that affect your chances of getting insurance for the home of your dreams. However, regardless of your situation, some insurance companies cover even high-risk properties although their rates are high. Here are 5 instances when you may struggle to get your house insured.

  1. Location in a disaster-prone area

Insurance companies consider the location of a home to determine the insurance rate. Buying a house in areas prone to natural disasters such as typhoons or property crime will reduce your chances of getting insurance. Homeowner insurance companies consider the chances of risk taking place to know whether to offer coverage or not. Sometimes, you may be lucky to find an insurer who will charge high premiums. However, there are instances when you may be unable to get one.

  1. A lot of claims

It’s advisable not to keep filing home insurance claims. Insurance companies will consider your claims on their record to establish your risk level. The higher the claims, the higher the insurance rates that you will get. Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange or CLUE will keep your record whenever you file a claim and make the information easily accessible to insurers. Sometimes, homeowner insurance companies may refuse to cover you when you have lots of claims.

  1. Vacant homes

Insuring a vacant home could be expensive or even sometimes impossible. Apart from deteriorating faster than occupied homes, vacant houses also attract bad guys. Given that no one is living in such a house, there are high chances of some dangerous things going on uninterrupted. For instance, in case of an electrical fire or bursting pipes, there is no one to report or stop thereby leading to more damage.

  1. Presence of some animals

Although dogs are considered man’s best friend, there are some breeds that are known to be more aggressive than others. Given that your home insurance liability will pay for the costs as a result of dog bites, their presence or absence is a major determinant of your rates. In some instances, some insurance companies set a limit to cover for dog-biting requiring the owner to pay the extra cash in case a bite. Exotic pet owners have high chances of failing to get a home insurance policy.

  1. Old home

They say old is gold. However, when it comes to homeowners insurance, old homes attract higher rates than new ones. The uniqueness of most old homes makes them expensive to repair thereby forcing homeowner insurance to charge high rates. The outdated wiring and plumbing systems in these homes make them prone to damages such as fire. Consequently, most homeowner insurance companies will shy away from these buildings unless they’ve upgraded.

If you have been struggling to find homeowner insurance for your new home, contact us at any time. At Zawada Insurance Agency, we have connected thousands of residents in this area with reputable homeowners insurance. Let us know your current situation to provide the best advice that we can. Let us make your search for an insurer come to an end.

How Self-Driving Cars Will Affect Auto Insurance

Although cars are a wonderful invention, there are also dangerous not only when there’s human error but also when in the wrong hands. Since the invention of the first engine car over a century ago, major advances have been recorded, especially with regard to safety technology. Modern cars are now fitted with technology for drowsiness detection, emergency braking, blind spot monitoring etc.

Driverless cars are now a reality and their popularity will only grow going into the future. Although drivers are going to be around for some time, they’ll definitely give way for the technology sooner rather than later. Self-driving cars will change driving habits and patterns, with some people predicting even a change in car ownership. The automobile insurance industry will also be affected by this disruptive technology in various ways as explained below.

1. Fewer accidents will mean a drop in insurance premiums

Currently, human error contributes as much as 94 percent of all road accidents in the US. Driverless cars just like most of the other machines are more accurate and efficient than humans. Drowsiness, distraction, driving under the influence of alcohol, and other human behaviors linked to road accidents will become history as autonomous cars become more common in the future.

Driving history is an important determinant of auto insurance rate. The more a person is involved in road accidents over a given period, their higher the rates. However, with driverless cars, such data will not be important. The increased safety associated with these vehicles will force insurance companies to lower their premiums.

2. Reduced car ownership to affect the demand for individual auto insurance negatively

Autonomous vehicles are expected to change car ownership. Fleet ownership will flourish at the expense of private ownership. Vehicles will now make various trips on a 24-hour basis and enhance the popularity and growth of ride-sharing services. Fleet-ownership is already being tested with Uber entering into a driverless car partnership with Volvo, GM with Lyft, while more companies are exploring similar avenues.

Insurance on privately owned vehicles is mainly what auto insurance is all about. With fewer individuals owning vehicles in the future, the growth and profitability of auto insurance will be affected. The overall premiums will reduce with fewer individual owners.

3. Change in liability in the event of an accident

Autonomous vehicles will not completely eliminate road accidents. However, in the absence of a human driver, there’ll definitely be a change on who’s liable for the losses. Currently, however, it appears the manufacturers have already accepted the responsibility. Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Google have publicly accepted to take responsibility when their self-driving system causes the accident.

However, the process may not go as smoothly as it sounds. In an accident involving autonomous vehicles and real drivers, it will be a little difficult to determine who’s at fault even as automakers appear willing to take responsibility. It may be necessary to install extensive tracking systems in driverless cars to settle such cases.

Final Thought

As AI -enabled vehicles become common, it still early to say with precision how this will affect the insurance industry. However, insurance companies have the role of reevaluating how the technology may affect their business and respond accordingly. They should also be vigorous and take any opportunity brought by the technology.

Homeowner’s Insurance Tips for Winter

Maintenance Tips That Will Help You Save on Insurance

If you own a home, it’s essential that you have homeowner’s insurance. However, as we’ve said in previous blogs, it’s not a given that certain home-related issues will be covered. Insurance companies care most that you, the homeowner, have properly maintained your house and surrounding property. If you keep up with the maintenance, you’ll be less likely to have problems later on. If, however, something happens that’s beyond your control, you’ll be very glad you have insurance! Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind during the cold months ahead:

Check Your Chimney

During the winter, you’ll no doubt be running your heat. If you have an oil furnace, you need to make sure the chimney is properly vented. Have someone do a routine check before the cold months hit. The service professional will clear out the vent, so the exhaust won’t back up into your home and cause carbon-monoxide poisoning. In some cases, if your chimney is older, there could be clay tiles crumbling inside, which could cause a dangerous blockage. It may be recommended that you install a stainless steel liner to prevent blockages of the vent. Then you’ll be able to run your heat without worry.

Rake Your Roof

After a big snow storm, be sure to not only shovel your driveway, but also rake your roof. If you neglect to do this and another storm hits, you could run the risk of having your roof cave in! Since the average cost to replace a roof is about $9,000, prevention is worth a lot here. Before winter comes, it’s a good idea to do a yearly maintenance check of your roof, looking for any signs of damage that could create problems when the snow hits. If your roof is old and showing signs of wear and tear, it’s recommended that you replace it with asphalt shingles. These are thick and durable, and they last 15 to 30 years. There are other types as well, but they will likely have to be replaced more frequently. Sometimes, paying more up-front will prevent more expenses down the road.

Clean Out Your Gutters

Make sure your gutters are doing the job they are supposed to. Look for debris, such as leaves and twigs, which may cause blockages. Do you know how long you’ve had your gutters? Galvanized steel and aluminum gutters are usually good for 20 years. Copper will last 50 years.

Trim That Problem Tree

Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies will cover you for storm damage. However, if you have a tree that is too close to a power line, or is likely to fall either in your yard or your neighbor’s yard, you could be held responsible for the cost. So have problem trees cut down before snow storm season.

Got a question about your Homeowner’s Insurance policy? It’s always a good idea to meet with professionals, like the ones at Zawada Insurance Agency to go over your specific insurance needs. Talk with us today!

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Homeowner’s Checklist: How Home Maintenance Can Help You Save on Insurance

Homeowner’s Checklist: How Home Maintenance Can Help You Save on Insurance

To keep your homeowner’s insurance premiums as low as possible, there are many things you can do to avoid high costs. You already know that proper care and maintenance will go far in preventing costly claims. But sometimes it’s good to have a checklist as a reminder of what you can do before it’s too late.

When it Comes to Homeowner’s Insurance, Prevention is Key

If an unavoidable event happens beyond your control, you can rest assured that your homeowner’s insurance policy will likely cover it. This includes things like a natural disaster or vandalism. But remember, before you make a claim, your insurance company is going to look to see whether or not what happened could have been prevented. That’s why you need to get out ahead of a disaster before it’s too late.

Maintain Your Roof

The average cost to replace a roof is about $9,000.  If you make a claim of roof damage, your insurance company may not cover it if you haven’t been maintaining your roof. It’s best to take care of any repairs as soon as you see them. Do regular maintenance checks—look to see if there are any uneven areas or cracking. Check that you don’t have any wildlife trying to make a home or nest under the overhang. If you decide to replace your roof, it’s recommended that you get asphalt shingles. These are thick and durable, and they last 15 to 30 years. The other types must be replaced more frequently, such as composition shingles, which last 12 to 20 years. Wood shingles last 20 to 25 years.

Check Your Gutters

We’re getting into the season of severe storms and melting snow. That’s why you need to make sure you have a proper gutter system. To maintain your gutters, check for debris, especially after a storm. Be sure to clean out all the leaves and other obstacles that can obstruct the flow of water. Is it time to replace your gutters? Check how long you have had them. Unlike with roofs, it’s hard to estimate the lifespan of gutters, because it depends on the weather. But the average lifespan for galvanized steel and aluminum gutters is 20 years. Copper is much more durable, lasting 50 years.

Remove Mold

Insurance companies will only cover mold remediation if the mold was sudden from a natural disaster like flooding, or in a place the homeowner didn’t see, like the attic crawlspace. That’s why you need to stay on top of any potential mold growth. Mold grows best in humid places, like the bathroom. So be sure to have proper ventilation, and during times of high humidity, use a de-humidifier, which will discourage mold growth. Repair all leaks immediately, from a leaky roof to a leak in the laundry room. If you’re thinking of remodeling, consider using materials that don’t absorb water, such as laminate or tile flooring. But if you should discover any signs of mold—blackish green patches on the ceiling or a musty smell—have a professional look at it immediately.  The key is not to let it grow too much until it gets out of hand. Then you’ll be left with a costly bill that insurance won’t cover.

Got a question about your Homeowner’s Insurance policy? It’s always a good idea to meet with professionals, like the ones at Zawada Insurance Agency to go over your specific insurance needs. Talk with us today!

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Homeowners Insurance: 3 Valuable Home Maintenance Tips

Summer and early fall are perfect times to do some work on your biggest investment—your home. Doing so can better prepare you for the cold, wintry months ahead. Houses can really take a beating in New England with volatile weather—everything from torrential flooding to blizzards.

If you rely on your Homeowner’s Insurance policy to cover any costs you might incur down the road, you might be in for an unwelcome surprise. That’s why this post is going to give you some helpful tips that you can do yourself to avoid big expenditures later on.

What Homeowner’s Insurance Covers

If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you’ve learned that most Homeowner’s Insurance will cover damage to your house by a sudden, unavoidable disaster—a recent act of nature such as flooding, or another unexpected event, such as fire or vandalism. However, when you make a claim, your insurance company is going to look at whether or not the damage could have been prevented by regular home maintenance. If that’s the case, more often than not, the insurance company won’t cover it. For this reason, you need to be aware of some problem areas that could be overlooked and cause you greater financial problems in the long run. The following is a helpful checklist:

  1. Did you check those rain gutters?

Summer storms can really wreak havoc on your house if you don’t have a proper gutter system. First, make sure you have them! Second, check how many years you’ve had them. It’s hard to estimate the exact lifespan of gutters, because it often depends on the weather. But according to the National Association of Home Builders, the average lifespan for galvanized steel and aluminum gutters is 20 years, and for copper gutters, it’s 50 years.

  1. Roof repairs

If you haven’t been maintaining your roof, you should know that the average cost to replace a roof is about $9,000.  You should also know what kind of roof you have, so that you know how long it’s likely to last before it needs to be replaced. The best kind of roof to get is what is known as architectural shingles, which are asphalt shingles. They’re not only great for the aesthetic, textural appeal, but they are also thick and durable. They last 15 to 30 years. The other kinds must be replaced more frequently. For instance, composition shingles last 12 to 20 years, and wood shingles last 20 to 25 years.

  1. How solid is your foundation?

A home’s foundation is vital to every other architectural element. If you discover a serious foundation problem, it can be very costly. In fact, a whole new foundation can cost up to $40,000.  To avoid this headache, it’s good to know the warning signs of foundation issues. Some homeowners worry as soon as they see a crack. But not all cracks are created equally. The more troublesome cracks are those found above doors and windows, and where the wall meets the ceiling. Other cracks to note are those in vinyl or ceramic tile above a concrete floor. If a window or door that used to open and close normally suddenly sticks, jams or won’t open, that could be a sign that something is off. When you check outside, you can use a level to look for any walls that might be leaning to one side. Keep in mind, all houses settle to some degree over time. But if you see something suspicious, it’s best to check it out before it’s too late.

Got a question about your Homeowner’s Insurance policy? It’s always a good idea to meet with professionals, like the ones at Zawada Insurance Agency to go over your specific insurance needs. Talk with us today!

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond. 

Roof Repair and Homeowners Insurance

Roof Repair and Homeowners Insurance:

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Claim

For some, spring is the season of blooming flowers and milder temperatures. For your house, it’s the season for snow melt, heavy rains and mold. These can cause many headaches for homeowners.

According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, the roof is considered the most important part of your house by insurance companies. This is because any damage to the roof can lead to secondary issues—and more claims—involving other parts of your house.

After homeowners become aware of roof damage, they may wonder if they need to do roof repairs or replace their roof entirely. If there is damage to your roof, don’t expect to be covered by your Homeowners Insurance until you’ve asked yourself a few important questions.

  1. Whose fault is it? When it comes to insurance, it’s always a question of whose fault it is. If you have done your job as a responsible homeowner, regularly maintaining your roof, and an unforeseen incident happens, resulting in damage, you’ll likely be covered by your Homeowners Insurance policy. However, if you’re found to have been neglectful, the cost of repairs or replacement could be yours alone.
  2. Was the roof damaged by fire? A fire is considered one of those events that is usually accidental, and you would most likely be covered for fire damage.
  3. Is my roof older than 10 years? Typically, if something happens to your roof when it is under ten years old, it falls in the category of something beyond your control. But since regular maintenance is expected of the homeowner, if there is damage resulting from age (more than ten years old) and wear and tear, you may be held responsible for those costs.
  4. What if a storm damaged my roof, and now it leaks? Rain, strong winds and hail can be a recipe for disaster for your roof. A hole could let water in, which could result in mold. Again, if the initial cause of the damage was beyond your control, such as a natural weather event, you’ll most likely be covered. Typically, to fix a leaky roof involves sealing the leak, replacing the shingles and sealing them. This can range between $150 (if there aren’t many shingles damaged) to $1,100 for a single repair. Also, mold remediation costs can be very expensive, so it’s wise to make your claim as soon as possible, to alert your insurance company that the roof damage and the mold resulted from the weather event. Provide plenty of documents and take pictures!
  5. Do I need to replace my roof? First, you’ll want to consult with professionals to assess the level of damage to your roof. If there has been no damage, but you’re concerned about ordinary wear and tear, here are a few guidelines about the expected lifespan of your roof: You can expect a roof made of fiber cement shingles to last about 25 years. If you have wood shake roofs, they typically last around 30 years. And slate, tile and copper roofs may last more than 50 years. If all you need is a repair, that may be the better way to go, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Replacing the entire roof can be very costly. For example, if you have a 2,500 square-foot home with cement shingle roofing, the average cost to install a brand new roof of the same material is approximately $9,000.
  6. Have I performed regular maintenance on my roof? Regular maintenance includes checking for water damage in the eaves just under the roof—a prime spot for decay after a season of storms. Check the structural integrity of your fascia and soffits, the horizontal bands at the end of your roof rafters. Remove any debris from this area. Also regularly check for and wipe away moss and mold to prevent further growth. Check that vents and chimneys aren’t blocked by leaves or other debris. Last but not least, schedule regular inspections with a professional. Because your roof is such an important part of maintaining the overall health of your home, it’s worth the cost to keep it regularly inspected.

If you follow these guidelines, and then find yourself dealing with unexpected roof damage, you’ll most likely be covered by your Homeowners policy.

Keep checking our blog for more insurance coverage information and tips!

And consult the professionals at Zawada Insurance Agency to go over your insurance needs. We’ll help you get the right insurance coverage for your home, car, boat—and offer you bundling options that may save you money.

Talk with us today!

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Is Mold Removal Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Mold is a dangerous substance that, at the very least, can cause sinus problems, and at the worst, even more serious health problems. If you have a mold allergy or asthma, it can be a real struggle. Mold is an insidious problem that you may not even notice in your home until it’s visible. Read on to find out what you can do about it.

Signs of Mold in Your Home

Does your house smell earthy, like dirt? Or is there a persistent musty smell? These could be indicators that there is mold growing inside your home, even if you can’t see it. If you do see   dark patches on your ceiling, especially collecting in a corner, that is likely mold.

The Cost of Removing Mold

If you have a mold problem, you will likely face high costs to have it removed. A mold remediation company will come and assess the degree of the damage, checking ceilings, attics, walls, ductwork and more. These costs can range from $500 to $6,000.  Because of the high costs, you may hope your homeowners insurance will cover it. But odds are, it won’t.

What Homeowners Insurance Will Cover

You’ll find that homeowners insurance is more likely to cover an immediate problem, such as damage caused by a burst pipe. If mold starts to grow after a specific incident—a burst pipe, leaking dryer hose, air-conditioning water overflow—it will typically grow within 24 to 48 hours. If you make a claim right then and there, you will likely be covered. But if the mold is weather-related or something that has been growing for a period of time, you most likely won’t be covered. Here’s why: Usually, the cause of the problem is more important to insurance companies than the result. For example, if you’re found to be negligent in some way, resulting in a mold issue, your insurance company will likely not cover it. From the insurance company’s perspective, they expect you to maintain your home and prevent issues like mold. So if you haven’t visited your basement in months, and you suddenly find that mold has taken over the carpets and walls down there, you’ll be considered negligent and out of luck when you make a claim.

How to Prevent Mold in Your Home

The key to saving money from mold problems is prevention. Mold thrives in humid, dark areas where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much. That’s why it’s important to have proper ventilation in your bathroom. Remove any leaking water immediately, whether it’s from a leaky roof or in your laundry area. The water that forms from these places may result in mold that will be evident over time, and it will be too late to be covered by insurance.

Once you’ve found mold in the house, you can try to remove it with a water and bleach solution. But if it’s already spread, it may be best to consult a remediation company to safely remove it, so you don’t develop a health problem.

When Homeowners Insurance DOES Cover Mold

If you live in an older home and aren’t sure if there could be a growing mold problem, you can have extra mold coverage added to your insurance policy. However, keep in mind that this will cost extra, especially if your house is considered a higher risk.  High-risk homes are usually older, because the condition of the pipes and other areas inside aren’t certain. Also, if there were previous mold claims at your existing home, you can expect to pay even more for additional mold coverage. For many homeowners in the Northeast, the age of the house and volatile weather conditions—producing snow melt and water runoff—can make tackling mold an unpredictable, frustrating task. And for that reason alone, you might want to opt for some additional coverage just in case.

Keep checking our blog for more helpful insurance tips!

Zawada Insurance Agency is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, working to get you the most comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.

For more information about auto, life, homeowner and other insurance coverages, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency today.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Is Snow-Related Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

For homeowners, it can be confusing as to what conditions are covered by which insurance policies. After all, winter poses a host of different problems, from ice dams to downed trees caused by high winds, to water damage from melting snow. Read on to find out if you’re adequately covered for these events.

With Snowstorm-Related Insurance Coverage, Timing is Everything

You’ll find that it’s easier to be covered right after a storm has hit. If your home suffers immediate damage following a big storm, and the damage is caused by snow, ice and wind, these issues are nearly always covered. It’s a little trickier, however, to make a claim when damage is caused by melting snow over time.

Do You Need Homeowner’s Insurance or Flood Insurance?

Unfortunately, after a severe snow storm, the effects can last far longer than the storm itself. Snow melt on gutters, roof leaks, even a basement flooded by water from melting snow—all are considered outside issues, even if they affect the inside of your home. For these, you would need to be covered by flood insurance. However, if items such as appliances or furniture inside your basement are destroyed, you’ll need to rely on Homeowner’s Insurance, because flood insurance won’t typically cover those items.

Is it Flood Damage or Water Damage?

The main difference between a claim for flood insurance versus water damage is how many people are affected. If a naturally occurring water source—rising rivers, coastal flooding and torrential rains—are flooding all the homes in your neighborhood, it’s a good bet that you’ll be covered if you have flood insurance.

Water damage, on the other hand, occurs when water destroys something in your home, but doesn’t necessarily affect the neighbors. For example, if a pipe bursts or a toilet overflows, this would be considered water damage, and you’d need to make a claim with your Homeowner’s Insurance.

How to Prevent Costly Homeowner’s Insurance Claims

It’s better to prevent problems than to have to make expensive insurance claims. In the winter, there are several things you can do to cover yourself before you have to contact your insurance company. Among the most common snow- and winter-related claims are frozen pipes and roof damage. To protect your pipes, insulate the pipes in colder parts of your home, like in the basement. Keep your house at a warm temperature. And when you go to bed at night, let the faucet drip slowly to keep pipes from freezing.

Roof damage can be tough to prevent. In winter, you can get ice dams, fallen trees from wind, or damage caused by hail. The best thing you can do is to regularly inspect your roof, and make sure you have adequate insulation in your attic. If you see questionable, potentially loose, tiles, have them replaced before turbulent weather strikes.

Remember, it’s a good idea to have flood insurance, not only Homeowner’s Insurance. If you don’t live by a lake or ocean, or in a low-lying area, flood insurance can still protect you from conditions caused by snow melt. When you live in areas like the Northeast, where snow is a regular way of life, it’s better to be covered and have greater peace of mind.

Keep checking our blog for more helpful insurance tips!

Zawada Insurance Agency is your all-in-one resource for helping you find the right coverage for you and your family. We’re a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, working to get you the most comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.

For more information about auto, life, homeowner and other insurance coverages, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency today.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.