Category Archives: Homeowners Insurance for Modular and Manufactured Homes

The Top Three Mistakes To Avoid When Purchasing Insurance Policies

Saving money is always a good thing, and shopping around for the best deal when purchasing insurance is a good way to save a few bucks. That being stated, it is not a good idea to reduce your coverage in order to save money. In fact, it can cost you a significant amount of money when a disaster happens to strike. You certainly do not want to be one of those people that are left holding the bag. The good news is that you can save a lot of dough and still have the proper insurance coverage if you make good decisions when choosing your insurance plans. The following information will provide you with the most common mistakes that people make when purchasing insurance policies.

Mistake #1: Insuring Your Home Based On Value Instead Of The Rebuilding Cost

Homeowners insurance is intended to cover the cost of rebuilding, not the current sales value of the property. That means when real estate prices happen to drop, it is not a good idea to reduce the amount of insurance you carry on your home. Unfortunately, far too many property owners make this tragic mistake. Instead, you should always ensure that you have enough coverage to rebuild your home, and replace all of your belongings regardless of what the current real estate market values are. A great way to save money is to raise your deductible. For example, increasing the deductible from $500 to $100 could very well save you upwards of 25% on your homeowners’ insurance payments.

Mistake #2: Choosing An Insurance Agent Solely Based On Price

While it is important to select an insurance agent that offers competitive pricing, it is more important that the agent you work with is both financially sound, and provides a high level of customer service. Often time’s consumers choose an insurance agency based on price alone. Like the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. In this case it can equal cut-rate service. Imagine having to deal with a major issue, such as a fire at your home, and it takes 20-30 phone calls before you receive a return call from your insurance agent? Quality counts a great deal when dealing with an emergency, meaning cut rate service simply does not cut it.

Mistake #3: Skipping The Renters Insurance Policy

A plethora of renters are under the false impression that if a fire, hurricane, or other insured disaster happens to strike that their landlord is responsible for everything. The truth of the matter is that you need your own insurance policy to cover your possessions and additional living expenses if you need to move out due to the disaster. Just as important, renters insurance also provides you with liability protection if a third party is injured while visiting your home and decides to sue you in court. Instead of skipping out on the renters’ insurance policy in order to save money, it is a far smarter idea to save money by bundling multiple policies with the same insurance agent. For example, if you purchase a bundle of renters insurance, automobile insurance, and life insurance it will save you money on all three policies.

In conclusion, there are things that you can do in order to save money without scarifying insurance coverage. 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 insurance policies and explain your coverage options. We look forward to helping you with all of your personal and or business related insurance needs.

Ways To Avoid Unnecessary Accidents In Your Home

Most homeowners strive to make their home a safe and happy place for family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and everyone else that happens to visit on a frequent basis, or even on rare occasions. However, a plethora of accidents and injuries happen to occur during gatherings at residential properties. Fortunately, the vast majority of these accidents and injuries are completely avoidable. That being stated, when a visitor to your home is involved in an accident or becomes injured at your property, you are responsible from a legal and financial standpoint.

That is just one of the multitude of reasons why your homeowners insurance policy is so important. In essence, it covers your guests’ medical expenses if they happen to suffer an injury at your property. Your homeowners’ insurance policy also covers legal fees and any financial damages if an injured visitor happens to sue you in a court of law. Hopefully, it never gets to that stage. The following ways to avoid unnecessary accidents in your home will go a long way in ensuring that you are not sued by any of your visitors.

Clean Up Spills Immediately. How many times has someone spilled something at one of your parties or smaller gatherings? You probably need a calculator in order to figure out that amount. Needless to say, it happens all of the time. From good old Uncle Ned dropping his full plate of food on the floor, to one of the kids spilling his or her cup of juice, it may seem that you spend most of the party cleaning up after them. That is actually a good thing, because it is incredibly important to clean up those spills immediately after they occur. Otherwise you are creating a potential slipping hazard that could have otherwise been avoided. When people slip and fall they typically injure themselves.

Secure All Area Rugs. If you have area rugs covering slippery surfaces such as wood, tile, slate, granite, or marble floors it is important to make sure that they are secure prior to having people over to your home. Otherwise the area rugs may very well move around and cause people to slip or trip. You can avoid this by securing them with nonskid pads, or double-sided carpet tape in order to keep them in place. You can also purchase area rugs that contain slip-resistance backings. Either way, securing all of the area rugs in your home will go a long way in preventing your guests from becoming injured.

Do Not Forget About Stair Safety. Stairs can be the cause of accidents in the home for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, a great deal of people trip or slip and fall when climbing up or down stairs. This holds true even if there are absolutely zero issues with the stairs. In order to reduce the risk of falls, make sure that your handrail actually runs the full length of the staircase. In additions, if your staircases are carpeted, make sure that the carpet is secure. Do not put any area rugs or mats at the base or top of the stairs, as they are tripping hazards when located on those areas.

If you are planning to paint stairs at your home, please keep in mind that the paint may very well cause a slippery surface. Add a secure runner to provide the stairs with additional traction. For outside steps that are not well lit, you can either add flood lights that point on the stairs, and or paint the edges white so they can be seen in the dark.

In conclusion, taking the additional time to ensure that accidents do not occur at your home when hosting guests will go a long way in avoiding injuries. 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 homeowners’ 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.

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.

Insurance Questions for Winter Weather

Winter Insurance Q & A’s

Depending on how you look at it, January through March can be a winter wonderland or the most dangerous time of year. Cars skidding on icy highways, snowy roofs caving in. . . If you want to enjoy the winter, just make sure you have the right insurance coverage. Below we’ve compiled some of the most common winter insurance Q & A’s to help you navigate this slippery season!

What winter damages am I covered for? Usually, standard Homeowner policies cover things like flooding from melting snow, roof damage from the weight of snow, frozen pipes, falling trees, high winds and temporary relocation due to a power outage. You should call your insurance company to find out exactly what coverages you have.

What happens if someone falls on my icy driveway?  After a storm, you haven’t had time to get outside and salt your driveway. Then a delivery person slips and falls on your property and threatens to sue you. What are your options? First, make sure you have Liability coverage in your Homeowners Insurance policy. This will help cover medical and/or legal costs in the event someone has an accident on your property.  Remember, Liability coverage differs from Personal Property coverage. Liability protects you in case of lawsuits, while Personal Property covers you for stolen or damaged belongings, including jewelry or furniture.

Winter is causing serious damage to my house, from ice dams to burst pipes. How do I know if I’m able to make a claim? Odds are, your Homeowners policy will cover things like this. However, if your insurance company believes you’ve neglected to properly maintain your home, they may not cover some things. For example, to keep pipes from bursting, you should keep the heat on, or let your faucets drip slowly at night so the water won’t freeze. Taking good care of your roof and applying effective insulation will help prevent ice dams from forming. If you haven’t done some of these things, you could be considered negligent, and your claim denied.

How soon do I need to contact my insurance company? As soon as you realize you have damage to your house caused by winter weather. Call immediately, so too much time won’t pass after the storm.

What if someone steals my car while it’s warming up? We all do it. It’s freezing outside, and we’d like to get the engine, and mostly the heat, revved up before we have to go. Yet during the winter, car thieves are trolling driveways to see if a car is unattended. If your vehicle should get stolen, you can replace the cost of it with Comprehensive Auto Insurance coverage. Comprehensive is the way to go, especially for accidents caused by natural events, too, like a tree branch cracking your windshield in a storm.

What if I skid off the road and land in a ditch? Before winter comes, check that you have Roadside Assistance included in your coverage. This will enable you to call for a tow truck, instead of having to be stranded in a major snow storm. It will also be helpful in case your car battery dies.

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.

How Winter Affects Your Home Insurance: Top 4 Tips!

Winter can be a tricky time, especially for home and auto insurance policies. But if you follow some of these safety tips, it can make things easier for you, and less likely for your deductible to be raised.

  1. Rake your roof!

When the first snowstorm hits, and you’re done shoveling the driveway, make sure you don’t neglect your roof. Roof rakes can be purchased in most hardware stores. They’re long tools that help you scoot excess snow to the edge of your roof and away from the center. If you don’t rake your roof when it snows, you could end up with so much heavy snow that your roof will cave in! As we said in a previous blog, Homeowners Insurance won’t cover damage that is the result of poor maintenance, so you could pay a heavy price.

For further prevention of cave-ins or leaky roofs, you could replace your roof before winter storms start blowing in. This is especially necessary if you have an older home and / or need roof repairs.

  1. Cut down problem trees.

In a standard Homeowners Insurance policy, you’ll be covered for damages caused during storms. This covers damage to your home or related structures, including detached garages. However, some trees in your yard can pose a threat when a major winter storm hits. For example, if you have a tree that could fall into your neighbor’s yard, or if it’s a tree that falls on your own property—you’ll be responsible for the cost, either to the neighbor or to have the downed tree removed. Another issue to consider is the proximity of a tree to power lines. In some winter storms, heavy wet snow can cause a tree to bend to such a degree that it affects power lines. These are all good reasons to consider having certain problematic trees removed from your property.

  1. Get your snowmobile insured!

Snowmobiles are considered high-risk machines. There are more than 200 deaths and approximately 14,000 accidents caused by snowmobiles every year. When getting insurance for your snowmobile, look up the laws in your state, because some require you to get insurance, while others don’t.  The types of coverage you can get include comprehensive, collision, bodily injury and property damage. You’ll save money if your snowmobile has additional safety features, too.

  1. Make sure you have comprehensive coverage for your car.

During this time of year, comprehensive coverage—including collision and liability—comes in handy if you get into an accident that’s caused by slippery roads or anything weather-related. This may include a snow-covered tree branch falling through your windshield. It will cover you if you have to be on the road, even during a state of emergency. It will even cover you if someone steals your car while it’s warming up in the driveway! Be sure you also have roadside assistance in case you get caught in a severe storm and have to abandon your vehicle to be picked up later.

For more information on which types of insurance are right for you, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency. We work hard to give you comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.

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