Category Archives: Homeowners Insurance for Modular and Manufactured Homes

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.

Repair Your Roof: How to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home

Your Homeowners Insurance policy most likely covers various types of water damage. If you live in New England, your house is subjected to wind-driven rains, melting snow, and other weather conditions that can make the exterior vulnerable to rot and mold. What your policy doesn’t cover, however, is water damage that is caused by poor maintenance. For example, if your gutters are overflowing or your roof is leaking, don’t expect your Homeowners Insurance to cover that. This is why you need to constantly maintain your roof and home exterior. Check it regularly and make repairs as needed.

Areas that are particularly susceptible to water damage are the eaves just under your roof.

The Purpose of Fascia and Soffits

The fascia is the horizontal band at the end of your roof rafters. The soffit is found under the rafter tail. While these pieces create visual, architectural interest, they are also very practical. They protect the exterior of your house from damage when wind and rain blow upward. They also help to keep out unwanted animals such as birds and squirrels, AND they provide a nice cover for your attic vents. But if your fascia and soffits aren’t properly maintained, water will likely collect in that eave area.

How to Check and Repair the Fascia and Soffits

When you inspect and clean out your gutters, once a year, you should also take a look at the fascia and soffits to check for peeling, areas of wood rot, and any other potential problems. If there is rotted wood underneath, you’ll need to completely replace all the fascia and soffits. However, if you see only one or two areas that might be compromised, you can fix them by caulking and sealing the areas.

Should you need to replace your fascia and soffits, you should choose a material such as vinyl, an increasingly popular choice for this area under the roof. Vinyl has proven to be more durable and is aesthetically appealing, able to blend seamlessly with most home exteriors. Unfortunately, many older homes have fascia and soffits constructed of wood, which is very likely to decay after a few rough winters in New England. One spring, a homeowner heard a pecking sound outside and found a woodpecker trying to make a home in the soft wood underneath the roof! That’s when you know it’s time to replace the fascia with a tougher material that can not only withstand the weather, but also not create a hospitable environment for birds!

Aluminum is another popular choice when replacing your fascia and soffits. They won’t peel or rot, and will last many decades.

Whichever material you choose, it’s best to go with something that will last a very long time, because you don’t want to have frequent repair and replacement costs. In the long run, it will also save you money, because you’ll be preventing damage that Homeowner’s Insurance won’t cover.

So be sure to check your roof, fascia and soffits before winter hits. That way, you can rest assured that your home is protected.

And be sure to 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.

Fire Safety: Prevention Tips to Protect You and Your Family

If you’re a homeowner, comprehensive insurance coverage usually includes damage caused by fire. But it’s always good to double-check that this is covered. If you’re looking for a low-cost alternative, you could get dwelling fire insurance, which is cheaper than traditional policies. If you rent a house, particularly a historic or older home, or if you own a seasonal rental property, you could be eligible for dwelling fire insurance. You also might be eligible if you’re a landlord of a multi-family home.

A fire disaster is one of those events that you hope never happens, but hopefully have planned for when you buy insurance coverage. At the same time, it’s good to be prepared ahead of time, because it’s better to prevent a fire than to have to deal with the consequences and damage caused by one. Here are a few fire safety tips to keep in mind:

Have a family action plan.

Know where all of the exits are and have a plan as to how each family member will escape in the event of a fire. Even if you live by yourself, know how you would escape and how you’d save your pet if you have one. Be able to leave your house within two minutes, because that might be all the time you have. Practice your fire escape plan with your family at least twice a year.

Make sure your electrical system is up to code.

If you’re a landlord, you don’t want to have to worry that your building may not be covered after a fire because you were in violation of safety codes.

Test your smoke alarms.

You should have smoke alarms on every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside of sleeping areas.

Make sure all fire alarms in your home are checked and tested every month and batteries replaced at least once a year. Every 10 years you should have the whole system replaced.

Eliminate household hazards.

Very often fires are caused by the smallest things, such as a cigarette burning on a couch, or an appliance that wasn’t turned off. If you get into the habit of being fire safety conscious, you’ll be able to prevent a fire. For example, when you cook, always make sure the stove and oven are off when you’re finished. If you use appliances when you get ready in the morning, such as a hairdryer or curling iron, be sure to unplug them. If you light any candles, make sure they are all blown out before you go to sleep or leave your house.

During winter, there are added dangers with space heaters. Never place a space heater too close to furniture, curtains or anything that could catch fire. Never leave the room where a space heater is operating, and always make sure you shut it off and unplug it when you’re done using it.

Following these tips could save your life, as well as protect your home from fire damage.

When shopping for homeowner’s insurance, be sure to contact the professionals at Zawada Insurance Agency to understand all of your options and choose the policy that’s right for you.

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

Homeowners Insurance for Modular and Manufactured Homes

What is the difference between modular and manufactured homes?

Modular homes are set on a permanent foundation, while manufactured homes are put on a steel chassis with attached wheels for moving.

Modular Homes

Modular, or prefabricated, homes have come a long way. These types of homes have proven in many cases to withstand storms and other natural disasters better than traditionally built homes. Many homeowners are considering modular homes because they tend to cost less, can be built faster, and yet are as sturdy and strong as traditionally built homes. They now come in all styles and sizes. Most likely, you’ve driven by an impressive home and never knew it was a modular home!

The basic difference between modular and homes built on-site is that modular homes are built off-site in a factory, then delivered to your location and put together there. They come in a variety of floorplans and can be customized according to the homeowner’s needs. Some people also get a modular addition to an existing home when they’re looking for more space without the cost and time-consuming issues of traditional builders.

If you should choose to get a modular home, you can get a standard Homeowners Insurance policy. This policy is necessary for obtaining a mortgage loan. The standard policy will protect your home from damage caused by falling trees, lightning, fire, vandalism and other potential threats. It also protects your house and the contents inside from damages and theft. It will replace the cost of valuable property, such as art and jewelry. It will pay for others’ injuries inside or on your property that you’re liable for. And it will also pay for a temporary place to stay in the event that your home needs to be repaired.

Manufactured or Mobile Homes

Many people like the flexibility and simplicity of a manufactured or mobile home. First, what’s the difference between “manufactured” and “mobile?” Both are regulated by HUD, the Housing and Urban Development division of the government. According to HUD, a factory-built home prior to 1976 is a mobile home and one built after 1976 is called “manufactured.” Essentially, they’re the same, but the date changes the name!

If you own a manufactured or mobile home, you should first assess the level of risk in your location. For example, mobile homes tend to be more vulnerable during hurricanes. New England may not be a central area for hurricanes, but beware the Nor’easters!

If you have a mobile or manufactured home, a Manufactured Home Insurance policy is required. This will cover hazards such as natural events, including storms, snow, tornadoes, fires, burglary and more. Depending on your risk level, you may opt to get more comprehensive coverage, or you can add certain types of coverage. Some additions may include:

  • water damage from a burst pipe
  • hail and heavy winds
  • damages caused by wild animals

Whichever type of home you choose, the professionals at Zawada Insurance Group can help you find the coverage that best fits your needs. We’ll help you shop around to find the best deals on car, home, and other types of insurance.  Please contact Zawada Insurance Agency for details.

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