Category Archives: Homeowners Insurance

What Exactly Does Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover? Part 2 of 2

Tip #2: Check The Value Of Your Policy Against The Local Building Costs On A Yearly Basis

It is always a good idea to check with your insurance agent to see if they offer an Inflation Guard Clause. In essence, it automatically adjusts the dwelling limit when you renew your policy to reflect the current construction costs in your area. That being stated, it is a good idea to keep up with the local building costs by checking with the builders association.

Tip #3: Avoid Insuring Your Home Based On Market Value

Do not insure your property based on the current market value because the cost to rebuild your home may actually be higher or lower than the price you paid for it or the amount you can sell it for in the current real estate market.

There are also two (2) methods to insure your personal belongings. They are as follows….

Replacement Cost Coverage

In essence, replacement cost coverage is a part of the insurance policy that pays you the dollar amount needed to replace damaged personal property with items of like quality or kind, and without a deduction for depreciation.

Actual Cash Value

In essence, actual cash value is a part of the insurance policy under which the policyholder receives an amount of money equal to the replacement value of the damaged or missing property minus depreciation. The coverage is for actual cash value unless your homeowner’s policy specifically states that the personal property is to be covered for its actual replacement value.

When it comes to insuring your personal items, there are a few tips that you should keep in mind. They are as follows….

Tip #1: Review The Limits Of Your Policy For Personal Items

It is important to check the limits of your homeowner’s insurance policy regarding your personal items such as jewelry, silverware, computer equipment, and expensive collectibles. If the limits happen to be too low, you should consider purchasing additional personal property insurance coverage in the form of a floater. It is also referred to as an endorsement, which means it is in addition to your standard homeowners insurance policy. A floater is a form of insurance that provides you with the ability to insure valuable items in a separate manner.

Tip #2: Take An Inventory Of Your Personal Items

It is also important to take on inventory of everything that you own in your home, along with items that you own that are located in other buildings on the property such as an unattached garage or storage shed. The key is to actually take the time to list the major items that you own. You should include all available information when writing it down such as the serial number, make and model, purchase price, date of purchase, and current market value.

Tip #3: Document Your Belongings

A great deal of homeowners do not take the time to actually document their belongings. It is always a good idea to take either still pictures or videos of the items. You should also attach receipts to your items when applicable. Keep in mind that you should store the records pertaining to your belongings away from your home. For example, if your house were to burn down then the records of your belongings will burn if stored at the property. You can always rent a safe deposit box at your local bank. You should also update the inventory list and records when you make any new purchases of value.

In conclusion, perhaps the most important thing that you can do in order to safeguard both your home and property inside of your home is to fully understand that your homeowner’s insurance policy is actually a contract. That means you need to be fully aware of exactly what is in that contract.

It is important to fully understand exactly what you are purchasing when it comes to insurance policies. 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 now and in the future.

What Exactly Does Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover? Part 1 of 2

Homeowners insurance is certainly not something that most of us want to think about, let alone discuss, until we actually need it. However, understanding what is covered and what is not covered in your policy can actually make the difference of being able to rebuild your property and replace your personal belongings if a disaster happens to strike. That being stated, it is a good idea for homeowners to do an annual insurance policy check up in order to ensure that they are keeping up with local home remodeling costs, along with inventories of their personal items.

In most cases, your homeowner’s insurance policy covers damage that was caused by fire, windstorms, hailstorms, explosions, and water damage that excludes flooding. Other losses are typically covered such as the cost of living somewhere else while your home is being repaired or rebuilt, and theft of your belongings. Most policies also cover legal liabilities if other people are injured while visiting your home. The bottom line is that your homeowner’s insurance policy covers both the structure of your home, and your personal belongings that are located within your home. There are actually three (3) methods to insure the structure of your home. They are as follows….

Replacement Cost

In essence, replacement cost pays the policyholder the amount of money that it costs to replace the damage to the property. This occurs without a deduction or depreciation, however it is limited to a maximum amount based on the specific policy.

Extended Replacement Cost

In essence, extended replacement cost is just what it sounds like, an extended replacement cost policy that covers costs up to a particular percentage over the limit. Typically it is based on 20%. Extended replacement cost provides you with protection against occurrences such as an unexpected increase in construction costs.

Actual Cash Value

In essence, actual cash value covers the costs to replace aspects of your home minus a determined amount of depreciation costs based on both age and use. For example, if your 15-year-old roof is destroyed due to a fire, and the life expectancy of that roof is 20 years, the cost to replace it is significantly higher that the tangible cash value of the roof.

It is important to insure your home for the total amount that it would cost to rebuild it if completely destroyed. Keep in mind that number is not the actual market value, rather the cost to rebuild. Also keep in mind that if you fail to have adequate insurance, the amount may not actually cover the full costs of repairing or replacing the damaged items. The following tips will help to ensure that you have enough homeowner’s insurance coverage….

Tip #1: How To Estimate The Amount Needed To Rebuild Your Home

In order to estimate the amount needed to rebuild your home, multiply the local building costs by the total square footage of your home. Consult with your local builders association in order to figure out the building rates within your area. Please note that this is only an estimate that will provide you with a ballpark figure. Always consult with your insurance agent prior to making any changes to your policy.

To Be Continued….

It is important to fully understand exactly what you are purchasing when it comes to insurance policies. 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 now and in the future.

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.

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.

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.