Category Archives: Rental Insurance

True or False: Insurance Quiz

Can you guess which of these 8 statements are true?

There are myths about insurance—auto, home, health—and they persist in spite of the facts. As we’ve said in other blogs, it’s important to get the facts straight before you purchase insurance of any kind. Here are eight true and false statements to see how well you understand insurance.

  1. Vehicles stored in your home or garage are covered under your Homeowner’s policy.

False. Cars and other vehicles should be covered by Auto Insurance. Garden tractors and other related items are part of what is covered by Homeowner’s Insurance.

  1. Commercial Liability Insurance provides coverage for your employees who are injured on the job.

False. Only Workers Compensation covers on-the-job injuries.

  1. Homeowner’s Insurance is based on the real estate market value of your house.

False. Your coverage is based on what it would cost to rebuild your home. This cost can vary, so an insurance agent can help you calculate these costs.

  1. The Affordable Care Act prohibits health insurance companies from basing rates on pre-existing conditions.

True. Health insurance companies used to raise the rates for people with a pre-existing condition. Not anymore. For those who have medical conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma and other chronic, pre-existing medical issues, this is a big relief. In addition, insurance companies can’t charge different amounts for men and women, either.

  1. It’s not necessary to have Other Structures coverage in your Homeowner’s policy.

False. But this is a trick question. It depends on you, the homeowner. Your Homeowner’s policy, at least 10% of it at least, is devoted to Other Structures. These include any buildings or structures not attached to your house—sheds, barns (not used for business), detached garages, driveways and fencing. You can always add to your Other Structures coverage if you need more. But it is important to keep it as part of your policy in the event of some unfortunate occurrence.

  1. If you get a speeding ticket in another state, it WILL follow you home.

True. Not only will it follow you, but it will also affect your insurance rates.

  1. Homeowner’s policies cover flood, earthquake and other natural disasters.

True. . .and False. They don’t automatically cover these things. Make sure you have it, or add it to your policy. The majority of policies exclude types of water damage.

  1. If your boat is hitched to the back of your vehicle on the highway and you back into someone, your Auto Insurance will cover it.

True. However, it will be limited to the coverage that your Auto Insurance provides, so it may not pay for property damage, injury or loss of life.

Keep checking our blog for more tips and advice about all types of insurance.

For all your home, auto, boat and other insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. We’re a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Keeping Your Home Secure

The Central Massachusetts area has seen a sharp increase in break-ins over the past several months. Whether you live in the heart of Worcester, or in the suburbs, everyone wants to keep their home safe from burglars or intruders. However, not everyone wants to have an alarm system installed. Whether you are nervous about the costs associated with an alarm system, or prefer the do-it-yourself route, there are more options than ever when it comes to home security.

We at Zawada Insurance want to help you sort through some of those options, many of which require little or no cost

 

Do-it-yourself options

The widespread availability of electronic tools means that homeowners can set up their own monitoring systems if they choose, without the help of a home-security company.

  • Cameras: Smaller and more inexpensive than ever, cameras can be placed nearly anywhere on the exterior of your home and monitored from inside wirelessly — or set to record footage for review later. Available software even allows you to point your laptop camera in a particular direction (say, at the front door) and check the images from a remote location.
  • Lights: Motion-detecting floodlights are an excellent deterrent to thieves, because they don’t want to be seen. Make sure they’re installed near entryways, and that they aren’t easily reached from the ground. And using timers and/or ‘smart light bulbs’ for interior lights is a good way to give the appearance that your home is occupied.
  • Alarms: Vibration alarms are available for windows, alerting you if someone is trying to get in. Similarly, other monitors can be installed near doors and programmed to sound if a person comes within a set distance. Some even emit barking sounds to make it appear that a dog is in the house.

Even if you aren’t interested in installing security equipment around your home, there are a number of things you can do to increase safety:

  • Keep your home locked. According to FBI statistics, over 33% of home burglaries are committed with the thieves walking through an unlocked door or window. Avoid becoming a statistic! You should also make sure that sliding doors and windows have extra security, such as a track lock or dowel in the track.
  • Don’t leave a key outside. If you need to provide access to your home while you’re away, leave your key with a trusted neighbor or friend.
  • Watch the landscaping and snow piles. Thick shrubs and bushes around your porch or yard can give thieves a good place to hide. Keep them well-trimmed and ensure that problematic areas can be illuminated with your outdoor lighting. You can run into the same issues in the winter with large snow piles.
  • Use common sense. If you’re going away on vacation, cancel your newspaper and other deliveries. Ask a neighbor to keep watch, and park a car out front. Don’t post publicly on social media or leave a message on your answering machine or voicemail indicating that you’ll be away for an extended period.

Burglars really do consider deterrents such as alarms, cameras, dogs, etc., when looking at targets, according to a study released by the University of North Carolina. So a small investment in security can make a big difference!

Sidebar:

It’s a great time for a home inventory

If your home was burglarized, would you know what was missing? A home inventory is a crucial tool to help replace everything that was lost. And we can help you do one! Give us a call at (508) 831-0133 or visit our website at www.zawadagroup.com to learn more.

Contact Us!

At Zawada Insurance, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at (508) 831-0133, we want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

 

4 Quick Things to do Before Your Family Vacation

With summer right around the corner, many families in Worcester and the surrounding area are planning to spend some time away from home for a change of scenery. This can be a fun and exciting time, but make sure that you’re prepared so that your trip goes as smoothly as possible.

 

4. Make sure your bills are paid

Late payments hurt your credit score. To avoid unnecessary damage, prepay any bills that you have due during your vacation. You could also consider setting up automatic payments from your bank account so that you won’t be caught off guard by one that you’ve forgotten. This is especially important for your utilities; you don’t want those to be shut off while you’re gone!

3. Protect against burglers

First on this list is something that everyone thinks about. Criminals love targeting empty homes, so you want to make sure that your possessions are as secure as possible before you take an extended vacation. Consider putting your small valuables such as jewelry in a safety deposit box before you go. Before you leave, make sure all of your doors and windows are locked and your alarm system is working properly.

2. Clean house BEFORE you leave!

No one wants to come home from vacation to a mess. Before you go, make sure you take care of any chores that need to be finished and remove any food from your refrigerator that will go bad while you are gone.

 1. Let your Bank and Credit Card companies know you are leaving

This is especially important if you’ve had fraudulent activity on your account in the past, or if your vacation is somewhere outside of the country. As a way of protecting themselves, your bank or credit card company may shut off access to your finances if they see strange activity occurring (like being used in a country you don’t actually live in!). To avoid this, simply tell the bank you will be on vacation so they don’t shut your card off. On that note, it also doesn’t hurt to carry cash with you when you’re traveling in case you do end up in a situation where your credit cards are being declined. 

Summer vacation can be a lot of fun, but in order to make sure you have a great time, you have to prepare properly! Follow these steps and you’ll be sure that you’re in for a great time and a relaxing return home at the end of your stay.

 

Why Do I Need Renters Insurance?

If you’ve updated your insurance policy recently, odds are that your agent has mentioned renters insurance. Many times, people feel like they don’t need this coverage because they think they don’t have a lot of valuables in their house, or that because they don’t own their home, they don’t need insurance on it. This is far from the case, and if you are renting an apartment and not carrying a renter’s insurance policy, you are leaving yourself wide open to an expensive lawsuit.

You see, not only does renters insurance cover all of the property inside your home, (that expensive TV you just bought, your son’s new PlayStation 4, your clothing, and all of the furniture you use every day) but it also covers your personal liability. If you accidentally hurt someone, they could sue you for any time they missed at work, their medical bills, and even for pain and suffering! This could add up to a lot of money. Thankfully, with a renters insurance policy, you will be covered up to your liability limits, which can range anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000!

This policy will also cover others that live in your house that appear on the lease, as well as any children that you have. So if your child is playing football with the neighborhood kids and hurts one of them, your insurance policy will make sure that you won’t be held personally liable. We all know that boys can get a little rough sometimes!

Finally, a renters insurance policy is cheap. You can have renters insurance for as little as $150 per YEAR. On top of the already low price, if you combine your renters insurance with your auto policy, you can get a huge discount on your auto insurance as well. Many times, when we write a renters insurance policy, the auto insurance policy goes down by more than the renters policy cost, so you SAVE money by getting more coverage! And honestly, what better reason is there than saving money? Next time you stop by Zawada Insurance Agency, ask one of our representatives about adding a renter’s policy to your insurance plan!

Make Your House a Haven for Trick-or-Treaters

Halloween is one of the fall season’s most treasured holidays. Kids love to dress up, get together with friends, and go door-to-door in search of the biggest and best goodies.

If your neighborhood tends to be teeming with little ghosts, goblins, superheroes and princesses, you’ll want to be sure your yard and stoop are safe and welcoming. A little pre-planning can prevent unfortunate accidents that could turn out to be tragic for kids and trying for you.

Here are some pointers for ensuring your house is a safe place for trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31.

Pets first. Many dogs, cats, and other furry family companions get scared when oddly dressed strangers approach their door in droves. Make sure your pet is in a safe and comfortable space or take them to a secure, relaxing offsite location for the evening.

Clean it up. If your yard gathers stuff – like toys, rakes and other yard tools, hoses, tree branches, you name it – take the time to clean it up. Make sure your yard is free of potential hazards and create a clutter-free walking path well before dusk falls this Halloween.

Light it up. Make sure you offer a well-lit path. You can do this using any type of yard lights, from solar, string, LED, existing outdoor lighting or glow-in-the-dark.

Turn it off. When you’re done for the night, make it obvious by turning any and all inviting lights off. However, if you’re still offering candy in a bowl outside, do make sure to keep the path well-lit until your sweet treats are tucked away inside the house.

At Zawada Insurance, we hope you enjoy a safe Halloween devoid of tricks and full of treats!

Contact Us!

At Zawada Insurance, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at (508)831-0133 or send us a note at azawada@zawadagroup.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Summers Mean Backyard Grilling – Safely!

Just like hamburgers and hot dogs, a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer and grilling isn’t just about great food. Backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with friends and family.

Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents.

There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.

TIPS FOR ALL GRILLS

Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames (bushes, fences, etc.).

NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes could kill you.

Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.

Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children play near it.

CHARCOAL GRILL TIPS

From Kingsford.com

Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.

Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.

Use flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees.

To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or bucket of water.

GAS GRILL TIPS

From the National Fire Protection Association

Check your grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you have a leak, and it will not stop after the grill and gas is turned off, call the fire department. If the leak stops when the grill and gas are turned off, have your grill serviced by a professional.

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.

Store propane tanks in an upright position, and never indoors.

From all of us at Zawada Insurance Agency, happy grilling, and stay safe this summer!

AARP® Massachusetts Auto Insurance Program

After meeting several business requirements, background checks and completing a training program, Zawada Insurance Agency is now authorized to offer an AARP discount through Plymouth Rock and Bunker Hill Insurance.

Zawada Insurance was authorized to offer the AARP discount after satisfying a number of eligibility requirements, which included:

  • meeting a high-level of business and ethical standards;
  • passing a vigorous background check;
  • and completing a training program designed to address the needs of the 50+ population.

“AARP members in Massachusetts can save on auto insurance while getting a host of additional benefits. By taking advantage of this Program, you’ll enjoy a number of exclusive Plymouth Rock discounts and services designed to save you money and make your life easier, including:

  • The Plymouth Rock discount for AARP members. As an AARP member in Massachusetts you can get a discount of up to 6% off your Plymouth Rock auto insurance premium.

  • Purchase your home insurance from our affiliate Bunker Hill Insurance and the discount on your auto insurance could increase to up to 19%.

  • Additional discounts of up to 26% on your home insurance from Bunker Hill through the AARP Massachusetts Auto and Home Insurance Program from Plymouth Rock and Bunker Hill.

  • Guaranteed lifetime coverage with our Lifetime Continuation Agreement. Plymouth Rock will renew your policy as long as you maintain a good driving record and stay up to date on your premiums. Other restrictions apply.

  • Rewards and then some. AARP members immediately receive the benefits of the Plymouth Rock Rewards Plus customer loyalty program, including cell phone & laptop replacement coverage, pet injury coverage, and more.”

According to research, the majority of AARP members prefer the advice and counsel of a local agent when making decisions about their insurance. Based on this research and strong customer demand, Plymouth Rock is offering the AARP auto insurance program through select, authorized independent agents in Massachusetts.

Contact an associate at Zawada Insurance today to see if you qualify for this discount. You can also get a real-time online quote through Plymouth Rock.