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Baldwin / Welsh & Parker

Thursday, 10 August 2017 20:10

National Motorcycle Safety Week

Motorcycle Week runs from August 14 through the 20th this year. There are events throughout the country, which means many people take to the roads for the annual bike week quest. As with every Motorcycle Week, there are accidents and fatalities. There is a growing trend in the number of motorcycle fatalities and accidents each year, making motorcycle safety a real concern for riders. Read on for some basic tips to help you arrive at your destination…safely.

 

Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:14

Beware Fake Eclipse Glasses

The moon will pass between the Earth and Sun on August 21st, entirely blocking the sun and briefly turning day into night in some parts of the United States. New Englanders will see a partial eclipse, weather permitting. This must see event is the first of its kind in the United States in over 38 year -- the last one in America was February 26, 1979. It is estimated that nearly 100 million people in the United States will view a portion of the 2017 solar eclipse, making it the most-viewed eclipse ever. If you plan to view the eclipse, you will need protection for your eyes.

According to Prevent Blindness, "Exposing your eyes to the sun without proper eye protection during a solar eclipse can cause 'eclipse blindness' or retinal burns, also known as solar retinopathy. This exposure to the light can cause damage or even destroy cells in the retina (the back of the eye) that transmit what you see to the brain. This damage can be temporary or permanent and occurs with no pain. It can take a few hours to a few days after viewing the solar eclipse to realize the damage that has occurred." The Prevent Blindess website offers a  download with guidelines for viewing the solar eclipsesolar eclipse. Also check out the safety guidelines for ISO and CE certified eclipse glassesISO and CE certified eclipse glasses at Eclipse Glasses Online.

How to Safely View the Solar Exclipse

The only safe way to view the partial or total solar eclipse is with eclipse glasses and solar filters. Homemade devices are not safe. Follow these steps for a safe viewing experience:

  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun.
  • After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device.
  • Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
  • Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device.
  • If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. As soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.
  • There are many websites and stores where you can purchase  handheld viewing devices or glasses, however, not all products will truly protect your eyes. Therefore, to ensure you have the best protection available, make sure you choose viewers that have been verified by an accredited testing laboratory to meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has approved of the following well-known telescope and solar-filter companies. Those with an asterisk (*) are based outside the United States. 

Solar Viewer Brands

Using the proper equipment will ensure a safe, memorable experience. Protect your eyes and enjoy this historic event!

 

*This information about eclipse sunglasses or other products is not an endorsement from Baldwin | Welsh & Parker. The article is for informational/educational purposes only.

 

Friday, 04 August 2017 03:02

Auto Claims After a Car Accident

Auto insurance is meant to protect you by covering your bills after an accident. However, the amount of compensation can vary greatly depending on the type of claim that’s made by insurance carriers and the value of your vehicle. The decision to have your vehicle repaired or declared a total loss directly impacts how much you receive.


Determining a Claim

If you’re in an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will analyze the approximate value of your vehicle before the accident as well as the cost to repair it afterward. Typically, the pre-accident value of your vehicle is determined by finding its actual cash value. This value is found by taking the price of a similar replacement vehicle in your area and then subtracting any pre-accident depreciation, such as your vehicle’s mileage and history.

If the cost to repair your vehicle is less than its actual cash value, insurers will usually opt to compensate you for the repairs. However, if the cost is too high or if the vehicle can’t be restored to a safe condition, insurers may declare it a total loss.


Total Loss Claims

If your vehicle is declared a total loss, you’ll be compensated with the full actual cash value of your vehicle, minus any applicable policy deductible. 

However, if a financed or loaned vehicle is declared a total loss, the insurer will pay the remaining balance to the finance company first. Here’s a breakdown of the two most common scenarios that occur when a financed vehicle is declared a total loss:

  • The actual cash value of the vehicle is greater than the remaining balance of the loan. In this scenario, the insurer pays off the loan and then gives you the amount by which the actual cash value exceeds the loan balance.
  • The actual cash value of the vehicle is less than the remaining balance on the loan. In this scenario, you are responsible for the difference between the actual cash value and the remaining loan balance.

Repairs and Diminished Value Claims

Getting a check for the full cost of your vehicle’s repairs may seem like a best-case scenario. However, repairs can substantially reduce your vehicle’s value. Even if it drives better than ever after being repaired, the fact that it was in an accident will taint its history and lead to a lower price if you ever choose to sell it. However, you can file a diminished value claim against an insurance carrier to try to recover any value that’s lost as a result of repairs.

Most states and insurance contracts prevent policyholders from bringing diminished value claims against their own insurers. However, if another driver is at fault for an accident and his or her insurance pays for your repairs, you may be able to use a diminished value claim to recover any lost value.

Because few vehicles are appraised immediately before they’re involved in an accident, it can be hard to prove that value has been lost after they’re repaired. Here are some tips you can use before and after an accident to prepare yourself for a successful diminished value claim:

  • Check third-party websites to get an approximate value for your vehicle’s make and model.
  • Take your vehicle to a pre-owned dealership after an accident for an appraisal. You can then ask for a letter that shows that your vehicle’s lower-than-average value is due to its repairs or accident history.
  • Keep documentation about any repairs or enhancements to your vehicle. These documents can help show a more detailed history of your vehicle when determining its value.
  • Contact us at (508) 358-5383 for more information about diminished value claims and to discuss the specifics of your situation.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A CAR ACCIDENT

If you are in a car accident, you can contact our agency directly to report claims during regular business hours. You can also file a claim anytime. Visit our auto insurance claim reporting page to find your insurance company contact information, and report the acccident directly to your company.


DOWNLOAD A MASSACHUSETTS CRASH REPORT

Download the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report form and follow the instructions for submitting the form by mail to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

When Should You File a Report

  • You should file a report if you’re the operator of a vehicle involved in a crash where the damage to any one vehicle or property is over $1000, or if there is an injury to any person, even if a police officer was on the scene. You should file the report within 5 days of the date of the crash.

When Should You NOT File a Report

  • You should not file a report if the crash occurred on a private road, driveway, private parking lot or other private way.

Why this Report is Important

  • Data from this report is used for many purposes including:
  • Identifying locations with a large number of crashes.
  • Improving dangerous highways and intersections.
  • Developing highway safety public information programs.
  • Developing programs to save lives and reduce highway injuries.

Be Prepared

There are few things more dangerous and stressful than getting into an accident. Contact us at (508) 358-5383, and we will provide you with a variety of resources.

Monday, 26 June 2017 15:08

Boat Insurance Keeps You Afloat!

boating

Make sure You Have Boat Insurance to Weather Any Storm

If you enjoy fishing, sailing, yachting, or cruising around on a powerboat, make sure you have boat insurance that covers your liability risk as well as your watercraft, equipment, and passengers. Perhaps you have a beach or lake cabin and like to tow water skiers or tubing enthusiasts. Maybe you have the party boat and every Fourth of July you load up your vessel with guests, food, and libations.

Water activities are a great way to bring people together, but it is important to remember that accidents, injuries and fatalities do happen, especially when alcohol is involved. To get the right coverage that will protect your financial investment, work with one of our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker agents. Your local agent knows the risks and regulations and can help ensure that you are fully covered when you head out on the water.

Critical Steps for Boating Safety

  • Take a boating safety course
  • Educate your passengers on safe boating techniques
  • Make sure all passengers wear life vests
  • Follow all rules of the waterway you frequent
  • Stay sober, particularly if you are at the helm
  • Get boat insurance to ensure you are protected for the risks involved in boating, from liability claims to theft, storm damage and capsizing 

 

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

The exact boat coverage you need depends on multiple factors. Small boat insurance is very different from yacht insurance, for example. However, for most types of boats, the three kinds of coverage in a basic boat insurance policy include:

  • Bodily injury liability for expenses related to the injury of another person
  • Property damage liability for expenses related to harming another person’s property
  • Physical damage for damage to your own property, including your boat and trailer

 

You also may want to add additional types of coverage to your boat insurance policy in order to fully protect yourself and your property. Here are some examples of additional coverage:

  • Property coverage for equipment such as tools, life preservers, anchors, and oars
  • Insurance for fishing equipment like your rods, lures, nets, and tackle
  • Towing coverage when your boat becomes disabled and needs servicing
  • Medical payments coverage for hospital and funeral expenses for you or your passengers
  • Uninsured/underinsured boaters coverage if you have an accident with another boater whose insurance is not sufficient to cover damages 

 

As with all insurance, the amount of benefit or reimbursement you have in the event of an incident is set at the time you buy your policy. Be sure to talk with an experienced independent agent who can make sure you have sufficient insurance for the risks you encounter. 

 

What Kinds of Boats Need to Be Insured? 

You can insure just about any kind of vessel, whether you have a yacht, speed boat or personal watercraft (PWC) like a JetSki. Every type of boat has the potential to be stolen or damaged, and can be involved in an incident that results in harm to another person or their property. Even if your boat is docked or stored in your garage, it can potentially be vandalized, damaged in a fire or storm, or stolen.

Many owners of small watercraft such as canoes, rafts and kayaks assume they will be covered under a homeowners or renters policy. This may be the case, up to a specified limit in your home policy. However, when it’s time to make a claim, you don’t want to be surprised to find out that this limit is not adequate to cover the value of your investment.

Be sure to consider the amount of coverage you would need to repair or replace each of your boats and recreational vehicles if damaged or stolen and ask your agent to help you get the right coverage for those items.

Call Us!

Our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker local independent can provide personalized assistance and quotes. Your agent can also look for discounts, such as multi-policy discounts and premium reductions if you have taken a boater safety course. Call us today and get the help and advice you need so you are prepared for your next adventure.

american flag 2a 

From Trusted Choice

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, 60% of all fireworks injuries occur around July 4th.Many communities smartly celebrate the Fourth of July with firework shows. These are managed by professionals and executed under controlled circumstances, allowing for the safe enjoyment of the show by the public .However, lots of people also celebrate Independence Day with fireworks at private events, like backyard barbecues, picnics and beach parties.As much fun as these light shows are, please remember these explosive devices must be handled with care.

 

The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers the following tips for safe use of fireworks:

  1. Know your fireworks; Read the warning labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  2. Have a designated shooter to organize and shoot your family show.
  3. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  4. Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  5. Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  6. Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
  7. Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
  8. Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  9. Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  10. Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  11. Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  12. Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks and use them only in the manner in which they were intended.
  13. Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

 

The quickest way to ruin your holiday is to have a friend or family member injured by a mistake with something as volatile as fireworks. You also want to make sure that you’re minimizing the risk to buildings and cars in the area where you celebrate, as mishandled fireworks pose an obvious fire risk. Make sure if you’re using fireworks you’ve got lots of clear space away from houses, garages, etc. Make sure you understand the risks you face if you’re using fireworks as part of your holiday celebration and please follow these safety instructions.

We wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

 

Additional information:

US Consumer Product Safety Commission

National Council of Fireworks Safety

Pick pocket

Your summer and vacation plans will be the best ever - especially if you follow the checklist below! Remember to contact your Baldwin / Welsh & Parker agent for questions regarding insurance coverage for your vacation home, rental property, boat, or rental car. Here are 9 of the best quick tips we have found to keep you and your loved ones secure and safe!

Before You Leave

  1. Scan important travel documents and store them in a secure online repository. In the event that your information is lost or stolen, using an online repository allows you to easily access copies of your passport, drivers license, visa, and any other vital identification from anywhere in the world. Remember to do this for every person traveling with you, including children.
  2. Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Visit https://step.state.gov/step/ to enroll in STEP, which provides comprehensive traveler information, including travel alerts and restrictions; information on visas or vaccinations; crime and stability update; road conditions; laws of the country you're visiting; and consular contact information.
  3. Take only what you need. Chances are that you will not be writing checks; leave these and any extra debit cards or credit cards that you will not be using at home. This will decrease the amount of institutions you will need to contact if they are lost and decreases the damage criminals can wreak on your accounts. 
  4. Put mail on "postal hold" while you're gone. Go to your local post office or do it online at https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/
  5. Make your home look lived-in. Arrange for friends or family you trust to pick-up newspapers, mail, and advertisement flyers in order to avoid drawing attention to your home. This will reduce the risk of break-ins which may result in the loss of valuables, including your identity.

While you are traveling

  1. Carry valuables safely. Your valuables and identification are a mere swipe away from a purse-snatcher or pickpocket. Money belts kept under clothing are the safest. For stowing cash, credit cards and identification, inside pockets and sturdy shoulder bags with straps across the chest are much better than handbags, fanny packs or outside pockets.
  2. Use the hotel safe. Place your cash, credit cards and especially your passport and all identification documents in the safe whenever they are not in use.
  3. Take caution with public computers and Wi-Fi. If possible, avoid using public computers to access anything sensitive, such as conducting online banking, making purchases, or accessing email accounts. These computers could potentially have malware that is designed to capture the information you have entered. Avoid these same activities when using a public Wi-Fi connection as the information can easily be captured by criminals on the same connection. Make sure to use an encrypted Internet connection whenever you go online.
  4. Be aware of social media updates. We all like to share photos online with our family and friends as we are traveling. However, when you tell people where you are, you are also telling them where you aren't - at home. Criminals use this information to gain access to your home, which contains your valuables, including your identification.

Click here for more travel tips.

Excerpt from Fraud Smarts, by Daniel Szabo. A practical how-to guide to help everyone stay safe to avoid the latest scams and prevent identity theft. With hundreds of easy to follow tips, this guide is designed as a go-to resource for consumers, teenagers, college students, families, senior citizens and small businesses. This book also provides a complete list of resources and support for victims of fraud.  

Travel large

by Megan Wilson, Trusted Choice

As millions of Americans hit the airports, holiday joy can turn into holiday despair really quickly. Long lines, cranky infants, turbulence, unexpected delays, and cramped quarters can test your limits when traveling. Here is a list of pro tips to make your summer travel as easy and simple as possible.

1. Know your plane

Once you’ve decided on day, and are debating flights, take a look at the planes available. Look up the plane’s type, and make sure you’re comfortable with the layout. Websites likewww.seatguru.comare invaluable in giving you an insider’s peek at your flight. From customer photos and seating charts with recommendations to actual reviews by people who have taken the same flight, this website can help you make your flight as comfortable as economy can be, helping you avoid common pitfalls like limited recline or a squeaky neighboring seat.

2. Bring your own food

Many fliers are intimidated by the TSA regulations regarding bringing food through security; however, much of this anxiety can be avoided. To make it simple, you’re allowed to bring your own food through security, as long as it’s wrapped. (It does have to go through the scanner, however.) This not only can help those with special food needs or allergies, but also helps you avoid long lines and frustrating or expensive airport restaurant experiences. Additionally, many airport restaurants overload you with salt and fat, leaving you in an uncomfortable situation for sitting on a plane for hours on end.

3. Keep hydrated – start before you fly

Sitting in a 17.2-inch wide seat for hours is definitely not the most comfortable place to be. This can take a toll not only on your sanity, but on your health as well. In addition to cramped quarters, the oxygen in a plane is thinner, which can cause you to get dehydrated much more easily than usual. To combat this, cut down on your salt intake the day before you fly and drink a few extra glasses of water. Always say no to alcoholic drinks on board. While they may be tempting, the alcohol, in addition to the thin air, can lead to dehydration before you know it. Grab some H20 once you're past security and keep it handy during your flight.

4. Take a stroll

While it may not be convenient for your neighbors, it’s important to get up and walk during your flight. As you sit on a plane, blood flow to your upper body can be impeded, leading to swelling and aching in your legs and ankles. Every hour or so, make it a point to take a quick break to go to the restroom or walk the aisle a few times to give your body a kick-start. To avoid post-flight leg cramps, snack on a banana for a quick potassium boost.

5. Entertain yourself

While it’s nice to bring a laptop or music player on a plane, try to bring something a little more time-consuming, like a notepad and a set of coloring pencil, or an easy craft. Finding something that actually exercises your brain to take your mind off things can help make a long flight seem shorter.

6. Traveling with kids

Traveling with kids is a huge challenge. From diaper changes (whoever invented the changing tables that are found in airplane bathrooms needs to be shot) to squirmy kids, there’s no two ways about i: Be ready for anything. Kids and infants get restless easily, so opt to sit near the aisle so you can take frequent walking breaks. Additionally, if you ask politely and explain your situation, many stewardesses can help you find a row that has an extra seat for you and all your gear to spread out in for the flight. Bring lots of books and activities, and pick up some of those easy-to-do crafts from your local dollar store. Typically self-contained in a cellophane bag and not needing glue or heavy craft artillery, these are a great way to keep your kids amused.

7. Don’t get exposed

One big drawback to flying is the exposure to others – and their germs. Make sure to stock up on your immune-boosting vitamins before hitting the skies. You are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a plane than at any other time. You may also want to consider wearing a mask while in flight to avoid germ inhalation as well. You may look silly, but you’ll be enjoying your destination while others may be sitting in a doctor’s office.

Good luck and safe travels from everyone here at Baldwin / Welsh & Parker!

Car Rental

From our Trusted Choice friends

As the summer holiday season approaches, millions of Americans will take to the roads to visit family and friends. Since many will make the trip in a rented car, it’s an appropriate time to discuss one of the most frequently asked questions of agents and brokers all over the country: “Should I buy the insurance from the rental car company?”

Following are a few considerations when mulling this important decision:

Damage Waiver & Your Personal Auto Policy  

First, the good news: In many cases, a personal auto insurance policy will cover damage to a rented vehicle. That said—don’t get too comfortable! There are other costs associated with damage to a rented vehicle that the policy will not cover. For this reason, careful consideration should be given to purchasing the damage waiver offered by the rental car company.

On your personal auto policy, “Collision” insurance covers your vehicle for damage resulting from a collision with another object. “Comprehensive” (sometimes called “Other Than Collision”) covers your vehicle for theft, vandalism, falling objects and other causes not resulting from a collision. If you have a car loan, your lender will require you to purchase both. If you pay the loan off, the choice to purchase collision or comprehensive—and both or neither—is up to you.

Your personal auto policy will only cover damage to the rental car if you have the appropriate coverage type on at least one vehicle you own. For example, if you damage the rental car in a collision, you must have “collision” coverage on at least one vehicle covered by your personal auto policy. But if the rental car is stolen, vandalized, or damaged in any way not resulting from a collision, you must have “comprehensive” coverage on at least one vehicle covered by your personal auto policy. The key point: If your personal auto policy excludes the coverage type that damages the rental car—and you reject or violate the damage waiver—you will become personally responsible for paying all costs related to the damaged rental car out of your own pocket! In contrast, the damage waiver usually offered at the rental counter will cover the damaged rental car regardless of what’s covered by your personal auto policy.

Limitation in Your Personal Auto Policy

What else could you possibly owe the rental company following an event or crash? These include administrative fees and the depreciated value of the vehicle after repairs—neither expense is covered by your personal auto policy. In addition, most personal auto policies only pay up to the actual cash value (ACV) of the damaged vehicle. If the contract requires the damaged rental’s replacement, the ACV payout may not be sufficient to cover the entire expense.

Again, in contrast, the damage waiver will cover all such expenses.

Also, the rental contract likely will require you to pay the rental company’s “loss of use.” These are expenses they incur resulting from the inability to earn income from the damaged rental. This cost could be hundreds of dollars or more. Some personal auto policies will pay a limited amount for this expense (such as $20 per day or $600 total). Others will not cover it at all.

In contrast, the damage waiver will pay the full cost of the rental company’s loss of use.

No Claim Necessary

If something happens to the rental car, purchasing the damage waiver gives the rental agency management of the process. This will allow you to avoid filing a claim and possibly help keep the cost of your insurance from going up. It also will keep your deductible in your pocket.

Limitations in the Damage Waiver

Don’t forget that the rental car company’s damage waiver is a contract. It will include a list of restrictions that, if violated, may terminate the waiver and leave you personally responsible for paying the costs associated with the damaged rental car. Examples of such restrictions may include:

•             Damage to rental while driven by someone not specifically named on the contract.

•             Damage to rental while driven on unpaved roads.

•             Damage to rental while it’s being occupied by more passengers than available seatbelts.

•             Damage that occurs while pushing or towing.

This list is only a sample; the typical damage waiver may include additional restrictions.

Moreover, the car rental company’s loss damage waiver covers “diminished value,” the economic reduction in value of a repaired auto due to it having been damaged. Almost all auto policies and many credit card coverages exclude diminished value. What’s the impact to you? If you don’t take the damage waiver, you could get hit with a diminished value claim of $1,500 or more, depending on your type of damaged rental car.

Damage Waiver Covers Vehicle Damage Only

Perhaps the most important fact to remember is that the damage waiver only applies to damage to the rented vehicle. It is not a substitute for liability, medical payments, uninsured motorist, personal injury protection, and any other personal auto insurance coverage.

Other Products Offered by Rental Company 

In addition to the damage waiver, most rental car companies offer a few optional insurance-type products. For example, some may offer a liability enhancement that gives you the option to increase the liability limits you already carry on your personal auto insurance policy. Depending on your available auto liability insurance, this option may be worth consideration.

Others may offer options such as accidental death, trip cancellation, or damaged luggage insurance during the rental period. Such options vary by company and may provide insurance dollars you cannot get elsewhere. However, they should not be purchased without first reviewing your current home, health and auto insurance policies as there may be duplication.

Conclusion

In light of the information above, you should seriously consider—and probably buy—the damage waiver from the rental car company. Deciding whether to purchase other products from the rental firm, however, depends largely on the insurance already available to you from other sources. For assistance in determining coverage you already have and comparing it to the rental company’s options, call your Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent today.

Business Travel Note: When you rent a car on a business trip, that’s an entirely different set of decisions, so again please talk with your agent.

Monday, 05 June 2017 01:14

Bicycle Safety and Insurance

bicycle safety

Great article from the Insurance Information Institute

Bicycling is increasingly popular, both as a sport and as a means of transportation. And bicycles can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars for a basic bike to thousands of dollars for specialized racing bikes. Whether you use your bicycle to commute to work or simply like to cycle around the block with your children, it is important to understand the rules of the road and protect your financial investment with the proper insurance.

Bicycles are covered under the personal property section of standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. This coverage will reimburse you, minus your deductible, if your bike is stolen or damaged in a fire, hurricane or other disaster listed in your policy.

If you are purchasing a new bike, keep the receipt and call your insurance agent or company representative immediately. If you own a particularly expensive bicycle, you may want to consider getting an endorsement that will provide additional coverage. Your insurance agent or company representative can review your coverage options with you.

There are two types of coverage for personal property:

Actual Cash Value – reimburses you for what the bicycle is actually worth given its age. A 10-year-old bicycle, for example, would be valued at the cost of a comparable bicycle minus 10 years depreciation.

Replacement Cost Coverage – reimburses you for what it would cost to replace your 10-year-old bicycle with one of like kind and quality at current cost. Replacement cost coverage costs about 10 percent more than actual cash value, but it is a good investment. 

Homeowners and renters insurance policies also provide liability protection for harm you may cause to someone else or their property. If you injure someone in a bicycle accident and he or she decides to sue, you will be covered up to the limits of your policy. Your homeowners or renters insurance also includes no-fault medical coverage in the event you injure someone. This coverage usually ranges from $1,000 to $5,000.

To make filing a claim easier, the I.I.I. suggests the following:

Save your receipts. When you buy your bicycle you may also purchase expensive equipment to go with it, so make sure to save your receipts for everything. The cost of a helmet, patch kits, pumps, extra inner tubes and other essentials, not to mention that fancy new bike jersey, can add up quickly. If your bike and related items are stolen or destroyed, having receipts can help speed the claims process.

Add your bicycle and related items to your home inventory. Everyone should have an up-to-date home inventory of all their personal possessions. An inventory can help you purchase the correct amount of insurance and make the claims filing process easier if there is a loss. To help you create your inventory, the I.I.I. provides free, online software at KnowYourStuff.org.

Of course the best protection of all is to keep your bike safe; to help avoid theft, follow these simple rules:

  • Always lock up your bike, even if it is in your garage, an apartment stairwell, or a college dormitory.
  • Lock your bicycle to a fixed, immovable object like a parking meter or permanent bike rack. Be careful not to lock it to items that can be easily cut, broken or removed, and that the bike cannot be lifted over the top of the object to which it is locked.
  • Lock up your bicycle in a visible, well-lit area.
  • Consider using a U-lock and position the bike frame and wheels so that they take up as much of the open space within the U-portion of the lock as possible. The tighter the lock-up, the harder it is for a thief to use tools to attack the lock. Always position a U-lock so that the keyway is facing down towards the ground. Do not position the lock close to the ground as this makes it easier for a thief to break it.
  • Do not lock up your bicycle in the same location all the time. A thief may notice the pattern and target you.
  • Consider registering your bike with the National Bike Registry.

It is even more important to keep yourself and your family safe while you are riding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that cyclists follow these seven rules:

  1. Protect Your Head. Never ride a bike without a properly fitted helmet.
  2. Assure Bicycle Readiness. Ride a bike that fits you and check all parts of the bicycle to make sure they are secure and working well.
  3. Learn and Follow the Rules of the Road. Bicycles are considered vehicles on the road; therefore riders must follow the same traffic laws as drivers of motor vehicles.
  4. Act Like a Driver of a Motor Vehicle. Always ride with the flow of traffic, on the right side of the road, and as far to the right of the road as is practicable and safe.
  5. Be Visible. Always assume you are not seen by others and take responsibility for making yourself visible to motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists.
  6. “Drive with Care.” When you ride, consider yourself the driver of a vehicle and always keep safety in mind. Ride in the bike lane, if available. Take extra care when riding on a roadway. Courtesy and predictability are key to safe cycling.
  7. Stay Focused. Stay Alert. Never wear headphones as they hinder your ability to hear traffic. Be aware of your surroundings and ride defensively.

moving
From our friends at Trusted Choice

May is National Moving Month and every year more than 40 million Americans will move, according to the American Moving and Storage Association. As you pack up your belongings and move across town or across the country, make sure you don’t forget to “pack” your insurance coverage.

Home Sweet (New) Home

When you move from an apartment to a house or house to house or apartment to apartment or condo to… well, you get the idea… your homeowners or renters insurance won’t follow on its own. Because a homeowners or renters insurance policy takes into account factors such as the building material used to construct your home, fire prevention systems like smoke detectors, sprinklers, etc., moving to a new home means that these factors could very well change, and as your risk changes, so should your insurance.

Depending on whether your move is across the street or across the country it’s important that you discuss your move with one of our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice ® Independent Insurance Agents.

Is my stuff covered during the move?

Let’s say that you’ve got everything but the kitchen sink (which you’ve left for the people moving into your old home) packed into the truck for the big move, but there’s an accident with the truck and as a result antiques, carefully packed china and the 60” flat screen are all damaged beyond repair. Are you covered?

Well, that depends on whether you’re moving the items yourself or have contracted with professional movers and where you’re moving to. If you use a professional moving company, under federal law interstate movers are liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged items, so if you’re moving from North Dakota to North Carolina the moving company is liable for your belongings. However, they may present you with different options for coverage, including Full Value or Released Value. According to the US Department of Transportation, Full Value is more comprehensive coverage but it may cost more out of pocket, whereas Released Value is offered at no additional cost, but may only cover your belongings up to 60 cents on the dollar. If you opt for the Full Value, make sure you have an up-to-date estimated value for the belongings you’ll be moving. If you have an accurate and comprehensive home inventory, this shouldn’t be too difficult of a task.

If you’re renting a truck or a van for the move, the rental company may offer you some coverage. One argument for taking the coverage is that if something does go wrong and can be covered by the rental policy, a loss would not reflect on your own insurance coverage, but again, the coverage they offer may not be enough to replace or repair damaged or lost items. Talk to our agents about how your existing coverage would respond to a loss.

Mind the Gap

You have coverage for the contents of your home under a standard homeowners or renter’s insurance policy, so the best option to protect those contents (and a Trusted Choice agent can help with this) is to make sure that there is no gap of time between the expiration or cancellation of your policy on the home you’re moving out of and the effective start date for the policy for the home you’re moving into- one way to do this is to have the new policy start the day you are planning on moving. Not only would this help provide coverage for your contents, but it would also provide you with personal liability coverage during the time of the move.

Because our agents have the ability to work with multiple insurance companies, we can work to help you find the coverage that’s right for your new place and for getting you and your belongings there.  

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Waltham, MA - 781-890-3740

Hudson, MA - 978-562-5652

Wayland, MA - 508-358-5383

Winthrop, MA - 617-846-0731

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