What are the Benefits of Packaging My Homeowner and Auto Policies with the Same Company?

If you’re like most Americans, you have both car insurance and some type of protection for where you live – homeowners insurance, renters insurance or condo insurance. But if you’re a typical buyer, you may be shopping around for the best price for each; unaware that by securing both policies from the same insurance company, you’ll likely earn significant discounts and can be sure that you have proper coverage for your unique individual needs.

Additional Provider Options

Some insurance companies refuse to write mono-line (singular) policies. So, if you’re only shopping for car insurance, or only shopping for homeowners insurance, you may be missing out on offers from companies who will gladly provide you with both coverages.  And when you work with an independent agency with the resources of Cochrane & Porter, more than a dozen additional insurance companies could be competing for your business. That could mean big savings for you!

Premium Savings

Discounts of 20% are typical, and have the potential to be more than 35%. You’ll also be eligible for additional tiered benefits, which could reduce your premium even further. Many insurance companies have different tiers with lower base rates for certain tiers for which mono-line accounts are not eligible. Companies would rather write both lines of insurance for you at a discount than find another new customer who only wants one type of insurance.

Ease of Use

By getting both your auto and homeowners insurance from a single company, you’re making your life as an insured much, much easier. You’ll only be getting a bill from one place, only need to use one website to look up your insurance information, and only deal with one company if you need to file a claim. If a tree falls on your car in your front yard, you’ll have much fewer headaches trying to get the situation resolved. And, if you have an umbrella policy, there’s no need to submit your auto policy every year to confirm eligibility.

Ensuring Proper Coverage

While packaging all of your policies with one company usually makes a lot of sense, it always makes sense to write them with the same agency (and specifically Cochrane & Porter!). We can make sure you have the proper coverage in place, with no gaps, at the right price. We can do a full review of your policies and identify any areas where you may need additional protection or there are additional savings.

 

Contact us today to get your insurance bundled with one company, and with us!

What Happens if My Car Hits a Deer and I Am Injured?

In our last blog we explained which coverage would apply to your vehicle if you hit a deer. In Massachusetts, insureds need comprehensive coverage to be protected from financial loss in these types of incidents. But what if you get hurt in the accident? Medical bills are expensive, so it’s important to know what kind of financial support you can expect from a typical Massachusetts auto insurance policy and what you can do to make sure you have optimal protection.

There are four components to Massachusetts auto insurance policies that are required by law:

  1. Bodily Injury to Others
  2. Personal Injury Protection
  3. Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto
  4. Damage to Someone Else’s Property

Additional options include Collision and Comprehensive coverage. As explained above, comprehensive coverage provides financial protection for your property in case you hit a deer.

If in the unfortunate circumstance that you do get hurt, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) will typically automatically cover the first $2,000 in medical expenses incurred. Additional medical expenses will then be submitted to your private health insurance provider to determine if medical coverage applies. If for some reason your health insurance provider denies payment for a claim, you must submit that claim to your auto insurance carrier and your PIP coverage would then be used to cover up to the standard limit of $8,000.

If you have Medical Payments (MedPay) but don’t have private health insurance, PIP will cover the first $8,000 in medical expenses and any additional expenses will be covered by MedPay up to the MedPay policy limits. If you have MedPay and private health insurance, PIP will cover the first $2,000 in medical expenses and anything above that amount will be submitted for review to your private health insurance provider. Any expenses denied by the health insurance provider can be resubmitted through your PIP coverage and paid, up to the $8,000 limit, with additional expense then going through your MedPay coverage, up to the policy limit.

To keep it simple, if you are injured as an insured driver after hitting a deer or another animal, PIP will typically cover medical expenses up to $2,000 and private health insurance will kick in after that – although you can come back to your PIP coverage up to the $8,000 limit for certain items denied by health insurance. MedPay customers will have a slightly different experience. After the PIP limit is exhausted, MedPay would then be used for any expenses not covered by a health insurance provider.

A licensed and responsible insurance agent can be the difference between making sure you have the protection you need and facing eye-popping expenses after an accident.

Contact us today for a complimentary review of your insurance and let us shop our network of 40+ companies to find you the best possible coverage at an affordable price!

What Insurance Coverage Applies If I Hit a Deer?

You’re driving the same commute you drive every day and it’s starting to get dark. There’s light traffic and you’ve got the radio on and the windows down, not a care in the world. Suddenly, before you can even react – BOOM. No, you didn’t hit another vehicle; a deer jumped out to cross the road and collided with your front end. Thankfully, you’re okay. But your car isn’t. You get out to check the damage and know you’ve got a call to make. Once you’re done dealing with the police and the tow company, it’s time to think about insurance. Hopefully, you have the right coverage.

Living in New England, you may have already experienced this firsthand or know someone who has. Insurance companies want their customers to be protected from risks – including accidents involving wild animals. Many people wrongly assume vehicle damage of this kind is covered by collision insurance. It is a collision after all, right?

Although running into a deer seems like it would be viewed the same as any other accident, the language in Massachusetts auto insurance policies classifies it differently. Customers need what’s known as comprehensive coverage to be protected from financial loss in these instances.

The Automobile Insurers’ Bureau’s standard Massachusetts Insurance Automobile Insurance policy states “We consider….the following types of losses to be Comprehensive and not Collision losses: losses caused by vandalism, fire and theft, missiles, falling objects, larceny, explosion, earthquake, windstorm, hail, water, flood, malicious mischief, riot or contact with a bird or animal.“

Comprehensive insurance is optional and is not required by law, and many consumers incorrectly believe they are covered in the event of any collision.  An independent agent can make sure you have the right insurance policy to protect yourself from financial loss.

Call us today at 781-943-1555 to make sure you do! We’ll be happy to review your insurance and shop our selection of more than three dozen companies to find the best and most affordable policy for you so that if you ever do hit a deer, you won’t lose a whole lot of “doe.”

Replacement Cost vs. Market Value of a Home

As insurance agents, we are often asked, “Why is my house insured for more than the market value?”

Typically your insurance policy is based on “replacement cost.” According to Business Dictionary, replacement cost is defined as the “current cost of replacing an existing asset or property with the same quality of construction and operational utility, without taking depreciation into account. Replacement cost is usually higher than the item’s book value.” In other words, the replacement cost of a home is the amount needed to repair the damage or rebuilt the home to its condition prior to the loss.

If you experience a covered loss, your insurance company will pay the “replacement cost” value of the damaged property (up to the coverage limits). Keep in mind the replacement cost does not include the value of the land – it is simply the cost of rebuilding your home.

The market value of a home is the price that a particular home, in its current condition, will sell within 30 to 90 days. There are three important pieces associated with determining the market value of a home: the particular home, current condition, and 30 to 90 days. Core Logic explains, “Market value is the estimated price at which your property would be sold on the open market between a willing buyer and a willing seller under all conditions for a fair sale.”

While there are many differences between replacement cost and market value, we hope this helps understand the main – and possibly most important – differences.

As always, do not hesitate to contact an agent at Cochrane & Porter for any of your insurance needs. 781-943-1555 or info@cochraneandporter.com

Quotes To Inspire Your Day!

Need a little inspiration?

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We all have those days when we feel stuck or just need a good dose of inspiration. Here are some quotes I find helpful for those kinds of days.

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is one of my favorite quotes. We all have the ability to spew out as many words as we want, however, we only have a certain amount of time to perform actions throughout the day. Actions tend to be more thought out, which means they are a more accurate measure of what we intend to do. That’s why it’s so important to choose your actions wisely: others will come to a conclusion based on what you do, not what you say.

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill

This quote reminds us that, while being knocked down by failures is not fun or easy, it is crucial to remain enthusiastic and positive for your next venture.  Without enthusiasm, we are more likely to experience another failure. Every venture is a new opportunity.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” -Lao Tzu

Small progress you make toward reaching a goal may not seem significant at the time, but every step counts. As long as you have a clear goal of where you are heading, those small steps will eventually lead you there. You have to remain confident and positive.

“Light tomorrow with today.” -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Right now is your opportunity to make tomorrow better. What you do today determines whether you move forward or backward tomorrow. That is why you want to make the most of today. Once you start making the most of today’s, you’ll start seeing better tomorrow’s.

3JUJ3ERIVA

Hope these added a little inspiration to your day! Remember to contact an agent at Cochrane & Porter for any of your insurance needs at 781-943-1555 or info@cochraneandporter.com!

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

january-is-glaucoma-awareness-month

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, an incredibly important time to recognize – and spread the word about – this sight-stealing disease.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness and vision loss in the United States. Unfortunately, many people are not aware that the early stages of glaucoma often have no symptoms. The American Optometric Association explains, “Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It most often occurs in people over age 40, although an infant (congenital) form of glaucoma exists.” The biggest issue with this form of glaucoma is that damage which occurs is irreversible.

Roughly one percent of all Americans have primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common form. This type presents no symptoms and occurs mainly in the over 50 age group, according to The Glaucoma Foundation. People with Glaucoma may lose nerve tissue, which results in vision loss.

Take a look at the information below from the World Health Organization and the World Glaucoma Association:


glaucomas-impact
Infographic provided by Cigna

In addition to these facts, 4.2 million people in the United States will have glaucoma by 2030, according to The National Eye Institute.


Tips:

Additional links
Facts about Glaucoma
Donate to Glaucoma Research Foundation

As always, do not hesitate to give us a call at Cochrane & Porter for any of your insurance needs! We can be reached at 781-943-1555 or info@cochraneandporter.com!

New Year’s Resolution: Document Organization

storage

Do you have financial or legal documents stashed in various places of your home? If so, you aren’t alone! Whether in a safe, your closet, a desk drawer or a file cabinet, it might be time to organize them all and put them in a safe spot. Here is a checklist of important documents that you should consider when gathering these items to store. Keep in mind it’s a good idea to note where each of these are located (of course, it’s easiest if you store them all in the same safe location!)

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage license
  • Will
  • Pre/post nuptial agreement
  • Trust(s)
  • Mortgage papers
  • Passport
  • Insurance policies
  • Current bills
  • Automobile titles/papers
  • Employee benefit documents
  • Income tax returns
  • Medical records
  • Warranties

Can you think of other important documents that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!

Helpful links
The safest ways to store important papers
All you need to know about organizing important files
How to store legal documents and personal records

Is saving some cash one of your resolutions for 2017? Give us a ring so we can help you out! 781-943-1555 or info@cochraneandporter.com

 

Social Media Resolutions for 2017

socialmedia-facebook

Cyber security and identity theft issues are on the rise, and social media makes it more difficult for us to protect our personal information. The internet and social media have made bullying and stalking much easier as well. It is important to keep your own private information, as well as your family and friends, safe while on social media. Here are some tips that will ensure you have a secure online presence.

  1. Think twice about anything you post online. Of course, the whole point of having a social media account is to share information about yourself. Keep in mind anything you share online is difficult to un-share. Just because your account is private does not mean someone you’re friends with cannot share something you’ve posted, so be aware of that as well. A few things to think twice before posting are:
    – Your full birth date
    – Photos with geotag information
    – Rants about your job or sensitive information about your job
    – Travel plans

2. Avoid strangers or untrustworthy people as friends on social media. It may be tempting to accept a Facebook friend request from a pretty stranger. However, it just is not safe to add someone until you know them more and at least build a relationship with them. Think about all the information from the past, present and future they would have access to. It is better to be safe than sorry!

3. Review privacy and security settings on all your social media accounts. Take some time to review all the security settings for each of your social media accounts. In particular, Facebook has many different settings because there are so many ways for your personal information to be shared. Some of the options include choosing whether or not your profile is connected to search engines, who posts to your timeline, and who can contact you. Check out these tips for protecting yourself and your family on social network

Always remember the Internet is a huge place and although we may feel secure on our own social networks, that is not always the case. Connect with those you know, share wisely, and evaluate security settings on all social media accounts!

Contact an agent at Cochrane & Porter for any of your insurance needs! 781-943-1555 or info@cochraneandporter.com

Frozen Pipes? Uh Oh!

frozen-pipes

It’s a freezing cold winter morning and you wake up and head to the bathroom. When turning on the faucet, nothing comes out. Uh oh! You may have a frozen pipe – what should you do? Or, what can you do to prevent this expensive situation in the first place? According to The Boston Globe, “Every winter some 250,000 families in the United States see at least one room in their home damaged by water pipes freezing and breaking.”

I’ve decided to gather some helpful information that will help  to keep the water flowing inside when the temperatures drop outside!

Which pipes are at high risk of freezing?

  • Pipes located in exterior walls.
  • All plumbing on the exterior of your home.
  • Exposed pipes in areas that are unheated in your home.

How can I prepare before it gets cold?

  • Insulate water pipes with heat cable, heat tape or pipe sleeves, especially pipes that run through unheated areas of your home like the basement, attic, garage, etc.
  • Drain water from your swimming pool and water sprinkler lines. Refrain from putting antifreeze in these lines – it’s harmful to the environment as well as humans, pets and landscaping.
  • Leave faucets just slightly dripping so the water is still moving and doesn’t freeze

What should I do when my pipes leak?

You may want to turn the water off to your house, and call a plumber! Especially if it is a slow leak, consider buying disposable diapers and wrap one around the leak. While this is completely temporary, it should prevent any water damage from occurring.

Helpful articles
How pipes freeze and burst, and what to do to prevent damage
How to protect your home from water damage
Preventing frozen & thawing pipes – American Red Cross

As always do not hesitate to contact us for any of your insurance needs! 781.943.1555 or cochraneandporter@renaissanceins.com

 

Preparing Your Vehicle For Freezing Cold Temperatures

Be prepared for freezing temperatures!

 

Freezing Cold Windshield
While it’s technically been winter for several weeks, we’re just now experiencing freezing cold temperatures and the dread of having to clean ice off our windshields before we can drive. Weather changes affect both you and your vehicle. In freezing temperatures, you can’t expect your car to function properly immediately without making some minor changes. Here are some suggestions on ways to ensure that your vehicle is properly ready for the winter season:

Emergency kit – It’s a good idea to put together some things useful tools to store in your trunk so you have them in case you get stuck in a snow bank or on the side of the road during a snowstorm.

Windshield safety – Many people don’t take the time to clear their windshield. Make sure your windshield is completely clear before you drive, especially when there are adverse weather conditions. Eliminate the chances of an accident by only driving if there’s no ice or snow blocking your view.

Tire pressure
– Tire pressure is really important in the winter, which is why many people purchase snow tires. Properly inflated tires will ensure good traction in slippery conditions.

Battery – Battery issues remain one of the most common ways for a car to break down, particularly during winter. The scary thing about car batteries is extremely cold temperatures can decrease the battery’s life by up to 50 percent.

Some important kit items include:

  • Blankets
  • Snow boots
  • Engine oil
  • Washer fluid
  • Coolant
  • Flashlight
  • Jumper Cables
  • Flares
  • Small snow shovelTake a look at a full list of car kit emergency tools that will come in handy.

Additional car safety tips for freezing weather:

  • Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to avoid potential freezing issues due to excess moisture.
  • Make sure your brakes are in good working order.
  • Keep a cell phone charger or extra battery pack in case you need to call for help.

While making sure your vehicle is prepared for freezing cold temperatures, your home also requires its own cold weather participation. Contact us for any questions or concerns at 781-943-1555!