Homeowners Insurance – Frequently Asked Questions

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The weekend of March 4th, March 6th, Cochrane & Porter will be attending the 2016 Worcester Spring Home Show at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. We plan to educate those who visit our booth on both homeowners and automotive insurance. There are many questions asked by the typical consumer about homeowners insurance. Therefore, I’ve decided to write a blog on them!

How can I save money on homeowners’ insurance?
There are several ways you can save! At Cochrane & Porter, we have access to the top insurance companies in the industry, so we can shop around and find what will work for you. Just a few ways to save include raising your deductible, purchasing your auto and home insurance from the same carrier, and looking for other discounts – retired discount, good student discount, or maintaining a good credit record often will receive a credit.

What is the rebuilding cost of my home?
Many people are, understandably, confused by this – it’s important to know that the purchase price is not the same as the dwelling cost. For example, if a devastating storm occurs and totals your home, the dwelling coverage is the amount it would cost to replace the home after that happens.

What does homeowners insurance cover, and what does it not cover?
Typically, a homeowner’s insurance policy will cover damage caused by fire, hail, lightning, windstorms, theft or vandalism. Ask your insurance agent if you are wondering if something is covered or not, Here are some examples of problems that are generally not covered by homeowners insurance: Sewer backup, mold, sinkholes, termite infestation, & nuclear plant accidents.

Helpful links:
How to save on homeowners insurance
Full list of FAQs on homeowners insurance
Does my homeowners insurance cover flooding?

Keep in mind if you have any questions regarding your current insurance or if you are purchasing a new home, you can call us at 781-943-1555 or email us at info@cochraneandporter.com.

The Importance of Taking a Home Inventory

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If you were asked to stop what you were doing and make a list of every item you have in your home, would you be able to? Chances are, probably not! That is why it’s so important to create a home inventory.  If a burglary or natural disaster occurs, you will be thankful that you keep an inventory list of all the items you own. A complete home inventory will also help you determine the amount of insurance coverage you need on your policy, as well as help to settle claims quicker.

To start, make a list of all your possessions – describe each item, and jot down where you purchased it, along with the make and model. Organize your list by attaching receipts or other documents you may have obtained when buying an item. Take pictures of your items, as well as record any serial numbers, if applicable.

Obvious examples of inventory items:

  • Jewelry
  • Artwork
  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Electronics

Important items often overlooked:

  • Carpets
  • Clothing
  • Toys
  • Draperies
  • Photographs
  • Receipts

If you’d prefer to take an easier approach, the Insurance Information Institute recommends videotaping and describing the contents in your home. Simply walk through your home or apartment and describe the contents as you walk past each, stating where and when you purchased it, how many you have, etc.

A complete home inventory checklist (PDF)

Top 10 Best Home Inventory Software programs of 2016

Make sure to start your home inventory as soon as possible – you never know when you may need it! Whether you are just moving into a home or have been there for many years, it is better to have some items listed than none. Call us today at 781-943-1555 today if you have any questions!

Purchasing A High Valued Item for Valentine’s Day?

It’s almost Valentine’s Day!

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Are you giving that special someone a new piece of jewelry this Valentine’s Day? How sweet! But what if that item becomes lost or stolen?

Although there is no way to insure the sentimental value of such a special gift, the Insurance Information Institute  states that having the proper insurance coverage will at least provide financial protection. It’s completely understandable that calling your insurance agent is not on your plans for Valentines’ Day, but it’s something you will be thankful for if an incident occurs causing your jewelry to go missing.

If you are buying an expensive piece of jewelry, typically there are two options. If the jewelry exceeds the liability limit on your policy, you can ask us to increase the limits or to schedule it separately on your policy . Or, we can schedule the items on your current policy, also referred to as a “floater” policy.

Jewelry losses are some of the most common of all home insurance claims. In order to prevent the sting of the loss of a valuable item, we recommend the following:

  • Contact your insurance agent immediately after you purchase the item
  • Have the item appraised
  • Store the valuable items in a safe location
  • Keep a copy of receipt
  • Take photos of the item
  • Add the item to your home inventory

Incidentally, floaters don’t just cover jewelry. If you have very expensive electronics, antiques, special collections, or other valuable items, you should be talking that over with your agent to ensure you have appropriate coverage should fire, theft or damage occur! Call an agent at Cochrane & Porter today at 781-943-1555 to discuss whether or not you have items that may need to be added to your policy!

February is American Heart Month

Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are due to heart disease, making it the leading cause of death for both men and woman in the United States. However, heart disease is typically preventable by making healthy decisions early on in life and making sure you don’t have high blood pressure.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017. The CDC highly recommends that anyone who is aware of their high blood pressure monitor it and make it a goal to lower it in the upcoming months.

There are several ways you can protect yourself from having heart disease in the future. Some include:

  • Do not smoke or allow yourself to be exposed to second-hand smoke – this can increase the risks of heart disease as well as lung cancer and stroke.
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure – age and heredity greatly increase the chances of having a high blood pressure. It’s helpful to measure blood pressure at your home while you are relaxed, as many people have white coat syndrome, meaning they become nervous when going to the doctors.
  • Monitor your cholesterol – high blood lipids are a large contributor to cardiovascular disease. If you have a strong family history of elevated cholesterol, it is important you watch your diet; drug therapy may also be necessary.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day – whether it is a run or just moving in any way, this is important. Lack of exercise is a large contributor to obesity in Americans.
  • Reduce stress – stress contributes to cardiovascular disease and if severe enough, could potentially cause a heart attack. Some simple ways to reduce stress include laughing, healthy relationships and engaging, regular exercise, among others. It is important to take responsibility for your health and make sure you understand the common risk factors for heart disease. Also, if you have diabetes, your risk dramatically increases, so it becomes even more vital you take the necessary actions to prevent this potentially deadly disease.

It is important to take responsibility for your health and make sure you understand the common risk factors for heart disease. Also, if you have diabetes, your risk dramatically increases, so it becomes even more vital you take the necessary actions to prevent this potentially deadly disease.

Other Helpful Links:

Our Free Health Discount Card – you can gain access to programs that can save you money every time you use pharmacies, vision care providers, hearing care specialists, & more!

Full list of ways to help cope with stress in your daily life: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm

25 ways to sneak in exercise throughout your day:
https://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/25-ways-to-sneak-in-more-exercise-every-day/