Springtime Home Checklist

If you have made any of the following changes since we last did an insurance review, please contact us immediately. They may impact your coverages.

  1. JPI-springnewsletterHave you done any major external or internal home improvements? Did you remodel your kitchen? Finish your basement? Add a garage, deck or sunroom? Do you h
    ave plans to do any of these renovations this year? Please let us know so we can make the necessary adjustments to your policy.
  2. Have you added a swimming pool? You should consider increasing your liability coverage for potential accidents related to the pool.
  3. Did you add or upgrade an alarm system for your home? Alarm systems can earn you discounts on your premium.
  4. Did you purchase or inherit any expensive jewelry, antiques or artwork? There is limited coverage for these items. Especially valuable items should be scheduled on your homeowner policy.
  5. Did you start a home-based business? Again, the standard Homeowners policy may not provide the coverage you need for inventory or equipment.
  6. Did you pay off your mortgage or change lenders? We need to have correct information on file to facilitate claims.

Get Your Yard Ready for Warm Weather

Spring is a good time to do a yard inspection for any damage or hazards that resulted from the winter weather. Some things to take a look at include:

  • Your deck to see if there are any weakened boards, railings or steps that should be repaired or replaced
  • Your children’s swing set to see if there are rust spots on metal, splinters on wooden parts, or weakened supports
  • Your gas grill’s hoses and connections to make sure these are safe to use
  • Tree branches near your house to see if these are overhanging or damaged and should be removed
  • Your fencing to see if it is intact and securely in the ground.

We want you to have a safe and enjoyable summer!

Trampoline Warning

Are you aware that some insurance companies won’t cover your home if you have a trampoline, even one with guards around it? Many companies consider the risk of injury too great for them to accept the risk. If you have a trampoline and your insurance company doesn’t know about it, the company can refuse to pay the claim if you have an injury suit. Take the time to look at your policy to see if there’s a specific trampoline exclusion before you invest in a trampoline for your family.

Accident forgiveness and other special endorsements

You’ve probably seen the television ads for accident forgiveness, vanishing deductible, new car replacement, etc. Some of the ads make it sound like these are already part of the policy. They’re not. They’re what we call endorsements, which are added to your basic auto policy at an additional cost. You have to apply for these endorsements. In some cases, there are qualifications you must meet. But if you’re interested in finding out more about these “peace-of-mind” coverages, call or send us an email.

Identity theft protection

Some call identity theft “the crime of the 21st century.” According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), over 9 million Americans fall victim to identity fraud each year. Your best defense against these staggering statistics is to be proactive in monitoring your credit and debit card purchases and your credit score, and take immediate action.

A second line of defense is your home insurance policy. All companies provide some form of coverage against identity fraud. Limits can be as high as $25,000, depending on the company. Some offer the identity theft coverage as a low cost endorsement to your policy. If you are interested in this coverage, call or email us.

Be Proactive! 12 Useful Tips

  1. Remain calm– the event has already occurred and getting upset will not change the situation.
  2. If possible, remove the vehicle from the roadway. This will prevent another vehicle from becoming involved in the same crash.
  3. Be cautious about rendering assistance to anyone injured. You could be doing more harm than good.
  4. Take pictures of the crash immediately afterward if you have a camera or smartphone available.
  5. Call police to the scene. The police will gather all information necessary to help you with the insurance claim.
  6. Gather your facts and do not make a statement of fault.
  7. Ask to see the other driver’s license, registration, and insurance identification card. From the insurance card, take down the name on the card, the policy number, and the three digit insurance company code.
  8. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. (Click here for list of our companies.)

Immediately after your accident, you should:

  1. Be contacted by an insurance adjuster within 2 business days of the report of accident.
  2. Complete a crash report if the damage is greater than $1,000. Currently, the crash report may be downloaded from this link – MA Crash Report
  3. Provide James Page insurance with any medical or towing bills.
  4. Receive a personal injury protection form from your insurance company if you are injured. This will allow medical bills to be paid.

Prevent clothes dryer fires

Check frequently for build-up of lint in or around your dryer.  Also take a look around the area where your dryer exhaust exits your house, and see if there is lint on the ground or in shrubs or on the wall. Lint build-ups are a major cause of home fires.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics indicate that in 2010, an estimated 16,800 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines (including combination washer/dryers) resulted in 51 civilian deaths, 380 civilian injuries, and $236 million in direct property damage.  The number one cause of these fires was “failure to clean.”

For valuable dryer safety tips visit www.nfpa.org.

How do you know if your pipes are freezing?

If you notice a reduction in water pressure, your pipes may be beginning to freeze. Turn the water on and leave it on. This may dislodge any ice and prevent a disastrous freeze-up, pipe bursts, and costly repairs. Remembering what last winter was like, and with possible cold snaps ahead, now is a good time to review some basic freeze-up prevention tips.

  • Know where your water shut-off valve is located and make sure everyone  can turn off the water if necessary.
  • Wrap both hot and cold water pipes with insulation. If there is an electrical outlet close by, hardware stores also sell a heated tape wrap for pipes.
  • Disconnect and remove hoses from outside faucets. Wrap faucets with insulating material. If there is an inside shut off to this faucet, turn it off.
  • On very cold nights, leave a small stream of water running.  Use room heat by opening cabinet doors to expose pipes located inside to warm room air.

Recent changes to MA Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP)

The SDIP changes reflects a more realistic view of what it costs to repair vehicles today.  Formerly, the threshold for a “minor” accident was defined as $500 damage paid by the insurance company.   As of July 1, 2015, this threshold was increased to $1000 for policies that renewed after that date..  If there is less than $1000 in damages paid, there is no surcharge.  On the other end, the threshold for a major accident was increased from $2000 to $5000 in paid damage claims.

If you are involved in an accident and found to be at fault, you will be charged SDIP points based on the damage payment made. In addition, if you are pulled over and given a citation, you will also be given SDIP points which may result in a surcharge.  (The complete list of minor and major violations can be found at the RMV site.) You can however request a hearing before a Clerk-Magistrate at the district court where the incident occurred.  If your appeal is granted, there will be no surcharge. The back of the citation contains instructions on appeals. So does the RMV website.

Mass RMV encourages online transactions

Why stand in line at the Registry, when you can go online instead? You can transact some renewals online, right from your home! The Massachusetts RMV Web site not only offers helpful information but also makes available a wide range of online transactions 24/7.

Residents of New Hampshire can also perform some transactions online.   Go to: https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv/.