Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

What is one of the biggest mistakes buyers make when trying to save on auto insurance? Selecting an insurance company by price alone.

Sometimes customers receive a lower quote from a “big-box” company. What these companies often don’t tell you is that they cut your coverage in order to lower the quote. And that can have big financial consequences if you have a claim.

Some of these larger companies offer a low teaser rate the first term of 6 months or a year, only to raise the premium substantially at the end of the term.

And the customer service you receive from the big-box companies may not be what you expect. Think customer service doesn’t matter? One claim that’s handled badly might change your mind.

While the big-box companies will write you a policy, they may not take the time to review your individual circumstances to identify potential gaps in coverage that might expose you to risk.

Our agency represents multiple companies so we can provide you with the best coverage from financially solid and A-rated companies at the lowest price. We take a comprehensive look at your personal insurance needs to ensure there are no gaps in coverage. Your account will be assigned to one account representative who will respond promptly to resolve your issues and is available by email, phone, or in person if you prefer. Our customer service is second to none!

Beware next time you receive a quote from a big-box company.
You might get less than you bargained for!

Office Update: Appointment Availability Beginning June 1st

Our office will be open beginning on Monday, June 1st by APPOINTMENT ONLY. Please call the office at 413-598-8304 if you need to make an appointment. We will have a limited number of staff in the office.

Our hours are Monday – Thursday 9:00am to 5:00pm and Friday 8:00am to 4:00pm.

In keeping with the requirements of the Chicopee Health Dept, all customers will be required to wear a mask or face covering and maintain social distancing when in the office. Our staff will wear masks and the office will be sanitized periodically for the safety of everyone.

As a reminder, please continue to mail your insurance payments directly to the insurance company. We will not accept payments in the office at this time.

Our commitment to you remains certain as we go through these challenging times. Please feel free to call our office if you have questions.

Best Regards,

Paul J. Shea, CIC, CPCU

Stay At Home Auto Premium Refund

Policyholders are doing their part to limit the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.  This is leading to lower auto usage and resulting in fewer auto claims.  In response, and to ease some of the financial burden many customers are experiencing, we are pleased to announce that all of our carriers have chosen to issue a “Stay at Home Auto Premium Refund”.  Insurance companies will return a small portion of auto premiums for the months of April and May to our voluntary personal auto policyholders in Massachusetts, subject to regulatory approval.

Our agency will keep you informed when this credit is approved by the insurance department.  Our commitment to you remains certain as we endure these challenging times.

Regards,
Paul J. Shea CPCU, CIC

Here’s what you need to know about hands-free driving

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The Hands-Free Driving Law went into effect February 23rd.
Here’s what you need to know…

  • Use of ANY electronic device is prohibited while operating a motor vehicle, unless in hands-free mode.
  • Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use any electronic devices, even in hands-free mode. 
  • Penalties include: fines up to $500, insurance surcharges, and mandatory completion of distracted driving education program.

Want to learn more? Click here to view more details from the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles.

ARE YOU GETTING ALL THE DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO YOU?

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Check with your agent to see if you qualify!

ACCOUNT CREDIT – Save 15-25% when you insure both your auto & home with our agency
PAID IN FULL – Up to 5% when your annual premium is paid in full
GO GREEN – Up to 3% when you make electronic payments and receive your policy online
GOOD STUDENT – 10% if the youthful driver meets certain grade qualifications
STUDENT AWAY FROM HOME – 10-15% off your premium for youthful drivers that are away from home and meet specific qualifications
MULTI-CAR DISCOUNT – up to 8% per household with two or more private passenger vehicles

Discounts may vary according to the companies we represent and the state in which you are insured.

Holiday Safety Tips

As the holiday’s approach, keep your family and home safe by following these tips.

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  • Keep your Christmas tree watered and away from heat sources.
  • Be sure you are using indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors.
  • Never connect more than 3 strands of lights together.
  • Use the proper ladder when hanging decorations.
  • Keep candles away from the Christmas tree, curtains, and other flammable items.
  • Decorating the fireplace mantle is festive, but be sure to avoid fire hazard if the fireplace is in use.
  • Keep glass ornaments and plants like holly, poinsettia, and mistletoe out of reach of children and pets.

Food 

  • Use food thermometers, defrost food safely in the fridge, and refrigerate leftovers promptly.
  • Turn pot handles so they do not hang over the edge of the stove or use the back burner.
  • Be in the kitchen if food is cooking. Do not leave it unattended.

Presents 

  • Keep batteries away from small children.
  • Check the recommended age on toys and games and be sure there aren’t any choking hazards or other small pieces.
  • Watching pets play with wrapping paper is fun but be sure they do not eat any paper or ribbon.

Have a safe and happy holiday season! 

National Safety Council – Electrical Safety Foundation – SafeKids.org

 

Halloween Safety

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Trick or Treaters

  • Always cross at crosswalks and use sidewalks
  • Carry a flashlight
  • Make sure your costume doesn’t block vision or cause you to trip
  • Trick or treat in a group or with an adult
  • Wait until parents check the candy to eat any treats

Halloween Drivers

  • Drive slowly in residential areas
  • Exit driveways and parking spots slowly and carefully be-safe
  • Be sure to use your headlights
  • Be aware of children around you, they may not pay attention when crossing the street.

Pumpkins

  • Don’t let small children carve pumpkins, consider painting or letting them draw a face for an adult to carve
  • Glowsticks make great alternatives to light pumpkins rather than candles.
  • If you use a candle be sure the pumpkin is left on a sturdy surface, away from flammable objects.

Pets

  • Keep candy away from pets – especially chocolate
  • Make sure pets are wearing ID tags in case they get out
  • Consider creating a calm room for pets away from the door and trick or treaters

Most Importantly…Have fun! 

ASPCA Halloween Safety  – Safe Kids Worldwide Halloween Safety – AAA Halloween Safety  – American Academy of Pediatrics Halloween Safety Tips 2016

 

Why Should I Schedule Jewelry?

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So you got a new piece of jewelry…do you know what kind of coverage your insurance provides? A basic policy will provide you with some coverage but the best way to protect your jewelry is to schedule it on your policy. 

Why should I schedule my jewelry?

  • Your house or tenant’s insurance has basic coverage for jewelry, however there is usually a limit of $1,000 on a basic policy
  • In addition to having a lower limit, a basic policy only covers you for theft of jewelry. If you lose a stone or lose the piece in general, you don’t have coverage.
  • Another benefit to scheduling your jewelry is that there is no deductible in the case of a loss. If it is not scheduled any claims would be subject to the deductible. 

I want to schedule my jewelry, what do I do now?

Get appraisals for the pieces you want to add to your policy and contact our office!

 

What Do I Do…

If my car is involved in a hit & run?

Hit & run accidents are becoming more common. Whether your car is hit while parked or another vehicle leaves the scene of an accident, follow these steps to stay safe and get your claim filed properly.

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If you are involved in a hit and run while driving:

  • Pull over to a safe area. DO NOT try to chase the car that hit you. Chasing can lead to reckless driving, putting you and other drivers at risk.
  • Call the police to make a report.
  • If you were able to see the plate number of the car that hit you, write it down. Write down any information such as make and model of the car that hit you that you recall. Take down the time and place where the accident occurred.
  • Check for witnesses to the accident, if the police are not coming to the scene, see if they are willing to give you their contact information to put on the police report.
  • File a report with the local police and file a claim with your insurance company.

If you are involved in a hit and run while parked:

  • Call the police to make a report.
  • If the police are not coming to the scene, take pictures of the scene, take note of the time, location, and damage to your car.
  • See if there are any witnesses willing to give their contact information.
  • File a claim with your insurance company.

To report a claim with LSB click here or call the office at 598-8304.

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Sources: DMV.org Hit & RunSafety Insurance – If You’re In An Accident

Renter’s Insurance

Many renter’s assume that their landlord’s insurance is enough to protect them. Unfortunately, it is not. Your landlord’s insurance does not protect your belongings and doesn’t protect you from liability suits. That’s where renter’s insurance comes in.

Isn’t Renter’s Insurance Expensive?

Depending on your coverage, renter’s insurance can cost as little as $10-12 a month! Nationally, the average cost of renter’s insurance is $187 according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Bonus – having renter’s insurance will give you a discount on your car insurance too!

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I Don’t Own Enough to Need Insurance

While you may not own many things you think of as valuables, possessions add up quickly. Things like cell phones, TV’s, computers and even clothing are all common possessions that would be covered by your renter’s insurance. Additionally, many renter’s own furniture and kitchen appliances, adding up to thousands of dollars in personal property that they may not even think of.

Doesn’t My Landlord’s Insurance Cover Liability Claims?

Not necessarily. If someone trips and falls in your apartment, you need liability coverage. If you have a pet and someone is injured by your pet, you need  liability coverage.

According to Trusted Choice:

  • In 2011, the average cost of dog-bite claims was $29,396
  • On average, the cost of slip-and-fall accidents exceeds $12,000
  • The cost of legal defense in a slip-and-fall lawsuit is $50,000

I want Renter’s Insurance. What do I do now?

First, estimate the amount of personal property you own. You will not get paid over this amount so be sure to consider everything. You want enough coverage so that if you had a fire and lost everything you would have enough to replace your belongings and start over!

Next, call us! We will ask you a little about your apartment, such as type and age of the building and number of units. Then we will go over how much coverage you want for both property and liability and have you sign an application.

To learn more please see:

Trusted Choice – Renter’s Liability Insurance – Renting An Apartment? This Mistake Could Cost You $5,000 Or More – Trusted Choice – How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost? – 6 Myths about Renter’s Insurance – and How to Save – 6 Good Reasons To Get Renter’s Insurance

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