Got a Wet Basement? Here’s What You Can Do!

January 29, 2012

Did you know that homeowners policies typically do not cover damage caused by your wet basement? Excess water is typically caused by surface water running down foundation walls, groundwater, storm sewer water, sanitary sewer water from a clog in a sewer line.

Kind of a major bummer, isn’t it?

Just think of what you’d lose- baby clothes, heirlooms, photo albums… all things it is difficult to put a price on.

Here are a few ways to manage this risk:

1) Add the Sump-Pump Overflow Coverage to your homeowner’s insurance policy.

The Water Back Up/Sump Discharge or Overflow Endorsement insures your direct physical loss to a maximum limit of $5,000.00 (subject to a $250.00 deductible), so long as it is not caused by your negligence. The coverage applies to both your basement and your personal property if damage is caused by water or waterborne material which either backs up through sewers or drains; or overflows/is discharged from a sump or related equipment — even if the discharge occurs due to mechanical breakdown.*

It is a coverage available by request and comes in handy if you’d like to protect that finished basement of  yours!

2) Clean your gutters.

Depending on how many trees you have around your house, you may have to clean them a few times per year. Not cleaning your gutters may cause  large quantities of surface water to drain and pool down next to the foundation of your home. If this happens regularly and it is not caused by leaves, you should check and see if you have enough downspouts to support adequate draining.

3) Install a perimeter drain system with a sump pump.

The system is built to push groundwater into the drain system and not into areas where it can damage carpets, walls, or personal-belongings. The water drains into a sump pit where a sump pump discharges it out of the house.

*The original exclusion to Water Damage is replaced by the following. Water means: flood, surface water, waves, including tidal wave and tsunami, tides, tidal water, overflow of any body of water, or spray from any of these, all whether or not driven by wind, including storm surge; Water which backs up through sewers or drains; or overfows or is otherwise discharged from a sump pump or related equipment; as a direct or indirect result of flood; Water below the surface of the ground including water which exerts pressure on, or seeps, leaks or flows through a building, sidewalk, driveway, patio, foundation, swimming pool or other structure; or Waterborne material carried or otherwise moved by any of the water referred to in this exclusion. This exclusion applies regardless of whether any of the above is caused by an act of nature or otherwise caused. It applies to, but is not limited to, escape, overflow or discharge, for any reason, of water or waterborne material from a dam, levee, seawall or any other boundary of containment system.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and is not necessarily true for all insurance companies. Call your agent for additional information.


Homeowner’s Insurance Covers Your Water Damage… So Why Get Flood?

March 7, 2011

Boston, South Shore, MA - NBA Insurance Agency, Inc., Free Quotes Auto, Home, Life, Boat, Business, Commercial, Apartment, Renters, Motorcycle

This weather is disgusting. (That just needed to be said). Last night, meteorologists got a little panicky about the rain. We really don’t need rain now, given that the snow’s prolonged melting is making our roads rocky and flooded anyway. Specifically though, weather-men-and-women worry about river-overflow and its effect on residential areas.

Rivers of concern are the Assabet @ Maynard, the Shawsheen @ Wilmington, and the Blackstone @ Northbridge & Woonsocket.

Melissa Mack, WBZ-4 News

A lot of skeptical homeowners assume that they’re covered for water damage. They stand proudly against the windswept rain holding their recently laminated Homeowner’s Declaration Page. While your homeowner’s policy is awesome because it covers you for your dwelling, personal property and gives you some lovely personal liability, it’s not an invincibility cloak.

“But it covers me for water damage!” the insured person proclaims.

It’s great you are covered for water damage (burst pipes, roof leakage, and damage to your personal property when your washing machine explodes causing your basement to flood). Go ahead, leave your iPads and your 3D TVs unprotected. After all, you’re insured. (Please don’t actually do that).

If your home/basement or personal property gets flooded because of a river/body of water overflow (or if it gets flooded by water you didn’t invite in your house due to excessive precipitation), you are not covered by your homeowner’s policy. You need Flood Insurance. Click that link for a free quote!

If you’re looking for a quote, look no further. Email Liz@NBAInsurance.com or call 1-781-871-5414 for details.

Please Note: Not all policies provide adequate coverage for finished basements. Additional coverage can be added by endorsement. Just ask us about it.


Skidding, Hydroplaning, and Do You Need New Tires? Take the Penny Test.

January 21, 2011

Skidding and Hydroplaning.

Different and yet, both bad options.

Apples and Oranges.

Different and yet, both fruits.

Skidding – Skidding is most likely to occur after rain, sleet, ice, or snow has muddled the roadways. Roads become considerably dangerous at the beginning of accumulation–mostly because drivers do not anticipate worsened conditions at the beginning of a storm.

Hydroplaning – Where there is standing water on the road there is also high risk for hydroplaning. If the tire cannot squeeze out the water between treads, the tires will coast across the pool of water, losing all friction with the road.

How do we avoid these situations?

  • Don’t drive when skidding or hydroplaning seems a likely possibility. Unless of course you have to; in that case, please be careful.
  • Check the depth of the tread on your tires. A simple way is by sticking a penny between the treads. If the top of Abe’s head is visible, your treads are too thin. You need new tires.
  • Know whether you have standard or anti-lock brakes. Standard brakes are not designed to stop your car in a skid. When you lock up standard brakes, you lose steering. If you slam on standard brakes, you make the situation worse and your car will spin out of control. So, if your car is equipped with standard brakes, DO NOT APPLY THE BRAKES until you have regained control of steering and your car has started to slow down on its own.
  • “Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are designed to prevent losing control of the car in a skid situation. They do this through use of a computer that detects when a tire is turning faster (trying to grip the surface) and applying pressure independently to each individual brake up to 20 times a second. This allows you to slow the vehicle while still being able to steer to avoid a collision. With the brakes pulsing that rapidly, the driver will feel a fluttering in the brake pedal. Unfortunately, many drivers, who are unfamiliar with ABS, feel this and think something is wrong and take their foot off the brakes. That is a big mistake! When applying anti-lock brakes in a skidding situation, you should expect to feel the brakes fluttering under your foot and understand that the system is operating correctly.” (National Safety Commission)
  • NEVER USE CRUISE CONTROL in the rain. If you go into a skid and your tires start to spin, Cruise Control get confused because you are not moving, so they increase the speed to get back up to the set speed- which might be really high if you are traveling on a highway!

Oh boy. I’m skidding. Now what?

  • Take your foot off the gas! Again, you shouldn’t be using cruise control.
  • If your car is equipped with standard brakes, do not apply the brakes. If you were applying the brakes when you started to skid, take your foot off the brakes.
  • If your car is equipped with ABS, apply firm pressure to the brakes. You will still maintain control of steering while the brakes are applied.
  • Steer the car in the direction of the skid. In other words, if the rear of your car is skidding to the left, turn your wheel to the left. Try not to look at the hazards but instead, look at where you want to steer the car and keep steering in that direction until you have regained control of the car.
  • Once you have regained full control of steering and the car has slowed on its own, you may be able to apply standard brakes effectively to bring your car to a stop. (National Safety Commission)

Source: (National Safety Commission)

If you’re looking for a quote,

look no further.

Email Liz@NBAInsurance.com

or call 1-781-871-5414 for more details.


Is Hurricane Earl really Hurricane Bob Version 2? #insurance

September 1, 2010

I decided to do some research. When we say Category 4, we think “oh no!” — especially because in New England, that sort of thing just doesn’t happen. In fact, it hasn’t come close to happening in a long time! So Category 4 — which is pretty bad since 5 is the scariest — can bring winds between 131-155mph. The wind is really where the trouble starts. (I stole those numbers from the chart below from Weather.com).

Saffir’s Scale Hurricane Chart (for your reference) – Courtesy of Weather.com

Then Weather.com goes on to tell us the worded descriptions of the hurricanes. I checked out the one for Category 4 simply becuase seeing the word Extreme in the chart above may have been unnecessarily frightening.

  • Category 4 – Extreme

  • Shrubs, trees, and all signs blown down; extensive damage to roofs, windows, and doors, with complete failure of roofs on many smaller residences; mobile homes demolished.
  • Flat terrain 10 feet or less above sea level flooded inland as far as 6 miles; flooding and battering by waves and floating debris cause major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore; low-lying escape routes inland cut off by rising water about three to five hours before landfall; major erosion of beaches
  • Massive evacuation of inland residences as far inland as 6 miles may be required.
  • What can I say to make this better?

    Well, forecasters seem to say Earl won’t be a category 4 by the time is reaches Eastern MA. Of course if you have a home in the Carolina’s, you should be a little concerned.

    By the time Earl reaches our area, it will have weakened considerably. WHDH’s Pete Bouchard recently blogged that one of the storm’s tracks has its eye passing right over Nantucket. This would mean that the island would get hit the hardest, having winds between 50 and 90 mph. He emphasized “maybe” most likely because he doesn’t want to be wrong. In that scenario, the Cape would also get walloped with 50-70 mph winds. The Greater Boston Area will get hit pretty hard as well with 50-60mph wind gusts. The worst of it seems to be hitting between 8pm and 2am.

    The point is this. Regardless of how much rain we get or how intense Earl will be, you can be sure it is a threat. The wind, specifically, is threatening.

    NBA Insurance advises you all to be prepared. Of course, collect the necessities: water, food, flashlights, batteries, radio in case of power loss. Stay away from windows. You know the basics. Even if you don’t, here are some more:

    1. Bring outdoor objects inside.

    2. Close storm shutters.

    3. Turn off propane tanks and only use your phone for emergencies.

    4. Evacuate if the following conditions apply:

    • You are required or advised to do so.
    • You live in a mobile home.
    • You live in a high-rise.
    • You live on the coast or in a flood-prone area.
    • If you feel you could be in danger.

    5. Reinforce weak or vulnerable areas.

    6. Remove any trees that, if fallen, would damage your property.

    For more tips, visit FEMA’s website.


    South Shore Weather Update- We’ll Let You Know What’s Going On! #insurance #southshore

    August 25, 2010

    A Somerville Public Safety Building was just evacuated due to flooding. This building also flooded in July. (Source: 7News)

    Flood advisories have been issued for the following counties: Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk. A high surf advisory has also been issued for coastal communities. (Source: Weather.com)

    You can be sure though that there is street flooding in areas without a specific flood advisory. So follow the tips below (pasted from an earlier post of mine during another rainy set of days)! And most of all: BE CAREFUL!!

    Check out our tips for driving through flooded areas:

    DRIVING TIPS: (Source: eHow)

    If you cannot avoid driving through floodwaters, take the following precautions:

    -Drive slower due to the minimized visibility and water in the road. You are at risk of hydroplaning. Avoid puddles. Don’t take any sharp turns. Don’t slam on the brakes.

    -If you do hydroplane, ease off your brakes and avoid swerving until  your car regains traction with the road.


    Ever say “Insurance is a Scam”? Well, then you should read this post.

    August 9, 2010

    I was scoping the web today and came across an article that merely said, “Insurance is a Scam.” Of course, my first reaction (the insurance agent in me) was totally infuriated that anyone would ever say such a thing- nevermind title an article, “Insurance is a Scam.” I figured this person was just asking for my reaction.

    Anyway, I had to see what on Earth they were thinking. It turns out saying, “Insurance is a Scam” was just the right way to get me interested in clicking to read more. The they in this scenario is actually another insurance agent named Ryan Hanley out of Albany, NY.

    Hanley covers a topic many insurance agents deal with: the moment a client comes to you and says, “Insurance is a Scam.” You, as a client, must have at least found yourself thinking that at some point in your life. Or if you haven’t yet, you may have just thought it was a waste of money. That’s a little justified. Who wants to pay for something they very rarely, if ever, use?

    So at this point, I’m with you. But then, Hanley introduces what makes it all worth it. See the following pull-quote from his article:

    I have a client who spun me a similar tale during the process of reviewing his policies.  He was a stand-up guy who seemed to always do the right thing and was very proud of his family’s insurance history.  He also always bought the proper coverage, 100% replacement cost on his home, maxed out his at-fault liability on every vehicle, etc.  He protected his family.  He was also very meticulous with his house.  When I went by to take pictures the place was immaculate.  He did everything himself or was involved first hand and felt very good about the condition of the house.

    So every time I would meet with him about his insurance he gave me the Insurance is Scam routine.  Because he had been paying $500 a year for the last 10 years for his Homeowners insurance and had never even come close to a claim.  That’s $5,000 with what was in his mind Zero return… That does sound like a scam.

    However, about a year ago the plot would thicken.  My client and his buddy were up on the roof of my client’s house fixing some shingles that were damaged in a really bad Ice Storm that rolled through Albany, NY in the middle of July.  Hail the size of Golf Balls, no joke.

    Well, my client climbed off the roof to grab a new batch of shingles, in the moment of down time his buddy lit up a cigarette.  Just as the new batch of shingles hit the top of roof the cigarette was finished.  The cigarette was flicked off the roof and my client and his buddy went on to finish the roof repairs.

    The cigarette did not make it off the roof.  It got caught on the edge of the roof between the gutter and sat there smoldering until some wind and the heat started the house on fire (Everyone got out safe, Thank goodness!).  The total loss figure between the fire and water damage from the Fire Department was ~$50,000 and because my client had secured proper and adequate insurance coverage he was reimbursed his full need.

    So here’s how the story ends. Hanley’s client may have been paying $500 a year for insurance, for 10 years, without tapping into it – $5000 in all. It does sound scam-ish there.

    However, after a $5000 pay in, the client was completely covered for the $50,000.

    Now. Doesn’t it all seem a lot more worth it? (Source).

    If you’d like a quote or a complete review of your current homeowner’s policy to make sure you have all the discounts/coverages you need, feel free to give us a call! 1-877-NBA-1980.


    #FlashFlood Alert for Eastern #MA, CT, RI: NBA #Insurance Tells You What to Do

    July 13, 2010

    A Flash Flood Alert is in effect now through tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon (7/13 & 7/14) for Eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. In Massachusetts, the alert applies to the following counties: Central Middlesex, Western Essex, Eastern Essex, Southern Worcester, Western Norfolk, Southeast Middlesex, Suffolk, Eastern Norfolk, Northern Bristol, Western Plymouth, Eastern Plymouth, Southern Bristol and Southern Plymouth. (Source: WHDH)
    Tonight, we can expect strong rain showers and thunderstorms that will last into Wednesday. Forecasters predict rain to accumulate at a rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour. Heavy downpours are expected. Urban areas are reportedly the most at risk to have a flash flood. (Source: WHDH)

    The difference between a flash flood and a regular flood is that the former can develop rather quickly, in minutes. Flash floods also have a tide which is much stronger than that of a regular flood. This current can carry away mud, rocks, and other debris. (Source: FEMA)

    BE PREPARED: (Source of these tips: FEMA)

    1. Unplug and move any electrical items in low-lying areas (ie. your basement) to higher ground to protect them from water damage and you from any electric current in flood waters. Never touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

    2. Construct a floodwall at the base of your door to hinder water from entering the building.

    3. If a flash flood is predicted in your area, move to higher ground or evacuate to a safer location.

    4. Beware of streams or bodies of water near your home. They are more likely to flash flood than other areas.

    5. If you evacuate, do not walk through moving water. Several inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk, walk where the water is not moving.

    6. If you have to drive, do not drive into flooded areas. If waters do rise around your car, you should leave the car and move to higher ground– if you can do so safely. In a flash flood, you and your car are at risk of being quickly swept away.

    7. Watch the news or listen to your radio to stay in the know about the conditions in your area.

    DRIVING TIPS: (Source: eHow)

    If you cannot avoid driving through floodwaters, take the following precautions:

    -Drive slower due to the minimized visibility and water in the road. You are at risk of hydroplaning. Avoid puddles. Don’t take any sharp turns. Don’t slam on the brakes.

    -If you do hydroplane, ease off your brakes and avoid swerving until  your car regains traction with the road.

    AFTER THE FLOOD: (Source: FEMA)

    1. Wait for news reports to tell you whether your water is still safe to drink.

    2. Avoid flooded waters as they are often contaminated with chemicals and bacteria. Flooded waters may also be electrically charged.

    3. Report fallen power lines to the power company.

    4. Buildings and their foundations are weakened after water damage. Proceed with caution if you enter.

    5. Roads are also weakened, so travel carefully.

    6. Service any electronic equipment that may have been damaged. Damaged sewage systems are a serious health hazard.

    7. Clean and disinfect all items that are wet.


    Flood losses are not covered by a regular homeowner’s insurance policy. Don’t delay— if you or a friend is looking for a free quote to get flood insurance, contact NBA Insurance by phone (781) 871-5414 or email Todd at tc@nbainsurance.com.