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.


MOLD. Not afraid? Well, it’s time you learn a thing or two.

July 8, 2011

Sorry this photo is so disgusting... but mold is never attractive.

Mold is gross. We see it mostly on old bread. But what makes mold bad news? Well, if you have an outbreak like in the photo to the right, things get expensive really fast. Let’s take a minute to understand what we are dealing with.

Mold can be caused by…

  • Poor attic ventilation or vents exhausting into the attic
  • Chimney leakage
  • Improper air conditioning installation
  • Improper installation of attic insulation
  • Weatherproofing of doors/windows
  • Improper installation of shower stalls
  • Water intrusion through exterior walls
  • Basement drainage problems
Mold’s favorite place to hang out is…
  • Under sinks & Around showers and tubs
  • Under and behind washing equipment
  • Under and behind refrigerators
  • Behind and below water heaters
  • Around the perimeter of the basement & structure
  • In crawl spaces
  • Above ceiling tiles
  • Walls around windows/doors
How to kick Mold to the curb…
  • Fix leaks and seepage issues
  • Ventilate your crawl-spaces; Actually ventilate everything else properly too
  • Use exhaust fans to ventilate appliances like your dryer or rooms like the bathroom and kitchen
  • Use dehumidifiers and air conditions to reduce the moisture in the air
  • Leave doors in your home open so air can move freely. Keep some windows open so air can also flow out.
So Mold is in my house… what do I do?
  • Clean up visible mold.
  • Replace the board and fix the water problem.
  • Remove visible mold with soapy water, dry thoroughly and repaint.
  • As long as you’ve fixed the water issue, the mold will not come back.
  • If there is excessive mold, you have to bring in the professionals.
(SOURCE: SERVPRO)

5 Tips on Avoiding Wind-Related Losses to Your Home or Car

June 9, 2011

Best-Preventative Measures in Avoiding Wind-Related Losses:

  • Collect the necessities before the storm hits: water, food, flashlights, batteries, radio in case of power loss. Stay away from windows. You know the basics.
  • Bring outdoor objects inside so they don’t fly away. Close the patio umbrella so it is less likely to get damaged, and then, damage other things on your property.
  • Stay inside; it’s not a good time to be sunning yourself or having a BBQ.
  • Make sure any trees or tree branches in the proximity to your car or home are secured or removed all together. (Don’t do this during the storm!)
  • Garage your vehicles if you have a garage. And secure or reinforce the door shut. (Some people fill their garage with too much junk so you can’t even fit a car in it. Don’t be one of them!)

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.


Blizzard Warning! Counties Affected and a Handy-Dandy Radar Map

December 25, 2010

So, it’s Christmas night and we’re on the brink of what looks to be a pretty significant storm. Blizzard is the buzz word of the moment with a warning for the Greater Boston Area: Plymouth, Norfolk, Bristol, and Essex counties. It even reaches to southern Worcester county.

Then, as you go south of Boston toward the Cape, the blizzard-ness of the storm decreases into what I guess weathermen would call a “Really Bad Storm”.

Check out this map to see the forecasted accumulations.

Here’s a list of the current watches and warnings from 7News.

So, when they say blizzard warning, that means stay home. Don’t go out. If you think you have to go out, think twice. It’s not worth risking it. And even if you drive a 4×4, you are not Superman. Don’t try to be.

After the storm passes though, we should remember that MA just passed the new legislature that homeowner’s are absolutely liable for slips and falls on their property. Make sure to shovel your driveway or have a close friend/family member do it for you. Sand it and add dirt for traction to avoid these instances. If you take these precautions, you will have acted “reasonably”. For more information on this legislation, read my recent post on it or just read this blurb below:

Homeowners and businessowners need to abide by the clause, “act like a reasonable person.” What do they mean? Expense of snow removal and Seriousness/probability of harm are factors in deciding if a person/homeowner acted reasonably. It is a retroactive rule, therefore applicable to all pending claims with a 3-year statute of limitations.

For a list of safe driving tips, check out Weather.com‘s. It’s pretty comprehensive (AKA really long), but you should still read it. If you have a short attention span, skim it, get the gist that you shouldn’t drive, and stay home. 🙂

If you’re looking for a quote,

look no further.

Email Liz@NBAInsurance.com

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


Why You Should Break the Compulsory Limit #insurance #ma

September 27, 2010

And you thought I meant Speed Limit. You wish!

No, what I am really talking about is your insurance. The state of Massachusetts requires you to have liability limits on your policy covering you for bodily injury to others in case of a car accident.  On your auto policy, you must have a minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.

It may seem enticing to keep the minimum. After all, you’ve never had an accident, right? You may be a perfect driver now, but that could change any time you take the car out for a spin. And what if you do get into an accident? That $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident sucks up really quick when the other driver is rushed to the hospital.

Then where is the money going to come from?

That’s really the kicker.

You.

Yes, that’s right. The injured party can now come after you for any money that exceeds the limits on your policy. This puts you and your personal property at serious financial risk.

Of course, that’s why insurance companies offer higher limits than $20,000/$40,000. And it’s really inexpensive to raise your limits. If you look at your policy and want to save money, that’s really not a place to cut corners. (Which is why Commerce offers discounts!)

For the same reason, homeowner’s insurance policies can come with Umbrella policies. They extend your liability limits on home and auto up to 5 million dollars! And those are also pretty cheap.

Contact us if your are interested in getting a quote on higher limits. Bad things happen. Isn’t it better to spend a little and save a lot?


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.