Insurance Blog

Make Sure Your Stuff Is Protected When You Move

Moving generally indicates an exciting time of transition and life change- whether it’s moving from the parents' basement to a first apartment or parents downsizing because the kids have all moved out. Whether you’re handling the move yourself with the help of friends and family or whether you hire professional movers, moving can be as stressful as it is exciting, and one way to relieve some of that stress is knowing that your possessions are protected during the transition. Whether your move is across the street or across the country it’s important that you discuss your move with one of our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker (BWP) Trusted Choice ® independent insurance agents.

 

Insuring Your New Place (And Your Stuff)

First of all, your belongings are protected by your homeowners or renters insurance policy against damage and loss. But it’s important to know that when you move from an apartment to a house or house to house or apartment to apartment or condo to… well, you get the idea… your homeowners or renters insurance won’t follow you and your property to the new place. Moving to a new home means that the risks to your property change, and as your risks change, so should your insurance.

Since you have coverage for the contents of your home under a standard homeowners or renter’s insurance policy, the best option to protect those is to make sure that there is no gap of time between the expiration or cancellation of your policy on the home you’re moving out of and the effective start date for the policy for the home you’re moving into- one way to do this is to have the new policy start the day you are planning on moving. Not only would this help provide coverage for your contents, but it would also provide you with personal liability coverage during the time of the move. If you’re moving out of state, ask your BWP insurance agent about underwriting your new policy or a referral in your new hometown.

 

Protect Your Stuff During the Move

Now what about your contents in transit? If you’re renting a truck or a van for the move, the rental company may offer you additional insurance coverage. If you use a professional moving company, under federal law interstate movers are liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged items, so if you’re moving from Manhattan, KS to New York City, the moving company is liable for your stuff. However, they may present you with different options for coverage, including Full Value or Released Value. According to the US Department of Transportation, Full Value is more comprehensive coverage but it may cost more out of pocket, whereas Released Value is offered at no additional cost, but may only cover your belongings up to 60 cents on the dollar. If you opt for the Full Value, make sure you have an up-to-date estimated value for the belongings you’ll be moving. If you have an accurate and comprehensive home inventory, this shouldn’t be too difficult of a task.

One argument for taking the coverage from a rental company or a moving company (even for in state moves) is that if something does go wrong and can be covered by that policy you could avoid filing a claim with your own homeowners/renters insurance company and having to cover costs out of pocket to meet your deductible. Just be sure though that the coverage offered by a moving or rental company is enough to replace or repair damaged or lost items. Talk with your Trusted Choice agent about your coverage and deductible so you can figure out a plan to protect your belongings that works for you.

 

What If I’m Putting Some of My Stuff in Storage?

If you’ll be temporarily storing property at a storage unit during your move, you should know that some insurance policies will only insure items in a self-storage facility to 10% of your personal property limit, which may not be adequate to cover your stored furniture, rugs, etc. You should be able to raise that coverage with what’s known as an endorsement to the policy, so make sure you tell your BWP Trusted Choice agent if you’re storing anything at a self-storage facility as part of the move.

We have the ability to work with multiple insurance companies, to help you find the coverage that’s right for your new place and for getting you and your stuff there.

ChubChub

 

July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety Day and here are some prevention and rescue tips from The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services.

To help reduce the estimated 500,000 pets affected by home fires each year, The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services today launched the inaugural "National Pet Fire Safety Day." This nationwide awareness day educates pet owners about potential risks when pets are left home alone and provides them with proven prevention measures to ensure their safety.

According to a recent AKC study, 88 percent of pet owners consider their pets to be valued family members so it makes sense to include them in fire prevention plans and rescue alerts should a house fire strike. As part of National Pet Fire Safety Day, AKC and ADT have developed helpful prevention, escape and rescue tips for pet owners.

"One of the hallmarks of responsible dog ownership is keeping pets safe and planning for unexpected emergencies, including house fires," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "Pet proofing the home, developing pet-friendly escape routes and alerting rescuers of your pets presence with ‘window clings’ is the best way to keep your four-legged family member from harm."

That’s something Lia Wentworth of Maryland knows well. One Sunday morning she and her family left their Labrador Retriever "Justice" home alone. They didn't realize they left a pot of boiling water with plastic baby bottles on the stove. When the water evaporated, the bottles began to emit a toxic smoke. No one knew Justice was in trouble because there was no flame. Luckily, the Wentworth’s had a monitored smoke detector and the firefighters were alerted. Their prompt response saved Justice's life.

"National Pet Fire Safety Day" Tips to Keep Pets Safe from House Fires:

  • Extinguish Open Flames - Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
  • Pet Proof the Home - Take a walk around your home and look for areas where pets might start fires inadvertently, such as the stove knobs, loose wires and other potential hazards. 
  • Secure Young Pets - Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home.
  • Keep Pets Near Entrances – When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them. 
  • Practicing Escape Routes with Pets – Keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly with your pet or firefighters need to rescue your pet.
  • Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Use monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center, providing an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
  • Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. You can obtain a free window cling by going to www.adt.com/pets or at AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days events. Details are available at www.akc.org.
  • Keep Your Information Updated - Firefighters are familiar with pet alert window clings so keep the number of pets listed on them updated. Knowing the accurate number of pets in the house aids rescuers in finding all of your pets.

Burglar breaking into home

When you go on vacation this Summer, remember these top tips to keep your home from becoming a target of burglars.

1) Stop your paper and hold your mail

2) Make sure you set timers on your lights or invest in motion detectors to give your home a ‘lived-in’ look.

3) Have a neighbor or friend check on your home periodically and pick up any flyers that have been left at your front door.

4) Do not post vacation pictures on social media until you are home.

Here are some additional tips from a Trusted Choice article by Jennifer A. DiGiovanni:

Recent reports of burglars stealing garage door openers from unlocked cars and returning later to gain keyless entry into a home has individuals becoming more vigilant about concealing or locking up the small devices. Other tactics used by burglars include using a coat hanger to jimmy a garage door’s release string and breaking into back doors hidden from neighbors.

Easy Ways to Discourage Burglars

In addition to keeping car doors locked, you can increase home security by making other small changes to discourage would-be thieves. Burglars often target dark, silent homes. Motion detecting lights that switch on when someone approaches your house will scare off intruders. Light timers set to activate when you’re away after dark also help disguise an empty home. Make sure you clear a sight line from the street to your house, which helps neighbors detect strangers lurking around your property. If you’re an animal lover, dogs are another great deterrent for burglars. The sound of barking is often enough to encourage a would-be thief to pass over a noisy house in favor of a quieter one.

Spend More on Security and Save on Homeowners Insurance

According to Paul Martin, CPCU and CAP State Association Liaison, two security features which net home owners a discount on their insurance premiums are centrally monitored home security systems and gated communities. To qualify for a reduced premium, a monitored security system must be tracked off-site to ensure someone is available to contact the home owner and the police during an alarm event. Posting signs on your property indicating that your home is in fact monitored is another visual deterrent for burglars. Gated communities restricting nonresident access are a strong deterrent to burglars looking to make a quick getaway, and insurance companies will discount insurance premiums for home owners in those types of neighborhoods.

What to Do if You Are a Victim of a Burglary

If you return home and find evidence of a break-in, the first thing you should do is file a police report. The police will walk through your home, collect evidence and begin an investigation. After the police report is filed, you will be asked to take an inventory and list everything that was taken from your home. Documentation in the form of original receipts works best, but if you no longer have that information, just an inventory of items and projected replacement cost serves as good starting point when filing an insurance claim.

Know What Is Covered If a Burglar does Break In

According to the FBI’s most recent burglary statistics, the average dollar loss in a home break-in amounts to just over $2,000. Yet, home owners can take comfort knowing insurance does cover theft loss, with some exceptions. Actual cash and coins are limited to $200 in losses, and jewelry is also generally limited to a specific amount unless a separate insurance rider or policy has been purchased. Also, paper documents, including security certificates and savings bonds, are limited to $1,500 in losses.

Other limited items homeowners might not consider when initially arranging homeowners insurance include watercraft (in the event a burglar walks off with your favorite canoe or kayak), car trailers, sterling silver or platinum items, and firearms. Collectors of high-value items like stamps, coins or art will require a separate endorsement for full coverage.

If you run a business from your house, you should also be aware of special loss limitations. For self-employed individuals working out of the home, business items will be limited to $2,500 in losses. Items classified as business items include copiers, printers, or even inventory stored in your residence.

Understanding Replacement Cost

 

As long as an item does not fall under a specific exception or exclusion, insurance policies generally pay out the replacement cost of an item to a claimant. Sentimental items may not have high monetary value, so it is important to keep these treasures in a secure location. Photo albums, family heirlooms and other objects passed down from generation to generation may be irreplaceable. It’s important to remember this when selecting pieces to place in a safe or safe deposit box.

Contact Us Today

Waltham, MA - 781-890-3740

Hudson, MA - 978-562-5652

Wayland, MA - 508-358-5383

Winthrop, MA - 617-846-0731

Memberships/Awards

trusted choice Baldwin Welsh Parker

S5 Box

Register

You need to enable user registration from User Manager/Options in the backend of Joomla before this module will activate.