Boston Area Home Insurance: Are Your Contents Covered?

Does your Boston area home insurance adequately cover all your contents?Do you have adequate Boston area home insurance? Are your home’s contents insured? Are you absolutely certain? If you’re under-insured, from a legal point of view, you may as well not be insured at all. Your insurer may simply scale back your claim by the amount you’re under-insured, but they would be within their rights to reject the claim totally.

Many people under-estimate the value of their personal possessions. If you go through your home, room by room, and make a rough mental note of the contents, you may be very surprised at what you come up with. Don’t forget to include portable electrical items, jewelry, designer clothes, paintings and even photograph frames. It’s often the smaller items that are easily stolen in a “smash and grab” type of burglary and these can be the very items which you overlook in your valuation.

When working out the premium for your Boston area home insurance policy, your insurance company will use your postal code, the size of your home and the claims history of the area. Contents calculators are available online, which are useful in deciding the level of coverage you need.

Steps For Cutting Boston Area Home Insurance Premiums

In addition to the normal alarm system, you might consider installing motion-activated lights at the entrances to your house. Not only are they a deterrent for the burglar but they’re convenient for your own use too. A security cover inside a letterbox makes sure a thief can’t gain entry by putting a hand or instrument through it to open the door. Fitting all outside doors with efficient key-operated deadbolt locks is a good idea.

Inside the house, valuables could be kept in a safe and security fittings could secure any precious works of art. It’s a good idea to use some kind of marking or security code and record serial numbers, where this is relevant. Photographs of your valuables are useful too.

There’s a wide range of Boston area home insurance policies available. With some insurers, it is normal for individual items valued at over $1,500 to be listed separately. These will be covered inside the home, but would need “personal property insurance” if they are to be insured away from home.

Some insurers offer discounts on homeowner’s insurance if you cover both your home and your automobiles with the same company. Ask your insurance agent if such discounts are offered for your Boston area home insurance coverage.

Just remember, you need to insure the full value of your belongings to avoid the risk of a claim being reduced or rejected, while still getting the very best value for money. The easy way to do this is via an on-line insurance broker. They’ll be able to search a wide range of insurers and come up with the right policy to suit your own particular needs.

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Is Your Boston Area Home Insured Against Meteorites?

If a Meteorite were to hit your Boston area home, does your insurance cover that?

Is Your Boston Area Home Insured Against Meteorites?It’s been an odd time lately for Earth and celestial objects. A 10-ton meteorite crashed into the earth and exploded near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring hundreds and causing widespread panic. Meanwhile, a 143,000-ton asteroid passed just 17,000 miles away from Earth on February 15th, a little too close for comfort.

NASA scientist Don Yeomans recently noted that a basketball size object hits the earth’s atmosphere every day. This may have you wondering how a meteor shower or asteroid collision could theoretically affect your family or your Boston area home.

Does Insurance Cover Your Boston Area Home Against Meteorites?

If a meteorite crashes through your roof, the damage to your Boston area home and belongings would generally be covered by your standard homeowner’s insurance policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a consumer education organization funded by the insurance industry.

Meteorites are classified as a falling object, one of the many “named perils” for which insurance companies cover personal property damage. Other odd perils include a volcanic eruption, a riot, and a falling airplane. In fact, you’re covered if your Boston area home is hit by “blue ice”, which is the frozen discharge that comes from airplane lavatories. (This might be a fate worse than a meteor crash).

While you’re most likely covered if a space rock hits your Boston area home directly, things would be more complicated (in a lot of ways, obviously) if an Armageddon-sized asteroid like the one cruising near Earth on February 15th entered your neighborhood. Standard insurance policies only cover personal property damage in your Boston area home if the falling object blasts directly through your roof or your walls. If an asteroid slams into the Earth a mile away from your Boston area home and your prized art deco sculptures tumble to the ground and shatter, insurance isn’t likely going to cover it. It has to be a direct hit.

The rules for meteors are actually no different than for a much more common falling object: trees. Your car would also be insured in this instance of cosmically bad luck, assuming you have comprehensive auto insurance.

For more timely insurance articles and information, check out our Boston Insurance section under the Boston Real Estate Categories to your right.

Determing Average Cost of Boston Area Homeowner Insurance

Trying to determine what the average cost of Boston area homeowner insurance might be can be tricky, and is also determined by a whole list of factors and circumstances. Learn about some of those factors that make up your insurance rates by watching this short video…

Before you can make sure your Boston area homeowner insurance policy is actually serving your needs, you need to take the time to educate yourself about the specifics of the policy. Learn more about your insurance needs with help from an experienced insurance agent, and also check out our other insurance tips by visiting our Boston Insurance section under the Boston Real Estate Articles to your right.

Is Your Boston Home Properly Insured?

Before a storm like Hurricane Sandy, not afterwards, is the time to ask the Make sure your home is properly insured before a storm hitsquestion, “Is my Boston home properly insured?”

Just as there are different home styles, insurers offer a menu of different policies. For the majority of single-family Boston homeowners, the most appropriate policy is the HO-3, sometimes called the special policy. It insures all major perils, except flood, earthquake, war, and nuclear accident.

For flood damage like that suffered by many homeowners at the hand of Hurricane Sandy, special flood coverage is needed. Floods aren’t covered by ordinary homeowners insurance. Flood insurance is available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. You may need earthquake coverage; check with your insurer.

You’ll need deep coverage, up to and including 100% of your Boston home replacement cost. By insuring at, say, 90%, you’re making the reasonable bet that your home won’t ever be a complete loss. That may be a reasonable bet, but if you want to play it safe, insure at 100%.

Insure your Boston home for its replacement cost — that is, the amount it would cost to rebuild it if it were totally destroyed. That means determining the average local building cost in your region, and applying it to your home’s size, style, and quality of construction.

Your best resource for this is a builder. For a flat fee, you may be able to have a local contractor go through your Boston home and provide an estimate. Try to find someone who builds individual, custom homes that doesn’t benefit from the economies of scale that tract homes offer.

Traditional guaranteed replacement cost coverage promises to pay whatever it takes to rebuild your home, even if it costs more than the original limits you purchased. That’s crucial in the event that labor and building costs balloon after a major disaster like Sandy. In many states, large insurers now cap the guarantee at 120% to 125% of purchased limits.

Your safest bet is to seek a company with no cap. However, if you’ve properly valued your home’s replacement cost, the caps shouldn’t scare you. It’s unlikely that building and labor costs will go up to more than 120% of your home’s insured value.

You’ll be most satisfied with your settlement if you know in advance what’s covered. That means eyeballing your policy now. Pay particular attention to the exclusions section, which as the name implies, outlines what’s not covered.

Check out the declarations page, which outlines the limits of your coverage. Coverage D of the homeowners policy, for instance, outlines how much an insurer will cover if you have to relocate temporarily. Does your insurer pay up to 10% of your home’s insured value, or offer to pay “reasonable” expenses over 12 to 24 months?

Finally, update your policies regularly. Inform your insurer of improvements and additions to your Boston home — including redecoration — of $5,000 or more.

We hope you never have to file a homeowner’s insurance claim, but hopefully this article will help you prepare yourself ahead of the next storm.

Secure Your Boston Home for the Holidays

Your Boston home becomes more vulnerable to thieves around the holidays, and with them fast approaching, now is the time to analyze whether there is anything you need to do for tightening security around your home.

Around the holiday season, thieves tend to hit homes they suspect are vacant, even if for the day while you work. And the closer we get to Christmas (when gifts have been purchased and are under the tree) the more home break-ins occur.

The advent of automated electronics has been a big relief to those of us who may have to leave our Boston home empty. It’s now quite simple and relatively inexpensive to attach your lighting system to a series of timer switches. They’ve been developed to look a lot like dimmer switches, to make them even less detectable. They operate the lighting throughout your house on a set pattern, so you can program them to turn themselves off at the time you would normally go to bed, to come on in the evening etc. Televisions and radios can also now be given timers, often integrated into the hardware itself without the need for additional technology.  

Beware of Dog - Ways to Secure Your Home During the HolidaysIf you have a dog that doesn’t mind being left alone and the weather is warm enough, consider leaving it outside while you’re away. Having the run of your garden with a kennel to shelter and sleep in, your dog will often be happy enough as long as somebody is feeding it. If you don’t have a dog, you might want to consider making it look like you have one even if you don’t. Putting a kennel in your garden or a wooden stake in the ground with a chain attached to it will fool inexperienced thieves, especially if the chain is thick and long. Consider even buying a dog water bowl and leaving it outside near an entry door within reach of the dog chain.

Last of all, consider installing a burglar alarm! They’re half the price they were ten years ago, and they’re twice as good. In most cases, installing an alarm will save you on your homeowner insurance, so be sure to notify your insurer if you go this route. Just seeing a blinking blue box in the front of your Boston home will deter any individuals with ill intent, the prospect of a wailing screech as soon as they enter your house will frighten them away. And after all, who’s to know if that alarm is real or even works?

There are many other ways to keep your Boston home safe from would-be burglars this coming holiday season. But now is the time to prepare, not the week before Christmas.