Category Archives: Homeowners Insurance

Preventing Ice Dams and Winter Roof Damage

Ice Dam

We hope that everyone has remained safe through this snow storm. Now that the snow has fallen, it’s time to think about the ice dams that are likely to form and follow. In an effort to help keep you informed of some of the best practices, allow us to share some helpful tips surrounding ice dam prevention and/or removal.

An ice dam forms when melting snow freezes at the edge of your roof line. If you do not remove the snow, you run the risk of the ice dam growing large enough to keep the water from draining off the roof.  The water could then back up underneath the shingles and find its way to the interior. This can damage your roof, attic, and upper levels of your building.

How do you tell if you have an Ice Dam?

  • Look for large icicles hanging from the gutters and sides of the roof, as this is a sign that water may be trapped on your roof
  • Look for water stains in your attic ceiling or exterior walls

Steps you can take to prevent an Ice Dam:

  • Remove snow from your roof after every heavy storm before it freezes by using a roof rake.
  • Make sure that leaders and gutters are clear of leaves and debris so melted snow can drain properly
  • Insulate your roof and attic.
  • Seal up any holes in the roof that can cause water to seep through
  • Make sure any vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic fans, and light fixtures are properly insulated and sealed.
  • Install a leak barrier underneath the shingles to act as an additional preventative measure, as it keeps water from seeping inside your building.

Tips for removing an Ice Dam:

  • Call a roof professional. If this is done incorrectly, you may cause further damage to your roof.
  • Do not use rock salt to melt the ice, as this could lead to even more damage.
  • If you do choose to remove it yourself, you can use calcium chloride to melt the ice.

As the cold winter months continue, please be proactive and prepare for the possibility of an ice dam forming on your roof. Doing all you can to prevent an ice dam will alleviate your stress and bring you closer to a worry-free season. We hope you all remain safe.

Who Is Covered Under Your Homeowners Policy?

keysOwning a home comes with many different freedoms and luxuries. In addition, you may have the flexibility to host others in your home.

Have you been faced with any of the following situations? *

  • Things are getting more serious with your significant other, and they find themselves staying over more often than not.
  • You have the opportunity to lend a helping hand and welcome a friend to stay at your place during troubling times.
  • You need assistance with paying the bills, and opt to get a roommate.

These examples, or any of similar circumstances, do not necessarily qualify an individual to be protected under your Homeowners Policy. Your Homeowners Policy only covers an “Insured.”

An “Insured” is defined in the policy as:

  • You (the person named on the policy)
  • Your Spouse (must be a resident of the same household)
  • Resident Relatives
  • Legal Domestic Partners
  • Any other person under the age of 21 who is under the custody of the person named on the policy

Clearly, your friends do not fit the definition of an Insured. Should you and your significant other get engaged, he/she would still not be covered. Therefore, their contents would not be covered under your policy. The definition of an Insured is also the same for condos, co-ops and renters policies.

Let’s look at this scenario for clarification: *

Hosting a gathering of mutual friends with your houseguest sounds like a fun idea. However, when one of your friends falls and gets injured in the home, they subsequently sue the both of you for their injuries.

Your policy will only defend you in this lawsuit and your houseguest will be left to hire an attorney at their own expense. Once again, they do not meet the definition of an Insured, so property coverage as well as liability coverage will not apply. This would turn into an unfortunate source of newfound stress.

The best way to ensure that everyone in your household has contents and liability coverage is seeing to it that additional residents purchase their own Renters policy. As always, please contact your broker for more information on all the possibilities. Every company has different guidelines for these situations.

* The examples in this post are intended to educate the reader generally about the benefits of insurance, through the use of hypothetical “details” including coverages, cash values and premium costs. These are approximations based on the author’s experience, but are not facts that would necessarily apply to the reader’s own situation or to that of any other person. Reliable information regarding such items as coverages, cash values and premium costs may only be obtained through formal communications with your broker.

 

Annual Insurance Review: Check Up On Your Policies

240_F_78183193_B9rMAcbdIxfWoVLdPD1u49aTgUTvTJGVWhile we all lead very busy lives, one thing we do not want to neglect is the condition of our insurance policies. Not reviewing your policies with your insurance agent is like never visiting your doctor for at least your annual checkup. You may get away with it for a while, but it could lead to serious problems in the future.  We recommend an annual insurance review and here are our 5 suggestions for you:

1.Request a current Schedule of Insurance. This will provide you with a snap shot of your coverages at the time of your request. Once you know what coverages are in place, you can discuss the need for any additions, deletions or changes with greater confidence and understanding.

2. Schedule a meeting or a telephone call with your agent to review ALL your policies. This will include an overall review of your Personal, Commercial, as well as Life and Health insurance needs. This is a great opportunity to review your entire portfolio including property values, deductibles, and any need for additional (excess) liability coverage. We recommend the best time to schedule this call or visit is at least 30 days before your renewal date or if you are thinking about purchasing a new location, vehicle, boat or any other type of major purchase.

3.Speaking to your insurance agent is another opportunity to discuss any changes that have occurred in your life, such as the purchase of a primary home, a rental property, a vacation home, the birth of a new baby, a new business venture or even a change in your current business operations, or personal status. This may be a good time to also discuss health care options, long term care insurance for you or your parents, life and/or disability insurance or retirement planning. Your agent can assist you in making the right choices for you and your family.

4. If you are a business owner, perhaps your business is in growth mode and you are expanding by hiring more employees. You may be required by law to provide Workers Compensation Insurance and Short Term Disability or face steep penalties depending on your state laws.  

5. Be sure to discuss areas where there may be opportunities for discounts such as multi-car, defensive driving, packaging auto, home and umbrella policies, non-smokers,burglar alarms and mature market discounts just to name a few. In today’s economic climate, any means of saving money is sure to help a family or business’ insurance budget.

A regular insurance “checkup” is like the old saying by Benjamin Franklin …. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  Give us a call today and let our insurance consultants here at Petschauer Insurance assist you in making good insurance decisions for you and your family.

How To Prevent Ice Dams and Winter Roof Damage

Here at Petschauer Insurance we feel it is important to offer good information so you can minimize property damage that may occur due to the harsh, cold and snowy weather that is just around the corner.

Ice dams, although easily preventable, happen often in the winter, and can cause a lot of damage to the exterior and interior of your property.

Aicedam_largen ice dam forms when melting snow freezes at the edge of your roof line. If you do not remove the snow, you run the risk of the ice dam growing large enough to keep the water from draining off the roof.  The water will then back up underneath the shingles and find its way to the interior. This can damage your roof, attic, and upper levels of your building.

How to you tell if you have an Ice Dam:

  • Look for large icicles hanging from the gutters and sides of the roof, as this is a sign that water may be trapped on your roof
  • Look for water stains in your attic ceiling or exterior walls

What you can do to prevent Ice Dams:

  • Remove snow from your roof after every heavy storm BEFORE it freezes by using a roof rake.
  • Make sure that leaders and gutters are clear of leaves and debris so melted snow can drain properly
  • Insulate your roof and attic.
  • Seal up any holes in the roof that can cause water to seep through
  • Make sure any vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic fans, and light fixtures are properly insulated and sealed.
  • Install a leak barrier underneath the shingles to act as an additional preventative measure, as it keeps water from seeping inside your building.

How to remove an Ice Dam:

  • Call a professional roof repairer! If done incorrectly, you may cause further damage to your roof.
  • Do NOT use rock salt to melt the ice as this will cause even more damage.
  • If you do choose to remove it yourself, make sure that you use calcium chloride to melt the ice.

Please be proactive and be prepared for the possibility of an ice dam forming on your roof. Preventing an Ice Dam from will give you peace of mind and time to enjoy the festive season with your friends and family.

Protecting Your Home for The Winter

house-54585_640All homeowners know that the winter brings severe weather and with it more wear and tear on their homes. In preparation for the coming winter months, what can you do ahead of time to protect your home?

  • Roofs take a beating in the winter, so this is a good time to make sure that shingles are secure, there are no missing roof parts, no bubbles, no missing tiles, holes, leaks, etc. Now is also a great time to get your roof inspected and make any necessary repairs to avoid the unwanted effects of high winds, heavy snows and pounding rainstorms. If you know there are any damage risks, attend to it now so that a small difficulty doesn’t turn into a disaster later on.
  • Check skylights, vents and chimneys to make sure that no repairs are needed and everything is tight and secure from any water leakage.
  • Check leaders and gutters and make sure that they are clear of leaves, tree branches and any other debris associated with the Fall season. Clogged downspouts often lead to freezing and ice damage later in the season.
  • Make sure that trees and branches are trimmed back and pruned so that any dead branches or tree overhangs don’t fall and damage your roof, chimney, skylights, windows and doors.
  • Make sure furnaces are cleaned and in good working order so that you don’t run the risk of being without heat on those bitter cold days that are sure to come.
  • Check carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, making sure that they are working properly and their batteries have been changed.
  • Check water pipes for any leaks. A small leak can be managed by changing a pipe or repairing a portion of a pipe. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure to contact your service company for a shut-off as well. A large leak can be a nightmare and do considerable damage to your home.
  • Chimneys need to be maintained and cleaned.
  • Make sure you clean out the lint filter in your dryer every time you use it to prevent build-up of lint which is certainly a fire hazard.
  • Check your electrical outlets, plugs and cords for any deficiencies such as wear and tear, overload, and fraying cords.

In short, maintenance is the key to preventing homeowner claims that may be caused by the elements or a lack of attention. If you are in doubt about how to protect your home, speak to your agent. “An ounce of prevention” is surely worth your time so we urge you to embrace this opportunity to safeguard your home.  Good luck and stay warm this winter!

Homeownership is More Affordable Today Than Many Believe

Today’s real estate market is quite unique.  While rents are rising at double-digit rates, home prices are still reasonable and mortgage rates are still at record setting lows!  In fact, the government’s Home Affordability Index reflects that buying a home has not been this affordable since the late 1940s when the suburbs were built to accommodate soldiers returning from the war!

graph

As a public service, earlier this year Mortgage Wealth Advisors created the Home Opportunity Initiative

The Home Opportunity Initiative was created to spread the word to communities throughout New York about the amazing home affordability being experienced right now and to educate people on their options for homeownership.

“There are many families completely unaware of how much more buying power they have in today’s market versus 5-10 years ago,” said Warren Goldberg, President of Mortgage Wealth Advisors, Inc.  “We’ve seen lots of families in a position where their home no longer meets their needs as their family has grown or evolved over the past 5-10 years.  We created The Home Opportunity Initiative to get the word out and to educate families on their options for homeownership.”

If you would like more information about The Home Opportunity Initiative or would like a no-cost evaluation of the opportunities that may exist for your family, contact Mortgage Wealth Advisors at 516-302-1090.

________________________________________________________

Warren Goldberg          

Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist ®

President and Founder

 waren

 

 

Tel:       516-302-1090   

Direct: 516-584-7218   Fax: 516-584-0053

255 Executive Drive, Suite 410

Plainview, NY 11803

WGoldberg@MortgageWealthAdvisors.com

Warren@WarrenGoldberg.com

www.MortgageWealthAdvisors.com

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Ask Sherri: Insuring Your Valentine’s Day Gifts

With the spirit of love in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches, it is only appropriate for us to bring back our classic Valentines’ Day episode of Ask Sherri. If you plan on proposing this Valentine’s Day or just getting your loved one an expensive gift, we highly recommend that you check out this episode. Sherri will show you why you may want to consider a Floater Policy or adding extra coverage to your Homeowners or Renters Policy for these special gifts.  And…. why you may want to stay away from putting your ring in the cake…

Are Your Holiday Gifts Insured?

present_pileThe shopping season is in winding down right about now, and your loved ones have received all their gifts. Whether it is a new gaming system, new shoes, a big screen TV, a new iPhone or laptop,  special jewelry or a trip for 2 to a ski resort or sunny spa for a week, you may want to be sure that these gifts are protected by insurance if something unfortunate were to happen to them.

Does your Homeowners Policy cover any or all of these items while in your home BEFORE you give them away as gifts?  Do you have a Floater Policy (aka Inland Marine Policy) to add that special valuable jewelry item you received from your loved one? Did you purchase Travel Insurance for that exciting trip?

An Inland Marine policy or Floaters policy can cover those valuable gifts such as computers, fine arts, furs, golf equipment, jewelry, music instruments, and even camera equipment for All Risk, World Wide coverage with no deductible when scheduled on this type of policy.

Your Homeowners insurance may provide some coverage as well; however, every policy offers different features. A simple call to your agent can give you the detailed information you need to be sure.

Travel Insurance can protect you and your passenger should you need to cancel the trip due to a sudden illness that prevents you from going.  Or when on the trip, is an accident, sickness or injury covered by your current health insurance if you leave your home state? What if you require to be evacuated or airlifted for care – would your health insurance cover that expense? And if your trip was cut short due to a sickness or injury, would you get reimbursed to travel again at a later time?  You can have all of these situations covered with the right insurance.

Receiving electronics for the holiday is an awesome gift as well; however, will your homeowners or renters policy automatically cover it?  Every insurance company has their own interpretation of coverage and a call to your agent is strongly suggested to be sure you understand any limitation in your policy or instructions on what to do to protect your precious gift.  Sometimes purchasing the protection right from the electronic vender is the simplest and most economical way to get the best protection.

We hope you received all the gifts on your wish list this Holiday season! Keep Insurance on your list as well.  Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at 718-386-5050 or info@jpins.com.

Which Insurance Policies Get Triggered In The Event Of A Flood?

During a recent rain storm in New York, some portions of Suffolk County received up to 13 inches in a very short time when a weather system stalled. The results: road closures, sink holes, flooded businesses, basements and cars.

How can insurance policies be expected to respond to such damages?

Flood102405

AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE:

Comprehensively, a physical damage coverage can provide some relief if your vehicle is damaged by flood. However, there are limitations depending on the type of coverage purchased, the proximate cause of a loss, and the steps you take to safeguard the vehicle afterwards.

 

PROPERTY POLICIES:

Usually for property and business owners flood coverage is not provided under Homeowner’s, Businessowner’s or Package policies. Should Flood coverage be included, it is usually for limited amounts or in the form of a Water Back Up Endorsement.

FLOOD INSURANCE-Your best form of protection:

Flood insurance is the best safeguard against damages and destruction caused by:

  • overflow of navigable waters
  • mud slides
  • unusual and rapid accumulation of surface water
  • runoff water
  • collapse and subsidence caused by erosion
  • Super Storms such as “Sandy”

As with any exposure to loss, we strongly urge you to discuss your concerns with your agent or broker before something happens and find out the best way to protect your assets and your family.

By: Karen Skoler, CPCU

Should I Report A Claim Or Pay Out Of Pocket?

tree-branch-pierced-roof-after-killer-storm-ripped-through-evansville-boonville-areaDear Sherri, A tree on my property fell and damaged my roof. The estimate to repair the roof is approximately $2,900. Since I have a $2,500 deductible, should I report this claim to the company? – Timberrrr in Park Slope

Dear Timberrrr,
Well, now we have confirmation that “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. Or at least it did! That being the case, I wouldn’t submit a claim. Now, before you say, “that’s why I have insurance!”, let me explain. You have insurance for MAJOR property and liability claims. This small claim of only $400 after the deductible would be on your record for the next 5 years. If, God forbid, you have another claim in that same year due to a severe storm, your insurance company may non-renew your policy. Now you have to buy a more expensive policy and that will quickly eat in to those $400 you saved on your roof due to the claim. The point is, call your insurance agent to discuss it before you take any action and determine what is in your best long-range interest.