12 Questions To Ask Your Local Agent When Reviewing Your Insurance Policy

Many insurance policies renew in the New Year, making it the perfect time to sit down and review your policy with your local agent. Most individuals allow their policy to renew year over year without checking to make sure their current plan appropriately covers any changes they’ve recently had. This January, set aside some time to review your policy with an expert — your independent agent. They’ll be able to help guide you to the right policy and may even be able to find some areas to save you money. 

At Quincy Mutual, we know the unexpected happens and we want you and your family to feel protected all year long and confident in your insurance policy. Before you sit down to review your plan, here are a few questions you may want to consider discussing with your agent: 

  1. What are your deductibles and is it an option for you to change them and adjust your premium?
  2. Did you have a life change recently? Getting married, having a baby, buying a home, or getting a new job may have created a lifestyle change for you. Do these changes affect your coverage needs or the possibility for you to bundle your policies?
  3. Does your auto insurance reflect the correct information such as safety features and miles on your vehicle?
  4. Have you moved into a newly rented apartment and now require a renters policy?
  5. If you’ve made a high-value purchase, does your homeowners policy cover the cost of damage or loss? A good way to make sure you have adequate coverage is to conduct an annual home inventory. You can learn more about how to do that in our blog: Tips to Create a Home Inventory
  6. In 2020, we all worked out of our homes much more, did you start a business or create a DIY home-work space that needs insurance?
  7. Some safety features, such as an alarm system, can earn you deductibles. Check with your agent to see if you have one that might qualify. 
  8. What other discounts might you qualify for?
  9. What type of liability coverage do you have and is it enough to protect you if someone files a lawsuit against you? You may want to explore your options for umbrella insurance if you are at higher risk for a lawsuit. 
  10. Are you driving your car far less these days? If so, you may be eligible for a discount or may want to consider a higher deductible to lower your premium. 
  11. Do you have different insurance policies with different insurance companies? Bundling your insurance policies with one company may result in additional discounts. Explore the options with each to see where you can get the best coverage option. 
  12. Some insurance companies offer credits if you live close to a fire station, have an alarm system, or take driver safety training — check to see if yours does. 

If reviewing your insurance policy isn’t already at the top of your list of things to get done in the New Year, it should be. Not only will you have peace of mind knowing you’re fully covered, but you may also end up spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run in the event of a loss. Asking the right questions is the first step in making sure your policy is the best fit for your needs. 

At Quincy Mutual, we partner with over 500 local agents who are happy to help you review your policy. Visit our website to find one today.

Common Winter Home Hazards and How to Prevent Them

These days, you and your family are probably spending much of your time at home, so making it a safe environment for everyone should be a top priority. In the winter months, a number of hazards can creep up without warning, leading to financial burdens and may even pose a danger to your health and wellbeing. 

Fortunately, there are some quick fixes you can do and a few maintenance check-ins to help reduce your risk of experiencing a problem in the coming months. Here are some common winter hazards and how to avoid them.

Falls

Inside and outside your home, falls can lead to a hospital visit and/or expensive legal fees if you’re hit with a lawsuit. Wet surfaces, uneven staircases, and items left on the floor can all lead to a broken bone or head injury. To help reduce your risk, make sure to do the following:

  • Secure staircases — This includes installing solid handrails, fixing loose boards, having adequate lighting at night, and keeping salt or sand on hand in the event of snowstorms. If you have small children, you should also have safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. 
  • Keep hallways and walkways clean — Always clean up toys and items left on the floor in the way of foot traffic. In the winter, be especially careful to shovel walkways and salt any icy patches. 
  • Cover surfaces prone to pooling water  — If you frequently track water inside from your shoes, make sure to have a mat in front of the door to avoid slipping. 

Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are an average of 379,600 residential fires in the United States per year. Many of these fires could have been prevented through safe practices and preparedness. Take these steps to help reduce your risk of loss or injury from a fire:

  • Install fire alarms on all levels of your home.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen and any room with a fireplace. 
  • Blow out all candles before you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Unplug appliances you’re not using. 
  • Turn off holiday lights before leaving the house or going to sleep. 
  • Have your fireplace cleaned before using it for the winter and only run it if you’re in the room.
  • Keep space heaters away from flammable objects and never leave them running unattended. 

Along the same lines as fire prevention, you should also be mindful of carbon monoxide risks in the winter. Even low exposure can result in headaches and dizziness. It’s virtually undetectable by sight or smell so having a working carbon monoxide detector is your best solution to keeping your family safe. 

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are one of the most common problems homeowners face in the winter and can also be one of the most costly. Before the frigid temps hit, be sure to:

  • Drain and remove outdoor hoses.
  • Insulate areas in direct contact with attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • Identify areas of your home that have exposed water pipes. 
  • Make sure your thermostat doesn’t dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Have someone look in on your house if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time. 

You can learn more about how to prevent and treat frozen pipes here.

Ice Dams

Not only is ice a hazard on your walkways, it also puts you at risk for ice dams. These will damage the interior of your home and cause major water damage in your attic and on your ceilings. A few things you can do to help reduce your risk is to make sure your gutters are cleaned before the first snowfall and install roof heating cables if your home is prone to ice dams. 

We hope these tips help keep your family and your home safe all winter long. To review your current insurance policy or speak to an agent about your options for extended coverage, please visit our website. https://www.quincymutual.com/find-agent.htm 

Bright Insurance Agent Spotlight

This month, we’re pleased to introduce you to our newest #AgentSpotlight, Bright Insurance Agency, who have been providing industry expertise and peace of mind to you and your neighbors for over 85 years.

The Milford-based agency was founded in 1931 by Karl Bright and today, is a team of over twenty-five trained insurance professionals who pride themselves on offering personalized coverage options while being mindful of your budget and your specific needs. In 2013 under Agency President Steve Ellis, Bright Insurance acquired Jensen Sheehan Insurance Agency in Holliston. Because both agencies have a long history and reputations of being active in their communities they have each maintained their original names and consider themselves to be sister agencies. 

What sets Bright Insurance apart from other agencies is their focus on the individual clients. Their agents take a personal approach to customer service and many have been there for 10+ years, building long-standing relationships with their insureds. Each customer is assigned to a particular customer service representative so that they receive personal service with someone who, over time, will become familiar with your account and your individual needs.

In addition to the personal care they receive and the knowledgeable staff, customers stay with Bright Insurance because of the convenience of registry services for their clients, an in-house claims representative, and their Saturday winter hours. On this commitment to personal touch, President Steve Ellis says, “we understand that being a local agent isn’t about writing insurance policies. It’s about knowing your neighbor and being there. Obviously, there are a lot of choices out there today but we pride ourselves on our customer service and that’s how we stand out. We build relationships with our customers.”

Bright Insurance is very active in the community and prides themselves on not only living in but supporting the communities in which their insureds reside. President Steve Ellis previously served on the Board of Trustees for the Milford Regional Hospital and is still active in many hospital fundraisers. Alongside Vice President Krishna Swanson, Steve is also a member of the Milford Rotary. Joe Soares is President of the non-profit Celebrate Milford which runs a large annual event. Also, Greg Ross is the President of the local BNI Granite Network and Sandra Biagetti is the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Chamber of Commerce and is on the Hopedale Zoning board of appeals. 

Sister agency, Jensen Sheehan is active in the Holliston community as well, participating in the annual Celebrate Holliston events and supporting the local Holliston Newcomers group on many of their events throughout the years. Both agencies make it a priority to be a familiar face around the community and in short, are “your hometown agency.” We’re proud to partner with agencies like Bright Insurance who are committed to supporting the communities in which they serve. You can learn more about their history and their coverage options on their website. 

Online Holiday Shopping Cyber Safety Tips

This year, online holiday shopping is expected to be at an all-time high as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to continue social distancing. What is traditionally a highly anticipated day for holiday deals, many retailers will even be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday to help limit large gatherings and to encourage online shopping. With the influx of digital shoppers also comes the increased risk of cyber scams and crimes. 

If you plan to join 66% of U.S. shoppers and make your purchases online this year, use these tips to help protect you and your information online this holiday season.

Never give out your personal information

This is the number one rule of cybersecurity yet more and more people are falling victim to identity theft each year. One of the common scams is a phone call or an email from someone requesting your credit card number or other personal information to complete a purchase or to help a loved one. For example, someone calls you and tells you that you’re the beneficiary of a large sum of money from a long lost relative and you just need to send them your bank information. These types of calls are on the rise this time of year and can wreak havoc on your financial assets should they hack into your accounts. 

Unless it is a trusted source and someone you’re familiar with, never give your personal information out over the phone or email or to an unsecured website. If you’re ever hesitant whether it’s a scam or not, you can call your local police department to report it or contact your bank to freeze your finances.

Check your statements

In general, you should be checking your bank statements frequently for fraud. This time of year, you should be especially mindful of your transactions and monitor them in the days following your purchase. A few key things to look out for:

  • Make sure the name of the business you purchased from is correct.
  • Double-check the total amount you were charged.
  • Keep an eye out for any follow-up charges from an unknown source. 
  • Immediately report any fraudulent charges to your bank.

Shop directly through the business

Today, there are a number of third-party phone apps and websites that allow you to make purchases through sources other than the retailer itself that offer deals and discounts that seem too good to be true — and they probably are. To ensure you protect your information, it’s best to go straight to the retailer website to make your purchases or contact the retailer to make sure their affiliation is real.

Avoid public Wi-Fi

If you’re out and about, it might be tempting to hop on your phone and make a purchase while it’s on your mind. However, using public Wi-Fi opens you up to a number of scams and hacks. Your best bet is to make a note about what you want to buy and then make the purchase when you’re connected to a secured network. 

Never autosave your information

One of the best perks of online and mobile shopping today is that you may just need to click one button to make a purchase. As convenient as this is, it’s also really dangerous for your finances and makes you vulnerable to an attack. You should never save your bank information or personal information when checking out on an online retailer. It might be an extra step to add it in each time, but you’ll be glad you did if someone ever tries to steal your identity. 

Update your software

Computer and mobile devices are constantly updating their internal software to help protect you. As technology evolves, so do cybercriminals and they’re always finding new ways to hack into your network. As tempting as it may be to click “remind me later” when asked about completing a software update, you should really try to stay up to date with these, especially if online shopping frequently.

Double-check the URL

Hackers have become fairly smart and developed websites to look almost exactly like the ones you’re used to seeing if you frequent a particular retailer’s website. Before you make a purchase, double-check the URL to make sure it has the lock icon and has the “s” after http, which means secure. 

Additionally, you should consider only shopping from familiar sites this year. With crimes on the rise, you’ll be more likely to recognize fraud if you’re browsing a site you have visited many times before. 

Stay up to date on current scams

New scams come up every day so it can be challenging to keep up with them all. If you get a suspicious email, phone call, or are unsure if a website is safe, a quick internet search can help you identify others who may have experienced a similar scam. Additionally, you can call your local police department to report suspicious activity or to see if others have reported similar cyberattack attempts. 

We hope these tips help you stay safe throughout the holiday season. To review your current insurance policy or speak to an agent about your options for extended coverage, please visit our website. https://www.quincymutual.com/find-agent.htm 

Guide To Business Insurance

If you’re a business owner, you know how much work goes into building your brand from the ground up. 

After all the long hours and hard work you’ve put in, the last thing you want is to lose it all in an instant. To help protect your business and yourself, there are a number of different types of insurance you should consider obtaining. Your needs will depend on what type of business you’ve developed and we’re here to help you explore your options and find the right coverage for your needs. 

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)

The most common type of commercial insurance is a business owner’s policy (BOP). This type of coverage combines property and liability insurance into one policy to help protect you financially from claims relating to fire, theft, or other unexpected disasters. A BOP can also protect you from claims resulting from bodily injury or property damage.

Since each business has unique needs, BOPs can usually be customized to fit your risks. Your local insurance agent can work with you to help you determine your needs and help you take the first step in obtaining this coverage.

If you’re not sure you need a business owner’s policy, here are a few circumstances that would require coverage:

  • You have a physical location for your business.
  • There is a possibility of getting sued by a customer — for example, a patron slips and falls on your property.
  • You have assets that could be lost, stolen, or damaged. This pertains to digital assets and physical. 

Commercial Auto Insurance

Did you know that your personal auto policy does not cover you if you’re using your vehicle for work? For example, if you’re making deliveries in your personal vehicle and get in a car accident with another driver, you may not be protected from the medical or damage expenses. 

If you’re using your vehicle for business purposes, you definitely want to explore your options for a commercial auto policy. This will provide you with comprehensive coverage for private passenger vehicles and light to medium trucks and trailers with service, retail or commercial uses. Full coverage is available for your vehicle and coverage limits of up to $1,000,000 are available for liability.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)

This type of insurance provides financial protection from a variety of employment lawsuits and complaints, from discrimination and retaliation to sexual harassment. It can also protect you from administrative actions filed for wrongful discharge, defamation, and invasion of privacy.

Cyber Insurance

On average, 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses. If you don’t have a cyber insurance policy, you’re at risk of losing your business in the event that you experience an attack. There are many different types of coverage and services you can obtain when it comes to a cyber policy, but in general, it will protect you from damages caused by electronic threats to your computer system and data. Here are a few instances that you’ll be protected from with this type of policy:

  • Someone hacks into your system and steals customer data such as social security numbers, medical records, or credit card information.
  • Costs related to recovering data after a loss.
  • Legal fees and settlements related to a breach of data.
  • Coverage costs related to an investigation after an attack.

Other Types of Coverage to Consider

You may not need all of these types of coverage, but to help you protect the business you’ve built, here are a few to consider:

CoveragesWhat’s Covered
Property insurance
This protects your business and its physical assets and any repairs related to theft, damage, fire, or loss.
Product liability insuranceCoverage on claims related to product defects. If you sell an item that results in injury or property damage, this will protect you financially from any liable responsibility.
Business interruption insuranceThis will compensate you for income loss due to physical damage to a property from a natural disaster or accidents resulting in a suspension to normal operations.
Home-based businessesIf you’ve started your business from home or now operate out of your home, your homeowners’ policy doesn’t cover any costs related to your business. This helps you in the event of loss or damage to your data or inventory.

How to Obtain a Commercial Insurance Policy

Now that you’ve worked so hard to build your business, let us help you protect it. To make sure you have everything you need to protect you and your business financially, speak with a local agent who can help you understand all your coverage options. Visit our website to find an agent near you


Beginner’s Guide to Personal Insurance

If you’ve never purchased your own insurance policy before, the process of understanding and exploring your coverage options may be overwhelming. In addition to all the technical jargon used by insurance agents, there are a number of factors that play a role in determining which plan you should consider. From home to auto insurance and everything in between, we’ve created a guide to help you understand your options and to ensure you have protection when you need it most.

What is insurance?

In short, insurance is financial protection from the unexpected. When you purchase an insurance policy, you are entering a written contract between yourself and the insurer for a period of time and agreeing to pay a premium for your coverage. Typically, your premium will be based on the amount of risk your insurer perceives you to be. For example, a driver with a number of citations to their name is a higher risk than an individual with a clean driving record. 

Who needs insurance?

Insurance coverage needs vary by individual and in most states, auto insurance is the only type of policy you are required to have if you are a licensed driver. However, whenever you have something of value that you’d like to have financial protection from in the event of a loss, you will need insurance. 

Auto Insurance 101

If you’re a licensed driver, you need auto insurance. From bodily injury to property damage, this type of coverage is essential and can help protect you from many types of unexpected events. Here are just a few examples of risks you may encounter as a driver that would be covered by an auto insurance policy:

  • You cause a minor collision with minimal damage but an individual in the other car is experiencing neck pain.
  • An uninsured driver hits your car in a parking lot.
  • A tree falls on your car during a storm.

Depending on your needs, there are several different options available to you for auto insurance and many insurance carriers offer optional endorsements such as auto lease coverage.

Protecting your home: homeowners vs. renters insurance

Whether you’re a renter or have purchased your own home, where you live is a major financial investment. As such, you’ll want to be sure you’re protected from unpredictable events like water damage, theft, fires, storm damage, and lawsuits from individuals who were injured on your property. 

  • Homeowners insurance — this essential coverage protects your home itself and any attached structures such as a deck or a garage, as well as any detached structures at your residence. Your belongings will also be covered up to a certain amount and it’s best to conduct a home inventory once in a while to ensure you have the appropriate amount of coverage for your valuables. Additionally, a homeowners policy covers you should you be found negligent in causing bodily injury or property damage to another party.
  • Renters insurance — if you don’t own your home and are renting an apartment or house, we highly suggest you consider this optional coverage. While your landlord will be responsible for any structural damage to the property from storms or natural causes, this will protect your personal property and personal liability while you live at the residence. For example, if you experience a loss due to theft or a fire caused by a neglected candle. Also, if an individual falls and breaks a bone while on your property, you’ll be covered for any legal damages that may arise as a result of the incident.

Umbrella insurance

If you’d like to have a little extra peace of mind, consider umbrella insurance. This policy endorsement will provide you and your family with additional liability protection over the underlying coverage provided by auto, homeowners, or boat insurance. Though no one anticipates facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit, the unexpected can happen and if it does, you’ll be glad you’re prepared. You can learn more about umbrella insurance policies here.

Coverages to consider

Aside from the essential coverages for your home and car, there are several other types of insurance policies you may want to consider. 

  • Boat and watercraft insurance — your homeowners policy offers limited coverage for these types of possessions. There are endorsements you can add to an existing policy for boats of a certain size, but it’s best to consult with your insurance agent to make sure you’re properly covered.
  • Rental property insurance — any property that you do not primarily use as your permanent residence may not qualify for a homeowners policy. Though similar to a homeowners policy, this coverage applies solely to the rental property and is not owner-occupied. Learn more about protecting rental properties here.
  • Cybersecurity insurance — the convenience of a technology-driven world doesn’t come without risks. Should you find yourself the victim of identity theft or a cybersecurity hack, you’ll be thankful you took precautions to protect yourself. At Quincy Mutual, we offer several free services to help you prevent and detect identity theft and fraud.

How to obtain an insurance policy

There are endless options when it comes to obtaining insurance coverage. We work with over 500 independent agents who are ready to help you as you explore your options and understand your coverage. When you work with a local agent, you can rest assured knowing that you’re speaking with an individual who can offer hands-on assistance whenever you need it. They will work with you to create personalized coverage unique to your needs and support you through the claims process. Find a local agent near you on our website.

Essential Guide to Moving

Whether it’s your first time moving into a new home or you’ve moved many times before, there is still a laundry list of things you need to do as you prepare for this new chapter of your life. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, preparing for a move can take months and cause a lot of stress on you and your family. Luckily, there are many ways to plan ahead to make the entire experience much more tolerable and to ensure the transition from one home to another goes without any hiccups.  Continue reading “Essential Guide to Moving”

How to Prepare for a Hurricane

This year, experts are predicting a stronger than average hurricane season with as many as 19 possible storms over the next several months. We’re likely to see the peak of the season from August through September, making now the perfect time to prepare for a potential storm. Even though we typically do not experience the eye of the hurricane up here in New England, there is a possibility for any storm named in the Bahamas to travel up the coast, bringing the danger of extreme wind and rain. It only takes one strong storm to cause severe damage and devastating flooding to an area, so it’s important to make an emergency plan, assemble an emergency kit, and stay informed. 

Continue reading “How to Prepare for a Hurricane”

How to Enjoy the Summer Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

A few weeks ago, many of us were wondering what the summer months would look like here in New England as we reached the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the first day of summer is right around the corner, we have a little more insight. We can still enjoy beach trips, cookouts, and picnics in the park, but many summer activities might look a little bit different this year. As the CDC and local officials continue to encourage a number of safety protocols and public guidelines, you may not be able to carry out all your usual summer plans, but there are still many ways you can safely enjoy the next few months as we begin the gradual process of getting back to business as usual. 

Continue reading “How to Enjoy the Summer Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic”

The Importance of Car Maintenance During a Driving Hiatus

For many of us as we help to flatten the curve, our cars have been sitting in the garage, driveway, or on the street for several weeks now — leading to a spike in the number of dead batteries according to AAA throughout April. And, for many states here in New England, we still may have several more weeks to go before most employees return to their businesses and life begins to pick back up again. 

Continue reading “The Importance of Car Maintenance During a Driving Hiatus”