At Fault, Not At Fault And What An Accident Can Cost

Posted on: May 22nd, 2017 by Agent Mark No Comments

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One question we get frequently from our clients is how much will my insurance go up after my claim?

Unfortunately there is no simple response for this question. The cost of any accident surcharge will vary depending on many variables such as the car your drive, your driving record and where you live.

One good development was that in July 2015 the Massachusetts Insurance department increased the property damage liability dollar amounts for Major and Minor at-fault accidents increased to $1001 and $5001 respectively. This means that your accident must have caused more than $1000 of property damage to be a surchargeable event.

This is all good news for consumers! However, some insurance companies have filed their own Safe Driver Insurance Plans and these plans have not complied with this new law. As a result these insurance companies are still charging surcharges for smaller accidents. Insureds then have to appeal these surcharges in order to get this corrected.

The intent of the increased property damage liability dollar amount was to apply to all Massachusetts drivers.

We do suggest that is you are involved in an accident you check to make certain that you are not charged for surcharge that may not be necessary! Your driving record could be impacted for up to six years.

Clarification of this law is presenting before the senate. If you would like the law clarified so that no insurance company shall apply a surcharge as a result of an accident that does not qualify under the new $1001 and $5001 thresholds, please ask your senator to support Budget Amendment 41!

This amendment will require all Massachusetts auto companies to comply with the regulation change from July 2015 and help keep your premiums lower if you are involved in an accident.

Safe Driving!

Service Line What?

Posted on: May 15th, 2017 by Agent Mark No Comments

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Let’s take a look at a newer insurance coverage now offered on many home insurance policies!

Each insurance company has a slightly different description of this coverage so it is always best to check for the details of this coverage with your insurer.

Service Line Coverage provides payment for loss or damage resulting from a service line failure. A service line constitutes underground piping and wiring that is located at the residence and provides a service such as delivering water or power to the dwelling or other structure from a utility or a private water supply.

What is covered by service line coverage?

  • Water piping that connects from the dwelling to a public water supply or well.
  • Sewer piping that connects from the residence to the public sewer system or private septic system
  • Power lines that provide electrical service to the dwelling or other structure or piping that connects to a heat pump

Why does a homeowner need service line coverage?

Your standard home insurance policy does not include coverage for this type of failure.

The best way to explain this is really by claims examples!

Claim Scenario 1.

An underground water pipe bursts during a spring freeze. Repair of the pipe costs $1500, excavation costs $500, and landscape repair to the garden costs $250.

Standard home insurance policy would not pay for these repairs.

Home policy that has added Service Line Coverage would pay for these repairs subject to the deductible.

Claim Scenario 2

A large rock abuts an underground sewer line directly under the insured’s sidewalk prior to entering the home. Years of wear mar the pipe and cause leakage requiring excavation and replacement of the pipe.

Standard Home insurance policy would not pay to repair the damaged pipe and the sidewalk.

Home insurance policy that has added Service Line Coverage would pay for these repairs subject to the deductible.

Ask about your home insurance policy today! Does your policy include this valuable Service Line Coverage?

Social Host Laws and Prom Time

Posted on: May 8th, 2017 by Agent Mark No Comments

promnight

This morning the office talk turned to prom time. The group was a bunch of guys so the usual hair, dress and nail discussions were not the topics! The topic was the “after party”.

The proms and the parties are a right of passage for both kids and parents.

We know that “after parties” or any teen party for that matter is tricky.

At Herlihy Insurance Group we thought this may be a good time to share the Mass laws on underage drinking.

Am I breaking the law if I allow my child’s underage guests to consume alcohol in my home?

Yes. The legal drinking age in Massachusetts is 21. It is against the law to serve or provide alcohol to underage guests or to allow them to drink alcohol in your home or on other property you control. If you do, you may be prosecuted criminally. The penalty is a fine of up to $2,000, imprisonment for up to a year, or both. M.G.L. c. 138, s. 34

Can I be sued if my child or an underage guest at my home drinks alcohol and injures someone?

Yes. You may be financially responsible if your child or underage guest injures another person (or himself) after having consumed alcohol, if you controlled the supply of the alcohol, made it available, or served it. Civil judgments can be for millions of dollars.

What if my child allows underage guests to drink or possess alcohol at my home or other property I control?

You or your child may be charged criminally. For you to be found guilty under the Social Host Law, the Commonwealth must prove that you or your child knowingly or intentionally supplied, gave, provided, or allowed minors to possess alcohol at your home or other property you controlled. You or your child may also be sued civilly.

Does the Social Host Law apply if I rent a hotel room for my daughter’s party?

Yes, since you control the hotel room, the Social Host Law applies. M.G.L. c. 138, s. 34

We wish all our friends and families a safe prom season. Keep them safe.

Looking for more information?  Click here.

New Driver At Your House? Know The Facts!

Posted on: May 2nd, 2017 by Agent Mark No Comments

teendriverWe all know it costs more to have a newly licensed driver in our house and you get a lot less sleep as you are waiting for that car to come back into the driveway.

A few expenses your new driver can avoid are the Junior Operator License Violation Penalties. These can quickly add up!

Check this out…

Violation 1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense
Passenger Restriction 60 day suspension
$100 reinstatement fee
180 day suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course
$100 reinstatement fee
1 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course Full Exam
$100 reinstatement fee
Time Restriction Violation

12:30am-5am
60 day suspension
$100 reinstatement fee
180 day suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course
$100 reinstatement fee
1 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course
Full Exam
$100 reinstatement fee
Speeding 90 day suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
$500 reinstatement fee
Full Exam
3 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
Full Exam
$1000 reinstatement
3 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
Full Exam
$1000 reinstatement
Operating to Endanger/
Recklessly or Negligent
180 day suspension
$500 reinstatement
1 year suspension
Full exam
$500 Reinstatement
1 year suspension
Full exam
$500 Reinstatement

Junior Operator Driving Restrictions

The Passenger Restriction prevents a Junior Operator from carrying passengers under the age of 18 (except for siblings) during the first six months that the driver has his/her license. This restriction was designed to reduce the number of distractions that an inexperienced driver may face while driving.

The Night Restriction prevents a Junior Operator from driving between 12:30 am and 5:00 am, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Accident rates for young drivers are higher late at night when they may be drowsy or tend to speed or take more risks

We hope this info helps you and your teens know more about the costs of driving. Keep them safe!

100 Days and Then What?

Posted on: April 26th, 2017 by Agent Mark No Comments

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Several times a year I hear about a family that is struggling with taking care of a sick relative.

In many of these cases this involves an adult child assisting an elderly parent. With an elderly person the medicare coverage is typically utilized.

Here is a very basic overview on how the medicare benefit pays.

  • Days 1 – 20: Medicare pays the full cost for each benefit period.
  • Days 21 – 100: Medicare pays all but a daily coinsurance. In 2017, it is $164.50 coinsurance per day.
  • After 100 days: Medicare provides no coverage after 100 days.

The question is after 100 days, then what?

For each person the options will be different depending on what they have selected for insurance.

My first question to any individuals reviewing their options is, Do you have Long Term Care Insurance?

The greatest benefit of Long Term Care Insurance is that this affords you more options for your care after your 100 days.

The statistics are that most people will spend two to three years needing long term care in the future.

This care is not covered by medicare.

Consider your family and friends….. Do you know someone who needed Long ‘Term Care?

If you are aged 50 or over, now is the time to look into your Long Term Care Insurance Options.

Your family members will thank you! Herlihy Insurance Group looks forward to assisting you with any Long Term Care Insurance questions. It is never too early to learn the facts about this over looked coverage.

Will Talk Time

Posted on: April 10th, 2017 by Agent Mark No Comments

downloadConfession time here. It has taken me over two years to get my will documents signed and in order. I am relieved to say that at the time of this writing, my will is finally all set.

You are probably wondering…… why the delay?

My honest response is, there was no good reason. I just did not get around to getting signatures, getting notaries and mailing documents around. If I died without my will in place, things could be complicated.

When you die without a will, your property will generally pass according to state law (under the rules for intestate succession). When this happens, the state essentially makes a will for you. State laws specify how your property will pass, typically in certain proportions to various persons related to you. The specifics, however, vary from state to state.

Most state laws favor spouses and children first. For example, a typical state law might specify that your property pass one-half or one-third to your surviving spouse, with the remainder passing equally to all your children.

Even if it seems that all your property will be transferred by beneficiary designation, joint ownership, or trust, you should still generally have a will. You can designate in the will who will receive any property that slips through the cracks.

Now that the will task is completed I will move on to rechecking my life insurance. A grown up’s work is never done.

Risky business: Two–thirds of homeowners are underinsured

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by Agent Mark No Comments

protect-your-home1The J.D. Power survey indicates that two thirds of most homes in the United States are underinsured. Is yours one of them?

I think one of the most confusing parts of home insurance is that most consumers believe their policy limits are based on the real estate value of their home rather than the replacement cost of the physical structure.

Some clients in certain areas are upset with one simple issue; since the value of their home has declined why do they need so much insurance?

Your home insurance policy coverage limit should be for the cost to rebuild your home structure. With most rebuild situations we have seen that the cost to rebuild is frequently more expensive than building a new home. A few of the expenses that make this a fact are the demolition cost of the damaged building, the changes in local building ordinances and regulations and the increased cost of building materials.

Many consumers buy their home insurance policy when they purchase their home, pay their bills and do not review their policy coverage again.

We recommend that you take a look at your home insurance every two years to check the limit of coverage on your home or whenever you complete a home renovation project. At our agency we love when clients call us to review their home insurance coverage. It is a perfect opportunity to share with them how their policy works and what other coverage options they may want to consider.

The best way to find out the accurate rebuild value of your home is to review this with your local builder. In addition to checking with a builder you can also check out this website that provides you with an estimate rebuild value for homes.

Hope I got you thinking…………………..how much insurance do I have on my house?

Home Sharing and Your Home Insurance

Posted on: March 22nd, 2017 by Agent Mark No Comments

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In our house there are not a lot of folks lining up to “home share” with us. Could be the kids, the bird or just me, but as of this posting, no inquiries have been made.

I do realize that there are a number of people out there who are using home-sharing companies to make some extra money. That is why I think it is important to review a few facts about most home insurance policies.

Home insurance policies were designed BEFORE home-sharing was a “thing”. On the standard home insurance policy provided in our office there are several provisions that may exclude certain coverages when you participate in a home- sharing service.

Here are a few things that may be EXCLUDED on your home insurance policy:

  • Loss to a structure (other than your residence ( garage, barn, carriage house) that is rented to others
  • Loss to personal property of your roomers, boarders and tenants.
  • Theft or your personal items from part of your residence that you rent
  • Your liability for bodily injury or property damage to others if rental is longer term

So if you do decide to home-share please contact your insurance agent to review your home insurance policy and any potential coverage gaps that need your attention.

Wait…Did That Billboard Say Herlihy?

Posted on: March 10th, 2017 by Agent Mark No Comments

If you are driving down 290 this month you just might see our name………………

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Now I know a lot of people do not think that insurance is WICKED GOOD and might be confused by this.    I know that many consumers  think of insurance as a bill they  pay for something they never get.

For many fortunate families and businesses that may be  true.  Then there are another group of families and businesses that have experienced insurance losses and know the benefit of  “wicked good”  insurance coverage and a “wicked good”  insurance advocate at claim time.

What makes us WICKED GOOD?

After more than 90 years, we are still a group of local insurance professionals providing “REAL” insurance protection to our clients.  Our goal each day is to meet or exceed our client’s expectations.  I must admit we are a much more diverse group in 2017 than we were in 1927!  Our agency diversity has  definitely enhanced our capabilities to meet our goals.

Herlihy Insurance Group is proud of its local roots and local insurance talent as well as our Team Herlihy commitment to our local community.

We thank our loyal clients for the opportunity to work with them and look forward to serving more of our neighboring family and businesses in 2017.

Just take it easy going by our billboard!!

 

So, Who Is Living With You These Days?

Posted on: March 10th, 2017 by Agent Mark No Comments

room-insuranceSo who is living with you these days? Do you have a “co occupant?”

We don’t mean to be personal………….but we do want your insurance to work!

If you happen to be living with a non relative person and you want to include them on your insurance, there are a few steps you should consider.

First your car insurance, please check that they are listed as a driver.  In Massachusetts they can be a “deferred” driver if they have their own MA car insurance policy. All household members should be listed on your policy.

On your home, apartment or condo insurance policy, check that you have added the Co-Occupant Endorsement that adds insurance coverage for your co-occupant. This added endorsement will extend property and liability coverage to your co-occupant.

When we ask you about who is living with you, we truly are not being nosy! We’re just making sure that we have provided you with the proper insurance protection.

Questions about how to provide insurance protection for other members of your household? We at Herlihy Insurance Group would be happy to assist. Email or call us today with your questions.