BWG Consumer Alert: November 2012
Homeowners Insurance Tips: Lessons from Hurricane Sandy
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many people are assessing damage to their homes, cars and property. If you were affected, you should have already contacted your insurance company. If you made it through the storm with property intact, now is a good time to plan for future disasters. The lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck offer these tips:
Inventory Your Property. Filing a claim is easier if you know what you own and have documented it, including writing a list and taking pictures or a video. Keep a back-up copy of everything in a safe place away from the house. For help, the Insurance Information Institute has a free online software you can find at www.knowyourstuff.org.
Understand Your Policy. Have your agent or broker explain key provisions, exclusions, and other options. For liability insurance, consider adding an umbrella. For property damage, consider earthquake insurance.
Know Your Insurance Policy's Hurricane Deductible. Massachusetts is one of 18 states which allows homeowners insurance companies to set a specific deductible for hurricane damage.
Consider Flood Insurance. Flood-related losses are only covered if you have flood insurance. Standard homeowners and renter policies cover damage from wind and wind-driven rain that enters a home. But damage from water on the ground or seeping into a basement is not covered. This will be the main reason many victims of Hurricane Sandy will not have insurance coverage.
In fact, only about 20 percent of homeowners who should have flood insurance actually have the coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Meanwhile the average residential flood results in $30,000 in damage, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. Consumers can learn more at www.floodsmart.gov.
Car Insurance. If you have a comprehensive auto insurance policy, flood damage to your car should be covered. But motorists carrying only liability coverage will not be covered.
Please explore some of our other articles on insurance basics.
Breakstone, White & Gluck Honored as Super Lawyers
Breakstone, White & Gluck announces Marc Breakstone, David White and Ronald Gluck have again been recognized as Super Lawyers. They were recognized as among the top personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers in Massachusetts and New England. Click here to read more.
Super Lawyers recognizes the top 5 percent of lawyers in the state annually and publishes the list in Boston Magazine. The selection process involves nominations from other attorneys and evaluations of peer recognition and professional achievement.
Watch Out For Unsafe Toys This Holiday Season
The season for giving is here and many children have already made their holiday lists of toy wishes. If you are shopping for a child, do everything you can to keep the season safe. Unsafe toys can cause serious injury and should be avoided. Before you start your toy shopping, learn to recognize hazards with these safety tips:
Read and Follow Labels. Toys should have labels stating what ages they are appropriate for.
Buy Large Toys. Do not buy small toys or toys with small parts for young children, especially under age 3. If a toy or part of a toy can pass through a toilet paper tube, it is too small for a child under age 3 and others who still put things in their mouth.
Avoid Choking Risks. Toys with small parts or cords are dangerous near children, especially young children. Parents should carefully inspect mobiles, cribs and accessories for baby nurseries. They should also avoid toys with wind-up strings and other extensions.
Avoid Toys with Magnets. If you have children in the house, avoid buying children toys with small magnets including adult desk toys with magnets. Ask and do your research because more toys contain magnets than you may realize, including magnetic building toys, toy darts and magnetic jewelry.
Sharp Edges. Federal regulations prohibit sharp points in new toys intended for children under 8 years old. Avoid toys for older children which have sharp pieces and be aware of those for younger children which may be easily breakable into sharp pieces.
Watch out For Noise. Avoid toy guns that are overly loud and ask about volume controls on other toys with sound features. Test the sound. If it is too loud for you, it is too loud for your child.
Shopping Online. Make sure you receive what you ordered. Many online retailers have other vendors who provide and ship products directly. You may not know anything about the other vendor's customer service record. When the toy arrives, carefully inspect it to see if it has the proper labeling, matches the online description and all the advertised parts.