Mold Damage Insurance Coverage – Personal & Commercial

Mold is a fungus. There are all kinds. It’s everywhere–indoors and out. Most mold insurance claims typically arise in one of two circumstances: (1) mold comes to the property owner’s attention along with the discovery of ongoing moisture buildup, water leakage or water intrusion that has gone on for some time below the property owner’s radar; or (2) after a sudden, accidental flood or leak from a plumbing system or appliance, and there is a delay in, or failure to, adequately dry out water damaged building products, fixtures, furnishings, finishes or belongings.

Homeowner, commercial property owner and renter property policies differ in kind and in scope from insurer to insurer. Dealing with mold problems goes beyond tackling its adverse effects on health. Often, the first headache for home or business owners comes from not having a plan or budget for mold restoration services. Well, no one builds a home or office with plans for it to be taken over by some dangerous fungi. However, when you find mold growth in your workplace or apartment, you have to deal with it immediately. What do you do when you find out that you are facing mold issues, and feel the need to use your insurance?

What is mold insurance or mold liability coverage?

Mold insurance is the coverage for damage due to mold, which is included in an insurance policy. Environmental insurance, general liability, and property policies sometimes include coverage of mold. If these policies do not include mold insurance coverage, then, an insurance coverage could be made available by purchasing an endorsement to the forms.

Does insurance cover mold damage?

The short answer to this question is yes. However, mold may only be covered by insurance if and when certain conditions are met. Typically, insurance coverage depends on the source of the moisture or the leading cause of mold growth. Several insurance policies will cover any damage if linked to an actual loss that was initially covered. Also, you need to prove that such loss resulted in the mold problems you are facing. While most insurance policies offer minimal coverage for mold claims, you still need to check with your homeowner’s insurance provider for whatever mold remediation coverage you may be able to access.

Mold damage and insurance claims – What to do?

A larger percentage of home or property owners do not plan for mold remediation, which can be an obstacle to getting the help needed in a mold problem. If you have discovered mold damage in your home or business due to a covered peril, the next question on your mind may be how to file a mold damage insurance claim. Follow these steps to make a successful mold insurance claim.

Step 1: Prepare yourself for the task ahead

One way to be sure you are ready is to request an investigation into the cause of mold damage. Then take pictures of the mold. It is important not to attempt to start repairs before calling your insurance company or filing a mold claim.

Step 2: Call your insurance company and make a mold claim

Once you have your proof ready, next is to contact your insurance provider and make a claim. Provide detailed information about mold growth and damage. If by any chance, you have cleaned or removed or tampered with the mold or any damaged material, state such too. However, do not dispose of any materials before the insurance adjuster arrives.

Step 3: Avoid any further damage

While you may be eager to start cleaning or getting rid of the mold, it is very important to not begin any reloads before the insurance adjuster has arrived to evaluate the extent of the damage. However, it is vital to prevent further damage. You may turn off the leak to a pipe or place a bucket where a roof is leaking or block the hole etc.

Step 4: Tender all your evidence

Now, this is the final step. Once the insurance adjuster arrives, please provide them with your supporting materials. These can include photographs, investigation reports, and a list of your damaged property. These will help you support your claim and receive support quickly.

In the end, taking the time to understand your insurance policy is the ultimate step in knowing whether you are covered for mold problems in the home. The best way to go about this is to contact your insurance company. We are available to answer your questions regarding your homeowners and business insurance policies. 

Source: https://uphelp.org/claim-guidance-publications/mold-contamination-insurance-coverage-101-the-basics/ and https://www.ecofmr.com/articles/guide-to-mold-damage-and-insurance-cover/

Massachusetts RMV to Make Inspection Sticker Changes

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will soon change how it handles late vehicle inspection stickers.

The change means that beginning November 1, 2022, vehicles that pass inspection will get a new sticker with the month the last sticker expired, according to the RMV. The sticker will be valid for one year.

Prior to the change, vehicles would get a sticker for the current month when their most recent inspection took place.

The change, officials said, will ensure that vehicles are inspected on time each year while maintaining emission standards.

“Safety of the Commonwealth’s roadways is the most important reason for motor vehicle inspections. Vehicle inspections check tire treads, ensure all light signals are working and even check the front ball joints,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Colleen Ogilvie. “Light-duty cars and trucks are equipped with emission control systems that reduce pollution to protect public health and the environment. It is important that these systems are tested annually to ensure proper emissions controls.”

It is state law that all vehicles are inspected annually. Owners who operate a vehicle with an expired sticker or who drive an uninspected vehicle can be fined and have their license suspended. These types of violations can lead to increases in auto insurance premiums.

Another change announced by the RMV will be that owners will no longer receive a printed inspection report when their vehicle passes inspection. This change, beginning October 1, 2022, is in an effort to reduce paper waste.  If an owner wants a printed report, they will be able to access one online by going to Mass Vehicle Check or by scanning the QR code they see displayed at the inspection station they go to.

Do you need to get your vehicle inspected? Make sure you do so on time at one of 1,800 licensed stations in Massachusetts. If you need car insurance in Massachusetts, you can get a fast, free car insurance quote in Massachusetts today to see if you could save money while getting outstanding coverage!

Please Note: This content is not intended to describe any specific coverage offered by MAPFRE Insurance. No coverage is provided, bound or guaranteed by this article. Available coverages, credits and discounts vary from state to state and are subject to eligibility criteria and policy terms/conditions, which will control in the event of conflict between this article and your insurance policy. For information about your policy, please review your individual policy contract and speak with your insurance representative.

MAPFRE Insurance® is a brand and service mark of MAPFRE U.S.A. Corp. and its affiliates, including American Commerce Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 4928-8), Citation Insurance CompanySM, The Commerce Insurance CompanySM, Commerce West Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 1372-2), MAPFRE Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 3039-5), and MAPFRE Insurance Company of FloridaSM.

Home Fire Escape Plans

Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Your ability to get out of your home during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. 

  • Why do you need a home escape plan?
  • Working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan can reduce your risk of injury or death in a fire.
  • Most fatal fires happen in homes.
  • When fire strikes you may have less than one minute to get out of the building. 
  • Fires double in size every minute.
  • Fires create thick, black, choking smoke which makes it impossible to see or breathe.
  • Fires produce heat, smoke and toxic gases.
  • In the event of fire, time is the biggest enemy, and every second counts. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can turn into a major fire. Having an escape plan will help you and your family to get out of your home quickly. Practice E.D.I.T.H. — Exit Drills in the Home — with your family.
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Below are guidelines on how to write your home fire escape plan. As your insurance agent, we strongly encourage you to follow these steps and create a plan for your own home. 
  • Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home. Show all doors and windows.
  • Visit each room, find two ways out, including windows and doors, and mark them.  
  • All windows and doors should open easily. You should be able to use them to get outside.
  • Push the test button on each smoke alarm to make sure each alarm is working. Replace the batteries where needed. 
  • Pick a meeting place outside. It should be in front of your home. Everyone will meet at the
  • meeting place.
  • Make sure your house or building number can be seen from the street.
  • Talk about your plan with everyone in your home.
  • Learn the emergency phone number for your fire department.
  • Practice your home fire drill!

Watch these steps to making a home fire escape plan from the National Fire Protection Agency. 

According to an NFPA survey, only one of every three American households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. While 71% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 45% of those have practiced it. One-third of American households who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!

Source: 

https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/FPW/Educate/2019/FPW19Grid.ashx  

https://fire.arlingtonva.us/safety/escape-plans/  

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe/Preparedness/Escape-planning 

https://www.gohealthuc.com/library/does-your-family-have-fire-escape-plan

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/create-and-practice-a-home-escape-plan

What is Business Owner’s Insurance and When Do You Need It?

Your company may need insurance to survive certain unexpected—but possible—challenges. Nobody likes buying insurance. It can be confusing and expensive, and you won’t see any benefit unless you have a loss, accident, or claim. But insurance can make or break your business. Without the right insurance, a theft or fire can cause devastating losses. A personal injury lawsuit can leave you struggling just to pay the legal fees and yet many small business owners don’t take the time to evaluate their needs and get appropriate coverage.

Business Owner’s Insurance, also known as a business owner policy (BOP), combines protection for all major property and liability risks in one insurance package. This type of policy assembles the basic coverages required by a business owner in one bundle. However, it is usually sold at a premium that is less than the total cost of the individual coverages. BOPs include: 

  1. Property insurance for buildings and contents owned by the company — there are two different forms, standard and special, which provides more comprehensive coverage.
  2. Business interruption insurance, which covers the loss of income resulting from a fire or other catastrophe that disrupts the operation of the business. It can also include the extra expense of operating out of a temporary location.
  3. Liability protection, which covers your company’s legal responsibility for the harm it may cause to others. This harm is a result of things that you and your employees do or fail to do in your business operations that may cause bodily injury or property damage due to defective products, faulty installations and errors in services provided.

BOPs do NOT cover professional liability, auto insurance, worker’s compensation or health and disability insurance. You’ll need separate insurance policies to cover professional services, vehicles and your employees. To decide whether you need business insurance, ask yourself two questions:

  • Does your business have property—including inventory, computers, and other equipment—that you could not easily afford to replace? If your only business property is a laptop, you may not need to insure it. But if you have tens of thousands of dollars of store inventory, insurance is a must.
  • Is there a reasonable chance your business could be sued for a substantial amount of money? For example, you might be sued if someone has an accident on your premises, if you aren’t as careful as you should be, if you suffer a data breach, or if an item you make or sell is defective and injures someone.

If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, business insurance will help you minimize your risks.

However, not all businesses qualify for business owner’s policies. Eligibility requirements differ among providers. Insurance providers may have requirements regarding business location, the size of the location, revenue, and class of business. Typically, businesses classes eligible for BOPs include retail stores, apartment buildings, small restaurants, and office-based businesses.

The key takeaways to BOPs: 

  • A business owner policy (BOP) is a package that bundles basic insurance coverages and is sold at a premium.
  • A BOP typically protects business owners against property damage, peril, business interruption, and liability.
  • While coverages vary among insurance providers, businesses can often opt-in for additional coverage, such as crime, spoilage of merchandise, forgery, fidelity, and more.
  • Insurance providers determine if a business qualifies for a BOP based on business location, the size of the location, the class of business, and revenue.
  • A business may qualify for special considerations if it meets certain eligibility qualifications.

Source: https://www.iii.org/article/what-does-businessowners-policy-bop-cover and https://www.investopedia.com/terms/business-owners-policy.asp and  https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/business-insurance-when-you-need-it-and-when-you-dont

RV Insurance, Weather, & Driving Conditions

RVing is becoming one of the most popular ways to travel. A successful and safe RV trip takes preparation and planning to make it a good experience. Whether you are new to RVing or not, these tips can help ensure that your trip will be a smooth experience.  As your insurance agent, we urge you to follow and  read through these tips for insurance coverage, adapting to weather conditons, and driving your RV. 

 

Learn How to Drive the RV You Plan to Use

If you are vacationing in an RV for the first time, practice driving first. If you don’t own your RV, then rent an RV for a day before your trip and take it driving! Keeping the RV between the lines, accelerating, braking, using only mirrors to see what’s behind you, and passing vehicles top the list of maneuvers that you will need to know while on the open road. RV’s handle very differently from a car, SUV, or pickup. Practice backing your RV up so that you can back into a campsite. If you have a passenger, it a good idea to have a spotter to help guide you.  Many accidents and claims happen due to hitting tree limbs, picnic tables or other items that were in the driver’s blind spot. 

RV Insurance and Road Service

Knowing your insurance coverages is important. Be sure to research road services that specialize in RVs. Only a few road service companies will tow the trailer, too. 

  • What does your RV insurance cover?
  • Does your motorhome policy cover your towed vehicle?
  • Do you need separate RV insurance for road service coverage?

Check Road Conditions, Construction, and Closures

Save time and frustration by checking road conditions, closures, and construction. The US DOT Federal Highway Administration website shows a map of the states. Click on the state you will be traveling in and choose a link that shows current road conditions on the following link: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/

 

You will also need to be mindful of overpasses, bridge and tunnel height restrictions. 

 

Weather

Knowing the weather forecast can help avoid problems. Rain, snow, ice, hail, wind– you might encounter all of these in one day! Below are just a few weather sites that give weather for all states. 

https://weather.com/

https://www.noaa.gov/ 

 

Motorhomes are your second home (on wheels!) and you need to have proper insurance coverage. The last thing you want to worry about is being financially liable for causing an accident and not having proper RV insurance. Most states only require minimal liability insurance that protects others if you’re at fault.

Personal Watercraft Insurance & Safety

What do we mean when we say personal watercraft? Personal watercraft are Jet Skis, Sea-Doos, or WaveRunners. These watercraft can be fun to take out on the water; however, safety needs to be a priority!

Many people fail to realize that personal watercraft can be very dangerous. In fact, each year there are thousands of serious injuries due to personal watercraft. 80% of all injuries and fatalities occur when 2 personal watercraft collide. You should always stay at least 100 yards behind another vessel, and at least 50 yards to one side. Don’t jump the wake of a passing boat. You could misjudge the speed and cause a collision. Always stay alert! In addition to other watercraft, you should always be aware of other swimmers, divers, water skiers, and fishermen.

Personal watercraft, just like any other moving vehicle, are subject to accidents. It is wise to get the proper insurance to protect yourself. They are not generally covered by homeowners insurance and we have specifically designed policies to insure these vessels. https://www.lydonmurphyinsurance.com/get-a-quote/

Source: https://www.iii.org/article/personal-watercraft-insurance-and-safety

Grilling Tips for Safety

As the weather warms and summer returns,  it’s time to GRILL!   There are risks that come along with grilling, regardless of which type of grill you are using. Every year, 7,000 Americans are injured while using  barbecue grills. It’s usually a case of good products used incorrectly. You can prevent grilling accidents and insurance claims by ‘brushing up’ on these tips. 

1. Only use your grill outside and keep it at least 10 feet away from your house. Farther is even better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath wooden overhangs, as the fire could flare up into the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills. Keeping a 3-foot safe zone around your grill will also keep kids and pets safe. 

2. Clean your grill regularly and after each use to remove grease that can start a fire. If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they will provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare ups.

3. Check for gas leaks. You can check for gas leaks by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that’s a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough. Only light your gas grill with the lid OPEN!

4. Keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas look pretty AND provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today’s decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.

5. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. If you have a minor flare-up, you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won’t harm your food, so dinner won’t be ruined!

6. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill. And, KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don’t waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job. 

7. Keep an eye on your grill, fire pit or patio torches. Don’t walk away from them when they are lit.

Keep in mind that when you grill, you are playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents. The National Fire Prevention Association says an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling each year. There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking these simple precautions. The grilling safety tips above can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.

What is Cyber Insurance and Why Do You Need It?

Cybersecurity insurance is a new and emerging industry. It has its origins in errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, a separate form of insurance that protects against faults and defects in the services a company provides. E&O insurance is analogous to product liability policies for companies that sell physical or digital products. At (Agency Name), it’s important to us that you and your business stay safe during these emerging times. Read on to learn more about what is Cyber Insurance, how it works, and why you need it. 

What is Cyber Insurance?

Cybersecurity insurance, also called cyber liability insurance or cyber insurance, is a contract that an entity can purchase to help reduce the financial risks associated with doing business online.

  

While some cyber insurance policies contain specific provisions for E&O, most providers sell these as separate and distinct policies. E&O insurance does not cover the loss of third-party data, such as customer credit card numbers; customers needing such protection can purchase a cyber insurance policy that covers it.

How Does Cyber Insurance Work?

Cyber insurance policies help cover the financial losses that result from cyber events and incidents. In addition, cyber-risk coverage helps with the costs associated with remediation, including payment for legal assistance, investigators, crisis communicators, and customer credits or refunds. Vinson & Elkins discusses Cyber Insurance 101 in this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P76PhQdDje0

Why is Cyber Insurance Important?

The loss, compromise, or theft of electronic data can have a negative impact on a business, including the loss of customers and revenue. Businesses may be liable for damages stemming from the theft of third-party data. Cyber liability coverage is important to protect businesses against the risk of cyber events, including those associated with terrorism. Cyber-risk coverage can assist in the timely remediation of cyberattacks and incidents.

According to Thirdway.org, “There are approximately 300,000 reported malicious cyber incidents per year. Attacks cost the U.S. economy anywhere from $57 billion to $109 billion annually and these costs are increasing.” Cyber risk is real and let’s face it: almost everyone uses some kind of cyber technology every day. In an era when email is used for everything, and transactions often occur online, the world of cyber presents a great opportunity for criminals.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, “Insurance experts now consider the risk of cyber liability losses to exceed the risk of fraud or theft. In this tumultuous environment, your business can take several steps to limit risks, including purchasing cyber liability insurance.”

Source: https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/cybersecurity-insurance-cybersecurity-liability-insurance and https://prowritersins.com/cyber-insurance-blog/how-does-cyber-security-insurance-work/

Spring Home Maintenance

🌷Spring is here!  🌸  After a long dark and cold winter, the bright sun and warm winds of the spring are a breath of fresh air! The only downside? All that sunlight helps you see your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks, and dead plants in the flower beds. Get your home in shape for spring with this checklist!

1. Examine Roof Shingles: Examine the roof to see if any shingles were lost or damaged under the winter snow and ice.

2. Check the Gutters: Loose or leaky gutters can cause improper drainage, which can lead to water in your basement or crawlspace during the spring rain.

3. Inspect the Concrete: Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. Fill cracks with concrete crack filler or silicone caulk, power-wash, and then seal the concrete.

4. Remove Firewood: Firewood stored near the home for winter should be moved at least 18 inches off the ground and at least 2 feet from the structure.

5. Check Outside Faucets: Check outside faucets for freeze damage. While you’re at it, check your garden hose for dry rot.

6. Repair Window Screens: You will want to open the windows to let the fresh air in. Ensure small holes and tears are repaired so bugs don’t get in.

This is just a short list of items you can do to prepare your home for the spring. Winter was nice and cozy but, we are ready for the spring sunshine! While you are preparing your home for the spring, it is a great time to review your homeowners insurance! 

Source: https://www.hgtv.com/lifestyle/clean-and-organize/10-home-maintenance-tips-for-spring-pictures

Why is flood insurance important?

You don’t have to live in a flood-prone area to encounter flooding in your home. This can happen at any time to anyone! Flooding can be caused by more than just natural disasters. If you own a home, you need flood insurance. There are two different types of flood insurance: the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance. The area you live in will determine which type of flood insurance is best for you.

The National Flood Insurance Program is a flood insurance that is offered through FEMA. If you are located in one of the 21,000 communities that participate in this program, you should be eligible for both types of coverage offered by the National Flood Insurance Program. The two types are building property coverage and personal property coverage. Building property coverage is “replacement cost value” coverage. This means that building property coverage covers the cost to repair or replace your home up to $250,000. Personal property coverage replaces up to $100,000 of items in your home.

The other type of flood insurance is private flood insurance. Private flood insurance premiums vary based on the insurance companies that offer it. Speak with your insurance agent regarding cost and coverage plans.

You may qualify for both the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance. Depending on the value of your home and contents in it, you might be better off getting both to protect yourself in the event of a flood.

Flood Facts:

  • Just one inch of water can cause more than $20,000 in damage.
  • It takes just six inches of fast-moving water to sweep an adult off their feet and 12 inches of water to sweep a car away.
  • Flash floods typically carry water between 10 and 20 feet high.
  • If you live in a 100-year flood plain, your home has a 1% chance of flooding each year.
  • Moving water at 10 mph carries the same pressure as wind blowing at 270 mph.
  • If your home is in a flood plain and you have a federally backed mortgage, you are required by law to carry flood insurance.

Give our office a call to discuss all your flood insurance options! (781) 762-4280   https://www.lydonmurphyinsurance.com/

Source: https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/need-flood-insurance