Non-owner Car Insurance

The Type of Insurance to Buy If You Don’t Own a Car

Jim doesn’t have a car, but his girlfriend, Melanie, lets him borrow hers whenever he needs it. One night, while Jim is driving Melanie’s car, he becomes a bit drowsy and accidentally drives into oncoming traffic, causing a four-car pileup. Two of the other cars are totaled, and four people, with serious injuries, are transported to the hospital. Fortunately, Melanie’s car insurance policy covers Jim, right? Well, sort of.

You see, Melanie had decided to save money by buying the minimum amount of coverage required by her state. The liability damages of the accident greatly exceeded what her policy will cover. Guess who’s responsible for making up the difference?

This is just one example of a situation where someone who does not own a vehicle would have benefited from carrying a non-owner car insurance policy. If you are among the millions of licensed drivers in this country who do not own a car, you may want to talk to an independent insurance agent to learn more about your options for coverage during the times that you are driving. Let Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance advise you about whether non-owner car insurance is right for you.

Who Buys Non-Owner Car Insurance?

A non-owner car insurance policy is designed for licensees who do not own a vehicle but still may require liability insurance for a number of reasons:

  • A licensed driver who does not own a car but frequently rents one may find that having a non-owner auto insurance policy allows them to pay a lower rate for the insurance required by rental companies.
  • If you regularly borrow a car from a friend or neighbor and are not listed as an insured driver on their personal auto policy, you would be wise to purchase a non-owner liability insurance policy, especially if the vehicle owner carries low liability limits.
  • If you are attempting to get a driver's license in a state that requires proof of financial responsibility, and you do not own a vehicle.
  • A licensed driver whose license is under suspension and needs to file a certificate of financial responsibility but does not own a vehicle can do so using a non-owner car insurance policy.
  • If you have been insured for some time but are between cars, non-owner car insurance is a way to stay insured so your continuous coverage is not interrupted. It will also help you remain a loyal insurance customer.

Vehicle Owners and Non-Owners in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Office of Highway Policy Information, the number of licensed drivers in the U.S dramatically increased from 163 million in 1988 to over 210 million in 2010. According to the U. S. Department of Transportation, about 8% of licensed drivers do not own a vehicle.

Households with an annual income of less than $25,000 are nine times more likely not to own a vehicle than households with income of more than $25,000. Households residing in rental properties are six times more likely to be no-vehicle households compared with non-renters. This applies also to households renting condos or apartments. Additionally, 19% of single-person households have no vehicles compared with only 4% of multi-person households.

NON-OWNER POLICY COVERAGES

The most apparent difference between a non-owner car insurance policy and the usual personal auto policy is that a non-owner policy is primarily third-party coverage, whereas the personal auto policy provides first-party and third-party coverage. Also, non-owner car insurance provides coverage for the named insured only, and no other drivers can be listed on the policy.

  • Bodily Injury Liability: This pays for medical expenses that you are liable for in the event of an at-fault accident.
  • Property Damage Liability: If you or another insured driver is in an at-fault accident, property damage coverage pays to repair or replace the other driver's vehicle or property.
  • Uninsured Motorist: This pays if you are injured in an accident by another driver who is uninsured or underinsured or if it is a hit-and-run accident.
  • Medical Payments: Medical coverage pays for your injuries and the injuries of passengers in your vehicle no matter who's at fault in an accident.

A non-owner insurance policy does not provide physical damage coverage, also known as comprehensive and collision. Non-owner car insurance does not cover damage to any vehicle. It provides liability coverage for the named insured (you) if you are in an at-fault accident. It can also cover you for injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver if you select this coverage.

Who Should Not Buy Non-Owner Car Insurance?

There are times when a non-owner auto insurance policy may seem reasonable, but in reality it's not, as in these cases:

  • You have regular access to a vehicle, like a neighbor's or family member's, and you are listed as a driver on that person's policy.
  • You live with your parents and have permission to drive their vehicle, and their insurance company requires that you be listed as a driver on their policy. A non-owner car insurance policy isn’t necessary.
  • You do not own a vehicle and you rarely rent or borrow one. In this case, you may want to forgo the cost of non-owner car insurance.

When Is a Certificate of Financial Responsibility Needed?

Most states require licensees with suspended licenses due to uninsured accidents, DUI/DWI convictions or other offenses to file a certificate of financial responsibility (SR-22) as proof of insurance in order to reinstate their driving privileges. If this is a requirement for you and you don't own a vehicle, a non-owners auto insurance policy is the way to get this resolved. When you purchase your policy, your insurance carrier sends the SR-22 form to the state where you were licensed so the reinstatement process can begin. It's important to note that the SR-22 form does not affect your insurance rates, but your reason for needing it certainly will.

For licensees in the U.S. who do not own a vehicle but are concerned about liability protection when driving non-owned vehicles, the solution is a non-owners insurance policy with sufficient limits to meet their needs.

Where to Find Non-Owners Insurance

Give us a call at 603-431-4020 or email us at info@portsmouthatlanticins.com.  Our agents have access to a number of insurance companies and will be able to shop around for multiple quotes to deliver an insurance package that meets your individual needs and budget. 

Finding the Best Homeowners Insurance

Finding the Best Homeowners Insurance

(When you don't really want to look that hard)

Your home isn’t just a structure made of beams and walls — it’s a magical place where you can binge-watch guilty-pleasure TV shows in a tattered bathrobe and eat ice cream for dinner without being judged.

It’s your happy place, and it needs to be protected. Our independent agents carry the burden of searching high and low and won’t stop until they find the homeowners coverage that will keep your carefree sanctuary secure.

 

WHAT DOES HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER?

To put it simply, homeowners insurance is designed to repair, replace or recover the value of what you currently have (under coverage) if it’s damaged due to any number of causes.

Types of Claims and Cause of Damage

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Reference: from our friends at iii.org

  • Property Damage - This is by far the biggest claim maker, which includes damage to your house and any structures on your property due to water, fire and severe storms among others.
  • Natural Disasters - Homewreckers like floods and earthquakes are usually not covered by basic plans, meaning, you’ll need added coverage or a separate policy to keep your goodies protected.
  • Standard Home Liability - This will cover you financially if someone is injured or their personal belongings are damaged while on your property. 
  • Extra Money for Living - If your house is too messed up to live in while it’s being repaired or rebuilt, most policies will pay for a hotel and other living expenses, like groceries.
  • Personal Property Coverage (AKA your stuff) - This will depend on the policy. Items like furniture may only be covered up to a depreciated value, but stuff like your bling might not have any coverage and will need additional insurance. 

 

IS HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE MANDATORY?

Homeowners insurance isn’t required by law, but most lenders will be sticklers and will require a policy in order to give you a loan. At a minimum, they’ll want your policy to cover or exceed the amount you owe on the loan.

 

WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT PORTSMOUTH ATLANTIC INSURANCE?

It’s simple. Literally. Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance simplifies the process by shopping and comparing home insurance quotes for you. Not only that, we cut the jargon and clarify the fine print so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Percent of People Who Understand Their Insurance Coverage

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Reference: from our friends at JD power

Plus, Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance works for YOU and not one insurance provider. Actually, PAI is an Independent Insurance Agency -  the only agents who can check policies from multiple carriers to find the right coverage at the best price.

Percentage of Homeowners Who Are Under-insured

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Reference: from our friends at CoreLogic

Most importantly, they’ll be there to help you when claim time comes. The outcome of home insurance claims can be strongly impacted by how the process is approached and handled.

 

HOW TO MAKE SURE YOU’RE ADEQUATELY COVERED

Many homeowners think they’re fully covered. Unfortunately they’re not, and figuring this out when it’s claim time can be infuriating. Finding the right coverage depends on a number of things, from crime rates to wildfires in your area. Here are several hacks to help you.

Three Home Insurance Hacks

  • Add an umbrella policy to increase coverage by up to $1 million or more.
  • Protect higher-value items like jewelry and art through “riders” or “endorsements.”
  • Get replacement cost dwelling coverage instead of “actual cash value,” which only covers the current depreciated value.

 

HOW MUCH DOES HOME INSURANCE COST?

The average annual cost of homeowners insurance is $1,132 nationwide, but that cost can vary region to region, based on nasty hazards like floods and earthquakes. Find a complete state average cost list here>>

Check out How Much Homeowners Insurance Varies by State:

WHERE ARE ALL THE HOME INSURANCE DISCOUNTS HIDING?

To start, combining policies and raising your deductible are two easy ways to drive down cost. You can also get lower rates and discounts if you reduce the risk of theft and damage by installing fire sprinklers, smoke alarms and security systems. 

 

THE 411 ON ONLINE HOME INSURANCE QUOTES

We know what you’re really looking for — fast and easy insurance quotes in 30 seconds or less. We get it, you want the goods ASAP, but choosing speed over accuracy can leave you high and dry or low and wet.

Robots and algorithms may be quick, but your peace of mind isn’t a variable in their quoting equation. Not only that, our competitors may sell your info to multiple companies, which can result in calls, on calls, on calls.

We flipped the script on this process and want to provide you with a better alternative.    Let Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance take the wheel and do the work to find the best quotes to fit your needs perfectly.

Concord Home Insurance

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Find the Right Concord, NH Homeowners Insurance

Concord is a gorgeous city in New Hampshire, with excellent schools and great neighborhoods. Unemployment rates remain low, and crime trends well below state averages, making this city the perfect place to settle down and raise a family. However, one disadvantage of Concord, NH is the severe winter weather that residents face each year. Heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures plague this area, so make sure you are prepared with Concord homeowners insurance.

Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance Agents offer one-on-one support to help you find the best home insurance plan for your property. Home insurance options are endless, but finding the right coverage can be hard. Instead of spending hours searching for your policy and comparing rates online, let our agents do the heavy lifting for you by matching you with an affordable plan in your area.

Cost of Homeowners Insurance in New Hampshire

  • National yearly premium average: $1,034
  • New Hampshire yearly premium average: $848
  • 30th most expensive premium in the U.S.

It is always hard to find affordable home insurance that has enough coverage to give you peace of mind. Keep in mind that there are a few factors that can help you get a lower rate. The most important thing to do is shop around and look at many different policies before committing to one. Other things that affect the cost of your policy are the size, age and location of your home. Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance agents can help you find discounts for bundled coverage or even security upgrades. When you chose to work with our agents, you are guaranteed to find a better rate.

Concord Second Home and Vacation Home Insurance

Concord is a beautiful place to purchase investment property or a vacation home. However, these properties are often tricky to insure. They face a unique set of threats due to the long periods of time they are left unsupervised. Vacation homes are often a target for theft, and the best way to protect your property is with a comprehensive home insurance plan. Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance agents can help you find a home insurance policy that is specifically designed to protect your second home investment.

Number of Thefts in New Hampshire

  • National number of burglaries: 37,814
  • New Hampshire number of burglaries: 4,936

When you are a homeowner, often your worst fear is that your home will be a target of a burglar. New Hampshire residents are not exempt from this threat. Homeowners should always install deadbolts and have an upgraded security system to help prevent a home invasion. However, the ultimate protection is a reliable insurance policy to protect your home and replace any stolen valuables.

Number of Catastrophes in New Hampshire

  • Number of catastrophes in New Hampshire: 95
  • Number of tornadoes in New Hampshire: 1
  • Amount of property damage in New Hampshire: $3,770,000
  • 1 in 15 insured homes has a claim each year

Considering the severe winters residents face each year, property damage can climb to huge amounts. Each year, property owners report over $1.8 billion in property damage. Whether it's blizzards, fire or flooding, residents see it all. To give you peace of mind, make sure you have reliable home insurance so that despite what comes your way, you are prepared. 

What Are the Risks in Concord?

Concord homeowners face the constant threat of winter weather. Frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall lead to many different problems for residents. Property damage is almost certain during winter months. Wildfires are also a problem in the summer and reduce properties to ash. There’s no way to guarantee that your home won’t be in the path of the next storm, so make sure you’re covered with the best Concord homeowners insurance in advance.

Compare Concord Home Insurance Quotes

Comparing quotes is the best way to ensure you will get the best price on your policy. Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance Agents are professionals and will always point you in the direction of the most affordable policy. With years of experience navigating home insurance plans in New Hampshire, our agents know what kind of coverage you need to keep your home protected from the most common local threats. Contact us for a free Concord home insurance quote today.

Nashua Home Insurance

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Nashua is the second largest city in New Hampshire, offering a thriving local economy and affordable housing to residents of all ages. Money Magazine ranked Nashua as No. 1 among the “Best Places to Live in America” on two separate occasions. Living in Nashua, NH has a lot of perks, but homeowners will also face some challenges with heavy snowfall in the winter and occasional problems with flash flooding and wildfires. If you own a home in this community, make sure you’re prepared with reliable Nashua homeowners insurance.

Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance provide one-on-one support to Nashua residents who are searching for affordable home insurance options. With years of experience, our agents can help you navigate your coverage options and select a budget-friendly homeowners policy that will best protect your property from common local threats.

Cost of Homeowners Insurance in New Hampshire

  • National yearly premium average: $1,034
  • New Hampshire yearly premium average: $848
  • 30th most expensive premium in the U.S.

Even though the cost of home insurance in New Hampshire trends well below the national average, your ultimately depends heavily on the size and location of your home. Property that lies close to the Nashua River or the Merrimack River will often have higher premiums, thanks to an elevated risk of flooding and water damage. Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance agents can help you find the best rates on homeowners insurance by providing rate quotes on multiple policies in Nashua.

Nashua Second Home and Vacation Home Insurance

Nashua’s tight-knit community and picturesque scenery make it the ideal place to purchase vacation property. However, insuring a second home can be much more challenging than insuring your main residence. Vacation homes face different risk factors due to the fact they are often left unattended for longer periods of time. These properties face a much higher risk for vandalism and theft. Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance agents can help you navigate the insurance options that will best protect your second home or vacation property.

Number of Thefts in New Hampshire

  • National number of burglaries: 37,814
  • New Hampshire number of burglaries: 4,936

One of the best perks of living in Nashua is the low crime rate, but theft is still an occasional problem for homeowners. Even if you install a top-notch security system and keep your doors locked day and night, there’s no guarantee that you won’t be victimized at some point. Make sure to select a Nashua homeowners insurance plan that provides complete protection against theft, providing money needed to make property repairs and replace stolen items after a break-in.

Number of Catastrophes in New Hampshire

  • Number of catastrophes in New Hampshire: 95
  • Number of tornadoes in New Hampshire: 1
  • Amount of property damage in New Hampshire: $3,770,000
  • 1 in 15 insured homes has a claim each year

New Hampshire faces dozens of catastrophes and natural disasters every year, but blizzards, floods and fires are the main causes of the damage. Homes are often left with severe damage after these catastrophes, but if you have a reliable home insurance plan, you’ll have peace of mind that you’re always covered no matter what New Hampshire’s unpredictable weather throws your way.

What Are the Risks in Nashua?

For Nashua residents, the main concern for natural disasters comes during the winter months. With frigid temperatures and frequent ice and snow, property damage is fairly common in this area. The city reports an average snowfall of 55 inches per season, and this can lead to serious flooding issues during the spring melt-off. Make sure your home is well protected before the next winter storm hits by investing in a comprehensive Nashua home insurance plan.

Compare Nashua Home Insurance Quotes

If you want to enjoy savings on your homeowners insurance premiums in Nashua, take time to compare quotes from Portsmouth Atlantic before you choose a policy. Without expert advice, this can be challenging, especially if you are new to the world of insurance. Portsmouth Atlantic agents can make the process easier than ever by offering customized rate quotes from multiple policy providers in one place. Our expert agents can help you narrow your options and select an affordable policy to protect your home. Contact us to get a free rate quote, and start saving on your Nashua home insurance plan today.

Manchester Home Insurance

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Homeowners Insurance in Manchester, NH

Manchester has been nationally recognized as one of the best, most affordable places to live in the U.S. CNNMoney.com rated the city as 13th best location for living and launching a business. Kiplinger rated the city as second most tax-friendly location and Forbes claimed that Manchester was the number 1 best cheap place to live. Sounds like Manchester has a lot going for it so it’s no wonder that over 100,000 people call the region home. Whether you own a condo, townhome, or detached home, make sure you contact Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance for a quote.

Number of Catastrophes in New Hampshire and the US

  • National number of catastrophes: 19,033
  • Number of catastrophes in New Hampshire: 95
  • National number of tornadoes: 1,233
  • Number of tornadoes in New Hampshire: 1
  • National property damage from weather: $5,511,270,000
  • Property damage from weather in New Hampshire: $3,770,000

Number of Thefts in New Hampshire:

  • National number for burglaries: 37,814
  • New Hampshire number of burglaries: 4,936

The Importance of Manchester Homeowners Insurance

If you purchase a home using a lender, it’s likely the lender will require that you obtain homeowners insurance, but even if you pay for your house with cash, purchasing home insurance is a good idea. If your home is damaged or completely lost, insurance helps you repair or rebuild. There are also other advantages to having a comprehensive Manchester homeowners insurance policy.

Six Parts of a Manchester Homeowners Insurance Policy

At first glance, a homeowner policy can seem complicated. If you break it down into the six parts of coverage, it becomes less overwhelming and easier to analyze. Look for exclusions and make sure that the coverage limits are personalized to your situation. Otherwise, you could find that you don’t have as much coverage as you need.

  • Coverage A) Protecting Your Home: Insuring the main structure of your residence is one of the main purposes of insurance. Insure your home at replacement value. It will cost more, but if your house needs to be rebuilt, you’re covered. If you make upgrades to your home, let your insurance company know. Flooding isn’t covered and neither is normal wear and tear, but if a tree branch falls on your house, call your insurance company.
  • Coverage B) Protecting Detached Structures: If you have a pool, garage, or shed, this portion of your policy insures these buildings at a certain percentage of your home value.
  • Coverage C) Protecting Personal Property: This portion protects your valuables if stolen or destroyed. A certain amount of protection is attributed to your personal property when you purchase your policy, but you may need more.
  • Coverage D) Protecting Liability: If you cause an accident, this portion of your policy allows the injured party to file a claim with your insurance company to seek reparations. If the claim amount isn’t approved or doesn’t satisfy the injured party, you could find yourself in court. At that point, you’ll be appointed a lawyer. If you end up owing a settlement, liability benefits can help pay but only if you have enough coverage.
  • Coverage E) Protecting Visitors: Accidents happen and sometimes, they happen on your property. If someone needs medical attention and expects you to pay for it, medical payments protection will cover you.

Since you’re in your home for long periods of time, the chance of something happening is  high. The only protection you have is your Manchester homeowner insurance. That’s why finding the right policy is so important. You can compare policies and Manchester homeowners insurance quotes all day and still not find the right one. Or, you can contact Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance. If you really want a policy customized for your personalized needs, let Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance help you.

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Boston Home Insurance

 

 

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Boston is populated with a charming mix of both older and newer homes. Whether you have a historical Victorian home or a rambler in the suburbs, make sure you have adequate Boston, MA homeowners insurance to protect your assets.

You can find a homeowners insurance policy by contacting our insurance consultants at 603-431-4020.  We work with several insurers and can easily collect Boston home insurance quotes that fit your needs and budget. You'll be able to choose from a variety of policies that will protect you from financial loss. Contact us today to get started.

Boston Demographic Statistics

  • Boston's city limits cover 49 square miles
  • 645,966 residents live in this city
  • There are 249,414 number of households in Boston

Number of catastrophes in Massachusetts and the US

  • National number of catastrophes: 19,033
  • Number of catastrophes in Massachusetts: 140
  • National number of tornadoes: 1,233
  • Number of tornadoes in Massachusetts: 2

Massachusetts residents are fortunate to have fewer catastrophes than the rest of the nation and just two tornadoes yearly. Residents should still make sure to protect themselves against disasters that can happen at any time. Be sure to have a Massachusetts homeowners insurance policy in place to protect yourself against those unforeseen events.

Theft in Massachusetts

  • National average for burglaries: 37,814
  • Massachusetts number of burglaries: 30,735

Even if you live in a fairly safe Boston neighborhood, you want to be sure to have a comprehensive Massachusetts homeowners insurance police in place to protect your home against the possibility of burglaries and theft.

What Is Homeowners Insurance?

A Boston homeowners insurance policy can provide insurance protection for the following:

  • Your home: Homeowners insurance can cover the exterior and interior structure of your home for a number of named perils listed in your policy, such as fire, vandalism and burglary. Exterior structures like detached garages and sheds are also usually covered.
  • The contents of your house: These will be covered up to specified limits outlined in the policy.
  • Liability: If you are legally liable for bodily injuries or property damage to a third party, homeowners insurance can provide some protection for your finances.
  • Additional living expenses: If you have to live elsewhere while your home is being repaired, your homeowners insurance may cover rent or other living accommodations temporarily.

Homeowners Insurance Reimbursement Choices

A Boston homeowners insurance policy may allow you to opt for one of two different methods of reimbursement from your insurance carrier. These two choices include:

  • Actual Cash Value: While not recommended, an available Boston homeowners insurance policy can use ACV reimbursement, which takes depreciation into account before reimbursing for repairs or loss.
  • Replacement Cost: Replacement cost coverage is offered by many insurance companies for a slightly more expensive premium, but with this coverage you would receive the current market value for the repairs or replacement of your items.

Verify Your Contents Coverage

The majority of Boston home insurance policies limit the amount of contents coverage to 70 percent of the coverage amount you have on your house. To ensure you have sufficient coverage for your personal possessions in the event of a total loss, take a full inventory of everything you own and determine a rough estimate of how much it would cost to replace everything new.

The majority of Boston homeowners insurance policies cap coverage amounts for valuable items including antiques, furs and artwork. To ensure you have sufficient coverage for these items, you may have to purchase an insurance rider or endorsement. Ask our insurance consultants if you need to have a few items scheduled separately.

Periodically Review Your Policy

Most homes appreciate in value over time. To ensure you have sufficient insurance coverage on your home, it's a good idea to research the current market value of your house and compare that to the amount of insurance coverage you currently carry. If your home has doubled in value, it might be time to consider altering the amount of coverage to reflect the appreciated increase.

The Cost of a Homeowners Insurance Policy in Massachusetts

  • National yearly premium average: $1,034
  • Massachusetts yearly premium average: $1,150
  • 11th most expensive premium in the US

Massachusetts yearly premiums are slightly higher than the national average. Additionally, the cost of your Boston homeowners insurance premium may depend on a number of factors, such as:

  • Type of construction material used in the home
  • The home’s age
  • Your location relative to the availability of local fire protection
  • The amount of coverage on your house
  • Your deductible

Additional Insurance Coverage Choices

A homeowners policy does not cover every potential peril. One catastrophe that could damage your home and is generally excluded from a homeowners policy is flooding. Flood insurance is a separate and specialized form of insurance protection which has to be bought separately. Earthquake damage is also typically excluded, and coverage for quakes would have to be purchased separately as well. Contact your agent if you're unsure whether your home is in a flood plain or not, or whether you face the risk of earthquake damage.

Where to Find a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

Contact us at Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance - we have access to many A rated insurance companies. We can help you find a policy that’s right for your home.  Contact us today - we look forward to working with you!

 

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Do You Need Auto Glass Insurance or Windshield Coverage?

 

Perhaps you have a little spider crack from a stone that flew off of a gravel truck, and the crack is spreading across your vehicle’s windshield. Or maybe a thief smashed a window to steal your car stereo. Maybe you have been in an accident that shattered several windows and a mirror. In these scenarios, will auto glass insurance come to your rescue?

Insurance companies provide auto glass insurance coverage in your standard auto policy. Our staff at Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance can help you learn about auto glass coverage, and can also compare prices from multiple companies to help you find the policy and price that is right for you.

Facts About Glass Insurance Coverage

  • Auto glass insurance is typically included in the "other than collision" coverage on your auto insurance policy.
  • In some states, auto glass comes with a zero deductible, so the insurance company will pay your windshield replacement costs with nothing out of pocket for you.
  • If you have the option, get your windshield repaired instead of replaced; some insurance companies will waive the cost of the deductible for glass repair.

What Does Auto Glass Insurance Cover?

If your windshield, car window, mirror or your sunroof is damaged or shattered, your auto glass insurance covers the repair or replacement cost minus your deductible. For example, if you have $600 in windshield damage, and your deductible is $200, your insurance company will cover the remaining $400 after your out-of-pocket deductible.

The repair work your insurance covers will include the materials and labor charges. It may or may not cover upgrades you have done such as after-factory tinting on the windows.

Auto Glass Insurance Tips

There are a number of things you can do to save costs on your auto glass and insurance.

  • If you have a small crack or chip in your windshield, be sure to get it repaired before the window needs to be totally replaced. You can potentially have the crack filled to improve structural integrity. A good auto glass repair shop will guarantee the repair, and you won’t have to pay your deductible.
  • If you do have a substantial crack in your windshield, the strength and safety of the windshield has likely been compromised. It is important to get it fixed, as extreme heat or excessive cold weather could cause it to shatter.
  • Don’t be afraid to file an insurance claim on windshield damage you could not have prevented. It is not likely that such a claim will cause your insurance rates to go up, unless you are regularly filing such claims.
  • Only file claims if you cannot get a simple repair done. If you file a claim for every small problem on your car insurance, you may see an increase in your overall coverage costs.

Who Should Repair Your Broken Windshield?

It’s important that you contact a reputable glass repair shop. Make sure the people installing your windshield are fully qualified. Glass repair shops will compete for your business, so you want to use a reputable company that you can return to if there is anything wrong with the repair.

When you work with Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance, you will have a local representative who can refer you to area glass repair companies that you can trust. 

Contact Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance today and get personalized assistance, comparison quotes and the assistance you need when it comes time to file a claim.

Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost

Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost: Which One Will Never Pay Your Full Claim?

Homeowners want to pay the lowest premiums possible while maximizing their coverage in the event of a loss. That's why it is so important for home insurance policyholders to understand their coverage options. What is the difference between actual cash value coverage and replacement cost when it comes to homeowners insurance?

Understanding the Differences in Coverage Options

Most standard homeowner insurance polices will cover your home -- the actual building in which you live -- at a limit higher than what you probably paid to buy or build it. Why? Because it will no doubt cost more to build a brand new home on your property in the event the current structure is completely destroyed. This coverage is called replacement cost, and most standard homeowners insurance policies offer this as default coverage for your house.

The same cannot be said of the belongings kept inside your home. Most basic homeowners insurance policies offer the default coverage of actual cash value for personal property. You can choose to cover your personal property at replacement cost, instead. What's the difference?

There are two main methods insurance companies use to calculate the amount they will reimburse homeowners policyholders after a personal property loss:

  • Replacement cost: The cost of a brand-new item to replace your stolen, damaged or destroyed item. Your home itself should be insured at replacement cost.
     
  • Actual cash value: The cost of a brand-new item, minus depreciation. In other words, the reimbursement will be the estimated value of your old, used item if you attempted to sell it on the market.

How Is Depreciation Determined?

Different insurance providers have various ways of calculating depreciation. One of the most common methods is to determine the item’s value in relation to its life expectancy.

You can calculate actual cash value using the life expectancy model by dividing one by the life expectancy of your item to find the annual depreciation rate. For example, a sofa with a 10-year lifespan will depreciate by 10% each year. If you paid $1,500 for a sofa seven years ago, you can determine its actual cash value by calculating:

  • $1,500 x 10% = $150
  • $150 x 7 years = $1,050
  • $1,500 - $1,050 = $450 actual cash value

Many homeowners discover the discrepancy between the insurance company's reimbursement check and what it costs to replace an item only after they file a claim. Trying to replace a $1,500 sofa with $450 will be difficult, and the homeowner has to come up with the difference. In this same scenario, the cost to replace that old sofa with a brand-new one of similar materials and style may be $1,900. If your policy offers replacement cost coverage, you will receive $1,900 rather than $450.

Homeowners can really take a hit because of depreciation when it comes to electronics. If you paid top dollar for a flat screen LED TV when they were first coming on the market more than five years ago, you may be shocked to learn what its actual cash value may be as determined by an insurance company.

Other formulas are used to determine depreciation, and factor in wear and tear as well as age. Some of the equations are complex and computer algorithms are often used. It's always a good idea to ask your insurance agent how reimbursement rates are calculated by your homeowners insurance policy and company.

What If My Property Has Appreciated in Value?

One would think that if insurance companies take depreciation into account when reimbursing homeowners, they would also consider increases in the value of items over time. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Personal property such as autographed sports memorabilia, artwork, fine jewelry, and antique china that often appreciate in value over the years are not given special consideration by insurance companies.

In fact, in order to be sufficiently insured against losses for these types of personal property, you may need to purchase additional riders to your homeowners insurance policy. Coverage for this type of property is often capped as a percentage of your home's value in terms of what you would receive after a loss. For example, if your home is insured for $250,000, your policy may cap any benefits for jewelry at $2,500. One stunning piece in your collection could actually be worth twice that.

If you own valuable jewelry, a firearm collection or artwork, ask your insurance agent about coverage options that will protect you from catastrophic losses in the event these items are damaged, lost or stolen.

Is Actual Cash Value Ever Better Than Replacement Cost Coverage?

Some homeowners opt for actual cash value coverage because their insurance premiums are lower than if they chose a policy that offers replacement cost. While standard homeowners insurance will cover your house with replacement cost, it may be possible to choose actual cash value to cover the home itself. That option may depend on whether you are still paying the mortgage on the property, however, as your lender may require a higher level of insurance in that event.

If you or your spouse is a contractor or works in the construction industry, opting for the cheaper coverage and doing the majority of home repairs yourself may be the wiser choice. For example, say your 20-year-old roof is insured at actual cash value. A windstorm damages so many shingles it needs to be replaced. Perhaps having a new roof put on would cost $15,000, but your insurance company will only reimburse you $8,000 due to the roof's age. If you can purchase the materials for $5,000 and do the work yourself with a little help from friends and family, this may be the better option than replacement cost coverage.

Another case where actual cash value for contents coverage may be a better decision is in the event you are renting out the home. You can save on your premiums, as most landlords require their renters to be responsible for insuring the personal property stored inside.

Can I Change My Mind Concerning My Coverage Options?

Absolutely! You may have decided to go with actual cash value insurance coverage when you first purchased your home in order to save a bit of money. Perhaps now that you have settled into the house, you can afford slightly higher premiums for the expanded coverage offered by replacement cost. Or maybe you are now renting out a home in which you used to live and would rather choose actual cash value.

Either way, it's always recommended to review your homeowners policy options every year to make sure your coverage options are still the best choice for your current circumstances.

 

Home Business Insurance

You Can't Start a Home Business Without This

Across America, millions of people are enjoying the earning potential that can come from having a home-based business. For some, this form of income is ideal because it provides the flexibility to work part-time around family needs and schedules. For others, a home-based business is a full-time venture. Whatever your type of business, you may benefit from having a home-based business insurance policy to protect it.

Home-Based Business Quick Facts

  • Americans currently run approximately 38 million home-based businesses
  • Statistically speaking, a new in-home business starts up every 12 seconds in this country
  • About 70% of all home-based businesses are still operating 3 years after inception
  • U.S. home-based businesses generate more than $425 billion each year 
  • Approximately 20% of all home-based businesses earn more than $100,000 a year

What Are My Options for Home Business Insurance Coverage?

A business insurance policy can protect you from potential liability claims and from loss or damage to your merchandise and equipment. There are a wide variety of different kinds of home-based businesses as well as different ways of attaining this coverage. Your main options include:

  • Your homeowners or renters insurance policy: For some smaller home-businesses, simply purchasing an addendum to your home or renters insurance policy will meet your coverage needs. This is ideal for home businesses that do not have a lot of expensive merchandise or equipment to insure. For less than $10 a month, you can receive about $2,500 worth of additional personal property coverage for your business equipment. This sort of coverage does not protect you from liability, however, so if your business faces the potential of a liability lawsuit, you may want to see out one of the options below.
  • A home business policy: These policies are ideal for medium-sized businesses that have assets between $2,500 and $10,000 as well as those that face the potential for a lawsuit due to injuries, property damage or poor work quality. This type of policy generally costs about $20 to $30 month, can provide up to $10,000 in property coverage and $1 million in liability coverage.
  • A commercial insurance policy: This sort of policy is meant for larger home-based businesses that have many assets and require a vast amount of coverage. Policies will generally offer several types of liability coverage, including malpractice and negligence in provision insurance. Commercial insurance can provide millions of dollars in property coverage. You can expect a policy of this type for a home business to cost between $50 and $100 a month.

Most home-based businesses can be fully covered with one of these coverage options.

Why Would I Need Home Business Insurance Coverage?

There are a number of circumstances where a home-business insurance policy can save you from financial loss. Risks vary by industry, but consider the following scenarios:

  • If you keep a large amount of inventory in your home and it is damaged in a fire or stolen during a burglary, you may lose thousands of dollars.
  • If work you do has errors that lead to financial losses or embarrassment for a client, you may find yourself on the wrong end of an "errors and omissions" liability claim.
  • If you do product demonstrations and someone becomes ill or injured as a result of using the product you are showcasing, you may be sued for medical costs.
  • If you travel to your clients’ property to do your work, such as with a lawn care or home-organization business, and you inadvertently damage something of great value to your client, you may be sued for property damage.

There are a number of instances where those who run a home-based business may find themselves in need of a suitable home business insurance policy.
 

What Does In-Home Business Insurance Cover?

An insurance policy for your home-based business can provide the following:

  • Liability coverage: This provides insurance to shield you from losses due to liability claims. A home-business insurance policy will allow you to purchase between $300,000 and $1 million in liability coverage.
  • Property coverage: This provides insurance to shield you from loss or damage to your business assets, including computers and other equipment, merchandise, materials and inventory. You can purchase up to $10,000 in property coverage with a home business insurance plan.
  • Lost income coverage: If you are forced to temporarily cease business operations due to damage caused by a covered event, this insurance will enable you to continue receiving the income necessary to pay employees and bills for up to one year.

Depending on the insurance provider you choose, you may have other coverage options available to you. Some policies will even allow you to include your coverage for up to three employees.

Landlord Insurance

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Landlord Insurance Protects You From Loss

Property investors who lease homes, condos and apartments to tenants often purchase landlord insurance to protect those investments. If you are a new owner of a rental property, or you want to compare landlord insurance quotes to find a better deal, the following information and tips may help you.

First and foremost, know that Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance can help you compare quotes and obtain the right coverage for your property. No two rental properties are alike, and it is important to get the right level of coverage based on your specific risks and the type of real estate you own. 

Basic Landlord Insurance Coverage

You might think of this policy as homeowners insurance for landlords. As with homeowners insurance, your policy will cover the structure itself, in the event that it is damaged by any number of causes, such as storms, fire or malicious acts. The policy will also typically provide liability protection to cover injuries to anyone on the premises in the event that these injuries are deemed to be your fault or the result of negligence on your part.

A basic landlord insurance policy will typically include:

  • Building insurance for damage to structures such as the rental home or apartment complex, as well as sheds, garages, fences, retaining walls and swimming pools. Building coverage also usually includes any gardening and maintenance tools and equipment you personally own for maintaining the property.
  • General liability coverage for accidents and injuries that may occur on the premises.

One key difference between home insurance and insurance for landlords is that you typically do not need to insure personal property such as clothes and jewelry. Because your tenants are responsible for insuring their own belongings with renters insurance, your coverage does not need to include personal property insurance, except to cover tools and other items associated with your property maintenance.

If, however, you are leasing a furnished home or apartment, you will need to purchase contents coverage for the belongings in the leased space.

Additional Coverage to Consider

While a basic policy will cover many of the typical problems and claims you may face as a real estate investor and landlord, here are some additional types of coverage to consider:

  • Coverage for legal fees: If you do have a legal claim filed against you, there are many costs that can potentially be associated with such an event. Legal fees alone can be enough to put many landlords out of business. Your liability coverage is designed to help you cover the cost of litigation.
  • Coverage for loss of rent: This coverage will help you to replace the rental income you may lose in the event that your building becomes uninhabitable due to fire, flood, or damage caused by a tenant.
  • Additional rental business insurance: For example, if you have office staff that handles books, records and accounting, you may want business fraud coverage.
  • Umbrella liability: Umbrella liability insurance exists because even when you have the best intent and follow best practices, injuries can still happen. An umbrella policy can provide broader liability coverage with higher limits to help cover unforeseen bodily injuries, property damage and legal claims.
  • Workers comp: If you have a staff that maintains the grounds or provides building maintenance, you may need workers compensation for your employees.
  • Additional natural disaster coverage: Some but not all types of storm damage may be included in your landlord insurance policy. Be sure to read through your policy carefully to determine which types of disasters are covered, and ask your agent to help you determine if additional riders make sense. If you live in a flood zone, for example, you may want to add flood insurance.

Five Tips for Lowering Landlord Insurance Rates

  1. Reach out to us at Portsmouth Atlantic and we can can review policies and options available from multiple insurance companies.
  2. Ask us about property enhancements that can lower your rates. For example, you may be able to get discounts by adding fire sprinklers to all rental units.
  3. Increase your deductibles. Rather than reducing coverage to save money, ask for a higher deductible, which will lower your premium while keeping you protected.
  4. Ask us whether bundling is available. Many companies bundle multiple policy types, which can reduce your premiums. 
  5. Keep your property well-maintained to avoid risks to your renters and to your property. Avoiding claims in the first place can potentially help you save money on your landlord insurance.

 

Preventing Ice Dams

Stopping ice dams is simple, in principle: Just keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. You do that by increasing ventilation, adding insulation, and sealing off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof, as shown in the illustration below. By taking care of these trouble spots, listed here in order of priority, you should enjoy a winter free of dams and use less energy to boot.

1. Ventilate Eaves And Ridge
A ridge vent paired with continuous soffit vents circulates cold air under the entire roof. Both ridge and soffit vents should have the same size openings and provide at least 1 square foot of opening for every 300 square feet of attic floor. Place baffles at the eaves to maintain a clear path for the airflow from the soffit vents.

2. Cap the Hatch
An unsealed attic hatch or whole-house fan is a massive opening for heat to escape. Cover them with weatherstripped caps made from foil-faced foam board held together with aluminum tape.

3. Exhaust to the Outside
Make sure that the ducts connected to the kitchen, bathroom, and dryer vents all lead outdoors through either the roof or walls, but never through the soffit.

4. Add Insulation
More insulation on the attic floor keeps the heat where it belongs. To find how much insulation your attic needs, check with your local building department.

5. Install Sealed Can Lights
Old-style recessed lights give off great plumes of heat and can't be insulated without creating a fire hazard. Replace them with sealed "IC" fixtures, which can be covered with insulation.

6. Flash Around Chimneys
Bridge the gap between chimney and house framing with L-shaped steel flashing held in place with unbroken beads of a fire-stop sealant. Using canned spray foam or insulation isn't fire safe.

7. Seal and Insulate Ducts
Spread fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of HVAC ducts and exhaust ducts. Cover them entirely with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass.

8. Caulk Penetrations
Seal around electrical cables and vent pipes with a fire-stop sealant. Also, look for any spots where light shines up from below or the insulation is stained black by the dirt from passing air.

Frozen Pipes!

Don't Let the Cold Get to Your Pipes This Winter

It’s hard to think of a worse start to a winter day in New Hampshire than turning on the faucet and … nothing. Maybe there’s a trickle of water, but it’s clear you have a frozen pipe. So, what now? Here are some smart tips to help you prevent or address what could easily become a very messy and expensive situation:

·         See to your outdoor water lines: Before cold weather arrives, drain water sprinkler and swimming pool supply lines, and remove, drain and store outdoor hoses. If possible, close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs, and open the outside hose bibs for draining. Keep them open so any remaining water can expand without breaking the pipe. If you can't shut off the water from the inside, pick up some foam faucet covers.

·         Keep your home warm: Maintain an interior temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even when you’re sleeping or not at home. Seal any drafts and leave interior doors open to help keep an even temperature from room to room.

·         Tend to those pipes: Leave the cabinet doors open in the kitchen and bathroom so your pipes aren’t shut off from the warm air. You can also insulate your pipes with sleeves, heat tape or heat cable. Insulation is especially important in unheated areas, such as your attic, basement, garage or crawl space, and for pipes running along exterior walls. During severe cold spells, you may want to leave all faucets, both hot and cold, running at a slight trickle.

·         Call in a professional: Frozen water in your pipes can cause them to burst, meaning you’ll have a mess on your hands once that water unthaws. So, act quickly to shut off your main water supply, and call in a licensed plumber to see to the situation.

Finally, be sure to touch base with us at Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance to check whether you’re covered for the damage a frozen pipe may cause. We’re happy to answer all of your policy questions this winter, and beyond.

What is Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella Insurance Policies Provide Extra Protection

A rain umbrella protects you from getting wet, but doesn’t stop the raindrops from falling. Umbrella liability insurance is similar in that it cannot prevent accidents or mishaps, but can make those things less devastating financially.

Your primary insurance coverage, like your homeowners and auto policies, includes liability coverage up to a certain limit. Liability is your legal responsibility to pay for damage to a person or to a person’s property. An umbrella policy increases your liability coverage substantially—more types of claims are covered and at a higher limit.

To get all the information you need about umbrella liability insurance, contact us at 603-431-4020. We write umbrella insurance in the states of NH, ME, MA, CT & VT.

Who Can Benefit from Umbrella Insurance?

  • Anyone with assets to protect
  • Everyone who drives a vehicle, including a car, motorcycle, boat or ATV
  • Everyone who owns or rents a home

In our litigious society, we must protect our assets from lawsuits. The primary reason for carrying umbrella insurance is that you never know what you may be responsible for. Accidents happen, and when they do, you may be held legally responsible for resulting bodily injury and property damage as well as legal fees, all of which can quickly escalate to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you cause an accident, the legal system makes a judgment that, between you and the injured person, you should be the one to shoulder the financial repercussions. The person who suffered damage is then entitled to collect what is owed by claiming insurance proceeds. If the money provided by the insurance company is inadequate, a claim may be made on your income, assets and savings.

Adequate liability insurance protects you from these financial consequences. Pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills and property damage are some of the items you may be sued for that are covered by umbrella liability insurance.

What Does Umbrella Insurance Cover?

A personal umbrella insurance policy provides additional protection by increasing coverage for liability in two ways:

  • Increases the dollar limit of liability coverage for primary policies
    Example: Assume the coverage limit on the liability portion of your auto insurance totals $300,000. If you purchase an umbrella policy of $1 million, and you cause an accident that exceeds your the $300,000 limit on your auto policy, your umbrella insurance can cover the remainder, up to $1 million dollars (a total of $1.3 million total liability coverage, in this case)
  • Covers claims excluded by primary policies
    Example: Typical liability policies may not cover damage claims resulting from false arrest, libel, slander, or defamation of character. If you are held liable for damages caused by these types of claims, the umbrella policy can help you cover costs.

The $300,000 liability limit in the prior examples may seem like a lot of coverage in the abstract, but can easily be exceeded in serious accidents.

How Much Umbrella Insurance Do You Need?

The right amount of liability insurance for any individual, family or business depends upon a number of factors. These include the risks you face and the assets you want to protect. For example, if you have a passion for speed boating, you have an increased risk over someone who only takes a dinghy out on the occasional fishing excursion. And if you have a high income, you are more likely to be sued in the event that you are at fault for injury to others.

Some professionals recommend that you add up all of your assets and then double that figure to determine the amount of liability coverage needed. Others look to the costs of medical payments and legal fees, which can vary considerably by region.

To figure out the right amount of liability insurance for you, give us a call at 603-431-4020. We will discuss what kind and amount of liability coverage you should purchase. We work with multiple insurance companies and advocate for you, the consumer, not any one company. We can compare rates and options on your behalf.

Umbrella Liability Claim Examples:

  • Accident: Despite your careful driving and best intentions, you cause a serious accident. Your umbrella policy kicks in when the property damage exceeds the $300,000 liability coverage limit on your auto policy.
  • Dog Bites: Your dog escapes the yard and attacks a neighbor, resulting in extensive medical costs. The umbrella policy covers the excess costs of hospitalization, care and rehabilitation after your homeowners liability coverage is used up.
  • Trampoline: Your son’s school buddies are playing on the trampoline in your yard and one of the boys flies off, suffering a spinal cord injury. Your umbrella liability manages the excess costs after you you exceed the limits on your homeowners or renters liability policy.

You hope these situations never occur, but statistically they sometimes do. You can limit the consequences with an umbrella insurance policy.

Do You Need More Liability Coverage?

You may want to give special consideration to an investment in umbrella insurance in the following circumstances:

  • You are at greater risk for liability if you own a pool or trampoline or ride a powerful motorcycle. Statistics indicate that these activities and others are more likely to lead to expensive liability claims.
  • If you have assets at risk, including retirement savings, business income, college funds, and other assets with total values that exceed the liability maximum on your home or auto policy.
  • One of the best reasons to own an umbrella policy is the attractive price for peace of mind. The premium you pay for the maximum claim payout tends to be low. In other words, relative to the protection afforded, umbrella insurance can be a great deal.

Get a free quote from Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance and get all of your questions answered. We can give you information on the kinds of liability risks and costs associated with your particular situation. Contact us today for an umbrella insurance quote.

Stay Safe During Hurricane Season

Smart preparations help protect homeowners in peak hurricane season

– Now through late October is considered peak hurricane season. To help homeowners keep their families and their property safe during a hurricane, Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance offers tips to help prepare.

Being prepared in advance and taking the appropriate actions to protect your family and property can help to prevent or mitigate injury or losses,” said Jon Merwin, Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance. “Don’t wait for the storm to be headed your direction. Here’s a list of easy-to-do action items that can be completed well in advance and improve your odds of weathering the storm safely.”

Hurricane preparation tips:

• Create or update a home inventory. It is one of the most important, but often overlooked preparations. Homeowners’ insurance claims are more likely to be processed up to twice as quickly when customers have completed a home inventory in advance of a loss, according to The Hanover Insurance Company, a leading property and casualty insurer. 

• Stock emergency supplies, including: a battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, medicines, first aid handbook and kit, and a week’s worth of non-perishable food and water. Other items to have on hand include: prescriptions, pet supplies, plastic sheeting, tape, and toiletries such as diapers.

• Secure your home: Repair loose boards, shingles, shutters, downspouts—the kind of things that could become greater problems in high winds or torrential rain. If you live near the coast, purchase and store materials you may need to board up windows.

• Bring items inside your home that could become dangerous as flying objects, including toys, grills, planters and lawn furniture. 

• Purchase battery-operated carbon monoxide and smoke alarms if you have a generator you may have to use. To help ensure safe operation, take time to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  

• Develop an evacuation plan, and know where local shelters are locatedIf you have a furry friend, be sure you have a list of local shelters and hotels that allow pets.

• Create a list of key telephone numbers, including, family, friends, fire, police, insurance agent’s, etc. that may be needed in the event of an emergency.

• Sign up for weather alerts. Stay alert about approaching weather and follow advice from local officials to stay safe during storms.

• Review your homeowners policy with your insurance agent to determine whether you have adequate protection. In particular, consider whether you have flood insurance and if your policy will cover current rebuilding costs.

Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance

Writing Insurance in NH, VT, CT, MA and ME | Phone: 1.603.431.4020|Fax: 1.888.336.0601

601 Islington St., STE 101, |  Portsmouth, NH 03801 | 

www.portsmouthatlanticins.com

Green Alliance Member

 

 

 

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance.  By providing this information to you, Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

 

©2015 [Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance] All Rights Reserved.

6 Tips to Prepare for Blackouts!

 

 

1. Follow energy conservation measures to reduce electricity usage, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts.

2. Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer. Leave about an inch of space inside each one to account for expansion. Chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.

3. Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.

4. Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.

5. Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help in lifting it.

6. Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.

Courtesy of The National Preparedness Community and your friends at Portsmouth Atlantic Ins. 601 Islington St. Unit 101, Portsmouth, NH (603) 431-4020

 

Tips for Surviving Severe Cold Weather

Much of the country periodically experiences severe and sustained cold weather, with snowfalls interspersed with periods of melting and freezing. This can inflict considerable damage on homes.

Here are some tips and steps you can take to keep your home safe and make insurance losses less likely during extended severe weather. 

  • Keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free from snow and ice.
  • Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Keep gutters free of leaves and debris so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into your house.
  • Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.
  • Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.
  • Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.
  • If you own a swimming pool and temperatures are expected to dip below freezing, run the pool pump at night to keep the water flowing through the pipes.
  • If you haven’t already, make sure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.
  • If your garage is attached to your house, keep the garage doors closed. The door leading to the house is probably not as well-insulated as an exterior door.
  • If ice forms on tree limbs, watch for dead, damaged or dangerous branches that could break and fall because of ice, snow or wind and damage your house, a car, or injure someone walking near your property.
  • If you use fireplaces, wood stoves and electric heaters, watch them closely and make sure they are working properly.
  • Remember to close the flue in your fireplace when you’re not using it.
  • If you have to leave your home on a trip, ask a neighbor to check the house regularly. If there is a problem with frozen pipes or water leakage, attending to it quickly could mean far less damage.
  • If you plan to be away for an extended period of time (or if temperatures are expected to remain below freezing), have the water system, including pool plumbing, have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting.

A Worst-Case Scenario

  • If you discover that pipes are frozen, don’t wait for them to burst. Take measures to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
  • If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don’t want the water to do more damage than it already has.
  • Call your agent or company as soon as you can. An insurance adjuster doesn’t need to see the spill before you take action. However, he or she will want to inspect any damaged items.
  • Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.
  • Make a list of the damaged articles.
  • Save the receipts for what you spend—including additional living expenses if you must leave your home until repairs are completed—and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Standard homeowners policies will cover most of the kinds of damage that result from a freeze. For example, if house pipes freeze and burst or if ice forms in gutters and causes water to back up under roof shingles and seep into the house. You would also be covered if the weight of snow or ice damages your house.

However, most policies do not cover backups in sewers and drains or flood damage, which can also happen in winter. To be covered for flooding, you need a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program, while coverage for sewers and drains is generally offered as an endorsement to a standard homeowners insurance policy.

If your home suffers water damage, it is important to make sure that it is properly dried and repaired to prevent any potential problem with mold. Remember, mold can not survive without moisture.

Check with your agent or company so you’ll be sure what your policy covers.

Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance Continues to Expand in New England

By Katelyn | Nov 6, 2014 | in Miscellaneous

Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance has done remarkably well providing home, auto, and other forms of insurance to New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont residents, and has lately experienced more expansion into the Massachusetts market. This new development has been facilitated by Jessica Roberts, who recently joined Portsmouth Atlantic, and has more than seven years of experience selling insurance in Massachusetts. She has been a great addition to the team and her experience in Massachusetts has helped the company to further grow into the state. In Massachusetts, Portsmouth Atlantic is able to write insurance with Safeco Insurance, National General, Hanover, MetLife, and the Andover & Concord Group.

This family owned agency represents a variety of insurance companies, with their emphasis on customer and claims service. The goal is to work with carriers that provide customers great service, are reliable, and are there for them during their claims. Portsmouth Atlantic aims to give the greater Seacoast area residents a local option for their insurance needs, as opposed to the large and distant insurance companies. This means that Portsmouth Atlantic can provide its customers with a more personalized experience, quality service, and full disclosure of their business practices, all while being a more environmentally friendly business.

Portsmouth Atlantic has been working to make their office more sustainable through a variety of practice including using 100% recycled paper, paper towels, and toilet paper, biodegradable plastic bags, and 7th Generation cleaning products. They have also been using a paperless management system since 2005 and email the majority of quotes to their customers. Portsmouth Atlantic has taken great measures to recycle as much as possible, including their printer and toner cartridges.

Portsmouth Atlantic is able to offer a long list of discounts to many people throughout the Seacoast area. UNH alumni, employees, and City of Portsmouth employees can receive a group discount on their home and auto insurance through several of the insurance companies that Portsmouth Atlantic works with. In addition, many UNH graduates find themselves in Boston after graduation and Portsmouth Atlantic is able to save them around $300 a year on their auto insurance through their Public Transport Discount.

Green Alliance members are able to receive a referral incentive from Portsmouth Atlantic, where if they refer a new friend or family member to the agency for a home or auto quote, the GA member will get a $20 gift card to the GA business of their choice! Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance is offering this incentive on top of the Green Alliance discount they already offer, which is that Green Alliance members receive a free tote bag for purchasing a new policy and a tree will be planted on their behalf through plantabillion.org.

For more information about the savings at Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance visit their discount page here.

To learn more about Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance, as well as their discount for Green Alliance members, click here. Not a member? Join here!


Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance Achieves Green Dreams, Moves to New Location

By Kyle | Feb 7, 2014 | GREEN ALLIANCE

Insurance is a necessary aspect of most everyone’s life. There’s no way to avoid the cost of insurance; however, Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance makes finding the best rates and policies easy. Unlike most industries where ‘buying direct’ is the least expensive method, in the insurance industry, working with an insurance company will actually save you money. This is particularly true with PAI, an independent agent who doesn’t show loyalty to any one carrier, enabling them to shop for the best rates on your behalf. PAI stays true to finding the best rates available while offering more personalized service for every customer. PAI will personally reach out to carriers if your claim is being processed too slowly, or shop for a better rate among several carriers if you are unhappy with your current rates.

By choosing Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance, you’re not only supporting a local business—based out of Portsmouth with a satellite office in downtown Durham— but a business whose ultimate goal is to be the greenest insurance agency in the state. In 2005, PAI began their green efforts by pledging to implement a paperless management system—a very audacious goal for an industry that typically uses a large amount of paper. PAI has stayed true to this pledge by using computers and Internet to store clients’ documents. These documents can be accessed quickly; saving time that can be spent working with and for customers. Going paperless saves PAI money, time and effort while helping the environment. In addition to using minimum amounts of paper, PAI uses biodegradable plastic bags, Seventh Generation cleaning products, e-fax,100% recycled paper (for the few paper needs that still exist), and recycled paper towels.

This growing company has recently moved to a new location! Now stop by 601 Islington St., Suite 101 in Portsmouth (attached to the White Heron) for expert personal advice on insurance rates and policies!

Green Alliance Members receive a FREE tote bag and tree planted on their behalf through plantabillion.org for every policy purchased!