November brings a rash of unique driving conditions

From wet leaves to frost covered roads, OceanPoint Insurance wants to remind motorists why maintaining comprehensive auto coverage is important for the dangers they may face in November.

“November is rife with potential dangers for drivers,” said Doug Mayhew, President of OceanPoint Insurance. “From snow to darker roads and more deer this time of year, drivers must navigate perilous conditions that can make it difficult for even the best drivers.”

Run-ins with deer alone — especially likely in the deer mating season of November —average $4,000 in damages and are usually only covered when insuring your vehicle with full coverage. To protect you and your family from financial upheaval, OceanPoint Insurance urges you to review your current policy while reading this list on things to look out for in November.

Keep an eye on your tire pressure

Colder temperatures typically reduce tire pressure in cars, which can contribute to a car accident. In fact, the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency found that tires operating below their recommended tire pressure can be up to three times more likely to be involved in a car accident. Therefore, New Englanders who saw their tire pressure icon light up recently should make it a priority to adjust their tires to the manufacturer’s specifications

More accidents happen at night

Many people may have noticed that their commutes back home have suddenly become darker. Although most driving takes place during the day, the National Safety Council reports that 50 percent of all traffic fatalities happen at night. Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggested that people get into more accidents this time of year because their internal clocks haven’t adjusted to the new schedule and are more likely to drive tired, which some say is comparable to driving under the influence. Besides getting a good night’s rest, there is little that can be done about others’ drowsiness so it’s best to keep a safe distance and be attentive while on the road.

Snow, sleet, wet roads, and leaves can all impact driving

Did you know that wet leaves can excrete oils on the road that can be just as dangerous as driving on snow? Regardless of the type of road conditions, it’s advised that motorists drive slowly and calmly over patches of slippery roadways.

Deer mating season poses another road hazard

Collisions involving animals increase during the month of November partly because it coincides with deer mating season, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Massachusetts and Connecticut alone account for more than 10,000 deer related accidents every year, which means Rhode Islanders are also at risk for running into deer in November. Environmental officials suggest driving more slowly, and stepping on the brakes to minimize damage. Remember not to swerve because you can cause a bigger accident, or a different one altogether that could alter how your insurance provider characterizes the accident.

Even the most experienced drivers can expect to be involved in a car accident or two during their lifetime, and with the average injury claim over $16,000, motorists should be mindful that any accident can jeopardize their financial security if they are not properly insured.

OceanPoint Insurance wants to make sure you are protected under any scenario whether that involves a fender bender or an animal collision. For insurance packages that meet any budget, speak with an OceanPoint Insurance agent at 401-847-5200, or send us an email at info@oceanpointins.com.

Fire safety precautions to consider on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner

As you arrange the dinner table and prepare to greet guests on Thanksgiving, consider keeping an eye on the stove because home-cooking fires peak on this national holiday. Every year, thousands of properties catch fire costing millions in damages.

“With statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration suggesting that Thanksgiving fires are directly related to the cooking aspect of the holiday, there are several things hosts can do to eliminate fire hazards,” said Doug Mayhew, President and CEO of OceanPoint Insurance. “One mistake many individuals make is in trying to control the fire, which puts not only themselves at risk, but also the safety of their family.”

Thanksgiving will remain a popular holiday in the United States for many years to come, but OceanPoint Insurance encourages you to read these Thanksgiving fire safety precautions that could help make the holiday a little safer.

Stay close to the stove

With some turkeys taking over four hours to fully cook in the oven, many hosts leave the kitchen to entertain guests. This is one of the leading contributors of fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Although it may seem inconvenient, remember your guests are there to spend time with you and your family so it’s likely they’ll want to join you in the kitchen if you simply ask.

Keep flammable items away

While 72 percent of fires on Thanksgivings can be attributed to cooking, flammable cloths and other fire hazards can exacerbate a fire. Hosts and people near the stove should avoid wearing loose fitting clothes when dealing with flaming pots because clothes can easily catch on fire. Keep an eye out for flammable objects near the stovetop such as towels or wooden spoons as well.

Have a potluck

With hosts cooking multiple dishes at the same time, it’s no coincidence that fires emerge from overcooked food items. Hosts can reduce the chance of a home fire by asking guests to bring in a dish. This allows hosts to place their undivided attention on cooking the turkey. By asking guests to bring in food, they may also feel more involved on this festive holiday.

Make sure all fire alarms are working 

While many homes are equipped with fire alarms, nearly three out of five deaths from home fires occurred in homes where the alarm was not working properly.  If you have to step out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving, a working fire alarm could give you or your guests ample warning to evacuate the home. It’s a small detail worth covering before Thanksgiving that could save someone’s life.

Although most Thanksgiving fires are covered under homeowners insurance, there is no amount of money that can reimburse damaged relationships or loss of life. With Thanksgiving around the corner, OceanPoint Insurance hopes you heed these fire safety precautions to keep your family safe this November. For other ways to protect your family, speak with an OceanPoint Insurance agent at (401) 847-5200 or send us an email at info@oceanpointins.com.

Turns out many homes aren’t covered in wake of catastrophic hurricanes

Here are some facts about flood insurance

From Texas to Florida and then Puerto Rico, this year has seen a barrage of hurricanes that have crippled residents’ properties. The collective damage of these storms will likely exceed $250 billion, according to economists.

Adam Kamins, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, suggested to CNN Money that there are hidden costs in Hurricane Maria’s aftermath. But the most surprising detail to come to light is that less than 1 percent of homeowners in Puerto Rico and roughly 15 percent of Corpus Christi residents had flood insurance — many will have to rely on federal loans to rebuild their homes.

It’s obvious that hurricanes can cause flooding, but flooding can occur in other ways like the 2010 New England rainstorm that left Rhode Islanders with waterlogged roads and damaged structures. Natural disasters like this will happen again, and it’s important to understand why flood insurance is worth every penny.

Here are some important facts about flood insurance you may not know:

—Floods are generally not covered in regular homeowners insurance. Longtime homeowners may know this, but new home buyers may not know that flood insurance needs to be added to your package separately.

—Floods happen everywhere, regardless of whether your home is in a low-risk area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency notes that 20 percent of claims occur in areas with low to moderate flood risks. This might explain why Rhode Islanders were so devastated by the 2010 rainstorm.  And it might also explain why thousands of Texans weren’t carrying adequate flood insurance.

—Flood insurance premiums vary by area, but premium averages for Rhode Island and many other New England regions are the highest in the nation due to several factors. An OceanPoint Insurance agent can sit down with you and help you find the best rates available.

—Don’t wait for the weather forecast before buying flood insurance because most insurers have a 14 to 30-day waiting period before it can be implemented.

OceanPoint Insurance is ready to assist you in developing a customized insurance package that meets your needs. By ensuring that you are completely covered in the event of a catastrophic loss like the ones we’ve recently witnessed, you can rest assured knowing that your family is protected.

To find out more about flood insurance, give us a call at 401-847-5200, or send us an email at info@oceanpointins.com.

Heed these safety tips for a Happy Halloween

Whether you will be out trick or treating with your tiny goblins or staying at home to give candy to passing ghosts, adults should heed a few safety tips to ensure Halloween continues to be a safe rite of passage for youngsters.

With kids dashing from one home to the next in a race to fill their pumpkin baskets, statistics from Safe Kids Worldwide suggests this festive holiday is linked to an increase in young pedestrian deaths. In fact, kids are more than twice as likely to get seriously hurt on Halloween than on any other day of the year.

As part of our commitment to keep your family safe all year round, we at OceanPoint Insurance want to share some important information we hope you consider during Halloween:

  • Parents should make sure their kids’ costumes contain bright and reflective material. Reflective costumes will grab drivers’ attention and will make them more vigilant in busy neighborhoods.
  • While driving in residential neighborhoods, especially around 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., drivers should have their foot on the brakes to make sure they can stop the vehicle in case a child runs across the street.
  • According to Safe Kids Worldwide, about 12 percent of children 5 years of age and younger are accompanied by an adult. Safe Kids Worldwide advises that all children 12 years old or younger should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Some costumes can impede your child’s ability to move or see. Parents should make an effort to ensure kids have complete mobility and vision because kids could unknowingly walk into oncoming traffic.
  • Before Halloween arrives, parents can talk with their kids about safety. These discussions should include appropriate and safe behaviors like walking on the sidewalk; walking in properly lit areas; using crosswalks and being aware of traffic signals.
  • Homeowners waiting for visitors should have their walkway clean from obstacles because they can pose a safety hazard.
  • While candle lit pumpkins can provide some of the best Halloween backdrops, homeowners should consider replacing them with electric pumpkin lights because the former can pose a fire risk for youngsters wearing fire prone accessories. Candle lit pumpkins can also increase the probability of a house fire.
  • At the end of the night, inspect all of the treats gathered to make sure they are safe for consumption.

As you head into the night with your caped crusader or miniaturized Dracula, keep these tips in mind for a fun and spooky Halloween this year. Call an OceanPoint Insurance agent at one of our locations anytime to discuss other ways to protect the ones you cherish the most.

 

Middletown
500 West Main Road
Middletown, RI 02842
Phone: 401-847-5200
Barrington
26 Bosworth Street
Barrington, RI 02806
Phone: 401-245-3900
Coventry
730 Centre of New England Blvd.
Coventry, RI 02816
Phone: 401-826-3366
North Kingstown
1130 Ten Rod Road, B202
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Phone: 401-295-7651

 

 

Protect your boat from thieves this season

OceanPoint Insurance is committed to giving southern New Englanders peace of mind, and reminding boat owners this fall of proactive measures they can take to protect their boats from theft.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, most watercraft vessels that are stolen are never returned.

Here are six ways to protect your boat this season:

1. Lock it up. . .tight.

Thieves are easily deterred when your vessel proves to be not worth the effort. If you have a trailer, start by locking it up and using a parking boot similar to the ones used on cars. You can take this a step further by locking any latches, and locking any windows.

2. Equip it with an alarm system.

Intruders who are greeted by a blaring sound are usually persuaded to move on to another vessel, in part, because of the unwanted attention from onlookers. Today, security systems are sophisticated enough to take full advantage of technology available in your phone. Another solution that’s easier on the wallet might be to leave a water proof radio running in the background which could be enough to dissuade thieves from jumping aboard in the first place.

3. Move the trailer in an inconvenient position.

Boat owners have every right to park the trailer in a way that is convenient for them, but that also means it’s convenient for thieves. When parking the boat, the boat’s hitch should be pointing towards the driveway. It’s important that unscrupulous individuals don’t see a hitch when they are strolling along the sidewalk, otherwise you could be inviting them to latch on their pickup trucks for an easy steal.

4. Record, record and record some more.

Law enforcement officers will have a hard time helping you if you can’t provide a detailed account of all of your belongings. You should make a log of all the valuable items within the vessel, so law enforcement officials can narrow down the list of thieves who might be looking to fence your belongings for bargain low prices at nearby pawn stores.

5. Personalize your boat in a hidden way.

Since 1972, the federal government has required that all boats manufactured or imported in the United States come with a Hull Identification Number (HIN). All states have additional requirements that may be different from one city to the next, but a precautionary measure would be to engrave the HIN in places someone wouldn’t think to look. This will come in handy if your boat has gone over a radical makeover like a new paint job.

6. Out of sight, out of mind.

Keeping your watercraft in a poorly lit area could be a contributing factor to why your boat is missing the next morning. There is debate about whether lighting could deter criminals from committing crimes, but studies have shown that without street lighting, crimes including thefts in some neighborhoods tend to go up. You can avoid the headache altogether by keeping your vessel in a secure area that is out of sight like a marina or a garage, but it’s advised that other precautionary measures are also taken into account.

For more tips on protecting your investments, speak with an OceanPoint Insurance agent by calling 401-847-5200 or visiting one of our locations.

Floods and Hurricanes Can Happen Anywhere… Even Here

Protect Yourself with Flood Insurance

Over the past few weeks, we have all witnessed the devastation and destruction that a hurricane can bring. Residents of Houston are still recovering from the deluge resulting from Hurricane Harvey, and property owners in Florida are trying to evaluate their losses after Hurricane Irma.  Unfortunately, many of these individuals and business owners are going to find out the hard way that their insurance simply will not cover all the resulting damage.

According to a report in USA Today, 80% of Hurricane Harvey victims do not have flood insurance. Therefore, any family or business with this type of damage to their building or contents will have to go out of pocket to restore things. In many cases, this will cause financial ruin.  In fact, Robert Hunter, Director of Insurance at the Consumer Federation of America, reports that only two of ten homeowners devastated by Hurricane Harvey have flood insurance coverage.

Obviously evaluating your insurance needs after a loss is not the best time and relying on your lender to tell you whether you need flood insurance coverage is simply not a good way to manage risk.  Flash back to the spring floods of 2010 to remember the local devastation that occurred after several days of heavy rain in Rhode Island.  It has happened before and it will certainly occur again.

Some important facts to understand about flood insurance:

– Flooding does occur outside of ‘high-risk’ areas and insurance is available in these areas at a greatly reduced cost even if your mortgage company does not require it.

– You cannot purchase flood insurance right before the storm is coming.  There is typically a 14 or 30 day waiting period with flood insurance unless you are closing on a loan and it’s required.

– There are many private flood insurance options available for homeowners and business owners that are reducing costs and offering improved coverage.

At OceanPoint Insurance, we strive to design customized, complete insurance packages to protect you against catastrophic loss. With the tremendous damage resulting from the most recent hurricanes, and with more forecasted for the season, now is the time to give us a call to review your options and understand ways we can reduce your risk of loss.

Please contact us at 847-5200 or info@oceanpointins.com to discuss your concerns with one of our agents.

Keep Your College Student Protected

As your child goes off to college, you want to make sure they stay safe and protected while they are away. The best way to ensure their safety is to secure the proper insurance coverage.

When students head off to college, many parents often view this as an opportunity to save money by reducing their levels of insurance protection. Here at OceanPoint, we believe it is our responsibility to educate you on how to best safeguard your family. Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere and we want to help you avoid financial loss. If your child is away at school, keeping them on your auto insurance, even if they do not have access to a car, is a wise decision to avoid any uncovered liability claims.

Our agents can help you prepare for the unexpected. Be sure to schedule an appointment with us to discuss the many ways you can keep your child insured, but also remain within your budget. Many insurers often make accommodations for college students. It is important to make sure that the new laptop or television you purchased for their dorm room are all protected. If any of these items were stolen or damaged, it would be very expensive to replace. We recommend that you review your homeowner’s policy with one of our agents to ensure it extends to coverage on their personal items.

If you have any questions regarding insurance for your college student, please feel free to give OceanPoint Insurance a call at 401-847-5200.

 

10 Things Consumers Don’t Typically Know or Understand About Homeowner’s Insurance

Consumer Reports published an article recently about what consumers should know and understand about protecting their largest asset. We at OceanPoint Insurance want to make sure all our customers are clear on every aspect of their homeowner’s insurance.

You May Be Paying Too Much: When it comes to shopping for homeowner’s insurance, a Trusted Choice independent agent from OceanPoint is the way to go. A Trusted Choice  agent can help you shop around and find the best price for you. Reviewing your policy every few years is also a great way to make sure you are paying the right price.

You May Not Have Enough Coverage: Factors such as rising labor and construction costs, and home remodels or additions can increase the amount of coverage needed. Be sure to talk to your agent to update your policy, because ou can never be too covered.

Don’t Worry Too Much About Filing a Small Claim: Talk to your agent about how much your premium would go up and for how long should you file a small claim. If the claim payout is higher than the annual surcharge multiplied by the number of years it would be in effect, then it might be beneficial to file the claim.

Consider Flood Insurance Even If You Don’t Live on the Water: You can never be too prepared for the unexpected. Talk to your agent to look at prices for flood insurance policies. Regularly inspect your home for any leaks or cracks to be sure your home is watertight.

Animal Damage May Not Be Covered: The more damage an animal can do, the more likely it is covered. Smaller vermin (rats, bats, raccoons) are not usually covered. Talk to your agent about what you can do, and be sure to inspect your home for any entryways that vermin could use.

The Larger Your Claim, the More You’ll Need to Document: Documenting your claim well by taking photos or videos and getting written estimates done can help you get the money you need in the time of an unfortunate incident. We at OceanPoint can help you get the right amount to restore your home back to the way it was before the claim.

Your Credit History Will Affect Your Rates: Ask your agent for a copy of your credit-based insurance score and work on trying to improve it if it needs work.  You can also ask your agent to work with you and check in on your score every year.

The Things You Love Most May Not Be Covered: For jewelry, furs, and fine art, you need extra protection called a “floater,” a separate policy with a zero deductible that covers accidental loss. For tech and sports equipment, you may need separate coverage. Talk to you OceanPoint Insurance agent about getting the coverage you need.

Cosmetic Hail Damage May Not Be Covered: Work with your agent to find a policy endorsement to cover cosmetic hail damage. Structural damage should be covered under your current policy.

Renters Still Need Insurance: More and more landlords are requiring renters’ insurance to cover all your valuables within a property. Renters should buy the coverage they need which is usually $12 to $20 per month.

 

Talk to your OceanPoint Insurance Agent for any other questions on Home Insurance at 401-847-5200.

Be Prepared in Advance of a Hurricane

With hurricane season in full swing, your friends at OceanPoint would like to remind you of the importance of being prepared.

According to the Weather Channel, the number of hurricanes and tropical storms begins to increase slowly through July and then rises in August, peaking in September. However, despite these statistics, there is no way of predicting exactly when these natural disasters will strike. Among the biggest hurricanes the Northeast has experienced, Irene and Katrina arrived in August, Earl in September, and Sandy hit in October just 5 years ago.

To safeguard your home from the next big hurricane, please consider the following:
  • Review the limits of your current policy. Remember, the real estate value of a house is not the same as the cost to rebuild.
  • Research what disasters are covered by your existing policy. Be sure you are covered in the event of a hurricane.
  • Examine your current policy to see if you need to add flood insurance. This specialty insurance is a necessity for coastal properties.
  • Complete a home inventory. Keeping a record of your possessions, including receipts and photos when possible, will help make the claims process much easier.
  • Secure your home. Repair loose boards, shingles, shutters, downspouts, etc. If you live near the coast, purchase and store materials you may need to board up windows.
  • Assemble a Basic Disaster Supply Kit. Include water, non-perishable food, crank radio, flashlight, first aid kit, whistle, portable chargers, and a wrench for shutting off utilities.

In several states, including Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, insurance companies offer a special deductible for hurricane damage. A hurricane deductible applies to damage caused solely from a hurricane as categorized by the National Weather Service.

While hurricane deductibles are not mandatory, many insurers require them as a condition for coverage near the coast. As an agency that provides homeowners insurance to many coastal homes, OceanPoint also represents carriers who specialize in coastal coverage that do not require hurricane deductibles.

For more information on hurricane deductibles, or if you have any questions about your homeowners’ policy, please call OceanPoint Insurance at 401.847.5200.

Insure Your Summer Fun with OceanPoint

With summer finally upon us, many families are taking to the outdoors. No matter where your summer adventures take you, OceanPoint Insurance would like to remind you of the importance of reviewing your current insurance policies. To ensure they are providing the levels of protection you need, we encourage you to talk with your OceanPoint agent to make certain you are properly insured.

Summer Toys:

Most people understand the need for RV and motorcycle insurance, but did you know that recreational vehicles also require insurance? Take a look at the different vehicle coverage we at OceanPoint have available:

  • Jet Skis: Jet Ski insurance, though not legally mandatory, is simply a good idea due to the risks of the sport. Factors like hidden rocks or busy motorways put drivers at risk.
  • Motorcycles: Liability insurance is mandatory in RI and pays for damages or injuries you cause in an accident, as well as your legal defense if needed.
  • ATV’s: ATV insurance provides the coverage you need specifically for off-roading. Your policy will cover damage or injuries from an ATV accident, up to the limits of your policy.
  • Boats/Yachts: If you enjoy fishing, sailing, yachting, or cruising around on a powerboat, make sure you have boat insurance that covers your liability risk as well as your watercraft, equipment and passengers.
  • Motorhomes: Motorhome liability insurance is mandatory in RI and will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle after an accident. Whether you are heading down the coast or traveling north to the mountains, be sure you are covered.
Summer Parties:

Before you host your next graduation party, cocktail party, or backyard barbeque, be sure to protect yourself and your guests. Listed below are some tips for keeping your summer party safe and avoiding claims on your homeowner’s insurance:

  • Before a party, take the time to make sure your yard (or party area) is free of uneven patches of ground, mounds and holes, and that entryways are clear of tripping hazards.
  • If you have a fire pit, be sure it is at least 10 feet away from any structure or combustible surface.
  • Always have a container of water nearby and a garden hose on standby before starting a fire.
  • Check gas grill hoses to ensure they’re not blocked, cracked or damaged before use.
  • Operate your barbecue on a level surface, away from your house, garage and landscaping. Never move the grill once it is lit.
  • Make sure no one swims alone. Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area, and see that less experienced swimmers are always accompanied by a swimmer who has water life-saving skills.

To fully enjoy all your summer fun, make sure you have the insurance protection you need. If you have questions about your insurance policy call OceanPoint Insurance at 401.847.5200.