Is Your Home Prepared for the Winter?

WinterWhile it feels like fall just arrived and we don’t want to rush the cold winter weather, now is the time to start preparing your property for the winter season.

To properly prepare your home for the cold weather, we have outlined some tips to help save you time, money and energy this season:

Examine your roof – Inspect for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak during winter’s storms or from melting snow.

Clean out the gutters – Remove leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters, so melting snow and ice can flow freely. This can also help prevent ice dams.

Install storm doors and windows, which can increase energy efficiency by 45% by sealing drafts and reducing air flow. Making sure these are installed and securely shut can help save you a great deal of energy and money.

On the same track, window insulation kits are available for just a few dollars at your local hardware store, and add a buffer against draft and extra still air space.

Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations. Use caulking to seal around any wall openings, preventing cold air and moisture from entering your home. Caulk and install weather stripping around windows and doors to prevent warm air from leaking out and cold air from blowing in.

Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located. If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence. The quicker you can shut off the water, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.

Prepare your fireplace – Make sure your fireplace (or any heating appliance burning gas, oil, wood or coal), chimney and vents are clean and in good condition. This will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from creeping into your home.

For more tips on how to properly winterize your home call OceanPoint Insurance today at 847.5200. Remember that no home is fully prepared without the proper homeowners insurance. Be sure to ask your OceanPoint agent to review your policy and ensure you’re fully covered for whatever winter throws your way.

Safeguard Your Property This Hurricane Season

hurricaneThe Atlantic hurricane season began in June, but with 10 of the costliest hurricanes on record arriving between August and October, now is the time to prepare for the worst by doing your best to protect your property.

Some of the most important actions home and business owners can take are trimming trees surrounding their properties and ensuring that any furniture and lightweight yard structures and decorations are secure.

The Weather Channel reports that the number of hurricanes and tropical storms rises dramatically in August, and peaks in September and October. But there are no concrete assurances when one of these great natural disasters will arrive. Among the biggest hurricanes the United States has experienced, Katrina, Irene and Andrew all arrived in August, Ike was in September and Sandy hit in October.

To prepare for these events, owners can take some straightforward precautionary steps to help protect their investments.

Trim nearby trees of their low-hanging or weak branches to prevent them from being torn off in a storm and thrown into homes and businesses. Try to keep branches from growing longer than five feet. Remove branches that are hanging over the edifice that could fall onto a roof during a storm. Remove leaves, sticks or other debris that can easily be blown around from yards, driveways or parking lots, including gravel or other rocks used in walkways or flowerbeds. Also, arrange with the local municipal authorities or a contractor to have tree limbs trimmed away from nearby power lines.

It may also be wise to consult an arborist or tree doctor about the roots of nearby trees, as the large amounts of rain that accompany hurricanes can loosen roots and possibly cause trees to fall into homes or businesses.

Items kept outside a structure should also be considered. Remove and store lawn furniture and place garbage cans and potted plants in a safe area out of reach of hurricane winds, such as in a garage or basement. Sections of fences or swinging fence doors should be secured.

As a leading provider of personal and commercial insurance coverage in Rhode Island, OceanPoint wants our clients to understand the risks of hurricanes and take the right precautions so that unexpected claims do not become necessary following heavy storms.

OceanPoint Insurance Agency is committed to providing clients with the best possible solutions to obtain protection and peace of mind. To learn more about how to protect your property during hurricane season, call us at 847.5200.

 

Life Insurance Protects The Ones You Leave Behind

Life InsuranceUnderstanding your options is easier than you might think

Reviewing your life insurance coverage can often seem like a daunting task. While advance planning for a time when you are no longer here for your family is challenging, it is also one of the best ways to protect them.

OceanPoint Insurance is committed to helping you safeguard what matters most, and in recognition of Life Insurance Month we offer the following facts regarding life insurance.

Many people are often dissuaded from purchasing life insurance because they believe it is too expensive. This is one of the most common misconceptions. Depending on your personal needs and budget, there are several options available to you:

Term life – As the most inexpensive form of insurance, there are no cash values or dividends. Term policies are purchased for a specific period of time such as 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. If an insured loved one passes away during that time period, a beneficiary is paid the dollar value of the policy.

Whole life – A whole life policy is protection for someone’s entire life. Premiums, which insurance companies invest, stay the same during the life of the policy. There are cash values, and some companies pay policyholders’ dividends. The cost is higher, but it is considered more effective for estate planning.

Universal life – A valuable coverage and living benefit, universal life policy allows for more flexibility and is more of an investment vehicle, however, increased contributions may be necessary if the investment interest assumptions are not met.

Variable life – Offering more investment options than a universal life policy, a variable policy allows the policyholder the ability to select the investment options.

While no one chooses to leave their loved ones unprotected, being unprepared for life’s unexpected events can do just that. If something should happen, life insurance provides your dependents with income so they may continue to live comfortably. Options can also include coverage for medical, legal, and funeral costs as well.

At OceanPoint Insurance, we are dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of you and your family. For a complimentary review of your life insurance options, please call us today at 401.847.5200.

Insurance For Your College Student is a Smart Investment

College StudentAs you already know, college tuition has risen dramatically over the last few decades. While the cost to send them to the school of their choice is considerable, so too is the expense of their personal belongings. Laptops, printers, furniture and clothing are just a few of the costly items your students will need to succeed in the college setting.

If their property was stolen or lost, is your child protected?

According to a survey administered by the Insurance Agents of America, Inc. (IIAA), more than 100,000 property crimes on college campuses are reported to police each year. On average, over $1,250 in student property is stolen per theft.  Unfortunately, if your child resides in a college dorm or university community, there are ample opportunities for theft or damage.

While the statistics are alarming, there are options available to help protect your child:

  • Review Your Homeowners Insurance Policy: In most cases, if the student lives in a dorm or college-owned property, their personal possessions are typically insured for loss, damage or theft under your homeowners policy. However, we urge you to review your current policy as some plans are limited in regards to coverage for contents.
  • Secure Renters Insurance: If your child does not live in college-owned housing, their property is not covered under your homeowners policy. To make certain they are insured against loss, we advise you to purchase renters insurance. For as little as $15 – $30 a month, you can ensure they are shielded from financial and emotional strain.

As your trusted insurance provider, we are available to assist you through all of life’s major milestones. For additional information on insuring your college student, please contact your OceanPoint agent today.

Rhode Island is Second Most Expensive State to Insure Teen Drivers

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Not all states are created equal when it comes to the cost of insuring a teenage driver. Due to the increased risk, teenagers are very expensive to insure. According to a report from online auto insurance site insuranceQuotes, U.S. families who add a young driver to their existing auto insurance policy will see an average annual premium increase of 79%.

However, in the state of Rhode Island adding a teen to an auto insurance policy adds an average 119% premium increase. That is the second-highest increase in the nation just behind New Hampshire, which was the highest with a 125.4% increase.

While the premium increase is unavoidable, there are a number of ways you could save on car insurance when you add your teen to your auto policy.

  • Good-student discount – As a full time student, your child may qualify for a Good Student Discount if he or she maintains a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
  • Complete a safe-driving course – Many insurance companies offer a discount if your teen completes a safe driving program.
  • Choose vehicles with safety in mind – Teens should drive vehicles that reduce their chances of crashing in the first place and then protect them from injury in case of a crash. For example, small cars do not offer the best protection in a collision when compared with larger vehicles. Avoid high-horsepower models that might encourage teens to speed. Look for vehicles that earn good crash test ratings and have the latest safety technology.
  • Consider a monitoring device – Several insurers offer in-vehicle electronic devices that allow you to monitor teen driving habits. These systems flag behavior such as speeding, sudden braking, abrupt acceleration and nonuse of seatbelts.

Call your OceanPoint Insurance agent at 401.847.5200 to review your savings options. We’ll help you keep your child safe, even when you can’t be there to protect them.

Kind Heart, Fresh Start Collection to Benefit Local Shelters

06.16_FreshStart_SmStandUpBannerThe community is invited to join BankNewport and OceanPoint Insurance this summer to support local shelters by donating personal care items during the “Kind Heart, Fresh Start” collection drive.

Starting Monday, August 1 through Monday, August 15, all BankNewport and OceanPoint locations will be accepting community donations of toiletry items, including bars of soap, travel size shampoo, tooth brushes, toothpaste and deodorant.

Toiletries gathered during the two-week collection period will benefit the following five local shelters: Good Neighbors (Turner Avenue, Riverside), Harrington Hall (Howard Avenue, Cranston), Lucy’s Hearth (West Main Road, Middletown), McKinney Cooperative Shelter (Meeting Street, Newport), and Welcome House of South County (North Road, Peace Dale).

Tips For Safer International Business Travel

shutterstock_105877472-2Travel is an integral part of conducting business in our global economy, and needs to be conducted with the appropriate duty-of-care standards in mind.

Employers should work with employees who will be traveling abroad to ensure that the travelers can stay as safe as possible under challenging conditions.

According to a recent study conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, Business Traveler magazine and American Express Global Business Travel, the top concerns of business travelers are identity theft, political instability and kidnapping.

The idea of being stranded because of a lockdown or curfew and in-flight terror incident or major health risk such as SARS, Ebola or Zika are among the other major concerns to those traveling abroad for business.

Here are six helpful tips business travelers can use to stay safe during international travels:

1. Protect against theft of personal information

  • Keep copies of all major identification (passport or driver’s license), credit card and travel itinerary and any other valuable documentation.
  • If necessary, email them to yourself so you can have access to the information in the event they get lost or stolen.
  • Leave a copy of these documents with someone back at the office or at home as well in case you lose both the originals and the copies.

2. Use antivirus, spyware security protection on all devices

  • Make sure to use up-to-date antivirus, spyware, security patches and firewalls. Entities in foreign countries have been known to push fake security updates when a user connects to the local network. They then install malware and spyware on the user’s computer.
  • Be sure to have security software on your tablet and smartphone, too. These devices are also vulnerable and not always as secure as your computer.

3. Observe travel warnings

  • Check the U.S. Department of State’s website for travel warnings.

4. Keep family and colleagues informed

  • Leave a detailed itinerary with your family and your office, including a list of contacts for your foreign hosts in case of an emergency.
  • Register your trip with the State Department so you can be notified in case of emergency.

5. Observe health precautions

  • Visit your primary doctor for any needed pre-trip medical care or vaccinations long before your departure date.
  • Obtain medical I.D. bracelets that alert medical personnel to specific conditions or allergies.
  • Carry copies of prescriptions for any medications that you take regularly. Medical personnel will need these in case of emergency because brand names are not the same around the world.

6. Know how to reach the nearest U.S. embassy

  • Know who to call if you run into trouble. Obtain the phone number and address for the U.S. embassy or consulate in the countries you plan to visit.
  • Also, find out how to reach emergency services around the world by Googling “emergency phone number for [name of country]. Although 9-1-1 works in the United States and Canada, it doesn’t always in the rest of the world.

Contact your OceanPoint Insurance agent at 401.847.5200 to learn more about protecting yourself while traveling.

 

Information provided by PropertyCasualty360.

How to Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season

hurricane seasonIf a hurricane were to severely damage your home, would your existing policy be enough to pay for all of the expenses?  Hurricane season has officially begun, which means now is the time to review your homeowners insurance coverage.  At OceanPoint Insurance, our professional agents can examine your current coverage and help you attain the protection you need to weather potential storms. Before you schedule an appointment with us, we have compiled a checklist of a few tips and procedures to complete:

  • Check the limit of your current policy: The real estate value of a house is not the same as the cost to rebuild.
  • Find out what disasters are covered by your existing policy: Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for a variety of disasters. However, all policies also list exclusions, such as floods and earthquakes, which are not covered by the policy.
  • Examine your current policy to see if it includes flood insurance: In case you are not aware, flood insurance may or may not be included in your existing policy. If you live in a flood zone or a hurricane-prone area, purchasing a separate flood insurance policy is a must.
  • Complete a home inventory: Do you know how much it would cost to replace all of your personal possessions? Regardless of whether or not you believe that your coverage is adequate enough, conducting a home inventory is a great way to determine what you do and do not need.
  • Secure your home: Repair loose boards, shingles, shutters, downspouts, etc. These repairs 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.

Don’t wait to review and update your insurance until after you have a loss. Call your OceanPoint Insurance professional today at 401.847.5200 to obtain the insurance protection that’s best for your needs and budget.

Hosting a Summer Party?

summer partyIt is the season of barbeques and backyard parties, and while we look forward to these fun events many hosts don’t realize how much risk they take on. Before you host your next graduation party, cocktail party, and even birthday party, be sure to protect yourself and your guests.

Here are some tips for keeping your summer party safe to avoid claims on your homeowners insurance:

  • Before a party, take the time to make sure that your yard (or party area) is free of uneven patches of ground, mounds and holes, and make sure that entryways are clear of tripping hazards.

Grill SafetyAccording to the National Fire Protection Association, each year an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling. While nearly half of the people who grill do it year-round, July is the peak month for grill fires.

  • 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. Don’t move the grill once it is lit.
  • For charcoal grills, use only lighter fluid designed for grilling. Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids, and never add more lighter fluid once the fire has started.
  • Avoid all grilling activities in enclosed areas. Charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide (CO) fumes, which can be fatal in unventilated areas.
  • Always have a working fire extinguisher nearby.

Pool SafetyThere are on average about 5,100 pool-related injuries per year, according to the CPSC.

  • Install a gated fence around your pool to prevent small children and pets from gaining unassisted access.
  • Equip your door, gate or pool with an audible alarm to alert you if someone enters the pool area or falls into the pool while it is unattended.
  • 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.
  • Check the deck for safety hazards.
  • Become CPR certified

Fire Pit Safety

  • Your fire pit should be 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 the fire.
  • Don’t use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc) to light or relight fires

If you plan on taking advantage of the summer weather by throwing a party, make sure you have all the protection you need. If you have any questions about what you are covered for by your current policies call OceanPoint Insurance at 401.847.5200.

BankNewport to Open Branch at Chapel View

BankNewport  President and CEO, Sandra J. Pattie announced plans to open a new branch office in the first floor space of Building 4000 at Chapel View in Cranston in September 2016.

BankNewport has signed a 15-year lease for the new 2,700-square-foot branch at Chapel View. Located at the main entrance off of Sockanosset Cross Road and adjacent to Panera Bread, the branch will offer easy access for customers.

“BankNewport’s new Chapel View branch will provide added convenience to area customers, residents, commuters, and businesses to access our full range of financial services, delivered by a local team that they know and trust,” stated Sandra Pattie.

The new branch will operate with the universal banker model.  Bankers will be versed to assist customers with teller transactions, product sales, and servicing. Technology will be utilized to streamline transactions and enhance the customer experience in order to allow universal bankers, mortgage loan officers, and business development officers to focus on having conversations with customers to address individual needs and provide tailored solutions.  Easy to navigate electronic tools will allow customers the ability to set up online and mobile banking accounts at the branch.  The branch will also have an image-enabled ATM in the lobby and an outside drive-up ATM.

Pattie added, “There’s genuine excitement about our new branch at Chapel View and we look forward to continuing our role as a true community partner and neighbor to the residents and businesses of Cranston and surrounding communities.”

BankNewport, founded in 1819 and currently holding $1.4 billion in assets, is an FDIC-insured savings bank and is a subsidiary of OceanPoint Financial Partners, MHC (Mutual Holding Company). BankNewport is proud to serve the financial needs of individuals and businesses from 15 banking offices located throughout Rhode Island.