OceanPoint Insurance, an RI insurance agency, offers homeowners insurance from the top insurance carriers; and a range of financial services.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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wood stove safetyEven though wood stoves provide an old fashioned sense of comfort, they bring several dangers with them. When purchasing and installing a wood stove, it is important to be thorough in your selection process. Whether you are buying a used or new heating system, make sure it is safe to use. If you are planning on purchasing one, make sure it is made out of a sturdy material such as cast iron or steel. If you are buying a used one, carefully check for cracks and other defects.

Before you install or light your wood stove, it should be properly inspected and certified. Check with a certified professional to meet the proper regulations in the following areas:

  • Fire and building codes
  • Chimney/ Flue guidelines (location, lining and length)
  • Floor mounting of your stove
  • Stove pipe
  • Dampers

Once your wood stove is properly installed and checked, the next step is understanding what kind of wood to use. For your stove, it is recommended that you use hard wood. According to the University of Maine Extension Service, woods such as apple and beech have the best heating values. Other recommended woods are red oak, sugar maple, and ironwood. Using the proper wood will prevent the buildup of creosote which can lead to potential dangers.

Once you have your wood, it is important to build a safe and sustainable fire. Remember to always build the fire on a shallow bed of ashes, which provides a heat reflecting surface. Use a small amount of crumpled paper and cover it with a few small sticks of wood fuel before adding larger pieces. If the fire burns too slowly, the draft louvers and the damper above the stove pipe of the stove should be opened. Adjusting the draft and adding frequent but small amounts of wood will help keep your fire going. As a gentle reminder, you should never use kerosene or other flammable liquids in your wood stove.

If you are planning on using a wood stove this winter, make sure that your home is properly covered. Please contact OceanPoint Insurance at 401-847-5200 if you have any questions about coverages.

 

 

 

*Information for this blog provided by the Insurance Information Institute

shutterstock_341191424For most families, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the festive weeks to come. While the holidays are a wonderful time of year, they can also pose many dangers.

Thanksgiving is the leading day for cooking fires, with three times as many cooking fires taking place than on an average day. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 2013, Thanksgiving Day was the leading date for home cooking fires with 1,550, 230% above the average number of fires per day.

Keeping fire and cooking safety top of mind during this joyous but hectic time is important, especially when there is a lot of activity and people at home. Below are some safety tips you can follow to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday:

  • Remain in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen, remember to turn off the stove.
    • According to the NFPA, unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and associated civilian injuries and was the third leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • Make sure kids stay away from the stove, hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables or gravy could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you do not trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
  • If you experience an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

Although a popular cooking method, turkey fryers are very dangerous if used incorrectly.

  • Only use a turkey fryer outdoors, away from trees and wooden structures.
  • Never place a frozen turkey into the fryer, because the mixture of ice and oil can cause flare-ups, or hot-oil explosions.
  • If using propane, leave at least two feet between the tank and the burner.
  • Turkeys weighing more than 12 pounds are unsafe to fry, which is why we recommend turkeys between 8 and 10 pounds if you consider frying a turkey.
  • Do not stuff or marinade the turkey if you are planning to fry it.
  • When finished, remove the pot from the burner and cover it for at least 24-hours before emptying the oil.

For more information on how to keep your home safe, call OceanPoint Insurance at 401-847-5200.

shutterstock_219087598At OceanPoint Insurance, protecting your family is our top priority. As you make final touches to your costumes, stock up on candy, and gear up for some spooktacular fun, we want to remind you of a few safety tips to keep you and your trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween. Additionally, taking steps to prepare your property and protect visitors is also a good idea.

  • For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights. Bags or sacks should also be light colored or decorated with reflective tape.
  • To easily see and be seen, children should also carry flashlights.
  • Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling.
  • Drive slowly and watch for children darting into the street.

Be Aware of Dangers that Might Not be Visible at Night

  • Walk your property before Halloween to identify and minimize potential dangers, especially those difficult to see after dark. For example, check to make sure temporary extension cords are secured to avoid a tripping hazard.
  • Make sure walking surfaces are even and clear of debris, and that any obstacles are clearly marked, such as stakes, exposed roots or holes.
  • Ensure that your front yard, walkway and entryway are well lit so that those unfamiliar with your home can safely navigate.

Halloween is an exciting time for children, but it can also be very dangerous for them as well. Be sure to review these tips with your little ones and make sure they understand their importance. If you have any concerns about keeping your family safe and protecting your property this week, contact OceanPoint Insurance at 847.5200.

shutterstock_219740656Another New England winter is coming fast, and so is the damaging ice, snow and wind that comes along with it. While we would rather put off thinking about winter as long as possible, the time to winterize your home is when the leaves begin to fall – not the snow.

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.

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.