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

shutterstock_135278885-2June marked the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, 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 begins to rise slowly through June and July but then shoots up in August, peaking in September, slowing in October, and then returning to normal levels through October and November. 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 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.

shutterstock_218158654One of the proudest moments in a parent’s life is watching their child go off to college. At OceanPoint Insurance, our job is to make sure you are prepared for all of life’s important events.

When students leave for college all of their expensive items go with them – cell phones, laptops, TV’s, etc. It is important to be aware of the factors that determine if these items will be covered by insurance. If your child will be living in a dorm on campus, his or her personal property will typically be covered under your homeowners insurance policy. However, you may want to check your policy for coverage limitations on certain high-priced items.

If your child will be living off campus, his or her personal property is usually not covered under your homeowners insurance policy. In that case, you should consider adding a renter’s insurance policy to protect his or her possessions.

Parents should also review their auto insurance options while their child is away. If he or she is not taking a car, there are other options available before dropping them entirely from your auto policy to save money.

Some insurance companies offer a Distant Student Discount for college students with no access to a car except over breaks and vacations. Requirements vary by insurance provider, but in order to be eligible students typically must be at least 100 miles away from home, be attending school full time, and under the age of 23.

As a full time student, your child may also qualify for a Good Student Discount if he or she maintains a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

OceanPoint reminds you if your child is going away to school and taking a car, it is crucial you inform us immediately. Insurance coverage and laws vary from state to state, so if your child is attending school out of state we will need to update your policy. In addition, your child may need to be listed as the primary operator if he or she is taking a family vehicle.

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.

iStock_000010149937LargeIn nineteen 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. Hurricane deductibles are only triggered when a named hurricane makes landfall in the state where the insured property is located. A deductible would not go into effect for a tropical storm, blizzard, or any other weather phenomenon other than a hurricane.

Hurricane deductibles are usually set between 1% and 5% of the dwelling limit – the amount for which a home is insured. As an example, if your home is insured for $300,000 and your policy has a 5% hurricane deductible, you would be responsible for the first $15,000 in hurricane damage. Hurricane deductibles are not permitted to exceed 5% of the dwelling limit.

While hurricane deductibles are not mandatory, many insurers make this 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. Depending on the homeowner’s unique set of circumstances, we will recommend a coverage plan best suited for our client, which may or may not include a hurricane deductible.

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

shutterstock_212307349Why It’s a Problem:

Many homeowners know that frozen pipes are a problem, but many don’t understand why or how they occur, or what to do if such an event occurs.

When water freezes, it expands, which puts an immense amount of pressure on whatever is containing it. Therefore, if enough pressure is created, pipes can break and cause severe damage to your home. That is why we suggest carefully noting the location of your pipes, and insulate as needed to avoid water damage.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes:

 Before the colder weather hits hardest this winter, follow these helpful tips to avoid potential damage:

  •  Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Keep outside valves open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing it to break.
  • When the weather is uncomfortably cold outside, let cold-water drip from the faucet that comes in by exposed pipes.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower temperatures in the evening, you can prevent a costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, leave the heat on and set it to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

Found a Frozen pipe? Thaw It Out:

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a few drips come out, suspect a frozen pipe. Typically, frozen pipes are found along exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer, or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or other open flame device.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

If you see that damage has been caused by a frozen pipe, call a professional immediately. Fortunately, most damage caused by burst pipes within the home is covered under your standard homeowners policy. However, we suggest contacting your OceanPoint Insurance agent today at 401-847-5200 to discuss the terms and be certain you are fully protected.

shutterstock_77565136During the cold winter months in New England, there’s nothing better than cuddling up by the fire with your loved ones. Oftentimes, homeowners have to rely on additional heating sources to keep houses warm. Did you know that heating equipment is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire deaths?

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season. Below we have prepared a few simple fire safety tips and precautions that can help keep you and your family safe.

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, wood stove, fireplace, or portable space heater.
  • Thousands of fires each year can be attributed to faulty electrical cords. Check your cords for frays and cracks, replacing any that aren’t fit for use.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Never use your oven as a source of heat.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • When plugging cords into wall outlets, be sure not to overload the circuit. As a general rule of thumb, stick with one plug per outlet.
  • Have a fire extinguisher in every room that has lit candles, space heaters or other potential fire hazards.
  • Have your chimney inspected for buildup, which could cause a dangerous chimney fire.
  • Make sure your portable heaters are in safe working condition before operating them.

At OceanPoint, we want to make certain your family is safe no matter the season. If you have any questions or would like additional information on how to protect your home and your family this winter, call OceanPoint Insurance at 847-5200.

Thanksgiving_4Thanksgiving is a time for great food, and spending quality time with family and friends. We all know the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving, so it is important you practice kitchen safety. With so much activity and people around, it can be easy to be distracted.

Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment, with 3 times the average number.

To ensure the safety of your loved ones, as well protecting your home, we offer some simple precautionary cooking and kitchen fire safety tips to follow:

  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Keep kids away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of three feet around the stove.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  • If you must use a turkey fryer, make sure it is outdoors and in an open area away from all walls, fences or other structures that could catch on fire and away from moisture that can cause serious burns from steam or splattering hot oil.
  • Have activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time. Games, puzzles or books can keep them busy.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top and oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.

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

pumpkinWitches, ghosts and goblins are ready to come out and scare tomorrow night! But before you journey out for a night of trick-or-treating, be sure to follow these helpful tips to ensure this fun-filled evening happens safely!

  1. Prepare your child’s costume to guarantee they can be seen at all times. This can be done by adding reflective tape or providing them with glow-in-the-dark jewelry. As the night falls, it will be harder for drivers to see children, so remind them to keep their protective wear on at all times.
  2. Remind them never to enter a stranger’s home. Ensure them it is alright to approach a fully-lit home, but tell them that under no circumstances should they go inside.
  3. If traveling with friends, make sure they stay with them the entire evening. It is important your children understand never to travel alone and to have a friend or adult with them at all times. In addition, help to plan your child’s route and remind them to follow it strictly.
  4. Follow basic pedestrian safety rules. Make sure your children know to stay on sidewalks, cross only at corners and be aware of the traffic before crossing. Remember, it is much easier for your children to see a passing car than for a car to see them.
  5. Be sure to check all candy prior to eating. Remind your children that they cannot eat any candy until they come home and have you inspect it first. Be sure to check for any tampering or opened wrappers. To avoid having kids eat their candy during the evening, feed them a well-balanced meal prior to the start of the night.

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 the importance of sticking to them. At OceanPoint Insurance, protecting your family is our top priority, so call us for any questions concerning this article. From all of us at OceanPoint, have a Happy Halloween!

winterAs the inevitable occurs and snow begins to fall, we want to be sure that your home is fully prepared for all that winter may bring. In order to best protect your home, be sure to follow these tips to save yourself time, money and energy this season:

  • Prepare your fireplace: If it has been some time since you last tended to your chimney, call a professional to remove the soot and creosote in order to prevent fires. Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and to stop birds from forming nests. Finally, if your fireplace functions by burning wood, be sure to purchase it ahead of time and store it in a dry place.
  • Clear your gutters of all leaves and debris: If your gutters are clogged, water that is trapped inside can freeze in the winter, causing ice dams and damage to your gutters and roof. Be sure to rake away any potential hazards and keep them free all winter.
  • Keep heat inside the home: Reduce costs on your energy bill by filling in any gaps in the foundation. Caulk and weather-strip your doors and windows, install storm windows or cover them with plastic from the inside to prevent heat from leaving the home.
  • Purchase all necessary equipment before winter hits: Stock up on shovels, rock salt and ice melting materials. Prepare and store an emergency kit in the event that a storm occurs, and be sure to have enough blankets and flashlights for each person in the home. Winter can cause substantial power outages, so it is always a good idea to prepare yourself and your family for these instances.

No home is fully prepared without the proper homeowner’s insurance. Call your OceanPoint Insurance agent today to discuss what is likely to happen during extreme weather conditions and to bring peace of mind knowing it is properly covered.

shutterstock_218240056Move-in day is over, and now you can finally relax. However, we understand that worrying about your child being safe while at college never really ends – so we’re here to help.

Though you may not be able to be with them everyday, it helps to know that you can still keep their belongings and personal property safe. Expensive items such as phones, laptops, TVs and iPods that often accompany most college students to school can be covered under your homeowners’ insurance. If any of these items were stolen or damaged, it would be very costly to replace them. However, you do have options available to insure your child’s security.

If your student goes away to school and is not taking a car with them, you may be thinking of taking them off of your auto insurance policy to save money on your monthly insurance bill. However, what if he comes back for Christmas break and wants the car to visit friends?

Fortunately, some auto insurers offer a discount on insurance for students away at college with no access to a car except over vacations, breaks and summer. If he or she meets certain criteria, you may be eligible for a Distant Student Discount. Requirements vary by insurance provider, but they typically must be at least 100 miles away from home, be attending school full time, and under the age of 23.

As a full time student, your child may also qualify for a Good Student Discount if they maintain a grade average of 3.0 or higher.

At OceanPoint Insurance, we suggest that you review your current homeowners and auto policies with your agent as soon as possible to adjust your coverage if need be and provide yourself with a much-needed peace of mind.

Umbrella Insurance

ri umbrella insurance

You have made the investment in home and auto insurance to protect your house and car, but did you know that sometimes accidents occur where these standard policies do not cover all the damages? You may need Umbrella Insurance.

Your life could change in a split second, and everything you have been working towards could slip away. What is you find yourself the cause of a major car accident? Have you ever thought that your teenager could end up with a slander or libel lawsuit as a result of one of their social media posts? What happens if a neighbor slips and falls in your yard? Any of these accidents could happen to you and they happen very quickly.

Umbrella insurance kicks-in once your standard insurance policies have been exhausted. Without it you could find yourself paying out of pocket to make up the difference that your home or auto policies could not cover.

Typically sold in increments of $1 million dollars or more, umbrella insurance can be added to your existing policies for as little as $150 to $300 per year.

Protect yourself from these potentially life changing accidents and make the investment in umbrella insurance. Contact OceanPoint Insurance  to review your options.

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