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Did you know that a standard homeowners insurance policy may not cover problems arising from a poorly maintained home? A home maintenance program will safeguard your home against these risks. Here is a selection of tips from our OceanPoint team to keep your home well maintained and in compliance with a typical homeowners insurance policy

  • Check your roof regularly for missing or damaged shingles. A regular roof inspection can help avoid costly water damage from roof leaks.
  • home insurance sump pumpMake sure that the sump pump in your basement is working correctly, check regularly and consider installing a battery back up in case of prolonged power outage.
  • Regularly clean and maintain your home’s gutters and downspouts. Water seepage can cause damage to walls and cracks in the foundation.
  • Termites can cause significant structural damage to your home and are not covered by homeowners insurance. Have your home professionally inspected on a regular basis, and treated immediately at the first sign of any termites.
  • Old or poorly maintained pipes and plumbing can cause water damage to your home. Carefully check for any cracks are damage to your pipes regularly. It is essential that you familiarize yourself where the central water shut off is in your home. In case of a burst pipe or damaged hose, it is imperative that you shut the water off immediately.
  • If you have a deck on your home, make sure you regularly inspect its structure. Older decks can buckle and collapse if not properly maintained. Poorly maintained decks can be hazardous, especially if there are a lot of people on the structure.
  • Home maintenanceThe application of caulk is a great way to prevent water damage from leaky windows and doors and will also insulate your house. It is inexpensive and convenient. Caulking window and door frames can help keep your home watertight, warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • Clean out your dryer’s lint trap and the exhaust duct regularly. When lint builds up in these areas, there is the potential for fire; this is an easily preventable catastrophe.
  • Inadequately maintained chimneys are one of the most common causes of structure fires. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected each year to prevent the possibility of a deadly and costly fire in your home.

Homeowners insurance is designed to protect you from disasters that impact your home but you are expected to properly maintain your home.  Neglectful home maintenance may lead to wear and tear that can potentially lead to bigger problems that may not be covered by your policy.

Your home is a significant investment. Continuously maintain and protect this investment with these easy and cost-effective tips.

Our team at OceanPoint is always available to provide cost savings advice as well as ways to reduce your risk for damage or loss.

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RI Hurricane SeasonNew Englanders are no strangers to the dangers, expenses and inconveniences that hurricanes can bring to our shores. These massive storms grow rapidly as they travel over warm ocean waters and can wreak havoc more than 100 miles inland. Heavy winds, micro-bursts and occasionally tornadoes can tear off roofs and uproot trees; and excessive rain can cause significant flooding. Entire power grids can be down for days. These storms are no joke, and our OceanPoint Insurance team wants you and your family to stay safe!

Hurricane season peaks in September, which is just around the corner. Here’s what you and your family need to know to stay safe and secure during this hurricane season:

  • Consider how you and your family can receive weather notifications this hurricane season. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are one way that state and local public safety officials can keep you informed. WEAs resemble text messages but will have a unique sound and vibration. There is no charge for these messages, and you do not have to subscribe to receive them. If you have a WEA-capable phone and your wireless carrier participates in the program, you will receive these alerts. (More than 100 wireless service providers, including all of the largest carriers, do.)

To learn more about WEAs, please visit the FCC’s website or view the short video below.

  • Make a shelter plan with your family. These plans should include where to take shelter if you are at home or if you are at work during a hurricane. Consider making a plan for during the storm and also an extended “after the storm” plan. Make sure your home is secure and storm ready if you decide to hunker down during the hurricane and ensure that you have enough food and bottled water for an extended period. Many people in Rhode Island were without electricity for up to seven days during the most recent storms, and those in rural areas were also without a water supply throughout the duration. Also, familiarize yourself with the locations of public hurricane and storm shelters in your area. If the storm damages your home, either move to a storm shelter or make arrangements to stay with other family members or friends.

To learn more, download ‘How To Prepare For A Hurricane’

  • RI Hurricane SeasonConsider special circumstances that might affect your choice of shelter during and after a hurricane. Do you have pets? Does anyone in your household have medical needs that might require prescriptions or special equipment? Does anyone in your family have special dietary needs? Are your family’s important documents and papers in a safe and waterproof place that is easily accessible in case of emergency evacuation?
  • Make a Family Emergency Plan and make sure every member of your household has a copy of it. This plan should include household information, emergency meeting place information, out-of-town contacts and other important contact numbers and information that your family might need in case of an emergency.

Download FEMA’s Family Emergency Plan guidelines.

  • Practice your Emergency Plan with the members of your household. This is very important for two reasons. First, it can take out some of the anxiety of having to execute the plan during an actual emergency. Secondly, you may find kinks or things you may not have considered before implementing the Family Emergency Plan in a real hurricane situation that can be addressed and revamped to ensure a safe and effective Family Emergency Plan.

Check your town’s website (Rhode Island or Massachusetts to develop an understanding of your local emergency preparedness plans.

Hurricanes are just part of life when it comes to being a New Englander.  Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe during this hurricane season!  Also, take the time to make sure your home and belongings are adequately insured and pay particular attention to Flood Insurance.  Our team of agents can walk you through to ensure that your insurance policy will cover you in the aftermath of a hurricane.

List of Hurricane Resources

To learn more about WEAs, please visit the FCC’s website or view the short video below.

For Rhode Island

For Massachusetts

Insurance Contacts

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RI Flood InsuranceRI Flood Insurance

In April 2015, Congress began implementing the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA), which repeals some provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, modifies others, and makes additional changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The new law limits the rate of increase for individual premiums to 18%, while increases for average rate classes are capped at 15%. However, non-primary homes, such as secondary or vacation homes or rental properties, are subject to a 25% annual premium increase. In addition to premium increase, HFIAA requires a $25 surcharge on all policies for primary residences, and a $250 surcharge on all other policies, including non-primary residences.

FEMA defines a non-primary residence as a building that will not be lived in by an insured or an insured’s spouse for more than 50% of the 365 days following the policy effective date.

To determine the correct HFIAA surcharge, insurers must now validate primary residence eligibility. Flood insurance providers sent a letter and Verification of Primary Residence Status form to current policyholders to verify their primary residence.

To make sure you only receive the $25 HFIAA surcharge, policyholders must submit one of the following with the form:

  • Drivers license
  • Automobile registration
  • Proof of insurance for a vehicle
  • Voter registration
  • Documents showing where children attend school
  • Homestead Tax Credit form for primary residence

Because this premium surcharge is mandated by law, if documentation is not provided your renewal premium will automatically reflect the $250 HFIAA surcharge. We strongly encourage you to review your renewal policy to confirm that it is being rated as your primary residence.

If your policy is coming up for renewal and you have not received a letter and form, please contact your OceanPoint agent. If you have any questions, contact our RI Flood Insurance team.

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Rhode Island Flood Insurance

It might seem impossible now, but in the coming months the snow covering the ground will begin to melt. As spring’s warmer temperatures begin to melt the snow, they can also bring heavy spring rain. Unfortunately, until the ground thaws, melting snow and rain cannot be absorbed. The excess water runoff overwhelms drainage systems and can overflow lakes, streams and rivers. With nowhere to go, flood waters can inundate nearby homes and businesses.

In addition to the snowmelt, frozen rivers and streams will also begin to thaw. As the ice breaks and travels downstream, ice jams can block the flow of water, creating flooding upstream. The combination of snowmelt, thawing bodies of water and ice jams, with spring rain can result in serious, widespread flooding.

Rhode Island Flood Insurance

Here are some tips to avoid flooding caused by snowmelt:

  • Remove snow from around your foundation and pay particular attention to the areas around window wells. As snow melts, water could accumulate and seep in.Moving accumulated snow just a few feet away from the house can help avoid a wet basement.
  • Help keep catch basins clear. Where possible, safely clear snow, ice, and debris from the catch basins in your area.
  • Avoid having snow drain next to your house. Make sure your downspouts carry water several feet from your house to a well-drained area.

Water damage caused by flooding is not covered under most standard homeowners policy. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), between 2008 and 2012, the average flood claim was over $38,000. That’s more than most people can afford to pay out-of-pocket for flood damages—and without flood insurance, many must cover the costs to repair or rebuild on their own.

A flood does not have to be a catastrophic event to bring high out-of-pocket costs, and you don’t have to live in a high-risk flood area to suffer flood damage. Depending on the location of your home, you may qualify for a Preferred Rate Policy.

It takes 30-days for a flood insurance policy to take effect, so don’t wait until the snow starts melting. To learn more about Rhode Island Flood Insurance contact the OceanPoint Insurance Team.

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shutterstock_37537042Spring is here, meaning the rainy season has begun, which poses risk for flooding. Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, so it’s important we prepare for the potential disaster.

The average waiting period for a flood insurance policy to take effect is 30 days, so act now before it’s too late.

Flooding is common in our area, and there are a variety of ways floods can develop. Some develop slowly, while others such as flash floods, can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall. Excessive rainfall can cause overland flooding, which is when waterways such as rivers or streams overflow. The resulting water flow can exceed the capacity of underground pipes or the capacity of streets and drains, which can flood surrounding areas.

With the change in weather already approaching, it’s crucial you make sure you and your family are protected. We urge you to maximize your protection plan by investing in flood insurance to mitigate the potentially large price tag that comes with flood damage for uninsured.

Many homeowners find out the hard way that a basic home or rental policy does not cover damage from flooding. If your home were to fall victim to flash flooding or excessive rain, your homeowners insurance policy would not pay for any repairs. Even if your property is not located in a designated high-risk flood zone flooding incidents can happen anywhere, anytime. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), about 25% of all flood insurance claims are from areas that are not deemed high-risk.

We encourage you to talk to your OceanPoint Insurance agent about adding a flood insurance policy today to ensure your home and its contents are safe.

Call OceanPoint Insurance today at 847-5200, for more information on your flood insurance options.

RI Flood Insurance Rate ChangesIn 2012 congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which requires the phase out and removal of subsidized rates. This law extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years and requires significant program reform. You should expect changes in your rates beginning October 1, 2013. Over the years, storms like Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina have caused flooding costs to continually increase. Many of the changes will be phased in over time and are designed to make the NFIP more financially stable, ensuring flood insurance rates more accurately reflect the real risk of flooding.

Some of the changes are as follows:

  • Premium increases
  • Exclusion of certain properties from receiving subsidized rates
  • No extension of subsidy for Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) new business policies or Pre-FIRM lapsed policies in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) or D zones
  • Policies issued under the Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension will incur an average of a 20% premium increase annually, beginning with new business and renewals.
  • Introduction of Reserve Fund – The Biggert Waters Act of 2012 requires FEMA to build up a reserve fund to help meet the expected future obligations of the NFIP in higher than average loss years. Reserve Fund amounts will be part of the premium calculation for applicable policies and is about 5% of the total premium.
  • The Federal Policy Fee will increase to $44 for Non-Preferred Risk Policies and $22 for Preferred Risk Policies.
  • Elimination of no waiting period due to lender requirement
  • NFIP form changes

Many of these changes can be confusing, and it is important that you are fully aware of what to expect.  It is crucial you stay in contact with your agent while these modifications come into play to ensure you are properly protected at all times.

For more information about RI Flood Insurance rate changes or for a free complimentary policy review contact OceanPoint Insurance today!

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