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Long Term care Insurance

As we age, basic everyday activities can become increasingly difficult. Over time, many people discover that they require assistance to go about their daily lives. If you became unable to care for yourself, do you have a plan in place that ensures you receive quality care? Securing a long term care plan now can help alleviate the financial and emotional strain that can arise when extended care is needed.

Long-term care insurance is designed to help offset the expenses of assisted living homes or in-home care professionals. When you or someone you love is in need of extended assistance or care, costs can add up very quickly. If you were required to pay these costs out-of-pocket, would you have the necessary funds needed to pay for them? By investing in long-term care insurance before you need it, you can help mitigate, or in some cases eliminate, future expenses.

The topic of long-term care insurance is one that few people like to discuss. While no one wants to think about themselves or a family member needing this type of coverage, it is a smart investment to safeguard your future

Another reason long-term care coverage is often overlooked is due to a common misconception. Your current health insurance does not include coverage for long-term care. For this reason, it is best to purchase long-term care insurance as early as possible. Your age and health play major factors in determining costs, and purchasing a policy at a younger age can mean much lower rates.

At OceanPoint Insurance, we can help you consider the costs and benefits of Long-term Care Insurance.  For more information, contact our financial services team.

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Even 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

For 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.

The increased proliferation of technology in all of our lives has created a new danger for those who take to the roads every day: distracted driving.

Talking on cell phones, operating navigation or audio devices and, especially, texting while driving create situations for drivers, passengers and those operating nearby or oncoming automobiles that can be extremely hazardous.

Numerous sources cite texting while driving as more dangerous than even driving while intoxicated.

According to Distraction.gov, the official distracted driving information website of the United States government, distracted driving is defined as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” These activities can include talking on a cell phone, eating, drinking, watching a video, adjusting a sound system, checking a navigation system, or even simply talking to passengers.

But by far the greatest distraction, because it involves visual, manual as well as mental attention, is texting.

During the daylight hours, at any time there are up to 660,000 drivers who are texting while behind the wheel, while a full quarter of teenagers respond to a text message at least once each time they drive.

A 2009 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that while texting a driver’s eyes typically leave the road for a full five seconds, or enough time at 55 mph to drive the length of a football field.

Distraction.gov notes that in 2013, 3,154 people were killed and 421,000 people injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. Drivers under the age of 20 make up 10 percent of all distracted driving fatalities, while drivers in their 20s make up 27 percent of distracted driving deaths.

OceanPoint Insurance wants to make our clients and others – especially those who are the parents of teenagers or young adults – aware of the very real danger of distracted driving, especially the distraction of texting while driving.

For more information on the dangers of distracted driving and how to stay safe behind the wheel, call OceanPoint at 847.5200

 

More information is available from Distraction.gov (www.distraction.gov) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which hosts a texting and driving prevention website, “Stop The Texts. Stop The Wrecks” (www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org).

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June 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.

One 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.

At OceanPoint Insurance, our agents are always looking for new innovative ways to save you money and enhance your coverage. Did you know that by simply combining two or more policies could save you hundreds annually?

As an independent insurance agency, we represent over 25 insurance companies. We have the ability to shop around for multi-policy discounts, giving you more options for bundled plans. As an added benefit, OceanPoint also has the ability to switch your policies to another carrier, if your current carrier changes their pricing structure.

Combining your policies not only saves you money – it saves you valuable time. Placing all of your policies with OceanPoint means convenience when paying bills and filing a claim. If any questions arise you have one knowledgeable contact at a local agency, rather then a representative who is not familiar with you or your account.

OceanPoint Insurance provides you choices. We are dedicated to your total protection and are committed to treating you as a person, not a policy.

Call OceanPoint Insurance at 401.847.5200 to discuss your options for combining policies.

In 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.

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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Did you know that Rhode Island requires boaters to have a Boater Safety Education Certificate, not a boating license? Anyone born on or after January 1, 1986, is required to pass an approved boater education course before legally operating any vessel powered by a motor of more than 10 horsepower. In addition, anyone operating a personal watercraft, or jet ski, regardless of age, must have passed an approved boater education course.

In addition to reviewing your local boating laws, it’s important to always practice boating safety. We have provided some tips to help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip:

  • Be weather-wise. We are at the start of hurricane season, and you should always check local weather conditions before departure.
  • Download the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) boating safety app. The USCG released a mobile app last month that features: latest safety regulations, ability to request emergency assistance, file a float plan, and more.
  • Develop a float plan. Always be sure to let someone else know your plan, including where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone.
  • Have proper lifejackets onboard. The majority of drowning accidents result from boaters not wearing a lifejacket. Make sure everyone onboard has a lifejacket and that it properly fits.
  • Avoid alcohol. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved.
  • Consider a free vessel safety check. The USCG offers complimentary boat examinations to evaluate the safety of your vessel.

For more information on boating safety or to inquire about marine insurance, please call OceanPoint Insurance at 401.847.5200.