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Seasonable spring weather has finally arrived and with that comes the desire to schedule those much-needed repairs and home improvements. Homeowners recognize and appreciate the importance of having a skilled, experienced contractor perform work on their home. Reputable contractors, in turn, understand that the best way to safeguard their livelihood is through a comprehensive contractor’s insurance policy through OceanPoint.

Whether applying a fresh coat of paint to a home’s exterior, or adding a new sunroom, successful contractors know that using the best materials ensures a positive job completion. Just as important is making sure that the job is insured against personal injury, mishap or financial loss. In addition to facing the risk of accident or injury with each job, contractors are also held to strict standards by their customers.

OceanPoint understands the unique needs of contractors and offers a variety of options to help secure their business. Contractor general liability insurance provides protection from a variety of potentially expensive circumstances, including liability claims and lawsuits. Additionally, the safety and security of those on the job site, as well as the structures being built, must also be considered within the policy.

Coverage options include:

  • General Liability Insurance is a fundamental component of contractors insurance. If you find yourself on the unfortunate side of a lawsuit or other financially pressing issue, general liability will provide the protection you need.
  • Workers’ Compensation is essential for covering costs such as medical expenses acquired by an injured person due to an accident on the job, or for lost wages for an employee who falls ill or injured.

OceanPoint Insurance has been providing contractors with a higher-level of insurance protection for generations. Our agents possess the knowledge and experience to design a customized insurance package for your specific needs and budget.

Call us today at (401) 847-5200 to speak to one of our trusted, local agents.

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Rhode Island Renters Insurance

Watching the local news this winter, we all witnessed the many devastating fires that destroyed countless homes and businesses. While homeowners and business owners are provided assistance with rebuilding their lives through their insurance policies, many renters found out the hard way that their personal belongings are not protected.

If you are currently renting an apartment or condominium and have not secured adequate renters insurance, your property and belongings are not shielded from theft, damage or total loss.

Many renters are unaware that their landlords’ insurance policy strictly covers the property that is owned by the landlord. Though their policy may cover structural damage to your living space, Rhode Island renters insurance fully protects you and your belongings in the case of an accident or natural disaster. Moreover, renters insurance also provides financial assistance to cover any added living expenses you may incur should your apartment become uninhabitable for any reason.

In addition to replacing your stolen or damaged items, renters insurance will also provide liability protection against any injury or loss sustained by guests of your residence, and could pay for necessary repairs if you were to damage another renter’s apartment.

Renters insurance is a smart, cost-effective way to ensure that your home and valuables are protected.

Contact OceanPoint Insurance  and let our insurance agents tailor a Rhode Island renters insurance package specifically for you.

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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.

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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RI Coastal Flood Insurance

The Ocean State, with over 400 miles of coastline, is known for its beaches, bluffs, and scenic waterfronts. Rhode Island’s coast is a vital part of the state’s identity, attracting long- and short-term visitors, and offering opportunities for recreation, industry, and simple enjoyment.

Being within a stone’s throw of the beach is a dream for many, but the realities of coastal living can be harsh. There are many crucial factors to consider before buying a home on the coast, one being RI flood insurance.

The sea-level rising in Rhode Island has worsened over the years and poses a great risk to coastal homeowners. Since 1930, sea-level rise in Rhode Island has increased an average of 1 inch per decade. However, the rate of sea-level rise has quickened and the sea level along Rhode Island’s coast has risen 6 inches over the last 40 years. By 2100, the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council is planning for 3 to 5 feet of

RI Coastal Flood Insurance

sea level rise.

If the property you are considering is not currently located in a flood zone, it very well may be in the future. Be sure to check the 0.2% risk area to see if the property may be in the flood zone in the future, which, with rising sea levels, may offer a more accurate look at the future floodplain.

While a coastal home presents flooding risks, there are many factors that have changed over the years to better protect coastal properties. Many homes along the coast were built before the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created. Now, requirements designed to increase the flood-resistance of coastal structures have been strengthened within international, federal, and state building codes to meet the requirements of the NFIP.

There are improvements that can be made to a home to better protect it from natural disasters:

  • Consider shoreline protection structures such as seawalls, jetties, breakwaters, and bulkheads.
  • Choose materials that are resistant to damage from flooding, termites and other hazards.
  • Install appliances above a potential flood level. For example, install a front-loading washer on a platform, or over a built-in drawer.
  • Make sure you have a sealed roof deck
    • Consider sealing roof decking seams with six-inch-wide roofing tape as a secondary defense against water damage.
  • Invest in high wind rated roof mounted vents
  • Install gable wall vents that are protected against water intrusion
  • Make sure all door, window, and skylight openings are protected with impact-protection systems
  • Any attached structures should be connected by strapped beams or columns to prevent uplift

Contact our RI coastal flood insurance specialists before purchasing a coastal home.

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Ride-sharing is the fast-growing system of offering your vehicle for personal transportation services and it is becoming increasingly popular as companies such as UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar continue to grow. These types of operations involve pre-arranged services using an online-enabled application to connect with potential passengers.

As this industry gains popularity and a wider array of programs are available, the potential gaps in insurance coverage for both drivers and passengers are concerning.

If you are considering providing ride-sharing services, you should note the following:

  • Operators/drivers must be licensed by the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (DPUC) and maintain a minimum of $1.5 million commercial liability insurance.
  • You must obtain a special Hackney Operator’s License issued by the DPUC prior to transporting passengers for hire in RI.
  • These services are required to be provided only in vehicles bearing “Public Registration License Plates.”

There are many potential gaps in personal auto policies that you should consider and it is crucial you speak with your insurance agent prior to engaging in ride-sharing.

Potential Coverage Gaps in your own Personal Auto Policy:

Most standard personal auto policies contain exclusions for livery – which essentially means driving for hire. Insurance companies might deny coverage to people that are driving passengers for payment based on the below exclusions or similar exclusions, but you should speak with your insurance agent to be certain which apply to you. All the exclusions below do not apply to a share-the-expense car pool.

Liability Coverage (Exclusion):

Liability Coverage is not provided for any insured’s liability arising out of the ownership or operation of a vehicle while it is being used for public or livery transportation.

Medical Payments Coverage (Exclusion):

Medical Payments Coverage is not provided for any bodily injury to the insured that is sustained while occupying the insured vehicle when it is being used as public or livery transportation.

Coverage for Damage to your Auto (Exclusion):

Loss to your insured vehicle or any non-owned vehicle, that occurs while it is being used for public or livery transportation will not be paid for.

You should contact your insurance agent about potential gaps in your personal automobile coverage that can arise if you are driving for one of these operators. You may need to consider buying a commercial policy with medical payments, comprehensive, collision and Uninsured or Underinsured motorist coverage to be certain that coverage exists for damage to you, your car and/or for damage caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist while you are driving passengers for payment.

To learn more about the risks of participating in ride-sharing and how to best protect yourself, please call OceanPoint Insurance at 847.5200.

Why 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.

During 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.

The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has implemented the Rhode Island Insurance Verification System (RIIVS) in order to verify automobile liability insurance for vehicles registered in Rhode Island. If a registered vehicle does not have an associated insurance policy for three consecutive months, you will receive an RIIVS notice from the DMV indicating that you are required to obtain insurance.

You will receive a notice if RIIVS is unable to verify the insurance information for your vehicle. Oftentimes data entry errors can occur. You may receive a notice, even if you have insurance, due to incorrect Vehicle Identification Numbers, name misspelling etc. on you’re your policy. We will be able to correct this information for you.

If you receive a RIIVS notice, and you currently have liability insurance, if you obtained liability insurance, or if the vehicle is not currently being operated, you must notify your insurance company or agent and we will report the required information electronically.

If the vehicle has been sold or registered out of state, you must turn in the plates to a DMV branch or submit an Affidavit for Cancellation of Registration for Lost Plates.

If you do not wish to obtain liability insurance, Rhode Island law requires that you cancel your registration and surrender the vehicle plates to a DMV branch office.

The first three month evaluation began on November 17, 2015 and will end February 7, 2015, at which time the initial notices will be sent out. If you do not take appropriate action upon receipt of the first notice, a second notice will be sent to you. If, after the second notice, you fail to comply, the DMV will revoke the registration of the vehicle and block your ability to obtain or renew a license or registration.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact OceanPoint Insurance at 847-5200.

NEWS RELEASE

Coventry, RI – January 13, 2015

In an effort to offer enhanced service to its clients, OceanPoint Insurance announced the opening of its newest location within the BankNewport branch located at 730 Centre of New England Boulevard in Coventry, RI.

The opening of OceanPoint’s third location provides its clients with additional insurance and financial service options at a more convenient location for residents living in the West Bay.

Kim Raymond, former principal of Raymond Insurance and current Vice President of West Bay Operations for OceanPoint, will manage the new office.

“I am pleased that our Coventry location has officially opened its doors,” said Doug Mayhew, OceanPoint President and CEO. “From our three locations in the West Bay, East Bay, and greater Newport, we can better service our growing client base throughout Rhode Island.”

“There’s genuine excitement that our business partner, OceanPoint Insurance, has opened its newest location within our Coventry branch facility,” stated BankNewport President and CEO, Sandra J. Pattie. “We’re confident that the residents and businesses of Coventry and the West Bay will benefit by our team approach and solid reputation – OceanPoint and BankNewport are both Rhode Island based businesses offering a wide array of products, exceptional expertise and unparalleled service.”

President Pattie added, “Our partnership demonstrates a continued investment in our communities, in our employees and in our respective businesses.”

Hours for the new location will be Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and evenings and Saturday by appointment. To make an appointment, or for further information, contact Kim Raymond at kraymond@oceanpointins.com, call 401.826.3366, or visit www.oceanpointins.com.

About OceanPoint Insurance

Headquartered in Middletown, Rhode Island, OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc. provides a broad range of property casualty insurance products, in addition to a full array of financial services. Along with BankNewport, OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc. is a subsidiary of the Mutual Holding Company, OceanPoint Financial Partners, MHC. Tracing its roots back to 1863, OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc. is proud to serve the insurance needs of clients from three full service offices located in Middletown, and Barrington, and Coventry, Rhode Island, forming one of the largest independent insurance agency operations in southeastern New England.

For more information, visit www.oceanpointins.com.

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Over the years, shopping online for the holidays has become increasingly popular for consumers.  However, sharing information over the internet has its potential consequences, as instances of fraud and identity theft have risen accordingly as well.

At OceanPoint Insurance, we want to ensure that your holiday season is enjoyed with as little stress as possible.  Whether you are purchasing gift cards online or shipping gifts right to your door, be sure to follow these important precautions to protect your finances this season:

Gift Cards:

  • Only buy from trusted sources. Gift card resale markets offer gift cards for less than the face value of the card, but not all of them guarantee the stated value. To avoid this potential issue, it’s best to purchase the gift card in-store.
  • Watch for signs of tampering. In the past, thieves could walk into stores and write down the numbers of the gift cards on display. Retailers have prevented against this by placing their cards in a plastic casing. Look for signs of tampering prior to purchasing. If a card is not in a casing, make sure the PIN has not been scratched off.
  • Register your gift card. Some retailers allow gift card holders to register their gift cards and protect the balance in case the card is ever lost or stolen. Not all merchants have this option, but if yours does, it’s a good idea to register the card just in case.

Making Purchases with Your Credit Card:

  • Avoid giving your account number to anyone on the phone unless you’ve made the call to a company you know to be reputable. If you’ve never done business with them before, conduct an online search first for reviews or complaints.
  • Save your receipts so that you can later compare them with your statement.
  • Open your bills promptly or check them online often and reconcile them with the purchases you’ve made.
  • Report any questionable charges to the card issuer.
  • Only order on secure web sites – To ensure your information is protected, look for an unbroken key or padlock at the bottom of your web browser.

Although fraud isn’t entirely preventable, we at OceanPoint Insurance want our policyholders to be as informed as possible in order to avoid fraud this holiday season.  However, if any suspicious activity does occur, be sure to contact your provider immediately.  From all of us at OceanPoint Insurance, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!