Hurricane Preparation: Take 2

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...

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Hurricane Earl was not as bad for New England as weather experts anticipated. Where I was, there were 2-3 inches of rain and some light wind gusts; no apocalyptic storm was this. But that’s ok; it served as practice for the peak of Hurricane Season, which we have just begun to experience.   

I had gone to the grocery store and bought three cases of bottled water in anticipation of Earl; as frustrating as it was to waste time and money on preparations such as these, it was and is a good idea to prepare before any major storm. There is no time like the present to make a survival kit, draw up an evacuation plan, or check your insurance coverage. All these things become exponentially more difficult to accomplish when an actual hurricane is approaching.  

One of the most helpful things you can do insurance-wise is to take pictures/video of your house. Should a devastating storm occur along with damage, having photographic evidence of what exactly was damaged will facilitate your interaction with your insurance provider.   

One of the greatest tragedies of Hurricane Katrina was the amount of displaced animals after the disaster occurred. Before any sort of storm is forecast, make sure you have up-to-date pictures and paperwork of your pets, as well as immunization records. Should the need arise to keep a pet at a shelter or clinic following evacuation, it is vital to have all this paperwork and identification information at hand. Appropriately sized pet-carriers should also be purchased before hurricane season in case of evacuation (pet carriers should have enough room for pets to stand and turn around in). After a large storm, pets should be walked on leashes to become re-acclimated to their new environments. Avoid large pools of water, as downed power lands and displaced reptiles could pose a threat to household pets.   

After a storm is forecast, make sure automobiles have full tanks of gas. If evacuated, traffic and congestion will arise. Running out of fuel while waiting in traffic on the highway would only compound the danger of a hurricane or severe storm.
Lastly, KNOW YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE. Most flood damage is not covered by homeowners policies.    

For more relevant insurance resources to save you time and money, visit the Andrew G. Gordon, Inc. website.    

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Water, Water, Everywhere.

Water damage due to faulty rainwater downpipe

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Homeowner claims resulting from water damage are on the rise (no pun intended). Bob Passmore of the Property Casualty Insurance Association of America reports that “out of every $100 paid in insurance claims, $12 goes to water damage and freezing claims, not including water damage from flooding rivers and seas.   Flooding from ground water is not covered unless you have a flood insurance policy.  

Water damage, other than floods, is covered if the cause is sudden and accidental. A loose drain pipe from the bathtub that slowly leaks for months and buckles the bathroom floor is not covered.  However, the damage caused by a pipe that suddenly bursts is covered. The plumber’s repair to replace the pipe is not covered but the resulting damage is.  

There are measures you can take to prevent and lessen the amount ofwater damage and their resulting claims. Here are some that come to mind:  

  • Ice dams are caused by the melting ice in your gutter that backs up under your roof shingles, causing water damage to your ceilings, windows and walls. Use an ice dam rake on your roof when snow accumulates.
  • Have a licensed plumber periodically check your plumbing pipes.
  • Replace your washing machine and dishwasher hoses with ‘no-burst’ hoses. Unlike rubber hoses that can burst over time, these are made of a metal sheath that protects against bursting.
  • Periodically check around and under your hot water heater for any signs of leakage – a small drip from the tank can turn into a ruptured tank in no time at all!
  • Never run your dishwasher or washing machine when not at home (easier said than done, I know).
  • Check your toilets and under your sinks for any signs of water leakage.
  • At the first sign of freezing weather, turn off your outside water spigots (from the inside of the house) then drain from the outside. Newer spigots are designed to prevent freezing do not have to be shut off from the inside during the winter months. These can be replaced by a licensed plumber.
  • Check your ice-maker and its water line for any signs of leakage.
  • When on vacation, especially in the winter, have someone check your home daily.
  • Water alarm sensors are available to detect the presence of water in your basement
  • A temperature monitoring device plugs into your phone outlet and can alert you via cell phone that the temperature has dropped to the danger point of freezing. Use such a device when vacationing in the winter.
  • Newer gas furnaces operate with an electronic pilot. Older models have a gas flame pilot that can blow out from a draft. No heat means freezing pipes! Before going away on vacation, familiarize which type of pilot you have. If the former, this is another good reason to have someone check your home daily or have a temperature monitoring device!

Please watch for our future blog, “How to minimize further damage if you sustain water damage to your home “.  

And for more relevant insurance information, and resources to save you time and money, visit the A. G. Gordon, Inc. Website.  

Hurricane Earl

Hurricane Rita

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With the cloudy pall of a Hurricane looming in the distance, a curtain of anticipation and apprehension has fallen on the South Shore. And while Earl is a storm that we’ll all inevitably ride out, we should all (as the boy scouts say) “Be prepared”. Fortunately for those without the ability to control the weather, there is an abundance of internet information about Hurricane safety that we have conveniently accumulated here for your viewing pleasure.  

Microsoft Word – Hurricane Preparation Checklist 

Stay safe during the storm, and for more insurance information and relevant resources, visit our website.  

Hiking and Risk Assessment

hiking way - escursionisti

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I recently hiked a stretch of the Appalachian Trail  in Maine known as the “100 Mile Wilderness” with my two sons; and even being literally days from the office, and days from cell coverage or other reminders of “civilization”, I had an epiphany about personal risk. 

While insurance and public safety measures are importants tool for reducing the effects of risk on our personal lives, it does change our everyday assessment of the risk we are all willing to bear. 

When you’re miles from any kind of help descending a trail littered with boulders, roots, and deadfall trees, every single step is deliberate and cautious.  The risk of losing your footing – anywhere on the trail – carries dire consequences.  A compound fracture coud be life threatening; even a mild sprain could mean you have to lay off your pack with a week of food, clothing and shelter to your two companions (assuming you’re traveling with companions).  

Back here in civilization, we go to great lengths to minimize risk to the public when they pass by or into our office.  The sidewalk is repaired each spring after winter’s snowplow damage; concrete filled steel posts are anchored in the sidewalk to protect us from vehicles parked outside; we have non-slip rugs; and have moved our commercial operation to our basement to provide a conference room for customer privacy.  All these are good steps for providing a safe and hopefully risk-free environment to the public.   But it changes our personal assessment of risk 

The downside of this is in how it changes some people’s perception of real risks.  We talk of “risky behavior” by teens when they drink and drive, or take drugs: the only risk they may perceive is getting caught by their parents or the police and losing driving privileges.  They’ve been so insulated from “the trail” that my sons and I walked on, that they risk their lives and the lives of people with them and around them when they speed down a residential street drunk and high.  

We all make risk assessments in so many decisions; and reducing risk in all public places allows us to carry-on and focus on things important to us.  But occasionally, a walk in the woods where the environment hasn’t been safety sanitized, can be a good re-set for our perception of the world. 

Our journal appears at http://gordon100wild.wordpress.com/ 

Geoff Gordon 

www.agordon.com 

Linseed Oil is Hot Stuff

Linseed oil

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Ever wonder about horror movie special effects where an object suddenly bursts into flames without any likely cause? Look around the movie set and there is no electrical short, match, flame or spark to set the object ablaze.  You may have witnessed a phenomenon called  spontaneous combustion.   

One of our insurance agency customers learned about this phenomenon firsthand  after cleaning her antique pumpkin pine floors with linseed oil. She placed the rags in her washing machine. The insured walked away for only a few minutes before turning on the machine when suddenly the rags combusted and began melting the inside drum of the washer. The fire department responded within minutes and the homeowner only incurred very minor smoke damage to her million dollar home.  

There was a very happy ending to this story but it brings an awareness to the dangers of linseed oil and other oils used to finish wood. Heat  is generated during the drying process for these oils. This is because the oils do not dry like paint through the evaporation of a solvent or water. Linseed and other oils dry through the same process that generates fire- oxidation. There must be enough heat in order for spontaneous combustion to occur. That’s why you won’t see a recently finished table spontaneously combust from linseed oil treatment because the chair is open to the air.  

  

Linseed oil soaked rags pose the biggest risk for spontaneous combustion. The rags act as an insulator as the oil oxidizes. This allows the oxidizing oil to become hot enough to cause the rags to smoke and eventually ignite.  Also,  the bigger the pile of rags then the greater the risk of sudden combustion. Room temperature is also a factor.  Rags reach ignition temperature quicker in warmer rooms.  

Have no fear home improvement enthusiasts- there is a way to safely dispose of rags soaked with linseed or other oils to finish wood. These cloths should either be burned immediately following use or stored in a metal container filled with water and a metal lid to be disposed as hazardous waste.  

For more topical, relevant insurance information, risk management resources, or to get a quote from us, visit our website.  

   

Kasey McCarthy, CPCU  

A. G. Gordon, Inc.  

Just Some Insurance Humor

An insured called her auto carrier to report an accident.  She was very distraught as it was her first accident and she insisted that it was caused by the other driver.  While providing her company with the details of the incident, she was asked by the claim representative to provide her plate number.  She indicated that it was 123NMF.  The claim rep repeated it back to her as 123 N as in Nancy, M as in Mary, and F as in Francis.  The insured responded, no it is 123 N as in Not, M as in My, F as in Fault!

Donna M. Bellavance
A.G. Gordon, Inc.

For topical and relevant insurance resources, or to get a quote, visit our webpage www.agordon.com.

Moving Into Fall

Some Things to keep in mind moving into fall. At A. G. Gordon, Inc. we wish everyone a peaceful and safe seasonal transition.

Grill Safety:  With Summer winding down, everyone is trying to get in as many cookouts as possible before the weather gets cooler.  Be sure to check your propane tank to be sure you have enough to last – nothing more frustrating than to run ‘out of gas’ in the middle of a meal!  Also be sure to watch children around the grill – smaller kids don’t understand the danger of burning themselves. 

It’s Back to School time!  Be sure to be on the lookout for kids waiting for the school bus.  And most importantly – be aware that school buses make frequent stops!  Be sure to stop not only behind the school bus, but also in front of it.  Kids will be entering and exiting – let’s keep them safe!

Summer is over and what a wonderful one it has been.  With Fall in the air, now is the time to do those all important home checkups.  Have you had your furnace cleaned for the upcoming heating season?  Covered the Air Conditioner unit?  Checked the roof and windows to be sure all are secure?  Winterized the lawn mower?  Covered the pool? Click here for our Homeowner’s Checklist to complete.

Moving into Fall, it’s been easy to forget some of the important things like health checkups, etc.  Before the colder weather comes, why not schedule an appointment for a physical?  How about a dental checkup?  And why not schedule time with your physician for those all-important flu shots?  Then relax and enjoy all the upcoming holidays!

Sandi Cornell
Ratings Expert, A. G. Gordon, Inc.

And for more insurance information, resources, and to get a quote, visit our website, www.agordon.com.