Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Green Homes Can Save You More Than Energy

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

Every year on Earth Day, many take to their neighborhood parks or back yards to clean up trash, rake away debris and freshen up mulch. While “going green” for your neighborhood is an excellent way to show your eco-friendliness, applying the same practices to your home can help the environment, and could also save you money on your home insurance.
In order for a home to receive insurance discounts for energy efficiency, it must comply with the standards of either Green Globe or Leadership in Energy & Environment Design (LEED). Most insurers use LEED standards to define green certification, and LEED ratings range from certified to silver, gold and platinum. Homes are rated on energy-efficiency, water efficiency, indoor air quality, environmentally sensitive site development, recycled and reclaimed building materials and other sustainable features.
Due to the increasing number of federal and state incentives available to build green homes, more insurers have been offering green home insurance coverage options. For example, Travelers insurance offers up to five percent savings on premiums to homeowners already certified by the LEED rating system. Additionally, for homeowners repairing, replacing or rebuilding with green materials after a loss, some insurance carriers reimburse you for using sustainable materials such as bamboo, energy-efficient appliances and paints made from zero volatile organic compound (VOC).
Unfortunately, not all states offer insurance discounts for green-certified homes, so be sure to check with your independent insurance agent to see if you qualify for either an insurance discount, or reimbursement for rebuilding with sustainable materials. For more information on green-certified insurance discounts or reimbursements, please contact Blais Insurance at 401-725-0070. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Add a Home Inventory to Your Spring Cleaning

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

Now is the time of year when people put away winter coats, air out their homes and clean up their yards. With all the spring-cleaning you plan to do, Blais Insurance suggests you conduct an inventory of all the personal property in your home while you clean.

Documenting all of your personal possessions may seem like a daunting task, but adding a few extra minutes to each room as you clean will save you time and unnecessary stress in the future.

The benefits of performing a home inventory far outweigh the tedious task. Maintaining proper records of your items will settle insurance claims faster, lessen your burden of proving your lost property, and relieve stress during estate planning. You will not have to remember all of your lost possessions, or potentially forget items that you could have been compensated for.

A home inventory is free, and multiple ways exist to complete one. You can organize your items by video tapping them as you walk throughout your home. Blais Insurance suggests video tapping your items in coordination with other documentation such as special software or perhaps an Excel spreadsheet. If you have a working knowledge of Excel, you can create a spreadsheet, arranging the information in a way that would make it easy to update. Updating items can be made even easier if you decide to download software from sites such as Software that helps with home inventories can make the process simple and fun. Lastly, you will want to keep the inventory outside the home!

Remember, it is not so much about having a list of every last thing you own as much as it is about having a place to start in the event of a significant insurance loss. If you would like further information about an inventory for your home, please call Blais Insurance at 401-725-0070, and we would be happy to answer your questions.