Thursday, December 27, 2012

Insuring Your Valuable Items

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

Your homeowners’ insurance is a critical component to owning a home and making sure its value is protected from anything that might happen. But it doesn’t cover everything, especially certain valuable possessions you may have. Valuable Item coverage will provide you the protection you need for your most valuable possessions in the event of loss through theft, accident or natural disaster.

The unendorsed homeowner insurance policy covers your personal property but has limits on how much it will pay for certain items, such as furs, jewelry, collectibles, and fine art. It is best to adhere to the often-quoted proposition that special things require special coverage. Here’s a list of some of the things (this list is not exhaustive however), you may own that you should consider reviewing to make sure you have the correct coverage under your policy:

  • cameras (video or still) and related equipment 
  • china and crystal 
  • coins (rare and current) 
  • firearms 
  • furs 
  • golfer's equipment 
  • jewelry 
  • musical instruments 
  • personal computers 
  • stamps (rare and current) 
  • silverware 
  • works of fine art, including paintings, etchings, pictures and other bona fide works of art (such as oriental rugs, statuary, rare books, manuscripts and bric-a-brac) of rarity, historical value or artistic merit. 

Here are some quick suggestions for procedure if you’re thinking about getting your valuables covered by valuable item coverage:

  • Share with your agent any particular items you’d like insured to make sure they’ll be covered. 
  • Keep documentation of your valuables’ worth in a separate location in order to ensure that their value will be returned to you. 
  • Make sure you understand the limits and exclusions of your policy or rider. 
  • Consider hiring an appraiser for particularly valuable items like collections or antiques whose value can be questioned. 

If you have any questions regarding types of items covered by this type of insurance, or about how to get your own policy, don’t hesitate to contact us at 401-725-0070.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Safety During the Holidays

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

As the holiday season comes upon us, you’ll start to see more and more holiday decorations spring up around your neighborhood. The lights, the trees, and the candles, while festive and beautiful, should be handled and put up with careful attention to safety concerns. Below are a few tips for celebrating injury-free holidays.

Christmas Trees 
  • For those looking for a more authentic holiday experience, live trees may be the way to go. However, be sure to check on the freshness of a tree. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. Also be sure to keep the tree stand filled with water to avoid it drying out. 
  • For those looking for artificial trees, make sure it is labeled as “fire resistant.” This does not mean the tree cannot catch fire, but is more resistant to fires than other artificial trees. 
  • Regardless of your type of tree, place it away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents, and radiators. 
  • Only use lights that have been tested for safety by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory, such as UL or ITSNA
  • Make sure extension chords and lights have been rated for their intended uses, especially if they are certified for outdoor use. 
  • Check sets of lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Do not use electric lights on a metallic tree. 
  • If you use candles, burn them only within eyesight. Be sure to extinguish all candles before going to bed, leaving the room, or leaving the house. 
  • Keep lighted candles away from items that can catch fire and burn easily, like decorations, curtains, furniture, and (especially) Christmas trees. 

For additional questions regarding safety around the holidays or to review your homeowner’s policy, please contact Blais Insurance at 401-725-0070.