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Home Oil Leak Coverage

In 2010 Massachusetts enacted a law to address oil leaks from home heating systems (Chapter 453 of the acts of 2008).

The law has two major provisions that required:

  1. The installation of either an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with protective sleeve on systems that do not currently have these devices; and
  2. Insurance companies that write homeowner policies to offer coverage from heating systems that use oil.

At the time, most homeowner policies did not include such coverage, leaving many to pay for costly cleanups – as much as $25,000 – out of their own pocket. Although it is now mandatory that insurance companies offer this coverage, the insurance is an optional purchase for homeowners.

What coverage is available?

  1. First party coverage (for the homeowners themselves) of at least $50,000 for the cost of cleaning up a leak to soil, indoor air, or other environmental media from a home heating system at the residence itself and reimbursement for personal property damages, and
  2. Third party coverage (for other claimants) of at least $200,000 for the cost of dealing with conditions on and off the insured’s property as the leak has or is likely to affect groundwater or someone else’s property

For homes to be eligible for the insurance coverage, homeowners must ensure their oil heating systems are in compliance with or exempt from the law. Exemptions:

  • The oil burner is located above the oil storage tank and the entire oil supply line is connected to and above the top of the tank, or
  • An oil safety valve or oil supply line with protective sleeve was installed on or after January 1, 1990, and
  • Those changes comply with the oil burning equipment regulations; a copy of the oil burner permit from the local fire department may be used to demonstrate compliance.

Please note: Oil heating systems installed on or after January 1, 1990 are most likely already in compliance because state fire codes implemented these requirements on new installations at that time.

Next steps: Have your licensed oil burner technician give you a certificate of compliance and contact us to add this important coverage to your homeowner policy.

Please contact us with any questions.  That is why we are here.

April 18, 2019   No Comments

All About Ice Dams

Past New England winters have proven, ice dams do real damage and are the gift that keep on giving.  After the storm, the temperature warms up, the sun shines a bit brighter, you are smiling and suddenly the roof is crying.  It is the ice dam, stuck under your roof, melting.  Causing additional damage inside and out of your home.  Check out this summary, All About Ice Dams, to help you prevent & fight ice dams.

January 14, 2019   No Comments

So you don’t need renter’s insurance?

Progressive Insurance recently conducted a Renters Survey, finding nearly seven in ten (68%) of US renters do not have insurance.  A renter’s policy would cover personal belongings and liability – both on and off the premises.  Four common myths seem to be working against this concept:

  • “Nothing will ever happen to me.”
  • “I live in a safe building, I don’t need to lock my door.”
  • “Renters insurance is too expensive.”
  • “I’m covered by my roommate’s insurance.”

Theft is actually the most common renter’s claim (American Strategic Insurance).  Tenant policies are usually inexpensive: they can be as low as $20-$25/month.  IMPORTANT TO NOTE: unless items are considered “shared goods” roommates need separate tenant policies.

Think about it – if you can afford to replace all of your personal items (furniture, clothes, shoes, decorations, lamps, pictures, kitchen items, etc.) if they are suddenly gone, then roll the dice!  Of course, that does not address the Personal Liability, Loss of Use, and Medical Payments covered as well.

So, do you need renter’s insurance after all?

Source: Independent Agent Magazine

February 29, 2016   No Comments

Hurricanes (or the lack thereof)

We have averted disasters: the Atlantic hurricane season officially and quietly ended last month.  Prior to the start of the hurricane season, meteorologists predicted that strong El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean would hamper the development of hurricanes and tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean.  As it turns out, they were right.

On average, 12 tropical storms – six of which become hurricanes – form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season, which runs from June 1st to November 30th each year, according to the National Weather Service.  Over a typical two year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of three hurricanes, one of which is classified as a major hurricane with winds of 111 mph or greater.

Eleven named tropical storms formed in the Atlantic Ocean this year: one less than the average.  Four of the storms became hurricanes (Danny, Fred, Joaquin and Kate), with two strengthening into major hurricanes at their peaks: Danny (Category 3) and Joaquin (Category 4).  Luckily, none of the hurricanes made landfall at full force in the United States, which could have had devastating effects.

The last hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. was Wilma in 2005.  Thus, 2015 marks the 10th consecutive year without a major hurricane hitting somewhere in the U.S., the longest stretch of time since hurricane tracking began in 1851.  While we can consider ourselves very fortunate in that respect, we should note that many regions of our country have suffered substantially from weather related events during the past year.  Once again, we are reminded that in order for insurance to play a major role in helping people put their lives back together after a major catastrophe, families and businesses need a properly structured insurance program.

– Information obtained from The Standard New England’s Insurance Weekly magazine

December 17, 2015   No Comments

Personal drones

If you (or more likely, your kids) are having fun with drones this summer, you should contact us to find out if your homeowner policy covers any accidents (property damage, injury, that type of thing). One thing you should know before you inquire, does your drone include a camera? The privacy issue can impact the situation.

August 28, 2015   No Comments

Senate panel looking into home insurance rate hikes

From  the Lynn Daily Item:


BOSTON – A Senate panel plans to investigate increases in homeowner insurance rates approved this year after a harsh winter led to increased claims from property owners.

Sen. Michael Barrett, a Lexington Democrat and chair of the Senate’s Post Audit and Oversight Committee, said Monday he would hold an oversight hearing in September to question the Division of Insurance about its approval of the new rates.

Some of the state’s largest property insurers this summer received approval for rate increases hovering around 9 percent.  Mapfre USA Corp., the state’s largest home insurer, plans to increase rates by 8.9 percent, while Safety Insurance’s rates will climb by 9.1 percent and Bunker Hill Insurance will raise rates by 7.8 percent.

The increases will add about $100 a year to policies in Massachusetts that average $1,150 to $1,250 annually.

According (to) the senator’s office and the insurance division, there are about 1.86 million home insurance policies in Massachusetts and the typically annual increase ranges between 2 percent and 3 percent.

“Last winter, insurers shelled out real money to pay for damage from ice dams and water leaks – but hikes of eight and nine percent deserve a close look by regulators and legislators,” Barrett said in a statement.  “The industry is supposed to set aside reserves in advance for the occasional tough year.  I hope the Division of Insurance went to town with its due diligence before approving these big increases.  Let’s see if they did.”

Consumer advocates and insurance executives will be invited to testify as well.  The hearing date has not yet been set.

August 5, 2015   No Comments

Home Fire Safety

October 15, 2014   No Comments

Hurrican Season

We are in Hurricane Preparedness Week: May 25-31. Leading up to the start of hurricane season June 1st. FEMA has a few reminders:
1. Write a communication plan
2. Make a kit of essential items
3. Be prepared for any potential financial impacts – DO YOU HAVE FLOOD INSURANCE?
Check out ready.gov/hurricanes.

May 29, 2014   No Comments

Social Host Liability

From the Lynn Item March 20, 2014:

Lynn man to pay $2M after pleading guilty under social host liability law

A Lynn man will pay $2.2 million to the parents of a 19-year-old killed in a drunken driving accident after a 2010 party at the city man’s home.

Craig Snow, 23, held the birthday party on March 21, 2010, attended by Julia Gauthier, 19, of Salem, and her boyfriend, Christopher Maxson, 22, of Marblehead.

Maxson ran several stop signs then overturned his mother’s SUV on a Lynn side street while driving Gauthier home that evening.  Gauthier was ejected and killed.  Maxson pleaded guilty to motor vehicle homicide while driving drunk and recklessly and received a three-to-four-year prison term in 2010.

Snow pleaded guilty under the social host liability law but was given a suspended sentence and probation.

Gauthier’s father filed civil suits against Maxson and Snow.  Maxson settled the suit under undisclosed terms, according to The Salem New.  A judge Wednesday ordered Snow to pay $1 million to each of Gauthier’s parents plus $251,180 in interest, The Salem News reported.

March 21, 2014   No Comments

Arbella Fall Tips 2013

Arbella Fall Tips 2013

Arbella Fall Tips 2013

October 16, 2013   No Comments

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