Snow, Ice and Freeze Damage – Am I Covered?

Harford County Homeowners Insurance

Snow, Ice and Freeze Damage – Am I Covered?

The winter may have seemed relatively mild so far, but February and March can be tough in the Mid-Atlantic region. Downed tree limbs, power outages, roof collapses and frozen pipes are just some of the many perils caused by winter weather.

Whether or not your insurance covers the winter storm damage depends on the type of policy you have and the type of damage and what caused it.

Most standard homeowners insurance policies and commercial property insurance policies provide coverage for winter storm damage from ice, heavy snow, freezing rain or wind. You may want to review your policy to make sure you have appropriate coverage.

It’s important to note that standard homeowners insurance and commercial property insurance policies do not cover flood damage. So if you have flooding due to a heavy snow melt, damages will not be covered unless you have a separate flood insurance policy.

Also, if your home or business suffers winter storm damage while the building is unoccupied or vacant, you will have some additional issues to deal with. Some insurance policies have exclusions for property damage that result from a home or building not being properly winterized (not turning off the water and draining the pipes) or other exclusions.

Your best bet is to check your coverage, add to it if needed, and take several steps to protect your property to avoid damage from winter storms.

  • Clean your gutters and downspouts so that melting snow can flow freely away from your home. This includes clearing around the downspouts after a heavy snow.
  • Inspect and repair roof shingles and flashing to prevent water damage.
  • Trim tree branches on your property – especially branches close to the home or building.
  • Apply weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows and inspect storm doors and windows for broken glass.
  • Drain water from pipes leading to exterior faucets and remove garden hoses.
  • Insulate pipes that are susceptible to freezing such as in crawl spaces or on an exterior wall.
  • Have your heating system cleaned and inspected.
  • Turn off the water and drain the pipes if the building or home will be vacant, or keep the heat on to at least 55 degrees.

Call Dean Insurance Agency today at 410-838-3700 for a free quote and consultation on homeowners insurance, auto insurance, commercial insurance and all of your insurance needs.

Why Work With an Independent Insurance Agency

 

Harford County, Insurance Agency, Baltimore County, Auto Insurance

OK, maybe we’re biased here because Dean Insurance is an independent insurance agency, but we think there are a number of reasons why you should work with a local insurance agency rather than some faceless conglomerate.

You may think you’re saving money on auto insurance or homeowners insurance by dealing directly with the insurance company, but that isn’t always the case.  Our rates are competitive with the direct writers and often lower than those big guys who spend billions to advertise on TV. Working with an independent insurance agent saves you the time of calling dozens of different companies for a quote, and because of our industry knowledge, we can save you time and money in the long run.

Specifically, working with an independent insurance agency has several benefits:

  • Insurance agents have the ability to quickly check prices and coverages with a number of different insurance companies. Not all insurance companies are created equal. One company may have very competitive rates in rural areas but not so great in town.  Another may have great rates for singles or older folks but may be a poor choice for a family with teenage drivers. Rates can vary widely depending upon your individual circumstances and an independent insurance agent will know where to look for the best value and coverage.
  • Independent insurance agencies are a one-stop-shop for all of your insurance needs. We don’t just sell auto insurance.  We also sell homeowners, renters, health and life insurance, business insurance etc. Use us – at no cost to yourself – to handle all of your insurance in one place.
  • Insurance is a complicated subject.  It’s our business to understand it and communicate it to you so you understand it as well.  In almost all cases, you, the consumer will benefit from having a professional who deals with this subject for a living advise you on a 50+ page contract.  We know where to look in your insurance policy for hidden surprises.  The industry is regulated on a state-by-state basis.  Move from one state to another and you’ll find that the coverages may look the same at first glance, but a closer look shows things work a bit differently.
  • Insurance coverages don’t just vary from state to state … they can vary from company to company within the same state. Some companies’ policies may contain provisions that materially affect you in some way… some unknown way if you don’t have an expert advisor who is already familiar with a particular policy’s quirks.

The importance of using an independent agent cannot be over-emphasized.  Insurance contracts and insurance laws are complex and change periodically.  Licensed insurance agents are professionals who must pass a rigorous licensing exam and successfully complete 26 hours of Continuing Education every two years in order to maintain their licenses and keep up with policy, industry and regulatory changes.  Buying insurance without an independent agent is a bit like being your own lawyer without a law degree.  It might be OK if nothing goes wrong but when the unexpected happens, you need the peace of mind that comes from knowing your protection plan was designed by a professional.

Contrast that to buying directly from an insurance company. With no regulated, licensed insurance agent working to protect your interests, you are taking on full responsibility for your coverage decisions and for any mistakes you make. No safety net.  Standing over the smoldering ruins of what was your home or reading over a freshly served law suit is not the time you want to be wondering whether you should’ve used a professional independent insurance agent.

Now, don’t get us wrong. Plenty of people buy insurance online or over the phone from the big direct writers with cute mascots and multi-million dollar advertising budgets.  We just think you get a better policy at a better price, with better service from an independent insurance agency owned and staffed by people who live and work in your community.

If you’re in the market for auto insurance, homeowners insurance, business insurance, life insurance or any other type of insurance coverage, give the independent insurance agents at Dean Insurance Agency a call today at 410-838-3700. We work with homeowners and business people throughout Harford County, Baltimore County and Cecil County Maryland. We work for you, not the insurance company.

The Facts About Long Term Care Insurance

Harford County Long Term Care Insurance

Americans are living longer and longer, and health care costs keep going up and up. Have you given serious thought to how you will pay for your health care as you age? Medicare only covers so much. And there are a lot of things it doesn’t cover, such as:

  • Routine vision exams, eyeglasses or contacts. Medicare will generally cover tests related to glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes.
  • Dental care, including teeth cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, crowns bridges or dentures.
  • Hearing aids and exams.
  • Cosmetic surgery unless it is needed as the result of an illness.
  • Long term care in assisted living, dementia care or a nursing home.

That last one is the biggie. If you live long enough that you can no longer care for yourself and need help with daily living, or become mentally or physically incapacitated where you need round the clock care, you may want to consider long term care insurance.

If you are relatively wealthy, you can probably self-insure. But if you are of moderate means and want to protect the assets you do have, long term care insurance can help with that. The alternative is to use up all of your funds – retirement funds, savings, sell your home, etc. to pay for long term care until you become eligible for Medicaid. And not everyone accepts Medicaid.

The time to think about long term care insurance is before you get old. If your only source of income is your Social Security benefits, you should not buy long term care insurance. If you have financial assets you want to protect, then you may want to consider long term care insurance. But you need to be sure you can afford the premium now, and in the future.

Most insurance companies sell long term care insurance policies, but they can vary quite a bit from company to company. That’s why working with an independent insurance agent like Dean Insurance can be of benefit to you. We have the ability to check policy prices and coverages with a number of different companies, to find you the best coverage at the best price.

If you’re interested in learning more about long term care insurance and if it’s right for you and your spouse, call Dean Insurance today at 410-838-3700 to set up a free consultation.