Spring Cleaning Suggestions for the Homeowner

With the first day of spring just a few days away, regardless of the impending final blast of winter we are currently enjoying, the snow banks are slowly retreating and it’s time to finally think about spring cleaning.  After our record breaking winter, we are all looking forward to once again enjoying our homes and the outdoors.

As we start to think about our spring to-do or honey-do lists, here are some important things all homeowner should keep in mind, we’ll start at the top:

After a Rough Winter of Ice Dams and Roof Raking – Be Sure to Repair / Inspect Your Roof

An easy and safe way to inspect your roof, without the use of ladders is to use a pair of binoculars.   If you can see that there is any damage it may be necessary to hire a contractor or handyman to repair a few shingles. If the damaged is more extensive, you’ll need a roofer

Also – Don’t forget to check and repair breaks in the flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys, too.

If your home has a flat roof, look for wear and tear in the roof surface. Check the flashing that seals the joint between the parapet and roof.   All of the heavy snow we received this year can split the flashing, resulting in leaks.

Not Just a Fall Chore – in the spring it is equally important to Clean Out the Gutters

You may have cleaned you gutters in October, but if your home is like mine, there were still leaves, pine needles, pine cones and other fall ruminates that were trapped in the gutters all winter.  Not only are these items there, but in the spring various petals and seeds are flying around and if you have a maple tree near by all those little twigs may find a home in your gutter.  Be sure to also look for sagging or otherwise damaged gutter components and repair if necessary.

After cleaning the gutters, be sure to add extensions to downspouts to carry water at least 3 to 4 feet away from your home’s foundation. You can also use 4-inch corrugated plastic pipe as a good alternative.

Doors and Windows – Be Sure to Caulk the Cracks

If you find a gap around a door or window is wider than a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk.  While checking your windows also be sure to check the seals between the glass and the window frame.  In order to help with the air conditioning add weather-stripping around doors, making sure that you can’t see any daylight from inside your home. You’ll save money on air conditioning and you won’t have to repeat this task in the fall.

Prepare for a “scortchah” and “dog days” of Summer – Inspect Your AC

For an external AC unit – Clear debris from around the outside of air conditioner.

We also recommend that you have your air conditioning system professionally serviced. For about $75 to $200, a technician will tune up your cooling system to manufacturer-rated efficiency

Change/clean HVAC air filters.  Dirty filters make your air conditioner work harder, increasing energy costs and possibly damaging your equipment. Check them monthly and replace as needed, or at least every three months.

For window AC units

Besides cleaning out the units to check for mold, a good clean-out will improve the efficiency of the air conditioning unit. Blowing out or vacuuming out the fan, coil and grill will improve air flow which will result in better running units.

Safety First – please unplug the AC before cleaning.

Onto the Inside….

Store your off-season items: You don’t need them, why keep the clutter in your way? Pack up winter clothes including coats, gloves, scarves and other extra-warm items. You can also stow away winter decorations and snow/ice removal tools.

Organize your garage: this goes hand-in-hand with storage. A clean, organized garage can be a one-day project, but can save you time and stress for months to come. Any perpetually un-used items can pull in some extra cash for you by having a yard / garage sale.

Furniture and carpet – might be time to call in the professionals on this one! Or, you can rent professional-grade upholstery and carpet shampooing devices at your local home improvement stores. Nothing will make your home smell (and feel) fresher than a full-scale upholstery and carpet shampoo.

Best of luck with your spring cleaning!  Thanks for reading

 Sanviti Insurance is a local Trusted Choice® agency that represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your personal or business needs. You can visit Sanviti Insurance online at www.SanvitiAgency.com or call it at 617-389-2020.

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THINKING OF USING YOUR CAR TO MAKE MONEY?

To Our Valued Customers, Friends and the Local Community:

In uncertain economic times many of us look for new and unique ways to supplement our income. One increasingly popular way to make money is by using your car. BUT, before you put your personal car to work for you, you need to know if your current insurance policy will cover what you are doing with your car.

Some examples of how your car might “work” for you:

“Work” Scenario One:

You decide to drive for Uber, Lyft or SideCar. These Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) use a cell phone application to electronically “hail a ride” for a fee. While on-duty for the TNC, you have your cell phone application on awaiting a customer. You are paid by the TNC for providing the ride.

Insurance Issues:

If you have a Massachusetts personal auto policy, there is NO coverage for anyone injured while occupying your car while it’s being used as a public or livery conveyance. In addition, the policy will not pay for Property Damage, and coverage under all optional insurance parts — like Optional Bodily Injury, Medical Payments, Collision, Comprehensive and Underinsured Auto Bodily Injury — is excluded. If driving for a TNC is your “job”, you are not eligible for a personal auto policy at all.

The only policy which will cover you as a TNC driver is a Taxi/Limo/Car Service policy. As you can imagine, the cost of this type of commercial auto policy is substantially more than your personal auto policy.

“Work” Scenario Two:

You travel frequently for business, so you enroll in a service like FlightCar, RelayRides or GetAround that will “loan” (rent) your car to others who travel to Boston for business or pleasure. In return, you will receive a small rental fee for each use.

Insurance Issues:

Your policy would not cover a loss if your vehicle is being rented out since a vehicle rented to others does not qualify for a personal auto policy. A business auto policy — again at a higher cost — would be needed.

Other Potential Vehicle usage / service:

There are also companies that rent cars to consumers by the hour or by the day. Zipcar is the most common one, but some of the “traditional” car rental firms are getting into this market. In the case of Zipcar, members are free to drive cars by the hour or day, and cars are available (parked for access by Zipcard holders) in neighborhoods, cities and airports around the world.

Insurance Issues:

If a Zipcar member has a personal auto policy, the policy would follow the member when renting a personal automobile with the permission of the owner as long as the member is not regularly using the same car. If the Zipcar member will use the same car often, the “Use of Other Auto” endorsement could be added to your policy to cover the exposure. We should caution you that coverage under the personal auto policy is not worldwide and would be limited to accidents occurring in the United States, its territories and possessions, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

PLEASE – If you are thinking about putting your car to work for you, or if you have already signed up with one of these services, please give us a call to discuss your insurance needs. Our number one priority is making sure you have the coverage you need in the event of an accident.

Thank you

Sanviti Insurance is a local Trusted Choice® agency that represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your specialized needs. You can visit Sanviti Insurance online at WWW.SanvitiAgency.comor call us at 617-389-2020

Ice dams becoming a problem for homeowners – Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Some great information here:

Ice dams becoming a problem for homeowners – Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston.

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How ice dams form

Ice dams are formed by the snow melting and then refreezing at the edge of the roof creating a “dam.”  The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.  Moisture entering the home from ice dams can also lead to the growth of mold and mildew.

Prevention of ice dams

In the short term, there are a couple things you can try. 

  1. Try to remove snow from the roof but only if it can be done safely.  A roof rake or push broom can be used but may cause damage to the shingles.  If it’s not possible to remove the snow safely, call a professional.  Some contractors will help break up ice dams.
  2. Chisel grooves into the dam to allow the water behind it to drain off.  Be careful not to damage those shingles!
  3. Fill an old pair of your pantyhose with calcium chloride snow melt and lay it across the dam.  It will help to melt the dam and also keep that area of the roof clear.  DO NOT USE ROCK SALT!  It will stain the roof and siding.  Use caution with this method.  If the dam is too big you may increase the pool of water behind it!  It is best for small dams or prevention.  It’s also a good idea to scrape the snow off the roof first.

Dealing with ice dams

If you currently have water seeping into your house —try to minimize the damage to walls and ceilings

If you are able to try to find the source,  if you can diagnose where the water is coming from – maybe there is a leak or drip in a specific area? If so, put a bucket or towel there to catch some of the water.  Controlling the flow of the water and preventing water from infiltrating other areas of the home is a good idea.

Valentine’s Day Jewelry Purchases? Protect your Investment

Protect Your Jewelry Investment 
February 14th as we all know is Valentine’s Day, according to statisticbrain.com, the total market for Valentines Day gifts is 13.19 Billion.  of this spending Jewelry purchases accounts for 17% of the total. Yet many consumers don’t know enough about protecting these valuables against costly losses.

Much of this jewelry—particularly diamond engagement rings—will be excluded from full coverage under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies.  Most policies provide as little as $1,000 for loss by theft, and you will have to pay a deductible on top of that, leaving you with virtually nothing; worse yet, if your ring simply disappears or if you lose the stone, most homeowners’ and renters’ policies provide little or no protection at all.

The average engagement ring value in the U.S. is $2,000, according to the most recent statistics from the Diamond Registry. However, for brides over the age of 25, that average climbs to about $3,000.

After you have chosen that very special diamond or other valuable jewel, your very next decision needs to be how you will insure it for any unexpected loss. An expensive loss could really take the sparkle out of the joyful times these jewels so often commemorate.

You usually should purchase a policy add-on called a “floater” to insure your fine jewelry against theft and damage. Annually, this coverage should cost about $5 to $10 per $1,000 in value. The best protection, though, is a personal jewelry policy.
You will need an appraisal of the piece to begin this process, but these policies—which provide coverage for loss by theft, damage or disappearance, and will pay for repair or replacement with like kind and quality—are very flexible and will allow you to add more jewelry as your collection increases.

OTHER IMPORTANT TIPS: 

  • Some insurance companies require an appraisal by an independent third party, or someone not working at the store where the jewelry was purchased. Ask your agent what your policy requires.
  • When shopping for an appraisal, always ask trusted friends and family for a referral and look for credentials from the Gemological Institute of America, the American Society of Appraisers or the Accredited Gemologists Association.
  • Fewer than 20 percent of jewelry stores have a properly credentialed gemologist on the premises. Shop around.
  • Some insurance companies require that jewelry be stored in a safety deposit box while the owner is traveling or not wearing the item.
  • Insurance companies report that most jewelry claims result from theft in the home by friends, family and service workers.
  • Don’t forget to have your jewelry re-appraised when upgrading or adding additional stones.

Sanviti Insurance is a local Trusted Choice® agency that represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your personal or business needs. You can visit Sanviti Insurance online at www.SanvitiAgency.com or call it at 617-389-2020.