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Replacement Cost Coverage for your Homeowner’s Contents

06.10.16

Actual Cash Value Vs. Replacement Cost Coverage

Your homeowner’s policy provides protection for your dwelling which is also known as your structure. The Other major coverage or protection that your homeowner’s policy provides is your contents coverage. This is all of your personal belongings, furnishings and other things inside your home.

Should you have a claim the insurance company will gauge your covered loss in one or two ways, either by Actual Cash Value {ACV} or Replacement Cost.

The Difference:
An actual cash value claim does take and will calculate a deduction for deprecation. A Replacement Cost Contents endorsement on your homeowner’s coverage will not take depreciation. So the cost to replace that new sofa, table, television, furniture or other items damaged by a covered loss, will be fully replaced up to your policy limit. It does not matter if it was bought yesterday or a few years ago. You will be able to replace your covered items with a new same like kind and quality item.

While there is a small expense to add Replacement Cost Coverage to your contents, the additional protection could and will be be important at the time of a loss. Remember the only difference between actual cash value and replacement cost will be the deduction for deprecation. Both are based on what it would cost to replace the damage item or items at today’s cost or value.

Please give your Allan M. Walker account manager a call for more information and what the actual cost would be to add Replacement Cost Contents to your homeowner’s policy today.

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Risky Behavior While Driving!!

05.10.16

Well that got your attention!

However the kind of behavior I am talking about results in crashes…
About 87 percent of drivers engaged in at least one risky behavior while behind the wheel during a 30-day span, according to research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety last year. These unsafe behaviors included driving while distracted, impaired or drowsy, speeding, running red lights or not wearing a seat belt.

These disturbing results come as nearly 33,000 Americans died in car crashes in 2014, with a 9 percent increase in deaths for 2015. The research found that 1 in 3 drivers has had a friend or relative seriously injured or killed in a crash. Here are some of the common unsafe behaviors: Distracted driving More than 2 in 3 drivers (70 percent) reported talking on a cellphone while driving within 30 days.

Nearly 1 in 3 drivers (31 percent) reported doing this fairly often or regularly. More than 2 in 5 drivers (42 percent) admitted to reading a text message or email while driving, while 12 percent report doing this fairly often or regularly. Nearly 1 in 3 drivers (32 percent) admitted to typing or sending a text or email, while 8 percent said they do so fairly often or regularly.

Speeding, Nearly half of all drivers (48 percent) reported going 15 mph over the speed limit on a highway in the past month, while 15 percent admitted doing so fairly often or regularly. Previous research by NHTSA estimates that speed plays a factor in nearly 10,000 deaths per year.

Drowsy driving, Nearly 1 in 3 drivers (32 percent) said they had driven when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open. Previous research by the AAA Foundation estimated that drowsy driving is a factor in 328,000 crashes annually.

Running red lights, More than 1 in 3 drivers (39 percent) admitted to having driven through a light that had just turned red when they could have stopped safely. About 1 in 4 drivers (26 percent) reported doing this more than once during that time.

Seat belt use, Nearly 1 in 5 drivers (18 percent) reported driving without a seat belt, and more than 1 in 7 (15 percent) admitted to doing this more than once. Previous research by NHTSA estimated that nearly half of all vehicle occupants who died in a crash in 2013 were unrestrained at the time of the crash.

Impaired driving More than 1 in 8 motorists (13 percent) reported driving when their alcohol level was near or over the legal limit within the past 12 months. About 9 percent of drivers reported doing this more than once in the past year. The survey results are part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to driver safety. The survey data is from a sample of 2,442 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. Article from AAA Horizons– May 2016

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Hey I Just Got Car my Insurance in 15 minutes or less!! Isn’t That Great!!!! Well is it?…..

04.26.16

We all see the commercials on TV or hear them on the radio. Pick your own coverage’s, name your price, it’s easy. Well is it really? Did you see the fine print? Some even say savings not in available in Mass.

What is really important is that you are protected the way you should be. Can that be done in 15 minutes or less? I am not entirely sure it can be.

When you bought your car I would bet you spent way more than 15 minutes researching what model would be best. What options it had, the safety features, the gas mileage and what color you would look best in!

Is that policy a six month policy? Or is a full year auto insurance policy like the ones Allan M. Walker provides? No surprises from us six months down the road. We are committed to delivering a WOW experience and taking the time to really hear what you are saying.

Protection and security is what is important when you purchase auto insurance. There is a lot riding on your decisions when you do buy insurance. What you really are buying is protection. For you, your family, your new car and for anyone else who rides along with you in your vehicle.

Do you really feel comfortable making that decision in 15 minutes or less? Are you really protected? Do you have the right coverage?

Allan M. Walker is an Independent Agency located with real local people who know the area. We can offer you more than just one company, the beauty of an independent agency is that we have several companies to choose from, and find the right fit just for you.

Yes, yes, yes we also do have all those discounts you see and hear about. See how they all can reduce your premium and how they actually work by talking with us.

Accident forgiveness
Auto Loan/Lease Gap Endorsements
Disappearing Deductibles,,,Nice !
Students Discounts
Loyalty Discounts
Go Green and Save Discounts by Signing Up To Be An e-Customer
Hybrid Vehicle Discount
Multi-Policy Discounts
Home and Auto Discounts
We Even Have Pet Coverage!
And More…..

Can you see why it is to your advantage to talk with a Allan M. Walker Insurance professional?

As we always say “Avoiding accidents is not promised to you or anyone else”. So, don’t delay. Be prepared for life’s misfortunes call or e-mail one of our personal or commercial account managers today.

Have a conversation that important conversation on how we can protect you. It just may take more than 15 minutes, however it just may be one of the best investments of time that you can make.

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Spring Has Sprung, But It Is Still Snowing!

03.21.16

Even though this winter was nothing like last years (and thankfully so!), a couple of warm days and the anticipation begins!

The Spring Clean UP!

This past winter also brought to us lots of wind. The kind that weakens tree limbs, dropped several branches and as a result added to that ever to do list of spring clean up.

Since we won’t be waiting to just about summer for this years snow melt we all can get a jump on our clean up. With the goal in mind if we start now we will have more time to do whatever it is we enjoy this summer!

As you take a look around your property, note the things you can do yourself. If something is beyond your expertise, don’t be afraid to call in a professional! There’s no need to speed summer trying to heal up from an injury. If your planning a home improvement project like a deck, an addition or an interior project give us a call or email so we can check your homeowner’s.

Some extremely important items to check are your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Be sure they have fresh batteries and test them by pressing the test buttons. Replace any that do not work properly.

Since we did not get much snow this year this does not mean we will not have rain. This is an opportune time to check your sump pump. Over the winter. or any length of time, check your pump pit where the water collects to be sure it is moving correctly. If it is moving slow it may be blocked or may have some debris preventing it from working as it should. Make sure the pump is cleaned often to keep that water moving.

Take a walk around your yard and visually inspect your roof. If you see that over the winter some shingles are missing or came lose, call a roofing pro to help prevent any possible damage.

We all want that HGTV yard or that nice green lush grass like we see on TV at Fenway Park! If you have plans to do lawn repairs like me, I was talking with a person at a home improvement store and they suggested late spring as the time to get out there and do it! A little repair work before the heat of the summer kicks in will give the new grass an opportunity to take hold for the season.

Well quite frankly we all know what we need to do! So gather up the family, the neighbors, your brothers or sisters that owe you one and try to get at least a few of the projects done! Enjoy your spring and you know around here that could mean just one day!

Have a great spring and a better summer!

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Well, It Finally Happened – Google Had An Accident!

03.03.16

Well, possibly not quite an accident that you were thinking! You see their self driving car was in an accident. After logging over a million miles this car hit a BUS! To Google’s credit and after being in 17 other accidents this was the first time that they were found at fault.

So, What Happened?

This particular car was testing on the streets of Mountain View, California, when it struck a bus going not more than two miles per hour. According to the report this incident was the result of road conditions that were compromised by the placement of sand bags within the lane and the result of this caused the car to go into the left lane.

As the municipal bus was approaching in that lane traveling at 15 miles per hour. The Google car anticipated that the bus would slow down, while the bus driver thought that when the Google car saw the bus it would retreat back into the other lane.

Well, the case for a human driver can still be made as Google was found at fault for this accident. There were no injuries thankfully and the only real damage was to the front left of the Google Lexus SUV front fender and some of its sensors as the computer driven car drove on.

In all of its previous accidents, the majority were the result of human drivers rear-ending the Google cars. I like to tell my teen drivers at home to leave at least 4 car lengths between the two of you! Anyway, the greater part of Google’s accidents have been at intersections where the driver behind them thought that the Google car would drive on through the intersection but did not and rear-ended them.

Google did acknowledge that their computer driven vehicle did make the wrong decision. It also hints at the guess work or decision making process that does go on between the human drivers. Google’s tests are always conducted with the legally mandated safety drivers. Sometimes they do take over control of the test vehicle however this not the case in this accident.

Even still, I think this is something that is coming down the road how soon time is yet to tell. It will be interesting to see what happens within the auto insurance industry. According to a 2015 article by Forbes, the need for liability, regulation, underwriting and repair costs will all still be a factor. The article about the Google Lexus was from USA Today on March 1,2016.

So to quote one of the famous Doors songs Roadhouse Blues, “Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel”!

Take care all, and safe driving!

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Tips and Tricks To Make Your Housecleaning Project Quick and Painless!

09.21.15

It would be great to be able to enjoy a get-together with your friends and family without worrying about tripping over dirty laundry and twisting an ankle. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the housecleaning that you need to do, it is time for you to learn some simple tips and tricks that will help you knock out housecleaning in just a few hours. Keep reading for pointers on how to make easy work out of such a boring chore.

Warm Weather Cleaning Tips

When the weather is warm, housecleaning becomes a very daunting task. However, by sticking to a few seasonal tips, your home will be clean and presentable in no time at all.

Windows and glass doors are more prone to buildup of pollen and debris in the summer months than any other time of year. Since this is the first thing your guests will see, you want to be sure they are clean. Using old newspaper for drying glass is not only better for the environment, but also leaves you with a streak-free shine.

Your patio and outdoor furniture will need more cleaning in the summertime. Abrasive chemicals can harm your furniture, so it is best to scrub debris away with warm soapy water and a sponge.

It is time to wash and store all those thick comforters and warm blankets that you used to keep cozy in the winter. Properly storing these items will reduce harmful bacteria in your home and help keep things organized as well.

If you have been using the AC through the summer months, you will need to make sure your air conditioning vents are clean. You should also replace your unit’s filters, because they will have been filled with dust, pollen and other small debris during the summer. This will reduce the spread of allergens to make sure your family stays healthy all year long.

More than during any other time of year, dust will have built up during the summer. Therefore, you will want to dust often, making sure to clean the tops of your appliances and cabinets. After all, a clean home is free of dust.

Save Time

It is possible to get all the major housecleaning tasks done in as little as two hours a day. Below is a step-by-step process that many of us have used!

  • Start by throwing a load of laundry in the washer.
  • Quickly move through the rooms of your home picking up any trash and putting items in their place.
  • Toss the trash and load the dishwasher before moving the clothes to the drying and putting in another load.
  • Sweep the kitchen and wipe down the countertops, then squirt a little toilet cleaner in all of toilets.
  • Spot clean your main windows, glass doors and windows, dust the main rooms and vacuum the high traffic areas.
  • Wipe down the sinks, toilets and tubs, then change the towels before you switch the second load of laundry to the dryer and fold the first load.
  • Set a timer to make sure you stay focused and do not spend too much time on any one task.

Finally, take advantage of the kids being out of school for the next couple of months by getting them involved in the housecleaning. Give them small tasks to complete every couple of days that are appropriate to their ages, such as changing the linens on their beds or vacuuming the family room. This will keep your home clean while teaching your kids a little responsibility at the same time. With everyone in the family doing their part, your home will be presentable for all guests and leave you with plenty of time to relax in a clean house with the ones you love.

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Are You Planning Home Improvement Projects?

09.17.15

It does not matter if you have purchased a home that is newly built or a fixer-upper, a time will come with you get the urge to make some home improvements. Start with the things that you can do that will add to the value of your home. Take on the quick projects and simple changes around your home first. Next, decide if you will be doing the work on your own or hiring a professional. However, perhaps the most important step is notifying your insurance agent of any home improvements to your house.

If you are planning to add a new room to your home or make some other improvements, you will most likely need to update your home insurance policy. This is the best way to make certain that any new additions or improvements are adequately covered. In addition, you will also need to make sure that you are protected against liability by ensuring that any workers you hire to perform renovations on your home are properly covered as well.

Before you begin any construction, you need to get in touch with your insurance agent to increase your current coverage and make certain the new changes to your home are reflected in your policy. Your agent will be able to help you decide on just how much additional coverage you need to purchase as well as any extended liability or other insurance products your plans may require. In addition, it is a good idea to keep your insurance agent well-informed on the progress of your remodeling project, just in case you alter your plans along the way and your need for coverage changes.

Avoiding Liability

Prior to hiring a general contractor to work on remodeling your home, you will want to request a copy of their workers compensation policy. If they do not have any insurance or the coverage that they do have is not sufficient, you could find yourself in financial trouble in the event that a worker or subcontractor is injured over the course of the job.

This means that you could be held legally responsible for paying the cost of their medical and rehabilitation expenses. In order to protect yourself from a situations such as this, you may need to invest in more liability coverage by increasing the limits on your home insurance policy.

Other Insurance Concerns

Be sure that your contractor has general liability insurance. This will provide coverage against omissions or negligence that could lead to injuries or damages to your property. You should also check if your contractor has builders risk insurance as well. This will cover any damages to your home or building materials, even if they have not been installed yet.

Update Your Replacement Value

Once your remodeling project is complete, the value of your home will increase. Therefore, you will need to talk to your insurance agent and have the replacement value of your home recalculated. Then, you will be able to adjust your home insurance coverage accordingly. In addition, you may also need to increase the amount of coverage that you have for your personal possessions if any new items, such as electronics or furniture, were purchased as a part of your home improvements.

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The Importance of Wedding Insurance

09.14.15

For those that are planning to get married this summer or fall, you should be aware of all the insurance-based precautions that you need to take in case an accident occurs, the ceremony has to be delayed or cancelled. Even though you may not want to think about it, disasters do happen all the time on wedding days. From damaged wedding gowns and stolen gifts to sudden cancellations, wedding insurance is designed to cover you against the unexpected. In addition, this great peace of mind is incredibly affordable as well.

What Exactly Is Wedding Insurance?

Basically, this type of insurance will protect your investment from circumstances that are beyond your control and reimburse you for any incurred expenses. For instance, a limo driver that fails to show up, requiring you to book a different one on the morning of your wedding for triple the cost.

The tuxedo that you had custom made for the groom is lost at the airport baggage claim and a new one has to be purchased on the eve of the big event. A month prior to your wedding, the place you had booked for your reception suddenly goes out of business and you rush to book another place. These are only a few of the financial losses that can ruin your big day if you are not protected with adequate wedding insurance.

Why You Need Wedding Insurance

Before you purchase your wedding insurance policy, take the time to check with all of your vendors to determine the amount and type of coverage that they have. If the site of your reception or your catering service is already covered with their own insurance, you can save money by not paying for coverage that overlaps their existing policy. Request a copy of the vendor’s policy and discuss areas where you are not fully covered with an experienced insurance agent.

The sooner you purchase your wedding insurance policy the better. If you put a large deposit down on the reception hall a year in advance and it burns down to the ground a couple of weeks before your wedding, you will need wedding insurance to recoup that deposit. Ask your agent about any limitations on how far in advance you will be able to purchase coverage.

What Is Covered By Wedding Insurance?

Injury, illness, weather, site complications, undependable vendors and missing wedding party members are among the top concerns for a wedding. There is typically a maximum amount of coverage specified under each section of your wedding insurance policy, as well as an applicable deductible. Be sure to discuss the details of your wedding insurance plan with your agent.

Featured coverage includes:

  • Site coverage
  • Weather coverage
  • Vendor no-show coverage
  • Injury or illness coverage
  • Job or military coverage

However, it is important to note that there are some things that your policy will not cover, such as:

  • A change of heart, or cold feet
  • Semi-precious gemstones, pearls, jewelry or watches, including items that are attached to wedding attire
  • Engagement rings

Additional wedding insurance coverage is available to protect you against other disasters that could jeopardize your big event, such as coverage for gifts, videography and photography. Ask your agent for details on all available coverage options.

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Travelling Soon? Remember To Protect Your Home While You’re Away!

09.10.15

Whether you are driving cross-country or taking a cruise to paradise, travelling means your home will be left unoccupied for several days or even weeks. Thieves target homes that appear to be empty and there are a number of other things that can go wrong while you are away. Therefore, it is important to learn about the precautions you should take before your weekend retreat or spectacular vacation.

Beyond Locked Doors

You need to take a few basic safety precautions to make certain your home and its contents will be as safe as possible in your absence. In order to keep burglars away, you have to consider more than just locking the doors and setting all your lights on timers. If you are planning to be away from home for more than twenty-four hours, you need to go beyond your regular lockup routine.

  • Put your mail on hold – If you allow the mail to pile up in your mailbox or on your doorstep, it will instantly tip burglars to your absence. If you are going to be away for more than just a few days, have the post office hold your mail. You will want to do the same if you subscribe to a daily paper. Otherwise, you can ask a neighbor that you trust to collect your mail and newspapers daily until you return.
  • Keep quiet – It may be tempting to brag about your vacation plans on social media. However, to be safe, it is best not to say anything until you return from your trip. Once you are back home, then you can share all your vacation tales and post photos of your time away.
  • A trusted friend or neighbor – In addition to collecting your mail and newspapers, a trusted friend or neighbor should also have your vacation contact information and a spare key. This way, you have someone who can contact you if there is an emergency. Do not leave a hidden key anywhere on your property while you are away.
  • Display security – A great idea anytime, but especially when you are on vacation, you want to let burglars know that your home is not a great target. If you worry that alarm company signs will provide thieves with helpful information, use signs from another company. In addition, authentic-looking fake security cameras are an ideal deterrent.
  • Prepare appliances – Expect for the appliances on times, unplug everything to prevent a power surge or electrical fire. This applies not only to the bigger items like your television, but also your coffee maker, toaster and small appliances. Turn down the temperature on your water heater and set your air conditioner to eighty-five degrees.
  • Protect your valuables – Make sure that any sensitive documents, jewelry and other valuable items are locked away in a fireproof safe.
  • Call security – Let your alarm company know that you plan to be away for a while. Before you leave, make sure all of the window and door alarms are set and properly functioning.

The Illusion of Occupancy

Set your lights, television and radio to timers. Typical household noises and flickering lights will look like an average family is home for the night. However, there are a few other ways to make it look like your home is occupied.

One way is to leave at least one car in the driveway the entire time. Ask a friend or neighbor to mow the lawn at least once a week. After all, an unkempt lawn is just as telling as a pile of mail or newspapers.

If you normally have a yard full of toys and an unrolled garden hose, make sure it still does while you are away. Anything that makes your home look lived in is far better than tidying up before your trip.

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Tips & Tricks For Making Your Move Efficient And Easy

09.07.15

For most people, moving is not exactly a pleasant experience. It is important to have a plan in place as the moving season grows near in order to make the process of relocation as smooth as possible. By planning ahead, you will be able to effectively reduce the stress of moving.

Tips for Efficient Packing

Transporting your belongings from one place to another is the ultimate test of your packing skills. Moving experts have a considerable amount of advice to offer to ensure your move is successful and free of danger, such as:

  • Reinforce the bottom of all of your boxes.
  • Pack up one room at a time, labeling the boxes as you go with the room and the contents.
  • Use newspaper or any other filling material to fill the unused space in boxes to prevent any shifting during the move.
  • Make sure that the boxes that contain fragile items are clearly marked. Load these boxes on top and make certain they are secured in place.
  • Any items that can be disassembled should be taken apart before packing to save space and make packing easier.
  • Items that have sharp corners should be wrapped to keep them from scratching or puncturing other items.
  • Do not load houseplants, necessities, valuables and swimming gear in the moving truck. Instead, keep these items with you during the move.
  • Dishes and glassware should be wrapped in individual pieces and placed in strong boxes. Be sure plates are packed on their edge as opposed to flat. For the best protection, consider investing in dish packs. Fine silver should be wrapped in silver paper or cloth.
  • Wall hangings should be wrapped in towels, blankets or bubble wrap. Place them in protective cartons on edge.
  • Remove bulbs and lamp shades before you pack your lamps in sturdy cartons. Load these on top.

Moving Large Items

Use blankets or bubble wrap to pad your furniture for the best protection and make sure it is secured firmly. Whenever possible, remove the legs of your furniture. Any screws and wing nuts should be stored in a plastic bag and taped to the underside of the furniture. Coat your fine wood furnishings with wax to help prevent scratching during the move.

To minimize space, stand sofas on end. Put the loose cushions into bags and use them as filler pieces. To avoid repacking, move dressers with the drawers full. Make sure the drawers are secured and will not open in transit.

The original boxes should be used when possible for stereos, computers, televisions and other electronics. These items usually come with manufacturer instructions for moving. Use foam packing material or bubble wrap to protect each piece. Ensure any moving parts are immobile. All cords and cables should be removed and labeled. Cords can be taped to the back of electronics to prevent damage to the plug. Keep in mind that cassette tapes, videos and compact discs are prone to warping in hot weather.

Defrost your refrigerators and freezers a few days before the move. Make sure they are clean and dry. The interior space of these items can be used to store your crushable or lightweight items. Disconnect the hoses from your washing machine, empty them and place in the washer tub. Towels, blankets or moving braces can be used to immobilize the tub. Electrical cords should be taped to the back of major appliances to prevent damage.

Keep in mind that hot weather makes physical labor dangerous. Wear light-colored comfortable clothes to keep cool. Remember to drink plenty of water and carry fresh foods along with you. Finally, remember to protect your skin with proper sunscreen.

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