Spring Maintenance for Your Home

 Insurance  Comments Off on Spring Maintenance for Your Home
Mar 062017
 

shutterstock_281534546When springtime rolls around, almost everyone thinks of organizing and cleaning. While this is important, your friends at Soucy Insurance want to remind you of something even more important – basic home maintenance.

Once you set the clocks ahead for daylight-saving time, and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, give your home a checkup, too. Here are some suggestions from the Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Interior and appliances

  • Check the basement and/or crawlspace for any signs of standing water or dripping.
  • Pull your dryer out and clean the exhaust hose and vent (lint found here is a common cause of house fires).
  • Vacuum refrigerator/freezer coils for efficiency.
  • Clean exhaust fan outlets and screens.
  • Check all air filters and replace, if necessary.

 Roof, siding, windows

  • Check for damage to your roof and have a professional inspection, if necessary.
  • Inspect the attic. If there is visible moisture or discoloration, your roof may be leaking.
  • Examine the paint on your siding and trim. If it is peeling, you might require new paint to protect against the effects of weather.
  • Check for leaks around windows and door sills. Improving your seals can lower your energy bills.

Yard and exterior

  • Check for signs of rodents and other pests.
  • Clean debris from gutters and downspouts, and make sure they are draining away from the home.
  • Trim overhanging tree branches and shrubs.

Remember, winter weather can cause significant damage that is easy to spot, but it often results in wear and tear that homeowners can miss if they aren’t looking closely. It’s well worth it to spend a little time on home maintenance this spring, so that wear and tear doesn’t turn into something more serious.

To make sure your homeowners insurance is also properly maintained, schedule a complimentary policy review at Soucy Insurance today by calling 762.2218.

Your Credit Rating and Insurance

 Insurance  Comments Off on Your Credit Rating and Insurance
Feb 172017
 

shutterstock_358338800Most people understand that their credit history has a lot to do with their ability to secure a loan, find a place to live, and even obtain a cell phone.  But, many are unaware that their credit score can also affect them when purchasing insurance.

When underwriting and setting the rates for insurance policies, insurance companies generate a ranking known as an “insurance score.” This number is based on a person’s credit history.  Insurance companies use credit to determine risk, since numerous studies have revealed that how a person manages his or her financial affairs is a good predictor of the likelihood of insurance claims.  Historically, people who have a poor insurance score are more likely to file a claim.

Once you have been assigned an insurance score, insurers differentiate between lower and higher insurance risks and thus charge a premium equal to the risk they are assuming.  It is for this reason, that we recommend establishing a sound credit history and checking to make certain your credit report is accurate.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – TransUnion, Equifax, and Esperian – provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, every 12 months.  Reports can be ordered from AnnualCreditReport.com.

For more information on how credit can affect your insurance rates, contact Soucy Insurance at 762.2218.

Have some new jewelry in the house? Protect it!

 Insurance  Comments Off on Have some new jewelry in the house? Protect it!
Feb 072017
 

shutterstock_358660343Valentine’s Day is near, and love is in the air. Also, a few other things, such as chocolates, romantic dinners and, of course, jewelry.

It’s exciting to receive jewelry from a loved one — or to give it as a gift. But if you’re lucky enough to have some new jewelry in your home this Valentine’s Day, you should take a few minutes to think about something you probably don’t find exciting or romantic: insurance.

At Soucy Insurance, we think it is exciting to help our customers protect what’s most important to them — we’re ready to help and can answer all of your questions.

Things to consider when insuring jewelry:

You may need to purchase additional coverage. Your homeowners policy covers valuable items such as jewelry only up to set amounts. If the cost of replacing your jewelry exceeds that limit, you will want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage. You can check your policy or give us a call at 762.2218.

Review your deductible amounts. As always, this impacts your policy premium. It’s a good idea to take a look at your deductibles whenever you make a change to your policy.

Do you need an appraisal? You may need to have an independent appraisal if the insurance company requires it or if you don’t know the value of your jewelry. Each item should be listed with a description and value on paper.

What kind of coverage is offered? You’ll want to determine if items are covered no matter where they are, whether they’re in Rhode Island, or on an international trip, and if the policy offers full replacement cost. You also should ask if you will be required to replace your jewelry if lost or stolen, or if you can simply keep the cash settlement.

Pictures can be helpful. Lost or stolen pieces of jewelry sometimes can be recreated if the jeweler has a good photograph to work from.

Of course, it’s important to store your jewelry securely when it’s not in use; a safe in your home or a safe-deposit box is best. We want your jewelry to be replaced if it’s lost or stolen, but we’d rather your sentimental and valuable pieces stay with you and your family for years to come.

Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is full of fun and romance. For further questions and assistance, please contact Soucy Insurance at 762.2218.

 

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Five New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners

 Insurance  Comments Off on Five New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners
Jan 052017
 

shutterstock_339070085Provided by Selective Insurance

As 2017 begins, Americans across the nation are diving straight into their New Year’s resolutions. Let’s take a look at five simple resolutions all homeowners can commit to this year.

1. Cut down on hoarding. 
Even when it is not an extreme case of hoarding, holding on to certain household items for too long can be a risk. The National Fire Protection Association, a nonprofit organization devoted to fire safety, affirms that hoarding behaviors such as keeping newspapers, clothing and other flammable items can increase the chances of experiencing a disaster in the home. Make 2017 a fresh year by spending these first few days cleaning out all of the closets, basement, attic and any other areas of the home that have been cluttered with items that are no longer of any use.

2. Focus on energy efficiency.
The Alliance to Save Energy, a group that supports energy efficiency, explains that the average cost of utilities for homeowners is more than $5,500, and that relatively simple changes can greatly reduce that sum. The organization states that energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs can cut 30-80% of electric bills, while good habits also can have a substantive impact. Make sure you are turning lights and appliances off when they are not in use. Consider upgrading to energy-efficient iterations of these assets to save big this year.

3. Keep the entryway clear.
The front entrance into the house is often too cluttered. This could present a risk if there is an emergency and you have to get the family out quickly. Make sure your entryway is clear so that you do not experience a “front-door pile up.” Use home management solutions to keep shoes, coats, bags and equipment organized. If you do not have a closet near the front door, consider installing one. This could make keeping this particular resolution all the more feasible.

4. Reduce food waste.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, an organization that pushes for more intelligent management of natural resources, estimates America wastes roughly 40% of its food each year, which is valued at about $165 billion. That’s roughly $1300 in losses per household per year, which is quite a chunk of change. Plan out your grocery shopping, meals and other elements of consumption to bring your household into the zero-food-waste category in 2017.

5. Improve defenses against disasters.
Natural disasters caused more than $1 billion in household losses in each of 12 weather-related disasters in 2016, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the government entity devoted to climate research. Fix your roof, repair your foundation, storm-proof your home’s exterior and tackle any and all other necessary home improvement projects to reduce disaster-related risks in 2017.

To make sure your home and its contents are properly insured, call Soucy Insurance today at 762.2218 for a complimentary policy review.

Holiday Home Security

 Home Insurance, Insurance  Comments Off on Holiday Home Security
Dec 052016
 

shutterstock_92121565Make home safety a priority while you’re away for the holidays

The holidays can be a great time to travel and visit family, hit the slopes or flee to the beach. Regardless of how you spend your time away, you need to ensure your house stays safe while you’re gone.

A house left empty can be an opportunity for burglars, so before you pack your bags, prepare to protect the stuff that’s staying at home.

At Soucy Insurance, we want to make it a little easier for you to get out of town with peace of mind and return to everything you left behind. Below are some pointers for prepping your home before you travel:

Lock it up. Check and double-check that you have locked all the doors and windows.

Check under the mat. If you store an extra key outside your house, remove it.  Instead, give the key to a trusted friend or neighbor in case someone needs to enter in an emergency.

Communicate. Inform a friend or neighbor that you will be away. Ask them to keep an eye on the house, and give them a way to reach you to report any suspicious activity. Also, remember to never communicate your absence on social media.

Forego deliveries. Make sure to stop delivery of packages, newspapers, and anything else that could pile up on your porch. Ask your trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail every other day.

Remove temptations. Do not leave wrapped gifts or expensive electronics visible through windows and doors.

From Soucy Insurance, we wish you, your family (and your home and belongings) a very safe and joyous holiday!

If you are the victim of a theft this holiday season, your homeowners and umbrella policies may offer protection. To know for sure, review your insurance policies with us by calling 762.2218.

Is your home as efficient as it could be?

 Home Insurance, Insurance  Comments Off on Is your home as efficient as it could be?
Nov 082016
 

Drafty windows. Leaky faucets. Dirty air filters.

All are common issues and they’re not only annoying — they also cost you money in decreased energy efficiency and higher utility bills.

Would you like to save $200 to $400 a year on your energy costs? That’s how much the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program estimates that homeowners can save by incorporating technologies to make their homes operate more efficiently.

Of course, helping to protect you and your family is our goal at Soucy Insurance and keeping your home well-maintained usually means your home will be safer as well. Those are goals we all should share. Several of the tips below from the National Association of Home Builders will help you accomplish both.

Complete a home-energy audit

Making your home more efficient can seem like an overwhelming task. But “auditing” your energy efficiency is something you can do yourself, and it’s relatively simple. This will show you where your home loses energy, how efficient your heating and cooling systems are, and ways you can decrease your electricity use. Just inspect the areas listed here and note the problems you find.

Where’s the air? Air commonly “leaks” from homes through gaps around baseboards, electrical outlets and windows or doors. Stopping these drafts can save up to 30 percent of your yearly energy costs. Be sure to check your home’s exterior as well, paying particular attention to areas where two different building materials meet. When you find leaks, seal them with caulk or weather stripping.

Don’t wait … insulate! Check to see if the amount of insulation in the ceiling and walls is sufficient. Your attic door should be insulated and close tightly. For walls, make a small hole in a closet or other inconspicuous place and probe into the wall with a screwdriver — the area should be completely filled with insulation.

Conduct a systems check. Efficient heating and cooling systems can save you frustration as well as money. Make sure ducts and pipes are insulated properly, and have your equipment checked and cleaned by a professional each year. Filters for forced-air furnaces should be replaced as soon as they are dirty, or every 30 to 60 days.

Let there be (efficient) light. Lighting can account for up to 20 percent of your home’s total electricity use, so consider compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs, which last longer and use far less energy than incandescent bulbs.

At Soucy Insurance, our top priority is working with you to protect what matters most. If you would like a review of your homeowners insurance policy to see how you could save even more money, call us today at 762.2218.

Before the wind blows, secure your trees and shrubs

 Home Insurance, Insurance  Comments Off on Before the wind blows, secure your trees and shrubs
Oct 112016
 

shutterstock_294430544The seasons are changing, and we will soon be enjoying the colors of autumn.

Regrettably, fall’s stunning display is often accompanied by some unwelcome weather hazards – namely, wind – that can cause considerable damage to the very trees that produce those beautiful fall leaves.

At Soucy Insurance, we want your yard and home to stay safe throughout the season.  Please review the following tips to ensure you keep your trees and shrubs healthy and avoid destruction that can result when the wind blows.

To protect existing trees

  • Bundle them. Visit a home and garden store and purchase enough landscape fabric and plant ties to cover trees and shrubs vulnerable to the changing weather. Wrap them up for the winter and then unwrap them after spring has sprung.
  • Trim as needed. Proper pruning is essential to ensure trees can withstand winds, so make sure you use correct pruning techniques or hire a professional.
  • Grow appropriate trees. If you have trees that are especially susceptible to wind, consider planting more trees. Experts say to choose trees, like conifers and evergreens, to create a windbreak. As an added bonus, a windbreak placed in correct proximity to a home can reduce energy costs by up to 30 percent. Keep in mind: conifers should be planted at least 20 feet away from a structure, evergreens at least 30 feet away.

When planting new trees

  • Know which way the wind blows.  Pay attention to the wind patterns in your part of Rhode Island through the fall and winter seasons and how they affect your particular lot.  Plant trees in areas where structures, such as your home, garage or shed, can serve to shelter them from the wind.
  • Give them some space. Plant trees far enough away from structures and foundations. A smaller tree should have at least a 10-square-foot space to itself, and a larger tree needs at least 30 square feet.

At Soucy Insurance, we hope these tips will ensure that you and your yard hang tough all season long… even when the wind starts howling. To learn more about safeguarding your home from loss, call us today at 762.2218.

Why Choose an Independent Insurance Agency?

 Insurance  Comments Off on Why Choose an Independent Insurance Agency?
Sep 012016
 

Soucy Insurance has been providing insurance coverage to Rhode Island and Massachusetts customers since 1914.  As an independent, Trusted Choice insurance agency, we have strong ties with the Rhode Island and Massachusetts communities and work with you one on one. Our agents offer you many options, affordable rates and unbiased, direct advice on the best choice for you and your family.

soucy-logo

We offer competitive solutions for all personal and business insurance needs. Soucy Insurance is committed to providing the best service possible. By choosing us as your insurance provider, you will receive several benefits that come with choosing an independent agency.

  • We are properly licensed and regulated. As an independent agency, Soucy Insurance must meet all state regulations and accreditation standards. Choosing us means that your insurance will be managed by a certified professional.
  • We Can Save You Money. We represent a carefully selected group of the finest Rhode Island insurance companies. You will receive a policy that both saves you money on premiums and matches your particular needs.
  • High Service Standards. We can provide auto insurance, homeowners insurance, small business insurance and life insurance, and cover everything that is important to you, including boats, motorcycles, RV’s, jewelry and fine art.
  • Personalization. Independent agents are extremely knowledgeable about their region. We understand all state and local laws and work hard to keep you informed..

See for yourself the difference in working with an insurance agency with ten decades of experience. If you have any questions regarding our insurance coverages, please do not hesitate to contact us at (401) 762-2218 or our office in Woonsocket, RI.  We offer extended office hours Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5 PM. Additional information can be found on our website www.soucyagency.com.

Soucy Insurance Offers a Variety of Auto Insurance Choices

 Insurance  Comments Off on Soucy Insurance Offers a Variety of Auto Insurance Choices
Jul 292016
 

car_crash

At Soucy Insurance, we design each of our auto insurance policies to provide you with peace of mind on the open road. We offer a comprehensive line of auto insurance policies at competitive prices to match your specific needs. Although cases vary slightly depending on your situation, our experienced insurance agents will offer you the best coverage at a competitive rate. Whatever your insurance needs are, we have the insurance company for you.

Our Personal Lines department will quickly compare your current coverage with several other insurance options at the same time, to ensure you receive the best rates possible. We can also help you determine the appropriate insurance values for your properties with residential cost estimators. And by packaging your automotive, homeowners and excess liability policies, you may also qualify for additional discounts with our package policy programs.

Whether it’s your first time purchasing auto insurance or are looking for a new provider, we have the insurance plan for you.  To find out more information or to see if you are currently eligible for any discounts, visit www.soucyagency.com or call 401-762-2218.

*Information for this blog provided by the Insurance Information Institute (III)

If your home floods … are you protected?

 Insurance  Comments Off on If your home floods … are you protected?
Jun 202016
 

FloodedWhiteHouseAt Soucy Insurance, we strive to educate our customers on their insurance options and on the importance of maintaining quality insurance protection. Many people are unaware about the true facts regarding flood insurance. Standard homeowners insurance and renters insurance does not cover water damage resulting from ground water flooding.

Your Soucy Insurance agent can help explain your options regarding flood insurance.  Supplemental coverage is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  This coverage provides for up to $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for personal possessions.  While the NFIP provides replacement cost coverage of your home, it will only cover the actual cash value of your possessions.  This is important, because actual cash value is designed to replace your possessions, minus their depreciation in value – the older your valuables are, the less they are worth.

Most homeowners in designated flood zones typically have the necessary flood insurance; however inland areas are also susceptible.  People living next to rivers or ponds, and even those whose homes reside at the base of a hill should consider their coverage options.  Flood insurance is just as important for renters as it is homeowners.  If your apartment became inundated with ground water flooding, none of your possessions would be covered – thus resulting in a total loss.

If you would like additional information on coverage available through the National Flood Insurance Program, call us today at 762.2218.  Please remember that there is a 30-day waiting period for coverage to take effect so if you are considering flood insurance it is best to act now.