McCurdy Group - Insurance and Financial Consultants

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fire Extinguisher Safety

A portable fire extinguisher is great to have in every home to prevent a house fire from spreading and causing devastating damage.  But they have limitations that all consumers need to be aware of. The standard, all-purpose fire extinguisher is meant for small fires that are confined to a small area and not spreading rapidly, such as a fire in a waste basket.  If a fire is growing quickly, it’s safest for the residents to get out of the house immediately and call 911 and not try to battle the fire themselves.

All homes should have an all-purpose extinguisher that is light enough for the users to be able to use easily. Also make sure that the extinguisher carries the label of an independent testing laboratory to make sure that it’s up to code. Make sure to read the instructions before you have a fire so that you’re familiar with how to use it. Local fire departments and fire equipment distributors offer demonstrations on how to use fire extinguishers but if that isn’t available, remember the word PASS:

  - Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle
    pointing away from you, and release the locking
  - Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  - Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  - Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ordinance or Law

If you have a home that is 15 years or older, you need to think about a special coverage for your home. The coverage is called “Ordinance or Law” and it covers you at the time of a loss if you have to make updates to your home because the building codes have changed since your house was built. This applies even though the changes have nothing to do with your loss. For instance, if you have a loss and your town ordinance requires that you replace all the wiring in your house, your coverage may not be enough for this without the Ordinance or Law coverage being added to your policy.  Your homeowners policy coverage will pay for the damage according to the limitations and exclusions of your policy but there is no coverage to repair or replace what is not damaged but is simply not up to code anymore.  That's where Ordinance or Law kicks in. If you are not sure if you have this coverage, please contact your Insurance Agent to discuss your options.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Are Solar Panels Covered on a Homeowner's Policy

Many people now use solar panels and wonder if the panels are covered on their Homeowner’s Policies. The answer would be yes BUT.   We need to consider where the panels are installed in order to make sure that they have the appropriate coverage limits.  If they are installed on the house, they are considered part of the Dwelling limit but if they’re installed on the lawn and not connected to the home itself, they could be considered Other Structure or Personal Property Coverage depending on the company’s view. In any case, you need to make sure that you have enough coverage to handle a loss. There are also situations where the electric company pays you for supplying energy back to them; this would be considered a business and needs special attention. There are some carriers that offer the liability and physical coverage to protect this new “business” exposure. It’s best to discuss your needs with your Insurance Agent Professional to have the peace of mind that your interests will be covered.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Have You Paid Off Your Home or Auto?

If you’ve paid off your mortgage or car loan, did you know that you should inform your insurance agent? Most people don’t know to do that until they have a claim and have to deal with the insurance company and bank to rectify the situation. If you have a loss and the bank is still listed on your home or auto policy, the claim check has to be written out to you AND the bank which leads to more work for you at a time that you don’t need the extra hassle. Once you receive the documentation that you have paid off the bank loan, get a copy to your Insurance Agent so that they can have the bank or lender removed from your policy to avoid having to deal with this at the time of a claim.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wood and Pellet Stove Safety

The heating season is here and it’s time to think about wood and pellet stove safety. Wood stoves and pellet stoves need to be cleaned every year or when there’s 1/4” creosote buildup on the chimney walls. The more often you use the stove, the more often you’ll have to clean it. Make sure to clean the ash and dispose of it in a fire-proof container before each use. Also be aware of the fuel limitations of your stove. Most wood stoves are meant to burn wood only. Do not burn driftwood, trash, treated wood, artificial logs, or any product containing zinc, sulfur, lead, or plastics as they will damage the catalytic combustor. Burning trash in a wood stove is dangerous for its potential to start a chimney fire, and also because the trash could contain plastics or other elements which emit harmful gases.

If you’re thinking about installing a wood or pellet stove for the first time, make sure to have a professional install it.  Also make sure that it’s inspected and you get proof of that inspection certifying that the stove is up to code and safe for your family. If you would like more information on this matter, go to the National Ag Safety Database at