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Posts Tagged ‘fire’

My father is adamant: each morning after the coffee has been finished, the coffeemaker must be unplugged. It seems a fireman told him 30 years ago they caused fires, lots of ‘em, and the O’Brien clan doesn’t like fire — not even in fireplaces.

Well, after paying a claim caused by a fire in one of their policyholder’s homes, Chubb has brought a lawsuit against Apple, alleging the house fire was the result of a faulty computer charger. The suit further alleges Apple had received numerous complaints alerting them to heating, burning and sparking problems with the MagSafe adapters used to charge Macintosh computers.

Unlike a Macbook, my father’s coffeemaker does not need charging, so un-plugging the coffeemaker when not in use actually IS a real option.  

A copy of the complaint is available here.

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To Hedge, or not to Hedge….

 

An interesting question was recently presented on Terri Cullen’s great WSJ blog for her Fiscally Fit column by someone who labeled themselves a “contrarian”. In essence, the post asked: “since the likelihood of losing a home to fire is remote, why bother insuring the home for the full cost to rebuild?”

 

I don’t think this question is contrarian at all, I think it is fair and logical. Savvy consumers know to beware of insurance “scare mongers”, who would have us believe that the sky is about to fall on all of our homes. Meanwhile, statistics reveal that the risk of a fire totally destroying any single home is remote.  Click here for some good insights, or check this site:  https://www.usfa.dhs.gov/statistics/national/residential.shtm

 

For those who wish to hedge the unlikely risk of a fire consuming their home by partially insuring the cost to rebuild, the insurance industry has erected significant pitfalls. While these can be navigated, doing so requires careful guidance.

 

As both a risk advisor and an insurance consumer, I would also describe myself as a “contrarian”. Meanwhile, knowing a.) fire is but one of the losses that can wreak significant damage to my home ( Click this link for a chart showing the leading losses by cause to homes), and b.) the insurance carriers who “allow” consumers to hedge against total losses do so by inserting numerous contract provisions that greatly reduce the amount they will pay after a loss, I would never elect to hedge the slight risk of a total loss by selecting a policy that offers “partial coverage”.  Others I know consider this a risk worth accepting. Neither approach can be judged “right” or “wrong” until after a lifetime of home ownership.

 

It is always wise to examine risks from different perspectives. In this instance, there is real risk in placing coverage with insurance carriers who so graciously permit you to partially insure your home.

 

 

 

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While having a fire and burglar alarm system can offer some peace of mind, most property owners are curious to know how technology can help them better protect their home — and their families while at home. While I am not an expert on home security, I am a good resource in directing homeowners to the select group of specialists focused on advanced home security and “smart home” technology.

 

One organization I’ve worked with locally has merged advances in home security with smart home technology in an easy to use way that offers great home security and utility. Connected Hearth is an exciting service provider, with a website that lets you monitor and control your home from anywhere in the world. Through ConnectedHearth.com, you can control your security system, your heat and A/C, your indoor and outdoor lighting. You can pan a camera throughout your house. You can even have a hot cup of espresso waiting for you when you arrive. All this, from a computer. Wherever you happen to be.  Click on this link to be re-directed  to their web site.

 

Or, feel welcome to contact me for information on other new advances in home security, and to learn which carriers are providing real incentives to improve the loss prevention features in the homes they insure.

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It is alarming, but true: depending upon where your home is located, your local fire department may not have much of a chance of extinguishing a fire in your home. 

Having worked for many years as a residential appraiser with Chubb, my colleague, Melissa Apostle, provided The Robb Report with several great suggestions on how vacation homeowners can work to improve the response time they can hope to receive from their local fire departments. The article – “A little preplanning can save your home if a fire strikes” – appears in the March 2008 Vacation Homes edition of The Robb Report.

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