A major winter storm with the potential for hurricane-force winds and heavy snow is threatening to slam the Northeast this weekend. The quickly-intensifying winter storm could develop into a nor'easter, and possibly a bomb cyclone, as it travels along the coast in the coming days, according to AccuWeather.
The heaviest snow is anticipated to hit New England, although snowfall is also possible in metro areas further south, including New York City and Washington, D.C., the weather agency said. Coastal northeastern cities could also be in for strong hurricane-force wind gusts between 40 to 60 miles per hour in the coming days, according to Accuweather.
In eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, up to 16 inches of snow could accumulate from a bomb cyclone — which occurs when a cyclone rapidly intensifies and strengthens due to the central pressure decreasing by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. In Vermont and northern New York, wind chills could reach -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Southeast Connecticut could see six or more inches of snowfall.
A heavy rainstorm has finally stopped. Or maybe a long winter has finally ended, and the deep snows have begun to melt.
While good weather may seem like a relief, the potential for water damage may just be beginning. Storm water runoff can quickly overwhelm natural and manmade systems, leading to flooding and property damage.
The steps you take today to prepare your home and yard for proper drainage can help avoid time-consuming and costly repairs when the bad weather does blow through.
In a natural environment, storm water runoff is absorbed by soil, evaporates into the atmosphere or flows into bodies of water, such as streams, lakes or rivers. Homeowners may need to recreate the natural environment on their property to address storm water runoff. This includes planting trees and other vegetation, building rain gardens and installing rain barrels or cisterns to collect roof water.
How Can You Protect Your Home from Storm Water?
The key to developing a yard drainage plan is to understand the specific characteristics of your property and implement the system that works best for you. During a storm, you can go outside and observe how the water flows. Take note of the different grades and slopes and whether they divert the flowing water away from your home. Look for any low spots that collect or pool water and for any steep slopes that have indications of surface erosion.
Consider the steps needed to protect your property from water runoff. Rain that falls on roofs, driveways, patios, roads and other impervious areas moves across the ground surface at greater speeds. The property adjacent to these areas could be more susceptible to damage. Frozen soil can also increase risk of damage by preventing water from being absorbed by the soil. Replacing impervious areas with pervious surfaces, such as permeable paving stones or pavers, can also help.
Other questions you might consider:
Is storm water that falls on impervious surfaces diverted away from your house? This is the work of things like roof gutter downspouts, driveways, walkways and patios. Runoff from these surfaces should be directed to an area that has the ability to absorb or slow the surface flow, such as landscaped areas, and away from your house.
Does your house have a stream, pond or lake close by?
Consider the flood potential and how it may impact your property. You can research local flood maps that will detail flood water levels for various storm events and their flood potential.
Does your driveway or other impervious surface have a negative pitch back toward the house? Consider installing trench drains or area drains to help prevent pooling and divert water away from the house.
Do you have retaining walls on your property? If so, it is important that the walls have a drainage system in place to alleviate pressure behind the wall. Periodically clean weep holes to ensure they are not clogged. Surface water should not be allowed to cascade over the top of the wall and instead should be diverted to the end of the wall or around it.
Is a portion of your house below ground level, such as a basement?
Make sure any sewer and water lines, or any other pipes or lines that penetrate subsurface walls, and foundation cracks are properly sealed. Basements that are prone to water intrusion should have a water collection system in place, such as a sump pump system. This system should be maintained with a battery backup for continued operation in the event of a power failure. Consider elevating mechanical systems or installing curbs around areas that need protecting but cannot be elevated, such as finished areas and storage areas. Exterior basement window wells should have covers and the ground surface of the well should be below the well rim.
Do you have a sewer or septic system and property with known high water tables?
Have the system checked by a professional. If the groundwater rises too high, it can affect the efficiency and operation of the system. In some cases, this may lead to sewer back up or waste leaching above the ground or back into the house.
Surface storm water is not the only consideration for protecting your home. It is also important to assess the functionality of your whole home envelope system. Make sure that your house exterior is maintained, including roofing, flashings, weather barriers, windows, doors and sealants.
While you cannot prevent against all damage from storm water runoff during large acts of nature, these steps can help protect your home when storms do hit.
Storms or natural disasters can have the ability to knock your power out for an extended period of time. During an outage, portable generators can offer temporary power, but there are potential risks associated with the use of these generators. Generators can be dangerous, and can lead to illness and injury, and even death if used improperly.
When using a portable generator, it is important to take precautions for your safety and the safety of those in your home. Follow these guidelines for safe generator use:
Be Sure Generator is Connected Correctly to Avoid Electrical Hazards
Electricity supplied by a generator has the same hazards as your regular utility-supplied electricity. You can face additional risks if your generator bypasses safety devices, such as circuit breakers, that are built into your electrical systems. We recommend contacting an electrical contractor or the generator manufacturer for the proper installation of your generator.
Never Operate a Generator Indoors
Generators should not be operated indoors, in garages or basements, or near windows, vents or doors. Your generator should be kept well away from your home or business. A minimum distance of 25 feet is recommended; however, you should check your local ordinances and the manufacturer’s recommended practices for additional information. Be sure to take your neighbors/neighboring businesses' windows, vents and doors into account when positioning your generator. The exhaust from a generator can build up carbon monoxide (CO) – a colorless, odorless toxic gas – that can cause severe illness or even death.
You should always use caution when refueling your portable generator. There is a risk of fire or getting burned because of the nature of the task. Follow these safety tips to ensure you properly refuel your generator.
A sump pump is an important component of your home's equipment that helps protect your property by controlling water and keeping your home dry. Typically found in basements, sump pumps are usually professionally installed in a specially constructed sump pit. When the water table around your home is high, your sump pump can help keep your basement dry and might even help minimize damage to your home if you experience a plumbing or appliance leak. As a homeowner, you'll want to maintain your sump pump to make sure it's working properly.
The sump pump's job is to pump water outside and away from the home. To help keep it functioning properly, your sump pump needs regular maintenance. Here are some tips to help make sure your sump pump stays in good working condition.
How to Help Keep Your Sump Pump in Good Condition
Learn more about the maintenance for your sump pump by referring to the owner's manual. Check on your sump pump and pit regularly, especially if a significant amount of rainfall is forecast. Keep the sump pit clean and free of debris. Don't forget to check and clean the inlet opening or screen. Unplug the pump when you are cleaning it, but don't forget to plug it back in when you are done.
If water backs up from a sewer or drain within your home or if water discharges or overflows from your sump pump, water backup and sump pump discharge or overflow coverage can help cover the loss up to a specified dollar amount. This does not include coverage for flood or surface water backup. Talk to your local independent agent representative about whether this coverage is right for you.
Unfortunately, car break-ins happen, but you can take steps to minimize your risk and keep your vehicle and belongings safe.
By taking a few minutes to review these tips now, you could avoid the hassle of repairing (or replacing) your car later.
Here are 10 smart ways to keep your vehicle safe from theft.
Don’t Make a Break-In Easy
Plan Ahead (Even in Your Neighborhood)
Hide What’s Important
What to Do After a Crime
If you’re the victim of a vehicle break-in or theft, take photos of the damage, file a police report and reach out for help filing an insurance claim.
We can also help you be more proactive. Get in touch to learn about additional coverage for your vehicle or home.
You can get a for a renters insurance policy online in just a few minutes or consider making a quick call to your Travelers representative to get things started. Renters insurance can help cover the loss of or damage to your possessions, additional living expenses if you have to leave your home due to a covered event, and may protect you from personal liability claims, too. Renters insurance can help protect you from the potentially devastating costs of losing the things you own, from the home or apartment that you don’t.
Get answers to your frequently asked renters insurance questions like, "How much renters insurance do I need?" on our renters insurance FAQ page.
What's Covered by a Renters Insurance Policy
While your landlord’s insurance likely covers the physical dwelling where you live, it can be up to you to protect your personal property, such as your clothes, electronics and furniture. In addition, renters may spend considerable time and money on alterations or improving their rental unit. Under a renters policy, you may apply up to 10% of your personal property coverage to repair or replace improvements made by you or acquired at your expense if damaged by a covered loss. Higher amounts of coverage are available.
Ways to Save on Your Renters Insurance
When you purchase multiple policies or have a home security system, you may be able to save money on your renters insurance policy. You can also opt for a higher deductible policy. By doing so, you may have to pay more upfront before your insurance policy pays a claim
if your covered possessions are lost, damaged or stolen. But typically, choosing a higher deductible means your monthly premiums will be lower.
How to Shop for Renters Insurance
If damage to your home is covered by your policy, and you must leave it while it’s being repaired, where would you stay? Would the cost of a hotel or temporary apartment fit into your budget? Having loss of use coverage included in your homeowners insurance policy can help. If your home is damaged by a covered loss, loss of use coverage can help pay for your additional housing and living expenses while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.
What Is Loss of Use Coverage in Homeowners Insurance?
Loss of use coverage, also known as additional living expenses (ALE) insurance, or Coverage D, can help pay for the additional costs you might incur for reasonable housing and living expenses if a covered event makes your house temporarily uninhabitable while it’s being repaired or rebuilt.
What Is Additional Living Expenses (ALE) Insurance?
ALE insurance reimburses homeowners for additional living expenses stemming from temporary relocation after a covered loss. For example, if your house is severely damaged by a fire, your loss of use coverage would reimburse you for the cost of a hotel up to your coverage limit.
Many homeowners insurance companies include loss of use coverage in their policies and place a limit as a percentage of your dwelling coverage. For instance, if your limit is 30% and your dwelling coverage limit is $200,000, you would be covered for up to $60,000 under your loss of use coverage. Policy limits vary by insurance company and by policy, so if you have questions regarding your specific loss of use coverage limit, contact your insurance representative. Typically, you can increase your coverage limit for an additional cost.
Loss of use coverage only applies to damage caused to your home by covered perils. For instance, if your home is flooded and you don’t have flood insurance, your loss of use claim would not be covered as a result of this type of loss.
What Does Loss of Use Protection Cover?
As previously mentioned, loss of use insurance typically provides coverage for additional living expenses resulting from a covered loss. In simpler terms, this means you would be covered for expenses you wouldn’t ordinarily have if you were living in your own home. For example, let’s assume you typically spend $100 on gas per month, but that amount has increased to $150 because you live in a hotel that is farther from work while your home is repaired. In this scenario, you would be reimbursed $50, which is the incremental cost. A list of common additional living expenses that are typically covered under loss of use insurance is provided below.
What Is Not Covered by Loss of Use Protection?
Loss of use protection does not cover expenses that you were already responsible for before the loss. You will still be responsible for paying your mortgage, insurance, child care expenses and so on. The important thing to remember is that loss of use protection is for additional expenses you become responsible for because you can’t live in your home.
For example, if your family normally spends around $200 a week for food, but now you are staying in a hotel without a kitchen, you may need to eat out for most of your meals. Eating out is costing you $300 a week. Under loss of use coverage, the $100 additional expense per week would be covered.
Do I Have to Pay a Deductible on Loss of Use Insurance?
You may be responsible for a deductible for other parts of your claim. Your homeowners insurance representative can explain your deductible further and help you explore other coverages you may want to add to your homeowners policy. The goal is to make sure you have coverage that fits your needs.
How Much Loss of Use Coverage Do I Need?
Everyone’s insurance needs are different. Loss of use coverage is typically based on your dwelling coverage and calculated at about 20% to 30% of the dwelling coverage limit. Consider whether this is enough to cover any necessary increases in your living expenses if your residence is not habitable while damage is being repaired or replaced.
Consult your Calfee insurance agent about your individual policy to understand the amount of loss of use coverage you have; this is subject to coverage terms and limits.
To insure your personal property, get a quote or find an agent.
Going online has become part of everyday life, whether it is for everyday activities such as shopping, sending email or paying bills, and managing your accounts. But data breaches, in all their forms, can potentially expose the personal information that we share online, putting consumers at risk of identity theft.
According to the Consumer Risk Index, 57% of Americans worry about online identity theft. Fortunately, there are steps that consumers can take, including not opening unsolicited emails and avoiding unsecure websites, to protect their personal information while online.
The following tips can help you learn how to help stay safe online:
Emails and Attachments
General Online Safety