Monthly Archives: February 2014

When’s the last time you did a home inventory?

home inventoryWhen’s the last time you did a home inventory?

We don’t stop to think about how many things we have added to our homes over the years. If you have been in the same house for over 15 years there is a pretty good chance you have collected a variety of items.  Many of these items may be of value.  There are a variety of ways to do a home inventory, from keeping a simple notebook, storing pictures on a flash drive, making a video or even using an APP to record it all. If you are looking to use an APP to record your home inventory, be sure to check out our APP which has a home inventory feature right on it.

A good habit to get into is keeping your receipts for any new purchases, making a note of when you purchased it and the price you paid for it.  Expensive items like jewelry and artwork may need to be insured separately.  You’ll want to ask your agent whether or not you need to schedule these items on your policy.

You can refer to the following lists to help create your inventory lists.  Write a brief description of the item including when and where you purchased it, make and model and price.

General Appliances

VCR/DVD player
Video camera
CD player
Stereo equipment
CDs, records
Sewing machine
Answering machine
Air conditioners
Vacuum cleaner
Exercise equipment

General Household

Window treatments
Lamps/light fixtures
Collections (coin, stamp, etc.)
Pictures/wall hangings
Living Room

Coffee table
End tables
Entertainment center/wall units
Piano/other musical instruments
Dining Room

China cabinet
Table linens
Tea/coffee sets
Serving table/cart


Bed linens
Dressing tables
Night tables 


Sports apparel

Microwave oven
Coffee makers/other small appliances
Kitchen utensils 


Hair dryer/other electrical appliances
Shower curtains

Home Office/Study/Den

Fax machine
Business supplies

Sports equipment
Toys/Outdoor games
Small boats
Lawn mower
Snow blower
Wheelbarrow/other garden tools and supplies
Work bench
Carpentry tools/supplies
Holiday decorations 


Garden chairs
Garden tables
Outdoor cooking equipment



Wills, living wills and powers of attorney
Birth certificates
Marriage certificates/divorce decrees
Social security cards
Education records
Employment records
Church records


Insurance records
Tax records
Creditor information
Credit card information
Bank information (account numbers, statements, etc.)
Retirement and pension account information
Home improvement records warranties

Hopefully these tips will help you will doing a home inventory.  Remember if you have an expensive items that you feel need to be scheduled on your insurance policy be sure to give one of our agents a call to assist you with this.

Which Business Insurance is best for you?

retail business insuranceOver the next couple weeks we will go over a variety of types of businesses and discuss which type of insurance fits your business needs.  This week will cover Retail Businesses.  Each business is different and you always want to make sure you are properly covered.

This weeks information comes from I.I.I. which does a great job explaining all you need to know about Retail Store business insurance.  Remember for any questions on you business insurance give us a call at Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Small Retail Stores

Whether selling jewelry or garden plants, bicycles or lingerie, retail establishments typically have some features in common.  For one, they usually have inventory that needs to be protected from physical perils, such as fire or theft.  They also have a good deal of store traffic from the general public, raising the risk of third-party bodily injury claims.

Generally, the most cost effective and efficient way to provide property and liability insurance for your small retail business is with a Businessowners Policy (BOP) specifically tailored to small retail stores. Though marketed under a variety of names, policies will typically have provisions similar to the property insurance and liability insurance sections of the BOP, with the option to add various other coverages that you may need.


The BOP covers real estate your business owns. If your store rents or leases its premises, the BOP provides coverage, in the event of a covered cause of loss, for tenants’ improvements and betterments. These are fixtures, alterations, installations, or additions that you have put into the space that cannot legally be removed from the landlord’s premises.

The BOP insures your other business property (in addition to real estate) and your inventory. The policy recognizes that many retailers experience seasonal variations in value. For the majority, Christmas is the big selling season, but for others, the biggest season may be summer. The BOP accommodates seasonally fluctuating inventory value with an automatic 25 percent increase in your policy limit for business personal property, which includes inventory. The seasonal escalator applies only if you have insured business personal property to at least 100 percent of your average monthly values during either the 12 months preceding the loss or the period of time you have been in business as of the date of the loss, whichever is less.

The higher your inventory’s value, the more attractive a target it is for thieves. Risk management can help reduce this risk, but can never entirely eliminate it. To protect from potential losses, you will probably wish to add Burglary and Robbery Coverage to your BOP. Employee dishonesty is another risk for which you can add protection. The BOP already covers your risk of accepting bogus money orders and counterfeit money, although you may want to add higher limits.

Depending on the nature of your retail business, other coverages that may be appropriate to add include:

  • Spoilage: If you sell items—such as cut flowers or food—that must be kept under controlled temperature conditions to avoid spoiling or perishing, you can add spoilage coverage for the value of property spoiled as a result of a breakdown of the temperature control system due to conditions beyond your control.
  • Food Contamination: If you sell food, there is a risk that it could cause food poisoning or transmit a communicable disease from an employee of your business. You can cover this risk with a Food Contamination Endorsement.
  • Mechanical Breakdown: This option provides coverage for mechanical or electrical breakdown to your boilers, pressure vessels, refrigeration systems, piping and mechanical and electrical machines, and apparatus that generate, transmit or use mechanical or electrical power.
  • Outdoor Signs: The basic BOP doesn’t cover an outdoor sign not attached to the building, but you can add this coverage as a separate endorsement.

Another thing to consider is insuring your merchandise while it is in transit. Although it will usually be insured by the transportation company that is delivering it, the limit may not be high enough nor the coverage sufficiently extensive. You can add more coverage with a “transportation floater.” This form of insurance covers your property while it is being transported from one point to another or in the care, custody or control of others.


The liability coverage in the BOP protects your business from many liability loss exposures. For most stores, a frequent risk is that a customer could be injured in a slip and fall accident. While the BOP covers your liability in such accidents, up to the policy limit, it’s also important to manage the risk to keep insurance claims down.

As a seller of products, there is also the risk that someone could sustain bodily injury or other harm from something you sold. This risk, too, is covered by the BOP.

If your business involves selling on the Internet, you can find out more about insurance issues on the e-commerce page of this Web site.


Your personal auto policy probably provides coverage for some business use of your vehicle. A personal auto policy is unlikely to provide coverage, however, if the vehicle in question is used primarily in business. It will not provide coverage for any vehicle owned by a business. For those vehicles you must have a business auto policy.

Should you be driving your personal auto for a business purpose and get into an accident for which you are liable, an injured person could sue you personally. Will your personal auto policy have enough coverage to pay all the damages? If not, a lawsuit may be filed against your business. If you use personal vehicles for business, you want to be sure you have high enough limits to protect your business. You should discuss this with your insurance agent.


States have varying rules about when an employer must provide workers compensation insurance. If you have three or more employees, you should check with your state department of workers compensation to see if you are required to provide workers comp insurance.

source info: I.I.I.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

Helping Small Businesses

starting a small businessOne of our specialties is Small Business Insurance.  We work with a variety of styles of small businesses, from hairdressers, retail stores, small manufacturing companies just to mention a few. We work with small business in Connecticut and Massachusetts. When it comes to Small Businesses, there is a lot of information you need to know.  Making sense of it all can be difficult without a knowledgeable agent to discuss it with. Running a small business involves a significant investment. Business insurance protects your investment by minimizing financial risks associated with unexpected events such as a death of a partner, an injured employee, a lawsuit, or a natural disaster.

With a special focus on Small Business Insurance for businesses with less than 50 employees.  Whether you are a store owner, restaurant, wholesaler or office professional we can provide you the small business insurance you need. With our launch of our Business Partner Program in January of 2013,  this is another commitment to helping our Connecticut and Massachusetts small businesses succeed. Small businesses are the cornerstones of our communities.  Working with our small businesses on their insurance needs is just part of what we do. We make use of our social media avenues to help further promote our Small Businesses. We also build videos for our clients that they can use to help promote their business.  We also post many helpful articles and tips right here on our blog to help small businesses.

– Insurance coverage that helps protect your business

Your small business needs are important to us.  We are here to help with all your insurance needs, as well as support you in you continued growth of your business.

Protecting YOU is our Job

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

28 Days Till Spring

28 days till springIt’s been a pretty snowy winter for most of the country this year.  As New Englander’s we know this is can be the norm for New England winters.  That doesn’t mean we like it.   But, on the upside there is only 28 days left till Spring.  Many of us are thinking with all this snow, Spring can’t come fast enough.

We look forward to the warmer weather, flowers blooming, getting outside and cleaning up around our houses after the long, snowy winter. But until then we have to get through another month of winter.  So for those that do enjoy the winter months, there is still another month of sledding with the kids, hitting the trails with the snowmobile and skiing to mention a few.

In the meantime you have to keep a few things in mind regarding the maintenance of your home during the winter.  With the amount of heavy wet snow we received over the last few weeks, be sure to keep your roof clear of snow and remove snow/ice from your gutters to prevent damage to your home.

Also remember to keep a path clear to your oil spigot so your oil delivery can be made easily. Be sure to also keep your dryer vents cleared of snow, to avoid potential fires. As the warmer temperatures approach later this week, we also have the potential for flooding issues. Try to clear the snow around your home, at least 1-2 feet away from the home, to prevent melting snow from running into your basement.  Also make sure that drains around your home are clear from snow as well to allow for proper drainage as the snow melts.

These few preventative measures will help keep your home safe and avoid any future claims due to the winter weather. If by chance you do have a claim, remember to give us a call and we will assist with the process.

Just remember that, there is only 28 days left before Spring is officially here.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


Shop Locally for Valentine’s Day

valentines dayValentine’s is almost here.  If you haven’t done your Valentine’s shopping yet, here are some great ideas that might help you from local businesses right here in Stafford.  With so many great gift options available, there’s no need to go far to pick up a unique gift for your loved one’s.

Consider shopping locally at one of these great small businesses in Stafford.

Middle Ground Cafe for the coffee lovers in your life.  A gift certificate is always a nice gift along with maybe one of their new travel mugs.middle ground cafe

WindowBox is another great option for a variety of unique gift options.windowbox

Artisans’ Corner provides a variety of gift options from chocolates, jewelry, artwork, candles and so much more.  You’ll be sure to find a great gift option here as well.artisans corner

Three Graces Vintage has a great selection of gifts, vintage clothing and artwork available that would make great gift options.three graces vintage

Rustology is a great place to either pick up a gift or gift certificate for those in your life that enjoy antiques and oddity’s.rustology

Now let’s no forget some great places to take your Valentine out to eat right here in town.

Basil’s as well as J&D Pub & Grill are two great places to have a decent dinner.

Looking for Flowers.  Be sure to stop by Greenbriar Florals greenbriar floral

Do you have someone in your life that loves music?  A gift certificate for music lessons at Studio 85 is another great option.

Another option for your loved one is a gift certificate to Full Sail Tattoo.

Now let’s not forget our furry friends for Valentine’s Day.  Be sure to stop by Pastries 4 Pets to grab a treat for your dog.

These are a just a few great local businesses in here in town that you could grab a gift for Valentine’s Day.

A great time to stop by anyone of these shops would be this coming Friday evening during their monthly Arts on Main. Stop in to the local shops, check out the arts shows going on and grab your gifts.

We hope these ideas will help you with your Valentine’s shopping this year. Shopping locally helps support your community.

Happy Valentine’s Day

From Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Driving in snowy and icy conditions

icy roadsIt’s obvious that during the winter months we are going to have to drive during a variety of road conditions. There are times that we are going to get into a situation when we may encounter icy roads where we lose control of our vehicle. When we first began driving many of us were taught certain ways to best handle ourselves and vehicles if we are in this situation. As always the best prevention is to drive slowly and keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you when driving in snowy or icy conditions.

Here are some tips for you to keep in mind if you find yourself driving on icy roads and lose control of your vehicle.

  1. Steer the car into the direction of the slide
  2.  Avoid hitting the brakes. ABS brakes do not work well on ice and will often lock up your wheels
  3. If you are headed towards oncoming traffic, if you are able to, steer the car towards the shoulder
  4. If you are unable to stop the vehicle, steer the car into a snowbank or curb to slow the vehicle down
  5. Lastly don’t panic.  Even though that may be your first instinct, stay calm and cool will help you better in this situation.

If you do get stuck:

  1. Don’t spin your wheels.  This will only dig you in deeper
  2. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way
  3. Use a light touch on the gas to ease your car out
  4. Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and underside of your vehicle
  5. If you have sand or kitty litter in your vehicle pour it around your wheels to help with traction.

If you do land up with damage due to an unfortunate accident, remember to give Penny Hanley & Howley a call to help assist with any claims.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


How auto crashes affect your insurance rates

auto crashesDid you know that the crash-worthiness and cost of vehicles can affect your insurance rates?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 33,561 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2012, up 3.3 percent from 32,479 in 2011. 2012 marked the first year-to-year increase in motor vehicle crash fatalities since 2005. Out of concern for public safety and to help reduce the cost of crashes, insurers support safe driving initiatives. In 1969 the insurance industry created the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an organization best known for its vehicle crashworthiness testing program. In the 1970s the industry began the campaign to get auto manufacturers to make air bags standard equipment in vehicles. It is a major supporter of anti-drunk driving and seatbelt usage campaigns. Drivers themselves have also contributed to the reduction in crash-related fatalities by demanding safer vehicles. Eighty-six percent of respondents in a February 2010 IIHS survey said that safety is a very important consideration when buying a new car. Only 2 percent said it is not important.

Here are some statistics recently released by U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  • 2013: Motor vehicle crash fatalities for the first half of 2013 fell about 4.2 percent from a year ago. Crash fatalities have been steadily decreasing since a significant increase was recorded in the first quarter of 2012.
  • 2012: According to NHTSA, traffic fatalities rose 3.3 percent in 2012 to 33,561 from 32,479 in 2011. 2012 was the first year with a year-to-year increase in fatalities since 2005. Vehicle miles traveled in 2012 increased 0.3 percent, and the fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled is estimated to have increased to 1.14 fatalities, compared with 1.10 fatalities in 2011.
  • In 2011 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 accounted for 10 percent of all drivers in fatal crashes and for 13 percent of all drivers in police-reported crashes. In 2011 drivers in this age group accounted for 5.9 percent of all licensed drivers.
  • 2012: an estimated 2,362,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes, up 6.5 percent from 2,217,000 in 2011. This is the first statistically significant increase since 1995, according to NHTSA.
  • Work-Related: In 2011 crashes involving vehicles on public roadways were the leading cause of work-related fatalities, accounting for 23 percent of all workplace fatalities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • By Age Group: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2011 people 65 and older made up 17 percent of all traffic fatalities. In 2010 (latest data available) there were 35 million older licensed drivers, up 21 percent from 2002. The total number of drivers rose 9 percent from 2002 to 2011.


Keep these statistics in mind the next time you see an increase in your insurance rate.  For great auto insurance rates give Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance a call.

Protecting YOU is our Job

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