<![CDATA[FARM COUNTRY INSURANCE, A VERMONT INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENCY - Blog]]>Wed, 07 Mar 2018 12:20:15 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Fallen Trees and Insurance]]>Fri, 02 Mar 2018 16:43:54 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/fallen-trees-and-insurancePicture
It’s the time of year when the temperatures warm and the flowers bloom, putting us all in a chipper mood. But, spring also brings thunderstorms and their accompanying high winds. It’s a good time to review what your homeowners, or car insurance, may or may not cover when it comes to damage from fallen trees.

1. Your homeowners insurance likely covers tree removal and damage repairs for your home and other insured structures, such as fences.
A tree falls on your property and damages one or more insured structures. What now? Your homeowners insurance will likely help with the cost of removing the tree and repairing the damage. That’s once you pay your deductible, of course. Examples of covered incidents can include strong winds knocking a tree over onto your roof or lightning striking a tree, causing it to fall on your fence. However, if a tree falls due to neglect, you may not receive any coverage. So keep your trees in good shape, and ask your neighbors to do the same.
2. If there’s no structure damage, there’s likely no insurance coverage.
You may assume your homeowners insurance will cover the removal costs of any fallen tree, but that isn’t always the case. If a tree falls on your property without damaging any insured structures, you will likely need to cover the costs of tree removal yourself.
3. Your city or municipality may clean up trees that fall into the street, but you may still have reason to file an insurance claim.
Check with your city or municipality to determine who’s responsible for removing a tree that falls into the street. If your city takes responsibility, it may only be for the portion that’s in the street. Any of the felled tree that’s left on your property will be your responsibility. Your insurance may help if an insured structure was damaged in the incident.
4. You may have coverage even if a tree falls from your neighbor’s property.
When a fallen tree damages your property, your homeowners insurance may pitch in no matter who owned the tree. Depending on the circumstances, your insurance carrier may attempt to recoup some of the costs, including your deductible, from your neighbor’s insurance. This may occur, for example, if the neighbor was negligent in caring for the tree before it fell.
5. Your car insurance may cover damage to your vehicle from a fallen tree.
If a tree falls from your property onto your car, it’s your car insurance and not your homeowners insurance that will likely help cover the cost of repairs. But, the tree doesn’t have to be from your property. You likely have coverage if a tree falls on your car, no matter from where. What may not be covered? The cost to remove the tree from atop your car.

Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim for a Fallen Tree

Take photos: Photos taken from many angles and vantage points help to establish the extent and cause of the damage. Be careful not to go near fallen trees that are entangled in power lines, however.  
Provide details: If, for example, a neighbor’s tree was neglected and fell onto your property, causing damage, be sure to tell your carrier. If a storm caused the tree to fall, be sure to provide details about the severity of the weather.
Be prepared to pay your deductible: If you experience a covered loss due to a fallen tree, you will be responsible for paying the appropriate deductible.

Every insurance carrier handles fallen trees differently. It all depends on the specifics of your policy and your coverage limits, as well as the specifics of your situation. If you have questions give us a call at 802-748-8081 and one of the insurance professionals at Farm Country will be happy to discuss your particular situation with you.

Thanks to Safeco Insurance for the content of this article

<![CDATA[Porch Pirates]]>Mon, 13 Nov 2017 05:00:00 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/porch-piratesPicture
When having packages delivered to your home, beware of “porch pirating” — when a thief steals delivered packages from your doorstep or porch. Thieves can follow delivery trucks, watching for prime targets. These thieves commonly strike during working hours, as many homes are empty at that time.
Tips for avoiding “Porch Pirates”
*  Have your packages delivered to a location where they can be received in  person, such as a neighbor’s or relative’s house.
* Have your package delivered to work if your employer allows it.
* Take advantage of delivery alerts so you can be notified when a package arrives at your home or choose a specific delivery time and arrange to be there then.
* Have your package delivered to a local store for pick-up
* Ask a trusted neighbor to take your package inside for safekeeping.
* Request the delivery company to hold your package at their closest pick-up facility until you can pick it up.
* Ask the shipper to require a signature confirmation of delivery in order to  prevent packages being left when no one is home.
* When the option is available, instruct the shipper to leave packages out of sight from the road or your yard.
* Finally, you may want to consider a new program being introduced by Amazon that will allow Amazon delivery people access to your house once you have installed a special Amazon lock. See them for details.

Don’t let Porch Pirates ruin your Christmas. 

<![CDATA[Energy & Money-Saving Tips for Winter]]>Wed, 27 Sep 2017 15:46:23 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/energy-money-saving-tips-for-winterAre you tired of high utility bills landing in your mailbox? Not sure how to lower those bills without turning your heat way down or taking cold showers? We at Farm Country Insurance can help.

Nearly 70 percent of the average home’s energy use falls into four main categories, according to EnergyStar.gov: Heating (29 percent), water heating (14 percent), appliances (13 percent) and lighting (12 percent). Here are some quick tips to help you save money in each of those areas and stay comfortable at the same time:

Use (or install) a programmable thermostat. Running the heat all day when you are at work is a waste, but keeping it off all day means you’re coming home to a freezing house. Today’s thermostats allow you to easily manage when the heat goes on and off. 
Have a professional check your heating and cooling equipment to make sure it’s running efficiently. Also replace air filters regularly — whenever it looks dirty, or every 3 months, whichever is sooner.

Water heating

In addition to lowering your thermostat to about 120 degrees (F), adding insulation to an older water heater or the pipes themselves can keep water warmer longer.


Wait to run your dishwasher until it is full; a half-load uses the same amount of water and energy as a full one. 
When you’re using the stove, choose the right burner for your pots and pans. Using a big burner for a small pot can waste a lot of energy.
Keep your washing machine set to use cold water, whenever possible. And don’t forget to clean that lint trap in the dryer.


Using compact fluorescent or LED bulbs is an excellent idea, particularly for lights you use all the time, like above your porch or in your kitchen.
Replace your old decorative lights with new, energy-efficient models. Not only will they save electricity, they’ll last longer.

It’s not hard to get started with saving energy. Once you do and you see those bills get lower and lower, you’ll want to keep going. Check out EnergyStar.gov for more tips and information.

thanks to Safeco Insurance for some of this content
<![CDATA[Renter's Insurance]]>Mon, 28 Aug 2017 19:06:39 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/renters-insuranceWhat if your neighbor leaves their stove burner on and starts a fire in your apartment building? How about the addict looking to score some easy drug money while you're away? Are you protected against loss from events like these? You have a lot of things that are important to you – from your clothes and furniture to your sound system, sports gear, and computer. And you want to feel confident that everything you’ve worked for is not at risk. Let Farm Country Insurance help you find coverage options that protect you, your family, and your personal property. Call us at 802-748-8081 and let us help to make sure you’re properly covered.

What you need to know about renters insurance.
Your renters policy covers your personal property against theft or damage subject to the limits and deductibles you select. The coverage applies even when you are away from home. For a small additional premium, you can choose to carry full value coverage on your personal property, which ensures that you will be paid the full replacement cost of items that are damaged or stolen without deduction for depreciation.
Your renters insurance policy also protects you and your family against certain bodily injury and property damage claims for which you are liable. Legal defense is also provided in the event you are sued after a covered loss, subject to the limits you have selected. In addition, you can select medical payments coverage which will pay for medical expenses incurred by a visitor who is injured at your residence regardless of fault.

Extra coverage doesn’t have to cost a lot
Whether you’re starting out, between homes or downsizing, we will help you pick the renters insurance coverage that best fits your needs. We’ve found that good coverage can be purchased for as little as $150 per year. If you have special valuable items such as jewelry, art, antiques or collectibles, ask about our Valuable Articles option which provides broader coverage and no deductible in the event of a covered loss. Be sure to ask about available discounts including burglar alarm credits and the account credit for customers who package auto policies with their renters policy.
Call us to get a free quote. You’ll be glad you did.]]>
<![CDATA[Lightning Safety]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/lightning-safetyPicture
As many golfers and other outdoors enthusiasts can attest, thunderstorms can often strike with little to no warning. The lightning strikes that accompany these thunderstorms pose a serious threat to people and safety. The following tips can help you stay safe when a storm does happen.
  • Find indoor shelter. Get inside the nearest available hard-topped vehicle or building, keeping all windows shut, and stay there for at least 30 minutes after the storm passes before returning outside. Avoid picnic tents, pavilions or other open, outdoor structures.
  • Get to low ground. Avoid hilltops and open areas. Lightning seeks the highest ground, so if indoor shelter is not available, crouching down in the nearest, lowest, unexposed point is a better bet.
  • Distance yourself from tall objects. Never stand near tall structures — particularly metal ones — which can act as lightning rods. Avoid lone trees, flagpoles, telephone poles, fences and antennas.
Do not forget, you can sign up to have local weather alerts letting you know when thunderstorms, hail and other severe weather events are expected in your area.

What if You are Caught Outdoors?If you are caught outdoors, the flash-to-bang method is the easiest way to estimate how far away a thunderstorm is, and how much time you have to seek shelter. First, count how many seconds pass between the flash of lightning and clap of thunder, then divide by five to find the approximate distance in miles.
In cases when a safe, indoor shelter is absolutely not available, here are some scenario-specific tips that may help lessen your chance of being struck by lightning.
On the Golf Course
If you are nowhere near the clubhouse, move away from hilltops, open areas and water and stay as far away from tall trees and metal conductors, such as wires and fences. Move away from your golf cart and clubs and try to maintain at least 20 feet of distance between you and other golfers on the course. If possible find the lowest place possible, such as a ravine or valley, and squat in a baseball catcher’s position — with your heels touching, ears covered, and head between your knees. Make sure to minimize contact with the ground, and do not lie flat.
On a Boat
Most lightning-related injuries and deaths on boats occur on vessels without a cabin. Larger boats with cabins are relatively safe, particularly when a lightning protection system is properly installed. If you cannot return to shore before the storm hits, drop anchor and get as low as possible or retreat to a cabin if your boat has one. Remember to stay off the radio unless there is an emergency. It is also a good idea to keep away from metallic surfaces, which may conduct electricity. If possible, return to shore before the thunderstorm reaches your boat, and seek indoor shelter.
On a Trail
Always avoid lone trees and other tall objects when on a hiking trail during a thunderstorm. Stay away from rocky outcrops, ledges, water and wet items like ropes and towels. If you are deep in the forest, retreat underneath a group of small trees, preferably surrounded by taller ones. In more open areas, retreat to and crouch down in the closest dry, low area, such as a ravine or valley, and squat in a baseball catcher’s position, and minimize contact with the ground and do not lay flat.
On the Beach?
If you are swimming as a storm is approaching, get out of the water immediately. If your car is parked within walking distance, return to it immediately and head home, or wait at least 30 minutes until the storm has passed before returning to the beach area. Do NOT stand under picnic or other open-sided shelters and never stand under the lifeguard chair or near metal objects (fences, poles). Do not be lulled into a false sense of security if the storm is several miles away. In general, a significant lightning threat extends outward about 6 to 10 miles from the base of a thunderstorm cloud.
NOAA's National Weather Service, 
Wild Backpacker, http://www.wildbackpacker.com/wilderness-survival/articles/surviving-a-lightning-storm/, Travelers Insurance

<![CDATA[Distracted Driving]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:36:47 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/distracted-drivingHere are some sobering facts regarding Distracted Driving, according to the Distracted Driver Accidents website.

*  Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road accidents each year. The population of the US is just 318.9 million. This is an astounding number of traffic accidents.
Of these, 1.6 million have a cell phone involved in them. That’s 64% of all the road accidents in the United States.
​*  40,000+ people died in automobile crashes in the U.S last year
Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way.
*  Each year, over 330,000 accidents caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries. This means that over 78% of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.
*  1 out of 4 car accidents in the US are caused by texting while driving.
  11 teens die every day as a result of texting while driving
* Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to get you in an accident than drunk driving. That’s right, it is actually safer for someone to get wasted and get behind the wheel than to text and do it.
*  Accidents from distracted driving are also driving up insurance costs. The average auto insurance policy has increased in cost 16% since 2011 according to NBC News.

Don’t become a part of these statistics. Whenever you’re on the road, it’s not a time to multi-task. Focus on driving safely and NEVER text and drive.
<![CDATA[Identity Theft]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 19:21:02 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/identity-theft3738490According to the FTC there are nearly 10 million people, who become victims of identity theft each year. costing victims an estimated $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself before it is too late.
  • Protect your Social Security number. Do not use your SSN as an identifier at work, school or on your driver’s license. Request a new number to substitute as an ID if this is assigned automatically.
  • Check your credit report, which is available free once every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If you suspect that there are any inaccuracies, call the bureau immediately. (Call Equifax at 800.685.1111; Experian at 888.EXPERIAN; or TransUnion at 800.888.4213.)
  • Create passwords and PINs that are difficult for others to guess but easy for you to remember. Memorize the numbers to avoid having to write them down.
  • Buy a shredder to destroy any financial and personal documents before throwing them away. This includes bills, statements and pre-approved credit card offers.
  • Check your wallet: Do not carry your Social Security card, birth certificate, passport, or extra credit cards unless absolutely necessary.
  • Never put outgoing documents that contain personal information in your mailbox to be picked up; drop them directly at the post office or a postal service mailbox.
  • Be aware of your surroundings especially when using an ATM, entering PINs or making a purchase with a credit card. Scam artists can easily look over your shoulder, or even spy from far away to steal your information.
  • Use caution when responding to, or clicking on, an unfamiliar or unsolicited email. It is very easy for someone to scam you by using a seemingly authentic Web address.
  • Be aware of your personal information. Know where it is going and to whom if you choose to enter it online. Read each website’s privacy policy and check for the padlock icon on the bottom of the screen to help ensure your privacy.
  • Avoid emailing personal or financial information to anyone. It is much safer to furnish this information over the phone, provided you are the one who initiated the call.
    Report any suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) immediately. For more important prevention tips visit the FTC Web site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.
Farm Country & Travelers offer identity fraud expense coverage as an endorsement to a Travelers homeowners, condo or renters policy. For only $25 per year, this insurance provides $25,000 of coverage for expenses incurred due to identity theft including:
  • Lost wages (up to $1,000 a week for five weeks)
  • Reasonable attorney fees incurred, with prior approval
  • Telephone, certified mailing and notary charges
  • Loan re-application fees
  • Daycare and eldercare expenses
In addition, Travelers now offers resolution services that can provide you with the help you need in the event you become a victim of identity theft.
Be safe, be aware of the identity thieves out there.
<![CDATA[Special Event Coverage]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:42:25 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/special-event-coverageAre you planning a wedding, family reunion, baby shower or some other special event?
If so, you may need a Private Events policy. The Private Events policy provides several different types of coverage and coverage enhancements for your special day. You can buy coverage for weather cancellations, lost or stolen equipment, lost deposits, photography expenses and more. There is also the option to add liability insurance which includes an option to add liquor liability. Some activities, such as fireworks, live animals, mechanical rides and some others are excluded.
In most states, the policy issue date must be at least 1 day before the event date (14 days in New York) and an insured cannot cancel the policy after purchase. This valuable protection can be had for as little as $160 with no deductible.
Don’t let your special event be ruined by the unexpected. Protect yourself with Special Event Coverage. Call us at Farm Country Insurance for a free, no obligation quote.
<![CDATA[Power Strip Safety]]>Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:41:41 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/power-strip-safetyRecently we have seen a couple of reports of fires caused by overloaded power strips. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported one in Amherst , MA on November 2nd and The Caledonia Record reported one in St Johnsbury on November 28th. Don't overload power strips this Christmas season. You don't want to be the subject of the next headline.
Have a safe and happy Christmas.

<![CDATA[Give Your Budget a Break This Holiday Season ]]>Tue, 29 Nov 2016 16:12:56 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/give-your-budget-a-break-this-holiday-seasonIf you’re like many people in Vermont, you breathe a sigh of relief once the holidays are over.
Until you get your credit card statement, that is.
From buying gifts to traveling to entertaining, holiday expenses add up quickly — it’s easy to overspend without even realizing it. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some ideas to help keep your spending down and your spirits up.
* Buy early This goes for almost everything — from gifts to airfare to hotel rooms. Buying gifts over the course of the year means you can take advantage of sales and avoid the last-minute frenzy. And, travel prices often rise as the holidays near.
* Leave early (or late) Whether you’re taking a plane, train or automobile, consider traveling on off-peak dates. You’ll often save money doing so, and you may save yourself some hassle, too.
* Spread the load Entertaining can be costly, so ask others for help. Instead of making all the food yourself, have a potluck. And, share the burden when it comes to gifts. Draw names for gift-giving, make a donation on behalf of the entire family or set limits for gift buying.
* Take a different approach Do you send holiday cards and a letter each year? Consider emailing your letter, posting it on Facebook or sending postcards instead. Buying gifts online can save both time and money, too, especially if you take advantage of free shipping and gift-wrapping options. You could even do away with physical gifts altogether, because the best gift of all is spending time with family and friends.
The holidays can be stressful enough, so don’t add to that stress by overextending yourself. With a little bit of planning, and maybe a little shift in thinking, you can have a happy — and budget-friendly — season.

Happy holidays from all of us at Farm Country Insurance.]]>
<![CDATA[Prepare for a Power Outage]]>Wed, 12 Oct 2016 15:33:33 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/prepare-for-a-power-outageIt’s always a good idea to have an emergency kit handy in case of power outages or other issues — especially with the threat of stormy weather in fall and winter. See recommendations for a home Emergency Kit from the American Red Cross below.

Emergency kit basics
  • Water (one gallon per person, per day; keep a two-week supply at home)
  • Food (non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items; two week supply at home)
  • Flashlight and battery-powered radio, along with extra batteries
  • First-aid kit, toiletries, medications and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Copies of personal documents, along with family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash, clothing and blankets
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • Maps of the area
Don’t get caught short, create your Emergency Kit before you need it.

Content provided by: Safeco Insurance
<![CDATA[Five Ways to Get Your Car Stolen]]>Tue, 06 Sep 2016 19:20:17 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/five-ways-to-get-your-car-stolenAt Farm Country Insurance we don’t want you walking out your door to an empty driveway or leaving the Green Mountain Mall only to find some broken glass left behind in your parking space. So take care to avoid these five mistakes.
  1. Leave your car running ... and unattended. We know it can be chilly in the mornings, and who wants to wait in a cold car while it warms up? Well, a thief certainly won’t mind the chill. If your car is running, you should be in it. Period. Even if you’re just running over to the ATM to get some cash or dropping off some mail.
  2. Keep a spare set of keys inside the car. Law enforcement agencies say this is a great way to turn a car prowler into a car thief. They’re already breaking into your car to get a phone, or a laptop, etc. What do you think they’re going to do when they find a set of keys? They’re not going to drop them off on your porch with a nice note, that’s for sure.
  3. Put valuables in plain sight. Seems simple, but we’ve all made this mistake. You’ll just be in the store for a second, after all, so who cares if you leave your smartphone on the front seat? Or items from your other errands in the back seat? Be smart — if you have to leave items in your car, put them in the trunk, or at least hide them as best you can.
  4. Leave your car unsecured. The best thieves can work wonders with a window that’s left open even just a crack. And even the worst thieves can steal a car that’s been left unlocked, with no alarm set.
  5. Assume nobody would want to steal your car. Think your car is too old or too undesirable for a thief to bother? Scrap metal is worth money, so never assume that your car is safe — even if you think it’s just a “junker.”
Keeping thieves away helps to keep everyone’s insurance costs down, so avoiding these mistakes not only will save you hassle, it will save you money as well. So stay safe, not only on the roads, but in the parking lots as well!
Contact Us!
At Farm Country Insurance we can work with you to make sure you've got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 802-748-8081 or send us a note at info@farmcountry.net . We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what's important to you is protected!

Thanks to Safeco Insurance for some of this content.

<![CDATA[Unacceptible Dog Breeds]]>Mon, 22 Aug 2016 14:51:44 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/unacceptible-dog-breedsAccording to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites account for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims and the average cost of each claim had risen to over $32,000 by the end of 2014.
Because of this, many insurance companies now blacklist breeds that are known for inflicting severe injuries.
The most common blacklisted breeds are: Pit Bull and Staffordshire Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Presa Canarios, Chows, Akitas, Wolf-hybrids, Mastiffs, Cane Corsos, Great Danes, Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies
Many companies will not accept a policy in a home that has one of these breeds present, including mixed breed dogs that are partially one of these breeds.
There are other companies that won’t deny coverage based on breed alone but will look at an individual dog’s history of aggression. We can help you find an insurer that is as comfortable with your dog as you are.
Always tell your insurer if you own a dog. And if you own a potentially dangerous dog, you may get leeway if the dog completes training such as the American Kennel Club’s Good Citizen program.

<![CDATA[Independence Day Safety]]>Fri, 24 Jun 2016 13:39:29 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/independence-day-safetyIn Vermont summer truly begins when the Fourth of July arrives. It’s a holiday full of fireworks and food, barbecues and boating, family and friends. It can also be full of danger —and we’re not only talking about the fireworks.
Here are 10 ways to help ensure a happy and healthy holiday:
  1. Don’t Burn. Use plenty of sunblock (and bring extra). You’ll also want to drink water throughout the day.
  2. Watch what you eat. Make sure your food is fully cooked. According to the U.S.D.A., meats need to be cooked to 145 degrees F, ground meats to 160 and poultry to 165.
  3. Watch what you serve. Put perishables in an insulated cooler with ice so it doesn’t grow harmful bacteria before serving. Pull it from the fridge right before use.
  4. Don’t drink and drive. We shouldn’t need to tell you this, of course, but the period around the Fourth of July holiday is a deadly one for drunk-driving fatalities.
  5. Don’t drink and boat. Alcohol is a factor in about one-third of recreational boating deaths, says the Coast Guard.
  6. Make sure everyone’s got a life jacket. If you’re going to be near or on the water, life jackets are a must. On a boat, there should be enough life preservers for everyone.
  7. Lighting fireworks? Be prepared. Keep a hose or bucket of water close by, and make sure you’re not aiming at people, animals, homes, plants or cars.
  8. Supervise the kids. Youngsters shouldn’t be lighting fireworks at all, and older kids need to be watched closely. Even sparklers get much hotter than you think.
  9. Keep your distance, too. Thousands of people show up in the emergency room this time of the year with firework injuries. Don’t be one of them!
  10. No matter what you’re doing, keep safety in mind at all times.

Those of us at Farm Country Insurance
wish you and yours a happy and safe Fourth.
* Thanks to Safeco Insurance for some of this content
<![CDATA[Guide to Better Coverage]]>Fri, 03 Jun 2016 17:00:19 GMThttp://farmcountry.net/blog/guide-to-better-coveragePicture
Are you confused by insurance terms? Do you wonder if you're buying too much insurance or are you confused about the coverage you need? Try Traveler's Guide to Better Coverage interactive tool to help you make informed insurance buying decisions.