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Cracked Windshield… Uh Oh!!

cracked WindshieldCracked Windshield… are you covered?

The answer is yes, if you carry comprehensive insurance coverage, then your cracked windshield is covered. The best part is that glass coverage has a zero deductible in most cases.  Comprehensive insurance coverage covers a lot more than just cracked windshields.  It covers many perils and is commonly referred to as other than collision coverage. A collision with a bird or animal like a bear, would be covered under comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive auto insurance covers:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Earthquake
  • Windstorm
  • Hail
  • Riot
  • Civil Commotion
  • Flood
  • Collision with a bird or animal
  • Explosion

If you live in the greater Springfield Massachusetts area and insure your auto without carrying comprehensive coverage you may want to look into purchasing the coverage.  Windshield replacement is not inexpensive.  New England is full of pot holes, gravel and road debris, especially throughout the winter months.

Not all auto insurance is created equal!

So, you think all auto insurance policies are created equally? 15 minutes may not save you as much as you think…

This is not the case.  Massachusetts auto insurance can vary greatly from one insurer to another.   Massachusetts statutory limits allow a driver to purchase a policy with limits as low as $20,000 per person and $5,000 for property damage to others.  I don’t know about you, but if a policyholder carrying statutory limits slammed into my car and only carried $5,000 in property damage and minimum liability limits of $20,000 I’d be a bit perplexed as to how the difference in coverage was going to be made up.  Maybe a judgement against his home and or paycheck.  Maybe no home is owned and maybe no job is held.  So many variables…  Maybe my coverage will cover the gap?  Maybe not!  How do you answer these questions?  The short answer is:  Make sure you carry enough insurance coverage on your policies and call your independent insurance agent for a full insurance review…

Now, what about discounts, savings and coverage options?  Check with your independent agent and make sure you are receiving all of the entitled discounts.  Don’t forget about coverage options.

Some Auto Insurance Discounts 

  • Multi-vehicle discounts
  • Good student discounts
  • Student away at college discounts
  • Hybrid Auto discounts
  • Annual Mileage discounts
  • Age 65 and older discounts?
  • MBTA discounts?
  • Renewal credits
  • Excellent driver and Excellent driver plus discounts
  • Advanced driver training

Some Coverage options 

  • Disappearing Collision & Limited collision Deductible
  • Rental Vehicle loss of Income coverage
  • Lock in Value – New car replacement (Guaranteed replacement cost)
  • Personal Effects coverage
  • Extended Substitute Transportation
  • Emergency Road Travel Expenses
  • Supplemental Towing & Labor
  • Airbag Coverage
  • Accident Forgiveness

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Holidays and Christmas Tree Fire Safety

Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season. Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire. Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage.

Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy. Learn how to prevent a fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home. Make sure all exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees. Help ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season.

Christmas Tree

What’s a traditional Christmas morning scene without a beautifully decorated tree? If your household includes a natural tree in its festivities, take to heart the sales person’s suggestion – “Keep the tree watered.”

Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires annually. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are not a problem. A dry and neglected tree can be.

Selecting a Tree for the Holidays

Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long and, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Disposing of Your Tree

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

Holiday Lights

Maintain Your Holiday Lights

Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.

Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets

Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch.

Do not leave holiday lights on unattended!

Holiday Decorations

Use Only Nonflammable Decorations

All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

Don’t Block Exits

Ensure that trees and other holiday decorations do not block an exit way. In the event of a fire, time is of the essence. A blocked entry/exit way puts you and your family at risk.

Never Put Wrapping Paper in the Fireplace

Wrapping paper in the fireplace can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers that may result in a chimney fire.

Candle Care

Avoid Using Lit Candles

Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.

If You Do Use Lit Candles

Make sure candles are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn. Never leave a room or go to bed with candles burning.

Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree

Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame – candles, lighters or matches.

From the U.S. Fire Administration

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning- Protect your family

Caution –  Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Kills!

As part of a public service, we feel its important to remind you about carbon monoxide poisoning.  It may not be visible but it is dangerous.  Act now to protect your family today. We offer you safety tips and symptoms to watch for.


Safety Tips:

  • Have your home heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.
  • Never use portable generators inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open. Use generators outside only, far away from the home.
  • Never bring a charcoal grill into the house for heating or cooking. Do not barbeque in the garage.
  • Never use a gas range or oven for heating.
  • Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.
  • Install battery-operated CO alarms or CO alarms with battery backup in your home outside separate sleeping areas.
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 911.

Know the Symptoms of CO Poisoning:

    • Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:
      • Headache
      • Fatigue
      • Shortness of breath
      • Nausea
      • Dizziness
    • High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:
      • Mental confusion
      • Vomiting
      • Loss of muscular coordination
      • Loss of consciousness
      • Ultimately death
  • Symptom severity is related to both the CO level and the duration of exposure. For slowly developing residential CO problems, occupants and/or physicians can mistake mild to moderate CO poisoning symptoms for the flu, which sometimes results in tragic deaths. For rapidly developing, high level CO exposures (e.g., associated with use of generators in residential spaces), victims can rapidly become mentally confused, and can lose muscle control without having first experienced milder symptoms; they will likely die if not rescued.

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Vacation Car Rental… are you covered?

Do you need a vacation car rental?  Do you have the right coverage?

vacation car rental

Would you be covered for a vacation car rental under you personal auto policy?… short answer… Yes.

Your personal automobile insurance will follow for personal vacation car rental (no buses, or commercial trucks, etc..)

Generally, if you have liability part 5 Optional Bodily Injury liability coverage and physical damage coverage (collision and comprehensive) coverage, the coverage will follow you to the car you are renting everywhere in the U.S and Canada.   If you are in Mexico, overseas, or anywhere outside the U.S and Canada, you must purchase insurance coverage through the rental car company.

NOTE:  Liability Part #1 only applies to accidents that occur in Massachusetts.  In order to have bodily injury coverage outside of Massachusetts, you must purchase part 5 (Optional Bodily Injury) coverage.   Parts 3 Uninsured and Part 12 Underinsured will follow also.


Rental Reimbursement coverage on your policy does not cover damage to or caused by rental cars.  If you have this coverage part listed on your policy, you can only use it to rent a replacement vehicle if your personal vehicle is not useable due to a covered accident.  This coverage does not afford coverage to a rental or damage caused while you are driving a rental car.

Reasons to purchase insurance coverage from the car rental agency:

  • Loss of use coverage: The period of time that the damaged rental car is being repaired and not useable by the car rental company.  Loss of use coverage is not covered under your automobile insurance policy.

Check with your credit card company.  Some credit card providers offer free coverage if you use their card to pay for a car rental.  Be sure to read/ask for an exact description of what is and what is not covered.

If you chose to purchase insurance from the rental company, check to see what is and what is not covered.  If personal effects are not covered, they may be covered by your homeowners or renters insurance policy.  The Damage waiver coverage may duplicate coverage you have on your policy.  Supplemental liability coverage may provide more liability coverage than you carry on your policy.  If you have adequate liability coverage on your car and an umbrella policy if you own a home and auto, you may want to forgo this coverage.  Contact us to review your current coverage before making this decision.

For more information contact us at or by phone 413-788-4531

Halloween Safety! – From the CDC Department of Health and Human Services

Halloween Health and Safety Tips


For many people, autumn events like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, attend parties, and eat yummy treats. These events are also opportunities to provide nutritious snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety.

Check out these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Going trick-or-treating?

Alphabet letter SSwords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
Alphabet letter AAvoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
Alphabet letter FFasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
Alphabet letter EExamine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
Alphabet letter HHold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don’t run from house to house.
Alphabet letter AAlways test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
Alphabet letter LLook both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
Alphabet letter LLower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
Alphabet letter OOnly walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
Alphabet letter WWear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
Alphabet letter EEat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
Alphabet letter EEnter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don’t stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
Alphabet letter NNever walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Frankenstorm 2012 – You are not welcome!

Prepare for Frankenstorm 2012!

It is hard to believe that the Northeast is  facing another potential  October storm that include snow almost to the exact day of the October 2011 storm.    Are you prepared?

Here are some tips:

  • Have plenty of water, at least one gallon per person per day, don’t forget about your pets
  • Prepare a supply of non-perishable food such as canned or dried,  don’t forget about your pets
  • Have a list of Emergency contacts
  • Flashlights, batteries and a battery powered weather radio
  • First aid kit and a  supply of your prescription medication
  • Have cash on hand in the event that ATM’s are not working
  • Charge your cell phones
  • Fill your vehicle gas tanks
  • Test and prepare your back up power generators – contact a qualified electrician regarding proper usage
  • Make sure generators are located outside with the exhaust nowhere near any fresh air vents returning to the home or open windows
  • Secure any outside property such as lawn furniture, toys, bikes, gas grills, etc.
  • Make sure your smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are operating properly
  • Try to keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed to preserve food
  • Use battery operated candles, tea lights and flashlights instead of open flame candles during power outages

Try adding ping4alerts! to your smart phone.  Massachusetts emergency management officials will now be sending out warnings about hurricanes, floods, blizzards, and other potential dangers, even terrorist threats, to state residents via this  mobile app developed by a Nashua technology start-up.  You can download this app for free by visiting your phone’s app store.


Check out the latest information about the so-called Frankenstorm of 2012 closely approaching.


A Bear crashes through your window… Are you covered?

 bear crashes

Answer: Yes, If a bear crashes through your window, your Homeowners policy will cover it, subject to your policy deductible.

But what if the bear crashes through the window and then comes in the house and damages your contents and personal property?  Under the standard Homeowners policy there would not be coverage, but if your policy includes “special personal property coverage”, you’re all set!

Animal damages not covered by home insurance.

Animals owned or kept by an insured are not covered by home insurance as well as vermin, rodents, insects and birds.  Descriptions below:

  • ver·min
  1. Various small animals or insects, such as rats or cockroaches, that are destructive, annoying, or injurious to health.
  2. Animals that prey on game, such as foxes or weasels.
  • ro·dent n.
  1. Any of various mammals of the order Rodentia, such as a mouse, rat, squirrel, or beaver, characterized by large incisors adapted for gnawing or nibbling.
  • in·sect
  1. Any of numerous usually small arthropod animals of the class Insecta, having an adult stage characterized by three pairs of legs and a body segmented into head, thorax, and abdomen and usually having two pairs of wings. Insects include the flies, crickets, mosquitoes, beetles, butterflies, and bees.
  2. Any of various similar arthropod animals, such as spiders, centipedes, or ticks.
  • bird
  1. Any of various warm-blooded, egg-laying, feathered vertebrates of the class Aves, having forelimbs modified to form wings.
  2. Such an animal hunted as game.
  3. Such an animal, especially a chicken or turkey, used as food


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Chase, Clarke, Stewart & Fontana Insurance unveils new website

Chase, Clarke, Stewart & Fontana Insurance Agency is proud to unveil our new website  This Mobile friendly site gives you access to information to help you make the best decision, any time day or night.  You can report a claim, request a free quote, or even enter an inquiry all with just the touch of a button.

What do you think of our new website?

Chase, Clarke, Stewart & Fontana Insurance Agency is an independent full service insurance agency that has earned a place of distinction and integrity within the Western Massachusetts community since 1827.  For over 180 years we have served our valued clients, in the Western Mass area.

We are a business built on Service and Integrity.  We believe that quality work and honesty with our  clients has been the key to our success.  Customer satisfaction is most important to us, and each person in the agency works hard to accomplish this.  Let us show you why we have been able to serve our clients for so long.  Chase, Clarke, Stewart & Fontana Insurance agency provides:

  • Personal Auto Insurance
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • Business Owners Insurance
  • Cyber Liability Insurance
  • Financial Services
  • and much more…

To learn more about Chase, Clarke, Stewart & Fontana Insurance Agency please visit our profile page.