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Driving and painting!

Don’t get caught driving and painting!

So, this morning I was driving to work when I noticed  a trail of yellow along a secondary highway.  The deep yellow trail ran down the center of the two lane highway scattered between both lanes.  It appeared dry.  As I continued on, I noticed that the yellow was spreading more and more.  Then, I saw yellow tire tracks.  About two miles later at a stop light, I saw many vehicles with yellow tires, rims, and lower body panels.  I also saw the culprit!  A large truck, covered in yellow paint with an apparent leak in its paint tank…..

driving and paintingNot an ideal way to start your morning.  You jump into your new white car and receive a free paint job on the way to work.  You park, get out, and notice that you have yellow tires, rims and body panels…

Your first thought is Ugh! Or worse!  Your second thought is – Who is going to pay for this!!

Lets answer this question.

If you carry comprehensive coverage on your vehicle you could file a claim under this coverage minus your deductible.  Comprehensive coverage will pay for direct and accidental damage to or loss of your auto other than damage caused by collision.

Comprehensive coverage  covers :

  • Vandalism
  • Fire and theft,
  • Missiles
  • Falling Objects
  • Larceny,
  • Explosion,
  • Earthquake
  • Windstorm
  • Hail
  • Water
  • Flood
  • Malicious Mischief
  • Riot
  • Contact with a bird or animal

Filing a comprehensive claim is probably the quickest and easiest method of obtaining coverage.  Now, with that said, if you can find the cause of the damage, i.e. the name of the company or individual that leaked the paint causing damage to your auto, you may be able to file a claim directly with that party and their insurance company.

In either case, it is important to provide your insurance agent/company with as much information as possible.

Simply contact your independent insurance agent for more information or visit

New England Weather – Keeping Your Car In Shape

New England weather takes a toll on us physically.  Whether the weather is 70 degrees in March or 30 degrees in April, we feel it.  So, if we feel it, our vehicles must feel it too.

Keeping your car in Shape is as important as keeping yourself in tip top shape.  Here are some Tips:

Keeping Your Car In Shape

Keep Your Engine Properly Tuned

Getting a tune-up

Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done.

Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.

Fuel Economy Benefit:4%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings:$0.14/gallon

Keep Tires Properly Inflated

Sample tire pressure label

You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.

The proper tire pressure for your vehicle is usually found on a sticker in the driver’s side door jamb or the glove box and in your owner’s manual. Do not use the maximum pressure printed on the tire’s sidewall.

Fuel Economy Benefit:Up to 3%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings:Up to $0.11/gallon

Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil

API energy conservation label

You can improve your gas mileage by 1–2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1–2 percent. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1–1.5 percent. Also, look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

Fuel Economy Benefit:1–2%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings:$0.04–$0.07/gallon

NEW INFORMATION: Replacing a Clogged Air Filter on Modern Cars Improves Performance but Not MPG

Air Filternew studyAdobe Acrobat Icon shows that replacing a clogged air filter on cars with fuel-injected, computer-controlled gasoline engines does not improve fuel economy but it can improve acceleration time by around 6 to 11 percent. This kind of engine is prevalent on most gasoline cars manufactured from the early 1980s onward.

Tests suggest that replacing a clogged air filter on an older car with a carbureted engine may improve fuel economy 2 to 6 percent under normal replacement conditions or up to 14 percent if the filter is so clogged that it significantly affects drivability.

The effect of a clogged air filter on diesel vehicles will be tested in the near future.

Note: Cost savings are based on an assumed fuel price of $3.61/gallon.




Homeowners Guide to Getting in the Spring Swing of Things

Well, Spring has arrived.  I guess, even though it doesn’t feel like it today.  The swing of Spring with temperatures in the 70’s earlier this week and now a balmy 37 degrees and according to it feels like 29 degrees.   So, lets look on the bright side, April showers will bring May Flowers.  Below is your homeowners guide for Getting in The Spring Swing of Things:


Check for roof damage

Winter’s snow, ice and wind can wreak havoc on your roof.  As the shingles age each season, the fine grains of stone get washed and worn off the surface.  Check to see whether any damaged shingles need to be replaced.

Monitor your gutters and drainage

Remove blockages and look for signs of damage and bending.  Many gutter repairs are inexpensive and involve only adjusting brackets, hammering out bent areas, and if necessary, replacing damaged sections of the gutter.



Check all home detectors

Press the test button on carbon monoxide and smoke detectors!  Be sure to change the batteries at the same time.  Both detectors are available at your home supply store.

Prepare your air conditioner

Check your refrigerant levels to make sure the air feels cool, replace your dirty air filters which put more strain on your AC and increase your energy consumption.  Check the outside compressor condensing coil for damage or blockage.  Not sure how?  Look up your AC manufacturer online to find out.



Dump your sump pump’s gunk

Your sump pump saves you a lot of money in repairs by protecting against flooding – so make sure it works properly!  If the water in your pit is moving slowly, it may be blocked by debris.  Make sure to clean it often.

Prevent a home dryer fire

The build-up of lint in your dryer causes an average of 15,000 fires each year.  Clean the lint trap after every laundry load, and check the outside vent where hidden build-up can cause additional damage to your appliance.



Check your deck for wear

Use a screwdriver or ice pick to test areas exposed to water and parts of your deck that are constantly damp.  If the ice pick can penetrate the wood or the wood is soft, that’s a clue the wood is decaying.

Replace Flashing if needed

Is the flashing that keeps water from collecting between the house and the deck still doing its job?  If not, replace it.


For coverage questions please contact Chase, Clarke, Stewart & Fontana, or your independent insurance agent.


Worried about uninsured drivers ?

Unfortunately uninsured drivers are all around.  Glance around next time you are cruising down the Rte.  91.  As many as 1 out of 7 cars hurtling past you could be uninsured.  You may be one wrong move away from financial ruin without adequate insurance protection. Then there are those drivers with state minimum insurance coverage.

Just because they have insurance does not mean they have enough to cover you or your loved ones should they cause you serious injury.  It doesn’t take calculus to figure out that these sums won’t begin to cover Hospitalization, rehab, loss of income, etc. caused by an accident. Accidents are stressful enough.

You shouldn’t have to worry about how you will pay for the horrific medical expenses.  Consider at least $100,000/$300,000 for parts (3) uninsured (12) Underinsured & $25K for (Medical payments).  $250,000/$500,000 limits would be even better, or higher.

Worried About Uninsured Drivers… We can help

Chase, Clarke, Stewart & Fontana has provided auto insurance and great advice to the residents of Massachusetts for over 100 years.  Areas served include, Agawam, Longmeadow, Hampden, Wilbraham, Westfield, Southwick, Holyoke, Springfield, South Hadley, Northampton and all of the surrounding communities.

Visit us at for more information.

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

Visit us at to learn more about auto insurance.

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

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


To learn more visit

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.