What You Need to Know About Changing Your Homeowners Policy

What You Need to Know About Changing Your Homeowners Policy

So you’re midway through your homeowners policy’s term and you’ve just finished up a few home renovations. You couldn’t be happier with your home’s new facelift, but what if your current coverage isn’t enough to cover the upgrades in the event of an incident or theft? 

There are still another 6-7 months left on your homeowners policy and you start to consider if changing your policy, or maybe even your insurer, would be a smart move. Is changing my homeowners policy an option? Will it save me money or is the swap moot? The good news is that yes, you can change your homeowners policy at any given time. This is your right as a homeowner, but before you commit, take a moment to evaluate your situation.

Assess your homeowners policy

Take a deeper look at your current coverage and policy terms. Note the annual premium, coverage amounts, deductible, and effective dates. All of these details can be found on your homeowners policy declaration page, which is the first page of your insurance packet. Depending on your insurer, there may be specific stipulations that could directly affect your ability to opt out of your policy mid-term.  Avoid a lapse in your home’s insurance coverage, including related penalties or fines, by understanding your policy’s terms and conditions or consulting with your insurance agent.

Re-evaluate your coverage needs

If you are considering swapping out your current homeowners policy for a new one, chances are that you’ve undergone a few life changes. The home renovations, for one, increased the value of your home substantially. New flooring, shiny appliances, fresh paint—all beautiful upgrades that will likely cost a lot more to repair or replace. Not quite sure the exact value? Try reaching out to your insurance agent. They’ll help you to account for any changes in your home’s repair or replacement costs. Let them know that you’re considering a homeowners policy change. Your mortgage lender will need a copy of your new declarations page should you decide to switch. Those who own their homes outright do not have to notify anyone of this change and may do so at their own discretion. 

Shop around and compare rates

Opting to change your homeowners policy mid-term doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stick with your current insurer. Maybe there’s a local insurance agency that offers coverage options that better suit your needs at more affordable price points.

A homeowners policy can differ by:

  • Policy limits in the amount of coverage provided
  • Exclusions of what constitutes as a valid claim
  • Deductibles which affect your insurance premiums
  • Discounts offered including policy bundle deals

When comparing rates and coverage options, get quotes on identical homeowners policies to ensure an accurate comparison. You may also want to consider looking into related rankings and reviews for each insurance agency. This will help you to weigh your options. The key is to find a homeowners policy that better suits your needs without breaking the bank.

how-to update your homeowners policy

Select a new homeowners policy

You’ve finally landed on your ideal homeowners policy—now what? The first order of business would be to align your new policy’s start date with your old policy’s end date. This date should be the same (i.e. new policy starts on October 1 and the old policy ends on October 1). Differing dates between your old and new homeowners policies could cause coverage to lapse and create a financial burden. Avoid this by going over the start and end dates to ensure that they are timed accordingly.

You should also discuss possible discounts or policy bundle deals with your new insurance agent. Many insurance carriers offer reduced premiums for those who bundle their home and auto insurance. If you are active duty military or a government employee, you may qualify for a special discounted price on your selected coverage. Ask your insurer to understand your savings qualifications.

Take away

Changing your homeowners policy mid-term can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Downey Insurance Group partners with a wide arrange of insurance carriers. This makes finding your home’s best-fit coverage quick and simple. Our independent insurance agents will assist you in changing your homeowners policy mid-term by helping you to assess your current coverage and compare the appropriate policies. We are with you from start to finish.

Contact us today and see if switching homeowners policy mid-term is right for you.

Top 3 Reasons Why Every Pet Parent Needs Pet Insurance

Top 3 Reasons Why Every Pet Parent Needs Pet Insurance

Did you know that the average cost of an emergency vet visit without pet insurance can run anywhere between $800 to $1500? It’s a financial burden any pet parent would find overwhelming, and rightfully so. Pets make their way into our homes and hearts, quickly becoming a part of our family. 

We budget for routine vet visits, vaccines, tests, and living experiences. We pamper them with treats, toys, love, and attention. It’s estimated that pet parents spend roughly $355 to $650 each year on food, toys, treats, and other miscellaneous expenses. Their well-being is our well-being. 

Then suddenly they develop a bump in an unlikely place or display odd behavior that’s out of character. In some cases, having long-term effects on your pet. 

This is where having pet insurance becomes essential.

It saves you from unexpected medical expenses due to your pet’s emergency vet visit and/or treatment plan. The average cost of an emergency exam can run anywhere from $75 to $170.

The best-fit pet insurance policy for your pet

Whichever level or combination of pet insurance coverage you decide to obtain for your pet will depend on your financial health, their pre-existing conditions, and/or breed. There’s a variety of protection options for all kinds of pets, but the most commonly offered are pertaining to cats or dogs.

Types of pet insurance policies:

  • Wellness policies cover your pet’s most basic needs (i.e. annual check-ups and vaccines).
  • Accident-only policies will reimburse you for emergency-related care.
  • Accident-illness policies also provide coverage for your pet against accidents and unexpected illnesses. This is the most common type of pet insurance purchased.
pet insurance in the U.S.

You also have the option to add additional coverage for your pet’s pre-existing conditions. This includes health and physical issues. Opting for a wellness add-on may be pricey, but it provides the most comprehensive coverage.

The key factors that affect what you pay are:

  • Size — this includes the height and weight of your pet.
  • Breed — the genetic makeup of your cat or dog.
  • Age — to clarify your pet’s current life expectancy.
  • Deductible — which is the amount pet parents are financially responsible for.
  • Policy provider — who provides financial support through a pet insurance plan.

The level of pet insurance you land on aside, there are 3 reasons why it’s for every pet parent.

1. Vet recommended 

The beautiful thing about pet insurance is the state of well-being they aim to help your pet maintain. When your pet is covered by an insurer, it means that your pet will always receive the right care regardless of your financial health. This, in turn, translates to fewer pets being euthanized or abandoned due to economic-related reasons. All veterinarians are “in-network” for pet parents. Your insurance provider simply reimburses you rather than you having to pay the doctor yourself.


2. Cost-saving 

Pet insurance saves you from outrageous out-of-pocket expenses. Once you meet your deductible, your insurer will commonly cover additional costs up to a certain number of accidents or amounts per year. 69% of Americans even say that they have less than $1000 saved up for emergencies.


3. Supports well-being 

Pet insurance encourages the kind of “best life” every pet parent would want their pet to lead. It’s preventative care that highlights your pet’s future health. Healthier pets don’t just equal a healthier pet population. It also reduces the stress pet parents often feel over the cost of medical bills. Active coverage benefits everyone.

If you’re a pet parent, chances are you could benefit from having pet insurance in place for your furry friend. It’s more affordable than it has been in previous years as well with most insurers offering wellness policies starting as low as $9.95 a month. With most pet parents considering their pets to be family, that’s a small price to pay to ensure that they’re protected in case of an emergency.


Contact us today to set up your pet’s safety net. Downey Insurance Group finds the coverage your pet needs at a price point your pockets would love, giving you the peace of mind you deserve.

Auto Care and Road Safety in Extreme Heat

Auto Care and Road Safety in Extreme Heat

Do you ever wonder if extreme weather conditions affect auto performance? 

The short answer is yes. Both cold and hot temperatures are harsh on the vehicle as well as the driver. Taking extra precautions can mean the difference between a smooth trip or one rattled with bumps.

There’s not much we can do to eliminate hot days or heat waves during the summer, but we can take steps to prepare ourselves and our vehicles for road safety. Scheduled auto maintenance is suggested to keep any car performing in tip-top auto shape. Want more confidence in tackling the summer heat?

Prepare you and your vehicle for extreme heat by:

1. Check the vehicle’s tire pressure.

Hotter days combined with cooler nights cause a constant fluctuation in a tire’s air pressure. When temperatures rise, it affects the temperatures of the roads which ultimately impacts a vehicle’s tires. The air pressure increases and the tire soon become overinflated. This is now a road hazard as an overinflated tire can lead to a blowout or other auto roadside emergency.

2. Keep under the hood and the vehicle’s interior cool.

The normal operating temperature of an auto engine is 195 to 200℉. Extreme temperatures put additional strain on the vehicle, increasing the odds it could overheat or break down.

Pay close mind to the temperature gauge and ensure that maintenance is always current. Check the levels of all fluids, namely the coolant to prevent the engine from overheating, and address any auto issues immediately. Is your air-conditioning (A/C) working correctly? Do you need a new cabin filter? A quick recharge or replacement could help to improve the quality of airflow. 

To keep the vehicle’s interior cool while not in use, try parking in shaded areas or invest in an auto shade to reduce the absorption of the sun’s rays. The interior can increase by 30℉ in the course of 1-hour with partially cracked windows doing little to offset the dramatic increase in temperature. No animal or living being should be left in a parked vehicle during the hotter months.

3. Prepare an emergency auto kit.

In addition to your spare tire and standard roadside kit, it’s wise to take extra precautions when the seasons change from cool to hot. This is because the risks of driving in the summer slightly differ from those prone in the winter months. Blowouts and heat exhaustion are just two.

Make sure there’s always a tire gauge on hand. Checking your tire pressure periodically will help prevent the possibility of a blowout on the road. Remember, a tire’s air pressure increases during the hotter months so the PSI should be on the low end when parked—36 PSI for most tires. Another key item to carry is a set of jumper cables. Hotter temperatures put a strain on a vehicle’s battery as well and being stranded in extreme heat is dangerous. Protect your vehicle and yourself.

Pack a cooler filled with cold drinking water. Hydration in extreme heat. If you begin to feel too hot or the interior becomes unbearable, pull over and allow time for a cool down. If you notice your engine starts to steam or smoke, you should call for roadside assistance. 

Looking for a DIY fix? Once the engine has cooled down, add a little coolant or water.

Maintaining the auto care of your vehicle is just as important as being aware of your immediate surroundings on the road. Pay attention to how you’re feeling physically. Take note of how consistent the auto performance of your vehicle is. Driving in extreme heat isn’t a no-go zone. Hotter weather just calls for additional measures. This is especially true when it comes to operating an electric vehicle.

Both hot and cold temperatures can reduce the charge of an e-battery by as much as 40%. Whether your vehicle is manual, automatic, or electric you can avoid delays in transportation by planning ahead to account for any possible heat-related auto mishaps. Increased temperatures present increased road risks for drivers. Try adding an additional layer of safety with comprehensive and/or collision insurance.


Contact us today and learn how we can help you beat the heat.

signs of heat exhaustion
Skip the Hassle: Get Automated Surety Bonds

Skip the Hassle: Get Automated Surety Bonds

Long gone are the days of undergoing a lengthy application process to buy or sell surety bonds thanks to our new partnership with Propeller Bonds—a new automated service offering no-touch market access. 

This is a game-changer for small and large businesses alike. 


What are surety bonds?


Think of a surety bond as a “100% Satisfaction or Your Money Back” guarantee. This three-party contract is put in place to protect one party from the debt, default, or failure of another. The surety acts somewhat as a buffer between the two by providing the money-back guarantee. 

There are two types of surety bonds:

1. Contract surety bonds are written for construction projects. In this instance, a project manager would seek a contractor to complete the work. A surety bond is then purchased by the contractor prior to beginning the construction project. Should the contractor default, the surety bond is either used to employ another contractor or reimburse the project manager for any financial losses incurred. There are four types of contract bonds—bid, performance, payment, and warranty (also referred to as maintenance bonds).


2. Commercial surety bonds are written for a broad range of services. They guarantee a company or individual’s work and are required on the federal, state, and local levels. There are five types of commercial surety bonds—license and permit, court (also referred to as judicial bonds), fiduciary (probate), public official, and miscellaneous. 

Surety bonds are mandatory whether you’re operating your business as a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). It’s a way to offer clients financial peace of mind. 



How does a surety bond impact the bottom line?


Offering an additional layer of coverage that guarantees your work is gold to consumers. It’ll reassure them that they are in good hands and could lead to future referrals. The surety bond starts a chain reaction and you soon become part of their daily dialogue. This is the most effective way to sustainably grow your business—word-of-mouth marketing (WOM marketing).  

WOM marketing is, in essence, free advertising triggered by a consumer’s experience with a business’ services and/or products. More referrals lead to more clients. More clients equal more revenue.

purchasing surety bonds process powered by Propeller Bonds

When can I buy or sell a surety bond?

The better question is: When can’t you buy or sell a surety bond? Downey Insurance Group’s partnership with Propeller Bonds allows you to exchange surety bonds at your convenience.

The process is as simple as 1-2-3 and:

  • Grants full market access to top surety insurance carriers.
  • Eliminates tedious tasks like paper forms and long approval procedures.
  • Provides instant gratification with surety bonds issued within seconds.

Propeller Bonds bring surety bonds to your fingertips, making it easy to start new projects and sign new clients without delay.

Does your work no longer require that you hold a surety bond? No problem. You can now easily sell an existing surety bond in an instant and receive confirmation all without leaving the comfort of your own home or office. You’re in complete control of your business timeline. What’s more, you can shop for all of your business needs in one place. 

At Downey Insurance Group, we offer an extensive product line of commercial insurance plans. Protect your clients with a surety bond and then protect your business with excess liability insurance

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your business.

What You Need to Know About Massachusetts Auto Insurance

What You Need to Know About Massachusetts Auto Insurance

If you own a vehicle or occasionally drive one, chances are your state has minimum auto insurance requirements you need to meet before hitting the open road. These requirements are set in place to protect motorists from being solely responsible financially in the case of an accident. 

Nearly every state, excluding New Hampshire, has laws in place that dictate the minimum auto insurance each driver must carry to operate a motor vehicle. Failure to do so can lead to fines, suspension of your driver’s license or registration, and possible federal prosecution. This often makes the process of obtaining the appropriate amount of coverage an overwhelming task for many drivers. With so much on the line, it’s best to first take a look at your state’s requirements.

Auto insurance coverage in Massachusetts and New England

The lowest level of auto insurance required by most states is liability insurance which covers only the damages caused to the other party in an at-fault accident. In the state of Massachusetts, this includes four types of coverage, each with a required minimum coverage limit.


The four types of MA auto insurance required include:

  1. Bodily Injury to Others — $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident
  2. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) — $8,000 per person/accident
  3. Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto — $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident
  4. Damage to Someone Else’s Property — $5,000 per accident


Drivers are required to purchase the minimum coverage, specified above, in order to register and operate a vehicle in MA and New England. If there is more than one licensed driver in a household, motorists should include them as customary operators within their auto insurance policy.

Insurers define customary operators as anyone who may use your vehicle. Drivers with their own auto insurance policies can be added to your policy as deferred operators, often at no additional charge to the policyholder. These precautions help protect you and your assets even if you are not the one driving your registered vehicle at the time of an accident. It allows policyholders to minimize the financial impact if someone in their household is at-fault or involved, whether it’s due to distracted driving or poor judgment while behind the wheel. 

NOTE: Drivers with Learner’s Permits are not required to be listed until they are fully insured.

Recommended auto insurance for liability from Downey

Customize your Massachusetts and New England auto insurance

The amount of auto insurance coverage you need can go beyond the state’s required minimum. Consulting an insurance expert will help you determine what additional coverage is necessary to ensure you and your family have the proper safety net in place. 


Ideally, you should carry the highest amount of liability coverage you can afford to avoid unexpected financial hardship. For most drivers, 100/300/100 is the best level of liability coverage—$100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident in bodily injury, and $100,000 per accident in property damage. Drivers should also seek to add the highest level of PIP and uninsured motorist coverage to help further protect their assets and future earnings. 


Adding wiggle room to your policy means that the financial burden of an accident will fall on your insurer’s shoulders instead of yours. Optional coverage options include comprehensive and collision.

Contact us today and get the right auto insurance coverage to fit your unique needs.