800-542-0131  413-538-7444
Customer Login          24/7 Payments          24/7 Claims

Blog

Rooted in tradition, committed to today: The Dowd Agencies at 120

In 1898, first-generation American James J. Dowd established a humble insurance agency in the heart of Holyoke. The rest, as they say, is history.

It’s an exciting time here at The Dowd Agencies, as we proudly celebrate our 120th year of service to western Massachusetts communities. From those hardy seeds planted by young James Dowd, whose father had migrated to the U.S. from Ireland seeking a better life for his family, The Dowd Agencies has grown into a full-service… Continue reading →

Safety First (Then, Shish Kebabs)

Enjoy a Safer Grilling Season

Right up there with sunbathing and mosquito swatting, backyard barbecuing is one activity that epitomizes summer. But as you plan your flame-grilled fare, plan for flame-related safety, too; nearly 9,000 home fires a year begin with the grill. Sometimes, the simplest safety measures are the most overlooked.

As cookout season heats up, here are a few tips to follow:

Give It Some Space

Like real estate, safer grilling is all about location, location, location—specifically away… Continue reading →

Pool Protection: Insurance and Safety Considerations

Splashing around in a backyard pool can be a refreshing way to cool off on a hot summer day, but before you dive in, make sure you have the right insurance protection and safety precautions in place.

Required Pool Protection

If you have a pool, or plan to get one, be sure it complies with state laws and local ordinances that have very specific regulations about pool fences, gates, locks and latches.

You’ll also want to talk with your insurance… Continue reading →

The Who, What and Why of Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Who Must Carry Workers’ Comp Insurance?

All employers in Massachusetts (and in every other state except Texas) are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, more commonly referred to as workers’ comp.

What is Workers’ Comp?

Workers’ compensation insurance covers lost wages and medical treatment resulting from an employee’s work-related injury or illness regardless (in most cases) of who was at fault. This includes:

• Medical care

• Replacement income (typically 2/3 of the employee’s average wage, but there are… Continue reading →

The ABCs of ATV Insurance

Know the Rules of the [Off] Road

Off-road vehicle riding is a popular pastime in Massachusetts and surrounding states, but before you head off road on your ATV (all-terrain vehicle), review the following information to ensure you have the protection you need.

ATV regulations vary by state, so it’s important you check out what’s required in the location where you’ll be riding. For example, in Massachusetts:

• all vehicles must be registered

• riders under age 18 must complete an… Continue reading →

Boaters Beware! Boat insurance may not be required, but it is essential

New England offers a multitude of lakes and rivers, as well as easy ocean access, for pleasure cruisers looking to take their boats out for fun in the sun this summer. Surprisingly, however, boat insurance is required in only two states, both of which are landlocked but have plenty of lakes and rivers: Arkansas and Utah. But, just because most states don’t require it, boat owners would be foolhardy to not have coverage that protects their investment and assets.

There… Continue reading →

Mind the Gap(s)

Insurance policies aren’t all-encompassing

Most people assume that if they have homeowners insurance, auto insurance and life insurance, they are protected in case of life’s major emergencies, but that is typically not the case. That’s why it’s important to review your coverage regularly with your agent. Here are a few of the most common gaps in coverage that we find.

Homeowners Insurance

The homeowners policy you took out when you first purchased your home will likely not provide enough coverage… Continue reading →

Travel Insurance: One Size Does Not Fit All

It’s important to know what’s covered…and what’s not

Vacations can be expensive, and while we look forward to them and plan for the best, there’s a lot to be said for being prepared for the worst. That’s where travel insurance can help.

While common insurance policies like home, auto and health provide coverage for the unexpected when you are home, they often don’t apply when you travel––especially if you travel outside the country.

There is no such thing as a… Continue reading →

Bowl For Kids’ Sake 2018 Event!

On April 24 from 5 to 9 pm at The Riverside Café, 30 Bridge Street, South Hadley, The Dowd Agencies and Sok’s are joining forces to support Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl For Kids’ Sake 2018. Join us for Open Mic Night, great food and celebrity bartenders Nick, Lynn, Becky and Teri!

20% of all proceeds from this event are being graciously donated by Riverside Café in support of our kids. We hope you’ll stop by to support this great event!

 

Insurance Matters: 5 Tips for Surviving New England Potholes

You can’t always avoid them, but you can minimize the damage

As winter turns to spring and temperatures rise, the roads of New England begin to heave and crack. Here are a few tips to keep you out of a repair rut and to help you avoid having to file a claim.

1. Eyes on the Road. This goes without saying, but vigilance can help you avoid hitting potholes in the first place. Be extra alert when driving after a… Continue reading →

Teens Texting & Driving: Taking Steps to Reverse Alarming Trends

If you think teens are the primary culprits, think again

The number of traffic deaths in the U.S. rose sharply in 2015 and 2016, marking the greatest increase in five decades, and many safety advocates point to distracted driving as one of the primary reasons.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reports that in 2015 alone, distracted driving was the cause of 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries, and texting was the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text… Continue reading →

Bundling Your Insurance Plans Can Help You Save a Bundle

If you’re like most people, you are likely already aware of the benefits of bundling. Perhaps you bundle your cable, internet and phone service. Or maybe you bundle your order as a value meal at your local fast-food restaurant (would you like fries with that?). Bundling your insurance policies––for example home, auto and life––can also save you both time and money and net you better customer service as well.

Rather than having to deal with multiple companies, you can streamline… Continue reading →

Practice Fireplace Safety during the Cold Winter Months

A little caution and some common sense can prevent a cozy fire from turning into a devastating blaze

Relaxing in front of a roaring fire is standard practice for many of us in New England, especially with the frigid temps we’ve experienced so far this month. But before you strike a match, take a few minutes to review these standard safety tips to prevent your cozy fire from turning into a flaming disaster.

Chimney Cleaning

Creosote, a residue that builds… Continue reading →

Life Changes Fast: Is Your Coverage Keeping Pace?

One of the standout quotes from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, back in 1986, was:
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

The same holds true with your insurance coverage. While most people remember to update their insurance after major life events, like a marriage or a baby, it’s easy to forget to account for some of the smaller, more gradual changes that may affect your coverage.… Continue reading →

Landlord insurance: don’t rent out without it

Rental Agreement with KeysKnow how to protect your rental property.

When you buy a home, you buy homeowners insurance—usually. The exception? When the home you own isn’t for you to occupy.

Rental property, whether a single-family home or one split into multiple units, is a whole different ballgame in terms of insurance. Although one or more parties call the place home, homeowners insurance typically does not provide appropriate coverage for a residence that primarily generates rent. That’s why someone (surely some brilliant forbear… Continue reading →

Planning a DIY project? Don’t Injure Yourself…

Before you measure twice, think twice—and consider the implications

Across the nation, it’s happening every day. Executives and editors channeling their inner electrician. Stockbrokers and sous chefs playing professional plumber. Teachers, office managers, personal trainers and innumerable others embarking on a serious building endeavor.

And, in many cases, insurance agents cringing for them.

Yes, it’s a DIY world out there, thanks largely to social media, marketing campaigns and wildly popular television shows—indeed, enough to warrant an entire new network—devoted to… Continue reading →

Dowd Financial Services hires Tiffany Anderson as account manager

The Dowd Agencies, LLC, a leading insurance provider serving New England for over 115 years, recently welcomed Tiffany Anderson, a resident of Palmer, as an account manager for Dowd Financial Services.

“Dowd Financial Services continues to expand through the growth of our existing clients and the acquisition of new clients locally, regionally and throughout the country,” said Jon D. Lumbra, CFO and vice president of administration. “We are expanding our team to help fuel this growth and continue… Continue reading →

The Dowd Insurance Agencies hires Mason Lebron as account executive

The Dowd Agencies, LLC, a leading insurance provider serving New England for over 115 years, recently welcomed Mason Lebron, a resident of Springfield, as an account executive.

“The Dowd Agencies continues to grow to meet the needs of the communities we serve,” said John E. Dowd, president and CEO. “Mason is a welcome addition to our team, bringing experience with property, casualty and life insurance, and a strong commitment to customer service.”

Prior to joining The Dowd Agencies, Lebron… Continue reading →

‘Tis the season to think safety

Not every holiday fire is so delightfulChestnuts roasting on an open fire… candles in the window... despite the lovely images they may elicit, some traditional holiday lyrics should carry a disclaimer: Don’t try this at home!We’re not trying to dampen spirits (honest!); on the contrary, we want everyone to enjoy a season that’s merry and bright. We just want to make sure the source of that brightness is a safe and well-controlled one. Many of the classic joys we associate with winter holidays—candles, decorative lights, indoor greenery and plenty of home cooking—are also classic fire hazards, making fire safety a key consideration this time of year. Continue reading →

Give thanks, stay safe

 Simple safety measures make for a happily memorable Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving Day, millions of Americans fall into one of two categories: the travelers and the hosts. As to which represents the smaller piece of the furcula (better known as the wishbone; #TurkeyTrivia), that depends heavily on whom you ask. Some would rather spend hours crawling a highway than days cleaning to in-law standards, while others wouldn’t trade their homey kitchen traditions for all the pumpkin pies on Earth. In… Continue reading →

What to expect during an auto claims inspection

A simple process to ensure your claim is covered

There is a reason why the phrase “accidents happen” is so cliché: because it’s so true. And when it comes to car accidents, it’s especially true on the icy roads of New England in fall and winter. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have never had a car accident, congratulations! Still, knowing what to expect during an auto claims inspection may still come in handy someday.

Documenting damage

If you are… Continue reading →

Reducing your risk of homeowner insurance hazards in fall and winter

An ounce of prevention may prevent a pound of headaches

As the weather turns cooler––and in New England, downright cold––we spend more time in our homes, and the risk for some types of potentially catastrophic home damage increases.

The two most common type of seasonal loss reported by homeowners in the fall and winter months are water and fire damage.

Water damage

Unfortunately, water damage caused by frozen and burst pipes can be all too common in our region. Here… Continue reading →

Love that dirty water? Not when it’s in your home

3 misconceptions about flood insurance

In Massachusetts, we enjoy the classic rock hit “Dirty Water,” especially during baseball season in the summer. But it’s a whole different story when that dirty water invades your home.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, affecting every region and state. Yet there are many misconceptions about flood insurance, and you might mistakenly believe your home is covered when it’s not.

Misconception:… Continue reading →

Born to be wild? Check your motorcycle insurance first

Before you get your motor runnin’ and head out on the highway, do you know if you have the right insurance coverage for your motorcycle? The answer may not be as simple as you think.

Coverage requirements vary by state. At a minimum, Massachusetts requires that you carry:

  • Bodily injury to others with limits of $20,000 per person or $40,000 per accident
  • Personal injury protection of $8,000
  • Liability coverage for underinsured automobilists of $20,000 per person or… Continue reading →

Will You Really Be Able to Work Longer?

You may assume you will. That assumption could be a retirement planning risk.

How long do you think you will work? Are you one of those baby boomers (or Gen Xers) who believes he or she can work past 65?

Some pre-retirees are basing their entire retirement transition on that belief, and that could be financially perilous.

In a new survey on retirement age, the gap between perception and reality stands out. The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) recently published… Continue reading →

Everybody knows your name: the benefits of local insurance agents

If you watch any TV these days, it’s likely you’ve seen the commercials: all matter of wildlife, from ducks to geckos, pigeons to Snoopy, trying to sell you insurance from major national brands. They are often good for a chuckle, and lead you to believe that shopping for insurance is fun and simple­­––a matter of checking a few boxes on an online form. But if you really think about what’s at stake, isn’t it worth spending a little time with… Continue reading →

A personal message from John Dowd, president and CEO

Celebrating 35 years with the Dowd Agencies

Forbes magazine noted that less than a third of family-owned businesses survive the transition from the first generation to the second, and fewer than 50 percent of those successfully transition to a third generation. We clearly broke this mold: The Dowd Insurance Agencies is a fourth-generation, family-owned, leading insurance provider that has had the honor of serving our clients throughout New England for more than 118 years.

I recently celebrated 35 years with… Continue reading →

When the dog bites: do you have the right coverage?

Insurance considerations for dog owners

We are a nation of pet-lovers. The ASPCA reports that approximately 78 million dogs are owned in the United States, and over 40 percent of all households have a dog. It may surprise you, but if you are one of them, it’s something you should talk to your insurance company about.

In Massachusetts, dog owners are liable if their dog causes personal injury and the injured person was not trespassing, committing another infraction, or… Continue reading →

National Insurance Awareness Day

3 ways to recognize the importance of this oft-overlooked essential

National Insurance Awareness Day falls on Wednesday, June 28. No fireworks. No cookouts. No decorations. Let’s face it, thinking about insurance is not fun. But still, taking a few minutes to recognize this day could have a tremendous impact on your life, and the lives of your family members.

Everyone needs insurance, whether by law (think auto insurance) or by situation (no one wants to leave their family destitute). Regardless… Continue reading →

Personal umbrella policies

What are they, and should you have one?

Personal umbrella insurance policies have grown in popularity, but they aren’t necessary for everyone.

An umbrella policy protects you against a catastrophic liability loss. For example, a major car accident that injures many people or that causes permanent impairment or death may result in liability beyond what a typical automobile policy covers. An umbrella policy sits atop auto and/or homeowner policies to provide higher limits of protection. They often also cover some… Continue reading →

Accidents happen

Do you know what to do if you have a car accident?

Even the best drivers can get into auto accidents. Weather conditions, road work, pedestrians, distractions and other drivers can cause even the most careful driver to crash.

Do you know what to do if you are in a car accident?

Safety first. Whether it’s a fender bender or a major accident, first, check to see if anyone is hurt. Check yourself and your passengers, then check to see… Continue reading →

Life takes planning

And so does your family’s future

Alan Lakein, author of How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, once said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” And when it comes to protecting your family’s future, that statement has never been more true.

There are several steps you can take now to protect your family later. Life insurance is one of them.

Do you need life insurance? How much?

To determine if you need life insurance, ask… Continue reading →

A mixed blessing: your teen got a driver’s license!

 

It’s an exciting time when your teenager gets their license. The big question on every parent’s mind, though, is: what does this do to my auto insurance premium?

Statistics show that young operators are at much higher risk to get into fender benders than experienced operators. This results in the cost of your collision coverage going up.

So, what do you do? Since the biggest statistical risk in the eyes of insurance companies is the collision coverage, the best… Continue reading →

Do I Need to Buy Insurance for my Rental Car?

 

Whether you’re on a business trip, vacationing or your car is in the shop, there are many reasons why you may find yourself behind the wheel of a rental. But before you drive away, you should give your insurance agent a call to discuss if you are covered under your current automotive policy.

Typically, your personal automotive insurance should extend to your rental car. Depending on the state in which your policy is issued, a rental vehicle is… Continue reading →

Insurance: the wisest investment of your young life

Get it now, be glad you did later    

We’ll be the first to admit it: Insurance isn’t particularly riveting. Don’t get us wrong; we happen to find it quite interesting, and heaven knows it’s important. It simply doesn’t spark much excitement. Not in the way something like a robbery, a serious injury or a lawsuit might. Those things are bound to get the blood pumping—especially if they happen to you.

In a world full of excitement, insurance is… Continue reading →

What’s driving your monthly premium?

 

How auto coverage costs are determined, and how you can help control them 

The whirlwind weekends spent online and on lots are behind you at last; you’ve got yourself a new vehicle. You did the math, worked your sales-defense savvy and settled on a manageable loan payment. Hopefully, your number crunching considered that other monthly payment, the one that goes along with this exciting purchase. It’s auto insurance, your financial protection in case of damage, destruction or theft… Continue reading →

Bridging the GAP- Don’t Let Depreciation Put You at Risk!

 

We’ve all heard it before: a brand-new car loses 30% of its value when it’s driven off the lot. That means if your car is totaled or stolen, your insurance company will only pay out what your car is worth at the time of the claim. The purpose of Guaranteed Asset Protection—better known as GAP insurance—is to cover the “gap” between what you owe on your vehicle and what it’s worth at the time of the loss.

While GAP… Continue reading →

Learning the Facts of Life (Insurance, That Is)

Life Insurance Myhts

The most important policy you may think you don’t need

You lock up your home at night. You secure your children in 5-point harness car-seat systems and make sure you buckle up, too. You keep emergency numbers posted on the fridge, right near the phone. Then, with these things in place, you carry on.

And that’s our segue to a discussion on the king of the just-in-cases: life insurance. Understandably, this one tends to stir heebie-jeebies that other safeguards don’t.… Continue reading →

Headed north for trailer registration? You may be sorry!

Even for a Massachusetts native, there are plenty of reasons to visit New England’s northernmost state. Go for the legendary lobstah. Check out the vast beaches or historic hiking trails. Shop the famed outlets, and score your favorite fashions for less.

But if you’re looking to score a bargain on your trailer’s registration, you’re wiser to stay close to home.

In recent years, many Massachusetts residents and business owners have succeeded in registering their semi- or utility trailers in Maine.… Continue reading →

Auto Insurance: Why You Should Make It a Household Term

“Can I take the car tonight?”

It’s one of those questions that virtually all parents anticipate, and that most ultimately will hear—time and again.

The thought of your son or daughter behind the wheel of a vehicle may stir a mix of emotions, from anxiety and fear to excitement and relief. Although the nuances of auto insurance may not be your top considerations, it’s important to place them high on the list. That’s because, among other reasons, your child needs… Continue reading →

Business Income Insurance – Coverage You Can’t Afford to skip

business-income-blog-image

Have you ever watched a big storm or witnessed an accident on the news that you hope would never happen to you and your business? The truth is you never know when a natural disaster or accident will hit. If it does, is your bottom line covered?

Business income coverage (also known as business interruption coverage), is protection against loss of income or profits. This coverage protects businesses if they have suffered a property loss or damage from a covered… Continue reading →

Are my visiting relatives covered under my auto insurance policy?

istock_000023825128xxxlarge

Picture this – it’s Thanksgiving and you have entire gaggle of family show up for the holidays, some by plane and some by car. While you are thrilled about your family visiting, chances are these out-of-town guests will ask to borrow your car for a last minute trip to the grocery store. You might want to hesitate before tossing them the keys…

There are usually two kinds of drivers whom are covered by your car insurance: drivers that are listed… Continue reading →

There’s No Place Like Home

istock_000006289320large

There truly is no place like home, your own bed, your own space – but what happens when that oasis is damaged? Your home, whether it is a house or a condominium is likely to be your most valuable asset. That is why homeowners insurance is so important, you need to make sure you have the right insurance and that your policy offers you adequate protection.

As you may know, homeowners insurance policies can be very different and are often… Continue reading →

What’s the Difference : Collision vs. Comprehensive Coverage?

istock_000006888046medium

What is the Difference Between Collision and Comprehensive Auto Insurance?

 All automotive insurance policies are not created equal, and unlike liability coverage, both collision and comprehensive insurance are intended to pay for damage to your own vehicle. While all types of auto insurance are important, as a driver it is imperative to know how your policy protects your car.

What is collision insurance?

Collision coverage is insurance which protects against damage to your vehicle in the event of a… Continue reading →

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month – Is Your Business Covered?

Stressed young businessman sitting at desk with laptop

Throughout the past 10 years there has been a steady evolution of technology, with these technological advances has come an entirely new area of crime and risk. In the United States alone there were 781 data breaches in 2015, this number has increased from 324 in 2014. With each data leak there are thousands of personal and business files that are exposed.

With all of these data breaches, just here in the United States it is important to evaluate… Continue reading →

How Much Money are You Willing to Spend on Insurance?

By: John E. Dowd, Jr

In the world of insurance everyone knows that driving history can impact your insurance rates. What most people do not realize is that your insurance rates can go up because you decided to buy a new pair of shoes or a nice new grill for the summer months.

This emerging tactic is called price optimization – an approach that some insurance companies have implemented. This practice uses an algorithm and statistical models to evaluate how… Continue reading →

What You Don’t Know About Home Liability Coverage

By: John E. Dowd, Jr.

With families preparing to host barbecues this summer or gearing up to take a weekend trip, it is important to understand that many insurance policies provide for liability coverage, even for certain accidents outside the home.

Liability coverage is a typical component of a homeowner’s insurance policy. While no one expects to be held liable after a friend falls down their stairs, this coverage may help prevent paying out-of-pocket if you are found legally liable.… Continue reading →

Top Three Reasons to Combine Your Insurance Policies

By: John E. Dowd, Jr.

Today our entire lives are bundled, we bundle our cable, internet, and phone, and just like shopping at Costco the idea of ordering in bulk or paying for multiple services through one provider brings the price down. The same can be said for insurance policies. Most Americans start driving under their parents insurance and although some have made changes along the way, most drivers do not make mindful efforts to switch insurance policies. As a… Continue reading →