Clarke & Sampson Blog

Insurance Insights: Risks of Home Sharing

Posted by Scott Jefferson

May 30, 2017 3:02:02 PM

Just a few years ago, taking a trip involved contacting travel agencies, booking hotel rooms and making plans far in advance. Today, however, smartphones and the internet have helped create new, on demand sharing services that allow homeowners to connect with travelers and rent out their homes, spare bedrooms or other accommodations for a fee.

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Topics: Personal Insurance

HO3 vs. HO5 Homeowners Insurance

Posted by Scott Jefferson

Jul 19, 2016 8:42:13 AM

Many homeowners operate under the assumption that all homeowners insurance is created equal. A common notion is that as long as the coverage limits match, a policy or quote comparison is "apples to apples." The reality is that that homeowners policies differ substantially even though they may appear to be identical. One major difference between homeowners policies is whether coverage is provided on a HO3 or HO5 form.





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Topics: Personal Insurance, Historic Home, Alexandria VA, Homeowners Insurance, HO3 vs. HO5

Personal Umbrella Liability Insurance

Posted by Matt Stephens

May 2, 2016 2:11:54 PM

After a hectic work week, Jim Marshall was looking forward to a relaxing weekend with his wife and kids. He was just a few blocks from home when his cellphone rang. He glanced down to see who was calling. That split-second distraction was all it took for him to miss the approaching stop sign. 






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Topics: Personal Insurance, Alexandria VA, Personal Umbrella, Arlington VA, Washington DC, Virginia

Caring for Your Historic Home

Posted by Scott Jefferson

Feb 26, 2015 1:58:19 PM

As a home ages, a thorough maintenance program can help you avoid costly repairs. Here are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of loss in an older home:

• Consult with licensed electrical, plumbing and heating specialists for an initial evaluation, and arrange schedules for routine maintenance. Maintaining and updating essential systems is a critical step in protecting your property.


• Older homes often have less insulation. To help prevent pipes from freezing, you can insulate
pipes directly, shut off exterior faucets, and maintain a comfortable heating temperature at
all times. The installation of low temperature sensors tied into the central station alarm
system will detect a problem with the heating system and a drop in interior room
temperature. Should a pipe freeze and burst, there are also products available that detect
water leaks.

• If you will be away from home for an extended period of time, shut off your main
water supply.

• Repairing or re-pointing of mortar walls and chimneys may become necessary when any
of the following conditions are noted: cracked or missing mortar, loose bricks or stones,
damp walls or damaged plaster work. Left unattended, these conditions can lead to severe
water damage and other problems. Regular chimney evaluation and cleaning by a
professional is highly recommended.

• Missing, worn or broken roofing materials may allow water to penetrate and deteriorate the
roof structure. Inspect your roof and flashing around chimneys and skylights periodically,
especially after severe storms. Contact a licensed roofer for further evaluation and repairs.

• If you live in a wooded area, falling leaves may clog the gutters and lead to water backup that
could damage your exterior siding. In late fall, clear gutters and downspouts of leaves and
debris. Downspouts should be directed away from the house to improve drainage around the

• Proper ventilation and updated insulation in the attic can not only reduce the potential for
damage or deterioration due to excess moisture, but also reduce energy usage.

• Inspect windows and exterior doors for proper caulking and weather stripping. Check exterior
paint and siding for peeling and/or cracking.

• Regularly inspect decks, terraces and balconies. A deteriorating condition can lead to water
damage of the interior. Uneven, cracked or rotting decks, terraces and balconies can lead to
a personal injury liability hazard.

• Periodically inspect your foundation walls and floors for cracking that might allow water
seepage. Avoid storing valuables in the basement. If your basement is prone to leaks or
flooding, a sump pump is the best defense. Most sump pumps last about 10 years. Follow
the manufacturer’s suggestions for testing and operation. The areas around the pump
should be clear of debris. A battery back-up is recommended to ensure proper operation
during power outages.

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Topics: Personal Insurance, Historic Home, Alexandria VA

Thinking about earning some extra cash as an Uber driver?

Posted by Bill Howard

Jul 7, 2014 2:25:50 PM

Taxi-like ride sharing is an emerging trend lead by operations such as Lyft, Sidecar and Uber. It is important to note that ride sharing is different than carpooling. Carpooling, a covered exposure, is understood as two or more persons sharing a ride to and from work on a regular basis. These carpools are pre-arranged and repetitive, following a work schedule, and are not for a fee (other than possibly contributing to gas expenses).

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Topics: Personal Insurance, Personal Liability, Liability Insurance, Auto Insurance

Personal Umbrella Liability Basics

Posted by Scott Jefferson

Apr 4, 2014 3:25:38 PM

As we all know, accidents happen—and it’s not uncommon for jury awards and out-of court settlements to run into the millions. While it’s difficult to pinpoint the monetary consequences of the risks you and your family take each day, are you certain your current liability insurance offers you enough protection?

For example, what if:

  • Your teenager runs a stop sign, causing a serious accident?
  • A visitor trips in your home and is seriously injured?
  • A babysitter is injured by your otherwise friendly dog?
  • The small fender bender you caused results in a neck injury?
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Topics: Personal Insurance, Personal Liability, Alexandria VA, Personal Umbrella, Umbrella policy, Umbrella Liability

Yard Work Safety Tips

Posted by Scott Jefferson

Mar 6, 2014 11:11:05 AM

For many of our neighbors in Alexandria, spring and summer mean more than sunshine and vacations. It also means working in the yard - often with tools that can be dangerous if not used properly.

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Topics: Personal Insurance, Personal Liability, Alexandria VA, Homeowners Insurance

What is Water Back Up Coverage?

Posted by Scott Jefferson

Mar 5, 2014 2:38:16 PM

Whether it’s a sump pump failure or a clogged drain, water back up is one of the most common types of losses. It’s also one of the most misunderstood. Do you know how your homeowners insurance would respond?

A standard homeowners policy provides coverage for accidental discharge or overflow of water from plumbing, heating, and air conditioning as long as it originates on the premises.  For example, if your shower drain clogs and causes water to overflow, you would have coverage for the resulting damage.

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Topics: Flood Insurance, Personal Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Water Back Up

Home Inventory: Time to take stock of your belongings

Posted by Scott Jefferson

Feb 21, 2014 10:38:00 AM

Experiencing a major loss from flood, theft, or fire is devastating enough. Now imagine trying to recall each one of your personal belongings that was damaged or destroyed. It is a daunting task, which is why taking a home inventory prior to a loss is essential. Fortunately, taking a home inventory is simple if you follow our lead.

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Topics: Personal Insurance

Six Things You Should Know About Debit and Credit Cards

Posted by Scott Jefferson

Feb 7, 2014 11:02:00 AM

Debit and credit cards are often used interchangeably. While these card types may seem similar, there are key differences between debit and credit cards in terms of how they work and consumer protection features. Here is a list of things you should know before using a debit or credit card:

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Topics: Personal Insurance, Personal Liability, Alexandria VA