Is my home’s “replacement value” the same as its “market value”?
An emphatic NO! Your Home Replacement Value relates to what it would cost to rebuild your home if you had a total loss of the insured structure(s). This figure, of course, does not include land value. Market Value relates to your home’s worth to prospective buyers.
What is Ordinance Insurance? Why might I need it?
This is a relatively unknown but critical coverage for homeowners. If you have damage to your house, and it requires substantial reconstruction, your local building inspector will require the work to be done according to the latest building codes. For example, you may need to install a costly new wiring system. Insurance companies only pay for a dwelling to be rebuilt in its original condition. They will not pay for upgrades, which can cost thousands of dollars. The answer is Ordinance Insurance. It is an inexpensive endorsement to your Homeowners Insurance Policy. We recommend it.
Does the National Flood Insurance Plan cover basement improvements such as a game room?
No. Flood insurance does not cover finished walls, floors, carpeting, and personal belongings. It does cover your foundation. Functional items such as plumbing, furnace, water heater, and circuit breakers are covered under your policy’s building coverage. Other limited items, such as a washer, dryer or freezer, are covered under your policy’s contents coverage, which must be purchased in addition to building coverage.
Does my Homeowners Policy cover other structures on our property?
Yes. But the standard limit of coverage is 10% of the amount of insurance on your main house. If your house is insured for $200,000, your other structures are covered up to $20,000. Other structures include your garage, sheds, pool, fences, etc. What would it cost you to replace “other structures”? You may want to increase your limit to fit their replacement costs.
What is a deductible?
When a claim occurs, you are required to pay the first portion of the cost to repair or replace the insured property. This fixed amount is the deductible you selected. The insurance company pays the remainder of the claim. Deductibles are used as a method to stretch your insurance dollars. The greater the deductible amount you agree to pay for each claim, the lower your insurance premium. This can sometimes add up to a significant savings. However, you must decide how much of any claim you are willing and able to pay before choosing a deductible. We’d be glad to help you re-assess the deductibles you’ve chosen to see if they match your current needs.
We have an RV sitting in our yard. Does our Homeowners Policy cover it for damages?
No! For example, if a tree or limb falls and damages your RV, you are not covered by your Homeowners Policy. Physical damage is not automatically covered. An RV must have specific Collision and Comprehensive Insurance to pay for damage losses. Call us for more information about the benefits and cost.
I am an avid skier. Does my Homeowners Insurance cover my skis against theft when I am at the slopes?
Yes. But the loss amount that is paid is subject to a deductible. You may want to consult with us on this. In any event, it pays to safeguard your valuable skis wherever they are!
Are my home possessions insured while moving?
This is an important question in this era of the mobile society! The answer is “Yes, but …. “The “but” is: you are only covered for the perils insured against in your Homeowners Policy. For broader coverage during a move, consult with us. Your possessions are automatically covered at your new home for 30 days.
Should I use my real estate tax evaluation as a basis to choose the amount of insurance for my home?
No. The tax evaluation simply reflects the assessor’s estimate of the sales value of your home. You want to choose an amount that will allow you to rebuild or restore your home should a loss occur. You need to determine the cost of labor and materials in today’s dollars to do this. We will be glad to appraise your home’s replacement cost for you at no charge.
Is flood damage covered by my Homeowners Policy?
No. Special coverage is required under a separate insurance plan. If your town has flood plain zoning in place, as most do, you may be eligible for insurance through the special federal government flood insurance program.
Does a Homeowners Policy cover earthquake damage?
The chance of a serious earthquake in Westport or Wareham is less than in Seattle or San Francisco, that’s for sure. Nonetheless, there is some risk. What’s more, the solid bedrock that underlies most of the Eastern U.S. is an excellent shock transmitter, so that areas far removed from the quake center could be affected. Your basic Homeowners Insurance does not cover earthquake damage. In fact, your basic policy specifically excludes coverage for any damage caused by any type of earth movement or shifting. A simple phone call or e-mail is all you need do to add this coverage. We’ll immediately add a special earthquake endorsement to your Homeowners Policy. The average cost is $75 a year, about $1.44 a week.
Do I need to save all my receipts in the event of a claim?
Receipts are helpful in establishing a value for a lost item, but insurance companies don’t require them for most everyday items. In most cases, the insurance company will ask you to compile a list of the lost or destroyed items and their approximate value. The company will then adjust your claim for “depreciation” based on that list. Your best guard against depreciation is choosing the replacement value option on your insurance. We’d be happy to discuss this option and to help you put together a Home Inventory, which can save valuable time and effort in case of a loss.
Is personal property in my car covered by my Auto Policy?
Stolen or damaged items such as compact discs aren’t covered by your auto insurance. You’d have to file a claim on your Homeowners Insurance. Most Homeowners Insurance Policies cover smaller, relatively inexpensive items. However, if you regularly transport expensive items such as computer equipment, ask us about purchasing a floater on your Homeowners Policy.
Is an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) covered by my Homeowners Policy?
No. Many homeowners mistakenly think their ATVs are fully covered. A separate ATV policy is required.
I am thinking of starting a business in my home. Does my Homeowners Policy cover me?
If you have a home-based business, you should review your insurance needs immediately. Your Homeowners Policy specifically excludes liability for a business conducted at your home. Although your policy provides $2500 of coverage for business personal property on your premises, it covers only $250 for equipment away from your home. You have three choices: (1) endorsements to your Homeowners Policy so that your business equipment and liability protection needs are met; (2) a special in-home Business Policy; or (3) a Small Business Owners Package policy.
If a tree falls on my car at home, does my Homeowners Insurance pay for the damage?
No. At home or away, you are covered only if you have Comprehensive coverage on your Automobile Policy.