At Pine Country Insurance, we believe in helping each client customize their insurance coverage to fit their own needs, desires and budget. So we take the time to sit down with each new client (preferably face to face but sometimes via phone) to review and explain the basics of their coverage options and selections.
Before this discussion happens, we normally base our initial quote primarily on a set of basic coverages normal in the industry, to the extent possible and practical. However, if you have already provided us with a copy of your current policy declarations page, then we attempt to match that coverage to the extent that we are able, unless we discuss otherwise with you. Either way, that initial quote is preliminary, because we have not yet had a chance to sit down with you to help you customize as desired.
This means that the final price of your coverage with us could be higher or lower than the initial quote that we provide you – based on the decisions that you make when we sit down to review your options. Here are some of the variables that you may have a chance to customize during our discussion:
Your Dwelling limit
The most basic part of your coverage is the limit for coverage on your dwelling. Most often we base this on a reconstruction cost estimate that we complete. It is important for you to review this to make sure it looks accurate to you and that you feel comfortable with it. Most people want a policy that will rebuild their home if it burns down, but there are cases where people might want to just “cash out” of the value of their home and walk away. In that case, some (but not all) of our carries will offer the option to insure for less than the estimated replacement cost of the home.
The most common Homeowners deductible that we see is $1000, and that’s most often what we initially quote. Depending on the carrier, you may be able to buy down to a $500 deductible, but sometimes this becomes quite expensive, and many carriers don’t offer a lower wind & hail deductible. We also have several carriers who offer a healthy discount if you choose to buy a higher deductible.
Increased basic limits
Most carriers automatically include allowances for Personal Property and Other Structures that are based on a certain percentage of your Dwelling limit but that can be increased if desired. In addition, higher limits for Liability, Medical Payments and Loss of Use may be available. During our discussion, we review these limits and whether you feel they are sufficient to meet your needs.
Water Backup coverage
Most of our carriers offer this as an option that can be added to your quote. In general terms, it covers cleanup and damage that results from the backup of sewers or drains or failure of a sump pump. Click here for more information on this valuable add-on.
Coverage for valuable items
While Homeowners policies generally provide blanket coverage for most of your personal property, there are some items that may need special protection. For example, the average Homeowners policy provides around $1500 for theft of jewelry and around $2500 for theft of firearms. If you have valuable jewelry or guns exceeding these limits, then we may wish to talk about options to add more coverage. (Read this post to learn more about insuring valuable jewelry.)
If there is flooding in your neighborhood which damages your home or belongings, it is important to understand that your Homeowners policy won’t cover this. Flood coverage is usually available through the National Flood Program, sponsored by the federal government and administered by various insurance companies.
Many more ways to customize
There are many, many more options that you can add to your Homeowners policy for additional peace of mind. Depending on what is offered by the carrier, these additional options may include Identity Theft, Personal Injury Liability, Volunteer Wrongful Acts Liability, enhanced Dwelling replacement cost coverage, “Special Peril” Personal Property coverage, Ordinance or Law, Equipment Breakdown, Service Line coverage, “green” repair, Earthquake and numerous others. (In some cases, some of these options might already be included in your initial quote, for example, if we are quoting the IMT GEM Homeowners.)
As you can see, you have many choices in how you wish to customize your Homeowners coverage. We don’t tell you what to buy, but we do take the time to sit down and explain how your coverage works and what your options are, to the extent that you desire. Because we believe that the insurance business is about trust, we want to start our relationship out in the right way.
Coverage descriptions in this post are based on what is typical at the time of writing but may vary from what is included on your quote or policy. There are cases in which we may not be able to offer the kind of coverage discussed herein, due to the condition of your home, unique hazards or other reasons. Please read your policy carefully.
Ken Cobb is owner of Pine Country Insurance and has been active in the insurance industry for over 15 years. Meet Ken.
Coverage descriptions found in this blog are summaries provided for general educational purposes and cannot fully detail the terms, conditions, limitations or exclusions of a specific insurance policy. Please read your policy carefully.