Homeowners Insurance

Should the value on my Homeowners policy be close to my assessment or what I could sell my house for in today’s market?

Not really. Homeowners insurance is based on the labor and materials to reconstruct or repair your home. Often this number is different from the your assessment and the market value of your home. As a matter of fact you may very well have three different values, replacement cost, assessed value and market value


I see this coverage Other Structures on my policy but I don’t have any other structures on my property other than my house. Can I take this off and save money?

Sorry. Other structures coverage is a percentage of the value of your home designed to cover structures that are not connected to your home and cannot be removed.


If I file a Homeowners claim will my rates go up when my policy renews?

No. Insurance companies do not have the ability to surcharge homeowners in the event of a paid claim. If you see your rate increase it is either because of an overall rate increase or the value of your home is increased for inflation and therefore generates a higher premium.


What is the benefit of buying a separate rider for jewelry or other expensive items?

First you take the value of the item out of your household belonging (contents) coverage which leaves more in case of a catastrophic loss. Second, homeowners policies have sublimits for certain items for all perils or for theft only. Riders do not have these limitations. Third, depending on the type of property you may be able to purchase more favorable ways to value your items in the event of a loss. Lastly, the riders have no deductible for losses to the property listed.


I have read that Homeowners insurance can be difficult to get if you own certain breeds of dogs, is that true.

Yes it is. Certain breeds of dogs such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Sheppards, Chows, Doberman Pinschers and others can be a problem when purchasing insurance. Any dog with a bite history will also be problematic.


I have a trampoline in my yard, how is that viewed by insurance companies?

Most do not like them due to the high incident of injury. Some insurance companies will not write a policy if you have a trampoline. Others may have exclusions for suits that result from injury on a trampoline so consult your policy. If you buy a trampoline after your policy has been placed and you have no exclusion for it the coverage most likely is in place.


I have a business in my home does my homeowners insurance cover my business?

Homeowners policies define what a business is to determine coverage. If your business fits the definition in the policy most likely there is little to no liability coverage and a small amount of property coverage. There are endorsements that can help but perhaps an In Home Business policy or a Businessowners policy would better suit your needs.


If my child goes to college are there belongings covered while in their dorm room or an apartment?

In general yes, their belongings should be covered as long as they maintain a residence in your home when not in school and meet certain age and full time student requirements. Check you policy for specifics as this can vary depending on the form used for your policy. There may also be some stipulations for theft of property if the student has not resided in the dorm or apartment for more than 60 days. If the apartment is really their full time residence (or they lease for an annual period) they should have a renters policy and not rely on your homeowners policy.

Automobile Insurance

My vehicle is over 10 years old should I take off the comprehensive and collision coverage because it is not worth it?

Perhaps, that is the way to go but check out the book value of your vehicle before you make the decision. Many times older cars generate lower premiums so it might be worth it to you in the event of a total loss.


How come when I have an accident my premiums go up? Isn’t that what I pay insurance for anyway?

Yes this is a tough one. Insurance companies do have the ability to surcharge your policy in the event of an accident but it needs to fall within certain guidelines. The problem today is it may be hard to tell how much you are being surcharged due to the complicated rating models being used by most insurance companies.


If I loan my car to someone does their insurance pay in the event of a claim or does mine?

Yours will pay. In general the insurance follows the car. You should not be charged with another person’s accident unless that other person is a driver in your household.


Is a defensive driving course worth the time and money?

Absolutely, the money you spend on the course will most likely be paid back in the first year with premium savings. If you have young drivers on your policy or have accidents/tickets it really pays off and for a three year period on many (not all) coverages in your policy.


If I rent a car when I go on vacation do I need to buy the collision damage waiver (CDV) or will my auto policy pay for any damage?

Your NYS auto policy should pick up the coverage for rental vehicles but there are some stipulations. One is the vehicle cannot be rented for more than 30 consecutive days. Keep in mind that claims activity will count against your policy and the claim process will be a bit more labor intensive than if you purchased the collision damage waiver. Credit card companies also offer coverage but many times it will only apply if you do not have coverage elsewhere. This can be a personal preference so some people choose to buy the CDV anyway.