The replacement cost of your home is the starting point of your home insurance. Ask yourself the question: if the house were destroyed, how much will it cost to rebuild it? You don’t have to make the calculations: we have specialized software to do this for you. We do recommend Dwelling Replacement Cost coverage when available (generally for homes built in the past 50 years), which provides additional limits as long as you remain insured to estimated replacement value each renewal.
Please note there are limitations in your policy for theft of jewelry, furs, guns, silverware, etc. You can buy specific insurance under a Scheduled, or “Valuable Items” endorsement, which provides broader coverage and increases the insurance limits amounts as needed. As a rule of thumb, most people get specific coverage for items over $1000 in value. Up-to-date appraisals may be required for insurance under this kind of schedule. Contact us if you think you might have a need not already addressed.
A business from the home is not protected by the homeowner’s policy; businesses generally require commercial insurance. If you run any business from your home, coverage can be available as an inexpensive add-on to your home insurance policy or through our highly experienced commercial insurance group.
Note that any business use of a detached structure, such as a garage or barn nullifies insurance coverage on the structure, requiring you to “buy-back” coverage. This exclusion may leave you self-insured for out-buildings you‘re using for business. Coverage is readily available, but we need to know to add back for you.
Massachusetts requires that you provide Workers’ Compensation if you employ anyone, including domestic help working 16 hours per week (such as a nanny). We can assist getting this for you, as well as provide payroll deduction services payment options.
Boats, snowmobiles, and ATVs also may need specific coverage if you own one or more of these, particularly if they are not specifically insured already. The homeowner’s policy gives very limited coverage for boat hulls, equipment and liability. (Though small craft usually have liability: always talk to us about these situations).
Check the amount of insurance showing on your Personal Property (Coverage “C”). The
amount you have should be enough to replace your personal belongings today, including clothes, furniture, and so forth. A household inventory can determine proper values; a video does a great job identifying what you have. We recommend Replacement Cost on Contents to minimize the effect of depreciation on a claim.
Due to building code changes on all homes, get “Ordinance or Law” coverage. Most policies today include a small amount automatically, but it’s worth checking, especially if you home is over ten years old. If new building codes require updates or demolition on undamaged portions of your home, this endorsement will extend coverage to undamaged portions.
The homeowner’s policy does not include loss to your property due to Flood, or any groundwater seepage. Flood coverage is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP); some homeowner’s policies include “sump pump failure coverage” as well. Let us know if you may have an exposure to damage from groundwater, especially if you have a sump pump in place already.
Condominium unit owners have special needs. Additions and alterations that become a permanent part of the building, but for which you are responsible, should be added if the association does not provide “all-in” language. Also, we recommend maximum loss assessment coverage to protect you if the Association Master Contract limit is inadequate.
The high settlements being awarded by the courts today for personal injury suits demand that you consider buying a Personal Catastrophe Liability (umbrella or excess) policy, or increasing your present Auto, Homeowners (& Boat, etc.) liability protection. If you have a home and other assets to protect, you should consider an excess policy if you do not already have one. See our whiteboard videos for more.
Massachusetts law requires that users of OIL heat take steps to prevent leaks from oil supply lines from the tank to the furnace. Insurance companies must also make insurance available for those who have taken steps to secure these supply lines. This insurance is available now. Contact your oil supply company for upgrades, but contact us if you wish to have clean-up coverage as well.
The homeowner’s policy does not cover loss due to Earthquake. Coverage can usually be added by endorsement for an additional cost. Earthquakes aren’t limited to California!
Any dwelling left unoccupied for 60 days is considered vacant and fire coverage may be cancelled. If you plan to move from your house, let your agent know ahead of time to make arrangements to continue coverage.