The Price is Right

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On occasion I get complaints from my clients about the cost of homeowner insurance and they ask that I shop around for a better price. I tell them I will look into their premium but I also remind them that homeowner insurance policies are not a commodity. It is not like buying a bag of potatoes where the product is homogeneous and easily discernible.

There are many homeowner insurance companies with varying degrees of premium. if you look long enough, you will find one that is a comparative bargain -but at what price?, pardon the pun. What is behind that piece of paper that seemingly is available at an attractive cost? Are there hidden exclusions and sub limits of coverage? Is the carrier experienced in homeowner claims? Do they get a good grade from consumer reporting agencies? Will they let you use a contractor of your choosing in the event of a major fire? Will the replacement materials allowed be the same as what was lost or ones of “similar” quality?

Most people will concede that their home is their most valuable asset. it should be protected by an insurance company that is prepared to restore it properly. The premium charged should be a fair one. If you are insured by an insurance carrier known for their reliability, fairness, and attention to detail in settling claims, the price that you will pay for the policy will be the “right price”.

The author of this blog, Guy Hatfield CPCU CIC, can be reached at 203.256.5660.

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Beware of the Fine Print!

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I have written in previous articles about the need to become familiar with one’s insurance policy. I don’t expect everyone  to read the document cover to cover but it is important to at least review the exclusions and limitations as well as the limits provided. A good insurance professional will alert you to many of the important restrictions but as the old saying goes “two heads are better than one”in any review.. In the homeowner policy be aware of the listing of sub-limits for jewelry, furs, silver, guns. coins, and other similar items. Note that there is no liability protection for businesses even if they are conducted in the home. Flood and earthquake are excluded but can be purchased independently.Your auto policy won’t do you any good if you rent a car in Europe and take particular note of the importance of uninsured/under-insured motorist protection in the auto policy. Yacht polices are particularly diverse in coverage-especially in the definition of what is determined to be a “latent defect”. Insurance documents are tricky and hard to read. Don’t be shy in directing questions to your insurance representative who hopefully is knowledgeable-and available.

The author of this blog, Guy Hatfield CPCU CIC, can be reached at 203.256.5660.

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It Takes Two to Tango!

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In one of the cases I worked on as a consultant/expert witness, the expert for the other side stated that insureds don’t usually read their policies and therefore the agent/broker is responsible for explaining and ultimately any misunderstandings regarding the insurance coverage. This is nonsense in my opinion. The insurance mechanism is a collaborative effort. The insurance professional provides the product and the expertise that goes with it. The client, in turn, is responsible for providing information and insights into exposure as well as familiarizing themselves with the coverage and limits of the policy. The insured cannot just acquiesce and expect the insurance broker to take care the whole matter. The insurance purchaser is the one that has the understanding of his or her business or personal insurance needs- and has to take the process seriously and have a dialogue with their insurance representative. Failure to do this may result in gaps or inadequate coverage and more times than not it is not the fault of the broker but rather the disinterest of the client. Both parties have to go to the dance floor in designing and implementing a logical need based insurance program.

The author of this blog, Guy Hatfield CPCU CIC, can be reached at 203.256.5660.

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