Mass Realty - An Interview with Frank C. Keaney Jr. of Amity Insurance
Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.
Amity Insurance is a property and casualty insurance agency serving both commercial and personal lines risks. The agency was founded in 1978 by David Solomon, who remains as the agency's Chief Executive Officer today. It has grown to become one of the largest independent insurance agencies in New England.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing for a homeowner to know about home insurance coverage?
Although the standard homeowner policy is designed to cover a broad range of exposures, it doesn't cover everything, and some coverage is limited. For example, in order to cover a flood loss, you would need a separate flood policy. And, if you wanted coverage for earthquake, you would have to add it to your policy and pay an additional premium. There are additionally many items such as jewelry and furs that are limited under the terms of the policy. These can be covered in full by separate endorsement. If you have a question about whether something valuable is covered under this policy, it is imperative to ask and be sure.
How would you define having the right home insurance policy?
Most home insurance policies are covered by a standard homeowner's insurance policy and it is a very comprehensive form. However, having the "right home insurance policy" would require an experienced agent to guide you through the various coverages and limitations of the policy. In addition, your unique circumstances need to be considered to provide the "right" policy for you. You may have an extra large garage, for example. Or perhaps you operate a small business in your home, or provide day care services. There are a number of other situations that would require additional coverage to be properly insured. The "right" policy is different for everyone because of the many coverage exposures and the client's willingness to accept risk. Some clients can afford to accept a high deductible, for example, or they may be willing to acknowledge that their musical instruments may not be covered. It is best to talk with an agent to design the best policy.
What is the first step people can take to make sure they are adequately covered?
First, identify your exposures. Once you know what needs to be covered, you can then find the best policy and endorsements to properly insure against loss. Again, speak with a professional to review your exposures. The key to identifying exposures is to ask questions.
Can you briefly describe what replacement cost coverage is?
Replacement Cost Coverage is available for the home itself and/or for the contents of the dwelling. Replacement Cost coverage on contents replaces personal belongings without taking depreciation into account. So, if your TV set were stolen, you would get the cost to replace your TV set without any deduction for depreciation. Replacement cost on the house would replace the house regardless of the amount of coverage you actually carried. If you insured your house for $500,000 but it cost $550,000 to replace at the time of loss, the insurance carrier would pay $550,000. You must insure your home for the full replacement value via the company's cost estimator and the company must agree to offer the "guaranteed replacement cost endorsement". There are other "replacement cost" endorsements that limit the replacement to 25% or 50% over the limit you have chosen. Be sure to check your policy.
Are there certain types of coverage that homeowners typically under or over insure?
As for underinsuring, it's usually liability insurance. Many homeowners carry a limit of liability of $300,000. But, for a small additional premium (less than $50.00) a homeowner could increase his/her coverage to $500,000 or $1,000,000. In today's litigious society, it makes sense to carry higher limits of liability to protect your assets. It's rare, if ever, that someone is overinsured.