Homeowners insurance is shrouded by misconceptions and rumors. Who are we to believe? Rick Stoeckell has been in the business since the 70s, currently working for Tonry Insurance Group in Quincy. He chimed in with some advice and myth busters.
“We don’t cover for [the home’s] market value, I still have to tell clients,’’ he said. “We want to make sure we put that same house on that piece of land should you have a total loss.’’
Examples of cases not covered are those of insects and vermin such as rats and squirrels. The same goes for that of damage inflicted from a nuclear power plant.
“Here’s a big one,’’ he said, “disease is not covered.’’
This means that COVID-19 won’t have an impact on your policy. This proves how important it is for people to get acquainted with their coverage. The time is now to educate yourself on your insurance shopping journey.
“If you had a guest over and you were sick, and they got sick, and they had a medical bill and say, ‘I’m going to sue your home insurance,’ well, they can’t,’’ he said.
The world is changing and part of that change includes business owners transferring their business assets and facilities into their own homes due to the stay-at-home advisory. Now is the time to consults with your agent and think about adding business coverage to your current policy. When your home is also your place of business, the lines between policies begin to blur.
“You need to be aware that there are limitations on [standard] policies,’’ Donaghue said. “Business property might be limited if you run a business from the home. Whatever exposure you have, talk to your agent.’’
Another hot tip: If you are buying in a flood zone, be aware of the costs before putting in an offer. Coverage can cost at least an additional $2,000 to $3,000 a year. As sea levels begin to rise, purchasing flood insurance should be a priority, especially if you live outside a flood zone.
“It’s definitely a great idea to buy a [flood] policy before that day comes, because [the insurance companies] will keep you in that rate for the length of time you have that policy,’’ Donaghue said.
“Relying on the realtor, on the attorney, relying on the bank — they should talk to an insurance agent and get the right kind of counseling,’’ he said.
Not getting professional advice could cost you. Stoeckell could not urge this enough, because in all his years in business, he’s seen every scenario. The complexities of homeowners insurance coupled with the complexities of nature and unpredictable forces is not something you have to face alone.