Life Insurance
  1. Overview
  2. What It Covers
  3. Discounts
  4. FAQs
  5. Get A Quote

Overview

A study conducted by Marshall & Swift found that approximately 67% of homeowners are underinsured by an average of 35%. Having the right coverage is paramount in protecting your financial well being. Also, knowing what your policy covers can help you save money. For example, did you know a homeowners policy provides coverage for boats up to a certain length?

Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in it. Homeowners insurance also covers your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage (other than professional or motor vehicle related liability) you or members of your family cause to other people.

Damage caused by most disasters is covered but there are exceptions, such as floods and earthquakes. For those you need a separate endorsement or policy.

Basic Policy Coverage
Coverage
Description
Dwelling

Coverage for your dwelling against losses from fire, theft and other common causes (except those that are specifically excluded).

Total coverage based on replacement cost and not market value- cost to rebuild home at today's building costs. You can get a rough estimate of coverage by calculating $175-$200 per square foot. Please note, this varies depending on where your home is located in the U.S.

Other Structures

Coverage for other structures, such as sheds and unattached garages, for most causes of loss (except those that are specifically excluded)

10% of dwelling coverage amount (i.e. dwelling coverage = $100,000 | other structures coverage = $10,000)

Loss of Use Expenses

Coverage for necessary extra living expenses to stay elsewhere temporarily if it’s impossible to live in your home.

20% of dwelling coverage amount

Personal Liability

Coverage for personal injury to others, wrongs such as libel, slander, invasion of privacy

$100,000 basic coverage that can be increased up to $500,000

Personal Property

Coverage to repair or replace your clothing, furniture and other personal belongings.

Usually 50% of dwelling replacement (i.e. dwelling = $100,000 then personal property coverage = $50,000).

Personal property coverage can be increased or decreased depending on your needs. Basic coverage usually includes a deduction for wear and tear and age.

Some personal property has special limits that your coverage can go towards if you have a loss. Personal property that has limits include, but not limited to: securities, watercraft, trailers, currency, jewelry, watches and furs, silverware, business property.

Get Guaranteed Replacement Cost coverage for personal property so at time of loss you can replace it at today's cost!

Massachusetts homeowners insurance basic policy coverage limits vary with each insurance company. Above summary is a general description of major coverage's of a typical Massachusetts Homeowners policy and does not include all coverage's or complete details of any coverage. You may find one insurance company provides more coverage under their basic policy than another. To determine the best policy for you and for a complete understanding of coverage's available under a Massachusetts Homeowners insurance policy please ask your insurance agent, or contact us for more information.

Available Discounts
We have access to over 35 insurance companies each providing their own exclusive credits and discounts. Check the list below to see what credits and discounts we can provide you.
ITEM
Discount %
Description
Massachusetts Teachers Credit
5%
An exclusive discount to Massachusetts teachers!
Multi Policy Account Credit
10-20%
Discount on homeowners if both auto and homeowners policies (Home, renters or condo) are written by Carroll Steele Insurance Agency.
Alarm System Credit
Up to 25%
Depending on type of system, fire, burglar, we can provide a substantial discount.
Age of Home / Renovations Credit
varies
Credits based on age of home, electrical system, heating/cooling and plumbing systems.
Loyalty Credit
3% to 5%
Credit for loyalty each year you stay with Carroll Steele Insurance
Loss Free Credit
up to 15%
Claim free for at least 4 years.
Non-Smokers Credit
2-5%
Non-Smokers can enjoy credit on their homeowners insurance policy.
New Home Buyer Credit
varies
Eligible to homes bought in past 11 months.

Frequently Asked Questions
Question
Answer
What kinds of perils am I protected against?
Fire and wind damage are the most common perils covered. There are several other unlikely covered perils, such as riots, civil commotion, etc. Please review your current policy for more details on covered perils.
What about floods, earthquakes and other catastrophes?
Most catastrophes are covered; for example, wind damage from hurricanes and tornadoes come under the windstorm peril listed in the previous question and so are included. Flood and earthquake damage, however, are not covered by a standard policy.

Be careful not to be lulled into a false sense of geographic security. Flood and earthquake activity is more widespread than many people realize. For example, almost 90 percent of the U.S. population lives in seismically active areas. Since 1900, earthquakes have caused damage in all 50 states. And if your home is located in a flood-prone area, you are 26 times more likely to suffer a flood loss than a loss from fire.
Are there any exclusions I should know about?
There may be other exclusions spelled out in your policy such as neglect, intentional loss, earth movement, general power failure and even damage caused by war. If you neglect to take care of your property (e.g., a leaky roof), you may not be covered. Obviously, if you intend to lose an object or damage your property, there is no coverage.
What is Ordinance of Law Coverage?
One other exclusion that can be costly is the Ordinance or Law exclusion. Building codes established by governmental bodies that drive up the cost of rebuilding or repairing after a loss occurs may not be covered by your insurance policy. Thus, if you discover when replacing damaged property that current law demands higher grade or more expensive materials than the original ones being replaced, the new materials may not be covered for the full price. For example, if the current building code in your area requires a higher grade of electrical wiring and after a fire you are replacing all the wiring in your home, your policy may cover only the cost of replacing the older wiring. The difference in cost between the old wiring and the new wiring required by ordinance or law is your responsibility. Even if you live in a fairly new home, laws and building codes are constantly being updated. Coverage to include ordinance or law requirements can be added to your homeowners policy with an endorsement an addition that could save you money in the long run.
Are the backyard shed and my color TV both covered in my homeowners policy?
Yes, they are both your property so they are both covered. The value of the real property, home, garage, shed and other structures is generally based on the value of the main structure, the house itself. Thus, if the house were insured for $75,000, the shed, detached garage and other auxiliary structures would be covered for 10 percent or $7,500 worth of damages. Additional property protection features may include living expenses should your home not be habitable for a period of time.

Your personal property is also covered by a homeowners insurance policy. Personal property includes the contents of your home and personal belongings used, owned, worn, or carried by you or members of your household basically, everything and the kitchen sink! This coverage is also based on the house coverage, and there are limits on the losses that can be claimed. Higher limits can be purchased for both real and personal property.
Who decides how much my property is worth?
State laws may dictate how losses are to be figured, which means the same insurance company may use one method in one state and a different method in another. The common methods are:

Actual Cash Value - The replacement cost of the item minus depreciation. For example, a new television set may cost $500. If your 7-year-old TV set gets damaged in a fire, it might have depreciated 50 percent. Therefore, you would be paid $250 for that set.

Replacement Coverage - The cost of replacing an item without deducting for depreciation. So today's cost for a TV set with features similar to the 7-year-old one damaged by fire would determine the amount of compensation. If it still costs $500 today, that would be the replacement coverage.

Replacement value should not be confused with market value. The market value is what your house, for example, would actually sell for and is generally more than the replacement cost. This is because replacement value does not include the land, which almost always does not need to be replaced.
Does my policy cover my possessions even when I go on vacation?
Yes, perhaps in this case the term "homeowners" is misleading because this is a package of insurance coverage that extends to all your possessions no matter where they are. If you take a round-the-world vacation and lose a valuable item, as long as the loss is by a covered event or peril, the location does not matter.

The liability component also extends well beyond the boundaries of your home. Should you be found legally at fault for injury or loss to another individual, whether you unfortunately caused a tumble down a San Francisco hill or a fall in an Indiana barn, that is personal liability which again is addressed in your homeowners policy.

As in the property section of your homeowners policy, there are limits and exclusions to personal liability. Your business activities, for example, are not covered under a homeowners policy. You are also not covered for injuries or damage you purposely cause. So if a fight with a neighbor turns physical and you end up bopping him on the nose, your homeowners insurance will not cover the injury or any resulting suit. Your policy lists specific exclusions and limits.
I rent out my basement. Are my tenants covered by my homeowners policy?
No. Your property and the structure (the basement) are covered by your policy as is your personal liability. However, the tenants' possessions and liability are not covered by your policy. Therefore, they may wish to purchase their own renters insurance.

If you have a question that isn't answered here please submit it to us using our Ask An Expert forum!

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