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Sometimes, it’s more convenient to find the answers to simple questions yourself. That’s why we’ve included on this page, answers to questions we get asked most often. To view the answers, click on the appropriate question(s) to the right.

We value your feedback. If you have questions about our agency, our insurance coverages or the products and services we offer, please let us know. We will get back to you promptly and, if appropriate, we will add your question to this page as a service to current and future customers. Submit your questions to:

508-697-6963 Phone

508-697-5809 Fax

info@estabrookchamberlain.com

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Homeowners FAQs

  1. Should I use my real estate tax evaluation as a basis to choose the amount of insurance for my home?
  2. Are your home possessions insured while moving?
  3. Does my homeowner’s insurance cover the business I operate from my home?
  4. What is a “Home Account Discount” and how do I qualify?
  5. Does a Homeowners Policy cover earthquake damage?
  6. Is an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) covered by my homeowners policy?
  7. Is flood damage covered by my homeowner’s policy?
  8. I am an avid skier. Are my skis covered by my homeowner’s insurance against theft when I am at the slopes?
  9. I am thinking of starting a business in my home. Does my Homeowners Policy cover me?
  10. If a tree falls on my car at home, does my homeowner’s insurance pay for the damage?
  11. Is there a difference between a homeowner’s insurance replacement value figure and the town’s evaluation figure for tax purposes?
  12. We have an RV sitting in our yard. Is it covered for damages by our Homeowner’s Policy?
  13. Is my Home Insurance Replacement Value the same as its market value?
  14. Does my Homeowner’s Policy covers other structures on our property?
  15. What is Ordinance insurance? Why might I need it?
  16. My wife and I are planning to convert our garage to a business operation. Does our homeowners policy provide coverage?
  17. Why is a home personal property inventory important?
  18. Is it true that insurance companies who write homeowners insurance may conduct property inspections before they okay issuance or renewal of a policy?
  19. I serve on the board of directors of the local Chamber of Commerce. Does our homeowners policy cover me for any personal liability exposure I may have while I am on the board? It is a voluntary position, there’s no pay involved.

 


Q. Should I use my real estate tax evaluation as a basis to choose the amount of insurance for my home?

A. No. The tax evaluation simply reflects the assessor’s estimate of the sales value of your home. You want to choose an amount that will allow you to rebuild or restore your home, should a loss occur. You need to determine the cost of labor and materials in today’s dollars to do this. We will be glad to appraise your home’s replacement cost for you at no charge.


Q. Are your home possessions insured while moving?

A. This is an important question in this era of the mobile society! The answer is “Yes”, but. The “but” is: you are only covered for the perils insured against in your Homeowner’s Policy. For broader coverage during a move, consult with us. Your possessions are automatically covered at your new home for 30 days.


Q. Does my homeowner’s insurance cover the business I operate from my home?

A. No. Your homeowner’s policy specifically excludes liability for a business conducted at your home. Although your policy provides $2500 of coverage for business personal property on your premises, there is only $250 away from your home. Call us to discuss the specific “Business in the Home” insurance policies you can purchase to protect your business.


Q. What is a “Home Account Discount” and how do I qualify?

A. You can earn a Home Account Discount by having both your auto insurance and your Homeowners Insurance with the same company and the same agent. We have a Home Discount Program that offers a substantial savings on your home insurance. If you would like to know how to take advantage of the savings, call us at 508-697-6963. Or, email us at info@estabrookchamberlain.com and ask for Home Discount information.


Q. Does a Homeowners Policy cover earthquake damage?

A. The chance of a serious earthquake in Boston or Bridgewater is certainly less than in Seattle or San Francisco. Nonetheless, there is some risk. What’s more, the solid bedrock that underlies most of the Eastern U.S. is an excellent shock transmitter so that areas far removed from the quake center could be affected.

Basic homeowners insurance does not cover earthquake damage. In fact, your basic policy specifically excludes coverage for any damage caused by any type of earth movement or shifting. A simple phone call or e-mail is all you need do to add this coverage. We’ll immediately add a special earthquake endorsement to your homeowner’s policy. The average cost is $75 a year, about $1.44 a week. Email us to request an Earthquake Booklet.


Q. Is an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) covered by my homeowners policy?

A. No. Many homeowners mistakenly think their ATVs are covered. A separate ATV policy is required. However, the premium rate for ATV insurance is relatively modest.


Q. Is flood damage covered by my homeowner’s policy?

A. No. Special coverage is required under a separate insurance plan. If your town has flood plain zoning in place, you may be eligible for insurance through a special federal government program.


Q. I am an avid skier. Are my skis covered by my homeowner’s insurance against theft when I am at the slopes?

A. Yes. But the loss amount that is paid is subject to a deductible. You may want to consult with us on this. In any event, it pays to safeguard your valuable skis wherever they are.


Q. I am thinking of starting a business in my home. Does my Homeowners Policy cover me?

A. If you have a home-based business, you should review your insurance needs immediately. You have three choices:

  • Endorsements to your homeowners policy to meet your business equipment, liability and business interruption protection needs
  • A special in-home business policy
  • A small business owners package policy.


Q. If a tree falls on my car at home, does my homeowner’s insurance pay for the damage?

A. No. At home or away from home, you are only covered if you have comprehensive coverage on your automobile policy.


Q. Is there a difference between a homeowner’s insurance replacement value figure and the town’s evaluation figure for tax purposes?

A. Absolutely! There is also a difference between your home’s market value figure and insurance value. Your insurance value is based on the cost of replacing losses to physical property structures and possessions only. Land value is excluded.

NOTE: You may want to check with us about the current replacement value amount in your homeowner’s policy. A 2004 report by a leading insurance valuation authority reported that 61% of all American homes were undervalued by an average of 25%.

Two major reasons: rise in construction costs, failure to report home improvements and additions to insurance agents.


Q. We have an RV sitting in our yard. Is it covered for damages by our Homeowner’s Policy?

A. No. For example, if a tree or limb falls and damages your RV, you are not covered by your homeowner’s policy. Physical damage is not automatically covered. An RV must have specific collision and comprehensive insurance to pay for damage losses. Call us for more information about the benefits and cost.


Q. Is my Home Insurance Replacement Value the same as its market value?

A. No. Your Home Replacement Value relates to what it would cost to rebuild your home if you had a total loss of the insured structure(s). This figure, of course, does not include the land value. Market value relates to your home’s worth to prospective buyers. Assessed value is determined by your local community for property tax purposes.

NOTE: If you haven’t had a Home Insurance Replacement review recently, call us. We provide a free review service.


Q. Does my Homeowner’s Policy covers other structures on our property?

A. Yes, but the standard limit of coverage is 10% of the amount of insurance on your main house. If your house is insured for $200,000, your other structures are covered up to $20,000. Other structures include: your garage, sheds, pool, fences et al. What would it cost you to replace other structures? You may want to increase your limit to fit their replacement cost. If so, call us.

NOTE: If you haven’t had a Home Insurance Replacement review recently, call us. We provide a free review service.


Q. What is Ordinance insurance? Why might I need it?

A. This is a relatively unknown but critical coverage for homeowners. If you have damage to your house and it requires substantial reconstruction, your local building inspector will require the work to be done according to the latest building codes. For example, you may need to install a costly new wiring system.

Insurance companies only pay for a dwelling to be rebuilt in its original condition. They will not pay for upgrades which can be costly. The answer is Ordinance insurance. It is an inexpensive endorsement to your home insurance policy. We recommend it.


Q. My wife and I are planning to convert our garage to a business operation. Does our homeowners policy provide coverage?

A. No. A business operated in a building, garage, shed or barn on a homeowner’s premises is excluded from coverage by the homeowner policy.

You will need to buy a business policy to cover property and liability insurance needs. Policies for small businesses are commonly referred to as BOPs (Business Owner Policy). In addition to basic coverage for losses caused by fire, theft, damage to property, liability claims, etc., you can add coverage for special risks. For example, business interruption coverage which provides income if you are unable to operate because of a fire or other catastrophe.


Q. Why is a home personal property inventory important?

A. Claims are settled more promptly and easier when homeowners and renters are able to provide their claim adjuster proof of ownership, especially for valuables such as art objects, collections, antiques, silverware, and jewelry. Plus, you will assure that your property is insured for the right amount.

NOTE: There are now online services that help make the inventory process simpler. One example of this is www.anywherevault.com. It is designed specifically for insurance property inventories. AnywhereVault claims ease of access, ease of updating, and “hacker-safe” security.


Q. Is it true that insurance companies who write homeowners insurance may conduct property inspections before they okay issuance or renewal of a policy?

A. Yes. Many perform routine inspections of home exteriors and property settings. If they find issues, they notify the homeowner and request that they be addressed. Typical issues include: tree branches that overhang a home and need trimming, open foundation areas, missing or broken steps and railings, broken windows, and chimney and roof deterioration.


Q. I serve on the board of directors of the local Chamber of Commerce. Does our homeowners policy cover me for any personal liability exposure I may have while I am on the board? It is a voluntary position, there’s no pay involved.

A. Most older homeowner policies treat volunteer activity as a business activity, and as a result, do not cover personal liability claims The new homeowner (HO) 2000 policy edition specifically exempts “volunteer activities” from the definition of “business activities”, i.e. a trade, occupation or profession). But we must point out the new language has not yet been ruled upon by the courts in any test case.

Service on non-paid community service organizations can pose serious liability issues. Key issues: injury to people (bodily injury); or libel, slander and defamation of character (personal injury). There are ways to gain some protection. One example: an endorsement to your HO policy to cover slander or libel.