As I work with a lot of first time homebuyers in the Brookside/Waldo area, I thought it would be informative to write a blog about purchasing homeowner’s insurance. The very act of researching and comparing various company policies can be confusing–where to start? How much do you need? What’s the difference in policies? How to compare rates? Who gives good service during the claims process?
I recently visited Brookside/Waldo business owner, Jennifer Dunklin, who has a State Farm Insurance office at 105 E Gregory Blvd. I asked her her some basic questions about buying homeowners’ insurance and a few specific questions that relate to the older homes in our neighborhood. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation:
What are the important issues to consider when researching insurance companies?
Check JD Power rankings to see if the company provides the services you want. You should purchase enough insurance to rebuild the house and replace the personal property inside. Be sure to compare ‘actual cash value’ vs ‘replacement cost”. Actual cash value considers depreciation of your property; replacement cost actually replaces the items you lost. If there is a catastrophic incident, such as a total loss from a fire, some companies offer a dollar limit for the coverage. State Farm covers a two year period of expenses rather than a certain monetary amount as some companies do. Also consider liability protection, which protects the homeowner from lawsuits initiated by a guest, contractor or stranger who may be injured on your property.
How do you handle inquiry calls about insurance?
A series of questions will be asked about the home, location, size, etc. Some discounts may apply, such as a lower premium if you have an alarm system, newer HVAC, impact resistant roof shingles or auto coverage in place with the same company. Often the agent will drive by the property, take outdoor photos, look for wood rot and debris around property, visible foundation issues. A roof inspector may also come by to examine the roof. Most insurance companies, including State Farm, will not insure 3 layer roofs or wood shingle roofs covered by composition shingles.
Are insurance companies concerned about the old knob and tube wiring found in older homes?
Most carriers will insure a small amount of knob and tube wiring if still in the home. Many older homes have had this type of wiring replaced, and any remaining wires are inactive.
What happens when a homeowner needs to make a claim?
With State Farm, the agent’s office number is answered 24 hours a day. If there is an emergency, such as a fire, a State Farm agent can write a check immediately to cover essential expenses. When the claim is made, a claim number is assigned and the process of fulfilling the policy requirements begins.
Are you active in the Waldo/Brookside business community?
Yes! My office participates in the Waldo Art Crawl on the third Thursday of every month; in October we collected food for Harvesters, and I am a member of the Southtown Council.
Do you have questions about homeowner’s insurance? Jennifer is happy to help. Her office is open 8:30-5:30 on Mon, Wed and Fridays; until 7pm on Tues and Thurs, and 9am – noon on Saturday. The phone number is 816 333 5853. Thank you for supporting our locally owned and operated Brookside/Waldo businesses! .