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Home Insurance and Your Options for Supplemental Coverage: An Interview with Debi James of Leonard Insurance Agency Inc.

By Debi James

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Leonard Insurance Agency has been in business since 1906. While we are still an agency in a small New England town, we now use the latest technology and can help our clients with their 21st century insurance needs. We help our clients to solve their specific insurance needs. We can help with your home, auto, and umbrella insurance, along with other specific insurance concerns. For your business, we take the time to help business owners with the insurance necessities that are unique to each business. We get to know the business and what is necessary in their insurance program. Then, we go about creating a solution to those needs.

What is an example of typical/basic coverage for home insurance?

There is really no typical homeowner policy. Every person needs an experienced agent to review your unique situation. Here on Cape Cod, each situation needs to be reviewed individually to determine the best insurance option. Depending upon the proximity to water, whether the home will be primary or secondary or seasonal, the size of the home, if the homeowner has pets, etc all will contribute to the company that will be the best fit for that home.

When should a homeowner consider additional policies on top of their basic protection?

Some things to think about when talking to your insurance agent are the following:
Do you have any hobbies that may need specific insurance such as boating or antique cars or specific collections?
You want to make sure that you have enough property coverage, and that your liability coverage is appropriate.
Do you have a business in your home? Make sure that you have the proper coverage for that. Most homeowner policies specifically exclude property and liability coverage for a business in the home. You can get a small in-home business policy.
Do you have collections of fine arts, jewelry, collectibles? Get specific coverage for these things.

How should homeowners decide what supplemental coverage that they need?

Some policies now specifically exclude certain dog breeds and swimming pools. Make sure that your agent has made sure that you have coverage. Or at least be aware of where there may be gaps. Be aware of your deductibles. Wind deductibles are higher for coastal properties. Make sure that you discuss your wind deductible with your agent. Different companies handle this differently. Some have a wind deductible that applies to any wind damage. Some have deductibles that only apply if the damage is due to a named hurricane.

Can you briefly explain what flood insurance and earthquake insurance policies are?

These days flood insurance is a hot topic. With the combination of the flood maps changing and the flood rules drastically changing, you need to work with an agent who is familiar with the new rules. Most properties that are in flood zone other than X (used to be a B or C zone), will now need an elevation certificate to get a rate. A flood policy is a completely separate policy from your homeowner policy.

On the Cape, it does not seem that many people buy earthquake. But, most insurance companies will add earthquake insurance onto a homeowner policy as an endorsement. If you are interested in this coverage, you should talk to your agent.

What are two or three of the most popular supplemental policies for homeowners?

The most "common" supplemental policies these days seem to be adding coverage for jewelry and boats and in-home business, and of course flood insurance.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

The best way to reach us is at www.leonardagency.com or 508 428-6921.

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