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Why You Need to Have Your Home Insured: An Interview with Connor O'Donoghue of McWalter-Volunteer Insurance Agency

By Connor O'Donoghue

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

McWalter Insurance started in Concord back in 1907. In 1998 the agency merged with John O'Donoghue Jr. and Charles Gibbs to form McWalter-Volunteer Insurance Agency. To this day we remain a family run business that provides the community with homeowners, automobile, business, life, and health insurance. McWalter Volunteer represents over 20 different insurance companies, which allows us to find the most comprehensive coverage at a competitive price for our customers.

Please discuss in brief (and in laymen's term) the concept of "home insurance."

Homeowners Insurance provides physical damage coverage to your home, its contents, and attached and detached structures from covered perils. It also provides liability insurance and medical payments to those who are injured on the property.

Is there something about getting insured that most new homeowners don't know that they should know?

Recently I have been noticing that customers are forgetting to properly insure their valuables. This is not limited to but can include; engagement rings, wedding bands, watches, artwork, and furs. Homeowners policies typically offer a fixed amount of jewelry coverage. My recommendation is to always send appraisals to your insurance agent and have them schedule the items on your policy.

What are the key reasons people should opt to have their homes insured?

The two main reasons I believe someone should purchase Homeowners insurance are the following. If anything were to ever happen to your home and it was destroyed by a covered peril, you could completely rebuild your home and the only cost to you would be your deductible. The second reason is liability coverage. If someone were to get injured on your property and you were legally responsible, the homeowners policy would cover the suit that you are liable for up to the amount you purchased on your homeowners. This ranges from three hundred thousand dollars up to one million dollars.

What do you consider "adequate" coverage for a new home and how do you determine the amount?

We use a system in our agency called Win-Rater. This allows us to input a home's information, such as square feet, year built, number of bathrooms, type of heating system, and floor material. The program then calculates what the cost to rebuild the home would be. On top of that, each company we represent sends an inspector to make sure that there is adequate coverage on the property.

What are some of the most important decisions that new homeowners need to make about their coverage?

The most important decisions a new homeowner can make is how much liability coverage to purchase, and if they should get an umbrella policy. An umbrella policy comes into play when the liability limits on either your homeowners or automobile policy are exhausted. They come in one million dollar increments and are not very expensive.

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

Our office is located right in historical Concord center at 57 Main Street. We can be reached by telephone at 978 369 4313 from 8:30-4:30 Monday through Friday. You can also email me directly at

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