Your Fire and Liability Policy: Deductible and Coinsurance

439D Fire BellLast week we discussed the importance of noting the policy’s “Valuation” and “Form” when determining which policy is best for you and for performing an accurate apples-to-apples comparison when you receive multiple quotes. This week, I’m going to discuss two more important items to look at when comparing various insurance quotes for fire and liability policies.

DEDUCTIBLE - Deductibles are the amount you pay when you put in a claim. Some policies only have a property deductible, some have a liability deductible, and some have both. For example, let’s say you purchase a policy with a $1,000 deductible. Later on you’re in the bathroom and your hair drier falls in the sink full of water, short-circuits, and causes a small fire with damages that total $2,800. You put in a claim with all the appropriate proof of damage and you receive a check from the insurance company for only $1,800. Why? Remember, you are responsible for your deductible, which was the missing $1,000. Obviously the lower the deductible, the more the premium will cost, but make sure you can afford that deductible when recovering from a disaster.

COINSURANCE
Imagine you have a $1,000,000 building. We’re not talking market value because market value includes land and land doesn’t ever require rebuilding. We’re talking about how much it would cost to rebuild your building exactly as it was before any disaster. You decide to insure it for $500,000 in order to save money. How smart! Or is it? Most insurance policies have what is called a “Coinsurance Clause” in order to stop people from doing exactly that. How does it work? If your policy has an 80% coinsurance clause, that means that if you insure your building for LESS than 80% of its true value, you actually become a co-insurer and you are responsible for that portion of the value you didn’t insure. Thus, a coinsurance clause penalty kicks in and you are responsible to pay the penalty. For example, imagine that one of your large trees falls on your $1,000,000 building during a storm and caves in the entire corner of the building causing $50,000 in damage. You submit a claim expecting $49,000 (Don’t forget that $1,000 deductible.). However, since you violated your coinsurance clause and only have 50% of the insurance you are supposed to have, your insurance company is only going to pay you 50% of your damages minus your deductible. In other words, 50% of $50,000 is $25,000 minus your $1,000 deductible; you are going to get a check for $24,000 to fix that $50,000 worth of damage! Coinsurance can be 80%, 90% or even 100%. Obviously the lower the coinsurance percentage required, the more expensive your policy will be. Whatever it is, make sure you don’t even get close to violating it or it’s going to cost you money in the long run.

As you can see, covering the same building can get you many different premiums by just changing the four items we have mentioned in these two blogs. You must look at the details to see WHY one quote is less expensive than another. Is it a less expensive rate or is an important coverage missing? Next week we’re going to discuss how your broker or agent fits into all these choices and what you should expect from him or her.

- Ray Alvarez

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment

From the first time I spoke with Lori Halloran at Petschauer Insurance, I knew she was a special person. She is a woman that conducts herself professionally, with compassion and full knowledge of all types of insurance Petschauer has to offer. While speaking with her, as she explained and answered all of my questions, I felt like I was speaking with family…which is another way to describe this company. She has a way of making very confusing decisions so simple and easy to understand. I even added another insurance policy to my two renewal policies because of her. My last renewals could have been processed via mail but I really wanted to take the time to drive and meet this wonderful woman face to face. She greeted me with this huge beautiful smile, which matched her personality perfectly. So, I just had to go back another time just to say “Hi” and bring her flowers in appreciation for all her help and also celebrate a new friendship. The Petschauer “Family” has been there for me since my first policy when I was 19 years old, and now I’m a “senior”. I’ve been with them forever and don’t plan on going anywhere else. Thank you Lori for your dedication and to the rest of the Petschauer staff.
Jane Deitlein
My family and I are long time personal and business clients of Petschauer Insurance. We sincerely appreciate your responsiveness and the quality of service that Petschauer provides. We have recommended your company to others because of our satisfaction with your service. We look forward to doing business with you for years to come.
Greg Weiss
My company has called on Petschauer Insurance for many years for its insurance needs: liability, liquor, auto, etc. Working with Erwin and his team has been a pleasure from beginning to present. They are quick to answer any question and provide sound advice. I have always felt that my and our needs are important to them, in theory and practice. They go the extra mile, and we continue to be well served.
Stephen Kennard from Canard Inc.
Quality attentive service is hard to find, but at Petschauer Insurance that’s what you can expect from their always friendly staff . It’s what we’ve experienced for all these many years.
John from Forest Pork Store Inc.
I have been with Petschauer Insurance for a long time. My account executive Lori Halloran is like family to me: she is always there when I need her and is very knowledgeable and understanding. I wouldn’t go anywhere else for my insurance needs.
Vincent Falcone
I have worked with various individuals at Petschauer and have found each to be responsive, courteous, and thoughtful. Each year, the contact for my auto policy proactively seeks new bids and has consistently saved me money on my policy.
Ryan Huber
Petschauer is great. I never had a problem.  They always call me back. Fabulous employees who are always willing to help.
Marty Bruno
I have had the pleasure of working with various members of the Petschauer Team, both personally and professionally for 20+ years. And I couldn’t have done it without them. They go above and beyond. Heidi, Narima, Sherri and LuAnn don’t just bring to us the products they offer, they help me to understand the specifics and evaluate what makes the most sense for me, my family and my employees. I always feel I have a better understanding of an industry I have no understanding of so that I can evaluate the offerings in a smart way, cost effective way. They are proactive with renewals, allowing us the time to do our due diligence, evaluate our plans to be sure we’re properly covered and are always there to listen and help with special circumstances. Their kindness, caring and willingness to lend an ear when needed, really makes them stand apart from the rest. Heidi and her family have built a beautiful culture at Petschauer and I highly recommend them to anyone I meet.
Jamie Stedman-Novo
I have been with Petschauer Insurance for over twenty five years. The staff is knowledgeable and professional. Petschauer writes both my personal and commercial insurance and they provide excellent counseling. I truly trust the firm and their staff. Thank you.
Mike Matonti
Excellence in customer service and it’s a one stop shop for all my insurance needs.
Tom Haines