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What Influences Your Home Insurance Policy: An Interview with Rick Young of Watchko-Young Insurance

By Rick Young

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Watchko-Young Insurance is an Independent Insurance Agency in Marietta, Ga. Established in 1986, we offer a full menu of personal and commercial Insurance products. Since we're Independent, we represent more than just one company. For our clients that means they have options when it comes to us shopping for the policy that best fits tthem. We're very competitive in the market place and we represent many top carriers for almost any type of Insurance and we really pride ourselves on customer service! We realize our clients have choices and they choose us because we're personable, friendly, experienced and problem solvers! Not to mention we have great rates and we can Insure almost any home. From low value dwellings to multi million dollar mansions, we have a competitive market for the risk.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We provide Insurance products with multiple carriers. We have a product for Home Owners, Renters, Rental Properties, Vacant Dwellings, Business Owners Policies, Commercial Buildings, General Liability, Workers Comp, Auto, Collector Cars, Collectable's, Motorcycles, Boats, Recreational Vehicles and much more. We have connections for Life and Health Insurance as well. We really have a market for almost anything that you would need to Insure but the main service we offer is Customer Service! If a client wants to come in and sit down to discuss his or her insurance needs, we're available and we encourage it! We love to greet our clients face to face but we also realize that may not be possible at times so we're available over the phone or online.

Is there a generalized formula that is used to determine home value and thus home insurance? If so, what is this formula in an easy-to-understand way for readers?

Well, that's a tough question, the simple answer used to be, insure it for $100 per square foot of living area. That's no longer the case, not by a long shot. One of the misconceptions about Homeowners Insurance is, the homes value is not a factor in calculating a reconstruction valuation. The homes value shouldn't be a consideration for how much to insure the home for. The reason for that is, Insurance Companies use reconstruction valuations to determine the amount you should Insure the home for. There are also many factors that go into the reconstruction of a home. Demolition, hazardous waste and debris removal, just to name a few. Insurance Companies use reconstruction calculators to help determine the cost to rebuild your home. Many Insurance companies use the same RCE (Reconstruction Calculation Estimating) Company for their reconstruction calculators. The calculator takes into consideration the style of the home, age, stories, square footage, type of construction, quality of construction, features and other variables to compute a reconstruction value.

What are five aspects that affect the cost of home insurance and please explain?

There are many more than five aspects that affect the cost of a home insurance policy but if we're limited to 5, these are definitely major factors: Credit Scores are major factors these days, not only in your home rates but your auto insurance rates as well. It seems more and more, credit scores affect almost every aspect of our lives one way or the other. Loss History not only affects the rates of Homeowners Insurance, it can also affect your ability to get standard coverage. Don't file a claim unless it's an emergency and or you've discussed it with your Agent. If you call the toll free claims number on your policy to ask if you have coverage for a certain peril, you could be filing a claim without realizing it and it could cost you. Always discuss with your Agent first if possible, they can guide you and assist with the claims process.

Age of Home is a consideration in rating. Many companies offer a tiered discount system based on the age of the home that could be as much as 18% for a newly constructed dwelling. The numbers say, newer homes are less likely to have plumbing and electrical related issues than older homes, not to mention asbestos related products used aren't as likely in newer homes. Territory affects the rates as well. Homes in more rural areas are less likely to have a nearby fire hydrant or fire department than a home in a metropolitan area. In the event of a fire, seconds count. The close proximity to water access and a fire station is a consideration in Insurance rating. Home Security can discount the home rates as much as 15% or more. A home that has good fire and burglary protection is rewarded with better rates, it's all about prevention. The numbers say, a homeowner with good home security is less likely to file a claim for smoke, fire or burglary. They'll be alerted sooner and the possibility of prevention is greater.

Is there any additional information you wish to share on the topic of influences on home insurance policy?

Yes, Construction of a home is a factor in rating too. A brick or masonry veneer home often times, will get a better rate than a wood or vinyl sided home. Wood or vinyl are more combustible than brick or masonry veneer, simple as that. Rates can also be reduced if you Insure your Home and Auto with the same Company or Agent. Many Companies offer an account credit that can significantly reduce rates on the Home or Auto side or both. In addition to the discount, some of the companies we represent, offer a single deductible for the Home and Auto. That can make a big difference when both are damaged in a fire or windstorm.

On the coverage side, Homeowners Policies do not cover for Flood, that's a separate policy completely. A simple way to think of it is, if water enters the home from the outside ground level, your Homeowners Insurance probably doesn't cover for the damage. However, if the home is flooded due to damaged plumbing or broken water lines in the home, you're probably covered under your Homeowners Policy.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

Please visit our web site at www.whyriskitinsurance.com. We're also conveniently located at: 3007 Canton Rd. Marietta, Ga. 30066. Office hours are 9am -6 pm Monday thru Friday and by appointment on the weekend. We can also be reached by phone, fax or email. Ph. 770-421-9000 or 770-516-8808. Fax 770-516-7868 and email watchkoyoung@msn.com or me personally at rick5638@aol.com.

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