YOUR GUIDE TO BUYING THE RIGHT HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE

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1 YOUR GUIDE TO BUYING THE RIGHT HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE BY: WALTER E. MATTHEWS & ASSOC. INC 1327 FIFTH ST SANDUSKY OH PHONE FAX WEBSITE:

2 J. D. POWER 2007 INSURANCE CLAIM STUDY ERIE ONE OF ONLY THREE INSURERS TO EARN A HIGH SATISFACTION RANK IN BOTH AUTO AND HOME The study encompassed customer satisfaction not only in auto physical damage claims, but also in glass, total loss, bodily injury and theft for auto claims as well as in non-catastrophic and Catastrophic categories for property claims. Erie was one on only three carriers to earn a place in the High Customer Satisfaction categories in both the auto and home studies. Only Amica, USAA and ERIE achieved this noteworthy performance. State Farm, which ranked one place above ERIE (by just 4 points) on the auto claims index, ranked six places below ERIE( by a full 35 points) on the home claims index. ERIE s homeowners claims score was 42 points above industry average, while State Farm was just 7 points above average. Auto Claims Results On auto physical damage claims, customers ranked ERIE fourth among the top four insurers who provide an exemplary level of service. USAA, Amica, State Farm and ERIE made up the High Satisfaction group in auto claims. Next in line -- leading the Medium Satisfaction group was ACG. Homeowners Claims Result On homeowners claims experience, customers ranked ERIE third, on of only five carriers to receive a score significantly higher than the industry average. Amica, USAA, ERIE ACSC and Liberty Mutual made up the High Satisfaction group in home claims. Overall Satisfaction Overall, customers said ERIE provides a highly satisfying experience in the areas of First Notice of Loss, estimation, settlement and repair. While nearly half of profiled insurers ranked significantly below the industry average on claim servicing. ERIE ranked 18 points above average, trailing only State Farm, Amica and USAA. Claims servicing focuses on the skills and behaviors of customers primary claim contact. If you would like to see further information on these studies go to and see all the results.

3 OUR FRIENDS SAY IT BEST: When I had my accident I had no problem with the claim. My car was repaired and looking good in a very short period of time. Etricia in Sandusky OH I have been with Matthews Insurance Agency for over 30 years. The agency insures my auto and home. When I had a claim Mr. Matthews gave his all to make sure I was taken care of. The agency file the claim and helped me get a rental car. Thank you Mr. Matthews. Mildred in Sandusky OH. My name is Davin Watson and I was born and raised in Sandusky, Ohio. I am currently a resident of South Carolina. Two years ago I lost my dad Percival Watson, and it was my mom Grace Watson who took care of most on the insurance necessities. I had not met Mr. Matthews prior to his death but when I got home I was able to see that everything was taken car of for us. That was quite a load off of our minds during this time. I began to notice that mom had other policies with Mr. Matthews. I figured he was just as good as any other insurance man, but I soon found out, I was wrong. The following year I lost my mom also and a few months prior she had a pipe break in our home in Sandusky that caused a large amount of damage. When I got home this time Mr. Matthews pulled me in his office and told me everything I needed to do and to know. At this point Mr. Matthews was no longer just an insurance man he became a friend in the midst of my storm. There were times that I didn t have clue as to what decisions to make and having no other siblings the losses for me were devastating. But it was Mr. Matthews and his staff that made a professional and personnel commitment to me and my family that everything he said he would do, he did that, and much more. I knew that my mother had great confidence in Mr. Matthews and that I would have that same blessed assurance. In a time when we all were so busy it take that special person who is not just committed to their job but go beyond even those expectations. My family and I thank God for Mr. Matthews for his devotion and dedication to helping the citizen s of Sandusky, we need him, we love him and we thank him. Davin Paul Watson

4 HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE WHAT IT IS AND WHY IT S IMPORTANT! At the most basic level, homeowners insurance protects you financially should you experience a total loss of your home and possessions. Key Considerations for the homeowners insurance. Make sure you get enough insurance to be able to replace your home should you experience a total loss. When insuring your house and belongings, know the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value (see glossary). Take an inventory of your belongings to get an idea of how much coverage you will need for your possessions. Remember that homeowners doesn t cover flood damage. Take the time to shop around; it will save you money. Consider buying auto insurance together with your homeowners insurance. Do your homework. Learn about the various options and levels of coverage ( see glossary). QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN BUYING HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE HOW MUCH COVERAGE DO I NEED FOR MY HOME? Your policy should cover the cost to replace your home at today s construction costs. Ask a realtor or insurance agent to calculate the replacement cost of your home.

5 HOW MUCH COVERAGE DO I NEED FOR SEPARATE STRUCTURES? Your policy should cover separate structures on your property such as barns and garages. Make sure to calculate the replacement costs for additional structures. HOW MUCH COVERAGE DO I NEED FOR MY POSSESSIONS? Take an inventory to get a better idea of the worth of your belongings. Consider scheduling (adding extra coverage) for valuables, such as jewelry and fine art, if necessary. HOW HIGH A DEDUCTIBLE CAN I AFFORD? The deductible is the amount you pay before your insurance kicks in. If you can afford to pay a higher deductible, you will save on your premium. HOW MUCH LIABILITY COVERAGE DO I NEED? Consider your situation. How likely is it that a guest in your home will be injured and try to sue your knickers off? In today s litigious society, liability coverage is not the place to skimp. USEFULL INFORMATION The structure of the home Personal belongings Liability protection Living expenses if you have to leave your home because of insured disaster. LEVELS OF COVERAGE:

6 There are three basic levels of coverage for theft or destruction of property: ACTUAL CASH VALUE Cost to replace it. Minus a deduction for depreciation. GUARANTEED REPLACEMENT COST Cost to replace it, without deduction for depreciation. EXTENDED REPLACEMENT COST Replacement cost, the limits of the policy and typically 20% to 25% additional. It sounds like your house will be replaced. But that is not true. EXAMPLES OF HOMEOWNERS POLICIES: HO-1: Bare-bones policy that covers 10 of 16 perils. Not advisable. HO-2: Basic policy that protects against all 16 perils. HO-3: Popular policy that covers all 16 perils, except those specifically excluded. HO-4 RENTERS: Renters policy that covers all 16 perils. HO-6 CONDO/Time Share: Protects belongings and structural parts of the building that you own against all 16 perils. HO-8: Policy for older homes. Covers all 16 perils. THE PERILS Fire or lighting. Windstorm or hail Explosion Riot or civil disturbance Damage by aircraft Damage by vehicle Smoke Vandalism or malicious mischief Theft Volcanic eruption

7 Falling object Weight of ice, snow or sleet Accidental discharge (flooding) from household appliance, plumbing Sudden and accidental breaking of an air conditioner, hot water heating system, sprinkler system Frozen pipes or appliances Sudden and accidental damage from artificial electrical current HOMEOWNER COST FACTORS: Size of home and surrounding structures Local building costs Natural disaster risk Condition of heating, electrical and plumbing system Proximity to fire station/hydrant Amount of crime in neighborhood Home s construction, materials and architectural features THE PERILS Fire or lighting. Windstorm or hail Explosion Riot or civil disturbance Damage by aircraft Damage by vehicle Smoke Vandalism or malicious mischief Theft Volcanic eruption Falling object Weight of ice, snow or sleet Accidental discharge (flooding) from household appliance, plumbing Sudden and accidental breaking of an air water heating system, sprinkler system Frozen pipes or appliances conditioner, hot

8 Sudden and accidental damage from artificial electrical current HOMEOWNER COST FACTORS: Size of home and surrounding structures Local building costs Natural disaster risk Condition of heating, electrical and plumbing system Proximity to fire station/hydrant Amount of crime in neighborhood Home s construction, materials and architectural features FLOOD INSURANCE: Flood insurance is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program. See for more information. Remember: homeowners insurance DOES NOT cover flood damage. GUARANTEED REPLACEMENT COST: This is the highest level of coverage. This type of policy covers replacement costs even if they exceed your policy limit. LIABILITY COVERAGE: Protects you and members of your household from financial loss should someone claim injury on your property ( and sue you). PERIL: Most insurance providers covers anywhere from of the most commonly recognized perils, including lighting, vandalism, theft, hail, etc. PREMIUM: The price of a policy over a set period of time. REPLACEMENT COST: This kind of policy pays the replacement cost, without a deduction for depreciation. THE FINAL CHECKLIST WILL THIS POLICY COVER YOU IN THE EVENT OF A TOTAL

9 LOSS? YES NO Are you comfortable that your home and belongings are adequately insured? Is your liability coverage adequate? DOES THE POLICY FIT WITHIN YOUR BUDGET? YES NO Can you afford a higher deductible in order to reduce your premium? Does it accurately reflect the value of your belongings? ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH WHAT THE PLAN COVERS? YES NO Are there specific perils that you ought to have coverage for? What exceptions are there in the policy? HAVE YOU SHOPPED AROUND? YES NO How much variety is there among your quotes? (when looking at quote price, make sure you compare equal plans with equal coverage.) HAVE YOU LOOKED INTO ALL AVAILABLE DISCOUNTS? YES NO Potential money saving steps: Adding safety or security devices. Disaster-proofing your home, I.e., adding shatter-proof glass, getting an earthquake retro-fit, strengthening your roof Consolidating your auto and homeowners under one carrier Buying through a group ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY? YES NO Is it reputable, reliable, fair, licensed, confidence-inspiring, and service-oriented? Does your state department of insurance show any complaints against the company?

10 SEND A FRIEND REFERRAL PROGRAM FOR EACH FRIEND YOU REFER TO OUR TO OUR AGENCY YOU WILL RECEIVE A FREE $20.00 GAS CARD. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL. YOU WILL ALSO BE ENTERED IN OUR BI-MONTHLY DRAWING FOR A $40.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO A LOCAL RESTAURANT OR STORE. AND IN ADDITION, WALTER E. MATTHEWS & ASSOC. INC. WILL ALSO DONATE $5.00 TO A LOCAL CHARITY FOR EVERY QUOTE PROVIDED THROUGH THIS PROGRAM. SO NOT ONLY DO YOU AND THE ONE YOU REFER BENEFIT FROM THE VALUE AND SERVICE WE PROVIDE, BUT OUR COMMUNITY BENEFITS AS WELL. ONLY YOU CAN LIMIT THE NUMBER OF $20.00 GAS CARDS AND DRAWING ENTRIES YOU CAN RECEIVE. SO TELL A FRIEND AND DRIVE FREE ON US

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