Rhode Island Logo


Home Insurance Basics: An Interview with John McIntyre of ABZ Insurance Agency Inc

By John McIntyre

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation

I am a licensed insurance agent with over 30 years experience in the insurance industry. I founded ABZ Insurance in 2001, deciding to establish an independent insurance agency that would allow me to better serve my clients and meet a variety of their needs. I had previously been with Allstate Insurance for five years and also spent 15 years with John Hancock on the personal financial planning and life insurance side.

What are some of the services your company provides?

ABZ Insurance Agency is a full service property and casualty insurance agency there to help you get the best insurance rates and value. Your satisfaction is the key to our success as an agency! Services include auto and home insurance, business insurance and specialty insurance such as motorcycle, boat and classic auto.

In general, what is homeowners insurance supposed to provide for homeowner?

Although no insurance policy protects a client from every potential risk, homeowner's insurance is designed to protect your home from many of the biggest. Your home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make. Having that home properly protected against potential loss provides the homeowner with peace of mind.

What are some of the different types of policies available? Are these policies mostly based on income level?

Most homeowner's policies are written in a policy form called an "HO-3". This special form provides a standard package of various coverage's needed to properly protect the home. The home itself is covered on an "all risk" basis which means all potential risks are covered unless specifically excluded in the policy. Personal property is also covered under the policy for a list of specific named "perils" such as fire and theft. In addition, liability coverage is included to potentially protect the homeowner from a lawsuit if, for example, someone was injured on the premises.

If more coverage is needed, for example to cover a large unattached garage or in-ground pool, the limits provided under the policy can be increased. Usually the coverage amount is based on the cost to rebuild the home or "replacement cost". In some cases that may not be practical so a policy that bases the coverage amount on the market value of the home may be more appropriate. The income level of the client is not likely to be a major factor in terms of policy selection.

What does the average home insurance policy typically cover?

Perhaps the biggest risk that homeowners face is the risk of fire. A fire can literally destroy a home. Other major risks include hurricane or tornado damage. A snow or rain storm could damage the roof of a home causing water damage inside the home. Homeowner's insurance would usually cover that type of loss. Or freezing temperatures might cause a pipe to burst resulting in damage to personal property; that too would be covered under a typical homeowner's policy. Clients can choose a "deductible" which is the amount of money the client pays first before the insurance policy pays for a covered loss. Naturally the higher the deductible, the lower the premium charged by the insurance company. Many companies will require a higher deductible for hurricane damage, particularly if the home is located close to the water.

Do most insurance companies require home inspections? What different type of home inspections are there?

Inspections are frequently performed on a property as a part of the purchase and sale agreement between buyer and seller. Such an inspection will typically look at the condition of the roof, heating and electrical system, plumbing and overall condition of the property. In addition many property sales agreements include an inspection for termites and other pests. If the home is older, a potential buyer will want to have the home inspected for lead paint as this hazard may be either covered on a limited basis or excluded from coverage entirely by homeowner's insurance depending on the insurance carrier.

Insurance companies will generally do their own inspection of the property after the policy is sold to confirm the good condition of the home as stated on the application and to make sure that the coverage amount chosen accurately reflects the replacement value of the home.

What are some factors that influence the rate on my home insurance policy?

Some of the factors that impact the rate for homeowner's insurance include:

  • The amount of coverage chosen for the dwelling
  • The age of the home
  • The deductible chosen
  • The location of the property
  • The credit level of the policyholder
  • Whether any special coverage's are added
  • The prior claims history of the client in the past three to five years
  • If the client "bundles" a homeowner's policy with an auto policy for a discount

What are my options if I want to cancel my home insurance policy?

A homeowner's policy is a "unilateral" contract. That means that the client may choose at any time to stop paying the premium on the policy if he no longer wishes to be covered. If premiums have been prepaid, the company will refund that portion of the premium that is due the client without penalty if a written request to cancel the policy is submitted.

What are some common claim concerns that may arise with my policy?

In some cases clients will seek to claim damage to their property that is not covered. That could be because the damage to the property does not exceed the deductible. But frequently the claim is not covered because the cause of the loss is simple wear and tear. Homeowner's insurance is not a maintenance policy. If for example your roof leaks not because of a storm but because your roof is simply old and worn that is not covered!

Do you have any other tips when it comes to choosing an insurance policy?

If a client chooses an independent insurance agent that agent can compare rates for you with several companies and look for the best value for your needs. Take advantage of the agent's expertise and don't be afraid to ask questions! Make sure to mention to the agent if you own items such as jewelry, watches, furs or other special personal property. All policies have coverage limits for certain items so it's important to make sure all your valuables are properly insured.

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

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly impersonal as more and more items are purchased online. But there are so many variables in purchasing homeowner's insurance that calling an agent and speaking to him by phone or in person is still by far the easiest and most effective way to get the right coverage at the right rate. You can reach our agency Monday- Friday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or request a call back by visiting our website at www.abzinsurance.com. We look forward to serving you!

Share this:


Leave a comment:

* Login in order to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join for Free

About The Author

Become an Expert Contributor

Have some knowledge to share, and want easy and effective exposure to our audience? Get your articles or guides featured on Rhode Island Homes today! Learn more about being an expert contributor.

Learn More