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Understanding Home Insurance Deductibles: an Interview with Starcy Branch of Branch Insurance

By Starcy Branch

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

Branch Insurance began in 1993, located in Sugar Hill NH, where founder Phil Branch, (my husband) grew up. We have two full time licensed producers in the office. We are licensed in NH & VT.

What are some of the services your company provides?

Our company specializes in personal lines, which are, homes, renters, condo, auto, motorcycle, boats, ATV's etc. We offer Flood as well as Small Business insurance, and some Commercial.

We believe our best asset is our very personal approach with our clients. Informative and good, consistent customer service has helped our company grow over the years. We enjoy what we do and like speaking with our insured's, trying to be sure they have the proper coverage's with the most appropriate Carrier.

First off, what is the definition of a deductible?

Deductibles are chosen by the client. Simply, the definition of "deductible" is the amount a customer pays out of pocket for expenses before the insurance company will cover the remaining costs for a claim. Insured's have the opportunity to decide what deductible works for them. We can make suggestions, but it is the insured who decides what they feel they can pay as part of the repairs or replacement in a claim situation.

How are deductibles calculated? Is it more common for an insurance company to use fixed dollar amount or a percentage of my home's insured value?

An insurance policy is a contract between the insured and the Carrier. The insured agrees to purchase the policy and the insurance company agrees to fulfill its obligations as detailed in the policy pages.

What are the disadvantages to choosing a higher deductible? The advantages?

Higher deductibles chosen by insured's today, reflect the fact that policies are most often called upon to provide coverage for larger losses. The days for using insurance to repair a screen door have fallen by the way.

A higher deductible also relieves some premium costs, lower deductibles cause a higher premium.

What are the two types of deductibles? Do these types ever vary across different insurance companies?

Homeowners insurance has a single deductible. The exception being scheduled items (jewelry, art, silver..), at the insured's discretion, may have a lower deductible or no deductible for that which is scheduled.

Again, having an agent you can speak with about coverage's and options, deductibles, billing or claims valuable and important.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

We are available over the phone, but in today's busy world, we are also available through email, our website and facebook. Many people are too busy during the weekdays, so evenings might work best. Using social media has been terrific for all of us, we are checking our email in the evenings, weekends and holidays if at all possible. We respond promptly with an answer to questions or plan a phone call if that is going to be more appropriate.

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