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Assessing Your Home Insurance Coverage: an Interview with Ken Manning of Grapeville Agency

By Ken Manning

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

The Grapeville Agency was established in 1980 by our President/CEO Walter Labuda. The Grapeville Agency is an independent insurance agency representing over 20 different insurance companies for both personal and commercial lines. Our goal is to create a place where a customer can come and have all their insurance needs and questions met without the headache of having to go and do it themselves. We did this by strategically partnering with the best Insurance Companies we could find to stay competitive in the market while providing the best customer service possible. We pride ourselves on great Service and Professionalism and are ready for any situation that may arise.

Please briefly explain the idea of home insurance to our readers, what it is, why it was created, etc.

The idea of Homeowner's Insurance is to help owner's cope with the financial consequences of a potential loss on the house itself or injuries that may occur on the premise location. All the assets and finances you have accrued throughout your life can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Homeowner's Insurance is actually a combination of 2 different types of protection, hazard insurance and liability insurance. Hazard Insurance protects you against unintentional damage or destruction to your house or its contents, including fire, lightning, wind, theft, vandalism, etc. Liability insurance is just as important as it protects you from accidents or injuries on your property. For example, if you were having a get together and one of your guests fell down your stairs and broke their leg, you would be protected up to your policy limit for costs including pain and suffering, loss of wages, medical expenses, death benefits and legal costs. As you can see, depending on the situation, these costs can be detrimental to someone's finances and could potentially cause you to go bankrupt.

What are some of the advantages of working with a local agent, rather than a popular online insurance source?

When I am speaking to clients about the advantages of working with a local agent as opposed to a direct writer such as Geico, Esurance, State Farm, etc., I typically use this analogy. When you are working with a direct writer, there is only one way to go, their way. It is a one way street that is unfortunately controlled by the company itself who will determine premiums and costs that you have no choice but to pay. When you work with an Independent Agent, you are able to access roads you didn't even knew existed. These roads lead to options, which is inevitably what every consumer wants. The biggest difference between a direct writer and an Independent Agent is that Independent Agents are genuinely looking out for your best interest. Direct Writers look for high premiums, Independent Agents look for the most value out of your dollar. That means getting you the lowest possible price while still optimizing your coverages so that if something were to happen, you are still protected properly. What's the sense of paying insurance if when you need to use it, you realize you didn't have coverage for something you thought you did. We provide options because we want you to feel like you have control of what's happening with your insurance and your finances. I make my clients responsible for their buying decisions by explaining everything their purchasing in detail. So many people focus on price and just pay premiums but have no idea what they're paying for. Independent Agents are usually fully accessible as well. I know that I personally give every one of my clients all my contact information so that if they ever need to get a hold of me night or day, I am available. No 800 Number here.

What is the deductible and how does the insurer decide on the amount?

A deductible is an amount chosen by the insured, not the insurer. Whoever purchases insurance determines what their deductible will be. Some mortgage companies will require a certain deductible but most of the time, the decision lies in the hands of the consumer. This is an amount that the insured will pay in the event of a loss before coverage will kick in. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible on your home and you have a structure fire in the amount of $35,000, you would have to pay $1,000 up front before they would cover the loss essentially only giving you $34,000. The lower the deductible, the higher the premium and vice versa. If you have a higher deductible, that means you are willing to take on more of the monetary loss which would end up reducing your overall premium.

Do most property protection policies include dwelling, other structures, and personal property?

Yes, most standard homeowners policies would include:

  • Dwelling (Coverage A)
  • Other Structures (Coverage B) (Usually 10% of A)
  • Personal Property (Coverage C) (Usually 70-75% of A)
  • Loss of Use (Coverage D) (Usually 20% of A)
  • Liability and Medical Payments are also a part of a standard homeowners insurance package.

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

The best way to get a hold of us here at the Grapeville Agency is to visit our website www.grapevilleagency.com or call us at 518-966-4466. You can submit a quote request in less than 5 minutes and our insurance specialists will be in contact with you shortly. If you don't feel comfortable with the internet, we practice old school selling and are very personable. I myself actually travel out to various locations and sit with families if they choose to do so. We have 3 offices in Albany, Catskill and Greenville. We want to do business on the customers terms and are willing to do whatever it takes to show that we take our jobs very seriously and that we genuinely care.

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