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Insuring High-Value Homes: An Interview with Justin Kraus of Mackoul & Associates, Inc.

By Justin Kraus

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Mackoul & Associates, Inc. is an insurance agency located in Island Park, NY. Established in 1987, we are recognized as one of the finest personal service insurance agencies in the tri-state area. We offer a variety of personal insurance solutions and custom-design personal insurance programs that are tailored to meet the specific needs of our clients. We always do what is in the best interest of our clients and strive to provide them with the most comprehensive policies at the most competitive cost. We also specialize in insuring condominiums, cooperatives, apartments, and commercial buildings and have been recognized as one of the top brokers in this area for many years. Our agency has been named as the Best Agency to Work for in the East by Insurance Journal in 2013 and as an Elite Agency by Insurance Business America in 2014.

Can you briefly describe what a high-value home is?

High-value homes are generally considered to be homes with a replacement cost greater than $750,000; however, Long Island boasts a large amount of homes that fall below this value with high-quality interiors and exteriors. They can include custom kitchens, baths, hardwood floors, and high-value fixtures. Although not the typical definition of a high-value home, your typical home insurance policy may not include the extra coverage.

What are some of homeowners insurance needs that are unique for these types of houses/properties?

Guaranteed Replacement Cost coverage on the dwelling and All Risk Contents Replacement Cost are must-have coverages for a high-dollar home. Other coverages such as Valuable Articles and higher Personal Liability limits are also good coverages to include. Many carriers include Kidnap and Ransom coverage for high-profile clients, as well as a walking Umbrella Policy that will cover damages to yourself outside of your premise. Clients with high-value homes have the same issues as standard homes; however, their issues are more costly due to the size of their homes and contents inside the house.

Is there something about insuring high-value homes that most people usually don't know?

In a standard home insurance contract for your everyday home, there are a lot of exclusions; however, when you deal with high-value homes you can basically find coverage for every "what if" scenario. High-value insurers have done a great job in determining the needs of affluent clients and adjusting their policies to fit. That's not to say that every loss will be covered, but you do have more coverage for claims than a standard policy.

What's a good way for someone with a high-value home to evaluate their current homeowner/property insurance coverage?

Speak to an insurance consultant who represents high-value home insurance carriers. They are up-to-date on all the coverages and endorsements these carriers offer and can locate any gaps in your insurance policy.

What's one of the biggest insurance mistakes that a homeowner can make?

There are many mistakes a homeowner can make; however, the most important mistake is selecting a home insurance carrier strictly based on price. This is common whether you have a high-value home or a standard home. Clients seem to be more and more price driven. While it is good to watch each dollar, it is also important to make sure you have coverage for what's most important to you. There will always be a lower-priced carrier out there; however, you have to make sure when switching carriers or buying a home for the first time that you speak to your agent or broker to let them know what your concerns are. You may want to lower some coverages that don't appeal to you and increase coverages that you find value in. Every client should speak to their agent each year to address factors that would change their insurance needs.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

Call us at 516-431-9100 and visit our website at www.mackoul.com.

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About The Author

Justin Kraus is the Personal Lines Manager and joined Mackoul & Associates in 2013. He...

Phone: 516-279-5639

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