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Top 5 Home Policy Endorsements to Avoid in Central New York

November 20th, 2023 | 7 min read

By Daniel J. Middleton

You love your home, and you want to protect it. But home insurance can be a maze of confusing options and hidden costs. How do you know what coverages you really need and what you can skip? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

We’re Horan, a local, independent agency based in Baldwinsville. Since 2009, we’ve been helping homeowners like you secure home policies that fit. Our goal is simple: to use our expertise to help you make smart home insurance decisions. That way, you can rest assured, knowing your home and valuables are covered.

As your local CNY agents, we want to guide you toward smart choices, not upsell you on unnecessary extras. In this article, we’ll walk you through the top 5 endorsements to avoid. We’ll also suggest better alternatives that match your home’s true risks.

You want protection against regional issues. Like water damage, meeting current building codes if disaster strikes, and more. 

Read on to learn the truth about five endorsements you don’t need but probably pay for anyway.

1. Avoid the Equipment Breakdown Endorsement

Equipment breakdown coverage is an optional endorsement. it covers failures of home systems like furnaces and air conditioners. Though appealing, frequent claims raise premiums or lead to non-renewal. Home systems deteriorate over time, so claims are likely if you depend on home policy.

Rather than rely on insurance to pay for normal maintenance issues, save up for repairs. You might pay more for equipment breakdown coverage than you save on repair costs. The premiums are often higher than the benefits.

Filing a claim may seem like a good deal at first until you consider the drawbacks.

Suppose your water heater breaks and costs $1,500 to fix. You claim it on your insurance and pay a $1,000 deductible plus $500 for repair. This seems cheaper than paying the full amount.

But there’s a catch. Your insurance company may raise your premiums after a claim. You’ll pay more for years to come. This could end up costing you more than paying $1,500 upfront. So, sometimes it’s better to avoid claims and pay out of pocket.

Only make claims for major losses so your policy remains affordable if you need it later for a big claim. Even small claims that insurers see as “frequent losses” can cause them not to renew your policy.

It's not worth losing your coverage later for a small repair. Don’t take that risk to save a little money. Use insurance when you need it.

Get the Underground Service Line Home Policy Endorsement Instead

Rather than equipment breakdown coverage, get underground service line coverage. When buried pipes fail, repairs are expensive. You can’t inspect or maintain lines until damage is done. The high cost to fix makes this coverage worthwhile.

Unlike item failures, pipe and wiring problems are unpredictable. Pay a small amount in premiums to cover this exposure. Don’t risk huge out-of-pocket costs on your own. Underground service line endorsements provide affordable protection from unforeseen, costly disasters.

2. Avoid the Earthquake Endorsement

Avoid earthquake coverage in Central New York. We aren’t located on a fault line or in a high-risk zone. Minor tremors here rarely exceed 2.0 on the Richter scale. Most of the state’s earthquakes occur outside of CNY.

And we’re talking small quakes many don’t even feel. Everyday occurrences like a passing train are more likely to shake your belongings.

While anything is possible, major quakes are improbable in this area. Don’t waste money insuring against this remote risk. But do pick the endorsements that give you a sense of security.

You may be concerned about the small chance of an earthquake happening. If so, feel free to add this coverage for your own reassurance.

Most homeowners don’t think the low risk is worth the extra cost. But you should choose the level of protection that makes you comfortable. Our advice is to select options that cover realistic risks for our region. You can leave out the ones that are very unlikely to happen.

Get the Water and Sewer Backup Home Policy Endorsement Instead

If you’re a Central New York homeowner, get water and sewer backup coverage instead. Earthquakes here are unlikely and minor. But water damage is a real threat, even with no warning. Backed-up sewers or drains can wreck finished basements, HVAC systems, and valuables. 

Water damage can happen to anyone, even if you have brand-new equipment and no warranty. It is a sudden and severe risk that you can’t predict or prevent. With heavy rain, your sump pump might overflow and flood your home.

Don’t pay for earthquake insurance that you don’t need. Water is the real threat to your home, and you can protect yourself from it. Water and sewer backup coverage is a smart and affordable choice. It will cover the costs of repairing the damage caused by flooding. Choose the insurance that matches your actual risks, not the ones that are unlikely to happen.

3. Avoid the Identity Fraud Endorsement

Identity fraud coverage is not worth it. It only reimburses money spent to restore your name, not the money that was stolen from you. It has many limitations and exceptions. 

The coverage often provides little value. And it doesn’t cover cyber theft, which is very common. It only pays for the things you need to do to restore your identity, like 

  1. mailing items
  2. making phone calls, and 
  3. filing paperwork

Many people don’t even know they have this coverage because it is not explained well. 

It is usually added to your policy without your consent. Before you pay more for this coverage, think about what it does. It doesn’t help you recover your losses. It only helps you with some minor expenses. You may be able to handle those yourself if you ever face identity fraud. For most people, this coverage is not worth it because it has too many limitations.

Get the Siding and Roof Restoration Home Policy Endorsement Instead

Choose siding and roofing restoration over identity fraud coverage. It is a better option for our area where storms are common. This coverage will help you fix your home exterior when it is damaged by wind or hail. It will also cover the cost of replacing the undamaged parts, so your home will look consistent and new. 

Without this coverage, you will have to keep your old siding even if some parts are replaced. This will make your home look uneven and faded over time. Restoration coverage will protect you from this problem, and it’s inexpensive. 

It is more useful than identity fraud coverage, which only pays for some costs. You should focus on the risks that are more likely to happen in our region than the ones that are rare.

Read Kelvin Ringold’s client journey to see how this vital coverage benefitted him.

4. Avoid the Home Computer Endorsement

The home computer endorsement is not worth it. You don’t need it. Your personal property insurance already covers your electronics. This endorsement only lowers the deductible for computer damage. It doesn’t cover other things that might be damaged at the same time. 

For example, say a water leak ruins your computer and your ceiling. You still have to pay the full deductible for the ceiling. Or, suppose a power surge damages your computer and other appliances. You still have to pay the full deductible for the appliances. 

It’s very rare that only your computer gets damaged in a claim. So don’t waste your money on extra premiums for a lower deductible that you won’t use. Regular personal property insurance is enough to cover your computer in most situations. The home computer endorsement doesn’t give you much more protection.

Get AppleCare or Similar Warranties Instead

You don’t need theft endorsements for your electronics. They are mainly for laptops and phones, but do you really want to pay more premiums to cover an iPad? If you file too many small claims, your insurance company might drop you. 

A better option is to get AppleCare for your phones and tablets. That way, you can get them replaced without affecting your home insurance record. Computer endorsements are not very useful either. They cost more money but don’t cover much more than your regular insurance. 

Choose coverages that protect you from common or serious risks, like water damage. Don’t waste your money on coverages that only apply to rare and minor computer losses.

Increase Debris Removal Limits on Your Home Policy Instead

You should increase your debris removal coverage instead of getting a computer endorsement. Debris removal is important because it helps you clean up your property after a major loss. If you don’t have enough coverage, you might not have enough money to rebuild your home. 

The standard coverage is only 5 percent of your dwelling amount, which is not enough for most situations. For example, if your home is worth $300,000, you only have $15,000 for debris removal. But the actual cost could be much higher, especially if there is a lot of damage from 

  • fire
  • water
  • wind, or 
  • trees

If you spend over $15,000 on debris removal, the rest will come from your dwelling limit. This means you will have less money to fix or rebuild your home. Computer endorsements are not very useful because they only cover specific situations that are rare and minor. 

They don’t protect you from common or serious risks. Increasing debris removal coverage is a smart and affordable way to get that protection.

5. Avoid the Sinkhole Endorsement

Sinkhole endorsements are not necessary in Central New York. Sinkholes are rare in this area because the ground is firm and stable. In some southern states, like Florida, sinkholes are common and excluded from insurance policies. But Central New York has a low risk of sinkhole events. 

You might find some isolated cases of sinkholes over the years, but they’re not a realistic threat to your property. Buying sinkhole coverage is a waste of money for something that is unlikely to happen.

Increase Ordinance or Law Coverage Instead

You should increase your ordinance or law coverage and not worry about sinkhole coverage in Central New York. 

Ordinance or law coverage helps you pay for the extra costs of repairing your home according to current building codes. Ordinance or law coverage is especially important if you have an older home that hasn’t been updated for a long time. 

If your home is damaged by a covered loss, such as a fire or storm, you might have to upgrade the entire house to meet the new standards. This can be expensive and your regular insurance might not cover it. The standard ordinance or law coverage is usually around $10,000. This is not enough for most situations. 

You should increase this coverage to avoid paying out of pocket for the necessary repairs. Ordinance or law coverage is a smart and valuable option that helps you restore your home properly after a disaster.

Opt for Home Policy Endorsements That Insure Against Realistic CNY Risks

Choosing the right home insurance is crucial, but it can get complicated. That’s why we’re committed to simplifying things so you have confidence you’re properly covered.

By avoiding unneeded endorsements, you free up funds for smart alternatives that match Central New York’s common risks. With coverage for real threats like water damage instead of improbable earthquakes, you safeguard your biggest investment.

Follow our local expertise and you’ll insure your home against whatever comes. That could be burst pipes or damaging storms. 

Ignore our advice and you’ll skip key coverages that leave you vulnerable when disaster strikes.

The choice is clear.

We want you to have a positive outcome. Work with Horan to customize an affordable policy around realistic risks. Protect the home you love while avoiding wasted premiums on unlikely events. Then you can rest easy, knowing your family and property stay secure no matter what the future holds.

To get things started, click the Get a Quote button below. One of our friendly insurance specialists will contact you to discuss your policy options.

And learn why guaranteed replacement cost coverage is essential if you own a home in Central New York.

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Daniel J. Middleton

Daniel is an accomplished content creator. He has been working in publishing for almost two decades. Horan Companies hired Daniel as its content manager in November 2022. The agency entrusted its messaging to him. Since then, Daniel has written insurance articles, service and pillar pages, and more. All in an effort to educate CNY readers. He's helping them understand the world of insurance so they can make informed decisions.