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Assessing Your Home Insurance Coverage: An Interview with Patrick Bickel of Shawn Camp Insurance, Inc.

By Patrick Bickel

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

Shawn Camp Insurance was established by Floyd Camp in 1976, in Copperas Cove, Texas. In the beginning, it was staffed by Floyd Camp and his wife Barbara, Shawn Camp's parents. When Shawn was 16 he began working in the office, eventually becoming licensed as an agent and working full time in the office once he graduated from High School. In the mid 90's Floyd & Barbara retired, and Shawn Camp took over the agency. Many changes took place over the years, and Shawn Camp Insurance Agency became a Texas Corporation, and is now Shawn Camp Insurance Agency, Inc. The corporation officers are:

Shawn Camp- Chairman & CEO
Barbara Gividen- President
Amy Brown- Executive Vice President
Patrick Bickel- Executive Vice President.

Our home office is still in Copperas Cove, and we have additional offices in Killeen and Gatesville to better serve our customers. Our Copperas Cove office is staffed by Shawn Camp and Amy Brown. Our Killeen office is staffed by Patrick "Pat" Bickel, and our Gatesville office is staffed by Natasha Clary. All of our offices are staffed by knowledgeable, friendly, and professional agents who can tailor a policy to fit a customer's needs & budget, discuss options available in both coverage and payment plans, and answer any questions the customer may have.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We offer a wide range of Mobile Home, Homeowners & Dwelling policy coverage, from several reputable insurance companies with competitive pricing. The insurance industry is constantly changing, and so are our customer's needs. As an independent agency, we pride ourselves on being able to find the best fit in regards to coverage and premium for our customers based on the type construction, age, location of their home, and their budget. Also, as an independent agency, we also offer coverage for auto, motorcycle, watercraft, recreational vehicles and commercial auto. In addition, we also offer commercial general liability insurance, and surety bonds. We are a one stop shop for the vast majority of the insurance needs of the customers in our community and across the state of Texas.

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

For most Americans, a home will be the single most important and expensive purchase in our lives, and it can be very a overwhelming experience. With that said, we need to protect that investment carefully. Because of the cost involved with purchasing a home, most homebuyers borrow money to purchase their home in the form of a mortgage loan. Both the buyer and the lender have to be protected in case of a loss, and due to the cost involved with building and purchasing a home, homeowners insurance was created. Homeowners insurance as we know it today was first introduced in the 1950's. Prior to then, there was insurance coverage was available for specific perils, and in the 1950's many began to be included together. Over the years homeowners insurance policies and coverages have been standardized, and have evolved into what we have available today. A Homeowners policy provides coverage for the dwelling, personal property or contents, other structures on the same property, loss of use & additional expenses, liability to others, and medical expense coverage. Each policy is unique in that policy & coverage limits, replacement cost for the dwelling and contents, and other aspects will vary with each home. Typically there will be a deductible that will be the responsibility of the homeowner, and the insurance policy will pay the rest up to the limits of the policy.

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

Shopping for an insurance policy can be both frustrating and overwhelming, and can be a very impersonal experience. A local agent gives the customer a place to meet in person, and puts a face to the customers insurance policy, and is someone you can know and trust, rather than a random voice on the other end of a phone line. Local agents have a unique insight into your local community. That insight, our knowledge of the products we sell, and our ability to personalize the whole process allows us to provide peace of mind that your valuables are protected. Local agents live and work in the same community they serve, and you might bump elbows with your local agent at a local grocery store, high school football game, or even next to you at a traffic signal. Last but not least, local agents represent small business, which is what built our country. When a policy is sold and serviced through a local agent, the commission earned by that agent is typically kept local, and that in turn supports our local community.

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

A deductible is the portion of a covered loss you must pay before an insurance company pays for any of the loss. Typically, your insurance company will simply subtract the deductible from the total amount of your claim, rather than requiring you to pay the deductible up front.

Deductibles can range from as low as $500 up to 3% of the amount the dwelling is insured for. A lower deductible can increase the premium, and likewise a higher deductible can lower the premium. The deductible most commonly agreed on is 1% of the amount the dwelling is insured for.

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

Yes they do. Coverage for other structures and loss of use are typically 10% of the amount the home is insured for. Personal property typically starts at 50% of the amount the home is insured for, and many companies will allow an increased percentage in exchange for a slightly higher premium. One important thing to consider is replacement cost. Most homeowners policies insure a home at replacement cost for the home itself, however personal property replacement cost is not always included. Many of our possessions have more sentimental value than actual cash value, and that is understood, however it is impossible to place a value on sentiment. With that said, many homeowners policies offer replacement cost on personal property, and it is wise to have that coverage endorsed in your homeowners policy. With that coverage endorsed in your homeowners policy, in the event of a loss, a customer will list the personal property lost or destroyed, and the insurance will pay to replace those items at current prices, up to the limits of their coverage. Without personal property replacement cost endorsed, the amount paid for your personal property will be depreciated based on age. We highly recommend having personal property replacement cost endorsed on any homeowners policy. For any homeowner, a loss is bad enough, especially a catastrophic loss, and without replacement cost endorsed on your policy, you could end up with very little to replace all your belongings.

What does the personal liability part of my policy cover? Will the insurer pay for medical expenses as well?

Homeowners liability coverage covers you for any bodily injury or property damage suffered by others in connection with your property. Amounts can be as low as $50,000 and up to $500,000 or more in certain instances. The most common amount agreed on is $100,000.

If all conditions are met and no exclusions apply, your insurance company will pay the necessary medical expenses of someone injured on or through your property. This coverage doesn't apply to your own medical expenses and the medical expenses of your household residents. On some policies, injuries that take place away from your premises are also covered, as long as you, another insured, or your pet caused the injury. Medical expenses may include reasonable charges for medical, surgical, X-ray, dental, ambulance, hospital, and professional nursing services, as well as prosthetic devices and funeral services. The amount most commonly agreed on for medical expenses is $1,000, but can be adjusted higher or lower in many cases, and the premium will be adjusted accordingly.

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

The best way to reach our offices is stopping by any of our locations, or by phone or email. If you wish to reach a particular agent specifically, just place the name in the subject line, (ATTN: Agent's Name), and send to shawncampinsurance@hotmail.com.

We can also be reached at our website at www.shawncampinsurance.com/locations.aspx, either individually by name or location, or general inquiries are responded to by the first agent that gets the message.

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