Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or owner of multiple properties, it's important to protect your investment, its contents and liability related to the property. But homeowners insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product. Having coverage that guards against the risks associated with your home requires working with an insurance professional who understands your property and your exposures.
Sylvia Group has been providing clients throughout Massachusetts' SouthCoast, New England and beyond with homeowners insurance for close to 70 years. Our personal insurance professionals know the right questions to ask in helping you determine what coverage is best for you.
To begin the process of protecting your home and possessions with the right insurance coverage, click on the button below.
Here are some factors to consider when buying homeowners insurance.
Credit Score: Insurance carriers will run a credit score check to determine whether you qualify for their
program and if you do, which program tier you are eligible for. The credit score check is a soft hit, so it will
not impact your score.
Territory: Where your home is located will impact the price of your insurance. The territory determination
is primarily impacted by the type of fire department your town has and how close you are to fire hydrants
and fire stations.
Condition of Home: The age of your home, its roof and electrical system, whether there is central heating,
aggressive dogs, in-ground oil tanks, swimming pools, wood stoves, and if you have a business in the home
all impact the rate.
Limits: How much insurance coverage for your dwelling, contents, and liability you purchase will impact
the rate. There are minimum requirements as part of your insurance contract, but you should work with
your agent to determine the right amount of coverage for you.
Discounts: Discounts vary from carrier to carrier. One of the discounts that may be available include a
discount if your home and auto insurance are with the same carrier. Others include discounts for alarm
systems, renovated homes, and for being a non-smoker.
If you're taking out a mortgage to buy your home, your bank will require you to produce proof of insurance
coverage at or before the closing. Some banks insist on escrowing insurance premiums as part of your
mortgage and may require you to pay the first year of your insurance policy in full. If your bank escrows
your insurance premium, you are still responsible for making sure they pay your insurance bill, so you may
want to set up a reminder for yourself.
When determining the amount of coverage you need for the dwelling limit on your insurance policy, talk to
your agent about Replacement Cost coverage. Your agent should be able to determine the amount it would
cost to replace the dwelling, which could be substantially lower or higher than the amount you are paying
to buy the home. If your location drives the market value higher than what it would cost to build the dwelling,
the amount of insurance you need may be lower than your mortgage.
Your bank cannot require you to buy dwelling coverage as high as the mortgage. Even if the building is gone, there is still value in the land. If you are buying a dwelling that would be very expensive to replace but is in a location that drives down
the market value, you may need to insure the dwelling for more than the mortgage.
Deductibles are the amount an insured must pay for a claim before the insurance carrier pays the remainder
of the loss, up to the policy limit. As an insured, you may have some choices in regard to the amount of the
deductible. Other deductibles may be required by the insurance carrier, such as a wind or named storm
Before you sign a purchase-and-sale agreement on a home, make sure you have your real estate or insurance agent check
the flood zone for the property. Banks will require flood insurance in a high hazard zone (Zone A or V) and
the cost for the insurance could be substantial.
If you are buying a multi-family home, make sure your insurance policy includes Personal Injury coverage.
You may also want to require your tenants to buy an HO4 (Tenants) insurance policy and provide you proof
of coverage. The insurance policy for your multi-family dwelling will not cover the contents or personal
liability of your tenants.
If you are buying a condominium, make sure you review the condo documents to understand what the
master policy for the building covers so you know how much insurance you need to buy as a unit owner.
If you will be renovating the home you are buying and will not be occupying it while under renovation,
make sure you discuss this with your insurance agent. After your policy is in place, any time you make any
substantial changes to your dwelling, notify your insurance agent so your coverage keeps pace with the
Homeowners insurance does not cover maintenance issues or wear and tear. Deterioration of a home’s condition could
also make it diffcult to find an insurance carrier to insure it and could also drive up the cost of your
insurance. Make sure you protect your investment by taking care of your property.
You may also want to protect your investment in the case of the death or disability of anyone contributing
to the payment of your mortgage. This can be done through the purchase of life insurance and disability
insurance. A Sylvia Group agent can help you determine how much coverage you may need.
“I come in contact with many insurance brokers in the course of my practice – even more so with the advent of the Affordable Care Act requirements. Some are ill-prepared or still in denial. Others call me from the car on the way to a client meeting asking for a summary of the ACA in ten minutes. On the flip side of this coin is the Sylvia Group agency. Their clients are very fortunate to have a broker who is knowledgeable about employee benefit matters. The fact that Sylvia Group invited me, an ERISA lawyer, to conduct a live client seminar on the new ACA employer information reporting requirements indicates to me that they are engaged in the process and they care about their clients.”
– RICHARD A. SZCZEBAK, Esq., RAS Law, P.C.
“By giving, advocating and volunteering, Sylvia Group has proven they are dedicated to our community. Whether they are volunteering at one of our Day of Caring events or working with us to provide affordable health insurance and benefits to our employees, Sylvia Group does whatever they can do to make a difference for United Way of Greater New Bedford. The team at Sylvia Group is a trusted group of dedicated professionals, and we thoroughly enjoy working with them.”
– MICHELLE N. HANTMAN, President and CEO, United Way of Greater New Bedford
“When I needed assistance with my business insurance program, Jill White immediately responded – and, even more important, she listened. She understood the challenges I had with my former agent, and she and the Sylvia Group team designed a program specific to my restaurant’s needs. I’m confident that with Jill’s expertise and personal attention, Fay’s is in good hands. That gives me the peace of mind to focus on what my family and I do best: serve delicious food and provide great customer service while running a successful business.”
– EVELYN BETTENCOURT, Owner, Fay's Restaurant and Knotty Pine Fine New England Catering
“Sylvia Group is very responsive to our ever-changing needs. Jill White provided us with wonderful support when we moved our child-care program location. She ensured that our coverage was seamless and that it met all of our program, licensing and funding needs. Sylvia Group always assists us immediately when we have questions and/or requests. We know we are in good hands and that they have the best interest of our YWCA participants in mind. It's a pleasure to work with the staff of Sylvia Group; they are truly customer-focused.”
– GAIL FORTES, Executive Director, YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts
“Thanks to John Beauregard and the professionals at Sylvia Group, our MassMEDIC membership has paid immediate dividends. Through the BIO Business Solutions® program, Primo Medical received a significant premium reduction on our Professional Liability policy. In addition, utilizing Chubb as our insurance provider and Sylvia Group as our broker, we’re confident that we have business partners who truly understand our insurance needs, provide outstanding loss control services and continue to work with us to lower our total cost of risk.”
– CHRISTOPHER LAPLANTE, Chief Financial Officer, Primo Medical Group
"Getting the right insurance to guard against risks is absolutely critical for nonprofits, as well as other businesses; dealing with a costly claim could force a nonprofit to shut down permanently. Going with the Sylvia Group, we made the right decision and have never looked back. They have a thorough knowledge of nonprofits, where risks can oftentimes be more complex. They have gotten to know our mix of services, evaluated our insurance needs and designed an insurance program around our specific insurance coverage needs — allowing us, on a tight budget, to purchase the right amount and type of insurance at the best value. Sylvia Group staff have built strong, personalized helping relationships with our staff. I can sleep at night knowing they make sure that our insurance policies are adequate to cover our risk exposures. I have recommended, without hesitation, the Sylvia Group to my colleagues working in both the nonprofit and for-profit arenas."
- MARIA A. ROSARIO, Executive Director, NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc.
“Sylvia Group is an attentive, professional and knowledgeable insurance agency. They are familiar with the ever-changing rules and regulations when it comes to independent, nonprofit schools., and John Beauregard always goes above and beyond for Friends Academy. Whether it is something small, like registering a new school vehicle, or something bigger, like filing a claim after our greenhouse was destroyed by a hurricane, he treats every question and every claim with utmost importance. Sylvia Group is invested in our program as well; John sponsors and participates in our yearly golf tournament. Sylvia Group is an exceptional insurance company that I would recommend to all my cohorts.”
– KATHERINE FURTADO, Chief Financial Officer, Friends Academy
“The Sylvia Group team provides a multitude of services in all aspects of employee benefits. The team's dedication to their clientele is apparent through their willingness to provide trainings in your office, at their business and through valuable webinar resources. They are readily available to answer questions and help with any issues that may arise. CMHS, Inc. appreciates the relationship that we have enjoyed with the Sylvia Group throughout the years.”
– JOHN WINTERHALTER, President, Comprehensive Mental Health Systems, Inc.
“I want to thank you for this incredible resource, ThinkHR. We will be accessing it frequently and appreciate Sylvia Group making this available to Advanced Eye Centers.”
- PAUL C. ABRANTES, Executive Director, Advanced Eye Centers
“I love your staff. In the first three or four weeks after we moved over to Sylvia Group for our insurance, I have had more communication and attention from them than I had in the seven or eight years we were with our former agency! You have a great team.”
– PAT CASSAN, Ocean Explorium
“I just wanted to take the time to recognize what a remarkable job Danielle Andre is doing. I cannot thank her enough for her time, her kindness and her willingness to make sure I’m comfortable with all the necessary changes that occurred from an insurance standpoint. As a whole, every Sylvia Group staff member has been friendly and knowledgeable, but Danielle has certainly gone above and beyond for me.”
– SHANNON S., Personal Insurance client
“I so appreciate Julie Jennings' help with Medicare planning. It is a relief to be able to consult with a knowledgeable professional on insurance issues. I have no idea how people do this without such help.”
– CHRIS BLACK, Personal Insurance client
“Working with Sylvia Group over recent years has taken our insurance issues from 'groans and moans' to 'no problem.' Rose Lopes, our Account Manager, is one of the most responsive people I have ever worked with. She responds immediately to questions or special requests. It is such a pleasure to work with Rose, who does whatever it takes to find a solution to our needs. We are very pleased… She always has our interests in mind.”
– LYNNE FOLEY, Director of Human Resources, Five Star Companies, Inc.
"Sylvia Group is by far the best insurance agency I have ever dealt with, both personally and in my business. They provide customer support that is not found in other agencies. For example, they take a personal interest in their clients, calls are always taken or returned immediately, and during reviews suggestions are made to offer the most cost effective and comprehensive coverage. When claims occur, they have always been there to facilitate the process. It has truly been a pleasure to have them represent me in my insurance needs."
- WILLIAM N. WHELAN, Chairman, Whelan Associates LLC