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Assessing Your Home Insurance Coverage: An Interview with Stan Dreckman of Huggins Dreckman Insurance

By Stan Dreckman

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

The company was incorporated in 1968 and it was run by Lyle Huggins and my father, Gene Dreckman. We provide many types of personal and business protection, with a specialized niche in home/auto/umbrella packages (for qualifying applicants) and in the landlord insurance area (1-4 unit homes and apartments).

Can you briefly explain the purpose of home insurance and why it's important to homeowners?

Home insurance, one of the broadest insurance policies ever devised, has many purposes, including protection against direct damage to one's home as well as picking up legal protection for personal liability (non-business) injuries to others. The house burns, pipes burst, your home is vandalized, your dog bites the neighbor's grandson ? these events will seriously erode a person's financial present and future. Insurance allows people to transfer the financial consequences to a third party, the insurance company.

What are some of the main advantages of working with a local agent versus using an online insurer?

A great advantage is our knowledge of the insurance contracts and coverage options that may not be available on the online insurers' sites. Insurance is definitely not a commodity; policies have been written and modified over decades what chance do you have competing with them? And, from a practical standpoint, we know the physical neighborhoods and their particular inclinations to special types of losses. We work with clients to ensure they understand what types of claims are covered and not covered and what types of property need special treatment. We can also demonstrate the best way to use their hard-earned money to purchase their coverage: what makes sense, what doesn't, and what will best support what they need after a claim occurs to reduce the impact of the experience.

What is the deductible and how should house owners decide on the amount?

A deductible is how much one is willing to pay before the insurance company takes over; it's a way to allow people to pay for their own "nickel and dime" claims and keep premiums down, with insurance being there to protect them against the larger events that cause financial dislocation.

What does the personal liability part of the policy cover?

The personal liability part of the policy protects a homeowner if someone is injured on his or her property, or if the homeowner accidentally injures someone away from their home (liability is worldwide with the better insurers). A person might run over someone on a ski slope in Colorado or drill someone on a golf course in Florida; the family's pet might bite the mail carrier (while a cartoonish thought, that actually happened to one of our clients).

Is there a coverage decision you've seen people in Southern California regret making later, when it comes to home insurance?

Yes: two, actually. The most common decision that people regret on a day-to-day basis is not insuring their jewelry or other property that is often limited in a homeowner's insurance policy (the online people don't tell you about these limitations). The second greatest mistake is not buying enough coverage and being short when the claim and resulting summons arrive in the mail. I have literally listened to people discuss what personal assets were going to have to liquidate in order to pay their part of a claim after the insurance company fulfilled its obligation and departed the scene. Both claims result from cutting corners, simply to save a couple of bucks.

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

They can call us at 562-594-6541 or 800-40-3224; my extension is 15. They can email me at; our generic agency email is

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