We’re in our second month of Hurricane season and I am forever amazed at some of the phone calls we receive for home insurance. Although we have discussed understanding home insurance in detail, binding restrictions, riders and endorsements, have FAQ’s and have covered policy discounts, many people aren’t aware of the guidelines and regulations regarding a home insurance policy.
Here are a few things to consider before calling us, or anyone, for a home insurance quote….
*Are there ANY pre-existing conditions that would prevent you from getting or keeping coverage? This includes but is not limited to rotten wood, damaged siding, facia or soffit, peeling paint, cracks in brick from settling foundation, roof damage, trees overhanging the roof, damaged driveway, etc. This question is asked on every application for each company we carry and it does no good to try and hide these facts as most companies (dare I say every company) sends an inspector out to the home upon binding and/or issuance of the policy. Any pre-existing damage will cause the policy to cancel or be set up for non-renewal if repairs are not made.
As agents, we are required to document any information we’re told so if a customer calls in for a quote and reveals he/she has been visited by a storm lately and there are damages that have not been repaired, we can not write you a policy!
Pre-existing damage also extends to your sheds, outbuildings and fences.
Pre-existing damage may impact how/what the company pays in the instance of a claim.
Has the roof, wiring, plumbing, and heating been updated? If your home is more than 30 years old these updates must have been done or the roof, plumbing, wiring, and heating inspected within the last 20 years to show the home is in solid condition. Many companies will give discounts if proof of updates are provided. Some won’t even write a home that is over 50 years old unless proof of updates are provided.
Is there debris in the yard? Broken down vehicles, limbs and branches, building materials, excessive trash, etc. Much like having a trampoline or swimming pool, items like those listed pose a liability hazard and most companies will not issue a policy that knowingly presents this potential loss.
Have you been cancelled or non-renewed for any reason other than non-payment? Often someone’s policy will be non-renewed for underwriting reasons and they fail to understand the logic behind this and seek to purchase insurance elsewhere.
Here’s the rub: If your existing home insurance carrier non-renews for any of the reasons above and you have not addressed the issue(s), our companies will not cover you either.
Have you filed two or more claims in the last 3 or 5 years? Excessive claims will sometimes cause an insurance carrier to non-renew a policy and makes it difficult for the insured to purchase adequate coverage at a reasonable price.
Yes, I know, you pay insurance so why not use it?
As true as this statement is, if you’re filing minor claims that barely cost more than your deductible, you are hurting yourself. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule so please don’t feel that you are unable to get coverage at all. There are companies that cover insured’s / homes that have more than 2 or 3 claims in the last 3-5 years. Just don’t expect to get this coverage at a low price.
If your home is undergoing renovations due to pre-existing conditions and you don’t have coverage, you might consider getting a Builder’s Risk Renovations policy. These protect your home while repairs are being made.
As always, we hope the information provided in this blog post is beneficial to you in some way. If we may be of service in insuring your home, please give our licensed agents a call.
Until next time, take care and remember, your home is your greatest asset and deserves adequate protection.
Tommy Curtis and Staff
Is an insurance agent with integrity and your best interest in mind. Call to speak directly to him.
Address: 509 7th Street
Lake Charles, LA 70601
Office Hours: M-F 9a - 5p (CST)