Steps You Can and Cannot Take to Prevent Losing your Homeowners Policy

Steps You Can and Cannot Take to Prevent Losing your Homeowners Policy

| June 07, 2024

Have the homeowner non-renewals in the news made you nervous?  Many companies are nonrenewing to reduce their risk, even in areas that have no fire danger. Some of this is out of your control, but is there anything you can control? Yes, see our checklist below:

1. Make sure your policy doesn't expire due to non-payment.  If you don't pay by the day before your policy expiration date, you could lose your policy.  As a safeguard, enroll in auto pay with a checking account, or track your payment by your lender each year.  

2. Don't file claims if at all possible. Everyone says, what is insurance for if I can't file a claim?  We understand, and you can, but there will be repercussions.  For example, if you file a claim that is denied, or if the damages are lower than your deductible, not only will your loss not be covered, the claim will be on your record for years. Claims will follow you, even if you try to move to another carrier.  When a claim results in no money paid out, the fact that you filed a claim will be a strike against you.  We have found it difficult to move a home to a new carrier if the home has a claim that is less than 7 years old, and water claims are the biggest red flag for insurers. Get a water sensor, and/or a water shut off valve.  Bottom line: call your agent for advice before filing a home claim.

3. Keep your home up to date. If you need to find new insurance, there are restrictive underwriting guidelines. Most carriers, and even the FAIR plan, will not give full replacement values for a roof more than 25 years old, and, preferred carriers will not insure you at all.  You must not have any trees or brush close to the roof or the house.  Make sure no trees overhang the roofline, and that there is no debris on the roof or in the gutters. Few carriers will accept galvanized plumbing, they want all copper.  No carriers, except for the FAIR plan, will accept old electrical knob and tube or fuse boxes.  Your furnace must be less than 35 years old. Make sure your yard is free from debris, trip hazards, and that the exterior of the home has no peeling paint or dry rot.  If you do get a new insurance policy, the carrier will send out an inspector within 30 days.  The policy could be canceled if the property has any of the above hazards.

4. Open every letter, email, and take every call by your insurance company, or your agent.  You may get a letter stating conditions for your next renewal, and if you do not comply, the carrier will non-renew your policy.  Respond as quickly as possible, and do not wait until the last minute.  

5. If you do get a non-renewal, there is usually nothing you can do to reverse the decision by the insurance company.  Check with your agent, and we will start the process of looking for new coverage immediately.  Due to current market conditions, most carriers are overrun with applications and quote requests.  Contact us if you have any questions