Four Things That May Complicate Your Homeowners Insurance Claim

31 March 2015
 Categories: Insurance, Blog

You should be aware of habits or acts that may reduce or void your homeowners insurance claim with a company like Coast Comp Insurance Agency. If you are ignorant of such things, then you may think you are fully protected even if you are not. For example, these four things can easily jeopardize your claim:

Leaving Doors or Windows Unlocked

While your insurance company understands that some risks may be beyond your control, you are required to take reasonable precautions to prevent a break-in. One of these includes locking all doors and windows, especially when you are not at home. Therefore, you risk voiding your claim if a break-in occurs, and the investigations reveal that the burglar gained unforced entry into your house because the doors or windows were open.

Leaving Your House Unoccupied

Your standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover your house when no one is living in it. This is because unoccupied houses pose more risks than occupied ones. Empty houses face more acts of vandalism, and threats such as fire and water leaks can cause severe damage before anyone notices. 

Sure, a couple of days or so of no vacancy will not hurt you, but the longer you leave it vacant, the longer you risk voiding your claim should something happen. Each carrier has a specific limit to how long you can leave your house vacant without voiding your coverage; stick to that limit, and you will be fine.

Not Reporting Theft Promptly

Whenever something is stolen from your house, your first step is to report it to the police and then contact your insurance company. The insurer needs the police report to process the claim. However, many carriers also have a time limit within which you must contact not only the police, but also contact them. If you don't call the police or contact them soon enough, then you may have problems with your claim.

Failing to Report an Upgrade

Whenever you upgrade or remodel any part of your house, you need to report it to your insurer. This is especially the case if it is an expensive upgrade; your insurer will probably have a dollar limit above which you are required to notify them. If you fail to do so, and something happens to your upgrade, then you may not get the full compensation. For example, if you get a new kitchen, fail to notify your insurer, and it burns down, then it may not be covered by your policy.

You should always keep abreast of your carriers and policy's terms and conditions. Ask anything you do not understand to avoid nasty surprises when you file a claim.