So you received a letter from your new home insurance carrier that they are canceling your home insurance due to a recent inspection of your property. Most carriers are inspecting newly written properties as part of the underwriting process. Insurance companies will hire an indepedent company to come to your property, and complete an exterior examination, or in some cases, an interior one as well. A report will be created that includes photos of all buildings, electrical box, property, and even your mailbox to prove they inspected the correct location. There are a few things that the company is looking for, and even though it may feel like an invasion of your privacy, they are really trying to help you prevent a loss on your property. Isn't that what insurance is for, you ask? It is, but if you have ever gone through the claims process, it can be time consuming and stressful. Let's take a look at what can be issues for insurance carriers. You can correct these problem areas prior to your inspection, and possibly avoid the dreaded rejection letter.
1.) Maintenance - Gutters that are missing or falling down, fascia that is missing or damaged, or roofing that is curled, damaged or missing can all cause a loss down the road if not addressed properly. This type of issue can allow water to seep into your home causing interior damage and also mold. Missing fascia can also allow vermin to enter the home which can lead to all sorts of problems too numerous to mention. To save yourself the hassle of a claim, higher premiums due to claims activity, and just the overall added stress of the event, please maintain these areas of your home for your own peace of mind.
2.) Clutter - Yes, this is a problem. There is never enough closet space, cabinet space, or storage buildings it seems like. Clutter in the open can cause a liability hazard if not put away or organized properly. Visitors to your home can trip and fall, or suffer an injury if there are items in your yard, or on your porch or steps. Children's toys, broken vehicles, and building materials are just a few things that we have seen companies complain about. This is also a problem on the interior of the home as well. Clothes on the floor, children's toys, shoes, and laundry baskets can all cause a fall hazard for visitors and also family members. You may know right where everything is located, but someone visiting you will not.
3.) Trees - Dead trees, or trees with branches hanging over the house can potentially cause a loss if not cut back away from the home, or cut down all together. Keep branches trimmed back away from the house, and you won't have to worry about this during an inspection.
4.) Paint/Siding - Companies will look at the condition of each building including garages and outbuildings. You can sign an exclusion in most cases if there are buildings that you do not want coverage for. Keep in mind that if you do that, there will be NO coverage for the contents in the excluded building either. Buildings in need of paint, or that have siding damage, will cause you a problem when inspected
These are just a few things that seem to pop up as problem areas for home owners during an inspection. There are others such as mold on siding, mold or moss on roofs, and even extension cords run from one building to another for long term use that will show up on these reports. Carriers are becoming increasingly picky when it comes to the homes they will provide coverage for. If you are unsure if you will pass an inspection, please call your agent to come and look over the property prior to signing for the coverage. They can normally tell you what needs to be taken care of prior to an inspection. Again, this is to help you avoid a loss, added stress, and loss of your valuable time. We have seen firsthand how claims affect our clients, and want to help you avoid that if at all possible.