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Published on Oct 30, 2012 by Edgar Snyder

Homeowner's Insurance Should Be a Top Priority

homeowner's insurance

Thankfully, our area dodged a bullet last night. Hurricane Sandy passed through with what appears to be minimal effects. Unfortunately, residents of other states weren't so lucky, and with our area's history of flooding, we all know how quickly the weather can damage and destroy homes.

This is one of the reasons why homeowner's insurance is so important. It protects your home, your belongings, and your finances when unexpected events like floods, fires, or storms hit.

Just as important, it can provide liability coverage in the event of everyday mishaps. For example, if your dog bites someone while they're on your property and that person wants to collect money damages, a claim would most likely be filed with your insurance company. The same rule applies if someone slips on ice on your walkway or trips on that loose piece of carpeting on your steps. Without proper coverage, you could face the possibility of having to pay for expensive medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering out of your own pocket.

Here are some tips from AAA Motorist on homeowner's insurance. These are things that every homeowner (and future homeowner) should know:

  • Before issuing a policy, insurers check a property's claim history. If a property has received multiple claims in the past, homeowners can face serious hurdles to obtaining an insurance policy.
  • Unfortunately, only current homeowners can check a home's claim history. However, if you're buying a home, you can ask the seller to order a copy of their home's claim history as a contingency to your offer. This can help you better understand a property's claim history and how it may affect future insurance policies.
  • If you are ever denied coverage because of past claims, request a report of your property's claim history. In the event of a dispute with your insurer, you can ask that your account of the events be added to the report.
  • Pay for small losses on your own. Insurers keep track of consumers who submit frequent small claims.
  • Think twice before calling your insurance office. When you place a call, insurers open a claim file on you regardless of whether you file an actual claim.
  • Examine your credit record. In addition to past claims, insurers also look at your credit history to determine whether to issue you a policy.
  • Know your state's rules about homeowner's insurance renewals. Some states control when an insurer can refuse to renew your coverage.

If you're currently house hunting, I know how overwhelming the process can be. There are a million decisions to make, and homeowner's insurance becomes just another item on the checklist. Make it a top priority so that you have good coverage from the beginning.

If you're already a homeowner, review your policy to make sure your coverage is adequate – you don't want to find out the hard way just how important good homeowner's insurance is.

"Home Buyers: Make Homeowner's Insurance a top priority." AAA Motorist. October 2012.
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