My New Years’ Resolution for 2016 is to educate my clients on a variety of insurance topics. Understanding the insurance rating process will help you keep your insurance premiums as low as possible.
My topic today is going to be homeowners claims, should you submit or not submit?
I think it is important for you to know that you can be cancelled for claims. It is not unusual for a company to cancel you if you’ve had 2 claims in 3 – 5 years.
So what happens if you’re cancelled for claims? If this happens then I can’t get you insured with another preferred company until that falls off your record. I just had this happen to a good client of mine and it is a big deal for them. Their premium increased from $1700 to over $3000 once 2 claims were presented. On the third they were cancelled. The only company I can place them with is a high risk company. The premium is now over $4400 a year and their coverage is not nearly as good as the old policy. They have no choice but to take the policy because nobody else will insure them. Even one claim can preclude you from moving to some insurance companies. I have several companies that won’t write a home if the client has had 1 loss in 3 years.
I know…why have insurance?!?!? I agree it isn’t fair, but this is how it is unless they pass legislation precluding companies for cancelling due to claims.
The amount of the claim doesn’t matter, it is a frequency issue. I had a client that came to me from another company. She was cancelled for having a $150 claim and a $500 claim. I was able to write the policy, but the premium was $3000. Her original premium was only $500.
Back to my original question, should you submit that claim? Well, that is up to each individual situation and your “pain threshold” as I like to put it. Claims stay on your record for five long years. Of course there are those situations where you can’t avoid a claim and really that is why you have insurance. Don’t be afraid to submit a claim if you need to. My primary goal is to protect you and educate you on the process. I write for 15 different companies and have the ability to move you if needed. I want to keep you in the best possible rating category to keep those rates down.
Some claims are unavoidable, but keeping your home well maintained will stave off many unfortunate situations. Is your roof in good repair? If you have an older home, have you had that inspected by a plumber or electrician to insure that all is in good working order? What about that old water heater? Those have to be replaced as they get older because they’ve been known to explode, causing major water damage. It is recommended that they be replaced ever 10 years. There are many ways to ensure that you and your family have a safe and claim free home.
I found another article in the Wall Street Journal on home claims that was interesting…if you’d like more information. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB106380332733463200.
Again, you have your insurance in case something happens. I want to help assist you in your process. I usually advise my clients to call me before calling the insurance company. I’m happy to discuss your individual situation and possible options in the event something happens. I represent you first and foremost!
Have a wonderful 2016!
Aliesha Brard, Principal