5 Common Disputes Homeowners Have with Their Insurance Company
As a homeowner, the last thing you want to deal with is a dispute with your home insurance company after something goes wrong with your home, whether you are dealing with the aftermath of a fire, flood, water damage, or damage from a storm.
Disputes with the insurance company are all too common when you rely on them the most. Some insurance companies will use a variety of excuses to try and control their costs, limiting the amount they pay out to their clients or even rejecting claims altogether.
If you find yourself in a dispute with your insurer, it may be time to hire a public adjuster or an insurance lawyer who can help with your claim. They may be able to help if you run into any of these five common insurance disputes.
Basic Maintenance and Upkeep
Maintenance exclusions are a common source of disagreements with insurance companies. If the insurance company finds that the homeowner did not keep up with basic maintenance to avoid damage, they may have a reason to reject the entire claim.
In fairness, sometimes insurance companies have a point. An insurance policy is not meant to cover maintenance, and if something breaks because it was not maintained, it is not their responsibility to pay for it.
However, maintenance exclusions leave a lot of room for interpretation. It is not always the case that wear and tear led to the damage.
Anytime you upgrade your home, you need to make sure the insurance company knows about it. Insurance companies will usually get an estimate of the costs to replace or rebuild your home, and they use this information to determine your premiums and coverage.
If you add value to the structure of your home, you increase the cost of repairing it. Unless the insurance company knows about the upgrade, they may not agree to cover it.
30-Day Vacancy Rule
Leaving your home vacant can also increase the risk of damage to your home. For example, a small leak can quickly become expensive if no one is present to catch it for over a month. Most insurance policies include a clause that allows insurers to refuse coverage if no one was living in the home for 30 days or more without notifying the insurance company.
As a homeowner, you may have the option of obtaining a vacancy permit to avoid losing coverage if the property is going to be vacant.
Special Coverage Limits for Valuables
Sometimes homeowners are surprised to learn that special coverage limits apply to valuables like jewelry or fine art. These valuables may be considered separately from your broader Contents coverage. Often, homeowners need to get further insurance to fully cover valuables such as these.
Sewer backups are a common risk to your home. In fact, they are one of the most common home insurance claims. They may happen as a result of heavy rainstorms or snowmelt overwhelming sewage systems with storm runoff (especially where those systems are combined), blockages in city sewage infrastructure, or broken and collapsed sewage lines. Regardless of the cause, they lead to sewage water moving backwards through pipes and spilling out of toilets and drains into people’s homes.
The resulting backup leads to more than just water damage. Sewage is a health hazard and very expensive to clean up. Unfortunately, not all home insurance policies cover sewage backups.
These are some of the most common disputes homeowners have with their insurance companies. Get help from a public adjuster if you feel that the insurance company is unfairly rejecting your claim.