We buy home insurance hoping that we’ll never have to use it. However, if the time comes when you do need to file a claim, you need to do everything you can to ensure that your claim will be approved. It may seem as though some claims are cut and dry, but the truth is that any claim can be denied under certain circumstances. There are several reasons why home insurance claims can be denied, and sadly most of them could be avoided if home owners just knew what they could do to prevent it.
Step One – Keep Your Policy Payments Current
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it happens quite often. An unpaid premium can cause a claim to be denied. Policy holders that pay late, miss payments or allow policies to lapse are putting themselves and their homes at risk. When it comes time to file a claim, it won’t matter how many years you’ve been with your agency or how many policies you have on file, the insurance company isn’t required to hold up their end of the deal if the home owner isn’t current with their policy payments.
Tip – Speak with your New Bedford insurance agent about setting up a payment plan that will work with your pay schedule to ensure that you make your payments on time.
Step Two – Take Care of Your Home
More common sense, but the truth is that much of the damage that occurs within the home is due to the negligence of the home owner. Your policy is meant to protect against various incidents and accidents, but if negligence contributes to the damage, your insurance company could deny your claim. If your roof caves in because of storm damage, that would be an accident and not fall under negligence. But a roof that caves in due to known termite damage or neglected repairs would likely be denied.
Tip – Keeping up with regular maintenance and repairs of your home can prevent this from happening. Ask your agent for more tips on regional prevention ideas to protect your home insurance in Massachusetts.
Step Three – Fact-Check Your Application
When you apply for home insurance in Massachusetts, you need to be honest. If the insurance company finds that you were not completely truthful when filling out your initial application for coverage, your claim could be denied and your New Bedford homeowners insurance policy rescinded. Include any and all pertinent information in your application and make sure everything you include is completely accurate.
Tip – Talk with your agent about getting a New Bedford homeowners insurance policy that is right for you and your unique requirements. Each home, homeowner and situation is different, so it is important to be as up-front and honest as possible in order to receive the best coverage.
Step Four – Add Extra Policies When Needed
Certain “excluded events” are not typically included in the average homeowners insurance policy, requiring extra policies to be added where needed. For example, if you live in a flood zone, chances are your home loan company will require an additional flood insurance policy. Other types of disasters can come without warning and even if they aren’t caused by your negligence, could still result in a denied claim. Earthquakes, sink holes, terrorist attacks or incidents related to political unrest are other examples of excluded events that are not covered under a basic homeowners policy.
Tip – Your New Bedford insurance agent can give you information about supplemental policies that can be added on to your basic policy to ensure that you are covered for potential claims that can affect home owners living in the New England area.
Step Five – Watch That Deductible
Most home owners are familiar with the term “deductible” from their auto insurance policies. The deductible is the amount of money that the home owner is responsible for up front in the event of a claim. Only the cost for covered damages that exceed the amount of the deductible will be paid by the insurance company, so it’s important to pick a policy with a deductible that you can afford to pay. In some cases, the cost of the claim is less than the amount of the deductible, causing the claim to be denied.
In the new Bedford area many insurance companies have imposed a required “wind” or “Named Storm” and “Hurricane” deductibles. These are usually percentages of the limit that is on the house. AS an example, a home with a $200,000 coverage limit and a 2% wind deductible, would be subject to a deductible of $4,000 from damage by windstorm. It is recommended that a homeowner seek another insurance carrier if the Wind or Named Storm dedutible exceeds 2%. Damage from wind storms is a substantial threat and could cause a financial catastrophe for those unable to pay such a high deductible out-of-pocket.
Tip – Find out what deductible options are available in your New Bedford homeowners insurance policy to ensure that you are “affordably” covered when disaster strikes.
Call your New Bedford insurance agent today to talk about homeowners insurance policy coverage, supplemental policies, deductibles or anything else that might affect your ability to file a claim in the future. Our goal is to help our clients understand their policies and coverage to ensure that they are fully covered and protected.