Unlike car insurance, home insurance is not required by law. However, virtually every mortgage company requires a homeowner’s policy to protect its investment in the home. If your current home insurance policy cancels you or declines to renew the policy, your biggest problem is potentially losing your home financing.
If you’re trying to find home insurance with claims on your record, don’t panic!
Whether you use an agent or decide to tackle the job yourself, it’s important to keep in mind that even though all home insurance companies have the same access to your claims history, they don’t all have the same underwriting policies.
Understanding the Cancellation
Call your home insurance company and ask why your policy was canceled. You may discover there is an underlying underwriting issue that plays a major role in the company’s decision. Location, for example, plays a big part in determining risk. If you have had two crime-related claims like burglary and vandalism, and you live on the edge of an area your company considers high risk, the company may have decided they no longer want the risk.
If you live in a rural area and have had multiple fire-related claims due to wildfires or fires that did not originate inside the home, your remote location and distance to the nearest fire station may be the reason for the cancellation.
The other common reason for cancellations are claims made but not honored because of your failure to properly maintain your home. Roofs are a prime example. If a storm rolls through causing damage to the roof and water damage to the interior, and the roof is 28 years old, the claim likely will be denied. The life of a roof is 30 years and the insurance company will view your failure to replace it as negligent maintenance of the property. These claims that are denied because of negligence are difficult to make go away. But remember, every company has different underwriting policies.
Try to avoid cancelation by updating your home
You can try to negotiate with your company by agreeing to make changes to your home to mitigate the risk. For example, you can install a home security system that is monitored 24/7 and add security lighting to the exterior of your home. Or you can clear trees and large landscaping features and create a clear zone outside your rural home.
Finding a New Policy
Even if you have multiple claims, if the rest of your insurance profile is good (good credit, no criminal record, good DMV record, and no bankruptcies) you should be able to find a reputable company to insure your home.
If your location was the cause of your cancelation, the solution to your problem may be as close as your next-door neighbor. Find out who their policies are with and what their experience has been.
If you draw a blank there, find a reputable independent agent. He or she will have access to a number of companies and brokers and should be able to find coverage, although it may be expensive. Just like they have companies for drivers with good driving records and drivers with poor records, they typically will have access to home insurance for “higher risk” owners. It will also be fairly expensive, but it will satisfy your mortgage company.
Not sure where to start?
AgileRates.com can match you with an agent who can guide you through the process. Fill out the form and a local agent will help you find a policy that works for you — claims and all!
If You Can’t Find a Policy
Every now and then a homeowner’s history of claims is truly dire and it scares off traditional carriers.
If this is your situation, don’t lose hope.
You can apply to the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan which offers property insurance to those who can’t get homeowners insurance in the voluntary market. Contact your state Department of Insurance for details.