Though we’d all be hard-pressed to find specific reasons for it, homeowner insurance companies are getting a whole lot tougher to deal with these days. One reason may be the natural disasters, like hurricanes, that sap their profits, but they’re still highly profitable major companies. The fact is that they’re still becoming much more difficult, not begging for our business, but often reading us the rules if we want their insurance.
One addition to their application arsenal in recent years is a credit check. Somehow they’ve decided that a poor credit history equates to higher homeowner insurance claims and losses. Numbers and statistics can be made to tell almost any story, so we don’t know how accurate this new stat is. However, insurance companies are checking credit histories, and based on results are in some cases denying coverage or raising premiums for lower scores.
Another recent experience of a home buyer illustrates the tighter scrutiny of the insurance companies as regards the houses and yards. A divorced mother purchased a home and a major brand name insurer committed to insure it, and everything went through closing with money escrow for a full year premium. Her local agent told her that there would be someone coming out to take photos. While she was moving into the home, the insurance representative arrived and asked to take pictures. She thought nothing of it and concentrated on moving into her home.
In about a week, a call from her local agent and a letter indicated “deficiencies” from the inspection visit. One notation was for “boxes strewn around the property, clutter…” What else would you see when someone is moving in and unpacking? Another notation was for limbs from an apricot tree contacting the metal roof, with the requirement that they be cut back. She put it on her list and called someone to come out, with the schedule to be a couple of weeks away, as she needed to get moved in.
A little over a week later, she received a cancellation notice in the mail! Her policy had been canceled as she hadn’t submitted photo proof of cutting back the limbs. She got it all fixed, but it was a lot of hassle. Don’t dismiss the hassles your home insurer can cause, and understand that they are writing the rules.
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