When Should I File a Homeowners Insurance Claim?

There is a saying within the insurance industry and as insurance agents we have probably not done a very good job of relaying that message. That message is that homeowner’s insurance is not a “maintenance policy.”

What exactly does that mean? Homeowners insurance is designed to cover “sudden and accidental” damage to your home or contents from the 17+ perils that the policy covers. If the damage to your home has occurred over an extended period of time it is generally not covered under your insurance policy.

Some examples may be a roof that is worn out and at the end of its life expectancy, that is not a covered loss. We received a call recently about replacing old windows in a home, insurance does not cover to replace windows unless they have been damaged by wind, hail or another covered peril. Trimming trees that overhang a home is another example of something that the homeowner’s insurance does not cover but we do cover if the tree falls and causes damage to the structure.

When should you file a claim on your homeowner’s insurance — when your home or contents have damage from one of the 17 covered perils or extended coverages. Here is an abbreviated list of these perils: fire, wind, hail, lightening, smoke, damage from a broken water pipe, theft, those are just a few of the covered perils, you will want to refer to your policy or call us for details about your specific coverage.

Another thing that should be taken into consideration is the amount of the damage. As a general rule, homeowners insurance companies will accommodate one claim every three years and even that would be much higher than average. If you file more than one claim in a three-year time period that will most certainly cause a non-renewal of your homeowner’s insurance. If a non-renewal occurs, we have other options but they will have a higher deductible and will most likely have more limited coverage. If you will only benefit $1000.00 – $2000.00 from filing the claim, its best to fix the damage on your own keeping your record cleaner saving your home insurance for a larger claim that may happen.

CLUE – Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange is a database that all insurance companies report to and every claim you file or that has been filed on your home for the last five years will be stored in the CLUE system. Every insurance company participates in CLUE and will charge for claims reported there.

Homeownership is wonderful but it comes with responsibilities of maintaining your property. Some forms of homeownership come with less responsibility like living in a condo, townhome or within a homeowner’s association. Regardless of the type of homeownership, they all come with some responsibility to maintain the property.

If you have any questions about whether the damage to your home is a covered loss or whether or not you should file a claim, please reach out to us, we are always here to help.

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