Top 6 Homeowner Insurance Claims
In shopping for homeowner insurance, you hope you never need to make a claim. However, knowing the most common homeowner insurance claims will help you in making sure that you get sufficient coverage when you choose a policy.
-1- Wind and Hail
This is a very common claim, especially in the northeastern states. You can’t prevent the storms, but you can try to maintain your roof and home to minimize damage when you’re hit by a storm. Wind and hail can:
- Fell trees into your house.
- Pull off siding.
- Do major roof damage.
- Break windows.
In addition, a tornado or hurricane can do structural damage. In certain areas of the country prone to many of these storms, you may have to pay an additional premium for the higher risk.
-2- Water Damage
Plumbing and water equipment failures are common causes of water damage claims. This is especially true in colder areas and in the winter when pipes can freeze and break. Plumbing and drain leaks can happen anytime from other causes as well. Water damage that’s discovered quickly is more easily corrected and the damage repaired. Leaks that are not found quickly can create much more damage, such as rotted wood, mold, or extensive sub-floor damage. Most homeowner insurance policies cover water damage, though some may limit that coverage if the damage is from neglect, such as backed up drains caused by foreign objects or hair.
Crime is a fact of life, and theft happens everywhere, no matter how “safe” the area or neighborhood. There are two damages involved, the items stolen and the damage to the structure from the break-in. Your homeowner insurance should cover theft, but you must keep up with your personal property inventory.
You have limits on the dollar value covered for personal property, and you’ll want to update them as you accumulate items of value. The best way to do this is to do periodic inventories of your home and belongings, and use a video camera to document the items, especially high value things like artwork or jewelry.
-4- Fire and Lightning
Though resident fires aren’t very common, they are usually the most expensive insurance claims. Entire rooms and whole houses can be ruined or require extensive repairs. From walls and floors to structural components, the costs for fire repairs are very high. There is also “loss of use” coverage for owners who must move out and live somewhere temporarily.
Flooding is defined as a situation where water touches the ground before entering or damaging a structure. Flooding is very common, and unfortunately, it isn’t covered by homeowner policies. It can be caused by broken water mains or road flooding as well as bodies of water.
Especially in areas prone to flooding from bodies of water, specialty flood insurance policies are recommended. In many areas the mortgage company will require a flood insurance policy.
-6- Personal Liability
As you’re driving around, notice the billboards advertising personal injury lawyers. Personal liability claims are quite common, with hungry attorneys being one reason. Liability lawsuits can costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees and damage awards.
Personal liability is when you’re found to be at-fault for injury, property, or financial damage to another person. It could be someone tripping on your stairs, falling on your icy driveway, or drowning in your unprotected pool or hot tub. The injured party doesn’t have to be an invited guest either.
Keep these most common insurance claims in mind when shopping for coverage so that you can check the amount and scope of coverage for each risk.