Homeowners beware of insurance companies changing guidelines and cancelling your homeowner policy. Insurance companies are sending out inspectors to inspect your home and report any deficiencies. Typically, the insurance company will give you a window to correct the deficiency. If you do not, they will cancel your policy.
Insurance companies are looking for ways to reduce claims, and they’re willing to make you pay to improve your property and lessen what they may have to pay out. Knowing these guidelines ahead of time may save you some anxiety.
There are dozens of insurance carriers in Florida and there are some exceptions to this list, but they are dwindling. Here are some general rules of thumb for what insurance companies are looking for:
Tile roofs up to 25 years old. Metal roofs up to 30 years old. Shingle roofs 10-15 years depending on type of shingle. Water heaters up to 15 years. If you have a roof or water heater approaching these ages, be prepared that your insurance company may require you to replace item or cancel your insurance.
Buying a Home
Your insurance company may require a wind mitigation inspection and a 4-point inspection. A 4-point inspection looks at the HVAC (heating and air conditioning), electrical wiring and panels, plumbing connection and fixtures, and the roof. If the home has polybutylene or old copper pipes they may require replumbing the home. The insurance company will probably require a new roof or water heater too if they are beyond these ages. Sometimes we can get a carrier to add a few years for a higher price, but as we said, those options are dwindling.
Your insurance company will also require a wind mitigation inspection on homes built prior to 2002. They will be looking at things like how many nails are in your tie downs, what kind of wood underlayment you have and what shape it is in, and opening protections for windows and doors. For this inspection they can formulate how much your home will cost to insure, or if they will insure it at all.
Insurance companies are cracking down on anything that may cause them to pay out. Obviously, anything wind, water, or electrical related has potential to cause claims. Insurance companies have decided to make you bring property up to certain standards before they wish to cover your home. For current customers, these companies are looking to get out of risk, so they are mandating what you must do to continue coverage with them.
The industry suffered severe losses from past hurricanes, and they are in the business to make money, not lose money. We work with excellent insurance companies who have a multitude of carriers to choose from, so getting your deal together at an affordable cost is always a priority.
If you are a homeowner, you want to either make these improvements, or sell before these dates come due. If you wait until the last minute, you may not like your choices, and it could put you in a financial bind. Most people believe roofs and water heaters have a certain lifespan. They never dreamed the insurance companies would drop them when their roof is working fine. It is happening and is reality today.
Check your electrical panel as well. Many panels are on the do not insure list. It’s only a matter of time until your carrier cancels your policy if you have a panel that is a fire hazard.
Go around your house and check the age and type of your water heater, roof, plumbing, and electrical panel. Do not be surprised if you get a phone call from your insurance company requiring an inspection.
If you are thinking of selling or have real estate questions, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-310-6500 or visit www.SWFLHOMEVALUES.com for a free and instant price estimate of your home.
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