Homeowner's Insurance question

folkvictorianJune 5, 2011

We recently received a letter from our homeowner's insurance company saying they would be sending a photographer out to update their files, etc. The photographer came out here a week ago and today we got a letter stating that the insurance company will drop our liability coverage if we don't re-roof our home and add a railing around our porch in the next 2.5 months. Our roof IS very old but not leaky and we'll replace it next summer when we add a second story above part of the house.

When we bought this place 8 years ago the ins. co. said they'd only cover the roof for actual cash value -- basically nothing -- until we re-roof. Fine. We've been happily paying premiums until now and have never had any kind of insurance claim. Why play the extortion game with excellent customers?

Has this happened to you? I'll call our agent/broker tomorrow first thing, but wondered if anyone else has dealt with this type of event.

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"Why play the extortion game with excellent customers?"

I wouldn't call that extortion. You had 8 years to get the roof replaced, but you didn't.

The railing is a liability issue. If you have a folk victorian home, it was likely built before railings were required. You don't have to update it per building codes, but that doesn't mean an insurance company can't require you to do it in order to do business with them. It's like having old knob and tube wiring. It isn't illegal, but insurance companies don't want anything to do with it.

There are insurance companies who will insure old houses - warts and all. However, they will charge you a ton of money to do it.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:10AM
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I see no extortion either.....

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:17AM
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Just try looking at this as though you were the insurance company. An old roof can still be damaged and even if they were going to settle ACV, they would still have to have to pay out something. Companies today are just trying to reduce their risk and if they don't, it affects your rates and the likelihood of your getting insurance in the future. And yes, inspections are getting to be the norm and they can be tough. Generally there has to be some kind of red flag to reinspect a current policy holder. Most inspections happen at new business. Keep that in mind if your shopping your homeowner's insurance. They will be looking for trees over hanging the home and any other structures on the property. Roofs, gutters and soffets. Any liability exposures such as dogs, unfenced pools, trampolines uneven sidewalks (tripping hazards). Missing rails are a big one. For now the inspections are generally just the outside but with the flood of foreclosed homes on the market, they may move to inside inspections. You may ask why, simple. Foreclosed homes are often missing things such as copper piping, appliances, cabinets etc. Once new ownership takes place then comes the "vandalism" claim. We are seeing more of that and yes, they are being heavily scrutinized.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 4:38PM
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