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Why are insurers saying ‘no’ to homeowners more often?

Wed May 4th, 2016 on     Homeowners Insurance,    

For most homeowners, it will come as no surprise to learn that there are certain features or amenities of their domicile that will serve to complicate the process of securing insurance.

For example, they may not be surprised to learn that things like having a trampoline or a pool without a 4-foot screen/enclosure around its perimeter will result in an insurer refusing coverage, denying renewal of an existing policy or requiring the purchase of supplemental coverage.

What may come as a surprise to homeowners, however, is to learn that the lists of so-called “ineligible risks” maintained by insurers across the state is expanding beyond these long-recognized dangers to include other less obvious features/amenities of homes and even some homeowner characteristics.

By way of illustration, consider some of the following realities now classified as ineligible risks by certain insurers:

  • Ownership of all-terrain vehicles
  • Any household member having been convicted of a felony within 10 years
  • Property that does not demonstrate pride in ownership or is in a state of disrepair
  • Dogs with a history of being nervous or temperamental
  • Property not visible from a minimum of two other dwellings or a public roadway    

The reason behind this expansion of ineligible risks, say experts, is that insurers are looking to recovers from the major financial losses they’ve sustained thanks to the large number of water damage claims paid out in Florida over the years — particularly in the tri-county area.

Still, experts indicate that homeowners who are open and honest do not have to worry about their coverage suddenly ending in the event they have some disqualifying feature of which they were otherwise unaware.

“If you signed the application and made sure all the answers are correct to the best of your knowledge, you’re going to be in good shape,” said one industry expert. “It’s the insurance company’s responsibility to find out if you are ineligible, through the questions they ask on your application.”

However, experts do advise homeowners to read through their policies each year in order to remain informed of any added exclusions or ineligible risks that could result in non-renewal.

If you believe your insurance company has failed to live up to their obligations under a homeowners policy, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options.

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