What To Do If You Are Dropped By Your Homeowner Insurance Company
Find out what you should do if you are dropped from your homeowner insurance policy because of either claims filed, or the company simply moving out of the area. It's becoming easier for insurance companies to rationalize denying homeowner claims and drop customers they can reasonably predict will file a claim.
Have insurance companies lost their shirts this last decade in payouts from hurricanes, terrorist attacks, wild fires and tornados? Not necessarily, but such events have made it easier for insurance companies to rationalize denying homeowner claims and drop customers they can reasonably predict will file a claim. So, what should you do if you are dropped from your homeowner insurance policy, either because of claims filed, or because the company is simply moving out of the area?
Don't panic. You won't go uninsured. Depending on the state or type of mortgage you might have, you simply can't go uninsured. There are devices in place to help you get coverage, no matter what. If you receive notice that you are being dropped, you have a window of time before that goes into effect; just be sure to use that time wisely and shop around.
On that same notice, the insurance company is required to state the specific reason you are being dropped. If the company is moving out of the area (either physical or coverage), then you should have little trouble finding another company to cover you. Check with your state insurance department for referrals to other companieskeep in mind that this is a great opportunity for you to get the exact homeowner insurance and home contents insurance you need. In other words, be sure to shop around.
Due to disasters in recent years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has provided supplemental flood insurance to homeowners finding themselves in areas at high-risk for floods. As areas continue to develop residential housing, so do flood plains and definitions of "high-risk" areas. Your home might have shifted to a high-risk area without you even being aware of it, due to factors such as a rise in impervious ground cover. If you're in this boat, you can access FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program at www.floodsmart.gov or through FEMA itself.
If, on the other hand, the reason listed on the cancellation notice has to do with claims previously filed, make whatever efforts necessary to resolve your standing in the eyes of the industry. You don't necessarily have to have your roof wholly replaced by the time you start shopping for a new policy, but a documented good faith effort to reconcile the reasons against you will go far in the eyes of your new insurance provider. Also make sure to take a look at your Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) score, which is like a credit score for your insurance history, and dispute anything on it you might find falsely claimed. (You can do so for free, once every 12 months, at www.choicetrust.com.)
You might find yourself blacklisted for the number of claims you've filed over the years, or because you live in a high-risk area. Again, realize that individual states have agencies in place to help out. Several states participate in a program called FAIR, or Fair Access to Insurance Requirements, to cover those in the high-risk pool. Check with your state insurance regulatory department to find out whether you live in one of the FAIR states. If it's not a FAIR state, it might have another similar policy that will cover you until you leave the high-risk pool. Just put the time into due diligence and you won't be left stranded without homeowner insurance.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
US Insurance Online CEO Jim Waltrip is a self-taught software developer and entrepreneur with a passion for building things: teams of employees, software, and new systems. Jim started the company with business partner Ryan Patterson in May 2005. The recently re-launched Web site is designed to provide insurance shopping help and free insurance quotes. For assistance finding the right homeowner insurance policy, visit www.USInsuranceOnline.com