by Christy Bieber | Published on Sept. 13, 2021
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Policyholders have certain obligations to fulfill.
Homeowners insurance is required by mortgage lenders. It provides important protection against losses, so even homeowners without a mortgage should have it.
Property owners need to find the right insurance company by getting several quotes from different providers. They should also ensure they have enough coverage to protect their property and their possessions.
Once they have the right coverage, homeowners will need to make sure they maintain their property up to an insurance company's standards. Here's why.
Most homeowners insurance companies periodically send inspectors to check out the condition of properties that they are insuring. And if the insurer notices issues such as a roof that looks like it's about to spring a leak or steps with a broken railing or other serious maintenance problems, the policyholder could be at risk of losing coverage.
Insurers want to make sure a property is properly maintained because if it isn't, that increases the risk of something going wrong, which can lead to an insurance claim. If a home has a damaged roof that isn't repaired, for example, there's a greater chance of a leak or mold developing, which results in an insurance claim that the insurer has to pay for.
Or if there is a broken stair railing, someone could be hurt on the stairs and sue for negligence, and the insurer might end up having to pay for injuries and lost wages.
If an insurance company identifies maintenance issues with a covered property that they think increase the risk of an insurance claim, then the insurer will usually provide notice to the policyholder. They'll specify what they believe is wrong with the property and give the insured property owner a certain amount of time to make repairs.
The property owner will need to provide documented proof of the repairs, such as repair bills or photos of the repaired home. And the insurer may sometimes come back out to check that the work has been done to their satisfaction.
If the property owner doesn't believe that a fix needs to be made, the owner can often appeal with the insurer and ask the company to reconsider their request for fixes. But if the insurer continues to believe there is a problem that creates a risk, then the company may end up alerting the policyholder that they will be dropping their coverage on a certain date if they decline to make the requested repairs.
Property owners who receive this type of notification will have to choose whether they want to do what their insurer asks or switch insurance companies -- but of course they risk their new insurer also making the same demands.
Ultimately, it's often best to ensure the property is well maintained. This not only allows the policyholder to keep their insurance coverage they shopped for, but it also helps them to avoid potentially expensive damage to their home that isn't covered by homeowners insurance.
No matter where you live, insuring your home is critical to protecting your finances in the event of an unexpected incident. Whether it's a natural disaster, an accident, a break-in or something that causes damage to your property, you want to know you have the right homeowners insurance coverage for your situation.
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