5 Claims that Will Increase your Home Insurance Rates

Getting free homeowner’s insurance coverage is the holy grail for every homeowner, but that’s unrealistic. Most people settle for lowering their premiums as much as possible. A noble goal, perhaps, but sometimes it can be like having one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake. That’s because lowering premiums is only half the battle. You have to reduce your odds of filing claims that will cause your premiums to skyrocket.


Dog Bites

If Fido bites someone, you have to worry at least as much about your premium rates as you do a lawsuit. Dog bites represent the largest number of homeowner’s insurance claims, according to chief economist for the Insurance Information Institute, Robert P. Hartwig, and for good reason: a lot of people own dogs.

Even a single bite is likely to result in higher insurance premiums. It’s so bad that insurance companies keep extensive records of the most vicious dog breeds, according to statistics and analysis of dog bites nationwide.

You can reduce your risk of having your insurance premiums hiked if you get rid of the dog. However, if you’re like most dog lovers, that’s just not an option. Another option that will work, but that most dog owners don’t do, is to take your dog to a dog “psychologist” or a dog trainer.

If you can demonstrate that your dog is obedient, and there is no history of the dog biting anyone, then your rates won’t go through the roof. If your dog does bit someone, you may need to take it back to the trainer and show at least 6 months of good behavior before the insurer relaxes your rates.

Water Damage

Floods are not covered under standard insurance policies. This is a separate, special, form of coverage. If you have existing water damage, this is sure to set up multiple red lights for the insurer. Water damage often means mold, and mold is expensive to get rid of because of how persistent it is.

Plumbing problems can be a source of water damage too, and insurers are wary about giving you a pass on this one even though it’s covered by most policies. Again, the issue is mold.

If you do have to file a claim due to water damage, expect your rates to climb. All is not lost, however. You can get your premiums down by fixing the problem - permanently. If you live in a flood-prone area, your best bet is to move. Baring that, you could opt for a special drainage system that prevents (or minimizes the odds of) flooding. It won’t guarantee that your premiums will be lowered, but it’s worth it if your basement constantly floods. The one-time cost of such a system sure beats getting whacked on your premiums forever.

Injury/Medical Claims

If someone slips and falls on your property, it could cost you dearly. Slipping from ice driveways or sidewalks, or slipping and falling in the home are two common sources of claims. Slip and falls are also the number one cause of emergency room visits according to the National Safety Council.

Pool-Related Claims

If you have a pool, watch out. Claims arising from pool-related accidents will definitely make your premiums go up. While some pool-related claims would fall under slip and fall accidents, the mere presence of a pool on your property means that the insurance company will jack up your premiums higher than if you didn’t have a pool. Any other accidents, like accidental drowning, or injury in the pool would result in increased premiums. To keep premiums down, the insurer may require you to put a fence around the pool and keep a lock on any entryways.

Natural Disasters

Tornadoes, earthquakes, and brush fires can destroy your home. these types of things are sometimes considered “acts of god,” and not covered if your insurer doesn’t make special provisions for the disaster. For example, tornadoes might fall under “wind damage,” but you need to ask your insurer to be sure. Any claim arising from disasters is sure to dramatically raise your premiums since the odds of having to totally rebuild your home are high.

About author: Yogesh Mankani is an insurance consultant and a home insurance specialist. His articles mainly appear on personal finance blogs. Visit www.homeinsurance.com for online quotes and good deals in your area.

Vijayraj Reddy
Vijayraj Reddy is founder & editor-in-chief of Startmysalary.com, a financial blog which helps people to earn money, invest money and save money. You can find him on Facebook & Twitter or send him email at [email protected]

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