Here’s a wake-up call for you folks who’ve let those minor home repairs turn into major problems: your homeowners insurance policy can be canceled. Because of the uptick in abandoned properties, insurance companies have become increasingly vigilant. If you’re a policy holder, they will periodically send someone around to inspect your property. In addition to making sure you still actually live there, they’re looking for anything that sounds a potential claim alarm. If your home looks like an insurer’s nightmare, you could find yourself canceled, which will make shopping for homeowners’ insurance quotes extremely difficult. Before that happens, take a tour of your property and look at it from an insurer’s point of view.
- Walk outside and across the street. Is your yard overgrown with weeds? Are shrubs growing too close to house? Are tree limbs brushing the roof? Besides looking unsightly, those could cause fire or wind damage.
- Are there old appliance, junker vehicles or ramshackle sheds littering the property? Besides annoying the neighbors, this suggests to your homeowners’ insurance policy holder that you might not be a good risk.
- Lots of kid’s toys on steps and in the driveway? Somebody could trip and fall. Ditto on crackled, buckled sidewalks and tree roots growing through the walkways.
- Is the paint peeling? Is the caulking cracked? Are shingles missing from the roof? Are gutters and downspouts broken? Are there cracks in your foundation? All of those things tell an insurance company that your home is ripe for water damage claims.
- Are windows cracked or broken? As far as your homeowners insurance company is concerned, that’s an invitation to burglars to come on in.
Any one of these things can send a message to your insurance company that you don’t care and that’s wrong message to send. The insurance company wants to see pride of ownership, something that tells them you have a vested interest in keeping your home in good repair and maintaining your property value. It bespeaks good citizen and good risk in their eyes.
Clean up the yard. Cut back the tree limbs. Make the repairs. It will help you get or keep affordable homeowners’ insurance and make your home a lot more valuable should you decide to sell it.