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Five costly home insurance mistakes to avoid – Yahoo Homes

Five costly home insurance mistakes to avoid – Yahoo Homes

Figuring out what kind of home insurance you need might feel like a big headache, but it’s nothing compared to the headache you’ll face if you’ve got the wrong coverage and disaster strikes.

“I have been eyewitness to numerous instances when an insured thought some problem was covered by their policy, but the insurer received the claim and immediately looked to two ways in which they could deny it,” says Ted Corless, a property insurance attorney.

 First, the insurer checked to see if the damage was caused by something not covered in the policy, and second, they checked to see if any information provided by the insured wasn’t accurate. Even small misrepresentations could result in your claim being denied, Corless warns.

To avoid falling into this trap, keep some of these common home insurance mistakes in mind…

Mistake #1 – Assuming You Have Flood Insurance

No one likes to think about worst-case-scenarios, but they do happen. Even if you’re not in an area typically affected by flooding, a major storm – or a water main break – could put your home at risk.

“We are all in a flood zone – it is just a matter of whether you are in a catastrophic zone or not,” says Patti Clement, first vice president and managing director at HUB International, a personal insurance practice in North America.

With this in mind, did you know that homeowners’ policies exclude flood coverage?

“The common policyholder has a tendency to think that any water damage is covered,” says Eddy Lang, CEO of Housefax, a national data aggregation service for homebuyers and sellers, and an 18-year veteran of the insurance industry. “Most of the time they do not realize that there are specific water losses that are excluded from all homeowners policies.”

How This Mistake Could Cost You: “This mistake is huge,” says Kristofer Kirchen, president of Advanced Insurance Managers in Tampa. “Not having flood insurance can lead to a very costly uncovered loss – hundreds of thousands of dollars and a whole lot of heartache to boot.”

There’s another sneaky way you might accidentally end up making this mistake, according to Corless.

“Typically, mortgage companies protect their collateral at least up to the amount of their mortgage,” Corless explains. That means they might insist on certain protections like flood insurance. “Once this mortgage is paid off… many insurance companies will alter the coverage with obtuse, confusing documents, and flood insurance may not be incorporated into the policy.”

The lesson to be learned from this? “Confirm you have flood insurance before you need it,” Corless says

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