Homeowner’s insurance is one of those rare things for which you pay for a good part of your life, but hope you never need to use it.
But if your basement is flooded or someone falls on your icy driveway, your first thought might be to use your insurance to pay for repairs or medical treatment. However, it is best to ask and get answers to a few questions before immediately filing a claim with your insurance company:
- Is the incident covered by my insurance policy?
- Do I have the means to cover the expenses myself rather than use my insurance?
- How many previous claims have I filed with my insurer?
- If I file a claim with my insurance company, will it affect my future premiums and coverage with this company? Could the insurer cancel my coverage?
To answer the first question, the first thing you should do is read the fine print of your homeowner’s policy to determine what incidents you are protected against on your property. Sure, reading all that can be tedious, but it can prevent a lot of headaches and unpleasant financial surprises if you know exactly what is covered and what is not before something happens.
The best thing, if you can afford it, is to pay for the damages yourself and keep insurance out of it. That will stave off a possible premium increase that could cost you more money in the long run and will save your insurance coverage for an incident that is truly out of your financial reach.
If you file a claim, your premiums might go up. A claim could also result in your name being entered in a database that makes it difficult to get or retain coverage in the future, depending on your past insurance history.
Something to keep in mind: dog bites are the most frequent cause of homeowner policy claims, according the Insurance Information Institute.
If you have questions about your policy, talk to your insurance agent.
For more information about the do’s and don’ts of homeowner’s insurance coverage, talk to the friendly staff at Deseret Insurance Agency at 801-535-0570 or 1-800-326-3328 ext. 3470.