There are some basic things most homeowners know about when it comes to protecting, caring for or insuring their homes. Let your faucet drip when the nights are especially cold so your pipes don’t freeze. Run water in unused spaces to prevent buildup. Turn off all of your appliances before leaving for a trip.

But, there are a few things most homeowners don’t know about their insurance policies:

Even if you have home insurance, you might not have flood insurance.

Flood insurance, usually backed by the federal government, is a separate policy insurance companies offer, so it’s usually not included in your homeowner’s policy. Getting flood insurance is always a good idea, unless you live in the desert. When rain overwhelmed Baton Rouge in August 2016, many homeowners found themselves at a complete loss. They didn’t think they needed flood insurance because they lived in no-flood zones. Learn from their experience and make sure you’re covered for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

If your deductible sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Our clients often share that they chose their insurance policy because it had a low deductible. They never realized that low rate meant they were getting an ACV policy, which insures your home for its components’ Actual Cash Value. That means if your roof is rated to last 20 years, and it’s 10 years old, you’re only insured for what the roof costs today. In other words, if that new roof cost you $10,000 ten years ago, you’re only insured for $5,000. After your $2,500 deductible, you only have $2,500 to fix your roof. If you have an ACV policy, you are more than likely throwing your premiums away. You’ll want to make sure you have an RCV, or Replacement Cost Value, policy. In the example above, an RCV policy would have made sure you got the full $10,000, minus the policy deductible, to replace your roof.

Your insurance agent works for you.

If you ever have questions about your policy, it’s your agent’s responsibility to answer them. You pay your insurance company a significant amount of money every single month to make sure they have your back if your home is damaged. So, if you’re not sure if something is covered, or you don’t know what something means, or have any other possible question, your agent has a duty to not only answer your question, but answer it honestly and fully.

It actually IS important to read your policy.

In addition to fully knowing your coverage, reading your insurance policy, and every policy change, diligently will let you know what your insurance company hopes you don’t see. In those policy updates you receive every so often, your insurance company may change your coverage, your responsibilities, or any number of other things. Recently, Allstate changed the requirements for what homeowners have to do before filing a lawsuit. They made policy changes, which many homeowners didn’t read, that require the insured to submit a proof of loss 91 days before they’re allowed to file the suit. If that proof of loss isn’t filed, Allstate can tell the court that the policy requirements weren’t followed and the suit must be dismissed.

Don’t let your insurance company take advantage of you. Do your research, get informed and hold your insurance company accountable. You’re paying them to protect you and your home. Make sure you get your money’s worth.

Texas Property Insurance Lawyers

If your homeowner insurance carrier has denied your insurance claim, we can help. The experienced property insurance attorneys at Chad T. Wilson Law Firm have represented more than 1,000 clients in cases against insurance companies and aggressively protect the rights of insurance policyholders. Our consultations are free, and you owe us nothing until your case is won. Contact us today to see how we can help.

 

Originally published on cwilsonlaw.com January 12, 2017

 

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