Can I Be Denied Homeowners Insurance?

Updated May 15, 2024
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Unfortunately, carriers are denying and non-renewing homeowners insurance customers at the highest rate since statistics have been recorded. In many cases, homeowners insurance carriers are unprofitable and the burden is falling on the homeowner to reduce the risks on their property or face higher premiums or even a lack of availability.

Property-Related Reasons

  1. Structural Issues:
    • Roof Condition: A roof in disrepair or near the end of its life expectancy can be a major red flag.
    • Foundation Problems: Cracks or other issues with the foundation can indicate potential for severe structural problems.
    • Electrical Systems: Outdated or faulty wiring can be a significant fire hazard.
    • Plumbing Issues: Old or corroded pipes, especially those made of materials prone to bursting, can lead to water damage claims.
  2. Location Risks:
    • Proximity to Water: Homes near coastlines, rivers, or lakes are at higher risk for flooding.
    • Wildfire Zones: Properties in areas prone to wildfires, such as certain parts of California, may be denied due to high fire risk.
    • Crime Rates: High crime areas can lead to higher chances of theft or vandalism claims.
  3. Environmental Hazards:
    • Mold: Homes with a history of mold issues can be denied coverage due to the potential health risks and remediation costs.
    • Asbestos: Properties with asbestos insulation or other materials can be costly to mitigate.

Applicant-Related Reasons

  1. Insurance History:
    • Frequent Claims: A history of multiple claims, even if legitimate, can make you a higher risk to insurers.
    • Large Payouts: Significant claims, such as those involving total loss due to fire or natural disasters, can impact insurability.
    • Policy Cancellations: Previous cancellations or non-renewals by other insurers can be a red flag.
  2. Financial Factors:
    • Credit Score: Insurers often use credit scores as a factor in determining risk. Poor credit can lead to higher premiums or denial.
    • Outstanding Debts: Significant debts or financial instability can be viewed as a risk.

Occupancy and Use

  1. Vacancy:
    • Unoccupied Homes: Homes that are left vacant for extended periods are at higher risk for undetected damage, vandalism, or squatters.
    • Seasonal Homes: Properties that are only occupied part of the year may face higher risks.
  2. Rental Properties:
    • Short-Term Rentals: Using a home for short-term rentals (e.g., Airbnb) can increase risk due to higher turnover and less control over the occupants.
    • Long-Term Rentals: Renting out a property may lead to wear and tear, and potential tenant-related claims.
  3. Home-Based Businesses:
    • Business Use: Running a business out of your home can lead to increased liability risks, especially if clients or employees are frequently on-site.

Additional Factors

  1. Pet Ownership:
    • Certain Breeds: Ownership of certain dog breeds deemed aggressive (e.g., Pit Bulls, Rottweilers) can result in denial due to increased liability for bites or attacks.
    • Exotic Pets: Owning exotic animals can also lead to coverage denial due to their unpredictable nature and potential for injury.
  2. Safety and Security:
    • Lack of Safety Measures: Homes without essential safety features (e.g., smoke detectors, burglar alarms) may be seen as higher risk.
    • Swimming Pools: Pools without proper fencing or safety measures can be a significant liability risk.
  3. Failure to Maintain Property:
    • Neglect: Regular maintenance is crucial. Neglecting essential repairs or upkeep can lead to various risks that insurers are unwilling to cover.
  4. Legal and Regulatory Issues:
    • Zoning Violations: Properties that violate local zoning laws or have unpermitted additions can be problematic.
    • Litigation History: A history of litigation related to the property or its ownership can be a red flag.

Conclusion

If you’re facing denial for homeowners insurance, it’s crucial to understand the specific reasons and address them. This might involve making necessary repairs, improving safety measures, or demonstrating financial stability. Additionally, consider seeking quotes from different insurers, as some may specialize in high-risk properties or offer policies through state-run programs designed for hard-to-insure homes.


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