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With the most active hurricane season behind us and the new hurricane season just months away, policyholders and new homeowners want to know “does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks” along with a tirade of other questions.

We get it, 2020 was rough, and 2021 looks a lot like 2020’s twin. We’re here to answer some of the most asked questions for homeowners insurance policies. We hope the information we provide will leave you feeling confident in knowing how and when your policy kicks in and what you can do to stay on top of home maintenance. Knowing the difference could keep you from being stuck in a situation your policy doesn’t cover because it could have been prevented. Let’s start with the basics…

What Is Homeowners Insurance, and Why Do I Need It?

Homeowners insurance is a package policy that combines several types of insurance coverage in a single policy and applies to most single-family homes. A standard homeowners insurance policy covers:

Dwelling Coverage: Pays for damage to your home in the event of a covered loss.

Personal Property Coverage: Covers your belongings, such as furniture, clothing, or electronics, in the event of a covered loss.

Personal Liability Coverage: Pays for legal damages that are awarded to a third party when you are found to be liable for their bodily injuries or damage to their possessions while they are on your property.

Loss-of-Use: Reimburses for living costs incurred if you cannot live in your home due to a covered loss.

Medical Payment: Helps pay for medical bills incurred by visitors to your home who sustain a bodily injury while on your premises or due to your personal activities.

Your policy can have additional coverages added based on your individual needs.

So, Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks? 

Your insurance policy would cover roof leak repair caused by covered perils, such as a hurricane, hail storms, etc. (unless your policy has exclusions). If the roof leak is caused by poor maintenance or general wear and tear, it would not be covered. 

It’s recommended to inspect your roof twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Having your roof inspected before a hurricane season could be a saving grace. It will help prevent minor roof damage from leading to severe problems that can cause leaks and damage to the building’s interior.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover A Pipe Bursting?

Homeowners insurance will typically cover the damages if a pipe burst is sudden and unforeseen. However, some policies do exclude water damage coverage (make sure you know which coverage you have.) Remember, there is a difference between sudden damage and inadequate maintenance. Regular maintenance could prevent a pipe bursting. It is up to the homeowner to make sure they are having their plumbing inspected regularly. If there is a leak in a pipe and the homeowner is not following proper maintenance procedures, damages will not be covered.  

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal?

Your homeowners insurance might cover tree removal depending on what caused the tree to fall and where it fell. If the tree fell on and damaged a structure, the homeowners insurance usually covers the damage and the removal up to a certain dollar amount.

Will Homeowners Insurance Replace My Water Heater?

Usually, a homeowners insurance policy will only replace a damaged water heater if it is damaged by a covered peril, such as a fire or natural disaster.

However, if a water heater bursts suddenly and causes water damage, the water damage may be covered. The water heater will not be covered or replaced if it breaks down. We highly recommend extended warranties be purchased on expensive home appliances to cover the appliance itself.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

Homeowners insurance may cover mold if caused by a covered peril. The insurance policy will typically cover mold removal, repairs, and clean-up.

Mold growth or damage caused by flooding would most likely be covered under a separate flood insurance policy. 

The big takeaway is that homeowners insurance policies do cover unforeseen events, but the homeowner is responsible for the home and general maintenance, and wear and tear upkeep. Sometimes a little bit of money spent throughout the year could save you thousands of dollars and a disastrous event. If you are ever unsure what your next step should be, your agent will always help guide you and answer any questions you have.

Many policyholders may have received notice of insurance rates increasing nationwide. We understand many people are confused and frustrated with the new changes in the insurance industry. To help bring some perspective and provide context around the numbers, we urge you to read our blog 4 Reasons Why We See Homeowners Insurance Rates Increasing. You can also read more about how lawsuits are affecting insurance rates.


Why Are Homeowners Insurance Rates Increasing?

With everything else happening this year, policyholders nationwide are receiving notices from their carriers and wondering, “why are homeowners insurance rates increasing?” We know it can be confusing and frustrating, so let’s walk through it together. There are a few driving forces behind the rate increase, such as claims, lawsuits, natural disasters, and the significantly increased cost of reinsurance.

 

What do Claims, Lawsuits, and Natural Disasters Have In Common?

The leading causes driving the current rate increases are a large number of lawsuits and home insurance claims being filed, whether they’re valid or not. For example, in 2019, Florida didn’t see a major storm. However, hundreds of lawsuits continue to be filed every week for Hurricane Irma, which occurred three years ago. Aside from that, the number of lawsuits against Florida insurance companies is increasing in general.

This year, around 150,000 lawsuits were filed against Florida insurers compared to 92,000 in 2019 and 45,000 in 2018. That’s a huge jump. Last year, 60 Florida property and casualty insurers reported a loss of $700 million. This year, we’re on pace to hit $1 billion (Jack Lowenstein). All of these lawsuits and losses mean insurance rates rise for everyone. Some things we can’t control, unexpected things happen, and natural disasters are… natural. 

 

However, there has been a trend of fraudulent claims and lawsuits; this is something we can try to stop together. Door to door roofers are notorious for roaming neighborhoods, luring unsuspecting consumers with the promise of a new roof and no deductible; “just sign here!” They are trying to get you to sign an AOB, a written legal contract between you and another party wherein you transfer specific rights granted to you under your policy over to the contractor.

While many reputable entities utilize AOBs, these forms are widely abused and broadly written, in some cases giving away ALL OF YOUR RIGHTS under the insurance policy. AOBs are also commonly used by unscrupulous vendors to inflate damages and the cost of a claim. Always be suspicious of anyone that offers to present a claim to your carrier on your behalf. 

 

What Is Reinsurance? Why Does It Affect My Insurance Rate?

So what is reinsurance? Reinsurance is insurance that an insurance company purchases from another insurance company to protect itself from the risk of a major claims event. This coverage must be purchased every year and helps to bear the brunt of the risk of a catastrophic event, such as a hurricane.

This year, reinsurance rates on average soared 20%-50%; this affected insurance providers nationwide. Even Bankers, with our 44-year history of timely claims handling, was not immune to the significant industry-wide reinsurance rate increases and the extraordinary weather losses from the 2020 Hurricane Season. As a result, insurance providers were forced to put these price adjustments into their products. While these price adjustments come when many are looking for ways to cut costs and expenses, market forces require insurance providers to make these adjustments quickly.

When Should I File A Home Insurance Claim?

The big question is, when should I file a home insurance claim? Insurance is purchased to help balance the cost of major expenses if something unexpected should happen. If something unexpected does happen, it’s good practice to ask yourself if the event is a standard home maintenance expense or a major event. Do you have a leak in your plumbing? Or did the pipe burst causing thousands of dollars worth of damage? If you’re unsure if you should file a claim, you can always contact your agent with any questions. Your agent is an important resource you can trust.

 

We hope we were able to explain the current climate in the insurance industry. With the new year coming up and many of us working on our homes this past year, it may be a good idea to reevaluate your current insurance policy. Check out our quick blog on when and why you may want to update your homeowners policy.


Laptop with Cyber Security. Bankers Insurance Corporation Cyber liability insurance

Bankers Insurance Group is pleased to announce we now offer cyber liability insurance at a low-cost, with $0 deductible to help protect businesses against cyber threats. Our Comprehensive Commercial Cyber Service will be an option as an addendum to your current or new BOP.

Approximately 60% of all small- or medium-sized companies go out of business within six months of experiencing a data breach. These companies lack the expertise or resources to address the cyber landscape. Our Comprehensive Commercial Cyber Service will include:

  • Assistance with compliance
  • Protection and Planning
  • A breach or Ransom Response Consulting regarding information protocols and best practices
  • Resolution for consumers
  • Access to certified forensic examiners
  • Post-Resolution Education and Ongoing Protocol Review

Cyber awareness is essential, and so is creating a company culture that is proactive instead of reactive. That’s why cyber security training is included in our Comprehensive Commercial Cyber Service. Our program allows a business to deploy the training platform in a variety of ways; giving your team the knowledge needed to help reduce the chances of becoming a victim of cyber crime. The cost of a data breach includes legal expenses, lost customers, reputation management, and more. Unfortunately, actual costs extend beyond the dollars spent to address the incident:

  • 31% of breach notification recipients terminate their relationship with the organization
  • 59% of breached companies were involved in subsequent litigation
  • 33% faced potential regulatory fines
  • 32% experienced a decline in share value

Call your local Bankers agent or dial 800.627.0000 x 4900 for an agency near you or visit https://bigidinfo.com/

It’s still hurricane season: here are a few things you need to know to be prepared.