Discussing what’s NOT covered in your Florida Homeowners Insurance policy isn’t something many insurance companies like to do. But the truth is – it’s a pretty important subject. Your policy can’t cover everything. If it did, insurance companies would have to raise premiums so dramatically to pay for losses you wouldn’t be able to afford the policy. What you can do, is gain a better understanding of what is and is not covered ahead of time.
YOUR LOSS MUST BE SUDDEN AND ACCIDENTAL
A Florida Homeowners Insurance policy is for sudden and accidental losses, events that people cannot prevent. If your loss is something that’s developed slowly over time it is not considered sudden and accidental.
WEAR AND TEAR
Normal expected wear and tear is inevitable and not covered under your policy. Insurance is designed to protect you from unforeseen losses. If you have a roof that is 25 years old and is already at the end of its useful life because of its age, it is not covered under your Florida Homeowners Insurance policy. It’s the same concept as car insurance. If you owned an automobile that had old tires and they were going bald, you would need to purchase new ones. It wouldn’t be covered under your car insurance.
If you notice something is wrong and don’t take corrective action to prevent further damage, the loss is not covered by your Florida Homeowners Insurance policy. For example, if you notice a small water stain developing on your ceiling or wall, you can stop the area of the leak with calk, a waterproof filler and sealant. If you decided to do nothing and the water damage continues, it would not be covered.
SUB LIMITS ON PERSONAL PROPERTY
Most Florida Homeowners Insurance companies have sub limits on personal property depending on the peril. It’s important to understand what those limits are. That way, if you have any personal property which exceeds the limit, you can decide how you want to manage that risk. It might be in your best interest to purchase a personal articles floater policy for that specific item.
REMOVAL OF TREES FELLED BY WIND
If a tree falls in your yard as a result of a windstorm but does not hit the house or another covered structure, your Florida Homeowners Insurance policy will not pay to remove the tree. However, if your tree falls and damages even a portion of a covered structure, there is limited coverage to remove the tree from the property.
If you have a standard Florida Homeowners Insurance policy, often referred to as a “HO-3”, it is intended for owner-occupied homes. If you haven’t moved in yet because you’re still living in a home you’re trying to sell or if you just own the property for investment purposes, you will need to change the policy type. Vacant homes are higher risks. If you file a claim, it will not be covered if your home is vacant and not carrying the correct type of policy.
SURFACE WATER RUNOFF
After heavy rains, some lawns collect or pool water in one location. If too much water accumulates in an area around your home it may seep into the foundation and cause damage to your home. The damage would not be covered under your Florida Homeowners Insurance policy. So, if you notice your lawn has a tendency to pool in one location, it would be wise to contact a landscaping company for possible solutions.
FAILURE TO TAKE ACTION AFTER A LOSS
If you experience a loss and fail to take reasonable actions to prevent further damage, your loss might not be covered. For example, if a tree falling creates a hole in your roof, it would be reasonable to expect you cover the hole with a tarp until it is repaired. If you left the damaged roof exposed it would create a much larger interior loss and your failure to prevent the additional damage may not be covered.
FAILURE TO REPORT A CLAIM IN A TIMELY MANNER
It is important to submit claims in a timely manner. The more time that passes, the more difficult it is for the adjuster to determine the cause of the loss, which is essential in determining if the loss is covered under the policy.
If you provide inaccurate information on your application for insurance, your policy may be voided as soon as the company finds out – which is often while researching a claim. If the misrepresentation is material to the acceptance of the policy, the policy may be voided and any claims denied. This includes not admitting to prior losses, providing the incorrect occupancy type, and not disclosing existing damage to your home.
Source: Amanda Richter/AMERICAN INTEGRITY INSURANCE COMPANY OF FLORIDA