It’s not uncommon to assume that a call to your insurance company should be the first thing on your list the moment you find damage in your home. But what so many policyholders don’t know is that even just a phone call to initiate a claim can work against you.
Why Calling Your Insurance Company May Not be the Best Option
Every contact you make with your insurance company counts as a “claim on record”. This means that once you phone in to begin the claims process (because that’s what you think is the right course of action at the time), even if you don’t follow through with the claim, that call goes on your record. For example, you notice water stains on your ceiling. You speak to your insurance company about the stains and the investigation begins, only contrary to what you expect, it is determined that those stains fall into one of the uncovered categories in your policy! Now, not only are you not covered for the repairs, but your phone call also counts as a “strike” against your clean record. And one too many strikes puts you at risk of being dropped.
Your Insurance Policy Doesn’t Cover Everything
In Canada, there are a number of circumstances that are not covered by the vast majority of insurance policies. Making yourself aware of what these are, how you can recognize them and what you can do to confirm whether or not your situation falls into one of these categories can mean the difference between a shrewd decision and a hasty one that only costs you in the long run.
Three Scenarios Your Insurance Policy Likely Doesn’t Cover
It’s so easy simply to assume that because you have insurance on your home, you must be covered for whatever happens to it. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
1 – “Overland Flooding”
The Insurance Bureau of Canada defines overland flooding as water that enters a home through doors and windows. And such an event is not covered. The Bureau states that this is because the fundamental purpose of insurance is to spread risk among many policyholders, whereas overland flooding is a risk that presents itself only to a very small percentage of homeowners.
2 – Seepage of Precipitation
Water that makes its way into your home through your foundation, walls, doors, windows or basement floorboards is not covered by basic insurance policies. In other words, if after a heavy rain or snowfall you find that precipitation has seeped into your home through one of these places, you’re on your own to deal with the damage.
3 – Lack of Maintenance
Many homeowners’ insurance claims are turned down because they failed to perform basic maintenance on their properties. A good – and all too common – example is the roof. Deterioration, corrosion, seepage or water infiltration is often the result of improper downspout, eavestrough, roof vent or chimney flashing installations, or poorly sealed roof flashings or vent flashings. Be it your roof, windows, doors or any other part of your home, a poorly maintained property is not one protected by insurance.
Do Your Due Diligence
As a homeowner and a policyholder, it is your responsibility to do your due diligence before placing a call to your insurance company. Take ownership of your home and its condition. When you notice a new issue, hire a professional to diagnose the situation to determine the origin and cause of the problem. This will keep you in good standing with your insurance company and save you time and money in the long run.