Dude, Where’s My Homeowners Insurance Policy? | Brooklyn Covered

(This post will begin a blog arc of posts surrounding the issues concerning what would cause a homeowner to lose their homeowners insurance policy issued by a preferred insurance company. While we’ll continue to return to the subject of Force-Placed hazard insurance, we’ll also examine issues surrounding claims, and  underwriting changes, just to name two.

If you are a victim of Force-Placed hazard insurance, and want to share your story, please drop me an email at eustace@brooklyncovered.com . Don’t worry, your identity will stay a secret. We just don’t want this shameful practice to remain in the shadows. We just need your stories to bring the dirty little secret out of the closet and into the light.

We’ll also examine some of the ins and outs of filing your income tax return this year, and planning tips for a more successful result on your income taxes next year.

So, while it may seem we’re running along different tangents, ours will , over the life of this blog,  converge. The convergence point? Your fuller understanding of things insurance, taxes and even defensive driving.

Thanks for joining us on the best ride in the carnival, BrooklynCovered.com !)

Where’s My Homeowners Insurance Policy?

Remember the movie “Dude, Where’s My Car?” Yeah, well neither do I. For this blog post the title works well since homeowners all over the downstate area of New York State (The five boroughs, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester) are asking the question, “Dude, Where’s My Homeowners Insurance Policy?”

I’m thankful for referrals to me by my clients and real estate professionals for the different insurance and income tax preparation services  I offer. Lately though, the homeowners insurance policy conversations usually start with one of three questions:  

  1. “Why did my company cancel my policy?” 
  2. “Why didn’t my insurance company renew my policy?”
  3. And there’s my all-time favorite, “Well, what the heck do I do now?”

There are several reasons why your insurance company would choose to not renew your homeowners policy. We’ll cover this topic over the next two (2) posts. Let’s begin with;

  1. Claims:

Let’s start with the claims you submit to your homeowners insurance company. As an example, if you submit two (2) claims for water damage within five (5) years of each other, you’re cancelled. Why? Multiple plumbing leaks are a sure sign of deferred maintenance. Too many people think it’s the job of the insurance company to make normal repairs. Read your policy. Home maintenance is your job, not the insurance companys.

This also applies to interior water damage caused by old and worn-out roofs, windows which weren’t properly fitted or sealed, and even a next-door neighbor whose boiler explodes, flooding his/her basement, and yours.

Mold, anyone?

Don’t think new homes are immune to these types of problems. New homes usually come with even more problems than homes built before 1970.  Remember when new homes started springing up all over Brooklyn back in the mid-90s to 2007? I watched the last group of three-family homes in Atlantic Center as they were built. They dug a hole on Monday,  erected the concrete form on Tuesday, poured the foundation floor on Wednesday, and poured the foundation walls on Thursday and Friday.

On Saturday and Sunday, they rested.

Come Monday morning, the pre-fab modules would start rolling in. Jump down, turn around, pick a losing Lotto number, and the house was done. Soon the proud, new homeowners would take possession of the brand-new home.

And that’s when the fun began.

I’ll never the forget the conversation I had with a client who just purchased a brand-new home in another development after suffering through her first rainstorm. Her upstairs tenant called her and said, “I hate to bother you, but it’s raining heavier in my apartment than it is outside.” And when my client reached home, she found the leakage was so bad her first floor apartment, with the new rug and furniture, and well everything was ruined. 

Submit A Water Damage Claim In The First 60 Days? For A Defective Roof? Kiss Your Policy Goodbye.

Her first thought was to call the builder. You know what the builder said? He told her call me to put in a claim with her insurance company. I told her if she did that, with a brand-new house, I could almost guarantee her brand-new policy would be rejected. I reminded her of her homes ten-year warranty, which included the roof. I told her to inform the builder to have a roofer install a brand-new roof on the house, or her next call would be to the New York State Attorney Generals Office, followed by calls to Housing Preservation and Development, the Kings County District Attorneys office, etc.

She had him at the Attorney General of the State of New York. A new leak-free roof was installed, and she joyously anticipated the next rainstorm.

Until the walls around the windows leaked.

Let’s just say the builder spent a great deal of time repairing every defect in her home and most of the other homes like hers. Had she submitted a claim during the first 60 days of her new policy, the insurance company could have rejected her application. Why? Remember this: Every homeowners and auto insurance company in New York State, has the right to reject your policy for underwriting reasons during the first 60 days after your coverage goes into effect for underwriting reasons. That’s one reason why top-tier companies want to have your date of birth, social security number, and last address when you apply for a homeowners insurance policy. They run a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C. L. U. E.) report on you and your future home, detailing just  every reported claim you’ve had in the last five (5) years, whether as a renter or a homeowner. They also review your credit report to see exactly which “rating tier” to assign you to.

Also, most companies arrange for a company home inspector to come to your home during those first 60 days to guarantee the house meets their requirements. I’ll never forget the first time the New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association (N.Y.P.I.U.A., a.k.a. “The Fair Plan”), rejected an application because the house had outstanding violations and was in lousy condition.

And when the Fair Plan refuses to cover you, you’ve got it bad. Force-placed insurance, anyone? 

Think about it: Why go to all the trouble and cost to issue a policy, only to reject it for underwriting reasons.? Better to underwrite before issue and before a claim.

Our next post will expose other reasons why you lost, or could lose, your homeowners insurance policy with a preferred company. 

About Eustace L. Greaves Jr.

Risk is a fact of life. Those who recognize and best manage their particular risks, i.e. disability, death, the need for skilled nursing care, income in retirement, fire, theft, and flood, just to name a few, will live better lives. Eustace L. Greaves, Jr. works with his clients to manage their risks by combining insurance and income tax solutions in integrated strategies designed to assist them in reaching their financial goals.
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