Offering cover against everything from burglaries to fire and flooding, home insurance is crucial for all responsible homeowners. You can’t just buy a policy and then do whatever you want though: deep in the small print, there is usually a long list of things that can void your policy. Read on to learn more.
If you plan to embark on construction work that might affect the market value or rebuilding cost of your home, you should inform the insurance company beforehand. Examples detached structure, dormer or basement unit. The same goes for anything that could increase the risk of fires, floods, or other damage. During construction work, the property also has to be kept watertight and secure. Minor construction does not pose an issue but if you are doing a major renovation, be sure to reach out to your Long Island, NY insurance agent and find out if you need additional coverage such as a builders risk insurance policy to fully protect your property.
Leaving your home vacant
If you leave your home empty for longer than 30 days, the insurance company has to be informed or they might void your policy. They can ask for a vacancy permit, and in the absence of that, they might refuse to pay claims for (among others) water damage, fire, and vandalism. If you go on holiday for more than a few days, someone should also regularly check the property. If a pipe, for example, burst and the damage could have been contained if someone discovered it sooner, the insurance firm could refuse to pay for what they regard as preventable damage.
Renting out the property or part of it
You may think it’s your home, so you can do with it whatever you want. Not so. If you rent it out, either as a whole or part of it, the insurance company views that as a change in the risk profile of the property. The insurance type might have to be updated because the risk of fires and damage to personal property is regarded as being higher when your home or a part of it is let to relative strangers. Your typical homeowners insurance policy requires the insured to live at the household. If you are no longer living there, contact your Long Island insurance agent to discuss having your policy switched to a dwelling fire policy so that you will have protection for a home that is rented to other people.
Starting a home-based business
A standard home insurance policy is designed to cover the risk of typical family activities in an around the property. It does not cover the additional risks of running a small business from home. These risks could, for example, include the cost of merchandise stocked at home, business machines, and materials. If clients will be visiting you at home, their safety must also be covered. Your insurance company could require you to take out additional business interruption, liability, or commercial property insurance.
Fraudulent claims or other misrepresentations
When applying for new home insurance or submitting a claim there is one thing you should not stretch: the truth. Omitting certain assets or risks when you apply for insurance, filing claims for imaginary valuables, or otherwise exaggerating damage are all regarded as insurance fraud. The insurance company can void your policy and blacklist you for 3 years - forcing you to buy insurance from a high-risk, high-cost insurance firm.
If you are a professional bank robber or diamond smuggler who plans to store the ill-gotten proceeds of your trade at home, think again. The insurance company has the right to void your home insurance policy the moment they find out about your criminal activities. Depending on in which state you live, you can find yourself being in hot water with them even by just growing marijuana at home. The best is to first discuss any doubtful activities with your insurer to confirm that your policy will remain active.