What It Takes To Be An Awful Home Insurance Customer
How much does it cost to purchase home insurance? That’s a question you may find yourself asking when you get ready to buy a home, but the answer depends on more than just the brick, wood, and siding. It’s also about you, as our friends at Zillow recently pointed out.
Yes, insurance companies are looking at not just the home, but the homeowner when determining rates and eligibility. If you’re paying too much or denied altogether, then you clearly present a risk that you may or may not realize.
Zillow has shared the five riskiest behaviors for home insurance customers. If you fall under one, it could be a problem. Two or more? Good luck! Let’s take a look at each one.
Poor Credit History
It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that insurers for home insurance policies look at your credit history when determining rates and eligibility. After all, most do it for auto history as well. Why do they do it, though? According to Zillow, “your home insurance provider could consider you a risky insurance customer … Because carriers believe a poor credit score signifies high risk. The good news is that if you’ve got a low credit score now, you can work to improve it over time. How? Pay your bills promptly, actively monitor your credit score and don’t take out too many types of credit.”
You hear it all the time. Almost every day there is a case on the local or national news where someone’s dog has attacked a small child and caused severe injury or death. Dogs are lovable creatures, but that doesn’t mean they will always interpret a little person’s behaviors in the friendliest manner. “Carriers often won’t provide coverage for certain breeds because, statistically, they pose more of a liability risk,” Zillow explains. “Pit bulls, Dobermans, Rottweilers and Akitas are just a few breeds that could cause your insurer to elevate your risk as a policyholder.”
For dogs outside of those breeds, it could depend on whether your pet has a history of biting, and it could lead to higher premiums or denial of coverage for the animal. You may believe every dog is different, and that may be true, but it doesn’t mean that an insurance company is willing to take the risk, especially when the average payout for a dog bite claim in 2013 was close to $28,000, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
The drowning risk alone is enough to make home insurers leery, especially when small children are routinely around the water, with or without adult supervision. “Your pool may have seemed like a big plus when you purchased your home, but chances are your insurer isn’t as enthralled with it,” Zillow explains. “Swimming pools pose a big liability risk to insurers. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 5,100 pool- or spa-related injuries in children younger than 15 were treated in hospital emergency departments for 2010 through 2012. During the same time period, 390 pool- or spa-related deaths were reported.”
Not in too big of a hurry to do repairs around the house? That can be a major issue when it comes to leaky pipes and roof damage. Procrastination of such repairs will make you vulnerable in more ways than one, both with the physical effects of not doing them and higher premiums.
While you may not think of yourself as a risky home insurance customer, try to compare your rates to people around you who may be in the same financial situation — people who are also homeowners. By talking to others, you can get an idea of how expensive your premiums truly are. From there, you may need to self-examine to see what it is about you that makes you a credit risk.