Property and casualty insurance isn't always an easy issue for homeowners to navigate, especially if their properties are seen as being at particular risk for potential issues. This trend recently came to a head in Illinois, where some insurers are now trying to ensure that owners face reduced potential for home damage, by requiring owners to pay for expensive roof repairs.
Indeed, many homeowners in Urbana, Illinois, were recently asked to undertake costly roof repairs - which typically costs into the high four-figure range and potentially beyond - at their own expense as a means of reducing risk, according to a report from the Champaign News-Gazette. Most of these homeowners were told that if they refused to undertake these repairs, their policies would be canceled. And anecdotal evidence suggests that this is a broader trend in the region.
A big problem for homeowners
Many of the people who are asked to complete these repairs say that they were given specific time frames in which the work had to be done - typically between 30 and 90 days - and it isn't always easy for them to even afford such an undertaking, the report said. The problem was most commonly observed in the region when homeowners switched their home insurance providers as a means of saving money. Those companies then sent inspectors to properties and asked for various repairs, including re-doing roofs. Moreover, this isn't limited to one or two insurers, but rather is being required a number of the best-known names in the field.
"If you own your own home and have a fixed income, where are you going to get the money in 30 days?" Dennis Roberts, an Urbana city alderman and one of the homeowners affected by this issue, told the newspaper.
What issues can lead to problems?
When it comes to home insurance, one of the big difficulties people often have is that they don't always understand what their policies will and won't cover, according to MarketWatch. Often, things like water damage from flooding, sewer backups or burst pipes won't be covered under a standard policy except in specific circumstances that can vary from one policy to the next. Meanwhile, issues related to simultaneous events, such as wind damage and the potential flooding that results from it. For example, if a roof is damaged during a hurricane to the point that it causes a leak, which in turn leads to flooding damage, some consumers might be out in the cold.
For these reasons, it is vital for home insurers or brokers to talk with their clients on an ongoing basis about why their policies cost what they do, and what those plans do and don't cover. The better people understand what they're paying for and why, the more likely they will be to be satisfied with those plans. Moreover, that knowledge can be vital when it comes to dealing with damage caused by weather events and other unforeseen issues which often arise.