1. Leaving your house empty for extended periods
If you plan on being away from home for an extended period, you will need to have a trustworthy adult occasionally check the condition of your home. Your policy will state how often your house-sitter needs to drop by and inspect the property. If you’re away for too long without having someone check in on the property, you may not be covered in the event of damage or theft. Contact your insurer before leaving your house for an extended period of time to confirm your policy details.
If you’re away during the winter months, you may want to turn off your water and leave the lowest tap in the house open to drain your pipes. This will help to prevent broken pipes and water damage if the power goes out or your furnace breaks down.
Avoid announcing publicly on social media that you’re on vacation, since this advertises that your house is sitting empty. Also, keep in mind that posting photos of your trip can alert criminals that your home may be an easy target.
2. Neglecting home maintenance
If you don’t carry out essential repairs and maintenance on your home, you may void your insurance policy. For example, if you don’t replace missing roof shingles and get water damage on your ceilings, it may not be covered. Check with your insurer to see what’s expected of you when it comes to home maintenance.
3. Illegal activities or hosting Airbnb guests within your home
Illegal activities in your home, like growing or manufacturing narcotic substances, for example, can void your insurance policy. Your policy may also have restrictions relating to home-sharing services such as Airbnb so, before inviting temporary guests, check with your insurer to confirm your coverage if something happens to your home while it’s being rented.
4. Filing a fraudulent claim
Exaggerating the value of items in your home or filing a fraudulent claim could invalidate your coverage. An insurance claim requires proof of ownership, which may include receipts, photos, and/or other evidence showing the value of an item and that the items are yours.
Your home insurance policy may also have a payout limit on valuable items such as jewelry, artwork, and other valuables. So, if you acquire any high value items, speak with your insurer to ensure your coverage reflects the value of the items.
5. Running a home-based business
Your home-based business may require a specific type of coverage not included in your home insurance policy and the space or equipment you use to conduct your business may not be covered. Be sure to speak with your insurer to ensure you’re properly protected.
6. Not informing your insurer of upgrades
Are you planning a major home improvement project? Contact your insurance company in advance to inform them. Home renovations could increase the risk to your insurance company and may not be covered by your policy.
Your home insurance policy is there to protect you and provide peace of mind. If you’re in doubt about your coverage, review your policy and speak with your insurer.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and The Personal cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.