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Surprising Things that Could Void Your Home Insurance

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Having home insurance means you can rest comfortably. You know your insurance policy will protect you if something happens. But, a lot of homeowners aren’t aware of things they can unknowingly do that might jeopardize their policies. Or cause the insurance company to deny a claim.

Here are a few things to avoid with your home insurance.

Going on Vacation for an Extended Period of Time

Travelling on a vacation or holiday might take you out of town for a week or two. But, what happens when you’re away for 30-days or longer? An extended time away from your home can make it vulnerable to crime. Or, if a pipe burst or there’s a gas leak, how will you know if you’re away?

Tips if you’re travelling for an extended period of time:

  • Let a trusted neighbour know so they can look after your home. Ask them to stop by and remove the mail or any packages from the front. You don’t want the property to look abandoned.
  • Leave a light on with a timer. This gives the impression that you are home even when you’re away.
  • Check with your insurer if you’re away for an extended period of time. They may stipulate in your policy that the home can’t be vacant for longer than 30-days to keep your policy valid.

Running a Business in Your Home

If you’re starting a new business, let your insurer know. They will need to start a separate policy to cover your home-based business. And, this is important. Some people don’t want the “extra” policy, but it can provide liability coverage for clients, employees and delivery people. Why does this matter?

Any claims can be denied if you try to “add” your business equipment to your home insurance policy. By letting your insurer know, they can help you cover all equipment and any inventory. This will protect you if there’s a fire, theft or another event in your home that affects your business space.

Starting Renovations on Your Home Without Contacting Your Insurer First

Your insurer needs to know about renovations for two reasons. For one, you’re increasing the value of your home. This is especially important if you’re adding an addition like a new bathroom or an extra bedroom.

The other reason you should let your provider know is that you will have contractors on your property. They should have their own liability insurance, but it helps to let your insurer know. If anything happens, you won’t have to worry.

You Misappropriate How You Use Your Property

If you own a multi-family home but tell your insurer it’s a single-family residence, this is considered insurance fraud. You can be charged with criminal actions for lying on insurance forms and attempting to defraud a company.

Other ways misrepresenting your housing can adversely affect you include:

  • Illegal apartments: If you try to rent out basement space like an apartment. In some areas, a basement that doesn’t have appropriate windows is considered an illegal apartment.
  • Running illegal wiring: Any type of wiring that’s set up illegally might be a code violation. If it causes a fire and the wiring was set up illegally, the claim could be denied.
  • Having an excessive number of tenants: Do you house more than the allowed number of tenants in a multi-family dwelling? If so, this can lead to a claim denial if something happens. It can break a code for multiple occupants in a multiple dwelling.

Suspected Drug Manufacturing is Occurring on the Property

If you’re using your property for illegal activity that includes drug manufacturing, if a fire occurs, any claims can be denied. You might also be subject to prison time, fines and loss of your home insurance policy.

In some cases, a property owner might not know about drug activity on their property. This can happen if you're a landlord and your property is rented out. Hence, it’s important to set up routine inspections of your property and report any suspicious activities to the authorities.

Ready to Shop for the Best Home Insurance Rates?

Home insurance is there to protect you if there’s an accident, theft or fire. But, not letting your insurer know about renovations, travel over 30-days or a home business might lead to a claim's denial. Never use the property for illegal activities or illegal rentals. And never do your own renovations without a permit. If you cause a fire, it might not be covered. Keep your insurer in the loop about any changes to your property so you will have the proper coverage at all times.

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