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Homeowners' insurance misconceptions

December 9, 2011

Wise and cautious homeowners who purchase insurance coverage for their residences may not fully understand the differences between competing policies. If such a misunderstanding occurs, they may find out at the worst time that their coverage does not apply to their current circumstances.

If they are planning to stay in a home, this could be a significant inconvenience and expense. For those thinking about selling a home, it can also force them to postpone the sale for an indefinite period in order to have the problem fixed and pay for repairs.

What is not covered

Some exceptions are universal, or nearly so. Flood insurance is a separate policy, for example, as is earthquake coverage. Whether these are necessary will depend more on geographical location than anything else, so many will not need to esearch such policies, but for others they may be extremely important.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, poor maintenance generally is not covered, since the homeowners can prevent it. This means that neglecting a property may result in the denial of insurance claims if the neglect is a probable cause, even if other possible causes exist. Depending on the policy and circumstances, even an approved claim could have processing dragged out for a time.

Homeowners' insurance coverage

According to the Wall Street Journal, some experts have found that differences in policy language used by insurers may change the way they, and judges, interpret claims. Many insurers try to clarify that their policies are meant to provide assistance in case of an accident, in order to avoid being required to pay for damages resulting from neglect.

The language, however, may preclude claims for long-term problems in some cases.  If homeowners fix problems as soon as they become aware of them, and those problems return due to an additional accident, then coverage might apply. The initial repairs, however, would be paid for by the homeowners themselves.

For example, policies may specify that they do not cover construction defects. In that case, moisture damage resulting from a flaw in the construction might not be covered. Some policies, on the other hand, may have more extensive coverage for damages caused by mold, or lead problems.
 

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Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker® organization has been a premier provider of full-service residential and commercial real estate. Coldwell Banker is the oldest national real estate brand in the United States and today has a network of approximately 83,000 sales agents working in approximately 3,100 offices in 50 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker brand is known for creating innovative consumer services as recently seen by being the first national real estate brand to create an iPad application and the first to fully harness the power of video in real estate listings, news and information through its Coldwell Banker On LocationSM YouTube channel. The Coldwell Banker system is a leader in specialty markets such as resort, new homes and luxury properties through its Coldwell Banker Previews International® marketing program. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated.
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