Ron Top Homeowner Insurance Myths Oregon gov

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					                            I’m starting a job in a new city. My house is sitting empty while I try to sell it, but that’s OK because my
               10           homeowners policy will take care of any damage that might occur.
             You might be in for a big surprise. Homeowners policies generally exclude certain losses if the house is vacant or unoccupied for a period of time. Vandalism and
             malicious mischief, for example, are typically excluded after 60 days. Also, damage caused by freezing of plumbing, heating or air conditioning systems may not be
            I’m starting a job in a new city. My house is sitting empty while I try to sell it, but that’s
10           covered unless you maintain heat in the building or drain the pipes. Each company has differences in policy language, so be sure and carefully check your policy.
             Your because my homeowners policy will Most companies of any damage that occupied.
            OK insurance company may also choose to discontinue your coverage. take care choose to insure properties that are might occur.
You might be in for a big surprise. Homeowners policies generally exclude certain losses if the house is vacant
                 9      My period of policy Vandalism and malicious mischief, for and my gun collection in full.
or unoccupied for a homeowners time. will cover my expensive jewelry, my coin collectionexample, are typically excluded
after 60 days. Also, damage caused by freezing of plumbing, heating or air conditioning systems may not be
         Homeowners policies provide broad coverage for personal property that is probably adequate for the average homeowner. However there are generally special limits
         unless you maintain heat example, might be limited to $1,500. the pipes. Each company has to consider either buying higher
covered for certain classes of property. Jewelry, forin the building or drain If you have jewelry of greater value, you may wantdifferences in policy
         limits or buying a specific endorsement for each piece. If you choose to buy specific coverage, you may also be covered for more causes of loss. Money and coin
         collections sure and carefully check your policy.
language, so beusually have a very low limit, some times as low as $200. Guns and other classes of property may also be limited.
         Your policy company may also choose to discontinue your limits if you need them, companies find out your coverage is
Your insurance should have a section that specifies special limits. You may generally buy highercoverage. Mostbut you don’t want tochoose to insure
         inadequate after a loss. We suggest periodically going over your insurance coverage with your agent or customer service representative to make sure you have what
properties that are occupied.
         you need.

                                                                              If I injure someone          my motorized
           My homeowners hillside, but I’mcover my about all this jewelry, my coin collectionwhile riding gun
                     I live on a policy will not worried expensive                                and liability coverage in
                                                                              scooter or my Segway, themy
 9               8
           collectionrain because my homeowners policy will pay for
                       in full.
                     landslide damage.
                                                                                                          7
                                                                              my homeowners policy will take care of the
                                                                                                                     claim.
          Homeowners policies provide broad coverage for personal property that is probably adequate for the average
Homeowners policies do not cover earth movement. Earthquake coverage is                      Most people think of the liability coverage under the homeowners policy as applying
          usually available for an additional premium, but not landslide. There is specialty to someone who is injured on their property. The coverage is much broader than
          coverage available for there are expensive and special                             that, including things of property. Jewelry, for example,
homeowner. Howeverlandslides, but it’sgenerally hard to find. limits for certain classes like your dog biting someone or someone claiming an injury or
                                                                                             property damage caused
                                                                                                                       to not generally covered. You would need of a
might be limited to $1,500. If you have jewelry of greater value, you may want by your actions. Liability arising out of the useto buy specific
                                                                                             motorized vehicle, however, isconsider either buying higher
limits or buying a specific endorsement for each piece. If you choose                        coverage. to buy specific coverage, you may also

                                                                                                               have very low limit, some times as
be covered for more causes of loss. Money and coin collections usually Oregonalaw says my insurance company can’t
                         It’s not other classes of property may also
low as $200. Guns and my insurance company’s business whether I be limited. choose to discontinue my coverage for one
                 6                                                                                        5   claim, so
Your policy should have a sectionand property. special limits. You may generallythat means they can’t raise myneed
                         maintain my home that specifies
                                                                                                              either.         buy higher limits if you rates
          Insurance companies cover to find out your coverage is                             Insurance rates loss. primarily on the claims history of the insurance
them, but you don’t wantyour losses from certain risks, including fire or inadequate after a are basedWe suggest periodically going
          windstorm or theft. If the risk is increased                                       company. Homeowners rates are based the cost to rebuild your
over your insurance coverage with by poor maintenance, an insurance service had a loss. That means that rates areonsure you to increasehome if
                                                       your agent or periodic
          company may discontinue your coverage. Companies may make          customer        you representative to makeprobably going have what                         over
you need. inspections to assess the condition of the property. Companies are required to     time as the cost of rebuilding increases.
          provide notice if they are going to discontinue coverage, so you may be able to
             work with them to correct the maintenance issues.                                       In addition, many companies have rating plans that give the lowest possible
                                                                                                     rate to policyholders who have never had a claim. Once a claim takes place,
            I live on a hillside, but I’m not worried about all                                       rain because
                                                                                                this the rate is adjusted. my homeowners policy will
 8          pay for landslide damage.
                                                                    If the garage burns down, my homeowners
              My insurance company can’t refuse to insure me
                 4                                                          will                          3
                                                                    policy usually available for collector car
Homeowners policies do not breed ofearth movement. Earthquake coverage is havepay for the expensivean addi-
              because of the cover dog that I own.                  that I       stored.
                      but not claims can be quite expensive. Some insurers coverage Homeowners policies generally don’t cover it’s vehicles. There and
tional premium,can. Dog bite landslide. There is specialty choose not available for landslides, but motorexpensive are
         In fact they
hard to find. insurance to homeowners who own a dog breed with a history that
         to provide                                                                 specialty insurers for show cars.
             suggests a dog bite claim is more likely.

           If I injure someone while riding my motorized scooter or my Segway, the liability coverage in
 7               2
           my homeowners policy will take care of the claim. pay for the repairs.
                      If my neighbor’s tree falls on my house, his insurance will

         That’s possibility if the liability coverage under tree homeowners reasonable chance it would fall. The more common who is
Most peoplea think ofthe neighbor knew or should have known that histhewas dying or there was apolicy as applying to someone situation isa
         windstorm blowing                healthy tree. In that case, your neighbor’s insurance company may deny your claim because your neighbor did nothing wrong to
injured on their loss. Theover a perfectlycoverageisis much broader than that, including things like your dogresponsiblesome-
                              good The
         cause your property.news for this situation your own policy will pay for your damage and fight it out with the other company. You’ll be biting for your
         deductible.
one or someone claiming an injury or property damage caused by your actions. Liability arising out of the use
of a motorized vehicle, however, is not generally covered. You would need to buy specific coverage.
                 1          All water losses to my home are covered.

 6          Coverage my insurance company’s business whether I maintain your home and property.
           It’s notfor water damage is limited in homeowner's insurance policies. The policy covers the damage tomy home if a pipe burst, for example, or if the wind blew
             your roof off and rainwater came in, but most other water losses are excluded. A typical homeowner's policy will have an exclusion that defines water damage in three
             broad categories.
         The first is flood, which includes flood, surface water, waves, certain risks, including fire or windstorm or theft. If the risk is
Insurance companies cover your losses from tidal water, overflow of a body of water, or spray from any of these, whether or not driven by wind. Flood
         insurance is available through the National insurance company may company or agent your you with flood Companies may make
increased by poor maintenance, an Flood Insurance Program. Your insurancediscontinue can helpcoverage.insurance information and pricing.
          inspections or assess Your condition through sewers or drains. Most insurance companies have
             second is                          material that
periodic Thethis for an watertowater-bornethe insurancebacks upofor agent can explain theCompanies arethe cost. an endorsement that provides limited coverage
         for              additional premium.                  company the property. coverage available and required to provide notice if they
                                                        so you may the able to work with them to correct the through a building, issues.
are going to discontinue coverage, below the surface ofbe ground including water that exerts pressure on or seeps or leaksmaintenancesidewalk,
         The third is water or water-borne material
             driveway, foundation, swimming pool or other structure. Since this is not covered, we recommend consumers regularly inspect gutters, downspouts, drainage systems
             and outdoor irrigation systems to prevent this type of loss.
                                                                                                                                continued on next page . . .
              Ron Fredrickson of “Ask Ron” manages the Consumer Advocacy Unit of the Oregon
       Oregon law says my insurance company can’t choose to discontinue my coverage for one
5      claim, so that means they can’t raise my rates either.
Insurance rates are based primarily on the claims history of the insurance company. Homeowners rates are
based on the cost to rebuild your home if you had a loss. That means that rates are probably going to
increase over time as the cost of rebuilding increases.
In addition, many companies have rating plans that give the lowest possible rate to policyholders who have
never had a claim. Once a claim takes place, the rate is adjusted.


4      My insurance company can’t refuse to insure me because of the breed of dog that I own.

In fact they can. Dog bite claims can be quite expensive. Some insurers choose not to provide insurance to
homeowners who own a dog breed with a history that suggests a dog bite claim is more likely.

       If the garage burns down, my homeowners policy will pay for the expensive collector car that I
3      have stored.
Homeowners policies generally don’t cover motor vehicles. There are specialty insurers for show cars.


2       If my neighbor’s tree falls on my house, his insurance will pay for the repairs.

That’s a possibility if the neighbor knew or should have known that his tree was dying or there was a reason-
able chance it would fall. The more common situation is a windstorm blowing over a perfectly healthy tree.
In that case, your neighbor’s insurance company may deny your claim because your neighbor did nothing
wrong to cause your loss. The good news for this situation is your own policy will pay for your damage and
fight it out with the other company. You’ll be responsible for your deductible.


1      All water losses to my home are covered.

Coverage for water damage is limited in homeowner’s insurance policies. The policy covers the damage to your
home if a pipe burst, for example, or if the wind blew your roof off and rainwater came in, but most other water
losses are excluded. A typical homeowner’s policy will have an exclusion that defines water damage in three
broad categories.
The first is flood, which includes flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water, or spray
from any of these, whether or not driven by wind. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insur-
ance Program. Your insurance company or agent can help you with flood insurance information and pricing.
The second is water or water-borne material that backs up through sewers or drains. Most insurance companies
have an endorsement that provides limited coverage for this for an additional premium. Your insurance company
or agent can explain the coverage available and the cost.
The third is water or water-borne material below the surface of the ground including water that exerts pressure
on or seeps or leaks through a building, sidewalk, driveway, foundation, swimming pool or other structure.
Since this is not covered, we recommend consumers regularly inspect gutters, downspouts, drainage systems
and outdoor irrigation systems to prevent this type of loss.


  Ron Fredrickson manages the Consumer Advocacy Unit of the
  Oregon Insurance Division. The advocates are available from 8 a.m.
  to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to answer questions and to resolve
  complaints against insurance companies or agents. Call 1-888-877-
  4894. Find more “Ask Ron” tips on the Division website.                           Oregon Insurance
                                                                                        Division

				
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