Your home insurance is there for you when you need it, but there are times when knowingly, or unknowingly, you could jeopardize the validity of your insurance policy and your insurance provider may not pay out in the event of a claim.
Here are five situations that could render your home insurance void.
1. Leaving your house vacant for more than 30 days
If you are going away on vacation, for business, or for any other reason that requires an extended absence from your home, then you’re going to want to make sure someone is keeping tabs on your place. A trusted neighbour, friend or family member who routinely checks in on your house could help mitigate any potential problems—such as water damage resulting from a burst pipe or a broken down air conditioner. It may also be necessary in order for you to maintain coverage while you’re away.
Each insurance provider is different, but all of them generally have some sort of policy in place regarding steps you must take if your house is going to be vacant for a specified length of time—usually 30 days—in order for your policy to remain valid. With no one home, you increase your risk of burglary and unnoticed, cumulative damage.
- Related Read: Do I Need To Tell My Insurance Providers That I’m Going Away on Vacation? (+ tips on how to make it look like you’re home)
2. Doing major renovations and not informing your insurer
If you’re doing major renovations to your home, especially if you are increasing the value of your home’s replacement cost, it is important to notify your insurance provider to ensure you still have adequate coverage. If you are hiring contractors to do your renovations, make sure they have their own liability insurance as well. That way if anything happens, you can ensure you’re covered.
3. Starting a home-based business
Depending on the kind of business you have, you may want to add home-based business insurance to your home insurance policy in order to ensure you’re protected. This will protect your office equipment and inventory, as well as protect you in the event an insured loss causes something to happen to your home. It also provides additional liability insurance for clients, employees and delivery personnel.
How do you know if you need it?
- You have clients or employees coming to your house
- You have a lot of high-value equipment
- You have inventory on or off-premises
If something were to happen to your home as a result of a business-related endeavour and you did not have added home business insurance, you run the risk of having a claim denied. If you’re concerned about your home business, talk to your insurance professional to ensure you have coverage that matches your needs.
4. Using your home for illegal activity
Home insurance policies typically include an exclusion, somewhere along the lines of the example listed below, that will not cover claims resulting:
- “directly or indirectly from the growing, manufacturing, processing, storing, possession or distribution by anyone of any drug, narcotic or illegal substances or items of any kind. This includes any alteration of the premises to facilitate such activity, whether or not you have knowledge of such activity. This exclusion applies whether or not there are one or more other causes or events (whether covered or not) that contribute concurrently or in any sequence to the occasioning of the loss of damage.”
5. Fraudulently describing your property
If you tell your provider that your home is a single-family dwelling when it is actually a multi-family home, this counts as insurance fraud and can void your home insurance. In order to remain protected, you must be honest with your insurance provider. If they find out you are misrepresenting anything you run the risk of not only having a claim denied, but also losing your home insurance all together.
This is why it’s important to be open with your home insurance provider. Being honest pays off and ensures you’re protected when you need it most.