My mother gave a slight smile as she leaned heavily on my arm and stepped out our back door and started down the stairs. “Thank you,” she managed through tight lips as she gripped my wrist. In recent months her knees had bothered her and she’d been taking stairs slowly. She could’ve managed on her own, but effort was apparent in her expression. The next day I made calls to add railings to our outdoor steps; I wasn’t always going to be there to help.
Stairs are a common cause of lawsuits against homeowners. Not from aging parents, but from guests, visitors, mailmen, and package delivery services. Even if you only have a few short steps, a railing provides not only stability to visitors, but also a strong defense should you be sued. That’s why insurance inspectors often require railings be added if absent. Plus, they look good.
But lack of railings is only one home insurance red flag…
Growing up, my best friend had a trampoline. It was one of the large, square ones with no padding and no safety curtain. It was just a huge metal frame with springs so big they could’ve come from an auto salvage yard. He would do acrobatic flips while I landed on steel every time. It’s a wonder I never lost a leg.
But even modern trampolines cause more than 92,000 hospital visits each year. While these toys may be fun additions to a backyard, they will be detrimental to your homeowners insurance price. In fact, many insurance companies simply will not quote a home that has a trampoline. From spinal damage to broken bones, injuries are frequent, which is why trampolines are not a favorite among insurance companies.
Animals are a part of the family and make our day brighter. But depending upon a dog’s breed, they can increase insurance premiums. That’s not because insurance companies don’t like dogs. However, dog bites are a common reason for lawsuits against homeowners. Without an easy way to determine which dogs are OK, insurance companies are forced to draw the line at breeds that statistically bite more often.
For some dogs, it may be best to obtain a separate pet insurance policy to cover dog bite and injury claims. Each insurance company has their own list of breeds not allowed, but according to The Insurance Alliance, the most denied by insurance companies are:
- Pit Bull/Staffordshire Terrier
- Presa Canarios
- German Shepherd.
The gig economy is the fastest-growing industry in the country, with people starting companies from their basements, bedrooms, or garages. While this is inspiring and exciting, it can have a costly impact on homeowners insurance. And it makes sense – a homeowners insurance policy is meant to protect the home and liability associated with it, not the added risk brought by a business.
Standard homeowners insurance provides very limited protection for business equipment and zero liability protection for risks associated with business operations. In fact, some home insurance policies deny coverage for entire structures that contain business equipment or where a business operates. Homeowners insurance simply isn’t built to cover business risk. Depending upon the business, options could be as simple as endorsing your existing homeowners insurance policy or obtaining a separate business insurance policy altogether.
Some other items that can throw a red flag to home insurance companies include:
- Unfenced swimming pools
- Wood stoves
- Age of house
- Age of roof
- Old wiring and fuse boxes
- Old plumbing
- Distance from fire station
- Underground storage tanks
- Farm animals (may require Farmowners policy)
For coverage questions, visit Home Insurance or Contact your Bankers Insurance agent. We will help determine your risks and advise how to cover them. Not a client of ours? Let us compete for your business! Each of our clients is assigned a personal insurance agent and provided their email address as well as a phone number that rings right on their desk.
David McCaleb LinkedIn
Bankers Insurance LLC