When I quote a homeowners insurance policy, aside from asking the address and other basic questions such as square footage, year built, and so on and so forth, I also inquire on some of the most common things that companies won’t accept. The reason I do this is because knowing what the customer has that is not acceptable enables me to narrow down which insurance carriers will and will not ensure that property. Some of the questions that I ask are if they own a dog, and if they do, which breed of dog; furthermore, I inquire on if their property has a pool; and, the other common question, which a lot of people are not educated on, is if they have a trampoline on the property. All of these things are tied in one way: liability. Remember, as I mentioned in my other articles, any time you own something, whether it be a car, a property, or an animal, you are legally liable for whatever damages may arise from the ownership of it. Here are a few details and a video illustrating why some risks are not acceptable:
- Of all of the questions I do ask customers about their homes, the first question that I almost always ask is whether or not they own animals. The most common animal on a property are dogs. The reason why this is important to know is that some dog breeds have a higher risk or tendency towards biting. The list of dog breeds is surprising and not surprising in some cases. The most common dog breed that has a bad reputation and has a long history of biting is the pitbull breed. Many shows have popped up showing us all that pitbulls are actually a nice, calm and friendly breed, however, due to the history of biting, many insurance companies simply will not insure any property that has this breed of animal on their property. The most suprising, at least in my opinion, are the innocent looking chow chows. The list of breeds also includes rottweilers, german shepherds, siberian huskies, doberman pinschers, boxers.
- The next question I ask about is if there is a pool on the property. Now owning a home with a pool is not a bad thing, but what is important is that the pool be fenced off from the general public, meaning, that there is a fence that is between the public and the pool itself, not necessarily that the pool itself within the property is fenced off. The reason for this is because the insurance carrier wants to see that you are fencing off your pool from the public that can just come in, drown, or be injured on your property, and file a claim or lawsuit. Although I personally believe having a fence around your pool is a great idea, this way you can prevent small children from going into the pool and accidentally drowning. Another question I do ask, and many carriers want to know, is if there is a diving board and or slide. The reason for this, again, has to do with safety. Because of the diving board’s unpredictablity, such as, where the person lands, or if the diving board breaks, the risk for some carriers is too high and or unacceptable.
- The next question I ask my customer, and which surprises them all, is whether or not they own a trampoline. I have embedded a video that I found on Youtube.com that will illustrate for you why many carriers do not want any trampolines on the property. First off, the risk of injury is very high due to the fact that it is unpredictable where a person will land. In addition, trampolines have a finite space, and sometimes, as you will see, that space is limited, so when trampoline space runs out, there’s only two places to land: on the edge of the trampoline where it is all metal tubing or right on the floor next to it:
- Here’s a list of a few other things that companies want corrections on:
- Unsecured waterheaters
- Inoperable appliances outside the home
- Inoperable vehicles
- Air conditioners that are secured inproperly
- Damaged and patched up rooftops
I hope that this article will help homeowners understand the “risk” that they “pose” as insured. As a homeowner, simply having insurance is not enough to protect yourself. The insurance carrier wants you to demonstrate what is called due diligence and hazard reduction. If they see that you did not do your part in preventing a claim/loss the claim may be denied. Many customers have a false belief that just because you simply have insurance, the insurance carrier will cover the claim, but that is not the case. There have been many cases where a claim was denied due to an insured’s inability or unwillingness to correct hazards that will pose a higher risk of a claim or loss. It is our responsibility as property owners to make sure that things that may be dangerous be corrected, otherwise way hurt ourselves financially by not having the claim paid for, and even worse, possible injury someone by not preventing an accident from occurring. Although the video that I have embedded for you is humorous, we do not see the aftermath, many of these people could’ve been seriously injured. Please call us, e-mails us or post a comment below if you have any questions or comments on more risk reduction methods.