WILL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY DENY CLAIMS BECAUSE THE HOME WAS UNOCCUPIED AT THE TIME OF LOSS?
Homeowners are growing wary of turning over their vacation home access to a relative, friend, or neighbor as property values soar and “war stories” abound. The number of “home watch” services has exploded in response to calls for vacant home monitoring. Many of those services are second jobs or “extra money” for realtors, contractors, or retirees with little or no experience or understanding of their obligation to the homeowner.
The hot water heater failed on a Friday. But the owner was not made aware of the loss until the following Wednesday. She walked into the house with her two daughters, eager for a week at the beach in their beautiful vacation home.
Instead, they found that their kitchen ceiling had collapsed, their cabinets had lost their shape and their hardwood floors were severely buckled.
Moreover, the entire residence was affected by an unpleasant odor. The source of this odor was the growth of mold, bacteria and viruses that accompanies all unmitigated water losses.
Most of those companies do not carry insurance or bonding, or offer any type of protections to clients’ privacy, security, and financial well-being if they caused damage, were injured, a theft occurred, or they performed an incomplete inspection while at their client’s home. That has impacted the reputation of the home watch industry.
Internal water leaks are a leading cause of property damage. With 57% of homeowners who have experienced a water leak claim in the past two years spending $5,000 or more on clean up and repair costs, and 15% spending $20,000 or more, many are overlooking their exposure at a significant cost.
A new survey from Chubb
Finds that while on vacation, just 19% of homeowners view internal water leak damage as the most concerning home threat, despite the fact that water leaks are a more frequent risk than fire and theft.
Instances of water damage have been rising dramatically. In the past 10 years, the frequency of sudden pipe bursts has nearly doubled. In 2015, water damage accounted for nearly half of all property damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Of all homeowners, high-net-worth individuals are particularly at risk. When compared against other income segments, for instance, high-net-worth individuals are the most likely (55%) to report being ‘vigilant’ about conducting preventative maintenance, yet are the least likely (26%) to rank internal water leaks as their top home-related concern. High-net-worth homeowners are also the income group least likely to periodically inspect appliance hoses (33% compared to 61% of middle-class homeowners, the most of any income group), a frequent cause of internal water leaks.
Termite Damage is Rarely an Insured Loss
“Why is that house covered with a tent, Dad?” We have all had to answer that question about someone’s home undergoing fumigation for termite infestation.
While no home is completely safe from termite infestation, seasonal residences are more vulnerable than others. Early detection by a trained professional is the only way to avoid the expense, inconvenience, and stigma of termite fumigation.
You have not “dodged a bullet” if your neighbor’s home is fumigated. Nearby residences often fall victim to a swarm that has been forced to move.
Your best protection from termite damage is routine inspection by a trained and certified home watch professional, like the team at Premier Home Watch of Jupiter.