“A man’s home is his castle.” This saying refers to the importance of a man’s home. Our lives revolve around our homes. They’re not only where we live, they’re where we keep our memories. Over time, a house absorbs the character of those living within. Therefore, being hurt when one’s home is damaged is natural. Victims of such tragedies shouldn’t also have to worry about money. That’s where homeowner’s insurance comes in.
Homeowner’s insurance shields families all over America from financial catastrophes. Insurance companies accomplish this by promising to pay for certain damages. They do this in exchange for monthly fees. The idea is that most insured people will not need the insurance. This allows insurance companies to assist those that do and make a profit. However, recently homeowner’s insurance rates have risen a lot. This is due to weather patterns.
Basic Policy Overview
Some might wonder how the weather can affect insurance. To learn this, we must first discuss homeowner’s insurance plans. There are four main types of individual coverage: HO-1, HO-2, HO-3, and HO-5. HO-1 is the most basic policy and safeguards individuals many things. These include fire, lightning, hail, volcanic eruption, and most forms of vandalism. HO-2 covers all the items listed above. It also covers snow, sleet, falling objects, accidental electrical damage, and accidental water damage. HO-3 is where policies start changing. HO-3 covers any damage not excluded in the policy. Finally, the HO-5 policy covers all but a few sources of damage.
Now, an observant individual will spot some similarities in said policies. Specifically, one might notice that every single one covers weather problems. Each of these policies are meant to cover both damage to the home and damage to the property inside. Furthermore, certain policies will pay out 30-day living expenses in the case of serious losses. Knowing this, we can conclude that the payout for weather-related damages can be massive. Also, weather disasters usually result in lots of people making claims. You can see how expensive these events are for insurers.
The Worsening Weather
In the last several years, there has been a growth in the rate of weather disasters. This growth has increased the financial burden on insurance companies. In response, insurance companies increased their rates. This passes the burden down to the homeowner. Unfortunately, most experts believe these rates will only continue to rise.
The culprit behind the worsening of our weather patterns is quite clear to insurers: Global Warming. According to insurance reports, most insurance companies have spent years trying to mitigate the effects of global warming. It can be said that they have succeeded. The current rise in homeowner’s insurance rates is not equal to the rising costs. However, as the average insurance company’s cost grows, so too will the average insurance rate.
In addition, it’s quite likely that the things insurance companies are using to shield consumers from the full financial burden have their limits. Many people have speculated that the future will see a sudden spike in insurance rates. The longer global warming goes on, the more likely this becomes.
What Can We Do?
Right now, there’s not much we as individuals can do to stop the rise in homeowner’s insurance rates. So long as people have houses they will need insurance. This means homeowner’s insurance is very close to a needed service. However, most insurance companies are for-profit companies, which means it’s their duty to be profitable. Therefore, the rise in rates is not something that can the insurance companies can stop.
There are some thing one can do to lessen the financial burden. For instance, one can move to an area where natural catastrophes are less common. Insuring such areas is less risky, allowing insurance companies to offer lower rates. Of course, the inverse is also true. People living near the coast or upon fault lines face higher insurance rates. This also affects people living in tornado-prone states and those living near a volcano.
In the short-term, homeowners (and those looking to be homeowners) have no choice but to bear this burden. In the long-term, however, we can try to be both more environmentally conscious. Should the weather return to normal, it’s certain that insurance rates would too.
Risk of being sued by Winter Weather: Liability Claims
We often ponder about casualties to our homes when it comes to bad weather. However, we fail to take others into consideration. There is a significant risk that people can get hurt if you don’t maintain your property. You are held responsible to damage that occurs on your territory. Nevertheless, your home insurance covers liability.
First of all, you should contact your insurance company even if you believe that the injury is not your fault. The insurance company is able to give you advice on what to do next. Additionally, insurance companies aid you with legal defense costs. This is included in the liability portion of your insurance. Take advantage of the services that insurance companies offer. They are there to help you!
Make sure you understand your contract with the insurance company. According to their policy, you have chosen to keep them aware of circumstances that might impact liability. Do not try to resolve any issue by yourself. Doing so may create a predicament for your own insurance coverage. Your insurance representative will explain how you are covered and do their best to help you in the situation.
Winter Liability Risks
- Damaging another person’s property. For instance, a tree collapses on your neighbor’s fence or home.
- Suppose the mailman comes to drop a package and slips on the ice on your walkway. Make sure you keep your walkway de-iced and clear of snow. This prevents others from getting injured.
- Snow or ice on the roof of your home suddenly falls down on a parked vehicle. Moreover, a person walking along your property can also get hurt. You should pay attention to accumulation on your roof after a storm. Doing so will ensure a safe environment.
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible if you notice any casualties to your home. Many insurance companies have a 24-hour claim number that assists you in an emergency.
Insurance does not pay for gradual damage. As a result, delaying things could cost you a lot of money. Nonetheless, you can also inflict further damage that you would need to pay. This can prevent your claims from being valid.