Don't Rush to File Insurance Claims
A pipe in my house broke Sunday and flooded my basement. My husband turned off the water supply to our house, we cleaned up the basement and called a plumber this morning. What we didn't do was call our insurance agent.
In a situation like this, you shouldn't rush to file a claim. We're going to find out how much the repairs will cost. If the total isn't too much more than our insurance deductible, we'll foot the bill. Why? Because it will save us money over the long run.
Insurers are quick to hike premiums or drop customers who file claims for water damage. In a study by the California Insurance Department, 25% of the companies surveyed had refused to renew the policies for customers who made one or two non-water-damage claims in the preceding three years; 32% refused to renew policies of customers who had made one or two water-related claims. Among the 13 biggest companies, 62% turned down new applicants who had filed one or two claims in the previous three years.
If you were dropped by your insurer (or saw your rate rise after filing a claim), here's what you need to know.