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What Homeowner's Insurance Claims Have You Made?
Old 09-12-2012, 10:14 AM   #1
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What Homeowner's Insurance Claims Have You Made?

Hi,

I've done some searching but haven't found too much. I'm thinking of increasing my homeowner's insurance deductible from $500 to $1000 or $1500. Currently $347 per year for $500 deductible. Would drop to $300 per year for $1000 deductible, and to $260 per year for $1500 deductible.

I've had my ho ins for about 15 years, with Erie. Never used it at all.

I'm trying to think what I might ever use it for. Lightning strike which damages electronics? Water leaking out of plumbing? Somebody falling on sidewalk? Hail?

Just curious what people actually have claimed on their homeowner's insurance, and did your premium increase as a result?

Thanks
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:42 AM   #2
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My homeowners (condo) insurance has a deductible of 5K for the very reason that I feel it's very unlikey that I'll make a claim. Have had the policy in place for over 10 years.

I do carry high liability w/umbrella on it though in case someone dives off the balcony or something .
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:45 AM   #3
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In a home I used to own, I had someone trip on a storm water vent in front of my house. (Vent was put in, and owned by the township 100 years earlier.) The vent was on the strip of grass between the sidewalk and street. The woman broke both arms. She threatened to sue. I felt terrible for her. But she wanted $100k. Yikes.

My insurance company negotiated, settled for MUCH less, and the problem went away.
The township wanted nothing to do with it. We'd previously asked them about the vent because it was a pain to mow around. They'd done nothing and refused to give us permission to change things. There were probably 20 of these protruding vents in the old neighborhood. Over time the ground had settles but the rigid vents stayed at the same height. There was one in my neighbors driveway.

After the incident we were given permission to cut off the top of the mushroom cap vent, and put in a flush vent. I think they were just glad they weren't the target of the lawsuit.

That was not something I could have predicted would happen.

In the same home, a few years earlier, there had been a summer storm, power outage, flood. My sump pump didn't work without power so the basement had water for a few days... but it wasn't a finished basement. I lost food in my fridge due to the power outage, but chose not to make any claim for the incident. Many neighbors (who had finished basements) did claim both food and basement damage.

My philosophy is to only make a claim when it is serious. A $100k lawsuit is serious. $200 worth of food and a damp (unfinished) basement.... not so much.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:50 AM   #4
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I just switched carriers and shaved my bill from almost $1100 to around $600. I kept same $1000 deductible. I looked at the $1500 and $5000 deductible, but it didn't really reduce the bill that much. In reality, it isn't going to help me much unless its a significant claim, because if I incur a $1500 to $2000 expense, no way am I reporting that and risking my premium to jump. It is hard to rate shop annually if you have had a recent claim.
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:00 AM   #5
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I have made no homeowners' insurance claims. Insurance companies down here are dying to drop homeowners' policies that cover wind and hail, for obvious reasons (and naturally they no longer issue new policies here either). They can't drop a policy if one is grandfathered in, unless one has made three claims in five years, or maybe it was six years. Because of that, making a claim is a pretty serious move in my area.

Also, homeowners' policies that cover wind and hail have a mandatory 5% deductible in this area, so the deductible is very high compared with those you are contemplating. We don't have a choice about that.

Fine with me! I'd rather not deal with insurance agents anyway if I don't have to. Besides, it keeps the costs down a little. Even if the high deductible wasn't required, I'd probably arrange for it anyway.

Think about it - - what is insurance for, anyway? Others may see it differently, but in my opinion it is for catastrophic, potentially life-changing events resulting in expenses that you couldn't handle by yourself otherwise. I really don't need insurance for small claims that I could easily handle, given that the insurance companies are experts in figuring out probabilities and I am not.
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:04 AM   #6
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I've never made a claim either (over 30 years and counting), haven't needed to fortunately. But I wouldn't hesitate if I had a legitimate claim. Except when I was very young (mid 20's) and didn't have any money, I have always carried the highest deductible for home and auto insurance. YMMV
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:15 AM   #7
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We've had one about 15 years ago and another about 25 years ago. A wind microburst blew our chimney over and ripped a few tiles from our roof. The insurance company had us select from a small list of companies for emergency repairs, and then paid for the permanent repairs. The other one was a burglary. The insurance company paid out replacement costs. I think we came out a little ahead on that with some of the electronics that had decreased in price since we had first purchased them.
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:18 AM   #8
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I have made 2 in the past two years. A tree fell on our house, and then a hailstorm ruined our roof. Within 2 months after filing the 2nd claim, our insurer dropped us. Of course our "agent" found us a new company and we would be automatically continued with them unless we "opted out", but it was 50% higher premiums.

So I shopped the entire package. We came out about where we were before any of the claims in terms of premium, but with better service and a more knowledgeable insurance agent.

We have a $1,000 deductible...and actually if you get a claim close to that, you may be better off not filing, as your premiums will likely rise or you'll get dropped. I heard someone say it was illegal for them to do that...but I'm sure they have a method to do it that works around the law even if there is such a law (I can neither confirm nor deny this).
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:39 AM   #9
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I replaced our roof 2 years ago, hail damage. I also filed on the shower pan leaking through to the bottom floor. I was assured by a contractor that it would be covered. It wasn't, policy said it has to be a sudden leak, not over a period of time. I won't be filing again any time soon.
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:45 AM   #10
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We always had high deductible on our house insurance (as we do now with our renters policy). Never had to make a claim, fortunately.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:51 PM   #11
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Years ago, I filed for a leak in the basement. What happened was a sheetrock screw had penetrated a pipe of our baseboard hot water heater pipes. I probably happened years ago, but the wall was probably bumped when we moved furniture. Damage was estimated at $500-600 and our deductible was $250 at the time. We were lucky in that the estimator allowed most of the plumber's bill as locating the problem, only disallowing about $30 for the repair.

Over the years, we've raised our deductible to $1,000 to keep our premium about the same. I've also raised our liability coverage to the maximum available for the policy. We definitely won't be making any claims for little things.

One thing we've learned is that even with flood insurance, you're not covered if your below ground basement floods. We've had hydrostatic pressure force water through our basement floor twice. That's when we learned even if we had flood insurance, damage to carpets wouldn't be covered. At most, they would cover repairs to the walls with flood insurance.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:16 PM   #12
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I haven't made a claim on my condo but I think EVERY homeowner around here has put in a claim for hail damage to either their roof or their siding or both at least once in the last 10 years. My parents have gotten a new roof twice in a five year period. Not sure what their deductible is?
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:16 PM   #13
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We usually don't claim unless it is something significant. In 2000 lightning hit our well and ruined the well pump and we filed a claim for the replacement of the well pump. One other time we had a short and the main electrical box fried. I think we also made a claim for that but am not sure.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:24 PM   #14
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as far as the effect of claims on premiums, I can almost guarantee it will go up.

I had a break in when I lived in a rental. Thank goodness I had renter's insurance. NOT. They stole a laptop. I turned into my renter's insurance and got like $700-$800 out of it.

I can guarantee I paid for that $700-$800 three or four times over in the form of increased premiums. We've obtained quotes, picked the company we liked the best and then went to get the final price and it went up b/c of this claim. For this reason, I keep my deductibles as high as possible and a decent stash of cash.

Americans tend to think insurance means no more out of pocket and turn in every little thing. My BIL got his car broken into and they stole the stereo. He went against my advice about paying someone $100 to fix his window (they usually clean up the glass as well) and buying a new stereo for another $100 or so. He decided to have insurance replace the entire dash, repair the seat, buy him a new radio etc. So, we'll see if his premiums go up in 6 months to a year. My money is they most definitely will.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:45 PM   #15
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Claims:

1989: Hail damage to roof, $2500 after $250 deductible
1993: leak in shower pan ruined flooring $1500 after $250 deductible
2007: House hit by lightning causing fire, about $150,000 for repairs, cleaning, temporary living after $500 deductible

None of these appeared to effect my insurance premiums though in the 1990s the company completely rewrote the coverage limits on hail damage for Alabama.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:20 PM   #16
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My claims have had no effect on my premiums.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:01 PM   #17
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Over 10 years ago, I had roof and gutter damage from a massive ice storm. Even with the deductible, the insurance company paid more than I expected, and my rate didn't go up. Years before that, I filed a claim when an airline lost my fairly expensive bicycle and some other items. The homeowner's policy covered lost luggage, much to my surprise. Besides the standard deductible, they also deducted what the airline paid. At that time the airline maximum payout was only $20 per kilogram up to 20 kilograms, or $400.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:01 PM   #18
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Every claim is reported to Clue. Thats the reporting agency that tracks your claims.

Even if you are not increased by your insurance company that report will effect you if your dropped or shop around.

You can get one free clue report a year to see whats on it.

Many states dont allow premium increases for comprehensive claims on your auto.

But they can drop you and every claim will be taken into consideration when you shop.

A broken windshield claim and a stolen air bag claim would have increased my rates 2x when i shopped around.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt III View Post
Hi,

I've done some searching but haven't found too much. I'm thinking of increasing my homeowner's insurance deductible from $500 to $1000 or $1500. Currently $347 per year for $500 deductible. Would drop to $300 per year for $1000 deductible, and to $260 per year for $1500 deductible.
Have only been a homeowner for 3 years now, no claims filed. Like others, I would only file a claim for a major ($4k+) incident, due to the likelihood of much higher future premiums.

I tried upping my deductible to $5k, but found out that my mortgage company (PenFed) would only let the insurance company max it at 1% of my house appraisal. Currently sits at about $2,500 deductible.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:05 PM   #20
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We're at $2,500 but thinking of increasing it to $5,000. I wouldn't make a claim anyway unless it was something catastrophic. More claims just get you higher rates anyway.
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