Surprising things that can void a home insurance policy


Jun 20, 2019

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Homeowners rely on their insurance for a number of things: accident coverage, maintenance and of course, burglary recovery. However, property coverage has a number of considerations and several lesser-known factors can leave it void or useless. Consider these common actions that could cost you dearly.

  • Leaving a house empty – As summer heats up, more and more families are taking extended vacations. Whether it’s an overseas adventure or a cottage retreat, leaving your primary residence empty for about one month can end up canceling your coverage. It’s surprising considering that many vacationers use this season to take a longer holiday. Making a quick call to your provider prior to leaving can save a world of headache.
  • Starting a business – Nowadays many professionals have a side gig in addition to their regular career. Whether it’s occasionally baking, consulting or even haircutting, failing to notify the insurance company can lead to a denied claim. Why? Because operating a business comes with a number of different risks that may require a modified policy.
  • Not having someone check in – Even if you’re just a way for a long weekend, some insurance companies require a friend of the family to monitor the house for break-ins or damages. The reason is that vacant homes are more likely to be burglarized, especially if the residents let mail pile up and keep all the lights off. If you return home from a short vacation and find your house was broken-into, failing to take any precautions could leave to a complete lack of help.
  • Not keeping receipts – Did a burglar take your brand-new flat screen TV? A pile of earrings? A tablet that was only bought last week? While your outrage is real, that’s not enough proof for many insurers. Most people fail to update their list of valuable belongings with their provider, especially for specialty items like valuable collections. Though common pieces like computers likely do not warrant a phone call, keeping the receipt is necessary. It’s your only proof of the item’s true value. Without it, the company could pay out significantly less than its actual worth.
  • Too many claims – It sounds crazy, but if you submit too many claims, even for relevant cases like flood damage or theft, the receiving company can deem you a danger to insure. It’s best to be picky about when to submit a claim and refrain from doing so when it’s only something small.
  • Moral risk – Yes, this is a real clause found in a number of policies. It means that if you are careless with your property because you know you could get a cash payout with a claim, your complete policy could be void. So even though your TV is insured, that doesn’t mean you should leave your front door unlocked.
  • Renovations – Summer is constructions season for many homeowners. Although sprucing up a kitchen or installing a deck can be time-consuming, don’t forget to update your coverage. Otherwise, you could pay the price.

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