insurance is no longer a given. Nearly 2.5 million households have lost their
coverage in the last 24 months and more than a quarter of those people were
unable to get insurance from a traditional carrier, according to a recent
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FIFTY YEARS AGO, Mary Ann Selva’s
grandfather built the first house in Dickinson, Texas. In 1995, she inherited
his homeowner’s insurance policy when she moved in. Since then, she has filed
two claims, the first claim was $2,000 worth of sheetrock damage, and the second
was a hefty $20,000 claim when pipes broke and flooded the house in August of
“All the underlying costs of
homeowner’s insurance have gone up, repair costs, construction costs, the cost
of getting reinsurance. And because of all these factors, basically, homeowner's insurance
companies can no longer afford to do this,” says Jeanne Salvatore of the
Insurance Information Institute.
“That report will list the history of that home and tell you whether there’s been any mold damage, water damage, flood damage, previous fire damage, structural damage in that house,” said Robert Rusbuldt from Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers. Consumers should check for any errors, such as inquiries that were mistakenly recorded as claims, and report discrepancies to the insurer and company issuing the report. If the insurer refuses to correct something, consumers can find help through the state. Most states offer a Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plan for people who are unable to find insurance through a traditional carrier.
However, FAIR coverage is usually expensive, says Norma Garcia from the Consumers Union. “The limitations on the homeowners insurance policies are greater than those you would get through your typical homeowners insurance carrier, so really FAIR Plans are plans of last resort though they are available for consumers who find themselves in a pinch.”
For Mary Ann Selva, what used to cost her $519 now costs her close to $1,600.
Home buyers can usually get clue reports, which will have the claims history on the house, from the seller or real estate agent.
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