Gulf Shores homeowners insurance is supposed to cover you in times of disaster as well as for incidental claims, right? At least that's the common misunderstanding with many homeowners.
Many consumers mistakenly believe that incidentals should be covered because that’s why they have home insurance. The reality is that filing a claim is not always in your best interest. Some insurers have been known to jack up premiums as much as 15 to 20 percent for just filing a single claim.
A tree fell on your fence and cost $1000 to repair it? If you have a $500 deductible, it may cost you far more than the $500 repair in the amount of increased Gulf Shores homeowners insurance premiums you'll be paying for the next 3 to 5 years.
Don't think it's just the number of claims that are paid out that will cause your rates to spike. You can get hit hard with a claim that's been denied. And even if you just innocently ask your agent about a potential claim, she has a right to open a file when you're making queries, so make sure the agent knows your question is theoretical.
What Exactly Affects Gulf Shores Homeowners Insurance Rates?
There are a number of factors that influence the costs of your Gulf Shores homeowners insurance and much of it is determined by what neighborhood your home is in, and what you want included in your policy. But other issues, like the amount of your deductible, your loyalty to the insurer, your credit history and whether you bundled your Gulf Shores homeowners insurance with your auto insurance will play key parts too.
Then there's the house itself. How old it is? Is it a wood-framed house or brick? Is there a pool or a trampoline that are ripe for injuries on the property? Do you have smoke detectors? A burglar alarm? A sprinkler system? What about deadbolts on doors and security devices like wrought-iron bars on windows?
Some insurance companies will give you a pass on your first claims—for a price, of course. You can get what is called an "Enhanced Package" on your Gulf Shores homeowners insurance, which will cost you anywhere from 5% to 10% of your annual premium, to have a claim waived over a 12-month period. There's also claim-free bonuses that offer you 5% back on your annual premium if your record is clean over one year.
Insurance companies keep track of your claims history and judge you accordingly before deciding whether to insure you and how much to charge you. A long history, or even a spotty history, of making claims sends up red flags that you'll do it again. That could mean you're a risk they don't want to take, or they will begrudgingly take you but at a steep price.
Gulf Shores Homeowners Insurance – Rules to Follow
Never file if the claim is bigger than the deductible — mostly because it won't be covered. Also because you're putting the claim on your Gulf Shores homeowners insurance record and it will stay there for at least three years.
Traditional Gulf Shores homeowners insurance does not cover water damage caused by floods. That's separate coverage underwritten by the federal government through the National Flood Insurance Program. But guess what? If you file a claim with your insurance company for something that isn't covered, the claim itself doesn’t go away, even though it may not be covered or paid.
Don't submit a claim for what is really a home-maintenance project. If that fence in your backyard is rotting away and you know that one big storm will blow it over, budget for a new fence first. There's a plus to this too: better maintained homes get better premiums.
For more on Gulf Shores homeowners insurance, visit our Gulf Shores Insurance section of articles under Gulf Shores Real Estate Categories to your right.