Just because you have Gulf Shores homeowners insurance doesn't mean it's a smart move to file a claim when something happens. Whether it's a water heater that leaks and causes some damage to your drywall, or a toilet that leaks and causes damage to your wood flooring, filing a claim on your Gulf Shores homeowners insurance is not always a smart thing to do.
Before you file your claim, you need to consider your past claim history and what this new claim might mean to your future relationship with your insurance company. Even though insurance companies exist to protect you from loss, they also need to make a profit. So they look for ways to minimize what they pay out.
That means dropping people they see as bad or low-profit—risks. Whether or not they drop you depends on a number of factors that may have nothing to do with your loss in the scenarios above, including your credit rating, where your house is located and whether or not you've filed any (or many) claims before.
Gulf Shores Homeowners Insurance Claims Can Cost You Big Time
One of the best ways to wind up in the company's cross-hairs is to file a number of minor claims with a low deductible policy. Even worse, moisture-related claims are put in a central database that all insurers can access. Once one insurer drops you, it becomes much more difficult and expensive to find coverage from another company. That could be a much bigger problem for you than paying for a new water heater and drywall now, or replacing some hardwood flooring.
Read your Gulf Shores homeowners insurance policy carefully. Pay particular attention to what the policy says about water damage. Failure of a water heater is usually a "covered peril," but you should also look to see if the policy covers the mold and fungus damage that often results from waterlogged drywall. Bear in mind that even if the policy does cover mold, the very word is a red flag to many insurers because so many homeowners filed claims for mold damage after a rash of storms a few years ago.
Talk to your insurance agent. If you've filed claims in the past, ask how this new claim would affect your premiums and policy renewal. You may not get a completely candid answer or one that will still be in effect when renewal time rolls around, since insurance companies often change their guidelines, but it will give you some insight.
Consider raising the deductible on your Gulf Shores homeowners insurance policy to the highest level you can afford. That will eliminate the potential problems that come with making small claims, and will lower your annual premiums as well. The money you save on premiums may be enough to cover any small claims you might otherwise think about filing.
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