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What we don’t know can hurt you……..A Fairy Tale (of sorts)

By February 8, 2018Coverage

Once upon a time there was a young man, who lived in his mother’s rental home.  Eventually his mother thought he was responsible enough to be added to the deed of the home that he rented from her.  This young man lived in the home with his family which included his wife, 2 children aged 18 and 15, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 8 chickens.  The young man collected antiques and collectibles kept in his two story detached garage.  His home was filled with paintings from area artists on the walls.  During the summer the family could be found in their fenced in backyard, enjoying their pool.  The family has two vehicles.   They lived a happy life, the End.

Beautiful story, right?  Well, here is where it goes terribly wrong.

  1. The home is covered by a rental home policy, not a home owner’s policy.
  2. One of the dogs has a bite history and sometimes they find their neighbor girl in the backyard playing with the dog.
  3. The family sells the eggs from the chickens as a side business.
  4. The antiques and collectibles as well as the paintings are not documented anywhere and have a very high value. The young man considers them his retirement plan.
  5. When the parents go away for the night on their anniversary every year, the kids have a pool party.
  6. One of the vehicles is owned by the young man’s mom who lives in Dah UP, eh.

While the six points listed above may sound trivial, as your insurance agent, these same five potential gaps in insurance keep us up at night.  That’s right, I said gaps.  And if you have gaps, you may not have any insurance at all when you need it.

Here are the gaps………

  1. The home is no longer a rental, it is owner occupied.  So if there was a loss to the home, such as a fire – there may be no coverage.
  2. While the family knows about the bite history of their dog, they feel the neighbor girl is safe because she is familiar to the dog and the dog is familiar to her. But all it takes is one pull of the dog’s ear at the wrong time, and the girl could be bitten.   Because the insurance company was not aware of the dog’s bite history or even about the dog itself, when the neighbor girls family comes calling for reimbursement of medical bills due to her reconstruction surgery, the liability coverage on a home policy may not pay. And remember, the family currently does not have a home owner’s policy.
  3. Even though the family only makes $200 a month on selling eggs – it is still considered a business as far as insurance is concerned, and if someone was to injure themselves when picking up eggs or get sick from eating the eggs – guess what? No coverage.
  4. All those antiques, collectibles and paintings – the coverage is limited on a home owner’s policy unless they are scheduled specifically. And again, in this scenario the family still does not have a home owner’s policy, which means no contents coverage, for anything, let alone the paintings.
  5. Because the insurance company does not know of the pool, when the kids throw their annual party and someone gets hurt, again no coverage when that someone’s family sues you.
  6. You can’t insure what you do not own. Even though the young man has an auto policy that he thinks covers the vehicle his mom is letting him have, he never told anyone it was not titled to him.  Hence, the vehicle that the young man is driving has absolutely no coverage for damage to the vehicle or medical coverage for injuries sustained in an accident.

Are you concerned about your coverage?  Have you told us about your life story?  While I do not write this to scare anyone, I do want to encourage a call to your insurance agent.

We are not here to make sure you may be covered; we want to make sure you are covered to the best of our ability for the potential exposures in your life story.  But we need to know your whole life story, full disclosure.

Harbor/Brenn Insurance Agencies will be mailing out a renewal questionnaire approximately 90-120 days prior to each home and/or auto renewal.  PLEASE complete the questionnaire and return it to us as soon as possible.  Once we receive it we will contact you to review.  If you story has changed recently and it is not time for your renewal, let’s talk.  The more complete information we have, the better we can understand your insurance needs and make recommendations that may reduce your overall exposure to loss and associated insurance costs.

Please help us understand your life story, so that you will have a happy life too, the end.