There’s a disturbing nationwide trend of insurance companies chipping away at coverage for homeowners, says Amy Bach, executive director of the nonprofit United Policyholders consumer group. She says she’s disturbed by what she sees as policies becoming less adequate.
“We have been working on a number of fronts to try to reverse this tide, while alerting consumers so they have a chance to protect themselves,” Bach says. “We have been going to regulators from all over the country and telling them it is getting very messy out there in the homeowners’ market. Instead of blanket protection, it is more like Swiss cheese and there really are a lot of holes.”
“In much of the country, the basic home policy is just for fire and theft,” Bach asserts. “For everything else you have to have extra coverage.”
Exclusions creeping in
Public claims adjuster Steven Venookin Florida points out that mold used to be covered under standard home insurance policies; now it’s listed as an exclusion.
Were you unfortunate enough to have two simultaneous disasters hit your house, one of which is not covered? Expect your whole claim to be tossed out.
“The worst is the anti-concurrent causation clause,” says Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America. “If you have two events happen and one is insured and one is not — for example if you have flood and wind — they now say they will no longer pay for either event. Courts have upheld it.”
Just ask Hurricane Katrina victims….
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