General Home Upkeep to Avoid Neglect Exclusion
One very common yet unknown homeowners’ insurance policy exclusion is that of neglect. Neglect means that the homeowner failed to properly upkeep their property. But what does this actually mean? What responsibilities do homeowners have to maintain their dwelling? For more information, or if your insurance claim has been denied, a West Palm Beach attorney would be glad to take your call.
Avoid Neglect by Doing Regular Maintenance
Regularly painting the exterior of your home, caulking in your bathroom, and fixing plumbing leaks all go a long way to preventing neglect and a headache of a homeowners’ claim. Simply maintaining your safety equipment, such as ensuring that your windows can latch and lock properly, or replacing dead smoke detector batteries are important steps to take in order to avoid denied insurance coverage due to neglect. In fact, it is now a Florida law to have a 10-year, sealed battery in your smoke detector, according to Action News Jax, and failing to do so could result in a claim issue.
Types of Neglect
There are many forms of property neglect. As an example, neglect could mean that the homeowner should have replaced their shingles before it began to leak over the course of a year or two, causing roof rot to set in and water damage to the interior of the house. Another example of water damage caused by neglect would be if a homeowner failed to re-paint their home when it needed it, allowing the exterior to be damaged and eventually let in water. There are many types of neglect that can lead to a homeowners’ insurance claim denial, and they do not all have to do with water damage. Some of the most common types of neglect that could result in your insurance company denying your damage claim are outlined below:
- Not having working smoke detectors in your home;
- Not having a working fire extinguisher in your home;
- Not having deadbolts on your exterior doors (in case of theft);
- Not painting your home. How Stuff Works recommends repainting the exterior every four to six years, depending on where you live;
- Failing to keep the interior of all rooms, including bathrooms, regularly dry to prevent rot from setting in, as well as mold (the latter is not ever covered by insurance even if you were not neglectful);
- Failing to address structural integrity concerns of your home. For example, if you had a contractor tell you that there might be a problem with the foundation or a certain wall, and you failed to have the necessary work done to prevent damage, you may not be covered when a collapse occurs. If you had filed a claim about the initial damage, the larger problem could have been avoided and your insurance policy would have likely paid for the repairs, unless the damage was caused by normal wear and tear, which is another exclusion from a homeowners’ policy;
- Failing to fix small leaks in the roof or windows; and
- Neglecting to address faulty or worn out electrical outlets
Call an Attorney for Help
Generally, if your insurance company can point to any problem and say that steps could have been taken to prevent it from occurring, your claim can be denied. If you have already had your claim denied, you need to take immediate legal action by hiring an attorney. Contact the West Palm Beach law offices of the Celeste Law Firm today.