Who Says Insurance Can’t Be Funny?

Hundreds of thousands of homeowner’s insurance claims are submitted every year in the United States. Many of them are very serious and are nothing to laugh at.  But, what can be funny are the excuses people come up with as to how the claim happened.  Here are a few examples that tickled my funny bone –

When a woman decided her hardwood floor would make an excellent setting to practice her ten pin bowling stroke, her home’s insurance company was a little bemused to say the least. Rather than blaming the heavy ball for the resulting damage, she was convinced the hardwood simply wasn’t hard enough.  Unsurprisingly, she was struck out in the end.

When a bee was flying around a man’s head, he got so dizzy watching it that he fell over and made a dent in his kitchen wall. It was the bee’s fault though, obviously, as the chap confidently stated on the claim form.

What’s not funny is the staggering statistics behind homeowner’s insurance claims. For example, in the first half of 2012, the Insurance Information Institute reported that one out of three liability claims for homeowners insurance was in relation to a dog bite.  Did you know that the majority of fire related claims on home insurance are related to kitchen or cooking fires?  Each year there is an average of 154,700 homes which get damaged by fires that involve the use of cooking equipment.  Hail causes approximately $1 billion in property and crop damage each year.  The largest officially recognized hailstone on record to have been “captured” in the U.S. was that which fell near Vivian, S.D. in 2010. It measured 8.0 inches in diameter and weighed nearly 2 pounds!

While you can’t prevent Mother Nature from causing damage to your home, here are some easy steps you can take to prevent other types of claims to your property.

Water-related claims – Many homeowners have turned to water alarm systems. Sensors can be placed in your laundry room, bathroom, kitchen and basement to detect leaks, seepage or flooding from a broken pipe or backed up drain.  Receive alerts on your smartphone or tablet.

Fire claims – Unattended cooking is by far the leading contributing factor in home cooking fires. Fires typically start when the heat is too high.  If you see any smoke or the grease starting to boil, turn the burner off.    Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby.   Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire as this will put out the fire.

Identity theft claims – Several insurance companies provide identity theft coverage on a homeowner’s policy. According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. Your first step to prevent identity theft is to review your monthly statements from your checking and other financial accounts.  Also, never carry your Social Security card in your wallet.  Keep it at home or in a safety deposit box with your other important documents.  Lastly, be vigilant about sharing personal information when opening a new account online or over the phone.  If an offer seems too good to be true, it likely is.

A claim can happen in a moment’s notice.   I encourage you to have a good relationship with your insurance agent so when the worst happens your agent can assist you in submitting the claim and getting your life back to normal as quickly as possible.    If you have questions about your homeowner’s insurance, the agents at American Trust Insurance would be happy to assist you.   Please call our office at 353-2800.