How does coronavirus affect homeowners insurance?
After spending the past month at home, you might be wondering about how the COVID-19 coronavirus affects your homeowners insurance. That is certainly a valid question, as just about every aspect of our lives has been disrupted by this pandemic.
The good news: For most homeowners, coronavirus has little or no direct impact on homeowners insurance coverage, according to Robin Price, president of Allen Tate Insurance. That is because of low risk – your home and personal belongings cannot catch the virus.
However, if how you are using your home has changed, you should take a closer look at your coverages.
If you’re working from home and/or have children at home from school, you may want to review your coverage to insure you have adequate liability coverage in the event that you or any members of your household cause an injury or damage to someone’s property.
You may also need additional coverage if you have moved your business to your home, especially if you have more expensive business equipment than just a computer.
If you are in the process of buying a home, changing to a different insurance carrier, or need to file a homeowners insurance claim, you will see some differences.
Insurance coverage when buying a home
Spring is always a busy time for homebuying, and today’s extremely low interest rates make homeownership highly desirable for those with job security.
Homeowners insurance must be in place prior to closing on a home. Part of the underwriting process is a home inspection by the insurance company representative to determine the condition of the home for coverage or rate adjustments, which occurs within a few weeks after closing. This involves an exterior inspection, at minimum, and an interior inspection if the home is older, has a history of water or mold damage or has a high insurable value.
Insurers are being particularly sensitive to clients’ needs during this time of social distancing. While most clients will be fine with someone coming onto their property to conduct an exterior inspection, some companies, such as Travelers Insurance, will allow the client to defer an interior inspection to a later date if they are not comfortable and still obtain coverage.
High-value insurers such as Chubb are conducting virtual inspections, where the client will complete a form and send a few requested photos to the insurance inspector prior to a scheduled appointment time, via phone or video. The inspector also researches the property online prior to the appointment to gather Google Earth data, tax records, fire protection info and other key information.
A home inspection may be required if you change homeowners insurance carriers, but that change could save you money or get you better coverage. Price recommends homeowners ask for a free insurance check-up from Allen Tate Insurance, an independent insurance agency, to make sure they have the right coverage in place.
Insurance claims during coronavirus
Hopefully, you will not have to file a homeowners insurance claim while you are navigating this pandemic, but if you do, it’s a pretty hands-free process.
Insurance companies have already been moving towards filing claims online or using a mobile app to upload photos or video proof of damage. Submitting claims virtually has now become the norm.
In the case of severe damage or loss, an onsite visit might still be required before the claim can be paid, but most smaller claims can be paid without a personal visit.
Have questions about homeowners insurance or other insurance coverage? Count on Allen Tate Insurance to provide the same level of service and commitment as always!