BPuhl’s Blog

A little bit of everything without actually being much of anything

Homeowners Insurance

Posted by BPuhl on September 21, 2008

I’ve been dealing with some plumbing problems recently.  Specifically, a drain line from the kitchen which runs under the concrete slab to connect to the other drain lines on their way out to the sewer – failed.  Since I have a split level house, the plumbers came out, and tore up the ceiling downstairs to run a new drain line from the kitchen into the garage.  I started ripping out moldy walls, replacing studs, etc…  Altogether, about a $4500 adventure.  (which is relatively cheap for this kind of an issue – fortunately we didn’t have to dig up the slab)

So where was my home owners insurance through all of this? 

Remembering back to when I bought my house, there was something like a 4 inch stack of paperwork that required about 150 signatures.  Ok, ok, ok – I’ll admit it here – No, I did not actually read and fully understand every single word of every one of those documents that I signed.  (really, did you?) 

Well, one of those pieces of paper was my home owners insurance policy, and I really should have read it more thoroughly.  Growing up, I’ve always seen various types of insurance have $250, $500, or $1000 deductibles – something like that.  Ah, turns out that State Farm gave me a policy with a “One Percent” deductible – which put’s it at…oh…about $4500 or so.  DOH!!!  (And I’m not blaming them, because I would actually bet that they TOLD me about it as well.  This is all my fault, State Farm has actually been pretty good)

What’s worse, is that when I called to ask about filing the claim, the nice lady offered that just by saying the word, I could change my deductible to $1000 and it would take effect immediately (unfortunately not retroactively), and it would cost an additional $140 per year.  Now – quick math says that there are about 25 “hundred-forty-dollars” inside the $3500 difference between my 1% deductible and $1000 (not to mention, hopefully, the value of the house goes up over time).  Was I stupid!?!  Of course, change that stuff immediately! 

(and those of you diving for the comment button – that was a rhetorical question)

So I’m doing most of the repair work myself now (Home Depot shareholders can thank me later).  Lesson learned, the hard way for me, but sharing this with you on the off chance that just possibly, you might not have read all that paperwork either.

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2 Responses to “Homeowners Insurance”

  1. Laura said

    *dives for the comment button anyway* Come on, you can’t just leave me a wide-open shot like that and expect me not to take it. 😉

  2. Chris said

    Not so funny fact about homeowners insurance. By placing that call, and not actually filing a claim, the insurance company has added a record to your home and your personal history. This record will “help” the insurance companies (both present and future) in determining your policy risk level. The risk level determines the cost of your homeowners insurance policy.

    In short, simply calling your insurance company about a “possible” claim can cause your premiums to rise…

    More info here: Privacy Rights Website

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