Do NOT Do These Things If You Want to Keep Your Homeowners Insurance

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties DC AB15253

Homeowners insurance companies routinely review policies to decide whether to renew or cancel them.  There are some red flags that insurance companies do not like to see and may make your insurer decide to cancel your policy.

Too Many Claims
Your insurance company might cancel your policy if you have filed several claims in a short period of time and the company paid out more than it collected in premiums. If the claims were related to a single common problem, you might be able to persuade the company to keep you as a customer if you have made changes or repairs to address the underlying issue and prevent future claims. The company might also be willing switch you to a policy that excludes that specific peril or that has a higher deductible.

Unsafe Conditions

If you put off maintenance for so long that your house is dangerous, the insurance company might be unwilling to cover you. The risk of damage to the house, its contents and people could simply be too great for the company to accept, unless you offered to make major repairs to make the house safe.

Change in Risk

Perhaps you have made a change to your property that increases the risk of an accident. For example, if you installed a swimming pool, a child could drown, which could result in a liability claim against the insurance company. The company might be willing to continue to insure your home if you installed a fence with a locked gate and alarm around the pool.  For more about the concept of attractive nuisance and insurance companies, you can check out my blog post from earlier this month.


Missed Payments

If you haven’t paid your premiums on time, the insurance company might decide to cancel your policy. If you lost your job or had an unforeseen medical problem that left you unable to work, the insurer might be willing to work out a payment plan and keep you as a customer.

Illegal Conduct

An insurance company also considers the behavior of policyholders. If you have a criminal record, the company might be concerned about damage or liability related to future illegal acts that you might commit on the property. If you caused intentional damage to your home to file an insurance claim and got caught, the company could cancel your policy.

Risky Location

Sometimes an insurance company makes individual policy decisions by looking at characteristics of a wider area. For example, if your home and others in the neighborhood were burglarized recently, the insurance company might consider the entire area too risky to insure. It might be willing to keep you as a customer, however, if you installed a home security system.


Talk to Your Insurer

If your homeowners insurance company has notified you that your policy will be canceled, call and discuss the reason for the impending cancellation and find out if there’s anything you can do to change the company’s decision. If not, you’ll need to start looking for coverage with another company before your current policy ends.

Comments (30)

Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Kathy Streib - pools can be expensive - and a slide or a diving board will certainly increase the insurance cost

Jan 16, 2021 06:21 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

George Souto - you are absolutely right - and it is definitely something I never want to be without! 

Jan 16, 2021 06:22 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Barbara Todaro - I love your new picture- such a great smile!  

Jan 16, 2021 06:23 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Grant Schneider - a new roof is one of those things that you need to do occasionally but never brings any joy once it is done 

Jan 16, 2021 06:24 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Anthony Acosta - ALLATLANTACONDOS.COM - thanks for stopping by - just talked to my daughter in Alpharetta - she was out for a walk and going to get coffee - sounded like the weather is nice today for you

Jan 16, 2021 06:25 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Nina Hollander - don't you find that many things are better done at least with a phone call rather than on line - it may be more efficient on line but it is frequently less effective!

Jan 16, 2021 06:26 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker

Hi Lise... there are so many nuances to insurance coverage you really need a good insurance person to walk you through them. Fortunately, our insurance broker is top of the line and lives just around the corner. He reviews our coverages with us annually.

Jan 16, 2021 11:45 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Jan 16, 2021 06:35 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Yes, things we change or do on our properties could change our insurability.

Jan 17, 2021 06:27 AM
Paula McDonald, Ph.D.
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Lisa - a great post on this topic and one that doesn't get discussed very often.

Jan 17, 2021 07:35 AM
Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Thank you for the great tips.  It is a little ironic.  We had extra insurance when we did not even need it.  We sold a home last March, but had paid for the policy a couple months prior.  We canceled the insurance, but the company did not get the message.  They sent out this year's policy for renewal.  Ha!  Now I am looking for a refund that I should have been looking for months ago.

Jan 17, 2021 08:08 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Lise Howe,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post on her "Ah-Ha" moments for the week as I missed it. All excellent reasons why your insurance carrier could raise your premiums or cancel your policy. Best to keep all of your tips in mind.

Jan 17, 2021 08:12 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Lise Howe,

I recently found out that many companies won't cover wood shingles and you have to prove you don't have them on your roof.  I am not sure if this is just in fire-prone areas or not. 

Jan 17, 2021 09:15 AM
Eileen Burns

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® my condo insurance policy submission has an error that included wording about wood composition on our roof.  Nightmare to get the concrete wording approved for individual home owners insurance

Jan 20, 2021 10:33 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I've met a few home owners over the years that have used their home owner's insurance more like a warranty, then get furious at quotes they get when they are buying again.  All that stuff follows us around.

Jan 17, 2021 10:18 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

In over 45 years of home ownership we have never had a problem and in all that time only mde a claim after a hurricane. A couple of years ago I did have a strange request, to me anyway, as we were changing our insurance on the house.  The carrier did not like that the house had the original hot air furnace and would not issue the policy unless we had it certified by our oil company as being in good condition. In 24 years with the same company they have only had to replace a starter coil on the burner and nozzles annually.

Jan 17, 2021 10:33 AM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Thank you for the information Lise Howe.  It's good to know what not do to.


Jan 18, 2021 07:32 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Lise:

This is helpful advice for homeowners regarding their homeowners insurance.


Jan 19, 2021 06:57 PM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

So, why is it that HO insurance companies will cancel your policy after two claims in three years but never cancel your policy after ten plus years without any claims. So, two claims in thirteen years and suddenly you're not a good customer anymore. Seems unfair, doesn't it? 

Jan 19, 2021 10:05 PM
Eileen Burns
Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FL Probate Agent, Hotel & Land Specialist

Lise Howe thanks for covering this important issue for current homeowner's as well as future homeowners.  

Jan 20, 2021 10:35 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Very informative.  Tough situation if your insurance carrier cancels your homeowners insurance bc of "too many" claims.  Sometimes all the claims are legit -- but to still have the insurance cancelled does seem unfair

Jan 25, 2021 09:11 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great information, and seldom in print Lise.  So important! 

Jan 26, 2021 09:01 AM

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