6 insurance lessons from the homeowners subreddit

You can find some good advice on the homeowners subreddit, like when to contact your insurance company and how to save on your premiums. Here are six homeowners insurance lessons to be learned from Reddit.

Kara McGinley

Published January 19, 2021

infoEditorial Disclosure

You can learn a lot from other people’s mistakes, especially if they post them online, and Reddit’s homeowners subreddit is no exception. The homeowners subreddit can serve as a great resource — it's full of questions, concerns, and different scenarios and predicaments real life homeowners have found themselves in. Of course, the information isn’t always verified by experts and anyone can really answer, so take everything with a grain of salt. But here are six real lessons you can learn about homeowners insurance through Reddit.

1. Don’t lie to your homeowners insurance company

My wife and I are under contract for a new home. A couple days ago I purchased a homeowners insurance plan through USAA for the new house (goes active mid-Sept). USAA is what we've used for most of our insurance needs. As I was buying the insurance policy, they asked a series of questions that appeared focused on eligibility for the plan, including one that went something like this: "Will there be a pet residing in your home that has bit another pet or human?" In truth the answer is yes--our dog attacked another dog a year ago that was on our property. She ended up also hurting the owner too who, understandably, dived in to help his dog. It was not great. Emergency room visits. We paid for the dog’s stitches and received a visit from animal control and of course apologized profusely. But when the USAA agent asked, I panicked and said "no." Read the full post here.

- u/integratedsolution76

As u/integratedsolution76 learned, it’s important to be honest with your homeowners insurance company. If you lie and need to file a claim, your claim may be rejected and your insurance company may even stop covering you altogether.

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2. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover damage that happens over time

Just moved into a new house (Wake County, North Carolina). Went to install a new dishwasher and discovered mold on the wall. No big deal, I thought, as I removed my cabinets and pulled off the sheetrock to replace. Well, as I kept going I found more and more water damage. I’m now starting to think I’m in over my head. Is it too late to contact my homeowners insurance and file a claim? Am I better off just finding a contracter or plumber to continue where I left off?

- u/heysoymilk

Unfortunately for u/heysoymilk, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover maintenance issues, wear and tear, or damage that happens over time. Homeowners insurance only covers damage that is sudden and accidental, so a gradual leak would not be covered, and neither would the subsequent mold damage.

3. You can switch homeowners insurance companies whenever you want

I recently bought a home in November and my first payment has now been made. My question is at what point can I start shopping for a different homeowners insurance policy? Am I locked into the one I have for a year? And how do I find out what my mortgage company requires at minimum? (Not saying I want to do this, the opposite in fact. But want to cover my bases) Once I do find a different one I just need to contact my mortgage company to let them know correct?

- u/PoseidenPrincess

You can shop around and switch homeowners insurance companies whenever you want, even if you have a policy currently in-force. In fact you should regularly shop around just to see if you could be getting better rates somewhere else — switching homeowners insurance companies could end up saving you money on your premiums.

4. If you replace your roof you should notify your insurance company — it could end up saving you money

Should I notify my homeowner's insurance that I replaced my roof? To be clear, not asking about filing claims or any of that. I replaced it with my own cash. Should I notify my insurance agent that I no longer have an ancient roof and gutters?

- u/IUsuallyNeedHelp

If you make renovations or major modifications to your home, you should let your homeowners insurance company know. As mentioned in this helpful thread for u/IUsuallyNeedHelp, you should definitely let your insurer know if you replace your roof because they may offer you a discount on your premiums for doing so.

5. If you file a loss of use claim, keep track of all your additional living expenses to make sure you’re fully reimbursed

My house was hit by a tornado, thankfully no one was hurt, and my insurance has been helpful. I’m in the process of gathering all my loss of use expenses. Insurance is covering my rental but my commute is further and at first I had to eat out more often. I’m going to submit for the difference in expenses for gas, food, and tolls. Is there anything else I’m just not thinking of that may be additional costs I’m incurring? If it matters it was declared a major disaster by the President.

- u/mcconnell2464

If your home becomes unsafe to live in due to a covered loss, homeowners insurance will pay for you to stay elsewhere, like at a hotel, while your home is being repaired. Your insurance can also cover additional living expenses, like food, gas, and the cost of public transport. Make sure you keep all your receipts so you can be reimbursed in full for all the additional expenses you accrued.

6. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover tenants, that’s what renters insurance is for

I moved in as a tenant recently with three other roommates, and our dining room ceiling had a water sewage leak which stemmed from the upstairs hallway bathroom behind the wall. The p trap and cabinet under sink we’re dry. A company came to remove everything and put up plastic and fans to dry it out and removed the upstairs sink and cabinet completely. The fans must run for a few days while the leak detector comes to check it out and then the plumber to fix and then the company who ripped everything open has to come back and take everything down followed by the drywall and texture repair. With the fans in the dining/room and upstairs bathroom blowing really loud, and the hole in the ceiling in the dining room, along with the removed sink which two people use by the bedroom upstairs, some of these noises and a small bit of mold upstairs in the wall could be considered uninhabitable by California tenant law. The landlord has been very nice and fixed some other problems very quick for us. Do we have any rights to a rent reduction while this is all going on that is worth asking the landlord or maybe his policy for landlord/homeowners insurance that will cover tenant rent for the week long process of this repair.

- u/DarkPirana

A standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover a tenant’s personal property, liability, or additional living expenses. So if you’re a tenant and your rental becomes uninhabitable, your landlord’s homeowners insurance will not pay for you to stay elsewhere. That said, as u/DarkPirana learned, renters insurance does. After this post, u/DarkPirana likely filed a loss-of-use claim with their renters insurance which may have paid for them to stay at a hotel or similar rental unit.

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is an insurance editor at Policygenius, specializing in home, auto and renters insurance. She previously worked as a freelance writer and copywriter, and has been writing about insurance since 2019. Kara is an expert at making complicated topics like property insurance simple to understand. Her work can be found in Teen Vogue, The Culture Crush, and more.

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