3 Times You Shouldn't File a Claim Against Your Homeowners Policy

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  • You can't file a homeowners insurance claim for expected wear and tear.
  • You also shouldn't file a claim when its cost is equal to or lower than your deductible.
  • If you've recently filed other claims, tread lightly. 

The whole purpose of homeowners insurance is to protect you financially as a property owner. With insurance in place, you can sleep soundly knowing that if a weather event transpires and causes damage to your home, or if someone tries to break into your home and breaks things in the process, you'd likely have the cost covered by your homeowners policy.

But just because you have homeowners insurance doesn't mean you should file a claim against your policy every time something goes wrong. Here are a few situations where you're better off dealing with the bill yourself.

1. When it's wear and tear damage

Homeowners insurance is meant to cover property damage. It's not meant to cover expected, normal wear and tear that occurs in the course of owning a home. 

So, let's say your air conditioning system dies after 12 years. These systems are expected to break down after a period of time, so this is the sort of thing a homeowners insurance policy generally won't cover. And if your system is newer and it breaks down, chances are, the repairs would be covered  by a warranty on your system, not your homeowners insurance policy. 

2. When your cost is the same as your deductible or less

As is the case with auto insurance, homeowners insurance policies come with a deductible you generally need to meet on a per-claim basis. So if the cost of the damage to your home is the equivalent of your deductible or less, then it makes no sense to file a homeowners insurance claim.

Let's say your policy has a $750 deductible and you're looking at a repair bill of $625 for recent damage. There's zero sense in filing a claim for that work because there won't be anything for your insurer to pay. Even if you're looking at a $750 bill, filing a claim does nothing for you.

3. When your premiums have recently risen because you've filed other claims

The more claims you file against your homeowners insurance policy, the more you can expect your premium costs to rise. So if you're looking at filing a claim that's going to result in a minimal payout, then you may just want to cover the entire cost yourself.

As an example, let's say you incur $800 in property damage in the course of a covered event and have a $750 deductible. Sure, you could file a claim against your homeowners policy and receive a $50 check. But is that worth doing if it might raise your premium costs by more than $50 the coming year?

It's a good thing to have homeowners insurance so you're protected when your home sustains damage. But it's also a good thing to file claims against that policy judiciously, since you don't want to drive your costs up. Progressive says the average cost of homeowners insurance is $999 to $1,655 a year, and that's a difficult enough expense for the typical homeowner to absorb. So it's best to do what you can to avoid raising your homeowners insurance costs even more. 

Our picks for best homeowners insurance companies

There are many homeowners insurance companies to choose from. We’ve researched dozens of options and short-listed our favorites here. Looking for a green build discount or easy bundle policies? Want an easy-to-use interface? Read our free expert review and get a quote today.

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