Property & Casualty Insurance/Homeowner's Policy Cancelled, Advice Requested
QUESTION: Hi Steve.
Please assist me with a problem if you can. Nearly a year ago, I inherited a relative's home. I obtained a new homeowner's policy (Farmer's) through the agent who previously insured the property. I had some trouble obtaining the policy due to having no credit history, but the policy was obtained. I paid it in full. This week, I received a 30-day cancellation notice in which the company cites "noncooperation on the part of the insured" due to one wall of the garage having peeling paint. I didn't even receive a warning for the problem, and feel the cancellation is abrupt and arbitrary. I was aware of the problem, but there are extenuating circumstances, inclusive of family crises and nearby construction work, which have prevented me from remediating it until now.
I have since remedied the problem. The policy is still in effect.
I have not yet contacted the underwriter or the agent. I am requesting your assistance in how I may deal with the insurance company when requesting they reexamine the property and reverse the cancellation. Generally speaking, what are the chances they will agree to reexamine the property and reverse the cancellation?
Thanks for any guidance you may provide.
ANSWER: Sorry for your problems. Here is what I would do (when is the policy cancelling?). See if you can call Farmers directly yourself. (They may tell you that your agent has to call). If they will speak with you, tell them the problem for the cancellation has been repaired (assuming it has). If it has, ask them what "type" of written inspection will they inspect to reverse the cancellation. There are licensed inspectors who do those inspections all day long. If they will not speak with you, call your agent and have him call. Plan B, if they will not offer an option to re-instate, have your agent immediately shop you with other companies and get a new policy in place on the cancellation date. What state are you in?? Please let me know what happens. Good Luck!!
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hey Steve, thank you for the prompt and thorough reply!
I'm in New Jersey and the policy is set to be cancelled in about 25 days. As I understand the law, the only protection NJ seems to give citizens regarding homeowners insurance is a minimum 30-day notification, which, I guess, I was provided.
Please explain further about the re-inspection process. Generally, is the insured required to hire an inspector to perform the re-inspection, or would the underwriter dispatch an inspector?
My other concern regards the "no credit" problem. I've always been a cash and check individual, not liking to owe money or have money owed to me, and do not like the concept of charging items or paying on credit cards. The agent exhibited some difficulty getting the policy because of this. Would consulting another agent also be advisable? I can always go to the original agent and explain the problem if dealing direct is unsuccessful, but I want to have a "Plan B" just in case.
You would have to get the inspector, and there is no guarantee the insurance co will accept it. As far as the no credit, some companies will only accept checks but many accept credit cards. With time short, if your current agent is not helping you, then by all means go to another one, good luck and again let me know what happens.