Finding home insurance can be a frustrating experience if you own a high-risk property that insurers consider too risky to cover. If you are struggling to find basic homeowners insurance for your house, there are still several options you can explore.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover:
- Why Insurers May Decline Home Insurance
- Tips to Make Your Home More Insurable
- Special Insurance Programs Like FAIR Plans
- Seeking Coverage in the Excess and Surplus Lines Market
- Steps to Take When No Carrier Will Insure You
- FAQs on Uninsurable Homes
Let’s first understand the reasons why insurers refuse to cover certain homes.
Why Insurers May Decline Home Insurance
There are several characteristics of a home that could make insurers apprehensive about providing coverage. Here are some of the main reasons your property may be deemed uninsurable:
Located in High-Risk Zones: Homes in hurricane, flood, earthquake, wildfire or other disaster-prone regions are considered high-risk. Insurers prefer to limit their exposure in these zones.
Old Infrastructure: Outdated electrical wiring, leaky plumbing or roof, faulty heating system etc. increase the chances of accidents and damage.
High Crime Area: Insurers are wary of theft, vandalism and property damage claims arising from homes in neighborhoods with excessive crime.
Prior Damage: Homes with prior incidents like floods, fires or other covered losses are seen as likely to file future claims as well.
Poor Maintenance: Neglected properties with broken structures, overgrown vegetation etc. pose greater underwriting risks for insurers.
Claims History: Frequent past claims or fraud suspicion makes insurers reluctant to offer coverage.
Unique Architecture: Non-standard homes like coastal cottages, geodesic domes, earth homes etc. fall outside typical underwriting criteria.
Renovations Without Permits: Insurers view unpermitted remodels like garage conversions as liability risks if not legally compliant.
If your property falls under one or more of these categories, you will likely struggle to find a standard home insurance policy.
Tips to Make Your Home More Insurable
If you are finding it impossible to get homeowners insurance coverage, consider these tips to make your home more appealing to insurers:
Upgrade old systems like electrical, plumbing and heating to reduce fire or water damage risks.
Install storm shutters, fire-resistant roofing and other disaster mitigation features.
Clear overgrown vegetation and make landscaping maintenance improvements.
Add security systems, cameras, alarm systems and adequate outdoor lighting to deter crime.
Get renovation work inspected and permitted to ensure compliance with building codes.
Have licensed contractors make all major repairs to prove the work was done properly.
Provide evidence of regular maintenance and proactive steps to minimize risks.
Highlight new renovations, disaster-resilient features and other improvements to your property.
Shop extensively with multiple insurers and brokers to find one willing to write a policy.
Undertaking risk mitigation measures can go a long way in convincing reluctant insurers to reconsider covering your home.
Special Insurance Programs Like FAIR Plans
If you are unable to find basic home insurance coverage despite your best efforts, there are state-mandated programs designed for high-risk properties:
Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plans exist in many states to provide basic fire and extended property coverage for homes rejected by insurers. Main features:
Offer limited dwelling and contents protection against specific perils.
May not include liability or theft coverage.
Typically have higher premiums than regular insurance.
Require you to make improvements to qualify for coverage.
Available in designated urban areas or disaster-prone regions.
Beach and Windstorm Plans
These plans in coastal states offer protection against hurricane and wind damage which is excluded in standard policies. They provide:
Coverage against windstorms, hail and other defined perils.
Insurance of last resort for properties in hurricane zones.
Options like fire coverage in some states.
Both FAIR and Beach plans offer coverage when there are no other options, but have restrictions you must be aware of.
Seeking Coverage in the Excess and Surplus Lines Market
As a last recourse, you can approach excess and surplus lines insurers who offer non-standard home insurance:
Requires declination from 3 licensed insurers before applying.
Involves working with specially licensed brokers or agents.
Policies can differ from state-approved standard forms.
No protection from state insurance guaranty funds if insurer goes bankrupt.
The excess and surplus lines market provides coverage when even high risk plans have rejected your application. But the policies come with caveats you should evaluate carefully before purchasing.
Steps to Take When No Carrier Will Insure You
If you are struggling to find any insurer willing to cover your home, here are the steps experts recommend:
Ask your current insurance agent or broker to assist you. See if they can help find a carrier or suggest improvements.
Talk to neighbors and ask who insures homes in your area. Identify agents writing in your zip code.
Check with your state insurance department for a list of insurers that may operate in your region.
Contact non-profit associations like United Policyholders for denied insurance advice.
Evaluate if your state has FAIR or Beach plans you can qualify for.
Approach excess and surplus lines brokers after being rejected by standard carriers.
Consider forming a self-insurance group with similarly situated homeowners if all options are exhausted.
Withpersistence and creativity, there may still be ways to secure insurance protection for your home when regular markets sharply limit availability.
FAQs on Uninsurable Homes
Some commonly asked questions regarding homes deemed uninsurable:
What is the easiest way to get home insurance for a high-risk property?
The best option is to contact an independent insurance broker who has experience getting coverage for challenging properties. They will know which insurers may still offer policies.
Can I get liability insurance if my home is considered uninsurable?
Yes, liability-only homeowners insurance is often still available even if insurers decline covering the dwelling due to excessive risk factors.
What can I do if my home insurance keeps getting cancelled?
Look for insurers specializing in high-risk properties. Make upgrades to reduce the chance of losses. Maintain the home well and proactively minimize risks.
Is flood or earthquake insurance available if I can’t get homeowners insurance?
Yes, these are separate specialty policies. Lack of basic home insurance does not preclude getting flood coverage through the NFIP or earthquake coverage from specialty carriers.
How much more expensive is FAIR plan home insurance compared to regular insurance?
FAIR plan insurance will typically cost 20% to 40% more than comparable coverage from mainstream insurance carriers. But they may be the only option available in some scenarios.
- There are still ways to get home insurance when regular insurers label your property as too risky to insure.
- Improving your home’s condition and shopping extensively with brokers are key steps.
- As a last resort, turn to state high-risk pools or excess and surplus lines carriers.
- Higher premiums and limited coverage are trade-offs when no standard insurer will issue a policy.
With persistence and creativity, there may still be avenues to get your uninsurable house insured. The important thing is to actively explore all possible options.
What should I do if my home insurance is canceled or non-renewed?
What to do if nobody will insure you?
What happens if you Cannot get home insurance?
Why would a house be uninsurable?
What happens to my mortgage if I can’t get insurance?