When filling out home insurance applications (ours included) to request quotes, you may be surprised to see some difficult-to-answer questions asking about updates to your home. Perhaps the most important is, “When was your roof last updated?” and “When was your heater last updated?”
For most people, the easiest answer is “I don’t know,” but for insurance companies, this simply is not good enough. Your roof is the only thing protecting the inside of your home from the elements, and your heater protects your pipes from freezing in the winter. Over time, the likelihood that your roof or heater is going to fail increases, giving insurance companies good reason to avoid the risks presented by older systems.
Let’s start with the roof question. If your roof is over 20 years old, many insurance companies simply won’t take on the risk, so we require every applicant to answer this question to the best of their ability.
But what if you really don’t know? The good news is, there should be a record of the last roofing update with your county. In most areas, all major renovations to the exterior of a home require building permits, so there is a good chance your local code enforcement office has a record of your last roof update. This information is public record, and therefore should be easy enough to obtain by contacting your local office. Other potential avenues for obtaining this information could include contacting the previous homeowner, or even the construction company that performed the work. If you recently purchased your home, this information maybe available on the seller's disclosure.
Information about the last heating update is usually easier to find. As a homeowner, you can just look for a date or serial number on your furnace (or boiler). A common place to find this information is on the inside of the cover that lifts off the front of the unit. When in doubt, look for any stickers or labels on the unit and chances are you will find some useful information. Another possible way to at least determine the age of your furnace is to call the manufacturer; they may be able to help you locate a serial number that they can use to determine when the unit was manufactured.
There are two main reasons why we ask that you provide this information. First, many of our insurance company partners require it for rating. If we cannot give them accurate information about the latest housing updates, they cannot give us accurate quotes. The second reason is that you are normally the best source for information regarding updates to your home. If you have had updates made to your roof or heating system recently and haven’t reported the updates to any public sources, there is a good chance that we will not be able to find that information anywhere else. With all that being said, if you’ve exhausted all these options and still don’t know when the last updates to your roof or heater took place, we will do our best to find out for you.
Our goal is to be able to provide you with accurate quotes for policies that you can actually buy. To achieve that goal, we need to give our carrier partners the most up-to-date information possible. Not only is this crucial for providing a bindable quote, but it also helps to get you the best rate possible. As always, we thank you for your business(and for reading our blogs)!