Insurance Coverage Concerns for Pack Rats and Hoarders

by | May 17, 2017 | Fire Damage

Do you keep things around your house just in case you need it again in the future?  Do you have clothes that no longer fit, but you keep because you plan to lose those few pounds and wear it again?  Do you have a hard time just throwing things away?  If you can answer yes to any of these questions, it may be time to start clearing out the clutter.  What better day to start than National Pack Rat Day.

Challanges For Horders

While this day encourages us to look at our own pack rat tendencies and those around us, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some challenges and insurance coverage and concerns that pack rats and hoarders could face.

  • It is the homeowners responsibility to protect their home from further damage if it sustains damage as a result of a covered peril.  This can mean notifying your insurance company as soon as a loss occurs and failure to do so could result in a loss of coverage.  Most of us wouldn’t have a problem, but what if you had a stack of books or magazines or boxes of clothes that are hiding or prohibiting you from seeing a water leak.  You could face a coverage issue if your insurance company feels like you didn’t act as soon as the loss occurred.
  • Extra accumulation of items in your home could mean that you do not have enough personal property coverage on your homeowner’s policy.  The cost of cleaning or just moving the items out of the way so emergency services or restoration can take place can quickly consume your coverage limits.
  • Finally, there might not be any coverage issues, but insurance agents and adjusters usually let underwriters know of the living conditions once they are aware of them.  This could cause your policy to not be renewed because of the fire, mold, biohazards or slip and fall liability hazards.  Insurance companies do not like to write coverage for high-risk policyholders.

Start Small

So, do you think you have too much stuff or know someone who has a hard time throwing away things?  Start small with a closet, a dresser or a stack of old magazines.  Sometimes just letting go of a few things can be just enough to get you started.