It's that time of year again - the annual escrow analysis! Most lenders complete an escrow analysis once a year, typically near the end of year to ensure enough funds are being collected for upcoming home insurance premiums and property taxes.
We usually see an influx of requests to shop insurance policies due to the escrow analysis report. How does this affect home insurance? In our October Newsletter, we talked about major changes in home insurance underwriting. Insurance carriers have strict guidelines for new policies - including the condition of the home and property. Home maintenance is very important to all insurance carriers!
We want to make sure you are in the best possible position if you need to shop your insurance. Below are just some examples of home maintenance issues that insurance carriers have sent cancellation notices out for. If you are in the market to shop, please make sure to review this list and make a checklist for your home!
Insurance carriers not only have an age requirement for roofs - they also have a condition requirement. Granular loss is a sign of an aging roof that is in poor condition or needs replacement. This may not be seen from the ground, but can be seen upon closer inspection. Lifting and curling shingles, as well as roof patches, are also signs of a roof being at the end of its life span. These are major red flags to insurance carriers and can lead to cancellation or non-renewal.
Rolled roofing is typically used on flat roof areas or patios. This type of roofing usually has a much lower life span than shingle roofing, so it should also be inspected routinely.
Stucco Cracks / Siding Damage
Your home's exterior siding acts as a shield to outside elements. Damage to the siding - like cracks in the stucco, wood rot, and cracks in the vinyl siding - can lead to major issues. These maintenance issues are very important to keep an eye on and repair as needed.
While trees add wonderful shade and landscaping to your property, it can also damage your roof if not properly maintained. Please make sure tree branches and tree limbs are cut back and not touching the home.
Mold is another indication of poor maintenance to home insurance carriers. With Florida's wild weather and plants, it can quickly be a problem if not removed. Cleaning routines will depend on the exterior siding material, so please be sure to research the proper method based on your type of siding.
Damaged fencing can add an unintended risk to property owners. It is imperative that all damaged fencing be repaired to avoid causing potential injury.
Driveway / Walkway Cracks
Driveway and walkway cracks can be a major tripping hazard due to the uneven pavement and can lead to potential injury. Depending on how extensive the cracks are, they may be repairable or it may be time to have the driveway or walkway redone.
Another maintenance item on your checklist should be evaluating the plumbing fixtures under your bathroom and kitchen sinks, behind your toilets, and your water heater connections. Corrosion can have a white or green color to it. This can lead to a water leak and water damage. It may be time to have a plumber come out to replace the valves or supply lines.
Roof Debris / Gutter Debris
Roof debris and gutter debris can affect the integrity of the roof and potentially cause water intrusion into your home. The middle photo, especially, shows a clogged gutter filled with water. The water overflow could become a huge issue causing potential water damage.
Yard debris, like abandoned appliances or excess garbage, is not acceptable for insurance carriers. Local city services often have special large item pick up days or free service for scheduled pick up of appliances.
While this will vary by carrier, most insurance carriers require any steps that have 3 or more stairs to have a handrail. The first photo here would fail the requirement. The second photo is an excellent example of a safety handrail installed.
Broken windows can be a potential safety issue and allow weather elements into the home to cause damage.
In Summary -
Since all insurance carriers have tightened up their underwriting guidelines, we want to make sure that you are in the best possible position if you need to shop your policy. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us - we will be happy to assist!