You could lose your claims-free discountMany insurers offer claims-free discounts that reduce the cost of your home or tenant insurance when you haven’t made any claims (or when you’ve been claims-free for a set period of time). If you’ve been benefitting from a claims-free discount and find yourself making a claim, you could lose out on that savings — the good news is your discount could be reapplied in the future if you remain claims-free for the amount of time set out by your insurer. Instead of considering this a premium increase, consider it a discount you no longer qualify for (but you might again in the future).
You may have to pay a premium surchargeThe number of claims you make in a given period of time (called “frequency of claims” in the insurance world) can result in changes to the cost of your insurance. After you’ve made several claims in a block of time set out by your insurer, you may have an extra charge added to your premium to offset the cost of processing your claims. The protection provided by your policy will usually far outweigh this type of surcharge should you find yourself needing to make another claim — and, depending on your payment plan, the surcharge will likely be divided up and paid over time rather than in a lump sum, just like your existing premium. How do surcharges work? Picture this: You’ve made a few home insurance claims and your insurer decides to add a 10% surcharge to your premium, which adds up to $200 for the entire year. A few months later, a flood in your basement causes $20,000 worth of damage. When you submit a claim for the flood, your insurer agrees to pay for the repairs, meaning you don’t have to empty your bank account to dry out your basement. In this case, that extra $200 was a small price to pay to prevent a much larger financial loss.
You might have to shop for high-risk insuranceIf you’ve made multiple home insurance claims, your insurer may decide not to renew your policy for another year — and you could find yourself hunting for high-risk insurance. Given the nature of high-risk insurance, it usually comes with a bigger price tag (and less coverage) than regular home insurance — so the switch to high-risk insurance could land you with a higher premium for more limited coverage. Sometimes accidents happen, and your home insurance policy is there to protect you when they do — so don’t let a potential increase in premium stop you from making a claim when you really need to. Your broker can help you understand what happens before, during, and after a claim, and they’ll advocate for you every step of the way.
This article was originally posted on economical.com