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January 28, 2009


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Usually, you don't have a choice when filing a dog bite claim. Whoever was bitten by the dog will demand payment for their injuries, and either you or your insurance carrier will probably have to pay them.

I think the point here is that depending on the cost of the bite you may be better off paying out of pocket (one time expense) than dealing with the cost of increased insurance (ongoing expense).

Ya. I think paying out of pocket for the dog bite is better than filing an insurance claim so long as the costs are through the roof.

This is one of the things I don't like about insurance. You have to have insurance to protect you in case of emergency but in the event of an emergency you still have to spend extra money. Just seems backwards to me.

Making claims in general can not only raise your premium, but can also cause the insurance company to look more closely at future claims. Lots of claims seems to set off some type of red flag which makes the adjuster take off his "I'm already skeptical glasses," and put on his "now, I'm really going to go through this with a fine tooth comb and not believe a word you say without extensive documentation," glasses.

I think additional claims to avoid are ones like loss of food in the freezer, refridgerator, etc, when you lose power. These will likely not provide much compensation to you anyway because of your deductible, esp. if you have chosen to save money with a higher one. Therefore, there is not much upside, and lots of potential for downside.

When you do need lots of documentation for insurance claims, it is best to have a household inventory. This is something that should be created BEFORE you need it. I recently wrote a couple of blog posts on this because most people haven't thought through why they might need a household inventory or how to make it quickly (click on my name as the link).

Another factor in making a claim is that your claim history generally gets recorded in a database. When and if you shop around for another insurer assuming your current insurer raises your premium because of any claim you've made, the new insurer will order a CLUE report (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report. It goes back seven years. You actually have an insurance score as well, similar to the famous FICO score. It sucks and I agree with a previous comment on needing insurance in an emergency and then they screw you. My basic philosophy is only make a home owner claim in case of a major loss. In fact I just had an appraisal done on my place had the appraiser work up a replacement cost which I will compare to my current policy limits. Just my two cents....

You know, it's funny. We made a claim for water damage this year, but it ended up not being covered, so we didn't get any money.

When we got our bill this year our rate had gone up by over $100. Why else would rates have gone up that much? Our home value has dropped in the last year, why would rates go up? Ugh.

I have been an insurance adjuster for 16 years and have been told that a weather related event doesn't count against you, if it was area wide. If rates go up after a storm in your area, they tell me it is because everyone had a rate increase.
If the loss was something you could control the insurance companies have told me that would count against you.

Claiming homeowner's insurance for small money is "happy now, suffer then", it's not worth it. I personally will not claim for dog bites, water damage or anything costs below $500.

Best regards,
Chokyi Ooi

The two main elements that are making insurers when faced with a high volume of claims are: Global climate change causing havoc just about in every region with raging fires and serious flooding.
The Second issue is the global financial uncertainties. What we have to bear in mind is that insurers are tied in very closely with the banking industry.
This is a toxic environment in which insured households are finding increasingly difficult to get full restitution of their losses.

Regards; Geoff Norman

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