I recently drove past a building the day after a large fire, and it caught me by surprise. I knew the building had been beautiful, but I was now looking at a pile of ashes. I wondered what the cause was, and if it was preventable.
It made me think of the many underwriting questions we, as an insurance company, ask during the underwriting process for insuring homes and other structures.
Is your furnace propane or natural gas?
When was your furnace last serviced?
What kind of wiring do you have?
Has any wiring been replaced?
How old is the roof?
How do you heat your home?
When we ask these underwriting questions, in many ways, it is like a safety check of your house. What we’re trying to do is identify any hidden (lurking) problems or conditions for you, the homeowner.
All the answers you give could point to a condition that might start a fire or cause a loss. Additionally, if our questions prompt a service call or an overdue repair, then a safer living condition has been created for you.
Agent Visit to Your Home
As an insurance agent, when I go to look at a home that we might insure and talk with a homeowner, I’m looking for things like places where people could fall or have an injury.
Just last week, I visited a house that was listed for sale. I walked up the front steps to a deck and rang the doorbell. After a short conversation with the homeowner, she asked if I noticed any insurance concerns.
The house and property were very well-kept, clean and neatly painted. But the front entrance deck had another set of three-step stairs that didn’t have a handrail, which was a “trip or fall hazard”. I explained why it was a concern and how easy it could be to fix by installing a handrail.
She thanked me for visiting and pointing out the simple repair that would make the home safer for its current and future homeowners.
Taking Pictures of Your Home & Property
Your insurance agent will also take a number of pictures of your home and property during the underwriting process. A picture is worth a thousand words, and it can be useful in identifying potential hazards.
Your insurance agent, in-office agent, and several other people look at the insurance application and pictures of the property to make sure that any potential hazard is communicated to the homeowner so it can be corrected.
With the underwriting questions, an insurance agent’s view of the property, and pictures of the property, there’s a focus on safety and trying to prevent an accident or loss. I’ve only touched on the questions asked during the underwriting process for home insurance.
Please understand, when we ask all those underwriting questions and take all those pictures, it’s all about your safety.