What to Do If Your Insurance is Being Canceled After You Didn't Do Repairs

What to Expect and Next Steps

Home Repairs and Home Insurance
Home Repairs and Home Insurance. Martin Barraud/OJO Images/Getty Images

This article is part of a six-part series meant to empower you on how to keep your insurance when your insurance company wants to cancel your policy

What Makes an Insurance Company Require Repairs on a Home?

Requests by the insurance company for you to do a repair or provide evidence of a repair will usually come following one of three things:

  • Recommendations that might be made after a home inspection, these could relate to liability issues, or general maintenance, prevention and safety.
    • Due to the questions you answered or commitments you made during your application for insurance. Is your roof old? Is your plumbing, electrical box or water tank up to date?
    • Following a claim. Sometimes during a claim, the insurance company may become aware of a risk in your home that needs to be addressed, in addition to what was repaired during the claim. They have already paid out on a loss and it is normal for them to make suggestions to prevent further losses or claims.

    “Do I Have to Do What My Insurance Company Asks Me to Do?”

    If the insurance company has made a recommendation or asked you to do a repair, it is because they are making it a requirement of your insurance contract. There are often suggestive recommendations and critical ones. The suggestions should not put your policy at risk. If you are not sure if what they have asked you to do is mandatory, call them and get immediate clarification.

    Don’t put it off until the last minute because you need the time to understand what they require of you, and you deserve clarification as soon as possible.

    If they tell you the recommendation or repair is mandatory, failure to comply or provide the required information to the insurance company within the timeline they have provided may put you in a position where: You may not be renewed (canceled on the renewal date of the policy) or the insurance company may cancel you mid-term (meaning, before the expiry of your policy).

    “The Insurance Company is Going to Cancel Me If I Don’t..."

    Being canceled by an insurance company is very serious. It makes it as difficult to find insurance, as it would be if you had a very low credit score and wanted to take out a loan. Given that insurance is often a condition of having a mortgage, many homeowners find themselves in very difficult situations when an insurance company threatens to, or worse, actually cancels you. Depending on the reason for why you haven’t done repairs or updates to your home, you have several options how you can fight with your insurance company so that they do not cancel you due to incomplete repairs or renovations.

    “I Disagree With the Work My Insurance Company Wants Me to Do in My House. What Can I Do About It?”

    If you disagree with the repairs your insurance company is asking you to do, it may be very difficult to convince them they are wrong. One way to present a strong argument is to get a second opinion from a licensed professional.

    If your insurance company asks you to replace your roof because it is too old, for example, get a professional roofer to do a roof inspection. Are they asking you to install a handrail where you don’t think it is necessary?

    Call your local city inspector and find out about  handrail requirements, if you meet the safety standards, ask them to give you a report.

    If you can prove that your situation is actually safe, the insurance company may reconsider their decision or you may come to a new mutually agreeable condition.

    What to Do When Your Insurance Company Asks You to Update Your Electricity or Wiring

    A common situation that occurs is an insurance company questioning the safety of the electrical wiring in the house. Certain types of wiring found in old homes, such as knob and tube wiring can be extremely dangerous. Another example is when insurance company thinks your electrical box needs to be replaced or updated. There are many cases of fires starting due to overloaded electrical boxes, especially in today when we have so many electrical appliances turned on at once.

    The power supply needed in the 1950s or even '80s is nothing compared to what we use in an average household now. These are things that you, as an average person can not argue with. However, if you have a master electrician or professional come and check your wiring, or electrical box and the expert is willing to confirm it will be fine for another few years, you can share this new information with your insurance company and ask them to reassess. Insurance companies know that professionals will not risk their reputation and licensing in giving false assessments, which is why a second opinion may help you in your fight with them.

    Why Do I Need to Justify Things to the Insurance Company?

    As frustrating as dealing with the insurance company may be, as individuals, we do not always have the necessary expertise to judge the risks for ourselves. It is hard to take an insurance company telling you what to do. If your arguments are valid, get a professional qualified to make that decision to support you, and you just may win. Negotiation of insurance is the negotiation of a contract agreement. It needs to remain professional, it isn’t personal, even if it might feel that way.

    Remember, you expect the insurance company to pay you hundreds of thousands of dollars if you have a major claim, they have a right to protect their investment in you by asking for critical repairs to be completed as a condition of your insurance agreement. If you think about it this way, and how much money you will expect an insurance company to give you if something goes wrong, it should make it easier to understand why they have such demands.