By Arthur Murray
No, your nose won’t grow if you tell lies to your home insurance agent. But your bank account could shrink – because you might not be covered for some costly incidents that standard policies typically cover.
Let’s take a look at some common situations in which homeowners might be tempted to lie – and the consequences if they do.
The keeping dogs lie
Home insurance providers and dogs don’t have a great relationship. Many carriers won’t insure certain breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, German shepherds, and Doberman Pinschers.
Providers that will insure those breeds might charge higher premiums. The same holds true for homeowners who have a dog that has bitten someone. You could be denied coverage or pay more to remain protected.
It’s not that providers hate dogs; it’s that dog bites make up some of the most costly claims. Standard home insurance typically includes personal liability insurance, which covers you if someone is injured on your property and files a lawsuit.
Dog bites made up more than a third of home insurance liability claims in 2013, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The average payout: $27,862.
So why not just lie – or “forget” to tell your insurer about your four-legged friend? Because if your dog bites someone and the victim sues, you likely would be denied coverage. Are you ready to pay $27,862 out of pocket?
Swimming pool or trampoline
Likewise, swimming pools and trampolines present challenges for insurers because they increase the risk of an accident on your property. You could be held liable even if someone trespasses on your property and injures himself or herself in your pool or on your trampoline – particularly if that trespasser is a child.
Again, you want your personal liability coverage intact should that happen, and your provider could charge higher premiums or deny you coverage altogether.
Would it be easy to lie about a pool or trampoline? Sure, but it also would be extremely risky. You could be on the hook for a massive lawsuit if someone gets hurt. The better choice: build a self-locking fence around the pool or trampoline and inform your provider. You still might have to pay more for coverage, but you could be protected should anything go wrong.