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Personal Perspective

Does Hoarding Affect Home Insurance Rates?

By July 1, 2015No Comments
Up to five percent of the world’ population could be classified as hoarders. If you or a loved one suffer from this disorder, understand how it could affect your home insurance rates.

What is Hoarding?

A mental health disorder, hoarding occurs when a person cannot discard possessions regardless of their value. It can cause a person to pile their home or garage so full of stuff that they cannot use the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. Hoarding can also create physical, emotional, social and financial challenges that affect the hoarder’s well-being and health.

How Does Hoarding Affect Home Insurance Rates?

Hoarders experience many serious repercussions of their disorder, including home insurance rate increases. If an insurance agent performs a home inspection for any reason and sees safety hazards, the insurance company will send the hoarder a letter that outlines the hazards. The homeowner will have a time limit to fix the hazards. If the repairs aren’t made, the home insurance policy could be cancelled.

Three common safety hazards hoarders experience in their homes include:
1. Fire: Too much clutter could start a fire, especially when it accumulates around a heater vent, stove or power outlet. Clutter could also block escape routes and prevent firefighters from getting into the home if a fire starts.
2. Mold: Excessive debris can cause mold and other bacteria to flourish in a hoarder’s home. Not only is mold dangerous to a hoarder’s health, but most insurance companies consider mold to be a neglectful home maintenance problem that warrants rate hikes or a policy cancellation.
3. Insects and Rodents: A home that’s full of trash will attract insects and rodents. When left unchecked, these pests can damage a home’s walls, wiring and even foundation, leading to unsafe living conditions.

Your book collection or pile of unopened mail doesn’t make you a hoarder unless it prevents you from using the bathroom or opening your front door. Consider removing clutter from your home, though, as you create a safe living environment. Not only will you improve safety, but your insurance rates will thank you