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Ask the Home Insurance Expert

I'm having a tough time purchasing home insurance. Several companies have turned me down due to the condition of my home.

What is it about the condition of your home that's scaring insurers away? Old electrical wiring might present too much fire risk, or an ancient plumbing system might have insurers worried about expensive water damage claims down the road. Get some specifics about why insurers are turning you down, and find out what you need to do to make the home insurable.

A host of problems can raise red flags to home insurance companies, including the accumulation of too much stuff. Lots of junk outdoors can create attractive nuisances, which increase liability risk. A trespasser who breaks a leg after tripping over a car engine in your yard can file a claim against you, for instance. Piles of trash and flammable materials outside create fire risks, and too much junk inside the home can create safety hazards as well.

Hoarders, for instance, have trouble getting insurance coverage if insurers find out about the condition of their properties. We're not talking about the clutter of a typical house. This is mess on a massive scale with stuff piling up to the point that it's difficult to move through the house and perform routine maintenance. One sign of hoarding, in fact, is long-term neglect of home maintenance.

When you're having a hard time getting home insurance, the key is to get to the root of the problem and fix whatever it is as quickly as possible. 

Last updated: Sep. 6, 2010