Sorry, Future Tiger King… You’re On Your Own
Lions and tiger and bears… no thanks. There are some things an insurance agent will NOT be able to insure (like the Tiger King), and this light-hearted blog will cover a few of them.
So join me as I go over things you will laugh at, some you will scratch your head about, and others you will look guiltily out of your window and hope your agent never sees the thing in your yard.
(Also, Netflix, don’t sue us. This is for fun. All rights for Tiger King belong to you, almighty Netflix.)
No Zoo Animals
Let’s start with the elephant in the room: zoo animals.
Zoo animals, or exotic animals as insurance companies call them, belong in their natural habitat or a for-purpose park like the one in the show Tiger King (although whether it is ethical to cage animals is certainly open for debate).
Insurance companies will not cover a home that has an exotic animal. The risks are too great for them to consider taking on that responsibility.
Let’s say for example that a certain mullet-ed gentleman had a tiger at home. If a guest comes over, and the tiger, being a tiger, bites the guest, the hospital bills and possible lawsuit could cost a fortune.
Insurance companies think this is too risky for them, and will not cover it. In fact, if you have a homeowners policy, you’ve already agreed not to have an exotic pet.
Companies regularly put language in your insurance documents where you agree that you do not have an exotic pet. Once you sign that document, you’re holding yourself to that claim.
So if you had a tiger bite at your house, your homeowners insurance company would immediately deny the claim due to you breaching the contract.
But what else is considered an “exotic animal” for insurance purposes? What should inspired Tiger King fans avoid?
Alligators, boa constrictor, venomous snakes, lions, tigers, bears and wolves.
If you have one of these and you just freaked out a little, take a breath. There may be something that can help.
There is an endorsement called an Animal Liability Exclusion that companies may add to your policy depending on what kind of animal you have. So check with your agent about that.
But as a general rule? Exotic animals = no coverage.
No Odd Yard Art
If you’re thinking, “That can’t be real,” well, I have news for you. It is, and we see this kind of thing in real life when we get pictures of houses we are going to insure.
Insurance companies see things like toilets in the yard, broken appliances, and bathtubs or jacuzzis used as water fixtures as red flags.
If you have something like this discovered in your insurance inspection after your policy is written, you may find yourself with an uncomfortable phone call.
But it isn’t just a matter of taste. Insurance companies make every single decision due to statistics. And they have found that people with toilet planters and the like are generally too risky to insure.
Porcelain Tiger King statues are fine if that’s your taste.
Another reason is that some of these decorations can be dangerous. Using a bathtub or a hot tub as a pool or something similar isn’t what they were designed for, and can lead to accidents.
This may seem funny, but the reality is that certain yard art acts as a warning to an insurance company.
So put your refrigerator back inside your house, park the car you’re working on somewhere other than the front yard, and keep your bathroom fixtures where they belong.
Or you may find yourself struggling to get a decent policy.
No Roof Gardens
“Wait a minute,” I hear you say. “Roof gardens are hip nowadays and a great way for cities to grow produce and reduce their carbon footprint.”
Very true. But I’m not talking about urban, flat-roofed buildings that have cucumbers and lettuce growing on top.
I’m talking about regular, peaked roof houses that have moss, grass, or even trees growing on top.
This is a major sign of a damaged or weakened roof. And as we all know, a roof in bad shape is more likely to suffer damage.
Weakened or older roofs are more likely to buckle under the weight of snow or sleet, can cave in from torrential rain, can leak and are less likely to withstand trees or other objects falling on them.
To an insurance company, all of that means your home is more likely to have a claim. Even a Tiger King knows that.
If you have vegetation on your roof, it is probably time to replace it. That’s the bad news. The good news is that a new roof usually means paying less on your homeowners policy, so make sure to let your agent know if you do replace it.
And don’t forget about gutters! We have seen weeds, grass, and trees growing out of gutters, causing serious damage to the sides of homes as well as potential water damage.
Make sure you have clean gutters and a green-free roof before you get your next homeowners insurance policy. If not, you may find it canceled, or a claim denied when you need it most.
We Can’t Insure Every Home
But we sure will try.
Make sure you take care of your home the way it deserves. A little maintenance goes a long way towards preventing the kind of damage that gives insurance companies nightmares.
If you aren’t sure how to keep your home in shape, consider these tips:
- Change your air filter – This simple tip can save you both money and headaches. It makes your HVAC system more efficient and helps to avoid overworking and therefore damaging the unit.
- Check for leaks and fix them – Look for signs of water damage in your home and plug or seal any leaks. Water can destroy walls, electrical systems, pipes, and cause mold issues.
- Lawn Care – Make sure to regularly trim your lawn, keeping it free of unwanted plants and trees, especially close to your home.
- Take care of your roof and gutters – Replace missing shingles, keep your roof free of tree limbs and debris, and keep gutters clean to avoid build-up.
- Monitor your pets – Don’t let pets chew, claw, or stain floors, walls and other surfaces.
- Don’t get a Tiger – Sorry Tiger King wannabe. But it’s crazy to have a tiger.
Follow these tips, resist the urge to put “reclaimed” plumbing fixtures in your yard, and you could be on your way to a healthy, happy home.
And have your claims paid in full and on time.
Need more info about homeowners insurance in general? Check out our Ultimate Guide on the subject.
If you have any more questions, fill out the form and we can look over your house to see if it’s something we can insure.
But please, please please, let us know if you have a tiger.