06 October 2010

High risk homeowners

Precisely one year ago Cristybella and I signed the papers, transferred the money and breathed a huge sigh of relief as we closed the purchase transaction for our house. It had been a harrowingly stressful experience, but it came to pass.

Twelve days later, demolition began and on October 30th, we officially moved.

A lot of activity has transpired. Much of the activity fueled by our desire to transform our home into a living space that is congruous with our style and rhythm of life. But a fair amount of activity has arisen unexpectedly.

The old adage, it’s always something, is a familiar tune for most homeowners. Let’s review the list of repairs in the past 12 months, shall we?
  • Oven
  • Garbage disposal
  • Garage door opener
  • Furnace
  • Lawn sprinklers
  • Garbage disposal (again)
  • Pool pump
  • Electrical circuit
  • Pool filter
  • Washing machine
  • Plumbing.
Impressive list. Everything except the lawn sprinklers was covered under the home warranty contract we decided to purchase prior to moving into the house. American Home Shield was happy to sign us up. We were mighty glad to have a single number to call each time something went awry. It’s stressful enough when something breaks, but not knowing who to call seems to amplify the anxiety. We have been thankful for our AHS home warranty.

About 30 days ago, someone in the AHS sales department called me to ask if I was planning to renew. They cleverly noticed that my 1-year agreement was about to expire and offered to sign me up for another year.

That was convenient. I’m all about convenience.

Then today, 1 day into the 2nd year of AHS home warranty coverage, we received a letter notifying us that AHS had reviewed our service history and had opted to reconsider coverage for our account. In other words, they dumped us.

We clearly make too many service calls and our track record has not been in AHS’s favor financially.

Of course, we certainly didn’t plan for these items in our house to break down all in the same year. Our existence would have been far more tranquil without the breaks, the leaks, the inconvenience. But then again, isn’t that why people purchase home warranties? Sort of the major medical coverage equivalent for our houses.

So tomorrow, during business hours, we will sort this thing out with AHS. If they have canceled our agreement, there’s still that minor question about charging us for the 2nd year. Hmm.

I wonder if we are considered high-risk homeowners?


  1. Exactly...it's the same way with medical insurance. If they see you're a high-risk customer, they either won't accept you. or dump you.

    I mean what's the point of insurance if everything always goes well?

    Sending positive vibes that this get's sorted out.

    (((( Diane + Cristy )))))


  2. Sounds like health insurance. I've known of homeowners who use their homeowners insurance for minor incidents to be canceled. Every time I've made a claim (which were things like a hot water heater bursting and a tree falling on a car) it's made me nervous, so I've let other things slide and paid them myself. Kind of sad we have to worry about being canceled just for using our insurances. They seem to continue to make a profit.

  3. Thankfully (I think), due to the fact that we renewed our service contract prior to the date that AHS sent the cancellation letter, they have indicated they will honor the coverage agreement for another year. I read online somewhere that home warranty customers average two service calls per year. I guess we had a few more than 2. Fingers crossed that fewer things will break during the next year.

  4. Ahem.....having worked for the dark side (insurance claims, which is what this fall under), many insureds have this falacy that insurance carriers are there to 'serve' you for your premium. Nothing could be farther from the case. Owners / stockholder of insurance companies see their business as a cash cow. People send them money every month / year and they don't pay anything back. If they have to start paying you back for things (claims) then you are no longer a cash cow. Insurance companies only want cash cows. They don't want to insure folks that are actually going to make claims.

    Many people don't realize, but much like your credit score that banks and credit card companies use to rank you and determine if you are a good risk, insurance companies also keep a 'claims score' on you. This information is available to ALL insurance carriers. So when you go to Allstate after leaving State Farm....Allstate is going to know all about the claims you made with State Farm and they usually have a window to rescind your policy depending on the laws of your individual state of residence.

    There is a reason why I don't work in Insurance anymore. It is basically a money making scam. I hate scams. (The fact that most insureds never read or understand their policies, is another issue that I won't go into.)

  5. That is quite a list........but it usually follows that when one thing breaks, so do three ;)