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Consumer Alert: Take Action When Insurance Company Identifies a Hazard on Your Property

Commissioner Teresa Miller is issuing this consumer alert following a review of consumer complaints received by the Insurance Department showed that consumers have had their homeowner’s insurance cancelled or non-renewed, after not taking action when an insurance company identifies a hazard on their property. Commissioner Miller wants consumers to be informed of the need to respond to such requests so that they do not accidentally lose the coverage they need to protect their homes.
Insurance companies may ask homeowners to take reasonable measures to lower risks on a property when issuing a policy, or if a change to that property substantially increases risk.  For instance, if a homeowner installs a deck which is significantly above the surrounding ground level, the insurer may require the homeowner to put up a railing to lower the chances of someone’s falling off that deck.  The insurer must allow a reasonable amount of time for this work to be done, and take into consideration the season of the year (such outside work could be difficult during the winter). 
However, the homeowner does have the responsibility to take this reasonable action to lower the risk the insurer has on this property.  A homeowner’s failure to do so is a legal reason for the insurer to cancel or non-renew the coverage on that property.
For more information on homeowners’ insurance, visit www.insurance.pa.gov, and click on Home under Insurance Coverage Resources, or call our Consumer Services Bureau at 1-877-881-6388.