Homeowner's Academy

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Fraud in Homeowners Insurance

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Nov 07, 2013

fraud-300x199Fraud is a HUGE problem in Florida.  Fraud drives up the cost of homeowners insurance for everyone. Whether you are insured with People’s Trust Insurance or with another carrier - if you know of someone committing fraud against their insurance company,they are not just hurting ‘the big guys,’ they are hurting you too.

Even worse, most people who commit home insurance fraud don’t even think they are committing a crime. There is an attitude that they pay into the insurance pot and they should get something out of it. The problem is that every time somebody does this the insurance rates for everyone go up. The intention of insurance is to share the expense of damage. If you lose one tile on your roof during a storm and claim your entire roof needs to be replaced (or worse yet - go on your roof and knock a bunch of shingles off) you are committing fraud, and this results in higher premiums for everyone. This is why insurance fraud is considered to be a serious crime.

There are various forms of homeowners insurance fraud - the most common is to stage an accident or a robbery. In many cases this involves actually damaging your home in order to get a cash payment but it is also common to file claims for damage that was caused in a manner that isn’t covered by your insurance. But beware, most insurance companies are out there watching for these not-so-clever schemes.  Unfortunately, it costs money to investigate fraudulent claims as well.

Even worse, the most common form of home insurance fraud is to exaggerate the damages that were done when you have a legitimate claim. People’s Trust Insurance wants to be there for its customers when they have legitimate claims and it’s so important to fight fraud for this reason. A lot of people do this and they think that it is no big deal and that they aren’t committing a crime. In fact they are committing insurance fraud and it is a very serious crime.

Homeowner’s Insurance is getting harder to come by in the state of Florida. Many large carriers won't write policies in our state. Fraud affects everyone! When one files a claim they are essentially making it at the expense of the people who don’t which is fine for a legitimate claim. A lot of people think that it is alright to take more than they are entitled to from the insurance company because it is a large corporation. The fact is any money you take from them will be passed on to the other customers. Others think that since they are paying into the insurance plan they should be able to get something out of it even if they never have to make a legitimate claim. The problem with this logic is that if everybody thought like that the entire insurance system would fall apart.

Because home insurance fraud affects so many people the penalties can be very harsh. Committing insurance fraud is a felony is you are convicted. Gone are the days of getting away with these crimes as consumers are becoming more aware of the crimes their neighbors are committing and telling on them. Insurance companies are pursing the criminals - you can receive very hefty fines for these crimes as well as hefty prison sentences (as high as 10 years). As you see, crime doesn’t pay. If this isn’t enough you can almost guarantee that the insurance company is going to sue you to get their money back. Home insurance fraud is a serious crime with serious consequences and it is definitely not worth the risk.

If you have knowledge of fraud being committed by a homeowner, don’t stay silent - it costs you and your neighbors more each day you stay quiet!  Call their insurance company and turn them in!  Being a good neighbor doesn’t mean helping your neighbor commit a crime.