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Certain Behaviors Can Jeopardize Insurance Coverage

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TWC News: Certain Behaviors Can Jeopardize Insurance Coverage
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Many people don't realize that no matter how much insurance you have, certain behaviors can jeopardize your coverage. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

With the new year here and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many New Yorkers are reviewing their insurance coverage and making sure they have enough. Many people don't realize that no matter how much insurance you have, certain behaviors can jeopardize your coverage.

Jeff Schneider of Gotham Brokerage Company says it's important to understand the dos and don'ts.

First, if you are planning renovation, you need to let your insurance provider know about it.

"A lot of companies now want to be notified," Schneider says. "They didn't in the past. They want to make sure that your contractor has proper insurance, that safety guidelines are being met. And if you don’t notify the company, you won't necessarily void a claim, but you may find yourself paying a higher deductible in the event that something happens."

Also, if you sublet your home, there is usually some limited coverage, but you must notify the company or you could void your policy.

"Often, people don’t notify the insurance company because they don’t want to notify their landlord or their co-op board, because they're not supposed to be subletting the place," Schneider says. "Your policy covers the apartment where you live, and if you don’t live there, you can void the policy."

And if you are in the business of renting out your home or part of it on a weekly or daily basis, you could jeopardize your coverage as well.

"If you are subrenting your apartment, or part of it, on a weekly or daily basis, you are voiding your policy, both under the liability portion, if you're sued, [and] also under the property portion," Schneider says. "So if the person who's going to be in there for that day or that week damages the place or steals from you, there's no coverage."

And don’t forget: it is also illegal under the city’s short-term lease law.

If you have domestic worker in your home, like a nanny or a housekeeper, you also need to notify your insurer to make sure you have proper coverage. You need to do the same if you use your home as an office.

And insurance is there to cover accidental issues and repairs, but Schneider says if the provider finds that you are not taking care of your property and wait until small problems become big ones, they could drop your coverage.

So the bottom line is, you need to be responsible and keep your insurance company in the loop, so if you have to file a claim, you’ll know you’re covered.

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