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Read Your Homeowners Policy!

A news item out of South Carolina caught my eye this morning. Over this past weekend, a hailstorm in the area around Columbia caused about $45 million in property damage. By Monday morning, insurance companies already had some 18,000 claims in the works.

This is the first spring that I’ve actually been praying for hail because I am guilty of the most fundamental mistake any insurance customer can make. I didn’t read my policy.

I live in a townhouse community of six adjoined units. Everyone else had new roofs put on two years ago and I elected not to. Now, due to the manner in which the roofer handled the seam between the two houses, my roof, which is in need of replacement, caused a leak in the neighbor’s unit.

I cannot, however, file on my insurance until we have a significant hail or windstorm. Why? Because we have not had a major weather event within the past three months. There is, in essence, a statute of limitations on my ability to claim weather damage.

We’re in North Texas, so the hail and wind will come, I’m not concerned about that, and minor repairs have been affected in the short term, but this is a real lesson in practicing what I preach. I didn’t read the policy and when an issue came up with a neighbor — who, thankfully was understanding — this homeowners policy I’ve paid for all these years wasn’t going to help me in the slightest.

Bottom line. Your insurance is of no earthly good to you if you don’t take the time to read the terms of the policy.

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