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Readers responses keep the conversations going

Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin, Tribune Content Agency on

Comment: As an insurance agent with over 50 years in the property-casualty business, I enjoy reading answers that people pose via the internet.

I was recently reading one of your articles about the “child with power of attorney.” However, in none of your answers have I seen the suggestion that the questioner should consult with his insurance agent.

Amateurs create problems. For example, in a Minnesota case I am familiar with, title to a home transferred upon the owner’s death, but the insurance protection did not. When fire destroyed the property, the value of the house went up in smoke.

When my clients ask me about transferring property, I always recommend they consult an attorney, a certified public accountant (CPA), and an insurance agent. I suggest you employ that advice in your future columns.

Ilyce and Sam respond: This is a great point. Insurance coverage rarely follows when a property is inherited and the ownership changes from the deceased owner. Survivors will need to remember that once title is taken in their name, they should not only change the name on the utilities, but also get their own insurance coverage.

If you inherit a home with a mortgage, the mortgage lender will require insurance on the property. This way, the lender will continue to have protection in case the home burns down. But the new owner should make sure that the insurance coverage continues to protect the person that inherited the home.

 

The executor of an estate will have to notify the insurance company about the death of the owner. The insurance company may either adjust the policy to cover the estate until it is settled or the insurance agent for the company may suggest changes to the policy depending on the family’s situation.

And, remember that if a home is vacant, because the owner no longer lives there or the property is being sold, that may require different homeowners insurance coverage as well. Insurance companies often feel a vacant home carries a different and higher level of risk than an owner-occupied property.

There are other use cases to consider as well. Let’s say the home was an investment property, but then becomes a second home to the heir. That change in status may require a different type of insurance coverage.

Thank you for a valuable contribution to the conversation.

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