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“The coverage is nearly $ 4,000. If we're fortunate, our mom can be with us for an additional yr. & # 39; Do we actually should take out family insurance? – Market remark

My parents bought a house outside of Atlanta in 1969. We haven't had any insurance claims since then – not a single one. The house is paid for. My father died in 2010 and my mother is now 89 years old and very frail with Parkinson's and emerging dementia – my sister lives with her to look after her.

This year, instead of remembering the insurance payment due, we received a notification that we had missed a payment and our policy had been canceled. We've had the same little agency for several years who have always looked after us, but obviously our policy has been sold and this new company didn't remind us of it. Yes, it's up to us. Either way, the insurance expert came and identified several areas in need of repair.

The house is big and very old – one section is about 150 years old and the “new” section is about 75 years old. We patched the roof to stop leaks and only kept up with basic maintenance. Our goal is to keep the house safe so that our mother can live in it for as long as possible. The appraiser's estimate of the repairs required to get insurance was pretty high – several thousand dollars.

The policy is nearly $ 4,000. If we're lucky, our mom will be with us for another year. We told the insurer that we want an exclusion on the roof – we will not get a new roof at the moment – and we primarily want liability insurance. If there's a fire or something big burns, we'll just scrap the house and sell the land

Nobody is going to want the house – it's too old and needs too many repairs. But the land, which is 12 hectares in total, is worth a lot. My brother-in-law, who is astute and a really great guy – so trust him – said I just shouldn't get insurance. He assumes the risk is low, so we could save the money.

Do we still get a home contents insurance? It's always a question of money. Our mother has a few and my sisters and I would help out if necessary. It's not a financial problem. Rather, what's the smartest way to allocate your money?


Uninsured and overwhelmed

The Big Move is a MarketWatch column that covers the ins and outs of real estate, from finding a new home to applying for a mortgage.

Do you have a question about buying or selling a property? Would you like to know where your next move should be? Email Jacob Passy at TheBigMove@marketwatch.com.

Dear uninsured,

Insurance can really feel like a racket at times. After all, we are paying for something that we will hopefully never use.

I can definitely relate to your dilemma. I recently moved into a new apartment within my cooperative and there was a brief window that I was still in both units before I could hand in my keys to sell the old unit. My cooperative requires condominium insurance from all residents, but without them I would still have paid for both policies. What if my old apartment flooded while I was away? I want the financial protection that only insurance can offer.

Yes, you need home insurance. It may not be required by law – and there may not be a lender to tell you to buy – but it would be a mistake to skip it. And in your letter you already hit the nail on the head as to why.

"If the house is really dilapidated, it's important to have civil liability insurance if someone is injured on the property," said Philip Rutterer, a Nashville, Tennessee financial planner. "This is the most important reason to continue to maintain a policy."

Your sister will likely have doctors or nurses who will come over to check on your mother and assess her condition. At least I envision friends and family stopping by to hang out with her. So imagine for a second what could happen if a friend trips over a loose floor board and breaks a bone. In such situations, it is normal to rely on home insurance to cover some of the costs of their care and rehabilitation. Without insurance, you might be hooked for this.

"“I envision friends and family stopping by to hang out with her. So imagine for a second what could happen if a friend trips over a loose floor board and breaks a bone. "

It doesn't matter that your mother and sister both need an apartment. An insurance policy would cover the cost of their accommodation in the event of a disaster. How would you pay for that without insurance? And where would they go? These are just a few of the potential fiascos you could face without insurance.

Even when it's time to sell the home, it can be harder to find a buyer if you don't have insurance for the property. They assumed nobody would want to go to the trouble of fixing the house – but anyone who switched the channel to HGTV knows that flipping houses is still very much in vogue. It may not be yours, but it may very well be someone else's. And many first time buyers are choosing to buy fixer uppers given the lack of turnkey homes in today's tight real estate market.

But a buyer might think twice about buying the home knowing it is uninsured. What if your mother left the stove unattended and started a fire that burned the house to the ground? They might rightly refuse to buy if they need to build from scratch if their plan was simply to remodel the existing structure.

If you haven't already, check with other insurers to compare estimates. Perhaps another company's appraiser would be more lenient. At the very least, you should compare the cost of the policy.

"Different airlines could be more aggressively priced when trying to increase their market share in the region," suggested Rutterer. Also, if your mother dies within the next year and you sell the house, ask the insurer if they'll prorate the plan.

Ultimately, when you need to do repairs to get insurance coverage, negotiate to find the most cost effective method. And if you are frustrated having to spend that money, thinking of it as a down payment on your eventual inheritance can be helpful. Knowing how popular the Atlanta housing market is, I am sure that your family will be pleased with the results when it comes to selling the home and property.

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