Homeowners insurance is designed to protect your biggest investment, but many people are unaware of the regulations that define how the policies work and how they offer consumer protections. The Virginia legislative code contains detailed regulations that affect every part of the homeowners insurance market in the state, and the state government publishes the insurance regulations on its website. Knowing some of the key laws can help protect you when dealing with an insurance company.
Virginia code § 38.2-303 requires that homeowners insurance contracts only be enforceable for those with an insurable interest in the property. This means that when you purchase a policy, you must have a "lawful and substantially economic" interest in the insured home remaining free from damage or loss. This law exists to prevent insurance fraud by mandating that you see the insured home as more valuable intact than destroyed for the settlement money.
All Fees Stated in Policy
Code § 38.2-310 states that all fees and premiums charged "for the insurance or for the procurement of insurance" must be stated within the homeowners insurance policy. In other words, any fees you are charged that do not appear in the body of the policy are illegal. An exception is made for service charges associated with premium payment plans. Fees are sometimes charged by brokers when placing a policy for their customers. If these fees do not appear in the body of the insurance contract, they are not legal in Virginia.
Proof of Loss Forms Provided by Insurer
Code § 38.2-320 requires that a homeowners insurance company provide all necessary forms to you when you file a claim against your home. This must be done within 15 days of the claim notification. Failure to do this waives the policy requirement for such forms under Virginia law. Without this law, nothing would prevent an insurance company from demanding that you fill out an endless series of forms to process your claim.
- Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System: § 38.2-303 Insurable Interest Required; Property Insurance
- Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System: § 38.2-310 All Fees, Charges, Etc., to be Stated in Policy
- Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System: § 38.2-320 Insurer to Furnish Forms for Proof of Loss
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