Apr 15, 2024 - News

My Des Moines home was denied insurance renewal, despite no claims

Text and a letter from Travelers Insurance saying that they will not renew policy

A letter from Travelers saying the company will no longer insure my home. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

I'm the latest Iowan dealing with home insurance hell.

Driving the news: My tribulations started after I got a notification from Travelers this month that they were not renewing my home insurance, despite never having filed a claim.

  • The reason? A tree limb overhanging my roof. Woof.

The big picture: It's become increasingly difficult to get home insurance across the U.S. as storm damage and climate change-related disasters stack up.

  • In Iowa, insurance companies are more discriminant following several years of severe weather, including derechos, straight-line winds and hail, The Gazette reports.

The intrigue: It's not just Travelers that doesn't want to insure me — it's other major companies too, like Nationwide.

  • And I've even offered to pay more just to keep coverage.

Zoom in: Travelers notified me they used NearMap, an aerial imagery company, to determine my coverage.

Zoom out: Don't expect declining coverage or rate spikes to end anytime soon.

  • A recent Wall Street Journal article shares how major insurance companies are using aerial photos now to document properties, going as far as launching drones and high-altitude balloons without property owners' knowledge.
  • These images are expected to become more detailed over time and could be updated daily by 2030, according to WSJ.

What's next: One of my favorite parts about living in Des Moines is the community's well-developed trees.

  • But I may have no choice but to say goodbye to my oak friend in the backyard.
A tree branch hangs over the roof of a home.
Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

Related stories: Polk County Assesor using new, detailed photo system for property assessments

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