Drone Inspections: Homeowners Shocked by Surprise Insurance Cancellations

Longtime policyholders blindsided by unexpected repair demands

Homeowners insurance is usually something people renew without much thought. But for some, a sudden letter from their insurer demanding expensive repairs can be a huge shock. According to Boston 25, this is exactly what happened to John D'Entremont, a Malden homeowner.

The Unexpected Letter

John D'Entremont, who has had homeowners insurance with the same company for over 40 years, received a letter last August. The insurer highlighted several issues with his property that needed immediate attention. “I felt like I was blindsided. If you look at the things they asked me to do, it was a significant amount of money,” D'Entremont said.

The demands included removing moss from the roof, trimming back tree branches, and replacing shingles. D'Entremont quickly started gathering estimates and got his tree work done. Despite his efforts, it wasn't enough. By November 3rd, he received a notification that his homeowners policy was being canceled.

Legal Grounds and Industry Trends

In , insurers can choose not to renew policies as long as they provide a 45-day written notice and specific reasons for the decision. D'Entremont's insurer followed these rules. However, he had never been notified of any issues with his home before and had never filed a claim.

Emily Rogan from United Policyholders, a consumer advocacy organization, noted that it's becoming common for insurers to use aerial images for policy renewal decisions.

“There were a lot of big changes during COVID where there were more satellite inspections. A lot of industries leaned into the technology. What we're seeing now is that it's becoming more commonplace, whether a drone image or from a satellite,” Rogan said.

What Homeowners Can Do

If you receive a notice from your insurer, the first step is to ask for the reasons and any images, including , they have of your property. Rogan advises ensuring the images are not of a neighbor's property and checking for any errors. If you can prove you have a contract for pending repairs, ask if the insurer will change their decision.

If your policy is still being canceled, start shopping for a new insurer immediately. Different companies have different guidelines, and an independent broker can help simplify the process. Rogan emphasized the importance of staying on top of home maintenance, especially with insurers increasingly using technology to monitor properties.

DroneXL's Take

This situation underscores the growing role of technology in the insurance industry. While drones and satellite images can provide valuable data, they also raise concerns about transparency and fairness. Homeowners need to be proactive in maintaining their properties and understanding their insurers' policies. With technology only becoming more integral to these processes, being informed and prepared is more crucial than ever.

Photo courtesy of Filtered Oscillator / Reddit

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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