How Hoarding Can Affect Your Homeowner’s Insurance


A dark, cluttered room


Hoarding comes with a number of issues related to safety, and realistically this should be the main reason to stop. Excessive hoarding can make your home an unsanitary and unsafe place to be, which is already plenty of negatives. However, the negatives don’t stop there; hoarding could lead to your home no longer qualifying for a home owner’s insurance. This means that you won’t be able to apply for or renew your home insurance. In order to help convince you, we have put together a list of ways how hoarding can affect your homeowner’s insurance, and we hope it’s enough to convince you to declutter your home.

Hoarders are riskier to insure

When an insurance company looks at a hoarder’s home, they typically consider the hoarder more dangerous than the general public. This makes for greater liability, and a lot of insurers won’t take this risk. In general, there’s a set of things an insurer looks at before agreeing to cover a hoarder: stacks of belongings in the hallways, massive collections of newspapers or magazines in the attic, precariously stacked belongings anywhere, and failure to throw away expired food or other trash. All of these create certain liability risks that the insurance company isn’t willing to cover. And for a good reason, these are all very real health and safety risks and should make you consider the reasons why having life insurance is important. As such, before you take care of these issues, you likely won’t find an insurance company willing to cover you.


A man in a cluttered room—hoarding can affect your homeowner’s insurance


How hoarding affects an insurance claim

If you already have an insurance policy, then hoarding won’t really affect you unless you make a claim. You will likely have your claim denied if you’re a hoarder when you do. If something happens in your home and you make a claim, the company will send an adjuster to substantiate the claim before you receive compensation. Here, hoarding can be a problem in three ways; First, if walking between rooms is a challenge in itself, finding the damaged area could be difficult. Second, the adjuster might find that the damage was inevitable due to the constant piling of belongings. Finally, the adjuster might inform your insurance company that the home is in poor condition and that renewing the policy is a bad idea. As such, if you’re trying to get your new home insured after moving, consider decluttering before moving. This is an important step towards stopping your hoarding.

Can a hoarder become insured again?

The truth is, your insurance policy might not get dropped because of your hoarding habits. However, if it does, you can get insured again, depending on certain conditions. You’ll have to contact your insurance company and ask what you’d have to change in order to get insured again. Most likely, you will receive a list of hazards in your home which you need to rectify. Things such as blocked exits hire hazards, maintenance concerns, and liability issues. Once all of the issues are fixed, you can contact your insurer again about restoring your coverage. Or, if you have just moved into a new home and are refused, the process for getting your insurance is quite similar. You will have to contact the insurer about the problems and fix them. Before you move, however, you should consider the benefits of having moving insurance during the moving process.


person being offered contract


Why is hoarding so dangerous?

When it comes to how hoarding can affect your homeowner’s insurance, you have to consider the dangers it poses. We’re going to consider all of the possible extremes that insurance companies take into account. Hallways blocked by belongings can make it difficult to escape during a fire. Precarious stacks of items can topple and hurt someone. Stacks of paper and a trash buildup in the kitchen are possible fire safety concerns. Failing to deal with plumbing issues because they’re inaccessible can lead to structural damage in extreme cases. Finally, failing to throw away expired food or other trash can lead to pest infestations. All of these are real dangers, and you should keep them in mind, especially when moving into a new home. Realistically, you should declutter and find good movers to get you there. However, when looking for movers comparing moving companies, always remember to look at multiple offers before deciding.

How should you fix the problem?

Realistically, there is only one way to solve the issue of hoarding: decluttering aggressively. We understand that it might not be easy to get rid of some items. However, hoarding is a serious problem. Generally speaking, the easiest way to declutter is to apply the 1-year method. Go through your belongings, and if you haven’t used something in over a year, get rid of it. In some cases, this method might not even be enough. If by applying the 1-year method you don’t cut down on enough clutter, try the same thing but go by 6 months instead. Continue shortening the time until you get your home into a livable state, and the perfect time to do this would be before moving. However, if you’re planning a move, you should also consider your rights and responsibilities during a move.


woman decluttering room


How hoarding can affect your homeowner’s insurance–closing thoughts

Hoarding is, generally speaking, a very bad habit to have. The more belongings you hoard in your home, the more potential issues you will face. This applies to both dangers inside your home and issues with getting (or renewing) homeowner’s insurance. All in all, trying to fix your hoarding problem is a benefit no matter how you look at it. We hope that this list of ways how hoarding can affect your homeowner’s insurance was enough to convince you to fix the problem, and we wish you a good day.