Why am I the insured on my dad's homeowner's policy?
January 3, 2017 7:07 PM   Subscribe

Several months ago I moved out of my dad's second home, where I had been the only primary resident. I had my mail forwarded to my new residence, and today I got a billing statement for a homeowners policy (that began last month) on that second home, listing me as the insured. Why?

Now, the premium amount is being deducted from an account that I don't own -- probably Dad's. I am not on the deed (as far as I know). WTF? My dad did this exact same thing a decade ago, but when I asked him why he didn't give me a straight answer as to why my name was on the insurance and not his. I could ask him, but our relationship is strained right now and if I start asking questions this will probably lead to a poorly-timed dispute. Is there a downside for me regarding this arrangement? If the insurance finds out that I'm not the homeowner and there is a disaster, could they withhold all payments to my dad? Could my credit be hurt if he doesn't make payments on this? Why is my dad doing this -- again? Last decade the only answer I could figure out was that he was getting a divorce, he and his wife were both on the deed, and he wanted to make sure that if disaster struck that his wife wouldn't get a dime, I would get the money, and give it back to him. But I don't know if that makes sense and I don't think he's getting a divorce with his current wife. Can someone please give me a plausible explanation about my my dad is doing this? Thanks!
posted by fenwaydirtdog to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Did he get a mortgage in your name and are you the owner of record? You can usually check home ownership records on-line.

Yes this would be effed up. I also know someone whose father tried to do this with variations a few times.
posted by cacao at 7:21 PM on January 3, 2017

If your father is (and has been) doing shady stuff like this, you need to check your credit reports immediately, they're free here. Find out if he has been doing other financial shenanigans.

You don't live there and you're not the owner. Maybe call the agent listed on the statement?
posted by Marky at 7:36 PM on January 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

Pull your credit reports and see what's on there.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:37 PM on January 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

He may have applied in your name because he has a record of making claims against his policies, so either can't afford a policy or can't get approved for one. Putting your name on there means your history of making claims is considered, not his.

First worry: If he makes claims against the policy in your name, this will make it harder/more expensive for you to get renter's or home owner's insurance later. This is an unlikely risk, because any claim made would result in a check to you, going to your house, and requiring your signature to cash.

Second worry: If he applied for this insurance in your name, and faked the signature, or otherwise entered information on the application fraudulently, and then disaster struck and the insurance company found out, it could deny all claims. This means your father's house might be effectively uninsured. (This is bad for him, and to a lesser extent for you if you stand to be affected by his financial state.)

Okay, one more worry, just for fun: If your father is considering offing himself by arson, he'd want the money to go to you, not his current wife. Or if he's considering offing someone else by arson, like his wife, you'd be the first suspect as the policy holder, diverting attention from the usual first suspect: the spouse. I may have watched too many TV shows for this last worry to be something you need to take seriously.
posted by Capri at 8:11 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I worked in insurance, though not homeowner's insurance. Googling suggests that premiums are higher on second homes or for landlords. My first guess is he is probably getting a price break on premiums by listing you.
posted by Michele in California at 8:19 PM on January 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

listing me as the insured.

You received this notice only a few months after you moved out of the house. Does the notice somehow indicate that you are the owner and he is not the owner? Are you the only insured?

It seems likely that nothing is wrong here, that he is the owner (you say he is paying for the policy) and that you were listed as a tenant so you'd have some liability and property protection under the policy. It's only been a few months since you've lived there.

As someone said above, just call the agent and ask them what's up. Without seeing the papers, we can't tell you.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:26 AM on January 4, 2017

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