I was tremendously disorganized and I guess depressed for a while and
I let my home insurance lapse, for several years now.
One company said they wouldn't sell me any becuase I didn't have any.
They consider those who let their insurance lapse to be a risk.
If I find a place with lower standards, will they insist on inspecting
my house? It's safe enough, but an incredible mess.
I want to clean up, and I will, but I need insurance now.
Any recommendations of what to do or what insurance company to call?
I live alone. Things piled everywhere, the middle of the living room,
the family room, and the bedrooms are full, and the sofas and spare
beds are loaded with stuff, the right half of the stairs is full of
stuff to go up or downstairs but there is no way to take the stuff to
the next floor until things there are put away, unwashed dishes, tv's
and stereos I intend to fix stacked up 2 tv's high.
I live alone, and don't even have company because I"m embarrassed. No
one to start a fire but me, and I won't.
The front sidewalk where the mailman has to come is has a little
unevenness where one sqare is a half-inch lower than the next, but the
bushes keep him from walking on that part. The bushes cover half the
width of the sidewalk for 8 feet. Is that a problem> There's enough
room for one person but not two side-by-side. (I want to trim them,
but I want to go to a garden shop for advice on how to do a nice job.)
The area 4 inches around the furnace is clean. No flammables except
properly closed cans of turpentine, alcohol, and aerosol cans.
The broiler pan in the stove has grease in the bottom and could use
The rear deck is crumbling and I was going to put in a nice larger
one. But I could repair this one in 4 hours if there will be an
I am at a loss of how to take this one. Is it a troll or is it for
real. I have known several cases that come close to fitting this case, but
there are just a few things that seem to scream troll like "The area 4
inches around the furnace is clean. No flammables except properly closed
cans of turpentine, alcohol, and aerosol cans."
In the event you are for real, start today and pick a small area or
project. Something that you can complete today and take care of it.
Tomorrow take on a little larger project and keep going. Consider
contacting family or friends to help out. I suspect they will be happy to
help. If you are a senior citizen call the local senior center and see if
they have help available. Get you mind into the right mode. Consider if
you really need some of those things that you have been saving, especially
those that need fixing. Likely you will never ever need or want them, they
have been replaced by better.
Get a copy of "Sidetracked Home Executives"
<(Amazon.com product link shortened)51669752/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-7426795-9151122?ie=UTF8>
and do _exactly_ what it says. Also see a psychiatrist--you may have
problems that meds can help.
You, kind sir, are my late uncle reincarnate. He lived alone in a smaller
home quite literally full to the rafters with stuff. Not garbage or filth -
that went out on the curb every Friday - but he kept literally EVERYTHING
else. When the gentleman died, his estate removed 30,000 books and cancelled
84 magazine subscriptions including "Flying" and "Parents" - he was a lifelong
bachelor with no children and didn't even have a drivers license, much less a
pilot license. The company that cleaned out the house filled and emptied a 40
cu. yd. yard roll-off dumpster (the biggest they have that you usually see
behind large shopping malls) SIX TIMES. The house had deteriorated
substantially but was still liveable.
He, too, let his house insurance lapse.
The VERY FIRST thing the executor did was to get insurance on the house. They
insured the place AS IS.
Call a company every day or so until you get the coverage you need. They are
regulated by your state so there shouldn't be much difference for basic
If they must inspect the place, and they probably do, let 'em. So what if
it's a mess? It's YOUR house, it's YOUR life and you're hurting NO ONE else.
Obviously, Uncle Bob had problems (depression among them), but he was a good
man and gentleman in every respect. The issue(s) that caused your situation
are beyond the scope of a home repair newsgroup, but give yourself credit for
Get the insurance and let 'em inspect the place. A little embarrassment is a
small price to pay for protection of something of considerable value.
<if this is a troll you're losing karma points>
You have two things going on that run in my family: packrat-ism and a
form of depression. So it's good that you recognize this !
Job #1 is to get insurance on your house and as the other person
mentioned just keep trying. Call your old insurance company or call
all the major ones. Some states have programs for owner-occupied homes
that cannot be insured due to their condition, for this you would
contact an insurance agent or maybe your state insurance commissioner.
Job #2 is to get all the crap hauled off. For this I recommend my
"fake it" approach. Look around your house. Pretent you are normal,
which you are not (and neither am I nor half the people in my family).
Note everything that a "normal" person would not have in their house
and get rid of it. Then go thru and note everything that a normal
person would not put up with - the porch that can be fixed for example
- and either fix it or hire someone to do the work.
Job #3 is to determine how to approach your mental thingy. A relative
of mine takes generic Wellbutrin (bupropion) which costs about $10 a
month. This is a drug used to combat inertia, packrat-ism, depression,
and smoking. You have inertia. It's a mild form of depression. There
is not hing you can do about your brain but through very strict
self-discipline and/or something like bupropion you can do better.
Another sign of depression is darkness. Do you have your windows
closed off - curatins or blinds covering them ? How about those shrubs
? Sort of keep the world out don't they. Then you make an excuse for
not trimming them, that you have to go to the garden store to learn how
to trim them. This is a cop-out - obviously you have a computer and
internet access - look up what kind of bush it is and find out how to
prune it back. Or better yet, ripe the darn things out and open up
your house to sunlight !
Basically - You have the exact same thing I have and it's one heck of a
struggle. You have to do SOMEthing every day. Here I sit not mowing
the lawn !
The major part of the question was, will there be an inspection?
If I knew I were going to have an inspection, I would postpone or
further postpone the summer projects, even though some are important,
and work on what it takes to pass the inspection.
continued with more detail after Banty's post
And you're right.
I appreciate the interest you all have taken, and I could have added
two words to one paragraph, but didn't think of it:
"The area 4 inches around the furnace is clean. No flammables except
properly closed cans of turpentine, alcohol, and aerosol cans."
I could have included "in the basement" after "flammables" but I
didn't think to do so.
The list of problems with the house was in the order I thought of
them, but the second sentence here is only related to the first in
that the furnace reminded me of the basement. The flammables are not
within 4 inches of the furnace. That's the last place I would put
them. I certainly wouldn't call those 4 inches clean if they
contained cans of turpentine and aerosol cans! They are on the other
side of that room. There is nothing within 4 inches of the furnace,
but maybe I have to extend that to 6 or 12 inches. I don't know what
it takes to get demerits in an insurance inspection. I don't even
know if they do them for homes, and that's my big question.
If they don't, I can apply for insurance on Monday. If they do, I am
afraid to apply because I see that my car insurance company keeps
track of every little thing I say, for years, maybe for decades. For
example, they know I asked them for home insurance and they know they
turned me down once, years ago (because I had let it lapse.)
And I fear that all the insurance companies share this sort of info.
They've been sharing auto accident or auto insurance revocation
information for a decade or two or three, haven't they? By now, I
figure they may share everything.
So if I call for insurance and I learn that I need an inspection, and
I say, OK, how is four weeks from now? it will look bad. If I let
them come and I fail, that will look bad. And I think they will save
the info for years, and send it to some clearinghouse so that everyone
else will know when I apply somewhere else.
I was hoping to insure with a company that would tolerate my lapse of
insurance, possibly because their premium is higher (something like
assigned risk auto insurance), and then after a couple years, switch
to my auto insurance company, whose rate is probably lower than the
one that will take me now, and then I'd be back to a normal rate, and
I'd have 1 company to deal with for home and car, instead of 2.
I only mentioned the furnace and the flammables, because if there is
going to have to be an inspection, I was listing anything that could
possibly raise the interest of the inspector. And I figure anything
that could possibly cause a fire or a fall might. I forgot but I
think I also have benzene and naphtha, all bought in proper cans from
a place like Home Depot, and all tightly closed. And only 1 quart
cans. But because I have so many different solvents, for different
purposes, I am afraid that would raise a red flag for an inspector,
even if no single can is a problem at all.
"The broiler pan in the stove has grease in the bottom and could use
I mentioned that because it can start a fire. I know because the pan
itself has already caught on fire twice. These are fires that could
destroy my oven thermostat, and maybe my oven, but since I'm sitting
there at the time, and I have a fire extinguisher 10 feet away, I
doubt I'll ever let it get worse than that. It's like a small
rectangular cake pan with a corrugated perforated tray that sits on
top of it. The grease drops down to the bottom, so you can keep
broiling on it without making the food greasy, but eventually somehow,
the same heat that won't set fire to 2mm. will set fire to a half inch
of grease (or maybe it takes more). (Maybe the deeper fat bubbles and
the bubbles burst and hit the bottom of the top tray, which is hotter,
and sets that on fire.) Who keeps track of this stuff more than fire
insurance companies? So does that mean it's obvious that I should
get rid of it. Yes, but tomorrow night I'll be hungry again, and I'll
want to make a hamburger or lamb chop or garlic bread.
So the major part of the question was, will there be an inspection?
(If I knew I were going to have an inspection, I would postpone or
further postpone the summer projects and work on what it takes to pass
Roger gave one of the best answers I got, but he wasn't sure about
Calling an agent is a very good idea, but I can imagine an agent
saying "No inspecition, just come in and fill out the form." and all
of a sudden** the home office emails me and says, There has to be an
inspection. We'll come any time of day you want, or any day you want,
but it has to be in the next 10 days. Or 5 days. After all, they
know that someone might get up enough energy to clean for the
inspection, but be back to a fire-hazard, accident hazard in another 2
months. They must have this attitude or they wouldn't say, We don't
insure people whose insurance has lapsed. OTOH, they still might not
do inspections because that is a lot more time, effort and money for
them than just asking questions on the phone. So that's why I asked.
**Long ago, I let my car insurance lapse because I stored the car and
went out of the country. I was using the same agent as my mother.
When I got back, I called my mother and asked her to reinstate my
insurance. The agent told her that he couldn't do it because I was
2000 miles away and wasn't there to sign the application. (before fax
machines) That turned out to be a lie. They didn't like me because
they had low-balled me on the only accident claim I ever filed and I
argued with them and got another 100 dollars. So I'm stuck in this
far away city on a Saturday, at a pay phone, calling every car
insurance company in the yellow pages. They all say or have machines
that say they are closed until Monday. But one says it's open, and I
go immediately and fill out the forms and pay, and they say iirc I'm
insured, but they definitely say I"m not really insured and I won't be
"totally" insured until the insurance commissioner opens on Monday.
Well I didn't have an accident in the next two days, or next two
years, so I don't know what would have happened, but I'm pretty sure,
I could have just waited until Monday and had my choice of companies.
They didn't commit any crimes, I'm almost sure, and there would have
been no point to my backing out of the deal (which I probably could
have if I insisted) but they got me in there. I can easily imagine an
agent saying, No inspection, figuring I'll pass the inspection anyhow.
And I believe you, Dick, that he will push for me to get the policy,
but he might fail anyhow.
If I knew I were going to have an inspection, I would postpone or
further postpone the summer projects and work on what it takes to pass
Your best bet for homeowner's insurance is to contact an agent.
The agent has a profit motive for getting you a policy.
When I moved in 1984, my wife was startled by the viciousness of
my dumping. Until a year ago I had bank statements and checks
going back to 1968. We are planning to move in the next 1 to 3
years so I started dumping early. It took me three days to shred
1968 through 1995. I shoulda got a bigger shredder.
1. see your doctor with a printout of this posting.
2. [in buffalo ny] call the adult protection department [all ages] of
county social services and ask them to visit you asap.
in buffalo ny they will come by within 3 days and help you get
organized and point you to all their resources.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.