I want to continue on the subject of N’surance this week because for those companies, when there’s a loss, they are expected to quickly send out money as part of the claim to pay for the replacement of far too often dilapidated, unkempt structures. 

People who purchase properties need to understand that upkeep is as important as paying the mortgage. And upkeep includes the four-letter word that people don’t think about when buying the home: Work! For the lucky few who can always hire people to do the work, that is a blessing. But for the average Pookie, it is on us to do all the tedious things that add to the value and maintenance of the property.

Every year on July 4th, I have to make sure that I’m home because irresponsible individuals begin setting off fireworks. One year I had to confront an individual who shot a Roman candle, barely missed hitting my garage. If the sparks from fireworks were to land on a rooftop, we all know the disaster that would come from it. This past July 5, around 1 a.m., fireworks were to blame for six garages catching fire on the Southwest side. Residual damages included the melting of siding on a number of houses. And every last homeowner had to reach into their pockets to pay for the irresponsible behavior of one individual.

I would love to see Chicago institute a new law where insurance companies need to visually inspect their insured properties every 3-5 years. That can be one of the best drive-bys that has ever happened. If the property is being maintained, the insurance company knows. And the drive-by inspection is free. But if there are major visible concerns, the insurance company can contact their insured via both regular and registered mail, with a list of items that need to be addressed in order for the insurance to continue. They can even charge the individual a fee as part of the inspection. 

If you want to see a trifling homeowner finally do the work they’ve been putting off, that letter would guarantee it. Within that new ordinance, they can include language that if a homeowner is found to be actively participating in fireworks activity, their coverage can be dropped immediately. We need help to stop the absolute bombardment of what is now close to weaponry of war disguised as fireworks. Those M1000s/blockbusters are like a quarter stick of dynamite. They can and do significant damage. 

Insurance companies can also hire adjusters to be out on July 4th and have a toll free number where we people can report individuals and addresses who are known to put on firework displays. Why should the rest of us suffer and be financially accountable for the misbehavior of what used to be the few but is quickly turning into the many. And irresponsible tenants and their landlords can also be included in that ordinance.