AAA homeowners insurance trouble: They never told me I had to fix the roof!

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By Christopher Elliott

Jan Hustler is having trouble with her AAA homeowners insurance. She didn’t repair her roof on time and now has lost her coverage. But the company didn’t tell her about the requirement until it was too late. Can she get her homeowners insurance coverage back? 

Question

I recently received a notification from AAA, my home insurance company, that it would not renew my coverage for this year. 

The reason? The AAA underwriting department said my roof had  “exceeded its useful life” and needed to be replaced by September. AAA said I could reapply for a homeowner’s policy — in December 2026

How could I have known that we needed a new roof by then? Why didn’t AAA notify me earlier so I could have complied by that date? Instead, I was denied before I could comply. 

I feel like AAA is treating me unfairly. Why would AAA treat a loyal customer this way? Can you help get my insurance reinstated? — Jan Hustler, Santa Clara, Calif.

Answer

AAA shouldn’t have canceled your homeowner’s insurance without first giving you an opportunity to replace your roof. But it looks as if it never notified you about the required repairs.

Insurance companies can — and sometimes do — require customers to make certain repairs to their homes before they can insure them. Usually, that happens before — or soon after — you purchase your policy. If you have an older home, the insurance company will require an inspection. Based on that, the insurance company may require certain repairs within 30 to 60 days. (Related: Don’t fall for these disaster insurance scams!)

In your case, AAA required that you replace your roof before agreeing to insure your home in 2024. While that is legal, it’s customary for an insurance company to notify you of the requirement so that you can meet it. According to your records, you didn’t get any notification. (Related: Don’t do this! 3 insurance claims mistakes new travelers make.)

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You scrambled to replace the roof and then showed AAA the invoice along with photos, according the records you shared with me. But that wasn’t enough. AAA was firm that you were out for the next two years but could reapply for insurance in 2026.

Adding to the complexity of your case is that you’re in California. Insurance premiums have gone through the roof since the wildfires a few years ago, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a comparable policy. What’s more, under California law, your insurance company can drop you without giving you a reason. So AAA could have simply decided not to renew your policy, and that would have been that.

What are your homeowner’s insurance rights in California?

Homeowners have a lot of rights in California, when it comes to insurance. Here are a few things you should know:

Insurance policies are contracts

Remember that insurance policies are legal contracts. You, as the insured, have rights, and your insurance company must adhere to state laws and regulations.

You have the right to a prompt claim

Insurance companies are obligated to conduct a timely, thorough, and unbiased investigation of your loss. They should work with you to adjust your claim and pay what they owe promptly and fairly.

California’s Insurance Code (INS) outlines your rights and the obligations of insurance companies. California Insurance Regulations (Title 10, Chapter 5) provide additional guidance. And Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations (Title 10, Chapter 5, Subchapter 7.5) govern claim settlements.

Pro tip: maintain a claim journal

Document conversations and agreements with adjusters and other professionals. Whenever possible, communicate in writing to create a clear paper trail. (Related: AAA Emergency Roadside Services: Don’t call us — summon us online.)

Being aware of your rights ensures a fair outcome during the claims process. You can use the resources provided by the California Department of Insurance and advocate for yourself. Unfortunately, the code doesn’t specifically address a cancellation because of a roof repair.

How to avoid homeowners insurance trouble

Could you have avoided this problem? Maybe. If you had known AAA was going to attach conditions to your homeowner’s insurance renewal, you might have been more proactive about finding out what they were. But it looks like AAA didn’t mention any new requirements to you. 

The next step would be contacting an executive at AAA about your situation. I publish the names, numbers and email addresses of the AAA customer service higher-ups on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. (Here’s our guide to resolving your consumer problem.)

You reached out to my advocacy team for help. I contacted AAA on your behalf and asked it to take another look at your file. It did, and decided to renew your homeowner’s insurance policy.

About this story

I was shocked when I received this case. Insurance can be arbitrary, but AAA’s actions seemed out of line, even by the insurance industry’s standards. And I was certain that there was some kind of misunderstanding between the homeowner and the insurance company. My takeaway: I will always read every piece of mail from my insurance company — otherwise, I could end up without any coverage. I’m grateful to our entire team, including Andy Smith and his editing group, Will Leeper and his team in our Facebook group, Dwayne Coward and Mel Smith in advocacy and Dustin Elliott in the art department. You guys are the best!

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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