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Mutual Assurance Officers in photo dated 1960.

Mutual Myths

There are several myths and rumors about whom Mutual Assurance will cover that started many years ago and are still in circulation today. Here are some of the most common misconceptions - which have you heard before?



Mutual Assurance will insure only one house on each block.

We are happy to insure multiple homes on a block. As long as each dwelling meets our underwriting criteria, which includes necessary safety considerations.

Mutual Assurance insures only brick homes with slate roofs.

Mutual insures all types of homes, condos, and apartments throughout Virginia. As ever, each dwelling must meet our underwriting criteria and the construction of the home determines the initial policy premium, as well as annual assessments.

We will not insure homes with hot water heaters in the attic.

We will cover homes with hot water heaters on the upper floors, but with certain precautions. Hot water heaters have an average life expectancy of 10-12 years. So it isn’t a matter of if the unit will fail, but when. Units in attics are exposed to temperature extremes which can hasten their failure.


Our preference is that hot water heaters are located in garages, basements, or first-floor utility rooms. We require a drip pan and outside drain line on every hot water heater, unless it is installed in an unfinished basement or garage. If a hot water heater is in the attic or anywhere else above a finished living area, we also require the installation of an automatic water supply shut-off valve.

Mutual Assurance will not accept homes with a sump pump.

Sump pumps used to be a no-go for a policy with us, but that has changed. We will cover homes with sump pumps but certain conditions must be in place, and there may be an added charge. It is worth checking with one of our advisors as any surcharges would be offset by the overall savings offered.

A Mutual Assurance policy is comprehensive and will cover anything that damages my home.

Don’t expect to be able to file a claim to help offset the costs of maintenance or the cost of damage caused by a perceived lack of maintenance. For example, Mutual Assurance policies won’t cover issues related to:

• Insect damage (including termites)
• Rodent damage
• Bird damage
• Mold
• Rot
• Rust

I will pay little or nothing each year for coverage from Mutual Assurance.

Unlike other insurance companies, Mutual Assurance issues a perpetual homeowners policy. This is a policy without expiration. Both parties agree to keep the policy in force without an expiration date as long as the conditions of membership are satisfied. As an FYI, other insurance companies issue policies that usually expire after a year, and then both parties renew it.

With Mutual, at each policy “anniversary,” members are charged what we call an assessment. Set each year by the Board of Directors, these payments cover the ongoing costs of the Society and are based on a percentage of the policy premium. These assessments can be from 1% to 200% of the policy premium but have held steady at between 20-22% for decades.

The Board looks at the following to determine the annual percentage amount:
• insurance income
• reinsurance costs
• loss and loss adjustment expenses
• underwriting expenses
• investment income and investment performance

As an example, a homeowner with an $1100 premium would pay $220 with a 20% assessment that year. If the assessment goes to 22% the next year and the premium stays the same, he would pay $242.

There is a minimum annual assessment of $125 to $350, depending on the policy.

By comparison to what you would be paying to a big box insurer, you may think an assessment of 22% is next to nothing. This is why we say “yes and no” to this myth.

If I move out of state, I can take my Mutual Assurance policy with me.

Mutual Assurance insures only homes in Virginia. There are specific criteria that must be met to qualify for our coverage, and not all homes will qualify. That is for the protection of our policyholders whose houses are in good shape and have no unnecessary risks.

If you have a policy with us and you move within the Commonwealth of Virginia, you can take our coverage with you.

Mutual Assurance offers only homeowners insurance.

We offer homeowners, renters, and condo insurance.

We also offer rental dwelling insurance if we cover the policyholder’s primary home.

Mutual Assurance offers additional policies such as Umbrella that include personal liability, and now UM/UIM coverage (uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist).

If you are not yet a member of Mutual Assurance

Or call us at 800-648-1794

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