How to get homeowners insurance after nonrenewal

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Homeowners insurance nonrenewal can be initiated by you or your insurance carrier. You may choose to let your policy expire, or you may receive an insurance nonrenewal notice from the company that gives you a warning that the carrier will not continue your policy after its end date. In either case, you will need to start shopping for a new home insurance policy with another company to ensure you do not have a coverage lapse.

There is a difference between home insurance nonrenewal and cancellation. Insurance companies cannot cancel your policy after the first 60 days unless they find the information you provided during the application is fraudulent or you did not pay your premiums. Regardless of whether a carrier chooses not to renew or cancel your coverage, you will receive a written notice in advance.

Why was my homeowners insurance not renewed?

A homeowner is often surprised when they receive an insurance nonrenewal notice. Nonrenewal of a homeowners insurance policy by the carrier is not common, but it does occasionally happen. Some of the reasons you may get notified of nonrenewal are:

Your area may be designated as too high-risk

An insurance provider may decide to no longer sell coverage in your area or reduce the number of policyholders. For example, a carrier may have experienced high losses in a specific zone and decide to reduce its liability, such as during the most recent California wildfires. The California Insurance Commissioner issued a one-year moratorium preventing insurance companies from nonrenewal of over one million home insurance policies in the worst-hit wildfire disaster areas.

Your history may affect renewal

If you made multiple or costly homeowners insurance claims, your carrier might find you too high-risk to insure. Making too many late payments may be another reason a carrier may decide not to offer you another year of coverage. Although it may seem like an unfair practice, a carrier can choose not to continue your coverage after the policy expires for multiple reasons.

Your home is vacant

Many homeowners do not realize that standard home insurance policies often have a vacancy clause. If the home is empty and unoccupied for 30 days or longer (depending on the state), an insurance company may choose to cancel or not renew the home’s insurance policy.

The insurance company may discontinue underwriting

On rare occasions, an insurance provider may decide to no longer do business in your area or stop selling the type of homeowners insurance you purchased. When this happens, the carrier will notify you of nonrenewal so you may find an alternative insurance company.

How to get coverage after nonrenewal

Each state has different regulations for how a carrier can issue an insurance nonrenewal notice, but the average time of notice before the nonrenewal commences is 45 days. You will typically have enough time to find new coverage as long as you do not leave it to the last minute. The written notice should provide the reason(s) why your homeowners insurance policy will not continue. You can question or dispute the nonrenewal by calling the insurance provider’s consumer affairs division or contacting your state’s insurance department.

Regardless of whether you dispute the nonrenewal, you should start shopping around for a new home insurance policy in case you do not receive favorable news. Letting your current policy lapse could leave you without coverage and expose you to risk if something happens during the uninsured period. In addition, if you have a mortgage, one of the loan conditions is to keep continuous home insurance. Your lender could purchase a new policy in your name (often at a higher cost) if you do not to ensure the home is covered.

Most insurance companies allow you to get quotes online quickly. Collect a few to compare rates and coverage features before you choose a new insurance company. In most cases, you may be able to save the quote and return to buy coverage online. Make sure when you buy the new home insurance that the effective date is the day of (or the day before to be safe) your current policy ends to avoid an accidental lapse in coverage. Once you buy the new policy and set the effective date, send a copy to your lender, so they are aware of the changes.

Depending on why you were not renewed, getting new home insurance could be easy, or your options may be limited. If the reason for nonrenewal was due to your claims or payment activity or because you live in a high-risk area, finding new coverage may be more difficult. Many states provide access to Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plans, also known as shared market coverage, designed to help individuals who are having trouble getting insured find affordable homeowners insurance.

Frequently asked questions

What is a homeowners insurance nonrenewal notice letter?

An insurance company may decide they will not continue your home insurance policy once it expires. The letter explains why you will not be renewed and gives you a warning so you can find new coverage.

How can I get homeowners insurance after nonrenewal?

To find new coverage, shop around by getting quotes from a few home insurance carriers to compare and find the best rates and coverage. If you are having trouble getting alternative insurance, many states have FAIR plans for harder to insure homeowners.

Can an insurance company cancel my home insurance?

Insurance companies must follow specific rules before they cancel or decide not to renew your policy. These guidelines vary by state, but typically, the insurance carrier must provide you with advance written notice of the cancellation or nonrenewal, usually between 30 and 60 days. In most cases, an insurance company cannot cancel your policy after 60 days of coverage unless you misrepresent yourself in the application or fail to pay your premiums. However, insurance carriers have more flexibility if they choose to simply not renew your policy after expiration.

Written by
Cynthia Paez Bowman
Personal Finance Contributor
Cynthia Paez Bowman is a finance and business journalist who has been featured in Bankrate, Business Jet Traveler, MSN, CheatSheet.com, Freshome.com and TheSimpleDollar.com. She regularly travels to Africa and the Middle East to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development and works with select startups and women-owned businesses to provide growth and visibility.