How to get homeowners insurance after nonrenewal
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A few months before your homeowners insurance policy’s end date, your insurance company will send you a notice. In most cases, it’s a renewal offer to continue the policy, but in others, it could be a nonrenewal notice.
If you receive a nonrenewal notice, your carrier will state the reason why it is choosing not to renew your policy. Sometimes, it’s an issue that can be addressed and submitted to your carrier for consideration in regard to renewing the policy. In other cases, receiving a nonrenewal notice means that you’ll need to start shopping around for a new homeowners insurance carrier to avoid a lapse in coverage.
Why was my homeowners insurance not renewed?
When homeowners insurance companies choose to nonrenew a policy, they must submit a written notice to the homeowner citing the reason why. Some of the most common reasons why a homeowners insurance company could elect to nonrenew a policy are listed below:
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. If you treat this property as a vacation home instead, you should inform your insurance agent so that they could insure the home with the appropriate policy.
Your home’s condition is not well-maintained
On occasion, an insurance company may send a third-party property inspector to your home to do an exterior inspection. During these surveys, the inspector checks your home to ensure that it is well-maintained and that there are no safety hazards, like overgrown trees, debris on the property, or deteriorated exterior.
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. This is a common issue right now in Florida’s homeowners insurance crisis, where many carriers are choosing to voluntarily leave the state, restrict policy eligibility requirements or liquidate completely.
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. From there, depending on the reason for nonrenewal, you have a few options, including:
Address the concern. If your home has not been maintained, it may help to take action and resolve the issues as soon as possible. Chances are, even if you were to shop around without fixing the problems, it’s possible a new carrier could also decline coverage for the same reason.
After it’s complete, submit the photographs back to the insurance company, who will then reconsider the nonrenewal notice. Taking care of this as early as possible may give you time to shop around for a new homeowners insurance policy just in case the policy isn’t approved for renewal after reconsideration.
- Question or dispute the nonrenewal. If you feel that the nonrenewal reason is unfair, you may have the option to question or dispute it by calling the insurance provider’s consumer affairs division or contacting your state’s insurance department.
- Shop around for a new homeowners insurance policy. Letting your current policy lapse could leave you without coverage and expose you to risk if something happens during the uninsured period. And, if you have a mortgage, one of the loan conditions is likely to keep continuous home insurance. If you do not ensure that the home is covered, your lender could purchase a new policy in your name, often at a higher cost.
- Check the date of your new policy. When buying new home insurance, make sure that the effective date starts on the last day of your current coverage, or the day prior, to avoid an accidental lapse in coverage. After you purchase the new policy and set the effective date, be sure to send a copy to your lender so that they are aware of the changes. If you choose an earlier effective date, make sure to send that to your current insurer as well so you can avoid duplicate coverage.
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
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.
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.
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.