There are no shortage of reasons you might want to switch homeowners insurance providers: Maybe your policy is up for renewal and your insurance company just notified you that your rates will be increasing, or perhaps you’re moving into a new home. In fact, it’s recommended that you re-shop homeowners insurance annually to see if you’re missing out on a better deal with a different company, even if you don’t wind up switching.
Switching insurers can be a fast and easy process involving minimal paperwork. Here are the steps you should take if you want to change homeowners insurance companies.
If your insurance rates went up or you’re dissatisfied with your current company, it may be a good time to switch insurers.
When changing homeowners insurance, make sure you know the coverage details of your current policy and any coverage needs that may have changed.
To switch insurance, all you have to do is shop around to compare companies, apply for a new policy, cancel your old one (once your new policy is active), and notify your mortgage lender.
5 steps to changing your home insurance
Changing homeowners insurance can be relatively simple if you know the right steps to take. Our Policygenius agents can also help you through the process by setting up your new policy, canceling your old one, and notifying your lender of the switch for you.
Below are the steps to changing homeowners insurance.
1. Check your current policy and have your policy information on hand
Prior to comparison shopping for a new policy, you’ll want to know basic details about your current homeowners insurance, including:
Your annual premium
Coverage amounts for each section of your policy
Your deductible amount
Your policy’s effective dates (when coverage begins and ends)
This information is available on the first page of your policy, called your policy declarations page. Your insurance company likely provided you with a declarations page when you first purchased your policy. If you don’t have your declarations page on hand, contact your insurance company and see if they can provide you a copy. If you have an online account login, your policy information should be viewable there, as well.
2. Determine your coverage needs
There’s a good chance the amount of coverage you need may have changed since you last switched insurers. It’s important to be mindful of what type of protection you need prior to shopping for a new policy. The agents at Policygenius can help you determine how much coverage you need and recommend any additional coverages that may be worth adding to your policy.
Below are a few examples of when your coverage needs would change:
You were paying an exorbitant premium for coverage that you don’t need and you’d like to scale back
You may have purchased some expensive art or jewelry that requires enhanced personal property coverage to fully protect it
You recently added an extra room onto your home or updated the kitchen, so your home’s rebuild cost changed and you’ll need your policy to reflect that
You installed a pool or other structures in or around your home
If your coverage needs haven’t changed, just use your current coverage amounts when shopping around for a new policy.
3. Shop around to compare different insurance companies
Be sure to cast a wide net and compare coverage and rates from at least three different insurance companies. You should look for a financially stable, reliable insurer that offers comprehensive, flexible coverage and low rates.
The best way to shop for coverage is through an insurance marketplace like Policygenius that lets you compare quotes from multiple insurers.
4. Make the switch and cancel your old policy
Once you find a policy that checks all the boxes, it’s time to make the purchase. The agents at Policygenius can help you purchase a new policy and cancel your old one for you.
It can take as little as one to three days for your new homeowners insurance policy to take effect after purchase, although keep in mind that many insurers offer an “early bird” discount if you buy your coverage more than seven days before it goes into effect.
To avoid a lapse in coverage that would leave your home unprotected, be sure the new policy starts where your current policy leaves off.
Most insurance companies will let you cancel your homeowners insurance at any time during your policy term and refund you for any unused premiums, but it’s also possible you’ll be charged an early cancellation fee.
5. Notify your mortgage lender
If you have a mortgage on your home, you’ll want to reach out to your mortgage lender to let them know that you’ve changed homeowners insurance companies. Policygenius agents can reach out to the mortgage company on your behalf to ensure they’re aware that your coverage won’t simply lapse when your existing homeowners insurance ends.
How to change homeowners insurance policies with an escrow account
If you have a mortgage on your home, you may pay your homeowners insurance through an escrow account. Escrow accounts are set up by your mortgage lender, and the money put into the account goes towards various things, like your monthly mortgage payment, home insurance, property taxes, and private mortgage insurance.
If you want to switch homeowners insurance companies and you have an escrow account, the process of changing insurers won’t differ too much from the steps listed above. You’ll just want to make sure you notify your lender right away.
If you cancel your policy in the middle of your term, you should expect a refund check for any unused premiums. Be sure to double check with your lender that future payments you make to the escrow account are being paid to your new insurance company.
Can I change my homeowners insurance at any time?
Most insurance companies will allow you to cancel your policy whenever you want, even in the middle of the policy term.
If you paid your homeowners insurance upfront in full, you’ll likely be reimbursed for the unused premiums. Depending on the insurance company, there may be a cancellation fee or penalties. Be sure to read your policy terms and conditions so that you’re aware of any such fee.
Frequently asked questions
How often should I change my homeowners insurance?
It’s recommended that you shop around and compare homeowners insurance companies every year. A different insurer may offer you better rates for your coverage needs.
Is it bad to switch homeowners insurance?
No, in fact it’s a good idea to compare homeowners insurance quotes annually to make sure you aren’t missing out on a better deal elsewhere.