More on Home Insurance
More on Home Insurance
Changing homeowners insurance companies is a fairly simple process. Find out how to switch in five easy steps.
If your insurance rates went up or you’re dissatisfied with your current company, it may be a good time to switch insurers
It can take as little as an afternoon to switch homeowners insurance companies
Be sure you know your current policy details and coverage needs before switching companies
Consider shopping around and comparing policies with other insurers through Policygenius
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 comparison 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.
But nearly one in three Americans with homeowners or car insurance have never shopped around for better coverage, with more than 60% citing time constraints, paperwork, and not knowing how to re-shop as their reasons for sticking with the same company according to a 2019 survey from Policygenius. Additionally, many policyholders aren’t aware that it’s perfectly okay to change insurance companies in the middle of the policy term.
The reality is switching homeowners insurance companies can be a fast and easy process involving minimal paperwork. Once you decide on a new policy, many insurance brokers will do all of the legwork for you, including scheduling a start date for your new policy, canceling your old policy, and notifying your mortgage lender.
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If you decide to make the switch to a new homeowners insurance company, be sure to take the following steps to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
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 in your policy declarations page, which your carrier should have provided you at the beginning of your policy term. If you don’t have your dec 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.
Most insurance companies will let you cancel your policy in the middle of your term and refund you for your entire unused premium, but it’s also possible you’ll be charged an early cancellation fee. Be sure to read your policy terms and conditions so that you’re aware of any such fee.
There’s a good chance your coverage needs have changed since you last switched carriers. Maybe you were paying an exorbitant premium for coverage that you don’t need and you’d like to scale back, or perhaps you purchased some expensive art or jewelry that requires enhanced personal property protection. If you recently added an extra room onto your home or updated the kitchen, there’s a good chance your home’s rebuild cost went up and you’ll want your new policy to reflect that. Be mindful of your coverage needs prior to shopping for coverage.
Be sure to cast a wide net and compare coverage and rates from at least three insurance companies. The best way to shop for coverage is through an insurance marketplace like Policygenius that lets you compare quotes from multiple insurers. When applying for coverage, make sure the quoted rates are for the coverage amounts indicated on your current policy declarations page — that will ensure you’re making an apples to apples comparison and will be a good indicator of whether or not it makes sense to switch. A good agent will also help you understand your quotes and tell you if it’s a better idea to switch coverage or stick with your current insurer.
Once you find a policy that checks all the boxes — comprehensive, flexible coverage and low rates through a reliable and financially stable insurer — it’s time to make the purchase. 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 in force.
To avoid a lapse in coverage that would leave your home unprotected, be sure the effective date for the new policy picks up where your current policy leaves off. Your current policy’s end date is indicated on the declarations page.
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. It’s also common for insurance agents to 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.
If you pay for homeowners insurance through an escrow account set up by your lender, it’s likely you paid the premiums for your last policy up-front. If you cancel your policy in the middle of your term, you should expect a refund check for any unused premiums. Be sure any future payments you make to the escrow account are being paid to your new insurance company.
Pat Howard is a homeowners insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. He has written extensively about home insurance cost, coverage, and companies since 2018, and his insights have been featured on Investopedia, Lifehacker, MSN, Zola, HerMoney, and Property Casualty 360.
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