5 steps to changing homeowners insurance companies

Find out how to change home insurance companies to get cheaper rates, better coverage, or an easier claims experience.

Pat Howard 1600Kara McGinley

By

Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

&Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

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Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™

Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™

Financial Advisor

Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™, is a financial advisor, principal and founder of Elevation Financial, host of the weekly personal finance podcast Wealth Redefined®, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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Did you know it is easy to change homeowners insurance companies at any time, even if your policy hasn’t expired yet? Whether you’re looking for cheaper rates, better customer service, or different coverage options, our Policygenius agents can help you through the entire process.

Ready to switch home insurance companies & find cheaper rates?

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5 steps to changing home insurance companies

Changing homeowners insurance can be relatively simple if you know the right steps to take. Our agents can walk you through the process of setting up your new policy, canceling your old one, and notifying your lender of the switch. 

1. Dig out your current policy and gather your policy information

Before shopping for a new home insurance company, you’ll want to know basic details about your current homeowners insurance, including:

  • Your annual premium 

  • Coverage amounts for each section of your policy

  • Additional coverages you added to your policy

  • Your deductible amounts

  • Your policy’s effective dates (when coverage begins and ends)

You can find this information on the first page of your policy, called your policy declarations page. Your insurance company should have given you a hard copy when you first purchased your policy. If you have an online account, you can look it up there as well.

Can’t find it? No sweat. Just reach out to your insurance company and see if they can send you a copy. 

2. Think about your coverage needs

With inflation on the rise, there’s a good chance your house is underinsured and you need to reconsider your coverages and limits. (You can read more about the rise in underinsured homeowners here.)

Not sure where to start? The licensed 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.

Why your coverage needs might have changed

  • You renovated your kitchen, so your home’s rebuild costs went up

  • You put a new roof on your house

  • You purchased new jewelry or expensive artwork you want to make sure is fully insured

  • You installed a pool or trampoline on your property

  • You adopted a dog 

  • You purchased a car, and want to bundle your policies together

If your coverage needs haven’t changed, just use your current coverage amounts when shopping around for a new policy.

➞ Learn more about how much homeowners insurance you need

Ready to switch home insurance companies & find cheaper rates?

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3. Compare home insurance quotes from several insurance carriers

When shopping for a new home insurance company, experts recommend comparing quotes from at least 3 different insurance carriers. Just make sure the quotes have matching coverages, limits, and deductibles. That’s a cinch when you work with an insurance marketplace like Policygenius.

Essentially, you just reach out to a Policygenius home insurance agent through one of the links on this page. After you provide your personal information, answer a few questions, and provide your current policy, they’ll compile quotes from a few different insurance companies they think might be a better fit than your current provider.

How to compare home insurance quotes

Once you have the quotes in-hand, here’s what to look at to decide which company is right for you:

  • Rates and discounts you qualify for: Compare the monthly and annual rates of each company, paying note of any discounts you might qualify for down the road. This might include discounts for paying on time, going so many years without a claim, or being a loyal customer for so many years.

  • Coverage limits: Look at the types of coverage you’re getting with each insurer, including policy limits and exclusions, as well as additional perks the company offers, like wildfire mitigation services or cash-out settlements.

  • Deductibles: Compare the different types of deductibles the policy comes with (like separate wildfire, hurricane, or windstorm deductibles) and make sure they’re the same amount so you’re making a true apples-to-apples comparison. 

  • Customer service ratings: Instead of looking at customer reviews — which often skew negative since customers rarely leave comments unless a problem has occurred — look at J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction and claims satisfaction studies to see how well each company fared.

  • Financial strength and stability scores: Look at A.M. Best scores for each company to make sure they have the means to pay out claims should disaster strike.

Don’t want to sift through all of these details yourself? Another option is to check out our picks for the best home insurance companies of 2022. We based our choices on their Policygenius ratings, which take all of the above factors into consideration.

Here’s a peek at some of the companies that topped our list:

Insurance company

Best for ...

Average annual rate

Policygenius rating

Allstate

Overall

$1,650

4.3 out of 5 stars

Amica

Customer service

$1,756

4.3 out of 5 stars

State Farm

High-risk homes

$1,887

4.1 out of 5 stars

Nationwide

Easy claims filing

$1,966

4 out of 5 stars

Farmers

Bundling home & auto

$1,845

3.9 out of 5 stars

4. Buy your new policy and cancel your old one

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 and could potentially cause you to default on your mortgage, make sure your new policy’s effective date lines up with your old policy’s expiration date.

Ask about a refund for any unused premiums 

If you paid your homeowners insurance up front 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.

5. Let your mortgage lender know you switched insurers

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. If you don’t, your loan could be considered to be in default.

Policygenius agents can reach out to your mortgage company on your behalf. Or if you prefer to do it yourself, most lenders just ask that you email them a copy of your new homeowners insurance declarations page and your former policy's cancellation notice.

Why you should switch home insurance with Policygenius

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Policygenius customers saved an average of $1,250 per year by reshopping their home and auto insurance.

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How to change homeowners insurance policies with an escrow account

Many homeowners with a mortgage pay their 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 expenses, including your home insurance premium.

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. 

➞ Learn more about switching homeowners insurance with an escrow account

How often can you switch home insurance companies?

There’s no rule for how often you can switch home insurance companies. You can cancel your policy and change insurers whenever you want — even in the middle of your term. Experts recommend that you compare quotes from different insurance carriers at least once a year to make sure you aren’t missing out on a better deal elsewhere. 

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Wait to switch companies if you're in the middle of a claim

If you're in the middle of a home insurance claim, our experts recommend waiting to change insurers until after your claim is complete. That's because it can already be difficult working with your insurance company to schedule a claims adjuster and contractor for repairs without trying to cancel your policy, too. You'll likely save yourself a headache if you postpone switching insurers until your home insurance claim is officially closed.

Ready to switch home insurance companies & find cheaper rates?

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Why you should shop around for home insurance every year

It’s become increasingly common for companies to reevaluate rates and change the cost of policies on an annual basis. The industry is operating with tighter-than-ever margins in recent years due to record insurance payouts from wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other catastrophes fueled by climate change. As a result, it’s likely your premiums will go up, too.

From May 2021 to May 2022, 90% of homeowners saw their quoted annual premium increase compared to the previous year, according to the Policygenius Home Insurance Pricing Report. And homeowners in some states saw their premiums rise at more than double the rate of inflation. All of this proves that it pays to shop around for home insurance each year.

5 common reasons for changing home insurance companies

Here are a few of the most common reasons for switching home insurance companies:

  1. Find cheaper rates With many homeowners seeing more than an 8% increase in rates, finding better rates is one of the biggest reasons to look for a new home insurance company.

  2. Have different coverage needs If you adopted a dog and your current home insurance company doesn’t offer pet liability coverage, it’s time to switch to a dog-friendly home insurance company.

  3. Want to bundle home and auto policies Not all insurers offer the option to bundle your home and auto insurance policies together. For a list of those that do, check out our best home and auto insurance bundles of 2022.

  4. Had a bad claims experience The whole point of purchasing home insurance is to have their support when the unthinkable happens and your home is damaged or property is destroyed. When a bad claims experience happens instead, many homeowners will decide to make the switch.

  5. Your insurer went bankrupt Having your insurance company go bankrupt or insolvent is another common reason for switching insurance companies — especially if you live in a state prone to natural disasters, like Florida, Louisiana, or California.

Frequently asked questions

Can I switch home insurance at any time?

Yes, you can switch home insurance companies whenever you want — you don’t need to wait for your policy to expire.

What do I need when changing homeowners insurance?

When changing home insurance companies, you’ll need a copy of your current policy’s declarations page, along with any changes you want to make to your coverages, coverage limits, or deductibles.

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.

Does homeowners insurance go up every year?

It’s common for home insurance premiums to go up each year. Premium costs are based on a variety of factors, like your home’s age, location, and build. They’re also based on things outside of your control, like construction costs. For example, if you live in an area that suffered multiple natural disasters in a given year, you’ll likely see a rate increase due to the increased demand of construction costs. If you noticed your rates went up more than 10%, consider re-shopping your insurance to find a better deal.

Can I transfer my home insurance policy to a different person?

No, you can't transfer your home insurance policy to a different person, nor can you transfer the home insurance policy of a home you inherited to yourself. That's because homeowners insurance doesn’t automatically pass on to the new owner of the home after someone dies. Instead, you'll need to purchase a new policy. You can learn more with our guide to home insurance for an inherited home.

Authors

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

gray linkedin icon link

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

Expert reviewer

Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™, is a financial advisor, principal and founder of Elevation Financial, host of the weekly personal finance podcast Wealth Redefined®, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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