You just inherited a home, but you’re not sure what happens to homeowners insurance when someone dies. Well, the process is actually pretty simple — you have around 30 days to contact the home insurance company, provide a death certificate to show the homeowner died, and discuss your options for a new policy — though exact rules vary by insurance company. If you don’t, the company will likely cancel the policy. The best thing to do is to contact the insurer ASAP after you’ve inherited a home to discuss your options.
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Is a house still insured if the owner dies?
A home is typically still insured for around 30 days after the owner dies, though the exact time frame varies by company. During this time, you’ll need to reach out to the home insurance company to let them know the policyholder died and ask what your options are to continue coverage on the home. If you don’t alert the insurer within their specified time frame, they’ll likely cancel the policy.
Does homeowners insurance automatically get transferred to the beneficiary when someone dies?
No, you’ll need to reach out to the home insurance company to let them know the policyholder died and ask what the steps are to transfer the insurance policy to your name. If you’re the surviving spouse, you may be already listed as a policyholder, which would make transferring the existing policy to your name easy. Otherwise, you might need to take out a brand-new insurance policy.
How to transfer homeowners insurance after the owner dies
Follow these steps to buy a homeowners insurance policy after the owner dies and you'll inherit their home.
Step 1: Contact the insurance company.
Most companies require you to contact them within 30 days of the policyholder’s death, though the exact time frame varies by insurer. At this time, you’ll also need to provide a death certificate via email or fax.
When you call them, ask about your options for coverage and when the next premium payment is due. You’ll want to make sure you continue to pay the insurance premiums so the current policy doesn’t lapse.
Step 2: Ask about your coverage options.
Depending on the insurance company, some will allow you to keep the current homeowners policy in effect until it expires — so long as you pay the premiums on time. This is especially true if you’re a surviving spouse, since you most likely were already listed as a “named insured” on the homeowners insurance policy in the first place.
Otherwise, the insurance company might give you around 30 days to purchase a new policy under your name. Double-check how much time you have to buy a new policy to ensure you don’t have a lapse in coverage.
Remember: When you inherit a home, the previous owner’s insurance policy does NOT automatically pass to you. You’ll need to have the policy rewritten under your name, or take out a new policy altogether.
Step 3: Request coverage during the probate process.
If the deceased’s estate needs to go through probate before you legally gain ownership of the house, talk to the insurance company about ensuring the home is covered in the meantime.
You typically have a few options during the probate process — though it varies by insurer:
Step 4: Get your new homeowners insurance policy.
You’ve completed the probate process and you officially own the home. It’s time to let the homeowners insurance company know by showing proof of ownership. From there, you can either take out a new policy for the home under your name with that same company, or else shop around for coverage and take out a new policy with a different insurance company.
We recommend shopping around for coverage and getting quotes from at least three different companies to ensure you’re getting the best coverage at the best price. Our team of licensed insurance experts at Policygenius can help you with this.
4 tips for anyone who inherits a home
Follow these pointers after you inherit a home to ensure it stays protected:
Call the insurance company ASAP. The deceased homeowner’s policy will typically only stay active for around 30 days after their death. If you don’t notify the insurance company before that, you could wind up with no coverage at all.
Don’t leave the house vacant. If it’s possible to have someone stay at the house temporarily until it’s sold or rented out, do it. Otherwise, the insurance company will likely require you take out a vacant home insurance policy, which can get pricey.
Keep paying the homeowners insurance premiums. Not paying premiums on the deceased homeowner’s policy could lead to a lapse in coverage — meaning the home isn’t protected.
Ask about any coverage riders on the existing policy. Some homeowners might have a mortgage life insurance policy attached to their home insurance, which means the insurance company pays the mortgage after they die.