What Can You Do If Your Homeowners Insurance Won't Renew Your Policy?

Properties exposed to natural threats can be hard to insure.

Properties exposed to natural threats can be hard to insure.

Although laws vary by state, insurance firms can refuse to renew your homeowner's policy for any reason "other than your age, gender and a few other protected classes" such as your race, notes HomeInsurance.org. If you've been putting in claims like there's no tomorrow, don't be surprised if your provider turns around and says it doesn't want your business anymore. Coverage providers can also cut you off if they decide your property poses too much of a risk.

Notice

Your insurer has to give you plenty of notice if it plans not to renew your policy. Depending on where you live, this can range from 30 to 60 days. Check out your policy documents to find out how much notice your insurer needs to give you. Touch base with your local or state department of insurance if your insurance company fails to give you enough notice or if you feel you've been discriminated against. You can find your state's office by using the search facility on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' website.

Contact Your Insurer

Call up your insurer and ask why it's dumping you if this hasn't been made clear in any letters you've received. If you're being offloaded because of the number of claims you've made or you live in an area that's considered high risk, there won't be much to argue about. If your coverage provider wants you off its books because of the state of your property, you may be able salvage things if you can agree to get your house in order.

Prepare

If you establish that your relationship with your current insurer is dead in the water, you'll need to get your paperwork sorted before applying for new policies. You'll need the current rebuild value of your home for your building's insurance and how much money it would cost to replace all your belongings for your contents cover. Get a copy of your Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report from LexisNexis. This includes info on past claims you've made. Check it for errors. If there are any mistakes such as claims you haven't made on it, get them amended. Once you've done so, get back in touch with your current insurer to see this development changes things. Failure to put any errors on your CLUE report right could result in you paying more than you should for a new policy or have trouble getting coverage at all if your current provider isn't willing to take you back.

Shop Around

Insert your details into online price comparison sites to get a few quotes. You should also approach insurance companies and brokers directly. If you've got a mortgage on your property, you'll be legally bound to have homeowner's insurance, so going without won't be an option.

Help

Ask your neighbors which companies they use to insure their homes if you live in a high-risk area. Properties that are prone to flooding or other natural threats are typically tougher to insure than homes in safer parts of the country. If you're still drawing a blank, ask your state's department of insurance for a comprehensive list of companies that provide coverage in your area.

 

About the Author

Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.

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