Switching homeowners insurance is quite an elusive topic for most people. They tend to assume that once you purchase a policy, you should keep it until you finish your mortgage payments or until your house ceases to exist altogether. While my professional background allows me to instantly notice that this approach isn’t at all helpful, I understand why it came to be: your house is your most prized possession, and it comes with a hefty amount of paperwork. As a result, everything that has to do with the admin of it all may be perceived as tedious or difficult. And I get it. I really do. But the sooner you realize that there’s a better way of going about things, the sooner you can start enjoying better coverage and saving money on your home insurance premiums.
Now, repeat after me: you are not married to your insurance carrier. You are allowed to browse the market for a better policy, and nothing stands in your way of getting it. All you need to do is do a little bit of research.
When You Should Consider Switching Your Home Insurance Policy
Your Existing Policy Is About to Expire
Most chances are your home insurance policy is set up for automatic renewal on a yearly basis. The two-month window prior to renewal should be used to thoroughly review your existing policy and check if you can find better deals from other providers. It’s time to ask yourself questions about how happy you are with your coverage, your rates, and the overall client experience that your existing carrier has to offer. Suppose you feel like you can do better under any of these aspects. In that case, you can either try to negotiate a better deal with your existing provider or move to a different, better one.
However, be thorough in your research. You may find that policies with better rates offer actual cash value instead of replacement cost benefits or that they don’t cover as many perils as your existing policy. To avoid any surprises, it’s best to get in touch with an independent insurance agent and go through your options together. I’d be happy to lend a hand, so make sure to contact me if you need any help.
You’re Buying a New Home
If you’re in the process of buying a new home, there’s no better time than now to get a homeowners insurance policy that ticks all your boxes. If you applied for a mortgage, getting a good insurance policy will most likely be required by your lender.
You’re Unhappy with Your Existing Policy or Carrier
You might have realized that your existing policy isn’t offering you enough protection or that your rates are excessive compared to what you’re receiving in return. Or, you may be unhappy with the long wait time or overall customer service. Regardless of the reason, you should switch your homeowners insurance to one that you’re completely satisfied with.
You’re Not Receiving Discounts
If you’ve been with your carrier for a long time and aren’t receiving any discounts, that’s a red flag that should invite you to start looking around for better options. Chances are your existing carrier may be eager to give you a better offer once they realize they might lose your business.
A great way to get lower rates is to bundle your insurance policies. For example, at Williams Insurance Group, we offer personal insurance packages that include auto and homeowners coverage. They allow our customers to enjoy impressive multi-policy discounts and broader coverage. To learn more about our offers, as always, drop me a line.
How to Switch Homeowners Insurance
If you’ve made your decision and are eager to move forward with your new insurance carrier, there are a few steps you should take to ensure a smooth transition.
Apply for Your New Homeowners Insurance Policy
You need to make sure that there will be no lapse in coverage between the start of your new policy and the cancellation of your old one in order to avoid higher insurance rates. Before you proceed to let your agent know that you’ve decided to cut ties, make sure you’re signed on with your new provider.
Cancel Your Existing Homeowners Insurance Policy
Once you’ve received approval and documentation from your new carrier, it’s time to cancel your existing policy. You can do that either in writing, through an email or a letter, or with a phone call. Regardless of your preference, ask your former carrier to send written confirmation that explicitly states the cancellation date so that you have a paper trail of your communications. If canceling your policy makes you uncomfortable, you can ask your new provider to do it on your behalf.
Depending on your circumstances, you may have to either give or receive money when you switch homeowners insurance. If you paid your premiums in advance, you should be entitled to a refund, while if your contract mentions cancellation fees, you will have to comply.
Notify Your Lender
If you’ve taken a mortgage on your property, you should notify your lender about changing your policy. Otherwise, you risk being faced with something called forced insurance, which is when the mortgage company tries to buy its own coverage for your property. This may prove to be quite pricey for you, so it’s best to avoid it by keeping your bank in the loop.
Switching your homeowners insurance policy isn’t as difficult as you may have been led to believe. All you need to do is take a little time to understand your needs and options. Once you identify your priorities, get in touch with an independent insurance agent and have them help you find the most suitable options from trusted, reputable carriers.