What to do if your homeowners insurance is canceled

Tue Dec 26 2023

A young couple sits on their couch, looking at their laptop

You just got a notice from your home insurance company that says your policy is being canceled. Now what?

Take a deep breath and get ready to act quickly. You have a small window to get things back on track so you can keep your house protected and meet your mortgage requirements.

In this article, we take a look at what to do if your homeowners insurance policy is canceled, the difference between a cancellation and a nonrenewal, and some common reasons homeowners get cancellation notices.

First steps after a home insurance cancellation notice

If you get a cancellation or nonrenewal notice, call your current insurance company right away. There may be something that can be done to keep coverage in force. For example, if you missed a payment, you may simply need to pay your premium.

Sometimes insurers allow you to remedy the problem before the cancellation date. This may happen if your roof no longer meets your insurer’s underwriting criteria. You might be eligible for coverage once it’s replaced.

But if your insurance company doesn’t offer a solution, then you need to shop around for a new policy. You may still be able to find a policy even if you’ve been canceled for underwriting concerns because different companies take on different risks. One company may have a restricted breeds list and not insure homes that have German shepherds. Another company may happily insure your home regardless of the canine company you keep.

Look for companies like Kin that specialize in insuring “risky” states. We offer homeowners insurance in Florida as well as:

If you’ve been canceled or nonrenewed, give us a call at 855-717-0022 or enter your address to see if we can help you out.

The difference between being canceled vs. nonrenewed

Both a cancellation notice and a nonrenewal notice mean you need to get home insurance elsewhere. But there are a couple of important differences.

A cancellation notice means the insurance company terminates an existing policy before the term is through. In other words, the coverage will end before the original expiration date.

Your insurance company typically sends a nonrenewal notice after it’s reviewed your policy with the intent to renew, but found the home no longer meets its requirements. Every company has its own underwriting guidelines, so what’s uninsurable for one company isn’t necessarily uninsurable for another.

Why would an insurance company cancel your home insurance policy?

One reason for getting a home insurance cancellation notice is underwriting. Most states give insurers time, usually between 60 and 90 days, to review information about policies right after they’ve been bound. This is called an underwriting discovery period. If your insurer discovers something about your home that goes against its underwriting requirements, it may end up canceling your policy, during this period.  

Other reasons for canceling – both during and after the discovery period – are rarer, but can happen when there’s been a substantial change in the risk as well as instances of fraud or nonpayment.

However, a nonrenewal notice may be sent if you:

  • File multiple claims. (Note: This doesn’t include catastrophe claims. Most states have laws that stop insurers from using catastrophe claims against you.)

  • Have bad credit.

  • Get an aggressive pet.

  • Buy a new trampoline or pool.

  • Your property is vacant for a specific period of time.

  • Have a criminal record.

You may also get a nonrenewal notice if your insurer changes its business practices. For instance, if your insurer alters its underwriting criteria or drops a type of coverage, then you may be nonrenewed. The same can happen if your insurer decides to stop selling policies in your area, as many Florida homeowners have discovered.

If you have too many claims, you may want to better protect your property to reduce the chance of loss. That might mean replacing old plumbing that keeps failing, installing a water leak sensor  or security system. At the end of the day, when you file fewer claims, your premiums will be lower and you’re less likely to face cancellation.

Things like credit score, pets, and trampolines depend on your company. Chances are you just need to find an insurance company willing to take these types of risks – they exist; you just need to find them.

If you aren’t living in your home, you may need landlord insurance or second home insurance to protect the property. Even if your policy isn’t canceled but it’s sitting vacant for most of the year or occupied by someone other than the owner, you could risk your claims being denied because you don’t have the right policy or endorsement in place.

Can an insurance company cancel your policy without notice?

In some states and in some cases, an insurance company can cancel your home insurance policy without notice:

  • In Alabama, insurance companies are required to notify you 10 days before canceling a policy due to nonpayment and 20 days prior to canceling for underwriting.

  • Arizona insurers must provide notice 10 days in advance if they’re canceling for nonpayment, but 30 days in advance when they’re canceling for underwriting.

  • In Florida, carriers can only cancel your policy for an underwriting issue during the 60-day discovery period. Doing so, however, requires 20 days notice. After the underwriting discovery period, insurers can nonrenew a policy for an underwriting issue and must provide a nonrenewal notice 120 days prior. Nonpayment cancellation notices must be sent 10 days prior to cancellation.

  • In Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia, insurers must provide 10 days of notice for cancellation due to nonpayment and 30 days notice for underwriting.

Please note that the timing for a cancellation due to underwriting in our list applies to an in-force policy. That’s different from the notice required in the underwriting discovery period.


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