The death of a loved one is a challenging time, and the last thing anyone wants to do is deal with unpleasant paperwork. Unfortunately, the situation almost always creates tasks that seem trivial in the moment, but can affect you and your family later on if you don’t take care of them.
Home insurance is a good example. Figuring out what to do with the policy of the deceased may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s an important part of ensuring everyone is protected.
We outline our process for you here, but please know that our representatives are here for you. You’re more than welcome to give us a call at 855-216-7674 if you’d like someone to walk you through it.
What documents do I need?
We usually have to make changes to a policy when one of our customers passes away. To do this securely, we need one or more of the following documents:
- A copy of the death certificate for the deceased.
- The estate documents detailing the executor of the estate.
- A court-ordered estate plan from the probate process.
We also need to know who is the executor of the estate. All of this information can be sent by email to email@example.com with the name of the deceased and policy number in the subject line. (Don’t worry - we can also send an email with the request that you can simply respond to if you’d prefer.)
One of the changes we’ll have to make to the policy is to update the named insured. We do this by creating an endorsement that changes the name on the policy to include the phrase “Estate of.”
This endorsement is an important part of protecting the property. Without that additional phrase, the estate of the named insured would likely be unable to collect any money should there be a claim on the house nor can the estate collect a refund should the policy be canceled.
Please note: An estate cannot renew a homeowners policy, so this particular policy will expire at the end of its term.
If you have another structure for handling a loved one’s estate, such as a trust, our customer service representatives can also help work through your particular situation.
What happens if a spouse is listed on the policy?
If a spouse or another party is listed as a co-applicant or additional insured on a policy and the primary policyholder has passed, then the steps are mostly the same. We will likely request documentation and add “Estate of” to the named insured. However, once we get the appropriate documents, we can usually list you as the named insured on the policy – although that really depends on what the estate, will, or probate process reveals. The name of the deceased typically can be removed from your policy once probate is complete.
Do I need a new policy?
The next issue to cover is your arrangements for the house. We need to know how you plan to use it in order to know what kind of coverage comes next. For example, you may want to:
- Sell to a third party. In this case, we need a HUD-1 Settlement Statement from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is a standardized mortgage lending form where creditors or their closing agents list all charges imposed on buyers and sellers. When we have that, we can cancel the policy.
- Rent the home out. Choosing to rent your property to someone else makes you a landlord, and that requires rewriting your coverage as a DP3 policy. This makes it a new policy, which means it will go through the underwriting process, and we’ll need an updated deed.
- Transfer the home to a family member. We’ll need to rewrite the policy for the new owner if he or she isn't listed as a co-applicant or an additional insured on the original coverage. This is another situation where we need an updated deed, and we’ll send the policy through underwriting.
Dealing with a family death is not easy, and we understand it usually means a lot of difficult situations. At the very least, we hope we can make this one aspect a little easier for you and your loved ones.