How a notice of nonrenewal in homeowners insurance works
When your insurance company decides not to renew your homeowners insurance, the nonrenewal only takes effect once the current policy ends. Every state requires companies to send a notice of a nonrenewal of homeowners insurance before the current policy expires, usually 30 days or more, so you have time to take action and make sure you remain insured.
Nonrenewal notices usually also give you a reason that your insurance company will no longer insure your home. Usually, your insurer doesn’t want to renew your policy because your home no longer meets the company’s requirements, but you may also get a nonrenewal notice if your insurer no longer offers the same type of coverage. Knowing why your insurance company decided not to renew your policy can help you rectify the situation so you still have home insurance.
Canceled vs. nonrenewed
Canceled and nonrenewed are both situations where you can wind up without home insurance, but the circumstances surrounding these events are different. “Canceled” means your policy is being terminated in the middle of the term. “Nonrenewal” means that your insurance company will no longer insure your home once your policy expires.
In most states, your insurance company can only cancel your coverage in the first 60 days or if:
- You fail to pay the premium.
- The insurance company discovers you committed fraud.
For example, an insurer may cancel your policy within the first 60 days if it discovers your home has more risk than they want to insure during underwriting.
Insurance companies can decide to not renew policies when they have a legitimate business for doing so. Some examples of legitimate business reasons to send nonrenewal notices include an insurer deciding:
- It no longer wants to sell insurance in a state.
- To change its risk profile.
- To drop a specific type of policy.
- Certain homes are too expensive to insure.
Florida is a prime example of a state where there are lots of nonrenewals. Climate change has made it difficult for insurance companies to cover losses, so many have had to send nonrenewal notices to their customers before leaving the state.
What to do if you get a nonrenewal notice
Let’s say you get a nonrenewal notice for your homeowners insurance that says your roof is now too old and in disrepair. In that case, you might want to contact your insurance company to find out what needs to be fixed and if you have time to fix it. If you do, you may be able to make the repairs and get your insurance company to reconsider.
But getting a nonrenewal notice that indicates your insurer has changed its risk profile is a little trickier. For example, your insurer might decide it won’t cover properties where certain types of dog breeds live. No one can expect you to give up the family pet, so your current insurance company is probably a no-go. In that case, you may have to call different insurance companies until you find one that doesn’t have an issue with your dog’s breed.
Nonrenewal notices give you time to either contest your insurer’s decision or find a new provider. But there are some instances where a policyholder's current insurance company nonrenews and no other company is willing to offer coverage. For homeowners, that often means going to a state-run program.
Tips to prevent getting a nonrenewal notice
There’s not much you can do if your insurance company changes its risk profile or leaves the state. But you may reduce your chances of getting a nonrenewal notice if you:
- Maintain your property: Performing routine maintenance in and around your home is a good way to make claims less likely, so be sure to trim trees, keep your roof in good repair, and check for leaky pipes. The fewer claims you have, the more attractive risk you are for your insurance company.
- Increase your deductible: Carrying a higher deductible may discourage you from making smaller claims. This means you maintain a positive claims history with your insurance company and don’t run the risk of too many claims.
- Learn the claims history of your home: When you buy a new property, request a copy of its claims history from the Consumer Loss Underwriting Exchange. Certain types of claims, particularly those with water damage, can mean insurers see the home as a high risk. Knowing that can help you mitigate your own chances for trouble.
If you do get a notice of nonrenewal, we encourage you to try getting a quote from us. We consider more data than most home insurance companies, so we may be able to offer coverage where others can’t.