Change can be scary, but your home insurance doesn’t have to be.
There are several good reasons why Florida homeowners decide to switch carriers, including finding a better price elsewhere or being unsatisfied with a claims experience. You may also decide you want additional coverage that your current provider does not offer in your area.
No matter the reason, switching insurers is possible and can be done at any time, meaning you don’t have to wait until your current policy ends. But if you do decide to make the leap, there are few important steps to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and painless process.
Understand your new policy
A lower price from a different insurance company can be attractive, but make sure it’s not due to a lower level of coverage. Before purchasing your new policy, make sure you will still be adequately insured and that you’re not taking on any deductibles you can’t afford.
Look out for gaps
Some companies will wait until a payment is received before starting coverage, so it’s important to make sure your soon-to-be-ex insurer knows when to cancel your policy. After you’ve agreed on a start date with your new insurer, you can give clear cancelation instructions to your old provider.
This is an important step to make sure no gaps exist in the event you need to file a claim.
Notify your mortgage provider
If you have a mortgage, you may need to notify your lender of your decision to change home insurance companies. This is especially important if you have an escrow account, where part of your monthly payments goes toward paying your home insurance premiums.
In order for your lender to make those payments to the correct company, you will need to provide a notice prior to changing insurers.
Passing on your refund
Finally, if you decide to cancel your policy before it ends, the insurance company may look to refund you for the remaining months.
It’s important to know what to do with that refund.
For example, let’s say your yearly policy costs $1,200. Your lender would have paid that amount up front, and you would have paid it back monthly through your escrow account. Canceling after three months, however, will entitle you to a refund for the remaining nine months.
In that case, you may need to forward that refund to your lender in order to avoid having to pay for two policies as part of your monthly mortgage payments.
Some insurance companies will automatically return this money to your mortgage provider. If not, talk to your lender about this refund to avoid overdrawing on your escrow account.
How far into the future can my policy be effective from?
Most insurers do not allow policies to start more than 30 days in the future. Your new policy should start before or on the day that your old policy will cancel.
For example, if you know your policy will expire next month, you can purchase a policy today that will begin on a specific day next month. It’s important to make sure you don’t have any gaps between the day your old policy expires and your new policy starts so that you are not left uninsured.
If your current policy doesn’t end for some time, you can still purchase a new one to start soon. Simply cancel your old one and have your new policy start on the cancelation date. Most insurers will refund you for the remaining months.
Will my policy be effective today?
This depends on the insurance company. Some offer instant coverage, while others have a waiting period. The average waiting period is 3 to 5 days.
Can I have an effective date in the past?
No. It’s impossible to have a new insurance policy with an effective date in the past. It must be set to today or someday in the future.
How does my current insurance impact my new policy?
Insurance companies tend to prefer homeowners who have an active insurance policy and do not have many months without any sort of coverage. The reason for this varies, but it could show that your home has been recently inspected and that you’re not just getting insurance now because something has happened.
Having current insurance may lead to cheaper premiums and better coverage from other insurers competing for your home.
What if my current policy doesn’t expire for some time?
There are several good reasons why Florida homeowners decide to switch carriers.
Maybe they found a better price elsewhere or maybe they are unsatisfied with the customer service or claims experience. You may also decide you want additional coverage that your current provider does not offer. No matter the reason, switching insurers is possible and can be done at any time, meaning you don’t have to wait until your current policy ends.
I haven’t had insurance for a while. Does that matter?
If your home insurance has lapsed for some months or even years, you might find it difficult to find a new insurer.
Some companies may choose to deny you coverage or charge you a higher rate. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find insurance, but it could mean you’ll spend a little extra time shopping. But don’t worry. After a few months or years without a lapse, you should start to see a drop in your premium.