Laws vary from state to state, but in general, an insurance company can choose to non-renew your home insurance policy for any reason other than your age, gender, and a few other protected classes. By law in each state, your insurance company must provide you with sufficient notification in advance of your policy’s non-renewal. This date can vary from 30 to 60 days and is reflected on your current insurance policy. There should be a notification period for both non-renewals as well as cancellations. Cancellations take place during the policy period and are different than a non-renewal.
If you believe that your rights as a consumer have been violated based on your insurance’s decision to non-renew your policy, you may contact your state’s department of insurance. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides a map with links to each state’s insurance department website.
If, however, your insurance company simply decided to non-renew your home insurance policy as a business decision, you need to immediately start exploring your options to put alternate insurance in place by the time your current policy expires. The first thing you should do is to contact your current insurance company. Because notifications are so highly regulated, insurance companies routinely send out non-renewal notices when, in reality, they just want to make a change and not provide certain coverage terms on renewal. This means you may find that they only wish to make some changes to your policy. If you find those changes acceptable, you may end up with a policy from the same insurance company, just with slightly different coverage terms.
On the other hand, if your insurance company wishes to part ways with you upon the expiration of your policy, you cannot waste time in finding a replacement insurer. Before shopping, you need to be an informed and be a smart consumer. Have all of your insurance paperwork compiled prior to shopping for coverage. If you have your policies handy, you will know exactly what levels of coverage you currently maintain. Many home insurance applications ask these questions because they want to provide you with an apples-to-apples comparison with your current policy. If you have filed claims in the past, have that information available. Most insurance companies will request your Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report that has all of your home’s claim history. If there is incorrect information on the report that negatively impacts your insurance shopping, be prepared with the correct information.
A non-renewal notice from your home insurer is not necessarily a reflection on you as a homeowner. It is, however, a wake-up call to immediately take action. Do not procrastinate or you may find yourself uninsured when your current policy expires.