How to change home insurance companies – Forbes Advisor

Editorial Note: We earn a commission on partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.

Having home insurance is an essential part of owning a home. But if you’re unhappy with your current company or want to find a better deal, you can switch home insurance companies at any time. You don’t have to wait to renew your policy, although it may be beneficial to do so.

Should I change home insurance company?

Have the best home insurance coverage is important. It means working with an insurer that meets your expectations.

Here are some reasons you might consider switching home insurance companies:

  • Inadequate coverage
  • Premium increase
  • Lack of discount
  • Life changes, such as moving to a new house
  • Bad customer service
  • You want to combine policies from the same company, such as home insurance and car insurance

Changing home insurance companies isn’t difficult, but there are a few things to keep in mind. These steps can help you find the best insurer and coverage, and make a smooth switch.

1. Review and rate your existing home insurance

Before you start your search for a new home insurance company, read the declarations page of your current policy, which details your coverage. Take note of your different coverage limits as well as your deductible, so you can compare these limits to quotes from other insurance companies for the same coverage.

When evaluating your existing policy, look for potential gaps in coverage. You may find that you need more coverage, not less, even as you look for ways to save.

Here are the types of coverage included in a standard home insurance policy.

Housing cover

Dwelling coverage pays to rebuild or repair the physical structure of your home if it is damaged or destroyed by a problem covered by your home insurance Politics.

Issues covered by a standard home insurance policy include damage from falling objects, fire, freezing, hail, lightning, smoke, theft, storm and vandalism. The most common type of insurance, often known as an HO-3 policy, covers your home for All the problems except those specifically excluded, such as floods and earthquakes.

You can buy separately earthquake insurance Where flood insurance Politics.

You should determine the amount of housing coverage you need based on the cost of rebuilding your home, not its market value. This is important because you don’t want to find yourself underinsured if your home is destroyed. Your insurance agent can help you identify the right amount of home coverage.

Coverage of other structures

This coverage covers damage to structures not attached to your home, such as fences, detached garages and sheds.

Personal Property Coverage

Personal property coverage covers your possessions, such as jewelry, furniture, clothing, appliances, electronics, and even knick-knacks on your shelves.

Most home insurance policies set personal property coverage at 50% to 70% of your home coverage amount, but you can purchase more personal property coverage if needed.

It’s a good idea to take a home inventory to determine the amount of personal property coverage you need.

Loss of use coverage

If a problem covered by your home insurance makes your home uninhabitable, loss of use coverage orAdditional living expenses (ALE) coverage-can help.

ALE pays for additional expenses, such as hotel and pet boarding, if you need to temporarily move out of your home while it’s being repaired. This coverage is often set at a certain percentage of your home’s coverage, but you may be able to increase the coverage limit.

Pay special attention to your ALE coverage settings if you live in an area where natural disasters are common.

Coverage of medical payments to others

If a guest is injured on your property, “medical payments to others” coverage may pay for the treatment of their injuries. This coverage is usually sold in small quantities, often between $1,000 and $5,000. More expensive injury claims fall under your liability insurance.

Liability insurance

Liability insurance covers unintentional injury and property damage to others for which you or a member of your household are responsible. It also covers your legal defense and any settlement or judgment if you are sued as a result of the accident.

Your liability coverage should be sufficient to protect all of your assets in the event that you are sued to cover a serious accident.

A lawsuit could quickly drain your bank account. If your current liability insurance amount is less than your net worth, or what you could lose in a lawsuitit’s probably time to increase your coverage.

Related: How much home insurance do you need?

2. Gather information

When you’re ready to compare home insurance quotes, you’ll need to gather specific information. To make the process go smoothly, have these details handy:

  • Personal information, such as your social security number and contact information
  • Current or desired amount of coverage and deductibles
  • Square footage of your home
  • Year of construction of the house
  • Age of your roof, if available
  • All safety devices installed, including sprinklers
  • Details about your home’s features, such as types of heating or cooling systems
  • Information about renovations, such as a new roof or finished basement

Some of the information will be used to determine the cost to repair or rebuild your home. Other details, like safety features, can help a potential insurer determine if you qualify for home insurance discount.

Most insurers offer discounts to policyholders who take out more than one type of insurance. If you are considering bundle your auto and home insuranceit’s also a good idea to have your current auto insurance policy handy.

3. Get quotes and compare home insurance companies

Rates can vary widely from company to company, so it’s important to compare quotes from at least three insurers. Insurance quotes are always free.

You can get quotes online or through a local agent. An independent insurance agent can give you quotes from multiple companies, saving you time.

How to Compare Home Insurance Companies

While important, quotes aren’t the only factor to consider when comparing home insurance companies. It’s also important to consider the company’s reputation and customer service, the types of coverage available, and the financial stability of the company.

If you are a dog owner and your dog’s breed is known to be aggressive, check that a potential insurer will cover the dog.

Related: Dog breed prohibited by home insurance companies.

4. Buy a new home insurance policy and cancel your old one

You may be able to purchase a new policy immediately after getting a quote.

Do not cancel your current home insurance policy before purchasing a new one and ensure that the effective date of the new policy is equal to or earlier than the cancellation date of your current policy.

It’s important to make sure you don’t have a break in coverage. If you cancel your existing coverage before your new policy takes effect, you will not be covered in the event of a problem.

5. Contact your lender

If you have a mortgage, you should contact your lender to inform them of the change in your home insurance policy. Most lenders require home insurance, and keeping the lender up to date will help you avoid complications.

For example, if your home insurance is paid through an escrow account and your lender manages that account, they will need to know where to send the payment.

Are you looking for home insurance?

Compare the rates of participating carriers in your area via

How to change home insurance company FAQ

How often should I change home insurance companies?

You can change your home insurance as often as you wish, but your existing policy may include an early cancellation penalty.

It’s a good idea to check with your current insurer before switching to understand if there is a financial benefit to waiting until your renewal date to switch companies.

If you change home insurance companies, make sure your new policy covers all your needs, including sufficient insurance limits for your home, belongings, and liability coverage.

Can you cancel your home insurance at any time?

Yes, you can cancel a home insurance policy at any time. Your home insurance policy does not have to expire before you change insurers, but it may be beneficial to change insurance companies at renewal time.

Review the terms of your current policy. You may be subject to early cancellation fees if you cancel mid-term, or you may be eligible for a refund for the remaining months on your policy.

How to reduce the cost of home insurance?

Shopping around and comparing home insurance quotes and coverage can help you get the lowest home insurance rate for the coverage you want.

Here are other ways to lower your home insurance costs:

  • Ask your insurer if you are eligible for home insurance discountlike discounts for retirees and the addition of security features like an alarm system.
  • Combine your auto and home insurance with the same insurance company.
  • Increase your home insurance deductible or decrease your coverage limits. Both of these options may seem beneficial in the short term, but could leave you underinsured if you suffer a loss. It’s best not to skimp on coverage if you can afford it.

Do I need to have home insurance?

If you have a mortgage, most lenders require you to purchase homeowners insurance as part of your loan agreement. If your home is paid off, home insurance is always a good idea to protect your investment and your assets.

If you live in a disaster-prone area, it may also be a good idea to purchase additional insurance, such as flood insurance Where earthquake insurance.