6 Tips for Switching to New Home Insurance
Buying a homeowners insurance policy should come with a manual. Understanding it can feel like trying to decipher a foreign language, which may make changing policies seem like a daunting task.
Homeowners insurance, like many other types of insurance, is active for a set period of time. When your term is up, it’s time to consider renewing your policy or switching to a new provider.
When it’s time to change policies, you’ll want to think carefully about your insurance needs and your future plans. If your policy has become too expensive or your insurer doesn’t offer a type of coverage you need, it may be time to switch.
If you need a policy that better suits your needs, a little bit of work upfront and diligent record keeping can save you a major headache when trying to find and enroll in a new policy. Research potential providers and policies, and don’t let last-minute policy details fall through the cracks as you switch coverage.
Here are six tips that will make switching home insurance policies easier.
1. Review Your Current Policy
Before exploring new home insurance options, evaluate your current plan. By reviewing your current policy, you can identify gaps in your coverage that need to be filled. You can also take stock of what you’re spending on homeowners insurance and look for savings, especially if you’re on the brink of an expensive home purchase. Understanding what’s worked and what hasn't will inform your decisions as you look for a new insurer.
2. Make a List of Your Coverage Needs
Make a list of your top coverage needs so it's easier to search for and evaluate potential providers.
After reviewing your policy, you may realize you need more coverage, not less. For example, if you’re moving, you may need more coverage if you’ve purchased a property with another structure on-site, such as an accessory dwelling unit. You may even want to increase your liability insurance if you host guests frequently.
You might also be in the market for less-common policies, such as mortgage protection insurance. All of your personal needs should be taken into account as you start to explore insurers.
3. Have Important Information About Your Home Readily Available
If you don’t already have a list of important details about your home, create one before you start evaluating providers. An up-to-date list of home features and personal information will make getting an insurance quote faster and easier.
If you’ve recently purchased a home, you'll likely have all of this information handy. If not, consider adding these details to your reference list:
- The year your home was built
- Your home’s square footage
- Safety features on the property, such as fire alarms and sprinklers
- Types of heating and cooling systems
- Renovation details
- Your mortgage policy
Keep this information handy as you start to request quotes and coverage to streamline the process.
4. Shop Around and Make a Shortlist
Starting your search for a new homeowners insurance provider can feel overwhelming. With so many providers to choose from, it’s important to do your due diligence when preparing your shortlist.
Gather as many quotes as you can to get an accurate reading of the market price for your coverage needs. Many large insurance companies make it easy to generate quotes using automated online tools. Others require you to call a representative.
Vet insurers the way you would any other expensive service provider. Look at third-party insurance accreditation firms, such as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to see if the insurer has any outstanding complaints. You can also read reviews on Trustpilot and other websites to gauge the company’s customer service and insurance payout timelines.
5. Look for Ways to Save
Insurance costs can add up fast, especially if you’re adding coverage or moving to a place prone to natural disasters.
Keep an eye out for discounts and special offers from insurers during your search. Many providers also offer discounts for active duty service members and veterans, as well as credits for having certain safety features in your home.
One popular way to reduce the cost of your home insurance is to bundle it with your car insurance. Before bundling, make sure your home insurance policy meets all of your coverage needs. It may be a better value to buy standalone home insurance depending on your coverage needs.
6. Double Check Your Start and End Dates
Once you’ve done the work of finding a new insurer, the last thing you want is a gap in your coverage. Whether you’re selling your house or simply switching providers for a better deal, wait to cancel your old policy until after your new policy starts.
There may be a lot of paperwork passed between you and your provider, so you’ll need to stay organized and make sure all your policy information is clear. Having the terms of your policy in writing can save you from paying accidental charges.
Keep a record of your policy quote, your policy's start date, and communication you have with your insurance representatives. This goes for your old insurance provider, too. Obtain confirmation of the policy’s cancellation in writing and cancel any recurring payments to your old insurer.