Home Insurance Renewal
Claire Smith Last Updated On: November 7, 2022

Time to Renew Home Insurance? Here’s What You Need to Know

With our exceptionally busy lives, it is tempting to think of your homeowners insurance in “set it and forget it terms.” It automatically renews, so why think about it, right? Unfortunately, that way of thinking will almost certainly come back to haunt you if you end up going five or ten years without reassessing your homeowners insurance policy.

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Does Home Insurance Renew Automatically?

The answer is both yes and no. 

Automatic renewal of your homeowners insurance does not happen without notification. Your insurance company will typically send you an insurance renewal notice 30-40 days before your policy term ends. This letter or email will inform you of your renewal date and the details of your policy, and ask if you wish to renew or reassess your coverage. Failure to respond to this notification is an indication that you’ve read the letter and agreed to the terms: they will automatically renew your policy on the stated renewal date.

This means you have a window of at least a month to take a deeper look at what is insured in your home. If you fail to inform your insurer of any changes to your home or possessions, you could be underinsured in the event of fire, theft, natural disaster, etc.

How to Change Homeowners Insurance

If your old policy no longer makes sense for your needs, then it’s time to find a new policy. Luckily, you have at least thirty days to choose a new policy, which is plenty of time. 

Have you had your policy for years and you’re wondering how to change homeowners insurance? No worries, it’s a breeze. Make sure you shop around and get multiple quotes to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible. Ask for any discounts you might be entitled to (insurance providers aren’t always going to offer them up) and then take your time to decide if the policy is right for you.

Once you’re ready to make the switch, notify your insurance provider of your non-renewal as soon as possible and contact your new insurance provider to get set up. 

What Should I Tell My Insurance Company?

Your policy will typically include an itemized list of insurable possessions. Keep receipts of any new jewelry pieces or electronics somewhere, and include them on your list of insurable items. Most standard insurance policies have limited coverage when it comes to valuables, such as $2,000 maximum in the case of theft, fire, etc. (You are not insured in the case of loss.) If this is ridiculously low, you’ll want to see about increasing this limit to something more reasonable.

Think back to the past five years: Have you made any upgrades to your home at all? Remodeled a kitchen or bathroom, or added a gazebo, patio, or shed to your yard? If the answer is yes, and you haven’t told your insurance company, give them a call as soon as possible. You need to find out if you have blanket coverage for all buildings on your property or scheduled coverage which allows you to pick and choose coverage amounts for each structure. You also want to look into how much your home has appreciated in value with these changes and upgrades so that your coverage can be appropriately adjusted.

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Can I Lower My Monthly Premiums?

Actually, yes! Most insurance companies will reward you for improving the safety of your home with features such as ring video doorbells, smart home devices, fire or other alarm systems, etc. If a decade goes by and you’ve slowly been improving on this aspect of your home, let your insurance company know! Not every update will increase your premiums.

What Else Should I be Aware of in that Notification Letter?

Believe it or not, lots of people get their annual notification letter or email, and just stick it in a drawer, or mark it as “read” in their inbox, but they don’t actually read it. Did you know that your insurance company could actually drop you at any time? They likely won’t try to track you down to tell you, they’ll just send you a notification that you should be reading. 

The reasons why they might drop you as a client are multiple, such as You made too many claims in the past and they are no longer willing to insure you; the neighbourhood conditions changed and your home is now high risk for a crime to occur; your area is suddenly more under threat of a natural disaster than ever before, or; the insurance company is moving out of your area and can no longer insure your address. The good news is you have lots of time to find a new insurance company: Most states require that the insured has three months notice in the case of non-renewal.

Note: If you don’t read your notification letter or you fail to provide your mortgage company with a new policy number, your mortgage company will put “lender-placed” insurance on your house. As the co-signer of your home insurance policy, they are within their rights to ensure your house is insured, and this could be an extremely limited policy that does not take into account any safety feature-related discounts or personal property coverage. It can also be much more expensive than obtaining a policy of your own.

Tip: Minor Details can mean Major Differences in Payouts!

Double-check if you have Replacement Cost Value (RCV) on your policy or Actual Cost Value (ACV). You very much want to have RCV: If you purchased a television five years ago for $900 for instance, and you had a break-in, you’ll need to replace that stolen TV. If your policy has ACV coverage, you could only receive $100 for that item, which is the amount your insurance company decided was that TVs current actual value. RCV coverage would provide you with $900 or more towards a brand new TV.

For all of these above reasons, auto-renewal of your homeowners insurance can be perilous for you and your family. You could very easily find yourself lulled into not paying attention to the details of your homeowners insurance. If anything happens to your home, you could wind up finding out the hard way that you are underinsured or not insured at all!

Claire SmithClaire is a creative entrepreneur with a variety of marketing and content creation skills, including blog and web copy writing, research, and strategy. She has a Masters in Cultural Studies from Queen's University and is known for thinking laterally about marketing, based on her deep knowledge of people and behavior.