No one will insure my home.
We are currently in a bit of a hard market across the country and Ohio is no exception. In this blog we will identify a few reasons you may find difficulty finding home insurance in Ohio. Then we will talk about other options you may have in finding coverage. My goal is that you are able to avoid hearing non-renewal, cancelation and lapse of coverage when it comes to your home insurance. My secondary objective if that if you do hear those words, you will not be in a helpless situation without coverage.
Possible reasons your home insurance might be canceled or non-renewed.
Claims: It is very common to get non renewed after having either one large claim or several small claims. Ways to avoid this are to lock up your home, have central monitored alarm service (also gives a discount), make sure your home is well maintained, have a certified arborist check trees around home, replace old and out of date furnace, wiring, plumbing or roof and keep pets secure from causing injury to others. Another way is to keep a higher deductible to which not only lowers your rate but avoids small claims and keeps your home insurance for large catastrophic claims.
Company leaving the state: common in high-risk states like Florida but it still happens even in Ohio.
Insurance Company sold to another company. This is very common for insurance companies to change names or ownership. This means you may need to set up payments or sign a new application with the new insurance company. Make sure you are checking your mail and watch for those renewals. If you ever don’t receive one or receive a letter from the insurance company, make sure to follow up. This will help you avoid the costly mistake of losing coverage.
Failed inspection: Most home insurance companies will order 3rd party inspections when starting a new policy and some will periodically order inspections especially after a loss. If they find issues with the home condition or liability concerns, they may send out a memo to correct the issue or send out a non-renewal notice. If it is on a new policy in Ohio, they have an inspection period where they can cancel the policy with in a specific set of days instead of waiting till the next renewal. Often times even if you get the cancelation, you can still work with your agent to rectify the issues they have with the inspection.
Vacant Home: If your home is vacant or under renovation. Home insurance companies hate having a vacant home on the books because its likely hood of a claim and the severity go through the roof. If you have a small leak with water damage that happened over night the claim might be under your deductible but that same incident 2 weeks later will cost thousands and 2 months later 10s of thousands. This is a very common way to get canceled. The bottom line is, if at all possible, move back into the home. If you are in the process of trying to sell then let a family member or trusted friend stay in the home to keep it from becoming vacant. If it is under renovation then try and get a policy to cover a vacant home. There are policies available but they are expensive and coverage is usually limited. So, keep this time period as small as possible. We understand there are many different situations that arise but work through your options with your insurance agent to make sure you maintain coverage. Ohio Home owners’ insurance policies typically have specific coverages drop off at 30, 60, and 90 days if your home is vacant.
What are my next steps when I get a non-renewal notice?
Call your current company or agent and see if they have other options or if you can do anything to avoid the non-renewal. If that is not a possibility start calling other independent agents in Ohio to see if they have options available. If not then you may have to try captive agents or direct companies to individually get quotes. If you are not sure on the difference, check out this previous post that explains the difference. If you aren’t able to get a policy after checking all these options check the next questions out.
How do I get insurance on my home when no one will cover me?
If all those options fail then Ohio Fair Plan is your only option. Find an agent that can assist you at no additional cost to help you through the complex and technical process of securing coverage through Ohio Fair Plan. Our agency is set up to assist you in securing coverage through Ohio Fair Plan if no other option exists. You can start a quote here or contact us.
Avoid doing these things at all cost.
Letting your policy lapse without securing coverage. Some programs will allow for one high risk home insurance factor like claims, vacancy, lapse of insurance, bad credit, and condition issues but the more you add the less likely you will be able to get a policy. It will absolutely cost more in the long run. If you get a non-renewal work with the agent quickly and if you need to find other options don’t delay.
Waiting to get quotes to the last minute. Insurance companies give discounts for requesting your quote for a future date. Also, you will likely need to call multiple people and quotes take time especially the trickier they are. Often, they will need prior underwriting approval and be submitted for review. Waiting till the last minute will narrow your chances and make your premium higher.
Lying about your claims or that you are being canceled. Lying or omitting the truth to an insurance company can void the insurance contract or allow the company to deny the claim. Also, insurance fraud is a felony. It might solve your immediate problem but create much larger problems in the future.
Only calling one captive agent or one company. When you call a captive agent or company, they only have that one option. If you are having difficulty finding insurance it only makes sense to call an independent that has specialized companies for that very case. They also might have access to smaller regional carriers that would be more likely to make an exception.
Trying to cut coverage because of the increased cost. When you go to a higher risk policy that is 3 times the price you were paying its easy to think lowering the coverage is your best option. The problem is you are likely lowering your coverage when your risk is the highest. Insurance companies have so many predictive analytics to determine a rate. So if you rates are high its likely because your probability of a claim is high.
Failing to let your mortgage company know you switched insurance. If you have an escrow account then the new insurance will not be paid and could cancel leaving you with the same problem all over again. Even if that doesn’t happen, they can charge you to insure the home until you have them listed properly and they see the home is insured.
Canceling your current policy prior to it being nonrenewed. Use the time you are given to find a new policy first. I see it happen too often that a customer gets offended they are being non-renewed in 2 months and cancel the policy the same day they get the notice. Then they are unable to find a policy because of the timeline constraints and gap of insurance.
In Ohio home insurance is not as flexible and forgiving as car insurance. We cant prevent all losses and that is precisely why we have home insurance but we can prevent some and put ourselves in a better position for when we really need that coverages. This is really a risk management tactic that in the long run will save you money and prevent you from scrambling. If you do find yourself reading a homeowners non renewal notice now you know how to proceed. It may be costly in the short term but after the claims fall off, you have a year of prior insurance, or you are back living in the home you should be able to get back to low competitive prices again. If you need some help, direction, or advise contact us anytime.