Homeowners insurance is pivotal to protecting your home. It provides peace of mind that your property, belongings, and financial security are safeguarded against unforeseen events. But what happens when you move to a new home? You may be more focused on packing boxes and getting your home ready to sell, but it’s important to pay attention to this key component of home ownership. In this blog, we’ll explore how to ensure a smooth transition of your coverage, address potential coverage gaps, and make informed decisions to protect your new home.
1. Understanding Your Current Policy
Understanding your current home insurance policy is a proactive step in ensuring your assets and property remain protected when moving to your new home. Here are some tips to help you facilitate the transition:
- Verify if your insurance provider offers coverage in your new location or if you need to seek a new policy.
- Take inventory of your possessions and determine if you need to update your policy to reflect any significant changes in the value of your belongings.
- Review your liability coverage to ensure it's adequate for your new home and any potential risks associated with the move.
- Dive into your policy’s fine print to understand any restrictions or special provisions that impact coverage during a move, such as coverage for items in transit or stored temporarily.
2. Notifying Your Insurance Provider
Once your move is confirmed, reach out to your insurance company or agent to update your policy with the new address and property details. They will guide you through the process, which typically involves providing them with details about the new property, including its location, value, age, material, and safety features. Your insurer considers these factors when determining premiums for your new home.
3. Options for Policy Transfer
You might wonder: Can I transfer my home insurance to my new home? You can keep the same insurance provider, but you’ll need a new home insurance policy since your old and new homes are two separate properties. Additionally, your new homeowners insurance policy might cost a different amount since the home construction, area climate, and potential risks — e.g., swimming pool — may likely change.
One exception to this rule is if you move out of state. Your local insurance agent may not be authorized to write insurance policies in that state, so check with them to see if they can still serve you. If not, they might be able to help you find a new agent in your new state. For more information, check out our blog on how to switch insurance when moving out of state.
4. Exploring New Insurance Options
When you're moving to a new home, it's a good opportunity to explore and potentially select a new home insurance policy that best suits your needs. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Research different insurance providers available in your new location and compare coverage options, deductibles, and premiums.
- Carefully review the terms and conditions of potential insurance policies and pay attention to exclusions, limits, and any optional endorsements that could enhance your coverage.
- Reach out to your real estate agent, new neighbors, or local friends for recommendations.
- Work with an agent who can tailor coverage to your specific needs, answer your questions, and provide expert advice on what will best protect your new home.
- Ask about discounts, such as home and auto bundles and home improvement discounts.
5. Factors Affecting Premiums and Coverages
When moving to a new home, your premiums and coverages may change depending on these factors:
- Property’s location: Properties in areas prone to natural disasters — e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires — often have higher premiums due to the increased risk.
- Crime rates: Areas with higher crime rates, including burglaries and vandalism, can lead to higher insurance premiums since there’s a greater risk of property damage or theft.
- Proximity to emergency services: Homes closer to fire stations and police departments may enjoy lower premiums as quick response times can reduce the severity of damage in an emergency.
- The home’s age and condition: Older homes may have higher premiums due to the potential for outdated electrical or plumbing systems that could pose greater risks.
- Building materials: Homes built with fire-resistant materials, like brick or concrete, may have lower premiums than those constructed with wood, which is more susceptible to fire damage.
- High-risk home features: Special features in your home, such as a swimming pool, trampoline, or wood-burning stove, can affect your insurance costs since these features may increase liability risks.
6. Timing Considerations
Timing out when to end your old home insurance policy and begin your new one can be tricky to plan when buying and selling a home at the same time. Here are some common questions regarding how to change homeowners insurance during this process.
Can You Change Homeowners Insurance at Any Time?
Yes, you can change home insurance whenever you want, but you might be subject to an early cancellation fee if your old policy doesn’t end when you switch. Check with your insurer to determine their cancellation policy.
When Is the Best Time to Cancel Homeowners Insurance When Selling a House?
Until the closing process is finalized, the home you’re selling is still yours. It’s best to cancel your coverage once the buyer officially owns your home.
When Do I Need to Get Home Insurance for My New Home?
Getting home insurance before closing on your new house is a good idea. In fact, most mortgage lenders require you to get homeowners insurance before they agree to finance your home.
7. Understanding Coverage Gaps
Coverage gaps can happen if you cancel your old policy before finalizing the sale of your old home. Even a short period without coverage can have dire consequences in case of an incident. For example, if a severe storm damages your old home, you must pay out of pocket for repair or replacement costs. If you’re in a situation where you buy a new home before selling your old one, keep both insurance policies until you sell your old home. While you’ll pay for two monthly premiums, it’ll give you peace of mind that your properties are protected.
8. Working with Insurance Agents
Navigating home insurance during a move is much easier when working with a professional insurance agent. Here are some tips you should consider:
- Find a local agent: A local insurance agent has a deep understanding of the insurance landscape in your new area and can provide valuable insights into the specific risks and coverage needs associated with your new location.
- Communicate openly: Inform your agent about your new property, any unique features, and any changes in your circumstances, as this information is crucial in tailoring the right coverage for you.
- Assess additional coverage needs: Your insurance agent can help you assess any additional coverage needs that may arise due to the differences in your new property, location, and risks.
- Ask questions: It's your agent’s job to help you understand your policy and make informed decisions about your coverage, so don’t hesitate to ask questions.
When making your moving to-do list, don’t forget about securing homeowners insurance for your new place. Remember, you can’t transfer your old home’s policy to your new home. By following the tips above, you can seamlessly transition into your new home without a hitch. If you’re looking for affordable home insurance for your new home, Mercury offers best-in-class coverage at a competitive rate.