What happens to homeowners insurance when someone dies?

When the homeowner dies, you have around 30 days to contact the home insurance company.

4 min read
What happens to homeowners insurance when someone dies
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When the homeowner dies, you have around 30 days to contact the home insurance company. You can provide a death certificate and discuss your options for a new policy.

The homeowner insurance does not automatically transfer when the owner of the house dies.

You should notify your home insurance company that the homeowner has died if it's been less than thirty days since they passed away, otherwise, they'll most likely cancel their policy; this does not include coverage for the property.

It’s a good idea to take out an insurance policy on your home just in case it gets damaged. A short-term or temporary policy is inexpensive and easy to set up, so use the money you would be spending on premiums toward the purchase of your next home instead.

If you are insured for your home and it is unoccupied, most insurance companies will require you to purchase a vacant home policy.

How to transfer homeowners insurance after the owner dies

Contact the insurance company

Within the time frame during which most businesses require notification, you must send documentation of death to complete verification.

When you call them, ask about your options for coverage, and when you should continue to pay the insurance premiums so that your current policy doesn't lapse.

What if I don’t contact the insurance company within the 30-day grace period?

If you do not alert them of the death of a policyholder in the time frame listed, they are legally allowed to cancel it with no refund. The home will not be insured and you will have to start over to secure coverage.

Ask about your coverage options.

If you’re a surviving spouse, you can temporarily keep the home in effect. You can also do so if you pay the premiums on time.

You might be given 30 days for an insurance company to buy a new policy under your name. Make sure you know how much time you have before there is a gap in coverage.

When you inherit a home, the previous owner's insurance policy does not automatically become your own. Either have it rewritten under your name or take out a new policy altogether because otherwise you will be unprotected if something were to happen.

What if the previous owner paid the home insurance premiums for the year upfront?

If you buy a house from someone who had homeowners insurance, you need to let the company know that the previous owner died. Otherwise, your risk is unprotected. If the company ends up asking you to take out a completely different policy, it will refund the original policy’s unused premiums back to the estate.

Activate your policy during the probate process

Talk to the insurance company about ensuring the home is covered in the meantime, even if the estate needs to go through probate to give you ownership.

There are a few options to explore during the probate process. By insurance, there can be variations in the options.

What is the insurance responsibility like when the house is sold?

You may be able to keep the policy under the deceased owner's name and avoid high rates while the house is sold. Otherwise, you might have to take out a new policy under the estate executor's name.

You may need to purchase additional coverage for the added risk if the property goes vacant. You need to notify the insurance company if it goes vacant.

What happens to homeowners insurance if the house is being kept?

If you're the beneficiary, you might be able to get coverage under the family's insurance policy while it is in probate. You would need to provide proof of your relation so that your claim can be verified.

As long as the house is going to be vacant, you’ll need to take out a policy or endorsement.

If you’re not sure what you’re doing with the house ...

To get temporary home insurance in order to move into an apartment you need proof of an insurable interest in the residence.

You typically buy the policy in the name of the executor and list beneficiaries as additional policyholders.

Get your new homeowner's insurance policy

Once you have shown proof of ownership, it is time to shop around and find a new company.

A major part of insurance is the ability to get quotes from multiple sources so that you can ensure you get the most coverage at the best price.

Having home insurance will protect your house in the year leading up to when you sell it. You can get a refund of any extra money not used on your premium if you purchase the year-long plan upfront.

Does homeowners insurance automatically get transferred to the beneficiary when someone dies?

No, you’ll need to reach out to the home insurance company to let them know the policyholder died and ask what the steps are to transfer the insurance policy to your name. If you’re a spouse, you will have an easier time with this process. Otherwise, you'll need to take out a new home insurance policy.

What happens, when homeowners insurance is not in the owner's name?

Home insurance typically needs to be taken out by the homeowner in their own name.

What happens to homeowners insurance when the owner dies?

Your home is typically insured for 30 days after the death of a policyholder by default. If you don't contact the home insurance company within this allotted period, they will likely cancel the policy.