An increasing number of insurers are terminating homeowners’ insurance coverage. Apparently, they’re only doing this in what they deem to be at-risk areas, such as Florida during its very active hurricane season and in California as wildfires rage out of control.
Many insurance customers are finding themselves at the peak of wildfire and hurricane season without homeowners’ coverage as a result. Homeowners are finding that securing replacement coverage is challenging. Would you know what your rights are if you received a nonrenewal letter from your homeowners’ insurance company?
What notice must insurers give when terminating your insurance?
Insurers generally must provide their homeowner customers with written notice of their plans to not renew your policy. Most jurisdictions require insurance companies to provide such notice at least 30 days prior to the cancellation. Some jurisdictions in Florida may require as much as 120 days’ notice, although there are a few exceptions to that rule.
Insurance companies may not need to provide as much notice if you provided inaccurate information on your application for coverage or when submitting a claim. They might not have to do so if you previously missed paying your premium either.
What options exist if an insurer unexpectedly cancels your policy?
One of the first steps that you should take if your insurance company notifies you that they’ve decided not to renew your policy is to contact them to see if there’s anything that you can do to get the policy reinstated.
Insurance analysts warn that insurers may be unlikely to do this unless you can show evidence that you’ve taken measures to minimize the damage to your home that the above-referenced natural disasters pose. You’d likely have to show that you trimmed back or removed fire-prone shrubbery or recently replaced your roof in a hurricane-prone area before an insurer would even consider reinstating your homeowners’ policy.
It can put you in a financially vulnerable position if you can’t convince your insurance company why they should reinstate your policy, and you can’t find an insurer to replace them. You might have a valid reason to pursue litigation if they didn’t provide you with ample notice of the cancellation per Florida law.