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Insurance

How can I get homeowners insurance after nonrenewal?

You still have rights — and options — if your insurance company drops you.

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When your homeowners insurance policy reaches the end of its term, your carrier may decide not to renew. A nonrenewal notice can be concerning, especially if coverage is required as a condition of your mortgage.

But there are still ways to get covered: You may be able to get your carrier to reconsider or find another insurance company that meets your needs.

Here's what you need to know if your insurance has been canceled or nonrenewed.

What we'll cover  

Find the best homeowners insurance

The difference between nonrenewal and cancellation

A nonrenewal notice is sent shortly before the end of your policy's specified term. Your carrier may decide not to renew your policy for a variety of reasons, from deciding your property is poorly maintained to no longer offering coverage in your area.

Cancellation, however, happens while your policy is still active. Depending on the state and the provider, a carrier can cancel your policy for any reason if it's been in force for less than 60 days. After that, there are only a few approved reasons, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), including nonpayment, fraud or changes to the property that make it uninsurable.

Why your homeowner insurance was nonrenewed

There are several reasons why a provider may decide to issue a nonrenewal notice.

  • You've made too many claims 
  • Your insurance score has dropped 
  • Liability hazards on your property have increased, like an aging roof or HVAC system 
  • Non-covered features have been added, like a trampoline or swimming pool.
  • You adopted a pet that's excluded from coverage
  • Your insurer is no longer providing coverage in your area. 

In states prone to hurricanes and other severe weather, a number of insurance companies have limited or even ceased issuing home insurance: At least a dozen providers have stopped doing business in Florida since 2022, including State Farm.

State Farm and Allstate have stopped writing new home insurance policies In California, and other carriers have scaled back in regions plagued by wildfires.

What to do if you get a nonrenewal notice

Carriers must give customers advance notice of a decision not to renew, typically between 30 and 90 days, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). During this period, you can contest the decision or look around for coverage somewhere else.  

Appeal

Most states require an insurer to explain why it's not renewing before it officially drops your policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). If you have addressed the issue or think they made a mistake, reach out to your carrier's consumer affairs division about reconsidering. You may need to present documentation or submit to a home inspection.

If that isn't successful, you can also contact your state's insurance department.

Shop for another insurer

Not being renewed doesn't mean you can't get insurance from another carrier or that you'll have to pay higher premiums. Get quotes from several companies to find the best price and fit.  

Nationwide is one of the top insurers for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power's 2023 Property Claims Satisfaction Study, and it offers numerous discounts, including for bundling, being a first-time homebuyer and installing security, safety or smart-home devices.

Nationwide Homeowners Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Maximum coverage

    Not disclosed

  • App available

    Yes

  • Policy highlights

    Policy covers home and property damages caused by theft, fire and weather damage. It also covers personal liability, loss of use and unauthorized transactions on your credit card

  • Does not cover

    Water damage, earthquakes, flood insurance, identity theft, high-value items, rebuilding home after loss (these can all be purchased as add-ons for extra coverage)

Terms apply.

If you prioritize ease of use, Lemonade has a simple online application and claims system. Homeowners can pay their premiums through either an escrow account or credit card and the company claims that 40% of claims are handled instantly.

However, Lemonade is only available in 23 states and Washington, D.C.

Lemonade Homeowners Insurance

  • Cost

    Starts at $25/month; can vary by state, age of the home and other factors

  • Maximum coverage

    Not disclosed

  • App available

    Yes

  • Policy highlights

    Policy covers your home and property for damages caused by wildfires, extreme weather, crime, and vandalism. It also covers liability claims for damage you accidentally cause to others

  • Does not cover

    Power, water, or heat going out, or bug infestation; some events may not be eligible for coverage, depending on the circumstances — see here for more information

Terms apply.

How to get homeowners insurance after being dropped 

While your carrier will give you some warning that you're being dropped, you should start looking for new coverage right away. Otherwise, a mortgage provider may assign you force-placed insurance, a policy that protects your lender and can cost twice as much as a traditional policy, according to the CFPB.

If you're facing a cancellation or nonrenewal, find out why. If it's something you can fix, like a roof that needs to be repaired, take the necessary steps to keep your current policy. 

If it's not something you can fix — for example, if you installed a swimming pool and your insurer doesn't cover them — look for companies that do.  

If coverage was not renewed because the insurer is no longer offering policies in your state, filter your search for carriers that are. You can look on insurance marketplace sites, get information from your state's insurance department or ask your neighbors what carrier they use.

If you've received several rejections on the voluntary market, there are also special programs available to insure risky properties.

FAIR Plans

Many states have Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plans, which allow high-risk homeowners to get coverage if they've been rejected by traditional carriers. Coverage with a FAIR plan is typically more expensive and may cover less, according to the III. Some plans also may require upgrades to electrical or heating systems.

To see if you are eligible for a FAIR plan, contact your state's insurance department.

HO-8 policy

Most standard homeowners insurance plans are HO-3 policies, which cover the home's physical structure, as well as your personal belongings, your liability in the event of an injury and additional living expenses if you have to relocate.

An HO-8 policy provides similar coverage but only reimburses you for the actual cash value of the damaged or destroyed property or possessions, not their replacement cost. It's intended for older homes (built more than 40 years ago) or ones with historical significance, where the cost of replacing the loss would be more than the house's fair market value

HO-8 policies only cover named perils, typically damage from:

  • Fire, smoke and lightning
  • Hail and windstorms
  • Explosions
  • Civil unrest
  • Vehicles, including airplanes
  • Theft or vandalism
  • Volcanic eruptions

Other perils not listed, like water damage from a burst pipe, would not be covered.

Surplus lines policy  

Surplus line insurance is another option if your homeowners policy has been canceled or not renewed.

Many states allow insurance companies to issue policies within their borders even if they're not licensed in that state. To qualify for surplus line insurance, you must have been rejected by at least three to five carriers, according to the III. Because the risk is higher, policies usually have higher deductibles and more exclusions.

Check with your state's insurance department to see what options are available.

FAQ

FAQs

You can dispute the nonrenewal with your insurance company directly or reach out to your state's department of insurance.

Not necessarily. Each carrier has its own formula for determining costs and approvals and being nonrenewed by one doesn't mean you'll be rejected or have to pay more to another company.

Requirements vary by state, but typically an insurer is required to give you at least 30 to 60 days' notice before deciding not to renew. Check with your state's insurance department to see how much notice is required in your area.

Getting a pet can change your status with an insurance company: Some breeds of dogs — including Doberman pinschers, pit bulls and Great Danes — are considered higher risk and could lead to nonrenewal. If you have to file a claim for a dog bite, you could also face nonrenewal or the dog being excluded from coverage.

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Bottom line

If you've received a nonrenewal notice from your insurance company, you have the right to ask why and to appeal the decision. You can also shop around for another policy, whether that's on the voluntary market, a FAIR Plan or coverage from a surplus line provider.

Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every insurance article is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of insurance products. While CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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