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Many homeowners change insurance policies on the property. You may change your own insurance policy at any time. Insurance companies may also choose to no longer cover your property. The rules regarding cancellation and nonrenewal of policies are governed by state law. Some require as little as 30 days notice; others might have a longer notification period. Allowing your insurance to lapse places your home and pocketbook at risk.
You are not locked into insurance providers even if you pay through an escrow account. You may change your homeowners insurance at any time. All you need to do is purchase new insurance, then cancel your old insurance policy. You will have to pay the new premium yourself, even if you have an escrow account. Provide the insurance information to your mortgage company to ensure the next payment is paid to the correct insurance company.
On occasion, your insurance company might choose to not renew your existing policy. As a private company, this is within the company's discretion. Your insurance agent must provide you a notice that the policy will be canceled within a specified period as defined in your state's law. Contact your state insurance agency to find out the exact time frame. Typically, it is 30 days prior to nonrenewal of your policy.
Your state also sets the laws regarding cancellation of policies. States such as California do not allow an insurance company to cancel a policy during its term except in cases of nonpayment of premiums, substantial changes to the property, a violation of your policy or fraud. Check with your state law to find the notice period for insurance cancellations. The minimum period is 30 days except for non-payment. In instances of non-payment, the insurer could cancel as early as 10 days after notification unless you pay the policy by the date listed in the cancellation letter.
Paying out of pocket for your new insurance premium is costly. Cancel your old policy as soon as possible after obtaining your new policy and paying for it. You should receive a refund check for the months you prepaid that are no longer covered. The refund check is made out to you and can help replace the money you paid for the new policy.
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