What Happens to Homeowner's Insurance When a Person Dies?

Homeowner's insurance does not automatically transfer at death.

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A homeowners insurance policy protects a home by paying for any damages or losses to the dwelling. Typically, the insurance policy comes with liability protection to cover accidents or injuries that occur on the property. When the homeowner who purchased the insurance policy passes away, the estate executor will be responsible for notifying the insurance company. Then, the estate must arrange to continue coverage, or a person buying the home must arrange for insurance. The original policy won't be transferable.

Contact the Insurance Company

As soon as possible, contact the company that holds the insurance policy on the home. Inform the representative of the homeowner's death. The agent likely will ask for a copy of the deceased homeowner's death certificate to be forwarded by email or fax. Some insurance companies will leave the policy open until its expiration date so that the new homeowners will have time to obtain their own policy, while others provide just 30 days to do this. Always inquire as to how much time you have to buy a new policy to avoid a lapse in coverage.

Request the Policy Be Rewritten

When a husband and wife are both listed on the homeowner's insurance policy and one spouse dies, it is possible to simply have the policy rewritten to include only the surviving spouse. Some companies also allow the policy to be rewritten for a spouse who is not listed on the policy, as long as the proper documents are submitted to show proof of ownership. This is the easiest method of maintaining coverage, so it is worth investigating by calling the insurance agent.

Ask for Coverage During the Probate Process

Should there be no surviving spouse to take over the insurance policy, the estate executor can ask for coverage for the home during the probate process. If no one will be occupying the home until the process is complete, the insurance company might require the executor to purchase a vacant-home policy on behalf of the estate. During this time, the required premiums for the policy will need to be made by their due dates. If you miss a payment, the company has the right to cancel the policy.

Obtain a New Homeowners Insurance Policy

After probate has been settled and an heir has been awarded the home, or it has been sold, it is the responsibility of the new homeowner to inform the insurance company of the change. The insurance company will close the old policy and could open one for the new owner – if the owner desires to use that insurance company. The new homeowner will need to provide proof of identity, as well as information about the home, including the condition of the property and any repairs made to it. Of course, the new owner is free to shop around for the best rates.

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About the Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.


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