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How to cancel your home insurance

You can end home insurance early, but it's not always free.

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If you’re not happy with your homeowners insurance policy, you can cancel it at any time. But if you leave before your policy is supposed to end, your insurer can charge you a cancellation fee.

Can I cancel my home insurance policy at any time?

Yes. If you decide to cancel for any reason, all you have to do is let your insurer know what day you want the policy to end on. To avoid a lapse in coverage, make sure your current policy doesn’t end until after your new policy starts.

How to let your insurance company know you’re canceling

If you’ve made the decision to cancel, you may be able to call, email, snail mail, fax or cancel online. It’s generally a good idea to use a method that leaves you with written proof that you canceled, like sending a letter or fax or taking a screenshot if you decide to cancel online. Make sure you include the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your policy number
  • The address of the insured home
  • An address for them to send any refund
  • Your contact number
  • Your signature

If you currently have a mortgage for your home, you’ll also need to contact your mortgage lender to let them know that you’re canceling your current policy and give them the start date and details of your new policy.

Are there any cancellation fees?

Yes, your insurer may charge a fee for canceling your policy early. These fees can vary greatly between insurers, so it’s a good idea to find out what your insurer’s cancellation fees are before deciding to end a policy early.

How and what you’re charged will also depend on how you purchased your policy.

  • If you pay monthly. After canceling your policy, you may be billed for any penalty fees.
  • If you pay annually. If you’ve already paid for the year in advance, you’ll generally receive a refund for the unused time on the policy, but the penalty fee and any discounts you received for paying annually can be deducted from your refund. If you still owe anything in fees, you’ll generally be billed.
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Are there any downsides to canceling a home insurance policy early?

Other than the cancellation fee, risks you face include:

  • Being without coverage. If your current policy ends before your new one begins and something happens to your home during that time, the consequences could be devastating.
  • Losing discounts. When comparing costs for insurance policies, make sure you factor in any home insurance discounts you’re currently receiving that you won’t be eligible for with your new insurer, like loyalty and multi-policy discounts.
  • Ending up with a worse policy. If your main reason for canceling is to sign up for a policy that promises a lower premium, make sure the new policy stacks up. Check the fine print to find out if your new coverage is less comprehensive, and check online reviews to find out if your new insurer is trustworthy and offers an easy claims process.

Can I just wait for my policy to lapse?

Yes. If your policy is about to expire or you don’t want to pay a fee, you can contact your insurer to let them know you won’t be renewing. But you’ll want to make sure that you have a new policy active before your end date.

At least 30 days before your policy ends, your insurer will send you a renewal invitation spelling out any new terms for the coming year. In many cases all you have to do is call them and tell them you don’t want to renew, but it’s a good idea to let them know in writing, or follow up with another phone call, to make sure.

If you don’t respond to the renewal invitation, some insurers will automatically renew your policy under the new terms.

Can I transfer my policy to someone else?

No. Your homeowners insurance policy is specific to you, and your premiums are based on your risk factor, including your pets, claims history and how you use your home.

If you sell or gift your house, the new homeowner will need to start from scratch with a new policy.

Can I transfer my policy to another home?

Technically no, you can’t transfer your policy because it’s based on the specific risks and repair costs of your home. But you can cancel your current policy and start a new policy with the same insurer. This can be a lot easier than finding a new policy, and you’ll already know what to expect from your insurer.

Whether or not you’ll have to pay cancellation fees if you’re taking out a new policy will depend on the insurer. If you’re moving to a new home, call your insurance agent to find out more about insuring your new home.

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What are the alternatives to canceling my home insurance?

If you’re set on switching to a different insurer or you’re moving to another state where your current insurer doesn’t operate, canceling is your best bet.

If you’re just trying to score a better deal, you might be able to reduce your premiums by:

  • Talking to your insurer. Call your insurance agent and ask for a better deal. If you’re getting a better offer from another insurer, let them know. In some cases, your current insurer might try to match it.
  • Increasing your deductible. This is the amount you pay out of pocket every time you make a claim. The more you agree to pay, the lower your premium will be.
  • Adjusting your coverage. You may be able to adjust how much coverage you have or get rid of certain extras, like coverage for bringing your home up to code after a covered event. But be careful not to end up underinsured, which could leave you in financial trouble if something happens to your home.
  • Looking for discounts. Check if there are any discounts you’re eligible for and not taking advantage of — or that you can become eligible for. For example, if your car insurance is about to expire, you might be able to score a multi-policy discount if you sign up for a new policy with the insurer that provides your home’s policy.

Bottom line

If you’re not happy with your current homeowners insurance policy, you have the right to cancel it — but you may have to pay a cancellation fee. To find out if you’re eligible for a deal that makes it worth it, compare home insurance policies.

Frequently asked questions about canceling home insurance

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