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Does home or renters insurance cover eviction?

What’s covered and how eviction affects your property insurance

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Your home and renters policy will continue protecting your property even during the eviction process. But eviction bans, moving or getting served an eviction notice illegally can pose tricky scenarios for insurance.

Federal ban on eviction
The US is under a national federal eviction ban effective September 4, 2020 through December 31, 2020. This ban temporarily halts all residential eviction for non-payment of rent to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This order doesn’t apply to states that have the same or greater level of public-health protection in place. The federal mandate doesn’t prohibit late fees, or let you off the hook for back rent you owe.

To qualify for the eviction moratorium, tenants who fall behind on rent are required to sign and submit to their landlord a declaration form stating they’ve lost income due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and have looked for financial assistance.

Are evictions still banned in my state?

Many states are banning evictions for renters or homeowners who’ve defaulted on their payments, but not all states have ordered bans and some bans have expired.

For example, Texas doesn’t have an eviction ban in place for those affected by the coronavirus, while the New York court extended its statewide ban until October 1, 2020.

StateEviction ban expiration date
AlabamaEvictions not banned
AlaskaEvictions not banned
ArizonaOctober 31, 2020
ArkansasEvictions not banned
CaliforniaFebruary 1, 2021
ColoradoEvictions not banned
ConnecticutDecember 31, 2020
DelawareDecember 31, 2020
District of ColumbiaFor the duration of the coronavirus emergency
FloridaEvictions not banned
GeorgiaEvictions not banned
HawaiiNovember 30, 2020
IdahoEvictions not banned
IllinoisNovember 14, 2020
IndianaEvictions not banned
IowaEvictions not banned
KansasJanuary 26, 2021
KentuckyEvictions not banned
LouisianaEvictions not banned
MaineEvictions not banned
MarylandFor the duration of the coronavirus emergency
MassachusettsEvictions not banned
MichiganEvictions not banned
MinnesotaNovember 12, 2020
MississippiEvictions not banned
MissouriEvictions not banned
MontanaFor the duration of the coronavirus emergency
NebraskaEvictions not banned
NevadaEvictions not banned
New HampshireEvictions not banned
New JerseyFor the duration of the coronavirus emergency
New MexicoFor the duration of the coronavirus emergency
New YorkFor the duration of the coronavirus emergency
North CarolinaEvictions not banned
North DakotaEvictions not banned
OhioEvictions not banned
OklahomaEvictions not banned
OregonDecember 31, 2020
PennsylvaniaEvictions not banned
Rhode IslandEvictions not banned
South CarolinaEvictions not banned
South DakotaEvictions not banned
TennesseeEvictions not banned
TexasEvictions not banned
UtahEvictions not banned
VermontNovember 15, 2020
VirginiaEvictions not banned
WashingtonDecember 31, 2020
West VirginiaEvictions not banned
WisconsinEvictions not banned
WyomingEvictions not banned

What happens once the eviction ban is lifted?

Once bans have lifted, your landlord can move forward with an eviction notice, which may require you to move out within days depending on your state. For example, New York state requires landlords to give a 14-day eviction notice for tenants to pay or move out.

  • If you’re a homeowner, you may get calls or mailed notices from your lender about your payment status. Typically, falling three months behind on your mortgage is considered delinquent, and lenders can start the foreclosure process.In some states, foreclosure may happen before the three-month mark, especially if you don’t respond to your lender and work out payment details.

When am I safe from eviction?

You can stay clear of eviction by working through your housing situation with your landlord, mortgage lender or an alternative housing solution. But if these steps aren’t possible, you might have extra padding under these laws:

  • Your state or local laws ban evictions. Local laws may tailor eviction laws and bans based on your community’s needs. It’s worth keeping an eye on measures that your governor or city council is taking.
  • Your home’s mortgage is backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Landlords and homeowners with these types of mortgages are barred from evictions or foreclosures until December 31, 2020. If you’re a renter, you’ll have to work with your landlord on payment concerns since you probably don’t know your rental’s mortgage details.
  • Federal government or agency orders. Renters and homeowners might catch a break through new orders from the Executive office or another government branch or agency.

Will home or renters insurance cover me if I’m evicted?

Your policy offers some coverage for your belongings during an eviction, unless it specifically excludes property damage from evictions.

Specifically, your home or renters insurance will cover your belongings if they get damaged by a covered event, like theft or vandalism. Your policy also will cover liability cases brought against you by your landlord or neighbor.

However, home or renters insurance won’t cover additional living expenses like rent or food because of an eviction or shortened lease. These policies only cover living expenses when the home gets damaged beyond livable conditions.

Last, your policy may offer lower limits for belongings when they’re away from home — as low as a few thousand dollars.

What coverage do I have if I’m illegally evicted?

Your home and renters insurance may help with damaged belongings if your landlord dumps your belongings on the curb or damages them while locking them up. Your insurer might deem these as acts of theft or vandalism. However, your insurer may try to recover the damage from your landlord’s liability insurance first.

If you’re not successful with a liability settlement, your home or renters policy probably won’t pay to sue your landlord for damaged property, an unreturned security deposit or illegal eviction.

Are my belongings covered during a move?

Your policy likely won’t cover your damaged belongings if they break or get marked up because of moving, unless you have valuable personal property insurance.

If you’re using movers, check your state laws and the moving company’s policy on damaged items to make sure you’re protected. State laws vary, so you shouldn’t assume blanket coverage if things get damaged.

Your home or renters policy also doesn’t cover moving expenses or a lost security deposit.

Should I cancel my home or renter’s insurance if I’m evicted?

Canceling your property insurance is a personal decision, but it’s a good idea to keep some property insurance in case of damage and liability insurance in case of lawsuits.

If you have home insurance, you might switch to renters insurance for renting or living with a family member. If you have renter’s insurance, you might keep your policy if it covers stored belongings and you plan to
buy a storage unit.

If you can’t keep renter’s insurance but own valuable belongings, you can buy a separate valuable personal belongings policy. This type of policy may not require your living address, only a billing address or payment information.

Will I be eligible for home and renters insurance in the future?

You can be eligible for future home or renters insurance after an eviction. However, the main problem is whether an eviction or foreclosure will affect your credit score. If you have a low credit score, you might pay higher premiums than someone with a high credit score.

First, an eviction shouldn’t directly affect your credit score, but it can appear on your public records. This public record could affect tenant screening if you rent in the future. However, if your rental payments get turned over to a collection agency, the collections will affect your credit score.

A foreclosure is a different story for credit, with direct and high impact on your credit score. A foreclosure can drop your score by 160 points or more depending on your credit history. A foreclosure will affect your score for seven years since it stays on your credit report for that long.

Most insurers look at your credit-based insurance score to determine your eligibility and rates, unless you live in California, Hawaii or Massachusetts where using this score is illegal.

What is the eviction process?

The eviction process differs from state to state, but these are the general steps:

  1. Your landlord serves an eviction notice. Your landlord should follow your state’s laws for eviction notices and your move-out timeline.
  2. Your landlord files an eviction lawsuit. Your landlord can’t legally evict you before the court issues a judgment. Try to make partial payments during this time if possible.
  3. The judge determines the settlement terms. If your landlord has a valid case, the court may rule to evict you. You’ll also pay for legal and settlement costs — your renters insurance may help with these.
  4. Law enforcement can escort you off the property. If you don’t move within the court’s set timeline, your landlord can ask law enforcement to escort you off the property. The police may give you a few days’ notice before doing so.

You can cut the process short by moving out or paying your bill on the first notice.

Eviction after foreclosure on your home

For homeowners, the process looks different based on your state laws and whether it’s a judicial or nonjudicial foreclosure. What your timeline might look like:

  • For judicial foreclosures, your lender can add an eviction action to the foreclosure in some states. It may do so, especially if the bank is taking direct possession of the home. The bank will ask the court for a written order to evict you, and the local police can escort you off the property after a short notice like 24 hours.
  • For nonjudicial foreclosures, the bank may have to send an eviction notice with your state’s required timeline for moving out, which can be anywhere from a few days to a month. If you don’t move, the bank will file a lawsuit that could take up to several months to resolve. However, this eviction could go on your public record, making it harder to find a landlord willing to rent to you.

In some cases, you’ll be allowed to stay in the home for several months until the home is sold or the foreclosure is finalized.

What to do if you’re facing eviction

You can find housing help and counseling to work through this tough financial time, even if you don’t know the right steps to take. Start by:

  • Talking with your landlord or lender. Contact your landlord or lender as soon as you know that you can’t make a payment. Many businesses and lenders are offering special payment plans or forbearance to help people affected financially by the coronavirus.
  • Look for assistance from local programs. Look for local housing nonprofits or programs through your state’s housing department. You might find these resources by searching online for your specific area.
  • Use resources from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Look up a local housing counselor from HUD’s website under the Find Shelter section. You may qualify for a number of housing grants or programs to help you pay rent or relocate to low-cost housing.
  • Find alternative housing. While eviction bans and housing programs can help you get on your feet, you’ll need to pay missed rental or mortgage payments eventually. You might search for another housing solution. Some people consider getting a roommate, moving in with family or finding low-cost housing. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but you can weigh the options based on your needs.

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Bottom line

If you’re leaving your current living situation for a new one, your insurance needs may change. Consider several companies for renters policies, your new home insurance needs or coverage for valuables to make sure your essentials stay protected.

Questions about home or renters insurance and evictions

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