By Samantha Alexander
When you and your home insurance provider entered into holy insurance matrimony, you may not have noticed all the little things that bothered you. You may have been blinded by love — or convenience — and rushed into a policy without getting to know the company. And now, you are feeling trapped in a relationship with a carrier that isn’t your best match.
Luckily, home insurance policies aren’t forever. And if you have serious problems with your current provider, it may be time to part ways. So how do you know if it’s time to throw in the towel? Here are five reasons to divorce your home insurance provider:
1. High premiums
Failing to comparison shop can force homeowners to settle for high premiums from the start. And even homeowners who do shop and find great rates will sometimes find their premiums have risen over time. Either way, if you are paying too much for your home insurance, it might be time to wave goodbye to your current carrier. Most experts recommend that homeowners shop their policies at least once a year.
2. Inadequate coverage
All home insurance policies are not made equal, and some companies offer a limited amount of coverage options. Discovering that your policy limits coverage for artwork or jewelry can be a tough lesson to learn, especially if you make the discovery after filing a claim.
If you find that your current policy isn’t able to provide you with the full extent of coverage you need, you should look for a carrier that can meet your coverage needs, even if it means scheduling endorsements — add-ons to your policy.
3. Poor customer service
Nothing can prompt a homeowner to say “it’s not me, it’s you” to an insurer faster than poor customer service. If your home insurance provider is hard to reach or fails to process a claim in a timely fashion, then it’s time to move on.
Just make sure you do your research before swapping carriers. Consult customer reviews from trusted consumer watchdogs such as Consumer Reports or J.D. Power and Associates when looking into new insurers. You should also make sure your prospective provider offers 24/7 claims processes.
4. Financial instability
In any relationship, trust is key, and your relationship with your insurer is no exception. Knowing your home insurer is financially stable is an important element of that trust. After all, you are investing your money in premiums trusting that the insurer will be able to fulfill its financial obligation to you in the event of a claim. A.M. Best Company rates insurers on their financial stability, and they can be rated anywhere from A++ (superior) to D (poor).
Why is this important? What if there’s a disaster that affects thousands of homeowners in your area at once? You need to be sure your carrier has the resources to match its coverage commitments. If your provider doesn’t have a strong rating, you may want to move on to a more stable, trustworthy provider.
5. Major life changes
Did you recently get married? Buy a car? Move to a new city or state? Major life changes should cause you to re-evaluate your insurance needs. For instance, it may benefit you to shop for a new carrier if you move to a new location, as rates can vary greatly.
Insurance rates are partly based on location, so you may be able to find a more affordable policy with a different provider. If you bought a new car, you may want to switch to a provider that allows you to bundle your home and auto policies for a discount. Whatever your major life change, consider re-evaluating your insurance.
Making it official
If you do decide to switch providers, the best time to leave your insurer is close to the end of your policy period to avoid cancellation fees. However, make sure you don’t leave your current insurer without having a new policy in place. Insurance providers frown on gaps in insurance coverage — and that prompts them to increase premiums. Be sure to maintain continuous coverage even when you’re switching.
If you are experiencing any of the scenarios listed above, or you’re just plain unsatisfied, then it’s time to switch providers. No one likes to go through a breakup, but sometimes a clean break is for the best. Don’t worry, there are plenty of other fish — or insurance providers — in the sea.
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Samantha Alexander is a lead writer for HomeInsurance.com, an online insurance resource for homeowners and drivers across the country. Offering comparative homeowners and automobile insurance rates, consumers rely on HomeInsurance.com for the most competitive rates from the top-rated insurance carriers in the country. The HomeInsurance.com blog provides fresh tips and advice on a range of financial topics to help homeowners and home buyers make educated decisions about their insurance purchases.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.