What happens to homeowners insurance after death?

A deceased homeowner's home insurance may require a transition to a new policy under a new policyholder. To make sure the policy continues to protect the property, it's an important item in closing a deceased person's financial and legal affairs. If the deceased listed a spouse on the homeowners policy, the policy will typically stay current.

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What happens to your homeowners policy when a spouse dies?

Typically, both spouses are listed on a homeowners insurance policy. The policy may remain in effect when this happens. The insurance company will remove the deceased and replace the spouse as a named insured. Each insurer has different terms and guidelines but it’s up to the surviving spouse to call the insurer to confirm the change.

Some insurers may add a spouse who isn't listed to the home insurance policy. In any case, an insurer may require documentation, including a death certificate, to adjust the policy.

Homeowners insurance for estate property with no surviving spouse

If there's no surviving spouse, the deceased person's estate executor is responsible for the home insurance policy. The executor must act to change the home insurance policy. An insurer may give an estate executor 30 days or the remainder of the policy to secure the appropriate homeowners insurance coverages in the future as a new policyholder. During this time, the executor must continue to pay the current premium or risk a coverage lapse, leaving the home uninsured.

Empty homes make insurers wary. During any gap while the estate is being transferred, an insurer might require a vacant property policy.

What happens to homeowners insurance during probate?

Probate can be avoided with proper estate planning. When a home goes into probate, it can take months or even years for the home to be officially inherited — or the court may rule that the heirs or executor must sell the home.

Before you can purchase home insurance for the deceased person's home, you need to become the legal owner of their home. A simple rule of thumb for managing homeowners insurance during probate is to communication closely with the insurer and ask about the options as the process unfolds. Keep in mind that each state has different laws relating to probate, home transfer, and homeowners insurance after death. Learn more about buying homeowners insurance for the first time.

Can I insure a house that is not in my name?

It's technically possible to insure a house that's not in your name if you show an insurable interest in the property. An insurable interest means you have a good and logical purpose of protecting the home (and, in turn, yourself) from loss. However, you're essentially paying the premium on behalf of the legal homeowner.

Can a house stay on a deceased person's insurance policy?

Once a homeowner dies, their homeowners insurance policy is still in effect. However, it can expire or be canceled if no one makes the premium payments. Of course, an insurer may have no way of knowing about the homeowner’s death right away — but they'll eventually find out. That's why a surviving spouse, family member, or estate executor should contact the insurer and submit a death certificate within 30 days of the homeowner's death.

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