Non-Renewal of a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy: What You Need to Know
Insurance policies are contracts, and each side has an option of not renewing an agreement once it expires. After having shopped around for a good homeowner’s policy, however, you might be surprised when your insurer sends you a nonrenewal notice. The fact is that many homeowners want to keep their policy and find any nonrenewal very inconvenient.
Florida law limits the ability of an insurer to not renew a policy, and below we highlight some of the facts you need to know. Insurers sometimes fail to renew a policy to limit their liability, so speak with a Volusia County property damage lawyer if you have questions.
You Are Entitled to Notice of the Nonrenewal
Your insurer cannot suddenly tear up the contract. Instead, Florida law requires that they give at least 120 days’ notice to the first named insured on the contract. This rule applies if the insured has been with them for at least 5 years. However, there are exceptions:
If you have been with your insurer for less than 5 years, you are entitled to only 100 days’ notice.
If you have a policy that combines home and motor coverage, then you only need to be given 90 days’ notice for nonrenewal.
If the nonrenewal is scheduled to go into effect during hurricane season, then you are entitled to at least 100 days’ notice or notice by June 1, whichever is earlier. June 1 is the start of hurricane season in Florida, and the state wants homeowners to have enough time to get a new policy in place.
Extension is Required During a Hurricane
The nonrenewal might be scheduled to go into effect during a hurricane. In that case, the insurer is required to extend coverage until the hurricane has ended. This requirement provides critical protection to those who lose coverage as a storm is bearing down on Florida.
However, your insurer can increase the amount it charges you during the hurricane to the current premium rate. It does not need to continue with the current rate of the non-renewed contract. In other words, you will be covered but you will pay more.
There Are Limitations on Eliminating Wind Coverage
Most people tap their homeowner’s insurance to deal with windstorm damage following a hurricane. Florida limits the ability of an insurer to eliminate wind damage coverage when renewing a policy. This limitation protects homeowners, since insurers might strip out wind damage coverage in expectation of a storm approaching.
An Insurer Can Use Your Credit History only Sparingly
Florida also prohibits an insurer from non-renewing a policy based solely on information on a credit report or for having negative credit report information due to medical bills. If negative credit report information plays any part in the non-renewal decision, then an insurer should provide a copy of the credit report to the insured to review. There might be mistakes on the report, which you should have a chance to correct.
Struggling to Get a Claim Paid?
Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. has distinguished itself by providing quality representation to homeowners damaged by a storm. Our Daytona Beach property damage lawyers can negotiate a settlement with an insurer or sue them in court. For help, please call us today to schedule your free consultation at 386-252-5170.