If you are like everyone else, you have at least one New Years’ resolution. Some choose weight loss, others fiscal awareness, other personal awareness, etc, etc. If one of your resolutions is to lower your monthly costs and you are looking at changing your hazard / homeowner’s insurance, make sure you talk to your mortgage company.
Why, you ask? Well, you want to make sure you have enough insurance to meet the lender’s guidelines and the lender has notice of your insurer.
What do you mean by "having enough insurance to meet the lender’s guidelines"?
If you change your insurance (lower your coverage), then there is a possibility you no longer have the amount of coverage required by your lender. Your lender is guided by the type of loan you have and specific guidelines provided to the bank either internally or by the government. You can contact your lender to get the list of requirements/guidelines for your coverage, so you can make sure you get the insurance that is best for your budget AND meet those requirements.
Why does it matter is I change insurance companies as long as I have the same or better coverage?
In the documents you typically sign when getting a loan, there is typically a document stating you will keep your insurance intact and you will provide the lender proof of insurance – regardless of whether you have your insurance paid out of escrow or you pay the insurance directly. The lender will need to make sure the new company and the new policy meets the appropriate guidelines. The lender will also be checking to make sure it is listed on your policy as a mortgagee and the mortgagee clause is correct.
(Please note that the lender is focused on the fact that you are changing your insurance company. Does not matter if you are leaving your coverage the same, increasing coverage or decreasing coverage.)
What happens if I do not contact the lender when I change to a new insurance company?
The lender usually checks on insurance annually – whether you have a current policy and it has the appropriate coverage. If the lender checks in with the old company, it is likely the old company will report they no longer insure your property. When this happens and no new insurance company information has been provided to the lender, the lender will send a letter to you allowing you to provide proof of insurance. If you do not respond to this letter, the lender will put into place its own insurance – forced-place insurance is not easy to get removed.
What is the bottom line?
When and if you change your hazard/homeowner’s insurance, call your lender to make sure those changes will not affect your loan servicing.