Home Insurance Renewals: Everything Policyholders Should Know

Home Insurance Renewal in Ontario 101: What to Know

Insurance renewal time rolls around regularly—typically once per year. Many people don't think very hard about renewing insurance; they just give the notice or renewal package a cursory glance and, assuming there are no major changes to insurance premiums, leave it alone to auto-renew. But it's important to take the time to think about any significant changes that have occurred over the last year that may affect your coverage and premiums or leave you underinsured with your current policies.

Here's what policyholders can expect when it's time to deal with insurance renewal, as well as some important questions to ask yourself before renewing insurance so you can be certain you're recalling all the critical information and relaying it to your Morison Insurance broker.

What to Expect When It's Home Insurance Renewal Time

What happens when it's time for the annual renewal period on your home insurance policy? It's typically pretty straightforward—your broker at Morison Insurance will send you your insurance renewal notice, which explains any updates to your policy terms and premiums. Take the time to review it carefully.

Most policies are on automatic renewals, so if you're satisfied with the terms outlined in the renewal notice, you can let it renew and continue on for the next year. If you're unhappy with the terms or premiums or wish to add optional coverages, contact your insurance broker ahead of the renewal date so they can shop around with other insurance companies on your behalf and find precisely what you're looking for. There are penalties for cancelling a policy before it's up for renewal, so when you are renewing insurance, that's the perfect time to make changes or switch to a different insurance provider without having to pay cancellation fees.

However, another critical step is often neglected: letting your insurance broker know about changes to your home, routines, driving habits and business practices. We'll explain more about why that's so important below.

Do Premiums Increase or Decrease When Renewing Home Insurance?

It's possible for premiums to either increase, decrease or stay the same during insurance renewal. Increases are often related to changes in market values—for example, your home insurance premiums may increase as inflation causes changes to the cost of building repair or restoration. They typically reflect increased costs for resolving insured perils or increased risk exposure for damage and destruction that would prompt you to file an insurance claim.

When decreases happen, it's often because you've become eligible for discounts that didn't apply previously.

Can Insurance Companies Decline Home Insurance Renewals?

Insurance companies can and sometimes do decline to renew a home insurance policy. This can happen if there have been payment issues with getting your premiums paid on time if there's been an increase in insurance claims on your policy over the last year, or for other reasons.

One of the advantages of getting your insurance coverage through an experienced broker at Morison Insurance is that if your broker is notified that the insurance company is not willing to go through with insurance renewal, they can immediately begin looking around for alternative options from other insurance companies so you can still get the coverage you need. That may involve switching to high-risk auto insurance or another more specialized type of policy.

Why It's Important to Inform Your Broker of Significant Changes Before Home Insurance Renewal

We mentioned above that one crucial step in the insurance renewal process is taking time to consider any changes in your life or business that could affect your insurance coverage. Relaying those changes to your broker is important because they can ensure you have the right types of coverage in the right amounts.

Your insurance broker is here to give you expert advice and help you navigate your insurance coverage's often complicated and confusing ins and outs. Still, they can only do that properly if they have all the relevant information. For example, if you remodel your kitchen and add several upgrades, such as new flooring, appliances and marble countertops, the cost of those upgrades will not be factored into your replacement value insurance coverage unless you tell your broker about them and update your insurance policy. If you don't notify your broker of those changes and the worst happens, such as a devastating fire, you won't receive adequate insurance compensation to restore your kitchen to the same condition it was in after your remodel. Thats because your policy limits will only cover the cost of the materials and items in your old kitchen.

The risk of being underinsured is the primary reason why it's important to consider any changes that have occurred in the last year and report them to your insurance broker. That way, your broker has the opportunity to find any coverage gaps that may exist and close them up so you can rest assured that you have the financial protection you need and you won't be left without insurance compensation in the event of an insured peril.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Renewing Home Insurance

By now, you may be wondering what types of changes and events need to be reported to your broker prior to insurance renewal. It may seem like a simple matter to recall all the changes you've made over the last year, but that's not necessarily the case. The best way to ensure you're covering your bases is to ask yourself some key questions so you can jog your memory easily and come up with all the pertinent information. Sit down and take some time to go over the questions below when you're renewing your home insurance.

  • Did I Make Any Major Renovations or Repairs To My Home?
  • Did I Make Any Costly Purchases? Remember to include electronics such as computers and televisions, new jewelry, collector vehicles, recreational equipment, antiques and artwork, and collections of items that represent a significant value together, such as wine, records or even comic books.
  • Is There a New Person Living in My Household? This could be a new baby who has just been born into the family or a friend or family member who has moved into your home.
  • Has My Marital Status Changed? If you've gotten married or divorced, and even if you've been cohabiting with a romantic partner long enough to be considered common-law spouses, mention it to your broker.
  • Did I Get a New Pet?
  • Did I Need Extended Leave From Work?
  • Am I Working From Home? If you've switched to working from home, you may need additional coverage for your work equipment. If you're operating a small business from your home, you need an endorsement for your homeowner's insurance policy.
  • Am I Renting Part or All of My Home to a Third Party?
  • Am I Storing Belongings Off My Home Property? If you've rented a storage unit or are storing items of significant value on your own property, let your broker know.
  • Did I Add or Remove an Alarm System or Other Security Measures?
  • Did I Add a Pool, Sauna or Hot Tub to My Property? These types of amenities can increase the value of your property and its contents, but they can also represent an "attractive nuisance" that your insurance company may have rules about.
  • Have I Added Any "Attractive Nuisances" to My Property? Along with pools and hot tubs, attractive nuisances can be anything that encourages trespassers (especially children) to enter your property and make use of the amenities, such as a trampoline.
  • Is Home Equipment Such as a Water Heater or Electrical System Due for an Upgrade? An aged, deteriorated unit like a water heater could pose a risk to the safety of your property.
  • Did I Install a Secondary Heating System? A new heating system in your home, such as a wood-burning fireplace, may be subject to requirements like a WETT inspection.

If you've reviewed the questions listed above and come up with a few changes or circumstances you think your insurance company may need to know about, call your friendly broker at Morison Insurance. We'll be happy to review any new information or potential changes before your insurance renewal is due to take place so we can ensure you have the home insurance coverage you need and deserve.

This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.

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