Moving always involves a lot more than packing up your house and transplanting to another. It’s a long process with plenty of changes, even if you’re only moving across town. If you’re moving out of state, the process becomes more complex.
Along with forwarding your mail, you might also need new policies for home and auto insurance. Your current providers might not cover your new area of residence, or they might require that you make changes to meet state guidelines. Though change isn’t always easy, you need to follow the right steps to keep your coverage current.
Contact Your Insurance Agent
The most important thing to do when moving is to contact your insurance agent for both your car and homeowners policies. Your agent will know the proper procedure for the move, whether you need to cancel or transition into a new one.
This is also a great opportunity to ask questions about coverage on your new house. Discuss potential gaps in coverage that you want to change for your new property.
Follow Your State Guidelines
Your state might have specific guidelines regarding homeowners insurance. Rates tend to be different in different state, and your rates will probably go up or down depending on the location. They might also have certain required coverage options that you have to follow. Sometimes a move across state lines means that you’ll have to get a whole new policy.
This might apply even if you’re only moving across the border, say from New York to New Jersey. Your house might be a mere 30 minutes from your last one, but homeowners insurance in New Jersey will be different from homeowners insurance in New York.
You’re supposed to notify your insurance company within 30 days of your move so they can adjust the rates. It’s easier if you simply let your insurance company know your moving date ahead of time so they’ll make any necessary adjustments to your existing policy as soon as you exit your old place.
Don’t Sacrifice Coverage
If your insurance policy rises after you’ve moved because of the differences in rates, it’s tempting to lower the amount of coverage you have to reduce the costs. However, that’s not a good idea. Disaster could strike at any time, and you need as much coverage as you can afford.
Rather than reducing your coverage, increase it according to the needs of your house. Start by considering the age and condition of your home. Will you need extra protection because of previous foundation issues in the home?
You should also consider the weather of the area. If you’re moving to a new state, the weather might be significantly different from what you’re used to. It might be more likely to hail there, or gusting winds might be more likely to blow a tree branch into your window.
Consider the weather concerns when it comes to your car as well. If you’ve moved to a state where snowstorms and freezing rain cause cars to go off the road frequently, better coverage is a must.
Weigh the costs of fixing something on your own versus paying a little more in insurance. If you research air conditioning services in Bensalem, PA, for example, they’ll be able to tell you the cost of replacing your air conditioner out of pocket if your insurance policy doesn’t cover it. It will make you want to get a better policy as soon as possible.
You should also know exactly what your policy covers. It may pay for accidents and hailstorms but won’t cover flooding or wear and tear. It may be worthwhile to get a more comprehensive policy, even if you pay more for it.
Even if you have the option of keeping your homeowner’s or auto insurance policy exactly the way it is, shopping around is always smart. You can save hundreds a year on your policy by comparing prices and making a switch, and doing it when you’re moving is smart.
Getting a new insurance quote is easy. You can either call or do it online. Just provide a few details about yourself and your home, and you’ll get a quote through email. Compare the estimates side by side to make sure the coverage is the same and the costs are accurate.
Your insurance company may also cut you a break if they find out that you’ve been shopping around. They don’t want to lose a valued customer, and they may sweeten the deal enough to save you the hassle of switching.
Make Coverage Constant
While you’re working on the transition, whatever you do, don’t cancel your insurance coverage for any period of time while you move from one state to the other. Eventually, you’ll have to make changes to your policy, but let your existing policy cover any potential accidents that could happen on your drive to a new state.
All auto insurance companies provide you a little grace time, usually 30 days, before you have to make the required change. They’ll still cover you up until that date, so you won’t have to worry about a fender bender on your way to the new house.
If for some reason your auto insurance fails to cover you in a sudden auto accident during your insurance transition, remember that you have rights. You shouldn’t have to pay for the medical bills and damages if you’re insured, especially if the accident was caused by someone else. That’s when you contact an auto accident lawyer.
Homeowner’s insurance companies are a little different because the policy covers the house as well as the owner. Have everything set up so that the day you’re moved into your new house, it’s covered. This may require paying two premiums for a time if your old home hasn’t sold yet, but it’s well worth the sacrifice.
Let Your Lenders Know
When you’ve made a decision on a homeowners insurance policy, your lenders need to know. Most lenders will put the entire premium for a year into an escrow account and pay your insurance for you. In other cases, they only need to see proof that you have a policy in place, but you’ll be responsible for making payments on the mortgage.
If you have the option, letting your mortgage company escrow the payments for you is best. They’ll direct payments to the correct insurer so that you can avoid late fees and coverage discrepancies.
You won’t have to inform anyone about changing your auto insurance policy unless you’re getting a new car. Many people choose to get a new vehicle when they move, so if you find yourself at a car dealership in Washington, PA, on your move from Philadelphia, you’ll need to inform the lender who funds your purchase of your vehicle.
Insurance feels like a pretty complex responsibility, especially when you’re moving. However, it doesn’t need to be a big deal. Use these steps to make the transition easy so that you can enjoy your new car, house, and state.