My father had continuous homeowners insurance with the same company for decades. Perfect payment history, no claims, no late payments, way over-covered, very conservative financially, took no risks, made sure everything was in order and on track. When he died, I notified (in writing) both the insurance company and the local agent listed on the policy. I have never dealt with any of these things – never used an agent, never owned a house, never had homeowners insurance, never been an executor, etc….and I told them both this and said I would be relying on them to tell me what I needed to do and I would do it. The only thing I said was imperative was that there absolutely could not be any loss or lapse in coverage between the time of my father’s death and the end of probate when the names on the title/deed and with the county courts had been changed. I sent the documents they told me to – the death certificate, the copy of the will showing me as executor and I even included my driver’s license with the insured address showing I had been living there full-time since coming to be my father’s caregiver. Got an email saying they received the documents. Thought it was done. Then a couple of weeks ago I got a renewal bill which was great because I wanted to just renew it and keep everything as it had been. But upon looking at it – nothing had changed from how it had been for years while my father was alive. No mention of me, no mention of “estate”, no mention of any added or additional insured. So knowing that the policy coverage ended at the end of June (I had started notifying them way back in early March so that there would be time to deal with any surprises), I started to grow more and more anxious at not getting any replies or responses. I must have sent 30 emails and made 30 phone calls and nobody ever got back to me. Finally – last FRIDAY at 430pm when all the insurance offices and agents offices were closing for the weekend – with less than 1 week to go before the policy ended I get a short rude generic email from some woman I had never heard of saying that the policy would be canceled due to non-payment at the end of this month. So from yesterday (Monday) morning at 9am all the way through this minute – including being so upset that I got no sleep at all since last Thursday and had to worry about it all weekend – I have tried to get a clear answer and/or explanation of what the problem was, and what I am supposed to do and/or what I should have done differently. Nobody will tell me a damn thing – they all say that they can’t discuss the policy with me because I am not listed as an insured. This, even after having provided them with all the documents they asked for. I am under extreme pressure from the other beneficiary and the HOA here to provide proof that I am fulfilling my obligations as executor by not allowing any loss or lapse in coverage. Nobody will help, the people whose job it is literally to know about this stuff and help answer questions – won’t give me any advice and now as of the latest all-day-hell of sitting here by the phone waiting for them to call back – they say they still need more time to “investigate” and they will call back by the end of business tomorrow. My question is – How am I supposed to get coverage on this house – which I MUST have – as the executor? And how can I get the current company to provide me with either documentation that the house HAS BEEN continuously covered from the time of my father’s death until now OR a pro-rated refund if it has NOT? Since they will not even tell me anything and won’t recognize me as being authorized to deal with them on this policy?
Hi Dean, sorry to hear about this terrible experience. It is certainly not how the process is supposed to go. It is completely inappropriate for them to say they cannot deal with you on the matter since you aren’t the named insured given the documentation you have provided to them. Was there a trust or anything established with the passing of your father? If so you should be able to put the current policy in the name of the trust. I would consider paying the premium if you have not already. The name on the policy does not change the risk (assuming the home is still being lived in full time by you) so they really should be able to renew the policy so you don’t have a lapse in coverage and then amend the named insured. The alternative would be to abandon that agency completely and find a new local reputable agent that can help you. They can typically bind coverage fairly quickly in a standard risk but the further into Hurricane season it goes the more difficult it will become. There is little recourse I’m aware of short of that or going to the department of insurance, however given the policy expiring tomorrow I don’t expect you would hear back from the department of insurance in time. Regarding getting the past records, I would write a formal letter to the president of the agency. They are required to hold client files for a certain number of years so they most certainly should be able to provide these to you. Best of luck to you.