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What to Do If You Can’t Get Home or Renters Insurance in Your State

By Kim Franke-Folstad · January 02, 2024 · 8 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

What to Do If You Can’t Get Home or Renters Insurance in Your State

What can you do if you’re buying or living in a home that’s considered “high risk” because of its location or other factors, and you can’t find the insurance protection you need? In some states, including Florida and California, where insurers are limiting their coverage or exiting the market altogether, it can be challenging to find a renters or homeowners policy. You may even find the insurer you’ve had for years is no longer willing to provide coverage.

There’s no need to panic just yet, or give up on your efforts to get the policy you want or need. There may be options you haven’t thought about that are just a few computer taps away.

What Makes a Home, Area, or State High Risk?

There are a few different factors that can make a home, neighborhood, region, or state high risk when it comes to getting insurance coverage. Some of these factors may affect homeowners only, while others can affect both homeowners and renters.

Sometimes a home is determined to be high risk because it’s fallen into a state of disrepair. The insurance company may say, for example, that the home needs a new roof, the foundation is unsafe, or the plumbing or electricity needs updating. If that’s the case, following through on those repairs may make it easier to keep or qualify for a traditional homeowners policy.

It’s also possible that the way the home is constructed — with certain types of building materials or a roof style that doesn’t meet the insurer’s underwriting standards — is making it harder to get insurance. Or it could be that the home is in an area that makes it more vulnerable to certain crimes, such as burglary or vandalism. Sometimes, a person’s own history (a criminal background, bankruptcy, or too many past claims) could lead an insurer to cancel a policy or say no to a new one.

Increasingly, it’s the propensity for serious, damaging weather that can cause an entire region or state to be considered high-risk. In California, wildfires are one reason insurers cite for pulling out. In Louisiana, it’s flooding. And in Florida, insurers are leaving the state because of the expensive damage hurricanes and tropical storms can cause.


💡 Quick Tip: A basic homeowners insurance plan doesn’t cover floods, earthquakes, or sinkholes. If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, you may want to look into supplemental coverage.

What Can You Do If You’re Denied Coverage?

Though homeowners and renters insurance policies aren’t mandated by any state or federal laws, mortgage lenders and landlords can and often do require a certain amount of coverage. Even if yours doesn’t, you may find it makes sense to get a policy to protect yourself, your home, and/or your belongings.

It can be frustrating and scary to find out you’ve been denied the insurance you want or need, or that the policy you have is being canceled. Here are a few things you can do to find protection:

Shop Around

There are many insurance companies out there, so don’t feel as though you have to give up just because the carrier you wanted won’t cover you. You may be able to find a similar or better policy online, or you could search the old-fashioned way and call around. While you’re looking, try not to limit your options based on brand names or because you have car insurance or another type of policy through a certain company.

If you’re buying homeowners insurance: Before you start shopping, consider how much and what types of coverage you need and what your lender requires. Depending on where you live, you may need to buy additional protection for flooding, earthquakes, sinkholes, etc. This coverage is usually not a part of a basic homeowners policy.

If you’re buying a home, you may want to ask the current homeowners or your new neighbors what coverage they think is necessary.

If you’re buying renters insurance: Keep in mind that even though your landlord might have insurance that covers the building you’re living in, that policy won’t cover your possessions should they be damaged or stolen. And the landlord’s policy probably won’t pay for additional living expenses if you need to move out while your unit undergoes repairs.

As you shop renters policies, it’s important to compare apples to apples, and to be sure you’re getting the renters insurance coverage you might need in a worst-case scenario. Remember: Most renters policies won’t cover damage from flooding. To be sure you’re protected, you’ll likely need to purchase a separate renters policy from the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by FEMA.

Use a Broker or Independent Insurance Agent

If you don’t have the time to shop for a policy yourself, you may want to hire an insurance broker or independent insurance agent to get quotes from multiple insurers for you. Before you get started in this process, it’s a good idea to be clear on how your insurance professional will be paid (fee, commission, or both), and how broad or limited the policy search will be.

Contact Your State Department of Insurance

The consumer division of your state insurance department can provide you with a list of insurers that are writing policies in your area. And they may be able to help you work with your current provider regarding a nonrenewal — that is, if the company isn’t pulling out of the state altogether.

Ask Your Current Insurance Professional for Advice

If your current insurance company is leaving your region or state and you need to change your homeowners insurance, your representative — who is familiar with your policy needs — may have suggestions for which companies you could try next.

Consider a FAIR Plan

Many states have Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plans available for homeowners who can’t get a traditional homeowners policy. FAIR insurance coverage is different for each state, but generally, these are bare-bones policies provided by a pool of insurance companies. They often do not include personal liability coverage, and you may have to make upgrades to your property to get or keep your policy.

A FAIR plan may be your last resort if you can’t get a policy anywhere else. Still, it’s important to be clear on what you are getting — and what your premium will be — before moving forward.

Look into Beach and Windstorm Plans

If you live in a coastal state that is prone to wind and hail damage, you may want to look into getting a beach and windstorm insurance plan. These plans are similar to FAIR plans and can provide coverage to homeowners in areas that aren’t insured through the voluntary insurance market.

Recommended: Renters and Homeowners Insurance Definitions

Can You Go Without Insurance If You Can’t Get Coverage?

Although you aren’t legally required to purchase a renters or homeowners policy, you may not have a choice. If you’re renting, your landlord might say it’s a must. And if you’re buying or still owe money on your home, your mortgage company will let you know how much homeowners insurance you need.

If you can’t get a policy, or if the coverage is deemed insufficient, your mortgage company might buy “force-placed” insurance for your home. With force-placed insurance, the lender typically pays upfront for the insurance, then adds the premium cost to your monthly mortgage payment. You won’t have control over the type of coverage you get, or the policy limits, and it might be more expensive than the policy you would purchase for yourself.

You also may be required to have homeowners insurance if you live in a condominium or co-op.

Recommended: Is Homeowners Insurance Required to Buy a Home?

What Are the Downsides of Going Without Coverage?

Even if you don’t have to get insurance, you may want to seriously consider the downsides of going without coverage. You might discover that the security a policy can offer is worth the extra effort or cost involved with finding coverage.

If you’re a homeowner: It’s quite likely your home is your biggest asset, and insurance can help you protect that investment and your overall financial wellness. Your homeowners policy doesn’t just cover the structure you live in; it also insures your belongings and provides liability protection in case of an injury or property damage.

If you’re a renter: Your personal property (furniture, electronics, clothes, jewelry, etc.) may be worth more than you think, and renters insurance can help you pay to replace belongings that are damaged or stolen. Renters insurance also typically includes coverage for property damage, or if a guest is accidentally hurt, or if your pet bites someone.

Worried about how much renters insurance costs and if it’s worth it? Usually, renters insurance is much less expensive than homeowners insurance, so you may want to at least check the price before passing on coverage.


💡 Quick Tip: Next time you review your budget, consider making room for additional insurance coverage. Think of it as an investment that can help protect you from a major financial loss.

The Takeaway

It can be frustrating and stressful to learn that you can’t get the insurance coverage you need for your home and belongings, or that you’re losing the coverage you thought you could count on. But just because one company won’t offer you a policy doesn’t mean you don’t have other options. You may have to spend a little extra time searching for the right policy, though, or get a little help finding the appropriate amount of coverage at an affordable price.

When the unexpected happens, it’s good to know you have a plan to protect your loved ones and your finances. SoFi has teamed up with some of the best insurance companies in the industry to provide members with fast, easy, and reliable insurance.

Find affordable auto, life, homeowners, and renters insurance with SoFi Protect.

FAQ

Is homeowners insurance required to buy a home?

While homeowners insurance isn’t required by state or federal laws, if you’re financing the home, your mortgage lender will likely require that you have a certain amount of coverage.

Is renters insurance required?

Renters insurance isn’t required by law, but your landlord or property management company may require that you purchase a renters policy.

How much renters insurance do I need?

To determine how much renters insurance you should purchase, you may want to do a quick inventory of what you own, including clothing, jewelry, electronics, artwork, furniture, etc. Then, using receipts if you have them, estimate how much it’s all worth.

How much homeowners insurance do I need?

If you’re financing your home, your mortgage lender will likely require a certain amount of insurance coverage. But you may want to purchase additional coverage based on your assets and the types of protection you want. Your insurance company can help you determine the appropriate amount of coverage.


Photo credit: iStock/svetikd

Insurance not available in all states.
Experian is a registered service mark of Experian Personal Insurance Agency, Inc.
Social Finance, Inc. ("SoFi") is compensated by Experian for each customer who purchases a policy through Experian from the site.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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