The divorce is official. You’re no longer living together and you got to keep the house. What’s the next step? Homeowners Insurance is probably the farthest thing from your mind right now but that policy does need updated. You probably have a lot of questions. Does my ex stay on the policy? Do I have to cancel the policy and get a whole new one? Can I just have his name removed?
The easy answer is to call your agent. In most situations it’s as easy as having your ex’s name removed from your policy. The Insurance Agent will let you know what documentation is required in order to get the policy listed solely in your name. If your ex is agreeable then it can be as simple as getting both of your signatures on a piece of paper. However, in many cases after a divorce one or both parties are not on speaking terms, should that be the case then some extra documentation may be required.
The agent will most likely request a copy of the Divorce Decree, as well as documentation showing that you are the sole owner of the property. Once the agent has received this information it will be sent in to the company and your ex’s name will officially be removed.
Another issue that sometimes occurs with insurance is who was paying for it? What if your insurance has always been paid automatically with your ex’s checking account? Is it going to cancel now because he’s refusing to pay? Again, call your agent. Usually it’s as simple as making a minor payment plan change to the policy and assuring that you are the one that’s going to receive all of the future bills.
If for some reason your ex was in charge of making the payment and it’d just slipped their mind to mention to you that it hadn’t gotten paid in three months and your insurance had cancelled then your agent can assist you with that as well. You’ll need to get a new insurance policy, because the companies rarely have a grace period of more than thirty days. The good news in this case is that when you purchase the new policy you can rest assured that you will be the only named insured listed and your ex won’t be receiving any documentation, or failing to make any payments, on your new policy.
The best, and first, step that should be taken once your divorce has been finalized is calling your insurance agent. It is obvious that your insurance needs have changed and by having a frank conversation with your agent they’ll be able to advise what is best for you. In most cases, once the divorce has been finalized both parties consent will be needed to make changes to the policy. However, there are always loopholes and being able to provide documentation showing that you have become the sole owner of the property is one of them. If you’re able to prove that your ex no longer has an insurable interest in your home then it will be much easier to remove them from the policy. Keep in mind that if you and your ex are not on speaking terms then the agent may be willing to contact your ex on your behalf and request any required signatures or documentation that your ex may be able to provide.
Divorce is always stressful and you may not know where to start, but your insurance agent has most likely dealt with a similar experience in the past. Depending on who your insurance carrier is different documentation may be requested, but the absolute minimum will be the Divorce Decree. Make sure that you at least have this document when setting up an appointment or calling your agent as it will be requested. If you have any other documentation regarding the new ownership of the home then it will be helpful as well.
Keep in mind, your agent is there to assist you and although the divorce may be messy you do definitely want to make sure that you have the proper insurance coverage. The last thing you need is another thing to worry about.