After an individual dies, the executor of his estate must handle many items until the estate is distributed. One issue that often comes up is what to do with the homeowners insurance while the house is in probate. Most insurance companies do not like the house to be left vacant for an extended period of time.
The executor basically handles everything in regard to the individual's estate until it is finalized. During this period, the executor may need to call the homeowners insurance company and change the name of the policy over to the estate. The executor may also need to add his own name to the homeowner's insurance policy during this process.
Insurance Company Grace Period
Most insurance companies do not like to leave houses vacant for extended periods of time. This tends to lead to vandalism, theft and other losses that the insurance company could be responsible for. Because of this, the insurance company may be reluctant to allow the home to stay vacant. In most cases, the insurance company will provide a grace period of 60 days to 90 days in which the house can sit vacant before the policy is dropped.
Transition to New Owner
Typically, when an individual dies, all of his assets are distributed to his beneficiaries by the executor. The homeowner has the opportunity to pass the house on to a loved one. Once this happens, the beneficiary will then have to take out a homeowners insurance policy on the house. Because of this, the house typically does not have to remain unoccupied for very long. Even if the beneficiary plans on selling the house, he will need to take out a policy under his own name.
When a homeowner passes away, you may want to check with his homeowners insurance company about coverage riders. In some cases, the homeowner may have a type of mortgage life insurance attached to the policy. With this type of coverage, the insurance company will pay the mortgage when the homeowner dies. This takes the burden of the mortgage off of the family members and basically provides them with a paid-off house to use.