The first time I moved from one state to another – long before I had insurance of my own – I remember my father being on the phone for hours trying to switch policies. Honestly, I do not want anyone on the phone for more than 45 minutes with me unless there has been some sort of claim.
I personally believe every agency, carrier and MGA website should have the items needed to do regular changes on the policy. The most aggravating of all – address changes. It would save time, frustration, and money.
One of the many behind the scenes jobs I like to tackle is the return mail. Has the insured moved, if so where to, are they deceased, have they been abducted? It is an unsolved mystery.
Whether they have an auto or a home policy, in order to solve the mystery, us agents and underwriters will need to know the following:
- The Address There are two points I would like to cover here. First, run the address through the United State Post Office . They will tell you exactly how the address should appear and will give you the last four of the zip code. Second, I Google the address. This gives a baseline idea of how the risk has changed.
- The Rewrite If they have an HO-3 or HO-6, a rewrite is automatic. If they have an HO-4 or Auto and moved out of state, a rewrite will be necessary.
- Garaging Location If the insured has moved from a rural setting with plenty of parking to an urban area with street parking only, they may be utilizing a parking garage or renting a space from a neighbor. Some carriers may not be comfortable with an alternate garaging location. Further, this may require an additional policy.
- Change in Use After I got married, we moved from an urban apartment to a house in the suburbs. My job initially was two blocks away, but when we moved, I was traveling 30 miles one way. Yes, my policy premium exploded a little, but I was properly covered. A crucial note, states like California have insurers who are very specific about odometers and yearly mileage. This may make or break a policy.
- Additional Operators I have an insured who has moved five times in four years. She keeps moving in with boyfriend, after boyfriend, after boyfriend. It’s routine now – she automatically calls with the name, driver’s license and date of birth of the new guy. All kidding aside, the coverage limits would need to be reviewed if the insured moved back in with the family. Some carriers do not want to be the only one in the household with high limits of liability.
Given these five points, be wise to ask about each one. So what if the insured is not truthful, at least you gave them an opportunity. These are not questions that should be answered by the claims adjuster after a loss.
Further, this may open up some opportunities for the agency. There may be an additional auto, home or business waiting within these questions. Best to find out!