Here comes your favorite answer: MAYBE.
The answer depends on what type of homeowners insurance policy you have. Let’s do a quick review of the basic types of homeowners insurance policies first.
Examples of homeowners insurance policies
- Homeowners (HO3)
- Renters (HO4)
- Condo (HO6)
The words in parentheses refer to the policy contract/form (industry abbreviation). HO stands for homeowners, so you can easily see they are all a form of a homeowners policy. Homeowners and condo policies are for homes you own and live in and renters insurance is for a place you rent, but don’t own.
A homeowners policy insures the dwelling and contents. Condo insurance also insures at least a portion of the dwelling and includes contents. The renter’s policy covers your contents only- it isn’t meant to insure the dwelling, since you don’t own the dwelling.
So you MAY be able to transfer your homeowner’s from one house to another, but again it depends on the type of policy you have.
Example of homeowners insurance where you can’t transfer from one home to another
Using the abbreviations above, the HO3 form is one where 99.9% of the time you cannot transfer. The reason is simple- HO3 forms insure a specific location (and subsequently dwelling) and you can’t just swap one location/dwelling for another.
Here’s an example of policy wording for an HO3 from one of our companies.
PROPERTY PROTECTION-SECTION I- OUR PROMISE – Dwelling Coverage “We” will pay for loss to: 1. “your” dwelling at the “residence premises” shown on the “Declarations.”
The last part of that sentence is the reason why you can’t transfer your homeowners from one house to another when you insure the dwelling. It states “At the residence premises shown on the Declarations.”
The policy is written SPECIFICALLY for the premises shown on the declarations. When you change that premises to another, the policy no longer applies.
So a new policy has to be written for the NEW residence premises.
Example of homeowners insurance where you MAY be able to transfer from one home to another
Condo policies have some coverage for the dwelling, but are mostly designed to insure contents. The idea is simple- most condos are owned by the condo association with the owner being responsible for insuring from the drywall inward, so there’s not a lot of need for dwelling coverage.
So it MAY be possible to simply change your location. This would vary by company, so you should check first. If allowed, then you can update your location address, and you’ll probably have to answer some additional questions about this new location.
Example of homeowners insurance where it’s VERY possible to transfer from one home to another
Since we are NOT insuring the dwelling for coverage, the renters insurance does not have the policy language you saw in the first example above. So the chances are pretty good you CAN transfer your renter’s insurance from house to another. Your insurance agent may need some additional information, but a simple location address change shouldn’t be difficult.
NOTE: All of the above examples assume you’re staying in the same state. Since insurance laws are determined by each state and insurance companies/agents must be licensed by state, you may not be able to do ANY sort of transfer if you’re moving to a state that your insurance company/agent is not licensed in. When in doubt, ask your agent!
Hopefully this gives you a better idea of the situations where you’ll get a “Yes”, a “Maybe” and a “No.” It’s pretty clear the type of Ohio homeowners policy will decide whether you can transfer from one home to another. As always check with your agent to see what you’re allowed to do.