Can a housing insurance company change your policy without notifying you?

UPDATED: Jun 11, 2014

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UPDATED: Jun 11, 2014Fact Checked

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Can a housing insurance company change your policy without notifying you?

We’ve had the same housing insurance for decades, but a few years ago our agent retired and the insurance company just gave us a new agent. We were never notified of a change, but because of some new neighbors my parents decided to see how much liability we had – the insurance company told us that we had no liability, no wind damage – just fire damage. Our original policy covered us for liability, wind and fire, and they never notified us that ever changed. Is this legal?

Asked on June 11, 2014 under Insurance Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is not legal for an insurance company to change your policy without your consent (or even notice) unless and only to the extent the terms of the policy specifically give  them the right to do this. An insurance policy is a contact: both parties are bound by its terms, and neither can unilterally (on its own) change them, unless the policy itself allows this. You should check your policy to see what it says about changes; you should also ask the insurance company to explain why they made this change without your consent, and under which authority. If you do not feel that they had the right to make this change, you could, if necessary, sue them for compensation or to reinstate your policy (you would sue to enforce the policy and/or for compensation for its breach, which is breach of contract).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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