Can an insurance agency change a policy without notifying you?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an insurance agency change a policy without notifying you?

Due to the recent flooding my house had flood damage and insurance is now
saying that I never had that coverage, even though when we established the
insurance we had possible flood/sewage backup. They are refusing to take any
steps to help and are putting the blame on city utilities.

Asked on November 29, 2017 under Insurance Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, neither the insurance agent nor the insurer itself can change a policy without your consent: an insurance policy is a contract, and like any other contract, all parties to it must agree or consent to any change. If you believe you can prove that you had insurance coverage (e.g a copy of a policy or declarations page with it; proof of payment for such coverage; etc.), you could sue the insurer for breach of contract: for not honoring their obligation to pay a claim covered under the policy.
Or if you told an independent insurance agent or broker (if you used one) to get you flood coverage and they indicated they would but in fact did not, you may be able to sue the agent/broker for professional negligence for carelessly failing to do so, and/or for fraud for lying about what they could or would do.

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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