Named on the deed and on the homeowner policy
Home Insurance , ,

Named on the deed and on the homeowner policy

Sounds pretty straightforward, but it is not. The named insured is the person(s) shown on the declarations page of the policy. The person(s) listed here should be the same as recorded on the deed. Named on the deed and on the homeowner policy it’s a question you need to ask yourself when a property is left to you and your siblings.

Anyone recorded on a deed should be listed on the insurance policy, avoid doing this at your own peril.

It gets tricky when you have more than one person owning a home. Some homes are owned in part by people, often brothers and sisters, who may live elsewhere. They’re called “non-resident owners.” Here is a fictional example of what could go wrong and what should be done.

Robert Doe married his childhood sweetheart, Debbie, in 1930. They bought a modest home in New Bedford and raised three sons and a daughter (Jane). The sons grew up and left home to live and work elsewhere – Joe to Boston, Jim to Denver and John to San Diego. Jane never married and lived at home all her life.

When Robert died in 1980, he left the house to his widow, and upon her death, to the children. Jane continued to live there and take care of her mother. At this point, the ownership changed from Robert and Debbie to Debbie alone. The Homeowner’s policy was amended accordingly.

Debbie died in 1990 at age 85. When the Homeowner’s policy was due to renew, Jane called her agent and had the renewal put in her name since “she had always lived there, paid all the bills every year, and believed it was now her home”.

She never had attorney probate the estate of either parent, because the only asset was the small house of low value, and she did not want to pay a lawyer.

Named on the deed and on the homeowner policy

Two years ago Jane invited a neighbor to visit her. The neighbor fell on Jane’s icy front stairs and suffered severe injuries. Jane was sued and contacted her Homeowner’s company who said the demand was below her limit of coverage and she had nothing to worry about.

Jane soon received calls from her three brothers who were also sued. They asked her to notify the insurance company that they were being sued. The insurance company politely declined to defend them because their names appeared nowhere on the policy.

Next, the brothers sued Jane.

Meanwhile, a fire at home caused a total loss. Jane, in her mid 70’s, decided not to rebuild the house, and instead accepted an Actual Cash Value settlement from the insurance company. She then moved into a retirement home on Cape Cod. Then the brothers sued Jane again to recover their share of the property settlement.

Jane should have had the estate of both parents probated.

Next, she should have added the names of the three brothers to her Homeowner’s policy to cover them for property claims on the house, and for liability claims, since they were non-resident co-owners of the property. The cost to do this is zero. It’s free.

So please take a good look at the ownership of your home, and if anything seems questionable, discuss it with your insurance agent or your attorney, as the case may call for. Contact me if you’d like I’d be happy to discuss.

New Bedford Registry of Deeds.

44 comments on “Named on the deed and on the homeowner policy

  1. My brother occupant omitted to put my name on the homeowner insurance. The house is paid off . After the house caught in fire the insurance is going to send a check only on his name while 2 owner on the deed. How I could have check written on both names?

    1. Sorry for the late reply. You can send a copy of the deed to the insurance carrier and request that the policy be amended to show both names. THEN… you can ask them to re-issue the check.

  2. So, I built my home with my husband and then we got a divorce and he removed his name so now the house is in my name only. I did get married again and wondered if I should add my husband’s name. We have been together 15 years and married 12. I’m fighting my insurance company over a claim but they also went and listed one storm claim as 2 ir 3 so im not able to get insurance anywhere else. That’s not only because I have 3 claims within so many years but also because the claim is still open. So now im paying for hazardous insurance through my mortgage company. I have hired an attorney but wondered if there is away around getting new coverage for my home because hazardous only covers major things like if it would burn down. Can you give ne advice please.

    1. Jennifer ~
      You absolutely can get insurance through either your state’s Fair Plan, or a surplus lines carrier. You definitely do NOT want the inadequate coverage that your bank is forcing! Give me a call if you are in MA or RI.

  3. Hello Pete. I hope you are doing well. My Grandmother recently passed away and left her Real Estate property (home) to me in her Will. I am the Executor of her Estate and currently residing at the property. I have Probated her Will with the County Surrogate Office and I intend to keep the home for myself. However, I have not yet transferred the Deed of the house into my name, nor have I yet transferred (or added my name to) the Homeowners Insurance Policy. Do all insurance companies require me to have the Deed to the house in my name, in order to transfer (or at least add me) the Homeowners Insurance into my name? I have read that obtaining a General Warranty Deed usually includes protections (covenants) such as a Covenant of Seisin and a Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment that ensure that the property owner has the right to claim the property as their own and own the property free of any disturbances or challenges of said ownership (so that no John/Jane Smith could try to claim that I’m not the Owner of the Property). Quit Claim Deeds apparently do not have such Covenants (protections), so a General Warranty Deed sounds best. However, I’m not sure if a General Warranty Deed can be applied to my situation (as an heir of the Real Estate) or if some other type of Deed (applicable to my situation) has such protections. I have also read that Owners Title Insurance is available, which would provide these type of protections. Although if I can obtain a Deed with Covenants included, then Owners Title Insurance seems like it would be redundant/obsolete and a waste of money. Also, I’m not sure if I can confidently rely on an Owners Title Insurance company/policy to defend me. Am I on the right track? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks so much!

    1. Id like to know the response to this question as well. I have four other siblings and I have been living in the estate of my fathers since he died about ten years ago. I have asked my siblings to do a quitclaim deed but no response. I do not have home

      1. Elizabeth –
        Same thing applies. You should purchase a HO-4 (renters/tenants) policy to protect your interest. I hope that answers your question.

    2. Jeff~
      If you are not on the deed, you can not purchase homeowners in your name, nor can you add your name to her policy. Your grandmothers estate should have a DP-3 or commercial package policy covering the house for both property & liability. You should purchase a HO-4 (renters/tenants) policy to protect your interest. I hope that answers your question.

  4. Can I remove my former girlfriend’s name off my house insurance .
    Her name is on the deed of the house .
    There is no mortgage .
    I currently pay all the bills .
    I want to remove her name off my fire insurance ..Could this be done .
    She has been gone for over 5 years now.

    1. Andrew~ As long as she is on the deed, she has a financial interest in the house. You would need to get her off the deed, then you can remove her from the insurance.

      1. I have a question on this
        I am going through a very messy divorce
        We are still legally married
        I am not on a note / borrower to home but am on mortgage and deed.
        My husband had all homeowners correspondance sent to him for homeowners ins( both names on it )
        He has just informed me that he let the ins cancel cause he didnt pay the homeowners bills
        So now I am assuming the bank has put a blanket ins policy on the home
        I tried to call the homeowners ins company and they said the original policy can not be reinstated

        The bank reps will not speak to me as I am not on the note so I have no idea if they have put any ins on the home
        Assuming they have

        The home is also in foreclosure because he has not paid the mortgage in 16 months but due to foreclosures all frozen.

        So , I think his plan is to do something underhanded
        Have me sued , etc

        I have sole use and occupancy but the home is now supposed to be sold by oder of the court
        He refuses to pick a realtor or list home

        What are your thoughts on my situation?

        My husband is sneaky and underhanded so I think he is doing this on purpose

        What do I do now if the house goes on the market and no one is living in it by then do I take out a policy to protect myself in case someone slips and falls in this home I have no money and I have no money for a lawyer

        1. Veronica~

          You are in quite the pickle! You should at least get liability insurance to protect yourself. It should cost around $500-700 per year and would be pro-rated once the property is sold. Go back to the court for help. Get the house on the market as soon as possible. Next time make sure that you are listed on the policy. Whether or not you are on the loan, if you are on the deed, you should have been listed on the policy. If you can find the agent, request to be added. Good luck.

  5. I purchased my home in 2017, over a year later I married. She was never on my deed or mortgage and had never made any payments toward my home.
    The added her to my homeowners insurance policy before we were married because I travel a lot for work and if something happened while I was away she could handle it.
    We just divorced in December of 2020 and I sold my house to her and her parents. When I canceled my homeowners policy they sent the check in both of our names and she thinks that she is entitled to half of this money just because she was added onto the policy.
    Is this true?

    1. Yes the check would always get made out to both named insureds. As a spouse, she would have been automatically covered under the policy, so if she was not on the deed, there was no need to add her. The only thing that you can do is send a copy of the deed to the insurance company and request that her name be removed as “named insured” and have them re-cancel and re-issue the check. Not sure if they will do this at this point. At the end of the day, technically, since she is currently on the policy, she would be entitled to half the check. Pick your battles my friend. Good luck.

  6. My mom passed 1 year ago I am the executor of her estate and have gone through surrogate court and have been paying the mortgage since her passing, an estate account has been opened, and waiting on a court date to have my name put on the deed. However I have serious plumbing issues that the insurance company needs to be contacted. Can I use the home owners insurance and pay with from the estate account or donI have to be on the deed?

    1. Hi Stefanie ~

      A homeowners policy has a “Vacancy Clause” that may limit or invalidate coverage. Technically after 30 days a vacant package policy should be written to replace the home policy. Talk to your agent! Any claim presented under the current home policy would get paid out to her estate. Again, it is VERY important to talk to your agent. Get the name changed to “The Estate of…” and have your agent re-write the policy properly. It is up to the carrier whether they will remain on a policy after the insured is deceased. It is generally an underwriting issue. Sorry for your loss and good luck with the claim.

      1. Hi, as I am reading the answer to this question it brings me to my question – My father owned his own home and I took care of him the last two years of his life at my home. He voluntarily signed his home over to me (To be transferred upon death) although before he died there was a plumbing accident. The homeowners insurance policy in his name paid out checks unfortunately after he passed last year. They are addressed to “the estate of”my father. The attorney opened up an estate account and the bank finally cashed the two checks and they are sitting in the estate account, although the courts will not release the permission to use the money towards the house even though the bank has made ME sign a contract stating that the claim proceeds have to be spent on the actual house. There is another (unsecured) debt with the exact bank the homeowners insurance check was written to that my dad had. The probate court is saying we need to show case-law to be able to get the money to use to fix the substantial damage or else the court will use the insurance claim proceed to pay his other (unsecured) debts? The bank that the check was written to is fighting its own self because it’s the same bank that is holding the unsecured debt. The house is in my name, I changed the homeowners insurance policy into my name, and I am also paying on (and am successor in interest) on my father’s home-equity loan he held with that same exact bank. Can the insurance proceed money still be used to pay for the damage on the house (I now own) caused by a plumbing disaster that happened my dad was still alive? The insurance company was having a hard time getting adjusters and getting their act together because of the coronavirus is what we were told during the period they were processing the claim.

        1. I am not an attorney. This is an attorney question. Any claims going forward would be paid to you since you now have the policy in your name. The coronavirus did cause some backlog in claims adjusting, but they should be caught up by now.

  7. We were not married but together 25 years our deed is survivorship
    Parker passed away
    After funeral house was robbed
    Insurance will not pay because only partner on insurance even though we were both on deed

    1. Barbara~
      You should still be able to make a claim on Parker’s behalf for anything of his that was stolen! Any claim check would be made out to him and would have to be added to his estate. If you have POA, you can sign the check. Check with your attorney. Since you were not married, you should have had your own “renters/tenants” policy, or add your name to his policy as a household member. Some carriers won’t allow this though. You probably will not be able to collect under his policy for anything owned SOLEY by you. But his stuff or stuff owned jointly (hint-hint) and any damage done absolutely is covered!

  8. my mother passed in January. None of her children want to purchase the house, but the granddaughter does. We are just now in the process of having the will probated, but the homeowner’s insurance expires on 5-5-21. Policy can be renewed but for a quarter and they will not do month to month. Is there anyway to cover the home other than renewing the policy?

    1. You would have to renew the policy. If the home is vacant and no one is living there, you would need to cancel and rewrite as a “vacant package policy”. If the granddaughter is living there, the policy should be rewritten as a “Dwelling Fire” (DP3) policy. The granddaughter would need her own “Renters” policy to cover her personal belongings. The home policy has exclusions related to vacancy. Any policy that you put in place would be able to be cancelled on a prorated basis once the property is sold. In any event it would be cheaper to write an annual policy instead of a short term policy. Who knows how long probate will take and/or the closing process. Talk to your agent! Hope this helps.

  9. If you are married and your wife’s name is on the property title, is your wife also named insured even though she is not on my homeowners insurance policy?

    If she files a claim with my insurance company, can she receive claim payments?
    Can my insurance company direct deposit claim payments to only her bank account, not mine for property damages?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Ben ~
      Great question! Your spouse is automatically considered an insured on the policy even though she is not listed. ONLY the named insured (you) can file a claim, make changes or cancel the policy. ONLY the named insured (you) can receive any claim payments or any return (refund) payments. Any claim check gets made out to the Named Insured and any mortgagee listed on the policy and mailed to the address on the policy.

  10. I have a question if a life tenants house burns but he had made all the payments but the deed to the house is in his son’s name who gets insurance payment?

    1. Deana~

      I assume the insurance policy is in your sons name since he is on the deed. Any claim check would be paid to him. The tenant has no insurable interest in the home, just the contents of their apartment. Hope this helps.

  11. My cousin was named executor of my parent’s estate. The cousin has never done anything this position requires. As the beneficiary of the estate, and the person who lives in the house, I purchased, signed, & own the homeowner’s insurance policy. Who gets the check when there is a claim? Or more specifically who will the claim check be made out to?
    Thank you.

    1. Garth~
      If the house is still in the estate, the “named insured” on the insurance policy should be in the name of the estate with you as beneficiary. Any insurance claim checks would be payable to the estate. It is appropriate for you to go ahead and purchase insurance and protect the asset if your cousin drops the ball. Again, the policy should be in the estate’s name as you “currently” do not have any insurable interest in the property until the estate is settled. You can have yourself listed as an “additional insured” on the policy. The estate should also be paying the insurance premiums. Talk to your agent and attorney and discuss the best way to write a policy on this property.

  12. I’m buying a home with a mortage in my name only. My husband was going to be added to the deed. However, i need to obtain homeowners insurance. My credit is great but his is not good. I’m wondering if i should add him to the homeowner’s policy. Second question – can he be on the deed but not on the homeowners policy?

    1. Joelle~

      Great question. Since your husband will not be on the loan, the policy should be in your name alone. That will make the bank nice and happy. Technically, since he is on the deed, he has an insurable interest in the house and should be on the policy. But the bank may take issue with that. That said, he does not need to be named on the policy to have coverage. Your spouse is AUTOMATICALLY covered on the policy without adding him. If you look on the policy for the definition for “who is an insured”, it states YOU and your spouse and any household members.

  13. Hello, I am currently living in a home owned by a deceased woman. There is a policy on the home (landlords). Which was set up for the previous renters while she was alive and with her POA(also my boyfriends father). My boyfriends father is still on the policy along with the owner but his name is not on the deed at all and he has no interest in getting the home in his name. If something happens to the home, what is actually covered under the landlords policy? Would payments go to his father even if he is not on the deed? I also have my own renters insurance to protect my own assets.

    1. Eeeek what a mess. So until the estate settles, the policy should be in the name of “Estate of… Mrs. X”. Any claim would get paid out to the estate. The policy should ONLY be in the name of the deeded owner. If your boyfriends father is not on the deed or not an heir to the estate he should not be on the policy. Have them talk to the attorney handling the estate and their insurance agent about properly insuring the home. Good for you for being smart enough to purchase a renters policy to protect your assets.

      1. Tell me about it! Thank you for your fast reply. He wants us to pay for this policy but I refuse to as we are not even guaranteed to receive anything if something happens or even him. I’m just paying for my own and hope for the best until I am able purchase my own home. Thank you again for clarifying!

  14. Before my Mother died she quit claim deeded me her home giving me sole- survivorship. She left me beneficiary on her bank account and life insurance.
    A will did not have to be filed because her estate was under the value for probate.
    She did not put me on the homeowners insurance and there was damage to the home. The insurance company settled and wrote a check but refused to put my name on it. It is written to the estate of my Mothers name. I cannot use the check and they refuse to issue a check in my name. Is this legal since I am the sole-survivor?

    1. Beth ~

      Sorry to hear about your mother. The insurance company is correct. They can only issue a claim check to the policyholder (mom). If you are the executor of the estate, you should be able to cash a check. This is a question for an attorney. Good luck.

  15. My husband’s godmother left her home to him.She has been deceased for 30 years.No succession.On the deed appears another name of her deceased husband’s son.Her husband died before her.We do not know where this person is and has had no contact from him. We have lived in the house for all these years until the house was destroyed by the storm Katrina. The house has been rebuilt and rebuilt to a larger house.The deed still has the missing person name on it along with my husband’s name .But the homeowners ins is only under my husband’s name.We recently went thru another hurricane and had damage.Will the check come in both names on the deed or just my husband’s name on the policy?

    1. Marie~
      If the insurance is only in your husband’s name, the claim check will only be made out to him and him alone! It would go by the insurance contract, NOT the deed. You should get the other persons name off of the deed, because technically they own half the house. You will not be able to sell it without paying him half and having him sign off of the deed. Talk to an attorney, they can try to locate them, failing that make a public notice to switch the deed to your husband solely. Good luck.

  16. I purchased a home with my now ex-husband before we were married. Both the house, mortgage, & insurance policy have always been solely in my name. We have a separate co-ownership agreement that designates 50/50 ownership of the home. Upon sale of the home, we are both entitled to half of the profits. Although the agreement is not attached to the deed, I intend to honor it since he contributed to the mortgage during the marriage. We have been legally separated for 1 1/2 years and officially divorced for 6 months. From the time of separation, I have paid the entire mortgage & insurance. I recently had significant damage to the home. Am I entitled to the full insurance settlement? I am considering taking the settlement and selling the home as is.

    1. Maria ~

      The claim check would be payable to you and you alone. I am not not sure what the court would say regarding this. If the divorce agreement is 50/50, he may want half. Put the claim in and hang on to half until the dust settles. In other words… don’t spend it right away. This is a question for your divorce attorney.

  17. Hi,

    My husband has lived in his grandmothers house since 2004. I have lived here since 2015. She has not lived in the home since the early 90s (she purchased a second home).

    She was recently put in a nursing home. The insurance company came and did an inspection and said they are not renewing the policy unless we repair the garage and remove some trees. We did all they asked but they are not responding now. The policy will terminate Oct.3.

    The house is on leased land and requires homeowners coverage to maintain the lease.

    Is there any way we can set up a homeowners policy with the homeowner (his grandmother) as the beneficiary? We do not own the home and her Power of Attorney is ignoring the situation so we are hoping we can do something to save the property from being turned back over to the state (100 year lease through NYS).
    If it is possible what information do we need for the insurance company?

    Sorry for the length and I appreciate your help!

    Sarah D.

    1. Sarah ~

      If the house is still deeded to your husband’s grandmother, ONLY she or someone with power of attorney for her can Change, Delete, Cancel, Amend or Purchase a home policy. You have NO insurable interest in the property, so you cannot purchase a policy in your name. The current carrier should rescind any cancellation after the loss recommendations were completed. Notify the carrier directly that the repairs were done. Include photo’s and invoices to back up your case. Good luck.

  18. My wife inherited a home that her brother lives in, and has lived in for 20+ years. There is no mortgage, and the deed has been transferred to my wife’s name only in probate. She obtained a Landlord policy and is asking her brother to reimburse her for the cost since he will continue to live there rent free (she has no desire to live in the home or retain it as an asset, but both parties want the home to be protected). Her brother contacted his insurance agent and was told he can purchase a homeowners policy through their company at a lower cost than a Landlord policy, and will simply add my wife as an additional insured. Her brother wants to buy the policy himself to save money. His agent said since there is no mortgage on the property they have no issue in writing the policy to him and adding my wife as an additional insured. Two concerns: the carrier could deny a future claim on the home since my wife’s brother is not listed on the deed, and in a related issue my wife (as well as me?) could be liable for injury on the property since she is the owner without being the one that purchased a policy. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    1. Her brother does not really have any insurable interest in the house. To protect your wife, she should purchase a DP-3 policy which is the form for a landlords policy. It will not really be that much more expensive than a homeowners and many times it is cheaper. If there is furniture that she technically owns, she may consider adding contents coverage to her policy. The brother should purchase an HO-4, tenants policy to protect his belongings and his liability.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *