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Mom just moved into an AL, will likely transfer to their MC wing in 2021. I am getting up to speed with all her financials, whatta mess! I thought she had paid her home and auto insurance back in June 2020, based on checkbook entry, big money checks. Well, those payments were the last installment for last year's policies. The USPS was holding her mail as she was in hospital/rehab and once I got them to restart it, low and behold, there is a cancellation notice for her Homeowner's insurance which was due 10/29/20 for this upcoming year. I sent off a 6 month payment, overnight express ($26.95 for the service - yikes!) then I got to thinking about her auto insurance, as I see she gets discounts for having both with The Hartford.


Now in my opinion, her doctor's opinion, and anyone who has been near mom over the past year....she is no longer going to be driving. I have her keys. But I did some research to see if her auto policy had cancelled and got the shock of my life - the renewal was $5496.00/year (someone lost her defensive driver discount and the price doubled!!!) I will figure out how to let The Hartford know mom really is "hell on wheels" which is what she tells anyone who advises her she is done driving and I need them to cancel her auto.


I am wondering if I should shop around for her homeowner's insurance as that premium will increase once she no longer has auto with them? She has had this insurance company for over 20 years. She is keeping her home even though she is in AL now. Her H/O increased by $200/year the past couple years but had a huge price jump a couple years ago due, I assume, to windstorms (she is a FL homeowner.) Are there any drawbacks to getting quotes and or switching companies for an elderly person? I don't think 20 years of being a loyal customer means much to corps anymore...she hasn't had any house claims but I worry a new company would cancel her if something happened. (Of course, the current company could do the same.)

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I'm commenting only on the empty house issue.    There are limited companies that will insure a vacant house, and it is expensive.   In my father's situation, it's about $2K annually, up from (best recollection) $1400 (??), with Hartford.  Location and security are concerns as well; an agent privately told me years ago that some areas near me are more costly to insure b/c of the proximity to Detroit.

My agent told me she checked with the few companies that insure vacant properties, and got the best deal.    Still, it's expensive.

Something else to consider:  it's my understanding based on agent advice that water damage is NOT a covered peril under vacant house insurance.   If the property is in a cold weather state, you'd have to make sure to have the water turned off by the water authority at the STREET before frigid weather arrives.

Turning off the faucets and main connection wouldn't necessarily stop frozen pipes in frigid weather (there can be lines that run from the outside through uninsulated basement areas that are vulnerable.)

If anyone else has addressed these issues, I apologize for the repetition; I just didn't feel like reading all the comments; the lovely snow we're having inspires me to find a good book, snuggle up and enjoy reading.

ETA: I pay as BarbBrooklyn suggests; direct debt from a checking account, when a company won't accept charges b/c of the extra fees they have to pay.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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I have found that sometimes companies can do an electronic debit from a checking account if you give them the routing number and checking account number via phone. I have done that in the past when I've forotten to make a payment in tumultuous times (when my mom or dh was sick). Something to put in your bag of tricks!
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Yes, empty houses cost a lot more to cover. For my MIL it was 1000 every 6 months.

I would sell the car. Or store it out of site. In my State you cannot own an unregisterd car. And 5k sounds a little steep. I live in NJ and we r the highest state in the Nation for car insurance. I have 3 cars and we only pay 3600 a year.

How does the trust work if she is no longer living in the house?
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Reply to JoAnn29
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If no one lives in the house now, her house insurance will go up because it’s empty. I would wait to change to insurance companies until you have a renter about to move in, because once it’s a rental, you should be able to lower the premium—I am thinking you won’t have to have coverage for personal property (most of us have coverage on our policies to cover the loss of personal property if the house burns down). The renter will need to carry for their own insurance for that.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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I am curious why everyone suggests selling the house? It is paid off. She has enough income (SS, pension and my father's pension) to pay AL. She also has set aside a decent nest egg in her savings account so there is some cushion to pay for care when she advances to memory care or a NH in the future. Why would putting the home to work for her and renting it out (over 55 community and long term rentals are allowed) to add to her savings be a bad idea?

My folks set up a trust for me 10 years ago. The enhanced life estate (ladybird) means I CANNOT sell the house, were I so inclined. She remains the owner of the home until the moment of her passing, then converts to me. I can rent it, fix it, pay the bills on it but the property can only be sold by her.
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Reply to Chicagoannie21
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Mom had absolutely nothing set up for online payments and no online banking either. I just set those up (after the very expensive overnight express check I had to send!)
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Reply to Chicagoannie21
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Annie, I agree that selling the house is probably for the best, but my question is about overnighting the payment.

Did you call the company and explain the situation and ask for an extension? Could it not be paid electronically?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Cancel the auto ins and put the house on the market. Pay whatever the current H/O premium is until the house sells. I don't think a different co would insure an unoccupied house.
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Reply to sjplegacy
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I should add - I will be renting out her home after I make some repairs. She can afford the AL on her income right now but will need the rental income to help pay the higher cost of memory care which I see a bit down the road.
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Reply to Chicagoannie21
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Your mom is not going home. Seems best thing is to look into selling the home to pay for her care. Unoccupied homes are hard to insure in any case.
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Reply to Windyridge
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