Who’s Still Covered When the Named Insured Passes Away?

Q: The named insured on an HO3 policy dies but has an adult child who had been living with them for over a year. How does the named insured’s passing affect coverage for the resident relative?

Response 1: The coverage stays the same until the next renewal date when you should change named insured to the estate of the deceased or the inheritor of the estate once it’s settled. Some carriers will require a fire policy until the residence is occupied by the eventual owner.

Response 2: The ISO HO3 form states:

G.      Death

If any person named in the Declarations or the spouse, if a resident of the same household, dies, the following apply:

     1.  We insure the legal representative of the deceased but only with respect to the premises and property of the deceased covered under the policy at the time of death; and

     2.  "Insured" includes:

          a.  An "insured" who is a member of your household at the time of your death, but only while a resident of the "residence premises"; and

          b.  With respect to your property, the person having proper temporary custody of the property until appointment and qualification of a legal representative.

As a resident, the adult child was already an insured. Under section two, they will remain an insured, but only while they continue to live there. If an adult child had moved into the home after the named insured’s death, they would not be considered an “insured”.

Response 3: I've not seen any case law that addresses the question of whether the estate of a deceased person can still have a "household" that would qualify related residents to still be insureds. The safest solution may be to arrange for renters insurance to insure members of the household.

Response 4: If the named insured is deceased, a resident of the household at the time of the named insured’s death continues to be an insured as long as they remain a resident.

You should talk with the carrier to see how they want to handle this. They might want to change coverage to a dwelling policy. In that case, the adult child needs a HO4 policy. 

Response 5: The policy language addresses this. It defines an insured as either a “resident of the ‘resident premises’” or the “person having proper temporary custody of the property until appointment and qualification of a legal representative.”

This question was originally submitted by an agent through the VU’s Ask an Expert Service, with responses curated from multiple VU faculty members. Answers to other coverage questions are available on the VU website. If you need help accessing the website, request login information.