Notice time frames can be tricky—Do you know the rules?

July 30, 2021

When policyholders are facing nonrenewal or cancellation of their policies, it’s important that you—the agent—follow the rules when notifying them of the nonrenewal or cancellation. But, depending on the state in which you do business, the rules may differ.

New York

Personal lines. For personal-lines policies that you are nonrenewing or canceling, you must be able to prove that you mailed a notification of the nonrenewal or cancellation to the policyholder. If the policy is fewer than 60 days old, Section 3425 of the New York Insurance Law does not specify a time frame for the notification of a nonrenewal or cancellation. However, if the policy is more than 60 days old, you must notify the insured at least 45 days—but no more than 60 days—in advance of the nonrenewal or cancellation.

Electronic notification of a nonrenewal or cancellation is allowed for personal-lines policies, except for personal auto policies.

PAPs. If you are nonrenewing or canceling a PAP, you must notify the insured via the mail—and you must be able to prove it. You must give insureds a minimum of 20 days’ notice that you are nonrenewing or canceling their PAP, unless it is for nonpayment—then, you have to give only 15 days’ notice.

To learn more about policyholder protections for personal-lines policies in New York—including appropriate reasons for nonrenewing or canceling a personal-lines policy—access New York personal-lines policyholder protections in the PIA QuickSource library.

Commercial lines. During the first 60 days of a policy, no cancellation shall become effective until 20 days after written notice is mailed or delivered to the first named insured. If you are canceling a policy after the first 60 days of a policy for one of a certain set of reasons—outlined in New York Insurance Law Section 3426—you must give 15 days’ notice.

For more information on nonrenewing or canceling commercial-lines policies in New York, access Commercial-lines—what are your policyholders’ rights? in the PIA QuickSource library.

New Jersey

Personal lines. For personal-lines policies in New Jersey that you are nonrenewing or canceling for reasons other than nonpayment or moral hazard, you must notify the insured via mail at least 30 days in advance of the nonrenewal or cancellation—but no more than 120 days in advance.

For policies that you are canceling because of nonpayment or moral hazard, you must notify the insured at least 10 days before the effective cancellation date.

PAPs: If you are nonrenewing or canceling a PAP, you must notify the insured via mail at least 60 days in advance, but no more than 90 days, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 11:3-8.6. The insurer must mail or deliver the renewal bill or offer to the insured no more than 45 days or less than 30 days before the renewal premium is due, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 11:3-8.3.

For policies that you are cancelling because of nonpayment, you must notify the insured at least 10 days before the effective cancellation date.

To learn more about personal-lines auto policyholder protections in New Jersey, access New Jersey personal automobile policyholder protections in the PIA QuickSource library.

Commercial lines. Similar to personal-lines policies, if you are nonrenewing or canceling a commercial-lines policy for reasons other than nonpayment or moral hazard, you must notify the insured via mail at least 30 days in advance of the nonrenewal or cancellation—but no more than 120 days in advance, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 11:1-20.2.

For policies that you are canceling because of nonpayment or moral hazard, you must notify the insured at least 10 days before the effective cancellation date.

For more information on nonrenewing or canceling a personal- or commercial-lines policy (other than PAPs) in New Jersey, access Commercial-lines and homeowners policyholder protections in the PIA QuickSource library.

Connecticut

Personal lines. If you are nonrenewing or canceling a personal-lines property policy in Connecticut, you must notify the insured via mail at least 60 days in advance of the nonrenewal or cancellation in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes Section 38a-323. For all other personal-lines policies—including personal umbrella policies—the time frame in which an insurer may notify an insured of a nonrenewal or cancellation is up to the contract signed between the insurer and insured at the establishment of the policy.

PAPs. For PAPs that have been in effect for 60 days or more, you must notify the insured of the nonrenewal or cancellation via mail at least 45 days in advance, also in accordance with Section 38a-343. But, if the cancellation is because of nonpayment, you must notify the insured at least 10 days in advance.

For PAPs that have been in effect for fewer than 60 days, you must notify the insured of the nonrenewal or cancellation via mail at least 45 days in advance. However, for PAPs canceled because of material misrepresentation or nonpayment, you must notify the insured at least 10 days in advance.

For PAPs canceled because of nonpayment of the initial premium, you must notify the insured at least 15 days in advance.

And, in addition to the notice to the insured, you must send these notifications to any lienholders on the vehicle (if they are different from the insured).

Commercial lines. If you are nonrenewing or canceling a commercial-lines policy in Connecticut, you must notify the insured via mail at least 60 days in advance of the nonrenewal or cancellation, also in accordance with Section 38a-323. However, if the nonrenewal or cancellation is because of nonpayment, only 10 days’ notice is required.

For more information on policyholder protections in Connecticut—including appropriate reasons to nonrenew or cancel a policy—access Policyholder protections in Connecticut in the PIA QuickSource library.

New Hampshire

Personal lines. If you are nonrenewing or canceling a personal-lines policy in New Hampshire, you must notify the insured in writing via mail or in-person delivery at least 45 days in advance of the nonrenewal or cancellation. However, if the cancellation is from nonpayment, then you must notify the insured at least 10 days in advance.

Commercial lines. If you are nonrenewing or canceling a commercial-lines policy in New Hampshire—including PAPs—you must notify the insured in writing via mail or in-person delivery at least 60 days in advance.

However, if you are nonrenewing or canceling the policy because of nonpayment or as a result of substantial increase in hazard—and the New Hampshire insurance commissioner signs off on it—you must notify the insured at least 10 days in advance.

For more information on New Hampshire policyholders’ protections, access New Hampshire policyholder protections in the PIA QuickSource library.

Vermont

Personal lines. If you canceling a personal-lines policy—including PAPs—in Vermont, you must notify the insured via certified mail or in-person delivery at least 45 days in advance, in accordance with 8 V.S.A. Section 3880 and 8 V.S.A. Section 4224. However, if you are canceling a policy because of nonpayment, you must notify the insured at least 15 days in advance.

To learn more about personal-lines policy cancellations in Vermont, access Insurance policy cancellation in the Ask PIA library.

Commercial lines. If you are canceling a commercial-lines policy in Vermont that has been in effect for 60 days or more, you must notify the insured via certified mail or in-person delivery at least 45 days in advance, in accordance with 8 V.S.A. Section 4712.

To learn more about commercial-lines policy cancellations in Vermont, access Commercial risk policy cancellation in the Ask PIA library.

About the author…

Bradford J. Lachut, Esq.

Bradford J. Lachut, Esq., joined PIA as government affairs counsel for the Government & Industry Affairs Department in 2012 and then, after a four-month leave, he returned to the association in 2018 as director of government & industry affairs responsible for all legal, government relations and insurance industry liaison programs for the five state associations. Prior to PIA, Brad worked as an attorney for Steven J. Baum PC, in Amherst, and as an associate attorney for the law office of James Morris in Buffalo. He also spent time serving as senior manager of government affairs as the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, a chamber of commerce serving the Buffalo, N.Y., region, his hometown. He received his juris doctorate from Buffalo Law School and his Bachelor of Science degree in Government and Politics from Utica College, Utica, N.Y. Brad is an active Mason and Shriner.

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