Post death insurance renewals

Failure to change the named insured on a policy after the policyholder died voids coverage; the Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled (Auto Owners Insurance vs. McGowan Trust).

The named insured was still the deceased father – not the children, the court said.

After their father died, the Trust kept the policy on the family cottage with Auto-Owners, but never specifically notified it of their insured’s death. They did not change the policy’s named insured or send in a copy of a Death Certificate.

The record indicates that, consistent with the insurance policy, Auto-Owners mailed documents to the deceased, paid claims in the name of the deceased, applied a ‘mature homeowner discount,’ and interacted with defendants with regard to the execution of its duty under its contract with Robert Sr., “the appeals court wrote.

The Trust changing the address on the policy, using checks with the Trust name on it to pay premiums and submitting claims against the policy was unfortunately not enough according to the Court of Appeals to provide actual notice to the insurance company of the insured’s death.

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