Ever have someone request that you provide them with an insurance binder? Not sure what that is or where to get one? We’ve taken a deeper dive to provide you with all the information you need to know about insurance binders. Let’s discuss how they work, how to get one, and when you will need one.
What is a ‘binder’?
Insurance binders are a one-page contract issued by your insurance company that guarantees you’ll be insured at the time of close. It is a temporary policy that serves as a placeholder until your formal policy is issued. Essentially, it serves as a proof of insurance coverage until the policy comes into effect. Issuing a new policy can sometimes take a few days or weeks, depending on the underwriting process.
A binder outlines the basic details that will be in your contract. You’ll want to have one any time you purchase a new plan so that you can prove you have coverage. Sometimes. insurance binders can also be referred to as:
- Insurance binder letter or form
- Policy binder form
- Insurance policy binder
- Title binder
- Interim binder
- Insurance card
- Certificate of Insurance
When do I need an insurance binder?
People often require a binder to show that you have secured insurance in order to obtain funds from a lender. It confirms your insurer’s commitment to issuing you a policy at a future date. Some situations where you might need a binder:
Purchasing a home
If you’re taking out a mortgage, you’ll need to get an insurance binder from your insurer after purchasing coverage. Your lender will require this evidence to ensure its investment is protected before letting you close on the loan. Typically, it will be required at least three days out from the closing date. However, it’s also possible they will want it weeks in advance.
The binder will serve as proof of adequate coverage for the property you wish to buy. When speaking with your insurer, they will help you draft a policy that meets your needs. It will outline the basics of your contract to your mortgage lender in advance of having the policy issued.
Fire insurance binder
A fire and contents binder is proof that you have fire insurance for your home. Your mortgage lender can request proof of temporary coverage.
Buying a vehicle
Let’s say you decide to buy a new or used vehicle or apply for a car loan. Before obtaining the vehicle, you need to prove that you have coverage for it, as required by law or the dealership. The insurance binder will prove that the vehicle is insured until you receive it. The binder will temporarily act as proof of coverage until you need the actual policy.
Purchasing a property for a commercial business
Businesses must show proof of commercial insurance when purchasing a property, such as a building or an office space. In this instance, your insurance binder provides your lender with proof that you will have coverage in place when the deal closes.
Homeowners that need to submit a claim before their policy arrives
Some homeowners may be wondering: what happens if your home suffers damage before you receive the policy? If your home gets damaged by a covered risk or peril before you receive your policy, you can use your insurance binder. Instead of bearing the cost of the repairs by yourself, you can use your insurance binder to submit a claim. After completing an assessment, your insurance provider will reimburse you based on the severity of the damage. They will then provide you with the necessary financial coverage for the repairs.
What’s included in insurance binders?
An insurance binder is a one or two-page document which identifies who and what is insured. It contains:
- Policy number
- Name and address of the policy holder
- Additional insureds
- Name and address of the insurance provider
- Coverages included in the policy
- Coverage limits
- Start and end dates of the insurance policy
- Expiry date of the binder
- Name of the agent who issued the binder
To sum things up: A binder is a one-page contract issued by your insurance company that guarantees that you’ll be insured at the time of close.
How do I obtain one?
You can only get an insurance binder through your insurance provider or broker. However, the process to obtain a binder is simple and straightforward:
- A request is made by your lender for a binder
- You contact your insurer or isure broker to get the binder
- Your insurer provides you with temporary coverage – your policy is in binder status
- The policy goes through processing by the underwriting department of your insurance company
- Your policy receives approval and goes from binder to active status
Issuing a new policy can sometimes take a few days or weeks, depending on the underwriting process. So, it is best to contact your insurer as soon as you are sure you need one.
How long is an insurance binder valid?
Insurance binders are a legal agreement between you and the insurance company that provides proof of insurance for a temporary period of time — typically 30–60 days. However, some home insurance companies are able to accept and issue policies faster. So, it’s possible that you’ll be issued the full policy rather than a binder. Other insurance companies prefer to issue you a binder, at least at the outset and take more time crafting the policy.
What happens if my insurance binder expires?
After your insurance binder expires, be sure to verify with your insurance company that your new policy is in place. If you haven’t received your new policy, you may find yourself without coverage. You may then be at risk for any accidents that may occur while you are uninsured. Remember, insurance binders are only meant to serve as temporary coverage!
NOTE: Be sure to request a copy of the new insurance policy contract if you do not receive one upon issuance.
An insurance binder is an excellent choice for homeowners that want to be proactive and precautious. It’s never the wrong time to start protecting your property and personal belongings. After all, it is evidence of the fully enforceable insurance policy that you purchase.
When you do receive your policy documentation, it will have all the specifics regarding coverage. It will also include all limitations and exclusions. Furthermore, if there is a discrepancy between the insurance binder and the insurance contract, the information in the contract is what your insurer and the law will honor. Be sure to review all of your policy documents when they arrive. If you have any questions, contact one of our isure representatives to ensure you are fully covered.