There may come a time when a property you own may sit vacant. It’s understandable that you might assume your homeowners or condo insurance will provide sufficient protection.
However, insurers consider a vacant home riskier since there’s no one on the property. Consequently, most insurance companies exclude coverage for vacant homes.
If a pipe springs a leak or the roof fails, a small problem can turn into a colossal disaster. Empty properties are also more susceptible to theft and vandalism.
Definition of Vacant & Unoccupied
Vacant and unoccupied aren’t synonymous terms for insurers.
A basic definition of a vacant property is one that lacks the personal property needed to live in it normally.
Unoccupied means no one is there at the moment, but the home still has all items and possessions as if the owners were to return at any time. So, if you’re heading out on a long vacation, but your belongings are still in your house insurers consider it unoccupied, not vacant.
When Do You Need Vacant Home Insurance?
Insurance companies consider a property vacant when it is empty for a certain length of time and it lacks the personal property needed to live in it normally.
However, each insurer decides how long the property must be vacant and this time period varies between insurance companies. Many consider a home left empty for 30-days vacant, while others consider it vacant after 60-days.
Here are few of the most common situations that may merit vacant home insurance:
- Moving out of your home before the new owners take occupancy
- Inheriting a property that you do not occupy
- Owning a seasonal rental property that sits vacant the remainder of the year
- Doing extensive renovations or repairs that make your property temporarily uninhabitable
Some insurers may even find extended travel or hospitalization, or military service reasons to consider a property vacant if the home is empty of personal possessions. It is always best to check with your insurance company.
What Does Vacant Home Insurance Cover?
Vacant home insurance offers very similar coverage to your homeowners policy. However, this insurance is meant as a temporary measure. Companies may offer policies for between three months and a year.
Similar to a homeowners policy, it provides protection against the various perils listed in the policy. Usually, these include wind, hail, fire, lightning, hail, and vandalism.
Like all insurance policies, vacant home coverage also excludes certain perils. The most common are earthquake and flooding.
How to Buy Vacant Home Insurance?
This coverage may be purchased as a standalone policy or some insurers allow an endorsement to your homeowners policy. Both are usually affordable since they only cover the property for a set period.
If you own a property that will sit vacant or is sitting vacant now, it is important you obtain property insurance. Otherwise, you will pay out-of-pocket for any losses. Your homeowners policy won’t cover you. If you think you’re in need of this coverage, give us a call and we’ll get you squared away in no time!