At Tolbert Tower Insurance, we see a variety of situations in which homes are left vacant. Sometimes, it is for a short period of time, such as when a person is on vacation. However, longer instances of vacant or unoccupied homes can put these properties at a higher risk of damage. That’s why we work closely with our clients to make sure they have the right type of insurance in place all of the time.
Do You Have a Vacant or Unoccupied Home?
A vacant home, unoccupied home, or a seasonal home may have limited protection under your current home insurance policy. Even if there are very good reasons for it to be empty, and you are not trying to hide it from your insurer, there could be a lack of coverage available to you. Here’s what you should know.
Your primary home insurance policy will not cover a vacant home for long, if at all. If the property is vacant for 30 to 60 days or longer, your existing insurance policy may not cover claims on it. For example, let’s say you are having trouble selling a home you’ve inherited. No one lives there, there is no furniture there, and the utilities are off. This home is at high risk for vandalism and fire.
A vandal breaks into the home. He or she damages the glass and cuts a gas line. The home starts on fire. Even if you have a home insurance policy on it, your policy is likely not going to cover the damage. If your home is vacant, you may be able to secure a specialized policy to minimize risks. Yet, this is hard to do.
Many people experience an unoccupied home for a period of time. You may be moving from one home to the next. Or, you could be on a long extended vacation overseas. An unoccupied home is one you live in but leave with no one present in it for 30 to 60 days. When this occurs, again, the home is at a higher risk of damage. And, your home insurance policy not only needs to know about it, but it also needs to have proper protection in place.
Unoccupied homes are only covered under an existing policy for 30 days, sometimes up to 60. Each insurer is a bit different. After this point, instances of damage occurring at the home have no protection under the policy. For example, you may have no idea a storm damaged a window, causing water to enter the home through it. This causes significant damage.
Another type of home is a seasonal home. Some individuals in our area do have a second home, a vacation home, or even an investment property. Sometimes, your primary home’s insurance policy will cover that home as well – if you add it to the policy. In other cases, you need to be sure you select a new policy for the structure.
Be clear with the agent about the use of that home including how often you use it. If it is an investment property, meaning you are earning an income from it, insurer it properly.
Protecting Your Unoccupied or Vacant Home
The best way to minimize your risks is to have comprehensive coverage based on the way the home is used. Working with one of our licensed insurance agents at Tolbert Tower Insurance can help to make this possible. We encourage you to take a closer look at your policy and know the limits.