If you own one or a few of these homes, it can be a great investment for your future. Perhaps you hope to rent out a second home or fix one up and sell it. Still, it’s important to know that owning these types of properties comes with some special risks where insurance is concerned.
This article will provide a basic overview of what insurance companies consider to be unoccupied and vacant homes. We’ll take a look at these definitions and why they’re important. And we’ll also explain some key points about purchasing insurance for these types of properties if you’re interested.
What Are Vacant and Unoccupied Homes?
At home and in general, the terms “vacant” and “unoccupied” are often used interchangeably. However, the definitions of each of these terms are quite specific when it comes to insurance.
Essentially, vacant homes are not livable, and unoccupied homes are livable. The homeowners of unoccupied homes could return at any time because the utilities (electricity, water, etc.) are on and ready to go, and there’s enough furniture inside for normal living. Vacant homes are not livable because the utilities are shut off, and there’s not enough furniture inside for normal living (table, chairs, bed, etc.).
What Do You Do if You Want to Insure Vacant or Unoccupied Homes?
It is difficult to find an insurance company willing to insure a vacant or unoccupied home. If you do find an insurance company willing to provide you with this coverage, expect to pay more for your monthly premiums.
For homes that are completely vacant for more than 30 – 60 days, it’s common for insurance companies to stop covering glass breakage or vandalism. Many newer homeowners insurance forms often exclude damage from vandalism altogether.
If you want to ensure an unoccupied home, you’ll need to abide by numerous insurance company rules as well, including the maximum inoccupancy time period. This time period is different for all insurance companies, but in general, the cutoff is 30 days or 60 days (if you leave your home unoccupied for 30 or 60 days or more, your coverage may be canceled). Ask your insurance company how long a home can be unoccupied before the insurance might be canceled or the policy may be nonrenewed.
Seasonal homes can be a problem for homeowners as well. If you own a seasonal vacation home, always ask your insurance company if your primary residence insurance also covers your vacation home. In some instances, you’ll have a policy that provides coverage for both. If it doesn’t, remember that any damages that occur in your seasonal home will not be covered. For example, if a tree were to fall on your seasonal home’s garage in the dead of winter, any claim you made for the damage wouldn’t be covered. You’ll need to purchase a separate policy to stay covered.
Avoid Gaps in Coverage. Speak With a Licensed Insurance Agent Today
Any type of homeowners insurance can be complicated because of the many variations each agency will have and your unique needs as a homeowner. If you have questions about leaving your home unoccupied for a long period of time or if you have a second vacant, unoccupied, or seasonal home, you’ll want to work directly with a licensed insurance company to make sure you never have gaps in coverage.
Tagge Insurance is happy to answer any of your questions or concerns regarding this topic. Give us a call today for more information, or feel free to stop in to our office.