Were you aware that insuring a vacant home is different than insuring your primary residence? Many homeowners are unaware that their seasonal homes, investment properties, rental properties, or other homes they own may have their insurance voided due to inoccupancy or vacancy — and yes, these two terms mean different things!
In this article, we will enlighten readers on how to ensure adequate coverage and limits for their vacant and unoccupied homes, explaining what each of these terms means in the eyes of insurance companies. Always make sure you have adequate coverage for your properties with this guide!
Insuring Vacant Homes
You may run into two key problems trying to insure a vacant home, but first, let’s define what a vacant home really is.
A vacant home in the eyes of an insurance company is a home that is unoccupied and can’t be occupied. It can’t be occupied because there’s not enough furniture inside for someone to “normally live.” In addition, utilities are generally shut off, and often doors and windows are boarded up. The home is unlivable.
The first problem that vacant homes pose for owners and insurance companies is vandalism and squatters. Vacant homes are often plagued by vandalism and may sometimes end up with squatters inside. For obvious reasons, this occurs more with vacant homes than homes that are occupied.
Owners of vacant homes who try to make claims because of vandals or squatters may find that their claims are denied because very few policies will cover vandalism and any subsequent damage. The same goes for broken glass, the second problem posed by vacant homes.
In fact, you’ll find it difficult to cover a vacant home at all. Some insurance companies are willing to provide this coverage, but you’ll need to be frank with them about how long your home will likely be vacant and what you plan on doing with it after that.
Insuring Unoccupied Homes
Unlike vacant homes, unoccupied homes can be lived in at any time, and in fact, they are often being lived in at the time they are considered “unoccupied” by the insurance company, but the owners are simply away for an extended period of time.
Insurance companies consider properties “unoccupied” when they are vacant by the owners for a set period of time, which differs from company to company. For this reason, you will need to ask your insurance agency directly how long your home can be unoccupied (how long you can be away on vacation, away on a business trip, away during renovations taking place on your home, etc.) before your insurance policy will be voided.
Insuring Seasonal Homes
Finally, ask your insurance agency about any seasonal homes you own. Vacation homes may fall under the umbrella of insurance you purchase for your primary residence; however, this isn’t always true.
To be on the safe side, consult directly with your insurance agent to see whether or not your seasonal home is covered too. If it’s not, to avoid any out-of-pocket payments for severe damage to your seasonal home, always purchase an additional policy with adequate limits.
Avoid Confusion by Consulting Directly With Your Insurance Agent
Only a licensed insurance agent can truly help you find insurance coverage for all of your homes and properties, no matter their vacant, unoccupied, or seasonal status.
Speak to an agent at Vanyo Insurance Group today to learn more. Our highly knowledgeable agents can help you find complete coverage with ample limits for your homes and properties. Stop in and see us today, or give us a call at your convenience.