Tips for insuring an unoccupied home
Insurance for unoccupied homes was created to meet the need of home owners who travel frequently and often leave their homes unattended for a period of thirty days or more. Most people are not aware that their home may not be covered while they are on extended trips away from home.
It is not cost effective for insurers to cover vacant homes and unoccupied homes in a standard policy. In insurance terms, a vacant property is not the same as an unoccupied one. A vacant property is empty and no one resides on the property. An unoccupied home is only temporarily vacant and the residents will be home soon. Vacant properties develop a myriad of problems with squatting, vandalism and burglary being the most frequent.
A vacant insurance policy will be way more restrictive and will only pay for damages that are spelled out in the contract. Policies are sold for three months to six months and can be renewed on a monthly basis for up to two years. These are temporary policies and a genuine effort will have to be made to sell the home or have someone move into it.
Having someone checking on your home while you are away is not the same as having someone staying there full time. If your insurance company finds out that your home has been empty for thirty days they can cancel your policy.
Home owners whose houses are still on the market after they have moved can find themselves in this predicament. They have the option of buying vacant property insurance or have a house sitter live at the home until it is sold. Even the vacant property insurance will not cover all your liabilities. The usual fire, lightning and water damages will be covered, but vandalism will not be covered.
Vacation home insurance is more costly since it is only partially occupied throughout the year. It has the same high risk status as any other unoccupied home. It is unlikely that you will get standard home owners policy on a vacation home.
A family who spends extended time away from home should consider adding a vacancy permit to their existing policy. Adding the vacancy permit to your insurance will cost more and it might not be available with your insurer. Purchasing extra insurance for your property while you are away can be very expensive. These type of insurance policies can cost two to three times the price of a regular policy.