Is there any need to protect the content and structure of an unoccupied building? Can a vacant home be insured and what is the need? In this article, you will find out the extent of vacant home insurance coverage and whether you need it.
What is Vacant House Insurance Coverage?
Vacant home insurance coverage is a type of home insurance policy that protects an unoccupied home. The policy is designed to protect the home and its content when no one is there to occupy or stay in it.
Most vacant home insurance options cover the home against physical loss of items and damages that may result from a covered loss.
As a homeowner on the move, it is worth it to invest in vacant home insurance coverage to keep your unoccupied building safe.
What Does Vacant Property Insurance Cover?
If you are to get the vacant home insurance coverage, what is it expected to cover? Here are some of the common coverage options for the policy:
The unoccupied home is protected from damages or losses caused by certain natural incidences. These include lightning, fire outbreak, hailstones, and wind.
Vandalism and Theft
Unoccupied homes have a higher likelihood of being broken into. Since no one is there to scare the vandals away, they are emboldened to vandalize the home.
Therefore, a typical vacant home insurance coverage should protect the house from vandalism and theft.
Other coverage options include:
- Leaking pipes in the home.
When Vacant Home Insurance Coverage Doesn’t Matter?
Your vacant home insurance coverage may not be triggered if certain situations call for that. For example, the policy and its coverage may not be fully utilized if the unoccupied poses a danger of sorts.
An example is when the unoccupied home becomes a liability. Common liabilities are when the home has trampolines and other forms of hazards, such as hot tubs and ponds. Those can pose danger to third parties, including neighbors.
Some home insurance companies may cite those as reasons for not insuring your unoccupied home.
You might as well fix those hazards and get them out of the way to increase your chances of qualifying for vacant home insurance coverage.
Exceptions to Vacant Home Insurance Coverage
Unoccupied home insurance coverage may not cover or insure everything in the home. By default, the vacant home insurance coverage protects the structure of the home, against theft, vandalism, and natural causes.
However, some claims wouldn’t be made with the vacant home insurance coverage. An example is flooding. Vacant home insurance policyholders are advised to purchase flood insurance coverage separately to protect the home from damages caused by flooding.
Second and most important, the type of home to be insured will be put into perspective. The insurer’s major concentration is how long the home hasn’t been in use. For example, you will be able to get the vacant home insurance coverage faster for a 6-month unoccupied home than for a 12-month unused home.
Another important factor to consider is the type of vacant homes insured by the company. While some vacant home insurance companies insure condominiums, others limit the coverage to townhouses and single-family homes. Find out the type of vacant homes protected before purchasing the policy.
Do I Need Vacant Home Insurance Coverage?
A home is declared “vacant” for a major reason – it is unoccupied. The general submission is that an unoccupied or vacant home hasn’t been occupied in the last 30 days. Some vacant home insurance companies can increase the length of vacancy to 60 days (2 months).
If your home hasn’t had a human presence in the last 60 days, you can as well consider it “vacant.” In that case, getting the vacant home insurance coverage to keep it safer becomes a necessity.
However, not occupying the home in the last 30 to 60 days is not the only reason for its vacancy. Below are some of the additional reasons why your home may be declared vacant:
- The home is up for rent, but you haven’t received any offers in the last 30 days.
- You put the home on the market because you recently moved into your new home. During this time, it hasn’t been sold, so it is vacant.
- The home is undergoing renovation and it takes up to 30 days to be completed.
- You inherited the home, but for some reason, you prefer renting or selling it to living in it.
- The payment was recently made for the home, but you are yet to move into it.
- The home is vacant because you are constantly traveling, thereby, leaving it vacant for some time.
- The home is in foreclosure.
- You have been hospitalized. As such, it would take several weeks before you can back on your feet and go back home.
Vacant vs Unoccupied Insurance: What is the Difference?
There is a difference between vacant home insurance and unoccupied home insurance. The major difference is that the former covers a home with no content. This means that the utilities have been turned off, the personal belonging removed and no one occupying the home. On the other hand, unoccupied home insurance covers a home that has some belongings inside it. It also covers a home undergoing renovation, one with utilities on and covers the home throughout your hospital stay.
How to Purchase Vacant Home Insurance Coverage
You now see that empty home insurance can protect your home while you are away or when it is being renovated.
But, how do you make the best choice? Here are a few tips to help you buy vacant home insurance coverage:
1. Seek Policy Adjustment
Most homeowner’s insurance companies do not cover vacant homes because of the higher risks. However, you may be able to get a policy adjustment if you contact your insurer.
The adjustment is done to help you fit the vacant home into your existing home insurance policy. A surcharge is sometimes charged and can be up to 25%.
2. Take the Policy as an Endorsement
Another way to get vacant home insurance coverage is by purchasing it as a rider or endorsement. This means that your home insurance company sells the coverage to modify the primary home insurance policy you hold.
It is better to be safe than sorry. Start the process of purchasing vacant home insurance coverage if you are looking to embark on a lengthy trip or check into a hospital for lengthy treatment.
Renovating the home or looking to rent it out? Consider taking vacant home insurance coverage to protect it within the 30 to 60 days when it wouldn’t be in use. However, taking vacant home insurance coverage isn’t the only option to protect an unoccupied home. You can also explore alternatives, such as installing security devices or asking a neighbor to look after the home while you are away.