Many homeowners are unaware that owning an unoccupied or vacant property comes with unique risks. While it can be profitable and enjoyable to own a second property for renting or as a seasonal home, it can be tough to find adequate insurance for these types of properties.
Below, we will outline what exactly insurance companies consider unoccupied homes and vacant homes, and we’ll discuss how you can best find insurance to cover these properties adequately.
What Are Vacant Homes?
Vacant homes can be defined as unlivable homes. There is not enough furniture inside to live with, and electricity, water, and other utilities are all shut off.
A vacant home may be vacant because it is waiting to be rented out or because it was recently purchased but can’t yet be moved into by the owners. Sometimes, homeowners simply own one or several vacant homes as investment properties for the future.
No matter the reason for owning a vacant home, it’s important to remember that insurance is not easy to obtain for these types of homes. In particular, they pose two problems. First, most insurance companies will not continue insuring vacant homes once they realize they are vacant. It’s difficult to get a vacant home insured at all by an insurance company.
Second, if you are able to get your vacant home insured, it is likely that vandalism and glass breakage will not be covered at all. Unfortunately, these are two common issues that occur in vacant homes.
What Are Unoccupied Homes?
Unlike vacant homes, unoccupied homes are livable, but no one lives there. The owners often leave their home unoccupied because of long-term medical treatment, a long vacation away, renovations occurring on the home, etc.
The key difference between vacant homes and unoccupied homes is that unoccupied homes could be moved into at any time. In other words, electricity, water, and other utilities are turned on, and there are furniture and property inside the home — enough for someone to live there.
What you really need to know about unoccupied homes is that the time period will vary when it comes to when exactly the insurance company considers the home unoccupied. For most insurance companies, the time period is 60 days, but some insurance companies will use 30 days as the cutoff.
Do Seasonal Homes Count as Unoccupied Homes?
In some cases, yes, insurance companies may consider seasonal homes unoccupied. What you really need to know about these types of homes is that they are not necessarily a part of your primary residence’s insurance policy. Many homeowners make this mistake and do not go out of their way to purchase a secondary insurance policy for their seasonal home. When this happens, if damage occurs (such as a lightning strike) to their secondary home, the cost of repairs will all need to be paid out of pocket.
If you own a seasonal home in addition to your primary residence, it is important to speak directly with your insurance agent to see if it is covered under your primary residence insurance policy. If it is not, make sure you purchase a second policy so that any damage that occurs on this property will be covered.
Ensure Constant Coverage by Working Directly With a Licensed Insurance Agent
When you own numerous homes or travel extensively, it’s important to fully understand your insurance agency’s policies on unattended, vacant, and seasonal homes.
Our highly-qualified and knowledgeable agents at Glass Insurance are happy to help you better understand your policy and ensure you always have adequate homeowners coverage as well as ample limits in the event of an unforeseen accident.
For additional information on unattended, vacant, and seasonal home insurance coverage, please feel free to stop by our office, or give us a call.