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Vacant Home Insurance

Vacant Home Insurance

Do you own an empty house? You may have to purchase vacant-home insurance.

Based on information from the US Census (2011), it seems that approximately 13% of homes throughout the country are vacant. The number of vacancies is especially high in 3 states, including Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. Even though these properties are empty it doesn’t mean that their owners don’t need to consider getting insurance for them. This is because if you’re away from home for a long period of time, then your insurer can very well cancel your policy- or have a claim denied.

Have you purchased a new home recently but didn’t manage to sell your old property yet?  Are you renovating your home and moving out for a few months?  Do you spend only half a year in your home because you love to different cities throughout the year?

Whatever the case may be it is best that you consider getting insurance for your vacant home as soon as possible.  Keep in mind flood, fire, vandalism, and theft are more likely to happen on a vacant property. Damage is generally worse and that is because no one is there to fix it.

In terms of cost, it should be about 50-60% more than a regular home insurance policy. This is due to the fact that one such property can easily become the target of thieves and vandals, therefore; most insurers consider them to be high risk.

If you have a vacant property, here are 4 things you should know:

  1. You may think that you can easily leave your home vacant without the insurance company noticing it, but you’re wrong. That’s because the insurer can notice whether the home was occupied or not by asking the neighbors or by checking your utility bills.
  2. If you plan on leaving your home for a while, you should speak to your insurer before doing so and see how they can guarantee coverage while the house is unoccupied.
  3. There are many homeowners insurance policies that feature a special clause which can void coverage on vacant properties. This clause gives homeowner’s a certain amount of time that the house can be unoccupied for before the insurance company cancels coverage. In most cases, if a property is not occupied for thirty days, the insurer will cancel coverage. However, some insurers will cancel coverage after sixty days.
  4. If you take good care of your vacant property, then you’ll be happy to know what some insurance companies are willing to work with you. They will actually provide you with a vacancy permit but bear in mind that it covers a limited number of threats.

Should you get vacant-home coverage?

The truth is that not every insurance company is going to offer you the aforementioned endorsements. If this is the case with yours, then you may want to consider purchasing a vacant home insurance policy that covers threats regular policies won’t cover. Since larger companies don’t sell such policies, it’s recommended that you shop for one from a smaller insurance company.

Exploring your options

According to David W. Clausen, CEO of Coastal Insurance Solutions, you should do your homework to learn more about the types of policies that suit your needs best. If you’re unable to find a specialty or standard insurance agency that can cover you, get in touch with your states insurance regulator and inquire about the state’s FAIR plan.  In New York, it’s called the New York Property Insurance Underwriters Association, or NYPIUA, and can be a good outlet for customers with several claims. While you may be accepted, the premiums are indeed a bit higher.

If the price of a FAIR plan is too high, there are other options.

If you don’t want to get a vacant home insurance policy, then hiring a house sitter may very well be a better idea. However, if the home will be vacant for a long time, then it’s best to just rent it. If you do so though, be sure to purchase a landlord’s policy if you want your home to be covered, since a vacant home insurance policy and homeowner’s insurance policy don’t cover rental properties.

 

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