Whether you have a vacation home that you only use for a portion of the year, or an unoccupied home that is still on the market waiting to be sold, talk to your insurance agent about vacant home owner’s insurance. Not all insurance companies offer vacant home insurance. If your current insurer does not offer it, there are plenty of agencies that do.
Here are some tips to consider when insuring your vacant home:
Understand your current home owner’s insurance policy.
While you may think that your home owner’s insurance will cover your home even though you aren’t living there, think again. Many companies will drop your insurance policy if the home is vacant for a certain period of time. If you do not report your absence to the insurance company, they may deem the home as “abandoned,” and you could be accused of insurance fraud.
Consider vacant home insurance if your home is vacant for more than 30 days.
Many claims filed after the home as been vacant for 30 days are not covered under standard insurance policies. Some policies may hold out for 60 days, but better to be safe than sorry.
Determine whether you want an independent policy or an add-on policy.
There are two types of vacant home insurance: an additional policy that can be added to your standard home owner’s insurance, and a vacant home owner’s insurance policy that doesn’t include standard insurance.
Higher deductibles means lower premiums.
The amount covered varies by policy. If you want a lower premium, consider a higher deductible. Luckily, vacant home owner’s insurance is less per month (on average) than regular home owner’s insurance. However, vacant home insurance policies tend to not cover as much as regular home insurance. If you wish to insure up to a higher dollar amount, unfortunately your premium may end up being pretty high.
Be sure to include liability insurance.
Liability insurance is the most common reason people need vacant home insurance. It covers any injuries sustained on your property while you aren’t there. For example, a child wanders into your hard and falls in your driveway, or the mailman steps in a hole in the yard and twists his ankle.
Note that vandalism and theft often aren’t covered.
Most of the time, valuables that are stolen while the home is vacant are not covered. Insurers encourage home owners to remove all expensive or valuable items from the home when they aren’t there.
Talk to your agent to discuss a plan that works for you.
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