Vacant Home Insurance
People own unoccupied homes for different reasons. You may be living elsewhere while doing extensive renovations, or you may be traveling for an extended period of time. You may have put your home on the market and left it vacant after you moved into a new house. If your home is unoccupied, certain coverage may be limited on your homeowners policy. At that point, you may need vacant home insurance to cover your liability risks.
Risks to Vacant Homes
Theft and vandalism
Frozen or broken pipes
What Is Vacant House Insurance?
Vacant home insurance is available for houses that will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, including:
Houses vacant for a minimum of 3 months and up to 36 months
Unoccupied homes on the market
Homes in foreclosure
Vacant homes under renovation
How Much Coverage Do I Need for a Vacant Home?
The amount of coverage you need will depend on several factors. Most importantly, always insure for the replacement cost value if you can. The longer the house is vacant, the greater risk that it may be vandalized or experience other damage due to the fact that no one is there to monitor the home, heating, electrical and plumbing. Vacant property insurance will typically cover physical damage to your home, including weather damage and vandalism.
If you have detached structures or other personal property, consider adding additional vacant property insurance coverage for these structures. This will help ensure that if someone is injured on your vacant property and files a lawsuit against you, you’re protected.
How Much Does Vacant Home Insurance Cost?
Because certain risks increase with an unoccupied property, vacant house insurance is typically more expensive than a standard homeowner policy. If you’re only adding an addendum to your current policy, it may be more affordable, but just make sure it includes all the coverage you need. Fortunately, insurers will typically return any unused premiums if the house becomes occupied before the end of the policy’s time period.
When Do You Need Vacant House Insurance?
If you know your home is going to be unoccupied for a lengthy period of time, check your current homeowners policy. Your insurance company may be willing to work with you to ensure your home’s coverage continues during that vacancy. For example, your insurance company may extend your current policy for a specific time period, after which you would need to purchase additional coverage.
When you’re actively trying to rent your home, you may not need vacant house insurance if you expect it to be occupied within a short span of time. If you’re currently renovating it to rent to someone next year, vacant home insurance will protect your investment.
Vacant property insurance may be a wise investment if your home is on the market, especially because it’s hard to predict when a house will sell. Just make sure you purchase a policy that will refund premiums if the house becomes occupied.
Anytime your personal home or rental properties are vacant for an extended period of time, you may need vacant house insurance to protect yourself from liability claims and other risks.