All quality home insurance policies will protect your home in the event of unexpected damage, such as theft, a weather-related event, and more. But many policies also have a provision that states your coverage will be canceled if you leave your home unoccupied for a certain amount of time or longer.
Homes may be left unoccupied for many different reasons. You might have purchased a new home but have not yet moved in. You may own a second home that you hope to rent, but you haven’t yet found tenants. Or, perhaps you’ve left your primary residence for a long-term business trip or vacation.
No matter the reason, unfortunately, most insurance companies do not like to know that they are insuring homes where no one lives. It’s simply too much of a risk, and it can lead to them canceling your policy. As a homeowner, it’s up to you to understand what constitutes an unoccupied home (or a vacant home) so that you can make sure you have continuous coverage.
Unoccupied and Vacant Homes From an Insurance Company’s Perspective
Unoccupied: Owners May Return at Any Time
No one is currently living in an unoccupied home; however, the owners could return at any time. Upon their return, owners could take up living in the home right away because all personal property, furniture, appliances, and other items necessary for normal occupancy have been left inside. Also, the utilities are generally turned on in unoccupied homes.
Vacant: Entirely Empty
Vacant homes do not have people or personal property within them. Unlike in unoccupied homes, owners could not take up living in a vacant home at any time because there is not enough furniture, appliances, and other items necessary for normal occupancy inside. Also, the utilities are turned off in vacant homes, adding to its unsuitableness for normal living.
What’s the Problem With Vacancy?
Insurance companies are constantly assessing risk when it comes to the insurance coverage they provide. Unfortunately, homes that are vacant or unoccupied pose higher risks. The problem with vacant homes is that glass damage is common and so is vandalism. These two problems are not covered at all by home insurance in most cases, and many new homeowners insurance forms today will actually go so far as to exclude any loss that results from vandalism (including a house getting completely burnt down).
Furthermore, insurance companies are reticent to start up a new policy for a vacant home as well. If you are able to find an insurance company willing to provide coverage for a vacant home, expect to pay rather high premiums.
Unoccupied homes are also difficult to insure. What you need to know here is how long you can leave your home unattended before your insurance policy becomes void. This is a question to ask your insurance agent directly.
Seasonal Home or Vacation Home Insurance
Lastly, don’t forget about seasonal or vacation homes. If you have a vacation home, talk to your insurance agent once again and ask them if your primary residence insurance covers your vacation home. If it does, you’re all set. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to purchase a separate policy.
Talk to a Licensed Insurance Agent Today
Going directly to your insurance agency with questions or concerns related to vacancy or in occupancy is the best thing you can do if these issues concern you.
At the Don Neeley Agency, we completely understand that this aspect of home insurance can be frustrating and confusing. Fortunately, we’re always here to help. Contact us today by phone, or stop in to see us if you have questions.