Do you have a home that is unoccupied or vacant? If so, if you leave your home unattended for a long duration of time (several weeks or months), your homeowner’s insurance policy may be voided without you knowing it. In this case, any claims that you need to make during this time period (for example, for flooding or a fire) will likely be denied, and you will be forced to pay for these damages out of pocket.
In the article below, we will explain how unoccupied and vacant homes are defined by insurance companies, and we will also explain what you need to know about purchasing home insurance for either of these situations. Finally, we’ll take a look at seasonal home insurance.
How Do Insurance Companies Define Unattended Homes?
If you plan to leave your primary residence for more than 30 days, you’ll want to look into your insurance company’s policy about unattended homes. There are two types of unattended homes: unoccupied homes and vacant homes.
Unoccupied homes have furniture in them and are technically livable. Someone could move in at any time. On the other hand, vacant homes are not livable because there is no furniture in them, and most or all of the owners’ belongings have been taken out. Utilities will also be shut off in vacant homes most of the time.
All insurance companies have different policies concerning unoccupied and vacant homes. Any home that is vacant or not livable will most likely be deemed “vacant” by an insurance company right away, and any insurance policy that was in place for the home will be immediately voided.
But a home that is deemed unoccupied (still livable but no one lives there) has to be unlived in for at least 30 days (or 60 or 90 days in some cases) for it to be deemed officially “unoccupied” by an insurance company. You need to check with your insurance company directly to see whether they have a 30, 60, or 90-day policy for unattended homes.
Unoccupied and Vacant Home Insurance Pricing
Both unoccupied homes and vacant homes are difficult to insure. This is because insurance companies see greater risk in homes where no one lives. Problems with vandalism often plague vacant homes, and glass breakage is another common issue in vacant homes. Both of these types of damages will not be covered by any type of homeowners insurance policy.
If you are able to find an insurance company willing to insure your vacant home, prices will be steep. The same goes for unoccupied homes; however, unoccupied homes are slightly less of a risk than vacant homes.
What If You Own a Second Seasonal Home?
Issues of vacancy in homes may impact insurance for seasonal homes that you own as well. Essentially what you need to do here is contact your insurance company directly and ask them if your primary residence’s insurance policy also covers a seasonal home. If it does not, you will have to purchase a separate policy either from your current insurance provider or another insurance provider that offers seasonal home-insurance-only policies.
Unoccupied Home Insurance Can Be Confusing — Speak to Your Insurance Agency
It’s understandable if you’re confused by unoccupied and vacant home insurance. What’s most important to remember is that all insurance companies have different policies relating to these terms. For this reason, Leonard Insurance recommends speaking directly to a licensed insurance agent for more information.