When you own any kind of real estate, purchasing the proper insurance is essential. However, if you own a vacant, unoccupied or seasonal home, you will need a special type of insurance that differs from insurance purchased for a primary residence.
Different Types of Homes
For insurance purposes, an unoccupied property is defined as one that contains furniture and other such items but doesn’t house people on a regular basis. Seasonal properties are those that contain personal property and are occupied during only a portion of the year. Vacant properties are properties that don’t house people or contain any personal property.
How Insurance Changes for Vacant, Unoccupied and Seasonal Properties
Many people mistakenly believe that a property left unoccupied or vacant will receive the same coverage as any other home under a standard homeowner’s policy. However, this is not usually true. For example, if a home is left vacant for more than 60 days, the standard homeowner’s policy will not cover any vandalism or glass breakage. Some policies may not cover any ensuing loss from vandalism, including a total loss of the property. If a home remains vacant, your carrier is unlikely to renew the policy, and most other carriers are unwilling to write a new policy for a vacant home.
If your home qualifies as unoccupied, the rules regarding coverage will vary. Many home insurance companies will cancel the policy if a property remains unoccupied for more than 30 or 60 days unless you obtain an endorsement. If you fail to obtain the proper endorsement and you make a claim on the standard policy after leaving the property unoccupied for longer than the carrier’s established limit, your policy won’t pay for the claim.
Seasonal homes, such as vacation properties, are subject to different rules than unoccupied and vacant properties. If you already have a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, this policy may cover a second home. However, it is important to check with your insurer to make sure your policy offers this coverage. If your standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers only your primary residence, you will need to purchase a second policy for your seasonal property.
Assume you leave your home unoccupied for six months while you travel the world. While you are gone, someone breaks into your home and damages the interior. Unfortunately, unless you had purchased additional coverage or made special arrangements with your insurer, it is unlikely that your standard homeowner’s insurance policy would cover any claims related to this incident.
For another example of a claim that may not be covered, pretend you have a rental property. You lost your tenant, and you haven’t been able to find a new one, leaving the property vacant for two months. A fire destroys your property, and you file a claim with your insurer. Unless you have a policy specifically designed to cover unoccupied and/or vacant properties, your claim may not be covered.
Protecting Your Investments
To ensure that your vacant, unoccupied or seasonal property is never left unprotected, you need to consult an experienced insurance agent for assistance. Please contact Killey Insurance today to get started.