Providing protection for your property is an important part of homeownership. You want adequate protection even when you are not occupying the home. There are many reasons why a home unoccupied, for example, when you are planning to sell the property, doing remodeling or renovations, or when you are looking for a new tenant (for rental properties). However, leaving a home unoccupied for a long time will post potential risks and some insurance companies may not provide coverage for these circumstances.
Insurance companies have their own set of reasons why they do not provide coverage for a house that is unoccupied. Homes without owners or renters are prone to a variety of issues such as theft or vandalism. Unfortunately, there are circumstances when you live in your house. Some of the most common reasons why you may need to leave your house unoccupied are:
- Owning a vacation home which you only come to a few times each year.
- You have recently purchased a new home and you will not move in for several weeks or months.
- If you are renovating or remodeling the home and you will not be staying while the remodeling is ongoing.
- When you will travel for several weeks at a time.
- If you need to get prolonged medical treatment which requires hospitalization.
- If you are renting the property and requires time to find new tenants.
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Unoccupied Home VS. vacant Home
An unoccupied home and a vacant home are considered two different things, nevertheless, these circumstances will need you to get special insurance coverage.
An unoccupied home is when you leave the property with all your belongings inside it. Like when you go on an extended trip or vacation. The furniture and utilities are on and it is ready to be lived in anytime. A vacant home, in the meantime, utilities are off and there is no furniture. This is a typical scenario for those who are planning to sell their property. Whatever your reason for not living in your home, it is crucial that you talk your insurance agent so that you get adequate protection for your property.
Needing A Special Insurance Policy
If you plan to leave your home unoccupied or vacant for 30 days or more, you need to get vacant/unoccupied house insurance. Take note, some terms may vary depending on the policy and company, but they all work the same. Most companies will deny any insurance claims for homes unattended for 30 days or more. Before you leave your property for an extended period, it is necessary that you talk to your insurer. This will clarify how the insurance company defines an unoccupancy or vacancy. It is also possible that your insurance company has unique restrictions. For example, they have a unique definition of the length of time that a house can be classified as vacant.
Defining an Unoccupied or Vacant Home Insurance
Vacant home insurance is a special insurance coverage for properties that are unattended for at least 30 days or over. This coverage is a must for homeowners if they want protection for their property. This type of insurance will typically provide protection for damage or loss while it is uninhabited. Because an unattended property may be riskier than an occupied one, it needs a specific coverage. Insurance companies believe that unoccupied homes are prone to theft and vandalism. Empty homes are prone to break-ins and have slower emergency response times. So even if you have a standard homeowner’s insurance, it is not a guarantee that you claim if left empty. For example, if your dwelling catches fire while you are on an extended vacation, your claims may be denied.
Usually, vacant home insurance is available as a separate policy or as an add-on to our current home insurance. If it is purchased as a separate policy, you are no longer required to buy a standard homeowners policy. In cases of add-ons, it may be purchased together with your current policy.
Where To Buy Vacant Home Insurance
Any property that is unoccupied or vacant is considered to pose a higher risk compared to homes that have occupants. The risk involved when a home is left empty resulted in many insurance companies excluding properties from their standard coverage.
Thankfully, there are major insurance companies who provide detailed coverage for unoccupied or vacant homes.
- State Farm – State Farm Insurance is one of the best options when it comes to getting homeowners or renter’s insurance coverage. They also offer unoccupied or vacant home insurance that is not very different from your standard home insurance. Instead of a separate policy, you can purchase an add-on to your current policy. Moreover, State Farm is the best choice for investors such as those who maintain a condominium because they are one of the very few companies offering separate policies for condominium units.
- Liberty Mutual – Another extremely popular company that offer vacant home insurance is Liberty Mutual. Similar to State Farm, it only requires an add-on or an endorsement if you will be leaving your property unattended for more than 30 days. You are required to send a notification if you plan to leave your property vacant, as well as when the dwelling is occupied again. This insurance company even offers amazing discounts for properties that are renovated or built in the last 13 years. This is why Liberty Mutual is a perfect choice for families with multiple homes because it has great coverage for owners who has two to four units.
- Geico – This is a nationwide insurance company and one of the most reputable in the country. While their standard policy does not provide coverage for unoccupied or vacant homes, you can contact instead your local agent to ask about their umbrella of policies. This is Geico’s main features which allow you to purchases different coverages including vacant homes, rental and land insurance coverage. Also, if you currently have auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance with them, you may be able to enjoy good discounts.
- Farmers – Farmers offers a standalone vacant home insurance policy which is great for owners who may have multiple vacant homes at a time. The coverage typically includes everything you may expect from a standard homeowner’s insurance coverage. The best thing is that they offer this on a pro-rated amount from the time when your property was vacant until it will be occupied again.