house insurance

Empty house insurance. Myth or Fact?

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Vacant and unoccupied might sound similar but are completely different terms when it comes to property insurance coverage. So, until you are familiar with the fine lines, it’s hard to provide a clear definition of unoccupied property. 

The claim arises when it’s determined whether the property is vacant or just unoccupied. The vacant properties have a greater chance of vandalism, undiscovered damage, and theft that adversely affects the insurance claims. Vacant property  can be considered as “completely empty” which means it does not have any person or personal property. The term unoccupied means all the possessions of the property were still to remain as if the owners were to return at any time.

In a homeowners policy, it shall exclude coverage for vandalism, building glass breakage, water damage, theft or attempted theft if the damage occurs within 30 or 60 days. Although the standard coverage for fire and wind remains intact.

If you are inactive, there are chances that your insurer wouldn’t renew your policy, or your claim wouldn’t be paid. It’s necessary to talk to the agent when you are anticipating the extended period of unoccupancy. If you want to take home insurance for an empty house, then you need to inform your insurance company  that your home will be unoccupied for 30 to 60 consecutive days. 

In all circumstances, your insurance coverage cost will be very less than the vacant home coverage. If you are used to dividing your time between a primary and a vacation home, then you can get a package covering the property irrespective of whether you are living there or not. 

It can be said that a vacant home is harder and more expensive to insure, that needs a separate policy, depending upon the company insuring your home. Rarely insurers offer coverage for vacant homes, but when they do, you realise that it can cost you between one-and-a-half to three times more than the standard insurance for occupied properties.

How can I avoid my empty home impacting my home insurance?

You have three options when it comes to looking to avoid your empty home impacting your home insurance:

You can set up a plan for a trusted friend or family member to routinely check your vacant home or have someone house-sit for the time you will be gone.

You can purchase an add-on that will be added to your existing homeowner policy, as long as it is available to you.

You could purchase a separate vacant-home insurance policy, as long as it is available to you.

Never attempt to make it appear as though your vacant home is occupied. Short-term premium savings won’t matter when your claim is denied or policy is non-renewed due to chicanery. Always be square with the insurance company to ensure you pay for the coverage required. No more. No less.