Let’s say that you purchased a new home. You purchased insurance for the home; however, after buying your typical homeowner’s insurance policy, you and your spouse decided to do some renovations to the structure before moving in. The renovations took longer than expected, however, so you ended up not living in your new home for around two months.
During this time, unexpectedly, a fire occurred in your new home. Dutifully, you filed a claim with your insurance company — only to receive it back denied.
Why did this happen? Well, your insurance company tells you that unfortunately, you left your home unoccupied for 60 days or more. And when this occurs, your insurance is automatically canceled because of vacancy.
This may seem unfair to many homeowners, but it’s a typical response from insurance companies of all kinds. For the most part, no matter the insurance company, vacancy and inoccupancy equal high risk, and this isn’t something that insurance companies don’t want to deal with.
Below, we’ll outline several important facts to know when it comes to owning seasonal homes, unoccupied homes, and vacant homes.
Seasonal homes are essentially vacation homes. They only get used for part of the year, and for the rest of the year, they are left unoccupied. Generally speaking, the only thing you need to know about seasonal homes is that they may be uninsured and you may not realize it.
That’s because many homeowners assume that their seasonal home falls under the homeowner’s insurance policy they purchased for their primary residence (the home they live in permanently). This actually isn’t true in most cases, which is why you’ll want to double check with your insurance agent to see whether or not your seasonal home is covered.
If it’s not covered, make sure to speak with your insurance agent about purchasing an additional plan.
Unoccupied homes are those that are livable; however, no one lives there. A home may be unoccupied for many different reasons, including the following:
- You’ve had to leave home for long-term medical treatment.
- You’re on a long-term vacation.
- You’re on a business trip.
- You’ve had to leave your home for large renovations.
- You own a furnished second home that you rent out, and you are awaiting a tenant.
- Other reasons.
What’s important to remember about unoccupied homes is that you need to check with your insurance company directly to see how long you can be out of your home before your insurance will be canceled or voided.
The majority of insurance companies will dictate that your home can be unoccupied for a maximum of 29 days or a maximum of 59 days before the insurance policy becomes void, but once again, it’s different for all companies. Always speak directly with your insurance agent to learn more.
Vacant homes pose two main problems for insurance companies: they often experience glass breakage, and vandalism is a recurrent problem. Both glass breakage and vandalism are seldom covered under vacant home insurance plans. If you can find an insurance company who is willing to cover a vacant home, you should remember that premium prices may be higher than average.
Brian Van De Hey Insurance can answer any of your questions related to vacant or unoccupied home insurance. We understand that this type of insurance can be extremely confusing for homeowners, and we want to help. Stop in to see us today, or feel free to give us a call.