We’ve helped a lot of our Montello area homeowners insurance clients prepare for an empty home. Insurance coverage won’t change if the residents take a vacation for a couple of weeks; however, insurers may reduce or even drop coverage if the residents leave the home empty for a month or two. Homeowners insurance companies consider unoccupied houses more risky for a variety of reasons, so homeowners must plan ahead to make sure they have property protected their property.
What Are Unoccupied Homes?
Courts and insurance companies could have different definitions for unoccupied vs. vacant homes. These definitions can help you understand your policy better:
- An occupied home typically refers to a situation when the occupants have left behind their belongings and intend to return. For instance, some residents may leave for an extended vacation or business trip but intend to come home afterward.
- A vacant home refers to situations when the resident has moved out with their belongings, as this signals that they have no intent to live in the home. In some cases, residents may need to move furniture, large appliances, and other belongings out for construction projects, so they might not consider their home vacant — but their homeowner’s insurance company still might.
In either case, policies may limit the kinds of claims they will cover or even refuse to cover any claims if the home is empty of occupants for four to eight weeks. It’s true that empty homes tend to attract more vandals and thieves. Also, nobody is home to catch some problems before they turn into large ones. If somebody stays home, their presence is more likely to deter criminals.
For example, you might need to relocate before you can get a buyer to close upon your home. If you leave the home empty for 60 days, your insurer might deny the claim for a plumbing leak that they would have otherwise covered. In some cases, they will deny vandalism claims even sooner. Even if typical homeowners insurance covers fires, your company may refuse to pay if a vandal started the fire.
Covering Seasonal Homes
While many insurers refuse to cover typical unoccupied or vacant houses, they may treat seasonal homes that you use for vacations differently. Sometimes, your primary policy will cover your vacation condo or cabin. In other cases, you may need to buy a separate insurance policy for your second home. If you plan to buy a new vacation home, you should spend some time researching sensible alternatives to protecting both your primary and vacation residence.
How to Plan for Empty Homes
If you foresee owning a home that will remain empty for several weeks, you should plan ahead by contacting an experienced, local insurance agent right here at Giuffre Insurance Agency. Our friendly professionals will work to understand your unique situation. After that, we will explain the best way to insure your property and ensure your peace of mind. If you leave your empty property unprotected, you could end up having to pay for damages or even liability claims yourself, so planning ahead can save you from a large financial mistake.