Do you have a vacation home or do you own a second or third property where no one has lived for some time? Are you planning a vacation for 30 days or more from your current residence?
In all of these scenarios, make sure to take a second look at your current insurance plans. Often, homeowners are surprised when they make claims that get denied on homes like these. That’s because they thought they were insured when in fact, they weren’t.
Home insurance on secondary properties that are unoccupied, vacant, or seasonal can be confusing. Insurance agencies often have trouble insuring these properties because more problems can happen when no one is living there (vandalism, broken glass, electrical fires, fallen trees, and leaking roofs, etc.).
We want the residents of the Big Bend area to fully understand insurance for their homes and never be without coverage. Below, we’ve provided a rough outline of what to expect if you own vacant homes, seasonal homes, or unoccupied homes in the area:
1. Vacant Homes
Vacant homes do not have anyone living in them. Also, all belongings have been taken out of the home. They may not have the water, or electric utilities turned on either.
There are two main issues with vacant homes. First, vandalism and glass breakage are big problems in these homes because when the homeowner is not around, those that would vandalize will often gravitate here and will either throw rocks at windows or enter and cause damage.
Next, insurance companies are hesitant to insure any homes where vandalism could cause large and expensive damage issues (such as fires!). Therefore, not only is a vacant home at higher risk in the first place, that risk is exacerbated for you, the homeowner because it’s difficult to find an insurance agency willing to cover vacant homes.
2. Unoccupied Homes
Unoccupied homes sound like vacant homes, but they’re actually different. While vacant homes have no belongings or furniture in them typically, unoccupied homes will have these items in them. In fact, unoccupied homes may have the electricity on and the water on as well.
These homes are considered “unoccupied” by insurance agencies because no one has been occupying them for a set period of time or longer. This set period of time varies, depending on the insurance agency, but it’s usually 60 days or more. Often, homes end up unoccupied when owners go on extended vacations or must receive lengthy medical treatments.
3. Seasonal Homes
Lastly, seasonal homes can pose problems for owners as well. Most often, this is because homeowners simply assume that their vacation homes will be covered in the event that a fire starts or a tree falls on the roof. In fact, it is not a default feature that permanent/main home insurance policies will also cover secondary vacation homes.
We recommend talking to your insurance agency right away if you have a seasonal home that you want to make sure is covered by insurance. Often, a separate policy will need to be purchased, and your insurance agency will include specific provisions because it is not a home that is consistently occupied throughout the year.
Unattended Home Insurance Can Be Confusing
Many property owners love being able to enjoy a seasonal home up north or rent out other properties for additional profit. But insuring such properties does come with some additional planning as you can see.
Smith Insurance and Financial Services agents are here any time you have questions about insuring seasonal, vacant, or unattended homes. Call today or stop in to learn more.