Do you understand the difference between a vacant and an unoccupied home? Do you happen to know why insurance companies typically reduce coverage or drop policies for empty properties? If you are like many homeowners, you are unaware of the fine print surrounding your own homeowners insurance should you decide to take an extended vacation or temporarily move out of your home while it undergoes renovations. Click here to read more about how a dropped homeowners insurance policy could affect you.
Understanding a Homeowners Insurance Policy
According to the Insurance Information Institute, most traditional homeowners insurance includes coverage for certain types of named perils, such as fire, wind and falling objects. It also usually covers crime-related damages, such as theft and vandalism, as well as liability claims for injuries or losses sustained on the homeowner’s property. So long as a home is occupied by a tenant or owner on a regular basis, the insurer will pay for qualified claims. However, the risk of making a claim or having a more expensive claim is much higher for a property that is empty.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reports that theft and vandalism are more common in vacant and unoccupied properties. According to HUD, unsupervised houses attract more crime, and longer periods of vacancy contribute to higher rates of crime. When a home is occupied, it deters burglars and vandals, lowering the risk of an insurance claim. In addition, an occupant is more likely to address threats to a property in a timely fashion rather than letting them get out of control.
Don’t Get Surprised with a Denied Claim or Dropped Coverage
Imagine being offered a new promotion within your company that would require two months of corporate training out of state. You leave your house in excellent condition with a timer on your lights and all the doors and windows locked shut. When you return, you find that extreme temperatures have frozen your pipes, causing severe water damage that has led to a mold problem. You contact your insurance company to file a claim on your homeowners policy only to discover your claim is denied, or your coverage has been dropped due to leaving your house unoccupied for more than 30 days.
Keep in mind that vacant and unoccupied home coverage exclusions vary from insurer to insurer and according to the details in your policy. Your insurer may have different restrictions depending on whether you house is only temporarily unoccupied until you return or vacant with all furnishings removed. It is important to understand all of your insurer’s limitations prior to leaving a house for an extended period of time. If you must leave a property vacant or unattended despite coverage exclusions, specialty vacant home insurance may be available to help fill in the gaps while you are gone.
Request a Vacant Home Insurance Quote Today
If you own a home that is currently or will be empty for 30 days or more, an unoccupied endorsement or vacant home insurance may be right for you. Contact our agency to speak with one of our helpful team members about your policy options and how vacant home insurance can protect you when traditional homeowners coverage will not. Call us today to request your free quote. We look forward to serving you soon.