Because of the poor real estate market over the past decade, a higher-than-usual amount of vacant and unoccupied homes are waiting to be sold. Though the owners of these homes are attempting to get them off their hands and sell, they still need to be insured so that an unexpected event doesn’t make them more expensive than they’re worth to repair.
What many homeowners don’t know is that vacant or unattended homes may not fall under your current home’s insurance plan. Furthermore, even if you once purchased an individual insurance plan for a home (during a time when it was occupied), now that the home is unattended, it may not be covered.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the difference between seasonal, unoccupied, and vacant homes. And we’ll go over what you’ll need to do to make sure these properties are insured if you own them:
Home Insurance: What to Do When
You own a seasonal vacation home:
If you own a seasonal home that is not permanently used throughout the year, you must speak directly with your insurance agency to inquire whether your permanent home’s insurance policy covers this home. Often, this is not the case. Therefore, you’ll need to purchase an additional policy.
Additional policies for seasonal homes may include those that simply protect against weather or fire damage etc., or you may also choose liability insurance in case a guest of yours is staying in your seasonal home is injured on your property. Policy prices will depend on the value of your home, how long it is vacant throughout the year, and the type of property it is.
You own a home that’s vacant:
If you own a home that is vacant, this means that no one lives there and all of the owners’ belongings have been removed. Utilities may be shut off as well.
Unfortunately, there are two problems associated with vacant homes. First, vacant homes have a higher risk of being vandalized or having broken glass. Second, these are two things that insurance companies don’t like. Most insurance companies will not cover vandalism these days.
For this reason and because, in general, vacant homes pose higher risks for insurance agencies (a tree that falls on the roof or flooding damage in the basement may go unnoticed for months at a time), it’s difficult to have vacant homes insured. If you can find an insurance agency that will insure your vacant home, you should expect higher prices and/or less comprehensive coverage because of the increased risk.
You own a home that’s unoccupied:
Unoccupied homes aren’t quite as risky as vacant homes. That’s because if something goes wrong, it’s likely that the problem will be caught earlier.
The difference between vacant homes and unoccupied homes is that unoccupied homes still have the utilities ready to go, and there is furniture inside. In other words, someone could walk in and live in the home at basically any time.
Keep in mind that an insurance agency may consider your home unoccupied even if it is your permanent residence. This can happen if you go on an extended period vacation or leave for another reason for 60 days or more (sometimes, insurance agencies consider homes unoccupied if there is owner vacancy for 30 days or more as well).
Still Have Questions? Talk to Your Insurance Agency
If you’re trying to insure a seasonal, unoccupied, or vacant home in or around Mesa, Harnish Insurance Group can help. We understand that managing these properties can be frustrating and often, quite confusing, and we’d like to make things easier.
Contact us with your questions or concerns by giving our office a call — or feel free to stop in and sit down with one of our knowledgeable agents.