If you own a home that is vacant or unoccupied, you may have trouble getting it insured. What’s more, you may not know that your home has already been considered vacant or unoccupied by your insurance company. And in this case, it may mean that your policy would be void during the period of inoccupancy, so if you made any claims during this time, your insurance company could legally deny them.
If you’re wondering how long your home can be unoccupied before your insurance policy is voided because of inoccupancy, this time period will vary from insurance company to insurance company. Most of the time, the period is 60 days, but sometimes it can be 30 days.
With all of this in mind, it should be clear why homeowners are wise to understand vacancy and inoccupancy better — as insurance companies see these terms.
In this article, we want to help. We’ll define both “vacancy” and inoccupancy,” and we’ll discuss ways to ensure constant coverage even if you own a home where no one is currently living.
What Constitutes a Vacant Home?
As far as insurance companies are concerned, vacant homes are homes where no one can live because utilities are not on (gas, electric, water, etc.), and there’s not enough furniture or appliances inside to provide a normal living environment.
A vacant home poses two risks that insurance companies pay attention to. First of all, most homeowners insurance companies will not continue insuring vacant homes at all. Insurance companies will often cite vacancy reasons for canceling or voiding insurance policies. If you can find one who will insure vacant homes, premiums will be costly because of the added risk.
Second, some of the most common damage likely to occur to a vacant home includes glass breakage and vandalism — problems that are not covered by most insurance policies to begin with. If you take a look at most new homeowners insurance forms, in fact, you’ll find that they often exclude covering any losses that started from vandalism.
What Constitutes an Unoccupied Home?
Unoccupied homes are livable, but the owners are currently away. Insurance companies consider a home unoccupied when the utilities are turned on, and there’s enough furniture in the home for someone to reasonably live there.
Believe it or not, unoccupied homes can be those that are primary residences. If someone were to go on a long vacation or move out of their home during a period of long-term renovations, the insurance company may abruptly consider the home unoccupied and void the policy. This usually happens after 30 or 60 days of inoccupancy. If this were to occur, any claims made during this time period would be denied, requiring the homeowner to pay out-of-pocket for damage repairs.
Should You Be Worried About Owning an Unoccupied Vacation Home?
Vacation (or seasonal) homes are actually different than vacant and unoccupied homes. It’s a good idea to find out whether the insurance policy you have for the home you currently live in covers your vacation home. You are in luck if it does, but if it doesn’t, consider purchasing a second policy to cover your vacation home.
Still Have Concerns? Talk to a Licensed Insurance Agent
This topic can be extremely confusing and often frustrating for many homeowners. If you still have questions about unoccupied, vacant, or seasonal home insurance coverage, it’s important to work directly with a licensed insurance agent at Heinen Insurance for answers.
At Heinen Insurance, our friendly and knowledgeable agents would be happy to sit down with you and answer any concerns you have. Stop by today, or give us a call at your earliest convenience.