Vacant Home Insurance – Is Your Home Suitably Covered?
Aug 25, 2013 – Vacant Home Insurance – Considerations Before Purchasing a Policy.
When is homeowners insurance not homeowners insurance? Well, the insurance agencies say it is when the homeowners are not present in the home for an extended period of time, if at all. Sometimes, the simple (and sometimes rare act!) of taking an extended vacation is all it takes to jeopardize the validity of a homeowners policy. A policy holder should make themselves very aware of the time limits allowed within their policy so that the insurance isn’t unexpectedly canceled; else the homeowner should check if they need an endorsement and additional payment.
There are many reasons that a homeowner may consider applying for vacant home insurance in Texas. Coverage is needed if the owner is away for an extended period of time and there is a burst water pipe. What about Vandalism? Theft? While burst water pipes are not necessarily more likely to happen when a home is vacant, the underwriting of a policy changes dramatically because the insurer knows that it will take much longer for the problem to be discovered and consequently greater damage and expense will occur.
Insurers consider two main distinctions, whether a home is “Unoccupied” or “Vacant”. The significant difference is with an unoccupied home the owner may return at any moment (perhaps from a vacation) whereas a vacant home is a situation where the property is entirely empty with no personal property inside – typically when a house is being sold or is perhaps in between renters. In general policies will allow a home to be unoccupied for 30 days without requiring vacant home insurance, some will allow 60 days, information that can easily be found in the policy document.
A critical question that has to be determined by the homeowner is whether a home is considered vacant. At Anderson & Allen Insurance Group we recommend a free consultation with one of our agents to make this determination. In some cases the determination of vacant home can be very clear, such as a home up for sale. However, in other instances, the determination may not be as clear, for example having a house sitter while the homeowner takes an extended vacation. Some insurers will require an endorsement for this scenario, while others don’t – a consultation in this instance could save a homeowner a lot of money given the generally higher premiums found with vacant and unoccupied home endorsements and policies.
Since vacant home insurance policies are more expensive it is even more important to make sure that you get every possible discount based on how you protect your property (e.g., smoke alarms, winterizing the water pipes and fire alarms). Even if you take the time to do this, there are some insurance companies that simply won’t insure a vacant home and this may require extra work in order to find a suitable policy.
Remember, vacant home insurance is necessary, don’t try to fool the insurer they will be more than willing to deny your claim if you falsify whether you were truly present in the home. Talk to an experienced agent at Anderson & Allen Insurance Group and partner with them to develop the best vacant home insurance policy and find the most economical insurer in order to keep your liability and insurance costs to a minimum.