Insurance Requirements for a Vacant Home

Vacant home insurance is essential, if only for peace of mind.

Vacant home insurance is essential, if only for peace of mind.

General homeowners insurance assumes that the home is occupied primarily by you and your family. However, if you leave your home vacant for any reason, including a long vacation or work trip, you may need to speak with your insurance agent about obtaining additional coverage. The insurance requirements for vacant properties can vary, but in general you're required to take steps to ensure proper coverage.

Vacant Properties

Most homeowner insurance companies stipulate that a home is "vacant" if left unoccupied for more than 30 days. You must take steps to provide additional coverage if you will be leaving the home empty. Insurance companies require additional coverage in these cases because a vacant home is more vulnerable to theft and damage if it isn't being looked after. For example, if an electrical fire breaks out while a property is vacant, it is highly likely that the entire home will be destroyed.

Endorsement

Some homeowner insurance companies will allow consumers to purchase a low-cost endorsement to their current policy. This endorsement provides additional coverage of a vacant property; it also relieves the homeowner of the responsibility if damage to the property occurs. An endorsement is something that is likely offered to consumers whose homes will not likely be vacant for a long period of time. Therefore, if you and your family have an extended vacation planned, a homeowners insurance endorsement could help further protect your home.

Full Vacant Home Insurance

If you plan to leave your home vacant for a long period of time, you likely will need to purchase a new insurance policy entirely. Many insurance companies have an option for vacant properties. For example, some companies offer both "peril" and "vandalism and mischief" insurance policies. These two policies would cover natural disasters as well as damage suffered from criminal acts. Consult an insurance agent prior to accepting new coverage.

Failure to Inform

It is critically important to notify your carrier of a vacant property -- meaning a property left unoccupied for more than 30 days. If you fail to inform your insurance company and your home is damaged or destroyed, you may find that your insurance policy is forfeit. Even if you believe that the home will not stand vacant for more than 30 days, it is still important to speak with your agent about additional coverage, if only for peace of mind.

About the Author

I am seeking this position because I believe in the art of word craft.   I am a reader.  I am a hugely enthusiastic reader.  I am a writer.  I observe carefully and closely to the way in which people interact, react, and connect.  I find happiness in carefully constructed sentences.  For birthday and Christmas presents, I write stories for every family member and friend.  I blog endlessly.  I consider myself tremendously lucky for the things I have accomplished, witnessed, and experienced.  I have friends who do financial consulting for Fortune 100 companies, I have friends who build houses, I have friends who ride freight trains from state to state, I have friends who fish in Alaska in the winter months, and walk long trails the other nine months of the year, I have friends who live in National Forests, I have friends who study astrophysics and never look up, and I have friends who live vicariously through me. I eagerly await your decision!{{}}

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images