Do you have a vacant property? Has it been vacant for more than 30 days? If so, you may not have insurance coverage.
Some insurance companies cover vacant properties for up to 90 days. Be sure to ask your agent about your vacancy coverage.
Vacant house insurance is generally more expensive than regular homeowners insurance for a number of obvious reasons. First, there’s no one living in the house to watch and protect it. Vacant properties tend to be a target for thieves, vandals, and vagrants. And, the potential for water damage, infestations of animals or insects, freeze damage in the north, all goes up.
If you can have someone check on the house daily, the risk factor of insuring the home decreases significantly. Also, if you can maintain active security systems, your property is more protected which should keep your insurance rates lower.
Make sure your vacant house doesn’t look vacant. Have someone take care of the exterior, mowing the lawn, picking up mail, turning on lights, even parking in your driveway. Do what you can to make your vacant house look occupied.
Not all insurance companies insure vacant houses, so check around. I looked online and found an insurance company who does, Foremost. They offer “specialized coverage developed for the unique insurance needs of a vacant home and its owner.” They accept vacant homes valued up to $1 million, and there is no restriction on the age of the home.
VHIN is another company I found through a quick online search. VHIN is an independent insurance agent that “represents major insurance companies who provide a unique vacant home insurance policy created for a residence or building that is vacant or empty and that needs to be insured for over $150,000 in value, and for over three months.”
I cannot recommend either of these companies as I have no experience with them, I just want to point out how quick and easy it is to find a company who can help you out with this type of insurance.
If your home has been vacant for more than 30 days and you have a claim, your company may not cover the damage. Check with your insurance company before leaving your home vacant to be sure.
One thing you do not want to do is leave the property vacant with no coverage. If you simply continue on with the policy you have and eventually need to turn in a claim, it will quickly be denied if the company determines the house has been vacant beyond their allowed maximum time-frame. Don’t take a chance, check your policy.
What’s been your experience with vacant house insurance?