Although your homeowners' insurance offers financial protection against property damage or destruction, your policy includes coverage exclusions if your residence is unoccupied. If you plan to leave your residence vacant for several months or years, you'll need to insure your house accordingly.
There are many reasons why you may choose to vacate your residence for an extended period of time, including:
You own a rental property. If you own a rental property and are between tenants, you may leave the property vacant until you find a new tenant.
You moved to a new home. If you purchased a new residence but your previous house remains unsold, the latter residence may stay vacant until you sell it.
You are completing home renovations. If you embark on a massive home renovation project, you may need to vacate your home and find a temporary residence until the project is completed.
You are selling a house to close an estate. If you are the executor of a loved one's estate, you may leave the home vacant as you try to sell it.
Home insurance providers will use two questions to define a vacant residence:
- Is anyone living at the residence?
- Is there enough property inside of a home for someone to live there?
Ultimately, there are many risks for homeowners who choose not to insure a vacant residence, including:
Water Damage: If a pipe freezes and bursts in winter, substantial water damage could occur. Meanwhile, a vacant homeowner may fail to identify and resolve this problem immediately, which could cause the issue to escalate.
Vandalism and Mischief: An abandoned residence could become an "attractive nuisance," increasing the risk of vandalism and mischief. In addition, if an individual is injured on the property, a vacant homeowner could be liable.
Squatting: An individual may "squat," i.e. claim the rights to a property based on occupation rather than ownership. In this scenario, a vacant homeowner could face a legal battle to evict the squatter.
Theft: An unoccupied residence may be more susceptible to theft than others, which means any personal belongings or building elements like plumbing fixtures that are left behind could be in danger.
A vacant residence raises numerous concerns for homeowners, but there are several things you can do to safeguard your house, including obtaining a vacancy permit endorsement or vacant home insurance.
What Is a Vacancy Permit Endorsement?
A vacancy permit endorsement extends coverage past the 30 or 60 days that a homeowners' policy may give you for vacancy. It can also void vandalism, water damage, theft and other exclusions that commonly appear in a homeowners' policy for a set amount of time.
Obtaining a vacancy permit endorsement is paramount, and failure to do so could result in you paying for losses or a lapse in coverage. Fortunately, getting a vacancy permit endorsement can be simple, particularly for those who contact their insurance provider as soon as possible.
If you intend to leave your house for 30 days or longer, getting in touch with your home insurer will enable you to find out if you can obtain a vacancy permit and if you need a vacancy permit endorsement. If your insurance company fails to provide this endorsement, you will have sufficient time to find and purchase vacant home insurance from another provider.
What Is Vacant Home Insurance?
Your home insurer may determine it is too risky to offer a vacancy permit endorsement for your unoccupied home. Therefore, you may need to purchase vacant home insurance to supplement your existing homeowners' policy.
Vacant home insurance safeguards your residence against vandalism, theft and other issues that may arise with a vacant home. It is an ideal choice if you know you'll be away from your residence for many months or years and guarantees your unoccupied house will be protected against a broad range of risks.
Like standard homeowners' insurance, vacant home insurance includes costs that will vary based on several factors, such as:
Your Home's Location: Insurance companies will look at where your home is located and the risk factors in that area to guarantee you can receive the right vacant home coverage.
How Much Coverage You Want: Insurance providers may offer coverage recommendations for your vacant home, but the total cost of your vacant home insurance policy may increase or decrease based on your coverage preferences.
Your Home's Risk Factors: The age and condition of your home may cause your vacant home insurance rates to rise or fall accordingly.
When it comes to a vacant home, it is essential to get the necessary insurance to protect your residence even when you're not living there. With a vacancy permit endorsement or vacant home insurance, you'll be able to safeguard your unoccupied residence at all times.
Ryan Hanley is the Vice President of Marketing at TrustedChoice.com and the Managing Editor of Agency Nation. He is also a speaker, podcaster and author of the Amazon best-seller, Content Warfare. Ryan has over 10 years of insurance expertise and blogs frequently to help consumers understand complicated insurance topics.