Vacant Home Insurance
Home Insurance

Understanding Vacant Home Insurance

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Why Do You Need Vacant Home Insurance?

Here’s a little-known fact: homeowners insurance only covers your home when you’re living in it. This is why insurance for vacant homes is so crucial for people who have homes they don’t live in—or don’t live in for prolonged periods. 

Not to be confused with leaving your home to go for a vacation for a couple of weeks, vacant home insurance comes into play when you leave your home empty for a month or longer. 

Most home insurance policies will deny claims if your home is left vacant for more than 30 days. This is because empty homes are at a greater risk for vandalism, theft, fire and weather-related perils. After all, there’s no one there to report these sorts of incidents and accidents, and as a result, vacant homes are riskier to insure. Your standard homeowner’s insurance policy won’t cut it.

In fact, leaving your home empty for a prolonged period could actually void your homeowners insurance policy, making it even more important to get insurance for your vacant house. 

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Who Might Need Vacant Home Insurance?

Here are some scenarios in which you might need vacant home insurance:

You rent your home and are in between tenants
You are undergoing medical treatment and will be in the hospital for awhile
You frequently travel for extended periods
You are remodelling your home and won't be living at home during the construction
You have bought a home but won't be moving in for more than four weeks
You have a vacation home that you visit infrequently
You’re selling your home and will not be living there while it’s on the market
You’re an executor and selling a house to close an estate

What Vacant Home Insurance Covers?

As mentioned, most homeowners insurance policies are void after a home has been uninhabited for 30 days. Vacant home insurance will most likely cover you for many of the standard home insurance coverages during extended vacancies, including:

Fire
Explosions
Wind
Hail
Vandalism
Theft
Lightning

Coverages do vary depending on your provider, however, so speak to your insurer or request a free quote on a new policy to see what, exactly, is included under your plan.

How to Get Vacant House Insurance?

Vacant house insurance can be added as an endorsement (i.e. an add-on) to your existing homeowner’s policy or you can get a completely separate policy. 

Which one you’ll need depends largely on if your home is defined as vacant or unoccupied. 

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Vacant Home vs. Unoccupied Home

Is your home defined as vacant or unoccupied? This may seem like an inconsequential distinction to you, but to insurance companies, the difference is imperative. 

A vacant home is defined as an empty property that has the utilities shut off. The assumption here is that the property is empty and will be empty for potentially a long period of time—and as we already mentioned, unattended properties are subject to a greater amount of risks.

An unoccupied home, on the other hand, is a home that is suitable for occupation but is not presently occupied. The utilities are on, personal possessions like furniture are inside, and the appliances are working. The assumption here is that home is temporarily empty, and therefore, the risk of vandalism, neglect, fire, and weather-related damage is less. 

As you may guess, vacant homes are more expensive to insure than unoccupied homes. Some insurance companies will not insure vacant homes at all.

What Unoccupied Home Insurance Costs vs. What Vacant Home Insurance Costs?

Like all types of insurance, unoccupied home insurance will vary from person to person and home to home. However, this sort of coverage can often be added to your existing policy with a simple endorsement and cost around $100. 

Vacant home insurance, as mentioned, will cost more—up to three times more than standard house insurance, though it can be as low as one and a half times the cost. To give you an idea of what you can expect to pay, consider that standard homeowners insurance is around $1,800 per year. 

If you want to get a better idea of what vacant house insurance for unoccupied home insurance will cost you, then contact us for a free quote. We’ve curated a list of the best providers of this type of insurance and we’ll match you with the coverage you need for the most affordable price. 

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How to Reduce the Costs of Vacant Home Insurance?

The easiest—and really, the only way—to reduce the cost of your vacant home insurance for unoccupied home insurance is to have a housesitter, which of course means that by definition, your home can’t be vacant, since it has to be liveable. 

The perk of having a housesitter is that some insurance companies will consider your home occupied and you can save money on your coverage. Just bear in mind not all companies have this view, so be sure to ask when you speak to a provider. 

If you want to get a better idea of what vacant home insurance for unoccupied home insurance will cost you, then contact us for a free quote. We’ve curated a list of the best providers of this type of insurance and we’ll match you with the coverage you need for the most affordable price. 

How to Keep Your Vacant Property Safer?

Even with vacant home insurance, you’ll want to prevent vandalism and theft. There are many easy ways you can do this. They include:

Cut the lawn (or have someone else do it)
Keep your yard and garden trim and tidy
Put your lights on timers
Install locks on all windows and doors
Cover windows with curtains
Have a friend or neighbour park a car in your driveway
Install an alarm system and security system
Install motion detector outdoor lights

All these measures will make your unoccupied or vacant home look like someone lives there, thereby discouraging nefarious activities.

Is Vacant Home Insurance Worth It?

If you need vacant house insurance, then it’s most likely worth it—even if you don’t end up filing a claim. At the very least, the protection is there, providing you peace of mind, and if something should happen and you end up needing the coverage, vacant home insurance could be what stands between you and financial devastation.

FAQ
Yes, if your home is going to be unoccupied for more than 30 days, you should get some kind of vacant home insurance.
That depends on whether the house is actually vacant (no one does or could currently live there) or just unoccupied (no one is there but the home is immediately liveable). In the case of the former, insurance could cost you up to three times as much as your standard home insurance. In the case of the latter, you may be able to get a special endorsement for about $100.

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