Have you ever left your home empty for a few weeks? Were you worried that something could happen and it wouldn’t be covered by your standard home insurance? Well, that’s why you need to learn more about unoccupied home insurance.
If you ever need to leave your home unattended for more than 30 days in a row, that’s when you need to consider upgrading your homeowners insurance. The standard home insurance does not protect your home if you leave it unoccupied for a long time, but there is an add-on policy that can help.
That’s why today I’ll talk about everything you need to know related to unoccupied insurance, including what exactly it is, when you need it, exclusions, what it covers, and the estimated cost.
You’ll also find out the differences between a vacant and unoccupied home so that you know exactly the type of policy you need.
What Is It?
This home insurance covers residences that are left unoccupied for a time frame that is longer than what your regular home insurance allows. In most cases, home insurance covers unoccupied homes, but only if the house is empty for no more than30 or sometimes up to 60 days. Before you decide to purchase unoccupied insurance, it’s essential that you read your standard policy and figure out what it covers.
Most insurers allow you to purchase a plan that will cover your unoccupied home for three, six, or nine months, or as much as a year. If you’re planning on leaving the property unoccupied for longer than 12 months, you can simply renew your policy once the end date approaches.
A house that is left unoccupied or vacant for a long time can easily attract thieves or squatters’ unwanted attention. These are considered high-risk properties, which is why insurance companies require you to purchase a separate policy when leaving your home for more than a month, or sometimes more than two months.
Who Needs It?
Whenever you need to leave your home empty for longer than 30 to 60 days (depending on your standard home insurance policy), you will need to think about purchasing unoccupied insurance for your property. The utilities will still need to be active, and you will have to have personal belongings in the home so that this policy can be added to your home insurance plan.
Here are some examples of when you should think about purchasing one of these policies:
- You will be spending time in the hospital due to a long medical treatment: If you need to leave your home because of a medical procedure that will require you to be admitted to the hospital for several weeks or months, this insurance can be a good idea.
- You will be traveling: When you have plans to travel for a long time and want to protect your home, the safest way to go is to purchase one of these policies. Most of your belongings will be in the house, so why risk it?
- Your home is going through remodeling or renovations: If your home is going through the process of renovation or remodeling, you should contact your provider to get advice on which type of policy is the best in your case.
- You use this house as a vacation home: If you have personal property in your vacation home and pay utility bills, but you only use it a few months per year, unoccupied insurance might be an option. However, there are several other possibilities in this case, such as purchasing a second home insurance policy. That’s why it’s best to consult with your insurer and figure out the best rates and best policy.
- You bought a new house: Moving to a new home and leaving the previous one that you still own filled with furniture, appliances, and other belongings means that it’s not completely safe from burglars, squatters, and other types of damage.
- You listed your house for rent or sale: If your house is listed for sale or rent and you’re not living there, but you’re still covering the utility bills and have your belongings there, it might be eligible for this insurance type.
What It Covers
The level of coverage depends on the policy that you’ll choose. When you opt for this insurance, you can protect your home from:
- Property owner liability
- Legal expenses in case of theft or squatters
- Storm damage
Unoccupied vs. Vacant
You might wonder whether there’s a difference between unoccupied and vacant house insurance. These two terms sound very similar, but they are quite different in the world of insurance.
A home is considered unoccupied if the owners left their personal property in the house, such as appliances and furniture, and the utilities are still on. In other words, when the owners come back, the home is in a state for them to continue living in it.
A home is vacant when the owners don’t have any of their personal property left in the home and the utilities are off. This can happen due to various reasons, including when the owner decides to list the property for renting, lists it for sale, when it’s a vacation house used only during a specific time of year, the property is going through a major renovation and there are no personal items inside, and more.
Vacant properties pose a higher risk for insurance companies; that’s why these policies are, in most cases, more expensive compared to those for an unoccupied home.
Empty House Insurance Quotes
The cost of this insurance varies depending on several factors. Before the carrier calculates your final rates, they will consider the following:
- The value of your property: The higher the property’s value, the more expensive the insurance will be. It’s only logical that high-end homes cost more to repair and replace in case of damage or loss.
- The property’s location: If you live in a neighborhood with a high crime rate or in an area with an increased risk of natural disasters, the rates might be higher.
- The level of security: The more secure your home is, the less you’ll have to pay.
- The coverage that you’ll choose: If you decide to add more extensive coverage, you’ll end up paying more.
- Maintenance: You will be asked whether you maintain your home regularly. For example, are your pipes insulated so that they are protected from the cold?
Just like every other insurance policy, this one has exclusions, too. They will be listed in the policy, so make sure that you go through every detail. Some of the common exclusions are:
- Windows and doors that are left open
- Damages caused during construction and renovation
- Damages caused during major works such as an extension
Different insurers have different rates, so it’s pretty hard to tell how much this insurance will cost you. In most cases, you will need to be prepared to pay as much as half your standard home insurance to cover this unoccupied home policy.
Most carriers have websites that allow you to get an unoccupied home insurance online quote. This is a quick way to find out what you will need to pay and compare different insurance companies’ quotes.
How To Insure An Unoccupied House?
Now that we got all of the questions out of the way, it’s time to share how you can insure your unoccupied property. Let’s start with the fact that you should always read your current standard homeowners insurance policy and pay attention to all the details.
The next step is to get in touch with your insurance company and let them know that you want to secure an unoccupied home. This is a policy that you can add to your existing standard homeowners insurance, or it can be a completely separate policy.
If you’re not happy with your current carrier, you can switch to a different home insurance company and start a new plan that will include a policy for an unoccupied home.
The best thing about this insurance is that most carriers allow you to choose the length, between three, six, nine, and 12 months, so that you can adapt it to your needs. It’s also very easy to extend it when you need to.
Do Vacant Homes Present A Greater Risk Compared To Unoccupied Homes?
Yes, vacant homes are a higher risk for insurers compared to unoccupied homes. The reason is that unoccupied properties are checked more often, and the owners will report any damage sooner. Because of the more timely reaction, the damages will generally cost less, and the insurance company will therefore pay less to cover them.
Can I Insure An Unoccupied Commercial Building?
Yes, you can get temporary unoccupied buildings insurance for both commercial and renters buildings. It’s best to first talk to your insurer to find out all the details about these policies and determine the best route.
Getting insurance for an unoccupied home is a great idea. This is an insurance policy that protects your property that is left unoccupied longer than 30 or 60 days, depending on your standard home insurance policy. You can insure it for three, six, or nine months, a year, or even sometimes longer.
The policy includes coverage for theft, vandalism, flood, fire, squatters, storm damage, property damage liability, and more. If you leave your door or window open, or if the damage is caused by contractors or during major works, coverage might be excluded.
The prices for unoccupied insurance vary depending on the coverage that you want, the property location, the specific insurance company, your property’s security, the value, and a range of other factors.
- Unoccupied insurance is a policy that protects your unoccupied home that is empty for more than 30 or 60 days. The home still needs to have your personal belongings inside, and utilities need to be active.
- This is a good idea for people who are planning on traveling for a long time, need to go to the hospital for long treatments, want to list a home for rent or sale, or own a vacation home they only use during certain seasons.
- The quotes for this insurance policy vary from insurer to insurer, but they depend on the property’s location, the level of security, the property value, type of coverage that you’ll choose, and more.