An unoccupied home is one in which someone is not living at the moment. It is not uncommon for a home to be ready to live in but remain empty for a period of time. However, when this happens, the home insurance agent needs to know. This information becomes critical after 30 to 60 days. If you plan to travel, it may be important to let your agent know your plans as well. Let’s take a closer look at this idea.
What Is an Unoccupied Home?
It is important to know what insurance companies classify as an unoccupied home. This is a home with the utilities on and with furniture in place. It is the type of property a person can go back to living in right away. This is different than a vacant home. In a vacant home, the utilities are usually off. No one’s furniture is present. Most agents grow concerned about unoccupied homes left that way for more than 30 days.
What Are the Risks of an Unoccupied Home?
Imagine if the next door neighbor was gone for a few weeks. It would likely become obvious to you after some time. The same is true for any other home. Over time, people notice. This causes a higher risk of break-ins and vandalism.
Additionally, unoccupied homes still have valuable belongings in them. With no one home, possessions can be a target for a thief. There is also the risk of an incident occurring and no one knowing about it for a while. For example, a pipe in the kitchen may burst and flood the home. No one knows it happened, and the damage spreads up the walls as mold sets in. This increases the cost of a potential home insurance claim.
Traveling? Here Is What to Do For Your Unoccupied Home
If you plan to be away from your home for any length of time like this, call your home insurance agent. Update them of your plans. Tell your agent what steps you took to safeguard the home. This may include a security system. You may have someone visiting frequently. It is important to let the agent know.
If the agent learns the house had no occupants for an extended period of time, and you didn’t tell them, they may deny claims made on the home during this time. It could mean all of that water damage in the kitchen has no coverage. It is important to learn what your agent expects in terms of learning about your unoccupied home.
FAQ’s About Will Your Unoccupied Home Have Coverage?
Does my homeowner’s insurance policy cover an unoccupied home?
It depends on your policy and the length of time your home will be unoccupied. Some policies may offer limited coverage for unoccupied homes, while others may require you to purchase a separate policy.
How long can my home be unoccupied before it affects my coverage?
This varies by insurance company and policy, but typically a home can be unoccupied for up to 30 consecutive days without affecting coverage. After that, you may need to notify your insurance company or purchase additional coverage.
What happens if my unoccupied home is damaged while I’m away?
If your policy covers unoccupied homes, you may be able to file a claim for the damages. However, if your policy doesn’t cover unoccupied homes or if you didn’t notify your insurance company of the vacancy, your claim may be denied.
Can I cancel my homeowner’s insurance policy if my home is unoccupied?
You can cancel your policy, but it’s important to notify your insurance company of the vacancy and make sure you have coverage in place for any potential risks or damages.
What is vacant home insurance?
Vacant home insurance is a separate policy that provides coverage for homes that are completely empty and unoccupied for an extended period of time, typically 30 days or more.
How much does vacant home insurance cost?
The cost of vacant home insurance varies based on factors such as the location, value, and condition of your property. It’s best to get quotes from multiple insurance providers to compare rates.
Are there any requirements for maintaining an unoccupied home?
Yes, it’s important to maintain an unoccupied home to prevent damage and potential hazards. This may include regularly checking for leaks, securing the property, and maintaining the landscaping.
Can I rent out my unoccupied home while I’m away?
If you plan to rent out your unoccupied home, you may need to purchase landlord insurance or a separate policy that covers rental properties. It’s important to notify your insurance company and make sure you have the appropriate coverage in place to protect yourself and your tenants.
What should I do if I need to leave my home unoccupied for an extended period of time?
If you need to leave your home unoccupied for an extended period of time, it’s important to notify your insurance company and take steps to secure your property. This may include setting up a security system, turning off the water and gas, and asking a trusted friend or neighbor to check on the property periodically.
What distinguishes vacant and unoccupied home insurance?
Vacant home insurance and unoccupied home insurance are two distinct concepts. A vacant home refers to a property with no people or personal belongings, while an unoccupied home is one in which residents are temporarily away, but their belongings remain at the property. As a result, vacant and unoccupied home insurance policies cater to different scenarios, and homeowners should choose coverage depending on their specific situation.
When does a home’s unoccupied status impact insurance coverage?
Typically, standard home insurance policies have a clause concerning the duration a home can be unoccupied. After that period, which generally lasts 30 or 60 days, the policy may no longer provide coverage in cases such as theft or damage. To maintain coverage during extended absences, homeowners should consider purchasing specific unoccupied home insurance.
What are some common exclusions in unoccupied home insurance policies?
Unoccupied home insurance policies can come with specific exclusions that homeowners should be aware of. Some common exclusions are:
- Vandalism or theft during the unoccupied period
- Damage due to frozen pipes or water leaks
- Mold, mildew, and pest infestations