Any type of insurance can be confusing, but none so much as homeowners insurance. With the myriad of coverage options you have to choose from and the multitude of accidents and tragic events that could possibly damage your home at any given time, it’s no wonder that many homeowners feel completely lost when it comes to their home insurance.
Well, here’s one more piece of information to add to your knowledge — it has to do with unattended homes.
Unattended homes are considered homes where no one is living. There are three subsets of unattended homes that we’ll be looking at in this article: Vacant homes, unoccupied homes, and seasonal homes.
It’s important to understand how an unattended home can influence your insurance coverage because in many cases when no one is living on a property for 60 days or more, insurance that was once active and valid becomes inactive. This means that any claims you make for an issue that happened after the 60 days of vacancy may be denied. We’ll outline what you need to know below.
When Will Your Home Be Considered Vacant or Unoccupied by Your Insurance Company?
Vacant homes are those where no one lives and where the owners have removed all of their belongings (furniture, clothing, appliances, and other possessions). Utilities may also be off in vacant homes.
The problem with these homes is that insurance companies don’t like to insure them. Most insurance agencies already avoid covering things like vandalism and glass breakage, and these are both damage types that are common in vacant homes.
Unoccupied homes do not have anyone living in them, but they are ready to live in. That is, the utilities are turned on, and there is furniture inside. A primary residence may be considered unoccupied by an insurance company if it is unattended (not lived in) for 60 days or more (sometimes 30 days or more). Speak to your insurance company about their individual policy.
What Is Considered a Seasonal Home?
In addition to vacant and unoccupied homes, insurance companies also consider seasonal (or vacation) homes different than your primary residence. For this reason, never assume that your primary home insurance policy covers your seasonal home. In some rare cases, your primary coverage will also cover a seasonal home, but again, always inquire about this to be sure.
If you find that your primary homeowner’s insurance does not cover your seasonal home, you’ll want to purchase an additional policy to cover your seasonal home. In most cases, this coverage will be slightly more expensive because again, insurance companies consider vacancy a higher risk when it comes to home insurance. It is likely that your seasonal home will be vacant for some of the year, so the policy may cost slightly more. You can get a seasonal home insurance policy from the same company who provides you with regular homeowners insurance, or you can get a policy from a separate company most of the time.
Call Your Insurance Agency Directly With Questions
If you own more than one home or if you plan on being away from your primary residence for more than 30 days, it’s a good idea to check with a licensed insurance company to ensure you have adequate coverage for all of your homes. An accident can occur at any time, and you want to be sure you’re covered.
At Reis Insurance, we understand that homeowners insurance is a complicated matter, and it’s made even more complicated and confusing when you have additional homes that may be vacant or unoccupied for part of the year.
If you have questions relating to these issues, please feel free to contact us any time. Simply stop in or give us a call today.