Do you own or manage a property that you are considering leaving empty or unoccupied? There are millions of houses left uninhabited all across America – all vacant for various reasons. For some, owners move out of a home temporarily while it is undergoing renovations. Other vacant or unoccupied homes may be vacation homes, empty estates, homes for sale or rental properties between tenants. Regardless of your reason for leaving a house vacant or unoccupied, consider the risks before doing so. Click here to read more about the dangers of an unoccupied home and how you can protect yourself against the unexpected.
Higher Crime Rates in Vacant Homes
Some homeowners falsely believe that since their homes are vacant and empty of furnishings, the properties will not be attractive to thieves or vandals. The truth is there are still plenty of items in most vacant homes that can be stolen and sold for cash. For example, Inman.com reports that 18 vacant homes were burglarized near one city over the course of two months in the summer of 2010. Though the properties were not furnished, they stripped the homes of copper wiring, costing the property owners thousands of dollars in losses. A furnished home is even more attractive, as thieves may see them as an easy hit. When no one is home to deter theft, it is much easier to break in unnoticed and steal valuables like jewelry, weapons, furs, and electronics.
Risk of Other Complications and Damages
When a home is unoccupied, it may be susceptible to damage caused by neglect or inattention. Even when a neighbor or the owner visits the property periodically, it may be too late to prevent or control a problematic situation. For example, TrustedChoice.com reports that a vacant or unoccupied home may be vulnerable to problems like insect infestation or frozen pipes. If a homeowner or tenant were present, the insects could have been managed, and the home would have been winterized at the changing of seasons.
What to Look for in Vacant Home Insurance
Since insurance companies consider a vacant or unoccupied home to be high-risk, many refuse to insure them. In fact, your existing homeowners policy probably includes provisions that allow your insurer to reduce or drop coverage for your home if it is left vacant or unoccupied for a period of 30 to 60 days or more. If you plan to leave a property unattended, now is the time to begin looking for vacant home insurance.
If possible, find coverage that will insure your home for its full replacement value rather than its actual cash value. This assures the insurer will cover the cost of replacing your home and possessions rather than writing a check for the depreciated value. Your policy should also include liability protection that will protect you against lawsuits if a realtor, buyer, service provider or someone else is injured while visiting your property. Finally, check to make sure the insurance provides coverage for your home, its contents and any detached structures on the property.
Remember, owning a vacant property comes with a unique set of risks. Contact our office to speak with one of our helpful agents about your existing coverage and to find out if you need vacant home insurance to fill in the gaps. We will be happy to review your options and provide you with a quote for a policy that fits your needs. Call us today. We look forward to serving you soon.