Many homeowners are unaware that insuring their primary home is much different than insuring their secondary home used for vacations or vacant or occupied home. If you own a home that is only used a few months out of the year for vacation purposes or one where no one is currently living, or the utilities may be shut off, it will be necessary to purchase a separate insurance policy.
To be sure, this type of Insurance navigation can be extremely difficult to understand — especially if you’re not an insurance agent yourself as most of us aren’t!
For this reason, we’ve created a short outline of what you need to know about insuring what is called “unattended homes.” There are three different types of unattended homes. Let’s go over them:
A vacant home is one that is completely unoccupied for more than 60 days. Often, vacant homes do not have the utilities turned on, and they are virtually unlivable. All or most personal belongings, including appliances and furniture, will be gone in an unoccupied home.
You will encounter many problems when it comes to vacant homes and insurance. Let’s say, for example; you were to leave your primary home because you had recently purchased a new home and moved into it. You were extremely busy and had too much to do in your new home, so your old home was left vacant for more than 60 days before you could put it on the market to sell.
In this case, you may be shocked to find out that if you were to make a claim during this time (for tree damage and broken windows, for instance), it would likely be denied by your homeowner’s insurance company.
This is because insurance companies see vacant homes as risky liabilities. Vandalism and glass breakage will not be covered at all when a home is vacant, nor will any other ensuing losses that may be started by vandals. Moreover, your insurance company will probably switch off insurance coverage after the 60-day mark for good — on all possible claims. Insuring a vacant home is simply too risky.
Unoccupied homes differ from vacant homes because they still have the utilities turned on (generally speaking), and they still hold your belongings, furniture, and other property. Usually, occupied homes are unoccupied because homeowners are getting long-term medical treatment, they’re away on vacation or business, or they are doing renovations to the home and don’t want to live there at the same time.
Unfortunately, even if you plan on returning to your home, if it is left unoccupied for a long period of time, your insurance company may void your insurance coverage. Insurance companies vary when it comes to how long they consider non-occupancy to be. While some insurance companies will shut off your coverage after 60 days, others will void your insurance after just 30 days.
Finally, seasonal homes are secondary or vacation homes. Check with your insurance provider to see if these homes are covered under your primary home policy. If your secondary seasonal home is not covered, you’ll want to purchase an additional policy.
Speak Directly to Your Insurance Provider
As you can see, there are many nuances and factors associated with having a second or third home that may not be consistently occupied. If you are in this situation, the best thing you can do is speak directly to your insurance provider.
Only they will be able to tell you definitively things like whether or not vacation homes are covered under primary policies or how long a home has to be unoccupied before insurance coverage will be voided. Hopson Insurance Agency can help you with all of these questions and more. Contact us today by phone, or stop in to sit down with one of our knowledgeable insurance agents.