If you have a property you’ve left uninhabited, making sure you have insurance for vacant properties is an often overlooked but incredibly important part for keeping you protected from any number of possible scenarios that could end up costing you a pretty penny.
But just how much could this protection cost you? In this article, we’ll be looking into the ins and outs of exactly what vacant home insurance is, and what it can cost you.
What is the difference between a vacant and uninhabited home?
For our purposes, this can be an important distinction, so let’s make sure we understand exactly what the differences are.
1. Vacant home
A vacant home is one that looks as though it hasn’t been occupied in a while. Most often, this is due to the property waiting to be rented or sold. However, this can also be an abandoned property as well. A key sign of a vacant property is oftentimes the lack of furniture or power in the house.
2. Uninhabited home
An uninhabited home is one that is furnished and looks lived in, but the homeowners have been gone for an extended period of time, typically 30 days. If you plan to leave your house vacant for 30 days or longer, be sure to reach out to your insurance company. Depending on your policy and the company, they may extend this period of time.
Need Vacant Property Insurance?
Can you insure a house that is empty?
Not only can you insure an empty house, you really should. If you’re the owner of an unoccupied residence, you’re at risk of having to pay the total cost of repairs for any damage or replacement of any theft that may happen to it, even if you’ve got a solid homeowner’s insurance policy.
This is because in most cases, homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover any home that is vacant or uninhabited for 30 days or more.
Related: What does it mean when a house is vacant?
How much does vacant home insurance cost?
Standard home insurance covers a number of policies, such as theft, injury to people on your property, damage from things like fire, etc. Vacant house insurance covers many of the same policies, but due to the nature of the insurance, often costs a considerable amount more.
Those looking to purchase vacant home insurance can expect to pay as much as 50% more, or around $500 extra per year. As always, these numbers are dependent on a number of factors such as the insurance company you’re purchasing from, the type of policy you’re looking to purchase, and the property you’re looking to insure.
Why does it cost more to insure a vacant house?
Insurance companies know that thieves and vandals are more likely to target a house where they can tell no one’s been home for a while, and a sure sign of this is a lack of human activity such as movement or lights turning on or off.
A regular homeowners insurance policy assumes the property is under regular occupation, and so less likely to be targeted.
Occupied properties also have less of a risk of taking severe damage from things like fires and storms. For example, if burst pipes end up spreading water damage throughout your home, it’s far more likely to be stopped with much less damage if someone is at home then at a vacant property.
For these reasons, insurance companies see unoccupied or vacant properties as higher risks than occupied homes, so they tend to charge much higher premiums on them.
Regardless of the higher cost, vacant property insurance is still a good idea to have for any unoccupied properties you may own, since it can end up saving you from having to pay out of pocket for any damages or injury lawsuits that occur on your property, even if you’re not at fault.
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