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    Should You Insure Vacant Property?

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    insurance for vacant properties

    Do you spend your summers at your vacation home? Or do you own a condo that is currently unoccupied? If you own a building that you rent out, chances are that there will be situations when your property will be unoccupied or vacant for some time.

    If there’s no one living in the building, it may be prone to certain risks, but there are steps you can take to avoid unnecessary risks and additional costs on your behalf. In this article, we’ll discuss how to protect your unoccupied home with vacant home insurance, how long it can remain vacant, and what vacant property insurance covers.

    Related: What temperature should I keep my vacant house in summer?

    What is vacant home insurance and can you insure a vacant house?

    Vacant home insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects homes without any current residents. This kind of policy is different from typical home insurance. Many people assume their home insurance covers them — and it does, but only up to a point, and this is where vacant home insurance comes into play. Without someone there to check on or maintain the property, your home faces a much higher risk of significant damage, including vandalism and theft.

    It’s a good idea to let your insurer know when your home will be empty for an extended period so that you have the right insurance policy in place. That said, each home insurance company has its own guidelines on what “unoccupied” and “vacant” mean. Depending on your insurance company, if you will be away for an extended amount of time on a vacation, most insurers won’t require you to have a vacant home insurance policy since you have the intention to return to your home.


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    How long can my home remain unoccupied?

    Most policies won’t allow you to leave your home vacant for more than 30 days, your insurer can void your home insurance policy and deny claims if an unforeseen event occurs when no one is living at the property. However, if you’ve informed your insurance provider of the absence within 30 days then you’ll just need to pay a monthly fee for a vacancy permit. There’s also a chance there will be an increased premium as well.

    Related: What Happens When a House Sits Vacant

    What does vacant home insurance cover?

    Vacant home insurance coverages unfortunately do not provide the same coverage that a home insurance policy would. Depending on your insurance company, property damage perils such as flood or water damage, coverage for vandalism, and window damage coverage, may not be covered because there is a high risk associated with the property.

    Speaking with your broker before the property becomes empty will help you increase your protection and the length of your coverage. You can also take steps to prevent losses occurring while your home is left vacant, the following will help you reduce your insurance premiums:

    • Make sure your home looks occupied.

    • Close the curtains in the home so no one can see inside.

    • Make sure the lawn is maintained so it appears people are home.

    • Don’t let mail pile up outside, and have a friend or family member collect it for you.

    • Ask a friend or neighbour to check on your property for you.

    • Ensure the heating is maintained throughout the winter months if you’ll be away.

    • Install a time for your lights so they turn on and off throughout the day.

    • Lock all windows and doors.

    • Install a security system so you can remotely monitor your home.

    • Take steps to minimize infestations of mice or other rodents.

    • Shut off your main water supply to reduce the chance of a leak or a burst pipe while the home remains empty.

    Related: How much is vacant home insurance?

    Any home can be considered vacant at any time, it will depend on how you intend to use the property and the policies your insurance broker has in place for coverage. The simplest and easiest thing you can do is call your insurance company in advance to help protect you in the long run.

    Get an insurance quote and purchase vacant home insurance online in under five minutes. Our expert advisors can assess your policy needs and recommend the products suitable for you. Additionally, our online portal lets you quote, purchase, and bind a policy from anywhere, on any device, and at any time.


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    Originally published February 22, 2022, updated August 25, 2023

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