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    What Happens When a House Sits Vacant?

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    What does it mean when a house is vacant

    If you plan on leaving a property you own vacant for an extended period of time, it’s not as simple as just turning the key and walking away. You should consider vacant property insurance.

    There are plenty of reasons why property owners may leave their residence vacant — folks with cottages they live in for some of the year, snowbirds looking to escape colder climates with a second property in a warmer area, or those with real estate for sale or rent that’s still on the market are just a few common circumstances.

    And while standard homeowners insurance may protect your belongings for a short period of your vacancy, it won’t pay you out for any damages after more than a month or so.In this blog post, we’ll be taking a look at what happens when a house sits vacant, regardless of whether or not you have a homeowners insurance policy on the property.

    What does it mean when a house is vacant?

    Let’s start with some terms. A house is generally considered by insurance companies to be vacant when it’s been emptied and uninhabited for 30 days or more. This is often regarded as a property that has no intention of being lived in for the foreseeable future.

    This is in contrast to an unoccupied home, in which the property is just uninhabited, but may well still contain furniture. This distinction is often an important one when filing for an insurance claim, as insurance companies can look more kindly on unoccupied homes than vacant ones.

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    How long can you leave a house empty?

    While every insurance company has different standards and every case is unique, a general rule of thumb is that if your house is going to be vacant for more than 30 days, you should plan on letting your insurance company know.

    The 30-day rule is pretty standard amongst insurance companies for a general rule of how long a house can be vacant before insurance policies are no longer effective.

    Related: Should You Insure Vacant Property

    Does it hurt a house to sit empty?

    While there’s nothing inherently harmful about a house sitting empty, it attracts a lot more potential damage than an occupied house.

    For instance, a slow drip from a faucet that will cause gradual damage to the floors and ultimately the foundation of the house is much more common in a property where no one is there to notice and stop the water damage.

    In another scenario, trespassers are far more likely to make a temporary home in a property with no lights on or signs of activity.

    Reasons like these make vacant home insurance often more expensive than regular homeowners insurance, as the risk of damage can be much greater when the property isn’t occupied.

    Having vacant home insurance helps to protect against having to pay out of your own pocket for any damages that may arise from scenarios like these, going a long way to helping you protect your investment.

    Contact APOLLO Insurance today to get the best rates on vacant property insurance. We partner with over 100 firms across the country to make sure you get exactly the coverage you need at the best price.

    Get a free quote with APOLLO in under five minutes and have your new policy emailed directly to your inbox today!

    APOLLO Has You Covered

    Get the protection you need in minutes with custom Vacant Property Insurance from APOLLO.

    Learn More

    Originally published March 11, 2022, updated August 25, 2023

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