Equifax

Finance Blog

Insuring a Vacant Home

Written by Linda Rey on August 19, 2010 in Insurance  |   No comments

Insuring a Vacant Home Knock, knock. Who’s there? No one — and that can spell trouble for you and your insurance coverage if something goes wrong when you’re not there. If your home is left vacant for an extended period of time—thirty days or longer—you…

Vacant home insuranceInsuring a Vacant Home

Knock, knock. Who’s there? No one — and that can spell trouble for you and your insurance coverage if something goes wrong when you’re not there.

If your home is left vacant for an extended period of time—thirty days or longer—you can protect yourself with insurance in case something goes wrong while no one’s home. But if you don’t have the right insurance policy for your vacation home, you may be out of luck.

We had a client who lived in a different state, about 1,200 miles away, for an extended period of time, but didn’t think to tell us. A pipe burst in the vacant home during the winter, and it went unnoticed for a long time.

The adjustor who inspected the property was able to tell when the damage occurred and that it was outside the time limit to report the claim. (These inspectors are VERY experienced, and they will probably be able to figure out all the details of your damage and your claim.)

Our client’s case is still under investigation. Suspicions are high, and various pieces of documentation and testimony have been requested from our client. It has been a frustrating experience for us, because we didn’t have all the facts about his empty home, and he doesn’t understand why he’s facing a potential declination.

When Is Vacant Home Insurance a Good Idea?

Most carriers will consider writing a risk if they understand how the property is situated, whether it’s an owner-occupied property, an investment property, a commercial property, or a vacant home.

Vacant home insurance can be a difficult policy to obtain, but there are some situations where it really does pay off:

  • Divorce
  • Foreclosure
  • Vacation home
  • Employment in another location
  • Aging parents

We have a client who decided to move closer to work after he was divorced. His ex-wife moved away as well, so their joint home was up for sale and vacant. We had trouble finding a carrier who would write the account, so we were forced to place it with the New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association (NYPIUA). This provided physical damage coverage to the dwelling only without the possibility of declination. The premium was higher, and liability was not included.

We were able to secure renter’s insurance on his apartment in New York City and extend the liability to the vacant house, located in a suburb north of NYC.

Why Is It So Difficult to Insure a Vacant Home?

Vacant homes can be attractive to burglars and vagrants, who can access empty property more easily than occupied homes and cause damage.

And if you’re not living in the property full-time, it’s probably not getting the same proper care or attention as an owner-occupied property. The vacant property could sustain lots of damage if, for example, a pipe bursts or a branch falls on the roof. It’s the responsibility of the homeowner to address problems right away and prevent further damage.

Insurance is about leverage. You pay a small consideration (the premium) for a large sum of money in return (the benefit). Check with your broker on how vacant properties are treated to make sure you’re covered for both physical damage and liability.

Linda Rey is a licensed insurance agent at Rey Insurance with a broad spectrum of expertise in life, accident, health, property and casualty insurance as well as retirement planning and college funding strategies.
Follow Linda on Twitter.

Read More.

Flood Insurance: What to do Before, During and After a Flood

No comments yet


Leave a Comment


Name :


Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.


Insurance Archive

Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter