According to insurance providers, a vacant home is a house left unoccupied for 30 to 60 consecutive days. Such a home is exposed to burglary, vandalism, or damage by natural causes. Unoccupied houses contain personal effects and property, whereas vacant homes do not.
Other differences between a vacant home and an unoccupied home can be determined via these facts:
A vacant home does not contain any appliances or personal home furnishings, while an unoccupied home contains everything needed to sustain the livelihood.
In a vacant home, utilities are turned off, while an unoccupied home has all utilities connected and functioning.
A vacant property may need considerable repairs before occupancy, while an unoccupied home is in an acceptable state to live in.
Premiums for a vacant home are considerably cheaper compared to an unoccupied home. This is because unoccupied homes have personal effects and appliances, furniture, and other valuables susceptible to vandalism.
While an unoccupied home insurance is considerably at a higher average than homeowners insurance – $1,842 against $1,228 annually – it can be prorated by the number of days the home will be unoccupied. For instance, if you will be away for a period of 30 days, you will only pay approximately $155, after which your general home owner’s insurance policy kicks in.
What Is Covered Under Vacant Home Insurance?
For vacant homes, the scope of coverage generally includes:
Damage or Vandalism – Any damage to property due to water, fire, or vandalism is compensated under vacant home insurance. Vandalism includes sinister activities on your property such as unwanted graffiti, or deeper forms of damage by uninvited persons – such as holes in the drywall.
Total and partial loss of the property – A vacant home may be completely destroyed, requiring binding from scratch. This is covered under total loss. The partial loss includes repairable damages without the need for complete reconstruction.
Liability – This covers all risks to anyone within your premises.
Perils – There are stated perils covered within the vacant home insurance. These include risks resulting from natural causes, such as earthquakes, hail storms, hurricanes, or flooding.
What You Need When Applying For Vacant Home Insurance
When applying for vacant home insurance, these are the documents you will need:
- Driver’s license or passport for identification
- The title deed to the property as proof of ownership
- Declaration of property value
- Length of time the property will be vacant or unoccupied. If unsure, the insurance company will issue an annual cover.
- Payment of premium
As vacant home insurance typically costs a considerable amount, there are factors that may increase or reduce the premium imposed by an insurance company. These include:
Location of the premise – If your home is located in high crime areas, the premium charged will be higher compared to homes within more secure locations.
Security measures in place – Investing in some security measures as a homeowner lowers the premium charged for insurance. However, homes without any form of security, like alarm systems, fences, gates, or cameras, attract a higher premium – as their risk is high.
Condition of the property – Properties in perfect condition are charged a lower premium compared to properties in a bad state. This is because properties in good condition are not prone to damages associated with entropy, compared to those with existing damages.
Vacancy period – For properties currently vacant but are up for sale or available for rent, the insurance charged will be lower compared to homes not put up for lease or rent. The longer the vacancy period, the higher the premium and vice versa.
The best way to protect your vacant home besides insurance is to have a few security measures in place. If you go away for a while, do not make it obvious that your home is vacant. Piling mail, lack of periodic visits to the premise, and unkempt greenery are some indicators of vacant homes. Be sure to visit the premise regularly as this will keep shady characters away. You can also talk to your neighbors and have them keep an eye on your home for any irregular activity.
Vacant home insurance should be something every homeowner or property manager undertakes. It helps save on financial costs in case of damage, loss, vandalism, or theft. For best advice and quotes on vacant home insurance, contact us today.