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What Is Unoccupied Property Insurance?

Misty Amber Brighton
Misty Amber Brighton

Homes that are vacant or abandoned can be subject to loss from theft, vandalism, or natural disasters, so homeowners may want to consider purchasing unoccupied property insurance to cover these things. This type of property insurance generally covers loss to property whenever it is not lived in as a full-time residence. An example of this could be a vacation home or a home that is for sale. Many home insurance policies lapse after the property has been vacant for some time, which means it could be very important to convert an existing policy to one of these types.

Vacant homes are often attractive to vandals and thieves because these criminals often feel there is little danger of getting caught when breaking into an abandoned building. This can mean the risk of loss can rise significantly once a homeowner leaves the premises for more than 30 days. In addition, unoccupied housing is still subject to damage from winds and hail like other homes are. If such damage does occur, an owner may not realize it for some time, so the initial damage may worsen over time. Many traditional types of property insurance require claims to be filed within a few days of the loss, which means these things might not be covered unless an insurance agent issues an unoccupied property insurance policy.

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Businessman giving a thumbs-up

There are many reasons why a home might be vacant, thereby requiring it to be covered under an unoccupied property insurance plan. A common instance is when vacationers purchase a second home to be used for holidays or as a summer residence. A homeowner could also need to relocate, thereby leaving the property vacant until a buyer is found. Still other times an owner may die and the property could be vacant until the estate is settled. Regardless of the circumstances, should a home become abandoned it will generally not be covered under an existing property insurance policy unless there is an addendum allowing for this.

Since abandoned property is generally at a higher risk of loss, many insurance companies automatically convert a standard policy to an unoccupied property insurance rider once a home has been empty for 30 consecutive days. It can be very important for residents to notify their insurance agent before being away from home longer than this so that the necessary adjustments can be made. A claim may be denied due to lack of coverage if it is filed under a traditional policy whenever the house has remained empty for a specified amount of time.

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