Debbie & Dave moved into their new home severals months ago. Meanwhile their old home has been sitting vacant with a for sale sign in the yard. Last week someone broke into their vacant home, turned on the water in the kitchen and bathrooms, then proceeded to close all of the drains. It had been like for a few days. You can imagine what kind of damage this caused. [Yes, this is based on a true story.]
When you buy a home, you buy a homeowners insurance policy to protect your home, your belongings and your personal liability. It’s designed to provide coverage while you occupy the property. However, homeowners insurance policies have a provision that states if a home has been vacant for 30-45 days (depending on the insurance company that number may vary) or longer you will have nominal to no coverage in the event of a loss.
READ MORE: Missouri Homeowners Insurance
This applies to landlords too. If it takes you longer than expected to rent your property you may have a gap in coverage.
Vacant homes are generally more susceptible to a loss because because no one is there to check on the property. Damages can go days (or weeks) unnoticed. Copper thieves is a common claim when it comes to a vacant property. But what about something that starts small. A water or gas leak. A bit of an annoyance for a homeowner, but it’s something that can be tended to promptly. If the house is empty, something small can turn large quickly.
Oh and if someone gets hurt on your property, who do you think will be responsible for their injuries?
Vacant properties can also be an attractive nuisance for kids, vandals, and squatters.
How Much Does Vacant Property Insurance Cost?
Vacant property insurance policies will be more expensive than a property that’s occupied.
Look through the lens of the insurance company, a vacant property policy will usually be a short term policy (i.e. One or two months. Maybe a year). The higher premium makes up for the cost involved to underwrite, issue and inspect the property (not to mention there is a higher probability of a loss).