Life happens, putting you in a situation where your home is left empty. You don’t think twice about it, but what you do not realize is that, without the right home insurance policy, your vacant or unoccupied home could be without protection. Fires, vandalism, theft, and a variety of other risks are high in these homes. And, in Upstate New York, even seasonal homes need special protection.
Is Your Current Policy Enough?
This is the question many people have when they call our team at Skeele Insurance Agency. The answer is usually yes and no. Most home insurance policies will cover homes for a short period of time if left vacant or unoccupied, but usually no longer than 30 days. This is when you need a new, specialized policy. Here are some situations.
You’ve Moved Out but Haven’t Sold Yet
A vacant home fits the bill here. The home has no one living in it, the utilities are off, and your furniture is gone. A vacant home seems easy enough to protect, but it is at the highest risk level. It is not uncommon for vandals to shatter glass, break appliances, or even cause flooding in the basement.
Your current home insurance policy is likely to only cover a vacant home for 30 days (sometimes 60). And, only if you let them know the home is vacant. If you fail to do so, the company can cancel the policy. They can also deny claims related to the vacancy, such as those fires and break-ins.
If you have a home that is vacant, you need a customized policy. These are hard to find, but we have a few companies that specialize in writing these type of risks. Vacant homes are more expensive to insure, which means it is best to work on getting the home to change hands faster.
You’re Taking a Long Trip, But Plan to Come Back
In situations where the home is unoccupied, your furniture is still there. The appliances are on, but no one is living there every day. This home is still at risk. Imagine the basement flooding or that a pipe burst – no one would know it is happening.
In this case, let your home insurance agent know. The agent will likely cover the home for up to 30 days with a primary policy. Beyond this, you may need an endorsement to your plan. This will offer limited protection, though. It can be beneficial to have someone live in your home while you are not there. This helps keep it safe, locked up, and protected from damage.
You Have That Seasonal Home
Many people in Upstate New York have fabulous second homes, sometimes along the waterfront and other times deep in a forested area. Some home insurance policies will extend to these homes (others do not). In all cases, that property needs a home insurance policy.
Here’s a trick, though. If you rent it out, even for just weekends over the summer, we need to make sure we have the appropriate coverage and endorsements on it. A standard primary residence policy is different than a seasonal residence policy.
Where to Get Help
The key to remember is to contact your existing home insurance agent to discuss the way you are using your home. It’s okay to not be home for a few weeks, but let your agent know. And, if it is going to be for a longer period of time, work with an agent at Skeele Insurance Agency who is well-versed in vacant home and unoccupied home insurance policies. We will help you to create a policy fitting to your specific needs.