If you want to scare an insurance representative all you have to bring up is vacant homes. Any insurance professional who has been around the block will have a horror story about a vacant home. Often, it will be a home that was vacant for months without being advised. Sometimes it will be a client with a terrible claim due to the risks of a vacant home. Worst of all are those claims that are denied because a client never told their representative that a home was vacant.
What is a Vacant Home?
In insurance terms, a vacant home is any location where the occupants have left with no intention to return. Vacant homes happen for many reasons. It could be that the home is on the market and the owner has moved somewhere else. Other times the tenants have moved out of a rental home, or maybe the owners of a home have passed away. A home doesn’t have to be unfurnished to be vacant.
Why are Vacant Homes so SPOOKY?
When no one is living in a home there are many more chances of a claim. The heating may not be maintained, so water pipes could freeze. There’s a way higher incidence of vandalism. We also find that vacant homes tend to be maintained at a lower level. Often necessary updates aren’t completed on vacant homes. All of these reasons mean that most insurance policies have a statement that says a client isn’t insured if the home is vacant. If a client doesn’t tell us about the home being vacant and there’s a claim, it will be denied by the insurance company. We hate denied claims because we’re want to make sure you’re protected.
So, How do we Insure Vacant Homes?
First of all, we need to know a home is vacant. Each policy is different, so there are different rules for each company. In some cases we have 30 days where there is no extra cost to the insurance. You still need to let us know for those 30 days though, so we can talk about any coverage changes. After that, we’ll need to know how long the vacancy will last. We’ll talk with you about the coverage differences and costs depending on which insurance company you are with. We may require that someone visits the home on a regular basis, to make sure everything is in order.
Keep in mind that a vacation is different that a vacancy. We’d love to chat about your vacation plans, but it probably won’t make a difference on your policy. Please don’t tell us if you’re vacationing somewhere warm though, that just makes us jealous.
Why are Vacant Homes so Scary for Clients?
Unfortunately, vacant homes usually cost more to insure. Keep in mind that if you don’t advise of the vacancy you won’t be insured at all, so you’d be paying money for nothing. We will always advise you of the best way to keep your costs down, all while maintaining insurance, so please don’t be scared to give us a call.