If You Own A Home You’re Not Living In, Can You Still Purchase Insurance For It?
The simple answer is “Yes”.
Most homes that are insured by individuals who do not live in the home are insured on a dwelling fire policy. A dwelling fire policy is a simpler policy than a homeowners’ policy in that it doesn’t have many of the extended coverage and liability portion. This is the kind of policy most dwelling rental properties are insured under.
For example; if you’re not living in a home you probably will not have any personal property in the home and will not need con tent coverage, which is provided in a homeowner’s policy. Further, if you’re not living in a home you wouldn’t need coverage for additional living expense to pay for a place for you to stay if the home you’re not living in catches fire.
It becomes a bit more complicated when you discuss terms such as “unoccupied” or “vacant”.
An “unoccupied” or “vacant” home can be insured. It is up to the policy conditions and the insurance company underwriter what rate will be charged and what coverage will be afforded.
Often a homeowners’ or dwelling fire policy will not cover loss due to vandalism or burglary if the property has been vacant for over 60 days (30 in some instances). Normally the difference between “vacant” and “unoccupied” is the presence of furniture. A building can be unoccupied and not vacant if the owner has furniture in the building.
For example; if you went on an extended cruise and left your home unoccupied for three months, but had only taken the normal clothing and sundries for a trip, your home would be unoccupied, but not vacant.
If you leave enough furniture in a house so that it is apparent you’ve not abandoned it, the house is not “vacant”. There must be sufficient items left in the house for it to function normally as a dwelling.
It gets a little complicated when a home is going under massive renovation. If you remove your furniture to the extent that the home would not be functional it is considered vacant and burglary and vandalism losses are excluded.
There are residual markets who will provide coverage for “vacant” buildings at high rates with large deductibles.
All of this should be discussed with your agent.
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