Did you know that you may potentially void your homeowner’s insurance policy if you leave your primary residence vacant for 60 days or more?
Few Tucson area residents know about this issue, but it’s one that more homeowners should be aware of. Unfortunately, insurance companies consider homes that are left unoccupied or vacant (we will define these terms later) more of a risk. In particular, these types of homes are more at risk for theft, fire, vandalism, and weather-related damage.
For this reason, you need to be hyper-aware if you plan on leaving your primary residence for an extended period of time. Moreover, if you own a second home or a third home, you should be aware that it may be difficult to find insurance for these residences.
Below, we will take a look at what it means to have a vacant home, an unoccupied home, or a seasonal home where insurance is concerned.
Vacant home: A vacant home is empty, and there is no personal furniture or property inside. It is not livable.
Unoccupied home: An unoccupied home has been left unattended by the owners, but it may be returned to at any time. It is entirely livable.
Vacant homes and unoccupied homes have unique definitions because they present different risks to insurance companies when it comes to insurance. First, vacant homes are riskier to insure. They pose a significantly higher risk because they have a high potential for vandalism and glass damage. Most insurance companies do not provide insurance or honor claims made because of vandalism. No insurance companies will cover glass breakage.
Unoccupied homes may be slightly less expensive to insure because they pose slightly fewer risks than vacant homes. This is because the homeowners are due back at any time, so damage will not usually be left unattended to for too many months at a time. Furthermore, vandalism is less likely when a home has the utilities turned on and furniture, and property inside.
Still, you need to make sure that any “unoccupied” homes you may own are covered. Even if you don’t own a second home, your primary residence could be deemed unoccupied by your insurance company, and your insurance policy could be voided. This can happen if you leave your main property for 60 days or more. 60 days is generally the amount of time that insurance companies consider too long to insure normally. You can, however, speak directly with your insurance company to see if they reference a different timeframe. All insurance companies are unique in this regard.
You may think that not having an inactive insurance policy for your home while you are away on an extended vacation or for another reason is that bad. However, let’s take a look at an example.
Let’s say that you had to leave Tucson to go north for a long-term medical treatment that lasted more than 60 days. You and your spouse left your home in Tucson and returned 2 1/2 months later only to find that there had been a small electrical fire in your kitchen that had put itself out. As any homeowner would, you filed an insurance claim with your insurance company. However, your insurance company found that you had been gone for 60 days or more. In this case, your claim would be rejected, and you would also need to reinstate your insurance policy for future coverage.
Have Questions? Talk to Mooney Insurance
All of this information about unoccupied and vacant homes can be extremely confusing and frustrating. Fortunately, Mooney Insurance is here to help. Talk to us today about any questions you have related to the topic by giving us a call or stopping in to see us.