Know Before You Go

Planning a vacation?  Maybe you’re going on an extended trip – an adventure!  Perhaps you have a vacation or second home you seasonally frequent.  Quite possibly you’re still deciding, but the one thing you should know before you go is if you’re homeowner’s insurance will cover your property when you are away. 

Did you know, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, some insurers may potentially void your policy if the property is left empty for 30 or 60-days or more?  Insurers could consider the property “unoccupied” or “vacant” which are deemed to be at higher risk for such things as vandalism and weather-related woes like burst pipes and fires. 

Let’s face it, insurance is all about tolerable levels of risk, so you need to do everything in your power to reduce that risk.  What would you do, while cruising the Caribbean, if there was a leak in your roof or the plumbing backed-up and no one there to take immediate action?  “Having someone to come by regularly and check on things” is recommended by the Insurance Information Institute – eh hem, maybe like a company who specializes in checking on property… like Roost Home WatchClick here for a description of our services.

But seriously, here’s what you need to know.

1. Definitions

  • Unoccupied – Suitable for immediate occupancy, personal property is present, utilities are active and appliances functioning.

  • Vacant – Void of personal property, utilities have been shut-off and the property is not being occupied.

2. Scenarios to Discuss with Your Insurance Agent

  • Primary & secondary homes – splitting times between homes could result in a packaged deal for premiums.

  • Extended medical leaves – there may be some special arrangements which need to be made to ensure your home is covered while you’re in the hospital.

  • Remodeling or construction – if you have to vacate the property, your home becomes susceptible to vandalism, thieves stealing fixtures and copper wiring, and other damages which may need a special endorsement.

  • Renting or selling – properties between rental turnover and those sitting vacant on the market do require a special endorsement should anything go awry.

  • Traveling – as mentioned above, if you’ll be gone for a while, you’ll need to have an endorsement to cover your unattended home.

Bottom line, talk with your insurance agent and be honest about your empty home.  A home is the biggest investment a most people make in a lifetime.  Why would you risk it?

A Tip from Roost Home Watch 

If you have a property here in beautiful WNC, we recommend you talk with a local insurance agent to ensure you’re good to go.  Wesley Greene at State Farm Insurance is the guy to talk to about how best to protect your investment.