Your Vacant Home Covered by Insurance: An Ultimate Guide

Oct 25, 2023 By Susan Kelly


Homeowners insurance is all about protection against financial loss due to theft, fire, and other covered perils. You may be concerned about the insurance policy's continued coverage of your vacant home if any damage should occur when it is unoccupied. It's possible that your regular homeowner's insurance won't cover an empty house. A vacant home covered by insurance policy could be what you need to cover any potential gaps in coverage.

What Is Vacant Home Insurance?

Knowing what is vacant home insurance and when it might be necessary can help you decide whether you need it. Both stand-alone "vacant home" policies and endorsements to preexisting "owners" policies are available for those who need insurance protection for their properties while they are unoccupied. Homeowners can feel safe leaving their properties in its care while they are away for an extended period. Homeowners insurance is different because it only applies while you own the home. The length of time an insurance company considers a home to be vacant can vary widely. If no one has lived in a house for 30 days, the insurance company may consider it empty. Some insurance companies might consider a property vacant after 60 days, though.

Why Vacant Home Insurance Matters

Mark M. Bello, a lawyer in West Bloomfield, Michigan, says that if a homeowner's insurance policy covers vandalism, but the coverage has since lapsed or expired, the homeowner is on the hook for repairs. Bello said, "If they don't repair the damages, it threatens the short sale." Since the bank loses money on the short sale, it reserves the right to foreclose at any time. As a result of the lesser impact on credit reports, a quick deal is much less stressful for the homeowner than foreclosure. If homeowners plan to leave their home unoccupied for an extended period, they should purchase vacant home insurance to protect the short sale.

What Does Vacant Home Insurance Cover?

The purpose of a vacant home insurance policy is to provide similar safeguards to those offered by a standard homeowners policy while the home is unoccupied. A comprehensive list of covered perils and exclusions should be detailed in your policy. Even though it doesn't cover everything, vacant home insurance can help pay for the most common types of damage that can occur when a house is unoccupied. For instance, if the house is in a flood zone, you might need to get flood insurance on top of the standard homeowner's policy. A policy covering a vacant home can vary from three to twelve months. There may be restrictions on the types of homes surrounded by your insurance policy.

For instance, some policies may only cover single-family homes, while others may cover multi-family structures with as many as four units. Aside from the home's age, overall condition, and estimated replacement value, insurers also consider the property's use and the reasons for any vacancies. The insurance company is more likely to file a claim on a vacant home than on one occupied all the time. As a result of the absence of a watchful eye, vandalism and other forms of property damage become more likely. The likelihood of water and fire damage also rises if routine maintenance and upkeep are neglected. A higher risk profile and premiums are possible if you need vacant home insurance for an older home or one that wasn't appropriately maintained before you bought it.

Tips for Obtaining Insurance

Most homeowners who engage in a short sale do so because they want to shield their credit rating or avoid foreclosure appearing on their credit report. You can accomplish this by purchasing a vacancy insurance policy. Get in touch with a local insurance agent to get an estimate of how much a policy covering a vacant home would cost. The premiums can be much higher than those of a standard insurance plan. Due to the high cost of repairing vandalism, insuring a vacant home is more expensive than insuring the contents inside. However, since many financial institutions will not cover the cost of repairs, insurance is a necessary expense. Insurance for a vacant home can be purchased every month, which is a plus.


Homeowners who abandon their property for more than 30 days may be held responsible for any unreported damages. If this is the case, they can ask their insurer for a particular amendment or look into getting a new type of policy. If a piece of property is legally recognised as yours, you are obligated to care for it. Neither your bank nor your current policy will pay for repairs if you vacate the premises before selling the property. Do what must be done to prevent vandalism and safeguard a valuable resource.

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