A vacant home faces higher risks of damage and theft. The elevated risks can lead to increased rates. Here are some cases where you might need vacant home insurance, and how to keep the rates reasonable.
Signs You Need Vacant Home Insurance
You need vacant home insurance if your home will be vacant for an extended period. Here are some of the situations that call for vacant home insurance.
- You travel frequently and spend extended periods away from home every time you leave
- You have bought a home, but you don't plan to move into it for some time
- You have a vacation home that you only use a few times per year
- You have a rental home that sometimes stays without a tenant
- You have to stay out of the home during renovations
Your home insurance policy determines how long your home can stay vacant with the standard policy. Many policies give you a maximum of 30 days — you have to buy vacant home insurance after that.
Managing Costs of Vacant Home Insurance
Vacant home insurance costs are slightly higher more than occupied home insurance. However, the coverage rates still vary depending on individual circumstances. Below are some tips for lowering the cost of your vacant home insurance.
Secure the Home against Break-ins
A vacant home faces a higher risk of theft than an occupied home. Take these measures to lower that risk:
- Install a whole-house security alarm
- Install and maintain security lights
- Lock all the doors and windows
- Trim your shrubs and bushes to get rid of potential hiding places
- Don't announce your home's vacancy
Your home insurance company may give you a discount, depending on the security measures you take. Consult your agent for specific measures that your insurance carrier identifies as useful.
Reduce the Risk of Damage
A vacant home also faces a high risk of damage. For example, a burst water pipe can leak for weeks before someone plugs the leak. Below are some measures to reduce the risk of damage:
- Install moisture sensors to alert you in case of leaks
- Install a smoke detector to alert you in case of a fire outbreak
- Weatherproof your home
- Leave your heater on and insulate your pipes to prevent freezing
You should also inspect the home before you leave. Fix the defects the inspection might unearth so they don't cause damage while you are away. For example, you should replace corroded pipes that might burst in your absence.
For more information, contact a homeowner's insurance provider.