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Vacant Property Insurance. Is Your Vacant Property Insured?

If my property is vacant, does that affect my insurance?

Blog by Nancy Nicklow of Huff InsuranceThe news is filled with stories about the unfortunate reality of vacant or unocupied properties.

Homes and businesses alike are standing empty. But do they have the right vacant property insurance?

Many owners may have purchased homeowners insurance / dwelling fire insurance or business property insurance policies while the homes or businesses were occupied. Now that there is a vacancy, they may have incorrectly assumed they have insurance coverage in place.

A vacant property is one where there are not belongings or furnishings in the property.

An unoccupied property is a property that still has furninhings or belongings inside, but nobody is occupying the property.

There are many reasons that a home may become vacant or unocupied, such as:

  • Home renovation
  • Waiting for a tenant
  • Owner has passed away
  • Owner moves into a nursing home
  • Etc.

Vacant or unoccupied properties presents special challenges.

The insurance premiums charged for occupied property does not take into consideration the increased exposures and risks of vacant and/or unoccupied property.

When a property is vacant or unoccupied claim severity of claims increase because there is no one regularly at the property.  So a leaky pipe might run for weeks till it is spotted.

The property insurance provided by most policies is limited, and may not respond at all, if the property has been vacant for more than 60 consecutive days (prior to a loss)!

Many if not most insurance companies will cancel coverage immediately if they become aware of the vacancy. Even if the policy is not canceled, there may be major problems in the event of a claim.

The occupancy status is considered essential (a material fact) to the insurance company. When the use and/or occupancy of a property changes many insurance companies may no longer want to insure the property.

OF MAJOR IMPORTANCE!

Does the property is deemed to meet the definition of vacant or unoccupied in your insurance policy?  If so, the following coverage limitations may apply.  

  • Insurance is suspended on glass breakage
  • Vandalism and theft is not covered
  • There is no coverage for damages caused by freezing plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire protection sprinkler systems or of a household appliance if the property has insufficient heat and/or the water system has not been shut off or drained.
  • On a commercial building, if there is 31% or less occupancy, in addition to all of the above, ALL claims payments will be reduced by 15%….(unless a vacancy permit/endorsement is attached to the policy)

Depending on the policy and insurance company involved, the entire policy may be void in the event of a vacancy or un-occupancy.

There are, however, solutions.

We pride ourselves on finding solutions for our clients.   There are insurance companies that will write Vacant Property Insurance policies.

We must, however, be first made aware of the vacancy or occupancy.  Please contact us if your property undergoes an occupancy change and we will help guide you through the necessary steps to obtain proper coverage.

Huff Insurance is a full service Independent Insurance Agent We have been dedicated to Protecting Lifestyles™ since 1960. We offer a full array of Personal Insurance, Commercial Insurance and Life Insurance & Health Insurance products. Call us at 410-647-111

 

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