Empty home

How to Insure a Vacant, Unoccupied, or Seasonal Home

Empty home

Do you have a seasonal home, or are you planning on leaving your primary residence for an extended period of time? It’s wise to consider what these things might mean for your insurance status. 

Even though it’s not well-known, it’s a universal truth that insurance companies do not continue to insure homes that are left unoccupied or vacant. This is generally because these homes tend to run more risks regarding vandalism, theft, and weather-related events (lightning strikes, flooding, hail damage, etc.).

Furthermore, a broken tree limb on your roof may create far more damage when left unattended to — and if you’re not at your home to know it’s damaged, this leaves the insurance company paying out much more than they would have had to for a home that was occupied.

And the entire concept of unattended homes and insurance gets even more complicated (if you can believe it!) because there are different types of unattended homes. In the article below, we’ll outline what you can expect when it comes to insurance and three different types of unattended homes.

Types of Unattended Homes

#1 – Seasonal Homes

Seasonal homes are those that you own for vacation or travel purposes. If you have your primary residence in Ashland, for example, you may own a vacation home in the Keweenaw in Michigan or north of Lake Superior in Minnesota. 

When this is the case, however, it’s obvious that no one will be living in your home for many months out of the year. Therefore, it’s more of a risk.

Unfortunately, many homeowners think that their primary insurance covers their second or seasonal homes. This is not true. Most insurance companies will not cover second homes under the primary home’s plan. For these dwellings, you’ll likely need to purchase a second policy altogether.

#2 – Unoccupied Homes

Unoccupied homes are those that you have left for a considerable amount of time (30 to 60 days or more), but that still house your belongings — refrigerator, TV, bed and other furniture, clothes, etc. 

Your insurance agency considers a home unoccupied when it’s been left this way for a set period of time (this set period of time varies based on the insurance company). For example, your home may be considered “unoccupied” if you left it for 60 days in the summer to go to your seasonal home up north. In this case, you would be in an unfortunate situation if something happened to your house while you were gone. 

Say, for example, an electric fire started unexpectedly. If this occurred, you may make a claim and be surprisingly denied. The reason would be that your home was considered unoccupied.

#3 – Vacant Homes

Lastly, vacant homes are those where the homeowners are completely gone, and all of their belongings have been taken with them as well. Often, the water, heat, electricity, and other utilities have been shut off.

Insurance agencies generally consider a home vacant when these factors are present and when the homeowners have been gone for 60 days. Then, they will cut off insurance. Remember that these homes will be ripe for theft and vandalism, both of which are not covered by most insurance companies.

Ask a Reputable Insurance Agency for More Information

Only an experienced insurance agency in the Ashland area can tell you directly what is covered and what isn’t when it comes to unattended homes. While home insurance itself can be confusing (even for just one home), vacant, unoccupied, and seasonal homes are even more confusing. 

Fortunately, the entire staff at Main Street Insurance can help you navigate home insurance for unattended homes. Stop by to speak with an agent, or give us a call today.