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Homeowners Insurance: Can I Insure a Vacant House?

By Compuquotes Team on March 27th, 2008
Homeowners Insurance

It can be difficult to insure a vacant house and gaining house insurance will depend on a number of factors. Insurance companies may balk at insuring vacant homes unless you can promise that there is someone checking on the home frequently.

A few questions that the insurance company will likely want you to answer are:
Is the house currently for sale?
How long will the property be vacant?
Does someone check on the house regularly?
Is the house itself secluded from view?

The problem with insuring a vacant house is that it tends to be a target for thieves, vandals and vagrants who need a place to stay.

If you can have someone check on the house daily, then the risk factor of insuring the home decreases significantly. However, if you don't have someone to check on it regularly the risk for damage, and thusly the risk for an insurance claim, soar. There are many things that can go wrong if you don't check on the home regularly other than thieves and vandals, there is potential for flooding from burst pipes and infestations of vermin or insects.

Most insurance companies will allow you a small window of time for the house to be vacant, usually three months (90 days)-and after that period of time, they can cancel the home insurance policy. You should check with your insurance company regarding their vacant house policy. The insurance company is also likely willing to work with you if you have a special situation, such as waiting to sell your old property after you have moved into a new one.

Another thing to consider is that your 'vacant' home shouldn't look as if it is vacant. Someone should be taking care of the outside of the house, such as mowing the lawn, picking up the mail, turning on lights and even parking a vehicle in the driveway. This will make your vacant house less attractive for vagrants and vandals.

There are also special homeowners policies for vacant houses that are offered by some insurance companies. These special vacant home policies can be difficult to find, but an insurance agent will be able to help you locate one-if an agent can't help you, then your state insurance department may be able to help you.

These special insurance policies can be quite costly, and there is still another option for you. You could consider hiring a house sitter, and while this may seem a little costly, the price of a house sitter could be much less expensive compared to your insurance premiums on an empty house.

The bottom line is that if you must have a vacant house, you should try to make that time as short as possible. If you do need to keep it vacant for some time, consider hiring a house sitter to keep a daily eye on things and ensure that the house is safe and kept in good repair. By doing these few simple things, you can ensure that your house insurance policy will not be canceled. Talk to your insurance company and let them know of your plans for a vacant house, and see how they can help you.

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