Whether you’ve moved out of your home before it has sold, or you’re a landlord with a property that’s between tenants, you need to have insurance on that empty house. Vacant properties are targets for vandalism, squatters, natural disasters, and arson. In addition, you could be vulnerable to liability for potential events affecting your house. So, what features should you look for in this specialty insurance?
- Peril coverage – this includes things like wind or hail damage, fire, explosions, or lightning.
- Vandalism/malicious mischief – not every vacant home insurance provider offers this so it’s worth shopping around. You will probably pay extra for it, as it’s typically available as optional coverage. This is a desirable feature because empty homes are often targeted for theft or vandalism.
- Liability – also usually available as optional coverage, liability protects you in the event that someone (or property) is injured on your property.
- Total loss – this element of vacant home insurance allows you to recoup the entire value of your coverage in the event the house is a complete loss.
- Convertibility – some companies (in some states) offer the option to convert the policy to a landlord or owner-occupied version. This feature is particularly useful for owners of rental property that is only temporarily empty.
Leaving a home empty for an extended period of time is a risky proposition. You can minimize your riskby checking on the property often and keeping up the outdoor maintenance to create the illusion of occupation.