Often, homeowners in and around Phoenix own a second home in addition to their primary residence. Often, these homes are rentals or investment properties, but no matter their nature, it’s important to know that their primary insurance does not always cover these secondary homes.
Furthermore, primary residences may end up with voided coverage when homeowners leave their property for more than 30 or 60 days. If this is news to you, you’re not alone. Below, we’ll discuss everything you should know about ensuring insurance coverage for all your homes — with no gaps in coverage!
What Are Unoccupied and Vacant Homes?
The terms “unoccupied” and “vacant” may seem to have identical definitions; however, they are unique where insurance companies are concerned. This is important to know for you as a homeowner because your policy will contain language that may use the words unoccupied or vacant in important ways. Depending on which term is used, the result may have a large bearing on the outcome of any claims you make.
While your insurance policy may not directly define these terms, generally speaking, they each mean the following:
Unoccupied Homes Defined
A home will be deemed unoccupied by your insurance company if it is livable, but no one is currently living inside and has not been living inside for the last 30 days, 60 days, or another time period.
All insurance companies are different, so there’s no way to give a straight answer about how long a home can go unoccupied before insurance is voided. Simply speak with your insurance agency to see what their policy is.
Also, remember that a home is only unoccupied when it is technically livable, and no one lives there for the set time period or longer. If the home is not livable and no one lives there, the home will most likely be considered vacant.
Vacant Homes Defined
Again, vacant homes are those that are not livable, and no one is living there. Windows may be boarded up, utilities are generally shut off, and there aren’t enough personal belongings (furniture, appliances, etc.) inside to support “normal living.”
Vacant homes are a challenge to cover with insurance because they are highly susceptible to vandalism, squatters, and broken glass — all problems that insurance companies aren’t likely to cover.
Should You Be Concerned About Seasonal Homes?
In a word, yes.
Seasonal homes are another type of home to be concerned about when it comes to insurance. If you own a seasonal or vacation home, make sure you speak with your insurance agency (the insurance agency with which you have your primary home insurance policy).
Often, homeowners make the mistake of assuming their primary insurance policy also covers their seasonal home, but this isn’t common. If your seasonal home is indeed not covered, you’ll need to purchase a secondary insurance policy. This can be done through your current insurance agency or sometimes, through another agency, depending on your preference and whether this is a service offered.
Still Have Questions? You’re Not Alone!
It goes without saying that homeowners insurance is not an easy thing to understand in many cases. Homeowners all over the nation have questions concerning their primary residence policies as well as policies for vacant, unoccupied, and seasonal homes.
If you have questions about these topics, don’t hesitate to ask our agents at Smart Move Insurance. It’s always best to ask a licensed insurance agency directly when you have questions or concerns about your policy.
At Smart Move Insurance, we are proud to serve the neighborhoods and towns in North Phoenix, Cave Creek, and Anthem. Stop into one of our offices or give us a call today to learn more.