Is My Home Insurance Coverage in Danger If I Take a Long Trip?

Planning to temporarily vacate your house for such reasons as vacation, temporarily going to a nursing home, or moving out for renovation? Better visit your insurance provider as soon as possible, for your insurance may have moved out, too. Some insurance companies explicitly write in their policies that coverage is canceled on vacant homes. So, if you are unsure whether such a written a guideline applies to your insurance, better ask your insurance provider about it—before it’s too late.

Most home insurance companies set a time frame for how long you are allowed to vacate your house before coverage disappears. The Insurance Information Institute states that most insurance provides discontinue coverage of a home if it is left uninhabited for over 30 days; some allow up to 60 days.

The very reason for such a guiding principle of insurance companies is that vacant homes are at a high risk for unjust events as theft, vandalism, fire, and water damage. Uninhabited homes can leave potential risks undetected for a long period of time.  A simple leak in the basement or electrical problem, if left unnoticed and unreported, could lead to a fire that might even damage the entire neighborhood. Such catastrophic event is very likely to happen especially that is not person living the vacant house.

Before you vacate your home, study your insurance policy or ask support and guidance from your insurance provider. Some insurance companies grant a “vacancy permit” to those who requested for it prior to their vacating their house. However, the said permit only covers such perils as fire and wind, not theft, vandalism, or water damage.

But if you want to insure your vacant home with all the perils that are covered by your home insurance policy, you will need to purchase “vacancy insurance”, however, not all companies sell it.

Vacancy insurance can be costly, with much higher premiums compared to what you paid for a standard policy. However, you may arrange for someone to check on your home while you’re away, so that your premium will be slightly reduced. Other factors that affect the premium cost of vacancy insurance include: having smoke detectors, a central alarm system, and/or deadbolt locks. Another factor is the length of time that the house will be left vacant.

If you find vacancy insurance too expensive, there’s always another option. You may rent out your home while you’re gone. All you need to do then is to purchase a landlord’s insurance policy, which is a more expensive than a standard home insurance policy but is much less expensive than a vacancy insurance policy.

Truly, nothing beats an inquisitive, fully informed, and well prepared person. So, before you start off for a long trip or travel that would require you to leave your house unmanned for a certain period of time, it is best to purchase either a vacancy insurance policy, or a landlord’s insurance policy.