Do you need to carry insurance for an unoccupied property?
Why you can trust The Zebra
A vacant home can present a lot of obstacles for a homeowner and an insurance company. Because of its lack of occupants, home insurance companies view vacant homes as a major liability compared to a typical homeowners policy. Your current provider may allow you to add an endorsement to insure your vacant home temporarily or you may need an entirely new policy. Let’s explore the ins and outs of a vacant property.
Insurance companies group vacant and unoccupied insurance policies together, but the two words have different definitions. A vacant home is one without any personal property therein: all furniture, rugs, clothes, and other belongings have been removed. An unoccupied home is one in which no one resides, but still houses personal property. A home is considered either vacant or unoccupied after 30 days of continuous non-residence.
Insurers consider a vacant home as a greater risk than an unoccupied property, using the logic that you'd be more likely to check on your home if your personal property were located on-premises. If something were to happen at the property — a burst pipe or a break-in — the insurance company might be notified in a more timely manner.
Standard home insurance policies do not cover vacant or unoccupied properties. If you'll be leaving your home temporarily unoccupied or vacant, you can add an endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy to maintain coverage. Otherwise, the insurance company might require you to buy a separate insurance policy to cover your vacant home.
A vacant home insurance policy covers your home against damages caused by:
Vacant home insurance covers only the physical structure of your home. Vacant home insurance policies offer no protection for personal property, unless the vacant home coverage is added as an endorsement to your existing home policy. Many vacant home policies include liability coverage.
The details of vacant home insurance vary considerably by insurance company. The coverage above is based on a policy provided by Foremost, one of the most popular vacant home insurance companies.
Most insurers deem a home vacant — or unoccupied — if it has been uninhabited for over 30 days. Common reasons for a vacant home insurance policy include:
It can be difficult to find a company to insure a vacant home. The companies below specialize in vacant property insurance or offer vacant home-specific products:
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.