Vacant Home Insurance

Do you need to carry insurance for an unoccupied property?

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What is vacant home insurance?

A vacant home can present a lot of obstacles for a homeowner and an insurance company. Because of its lack of occupants, 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.

  1. Unoccupied vs. vacant home definition
  2. What does vacant home insurance cover?
  3. Is it mandatory to have insurance on a vacant property?


Is there a difference between insuring a vacant home and an unoccupied home?

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.

What does vacant home insurance cover?

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:

  • Malicious mischief
  • Vandalism
  • Fire damage
  • Explosion
  • Lightning damage
  • Windstorm damage
  • Hail damage

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.


When do you need a vacant home policy?

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:

  • Traveling for an extended period of time (unoccupied)
  • Selling a home and personal property has been removed (vacant)
  • A relative passed away and you are the new owner but do not live there (unoccupied or vacant)
  • The property is used as a vacation home and is it currently unoccupied
  • The property is used as rental and is currently without a tenant


Popular vacant home insurance companies

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:

Additional resources


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Ross Martin
Ross Martin LinkedIn

As a licensed insurance agent, Ross is responsible for researching and writing about all matters related to insurance. He has a background in writing and education, as well as a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London. He has been quoted by CNET, and Kin Insurance.