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Insurance companies will only cover a vacant home for up to 60 days. After that, important coverages are dropped. A home is defined at “vacant” if it does not contain enough furniture for someone reasonably to live there. There are two problems with a home that is vacant greater than 60 days:

  • Vandalism and glass breakage are not covered at all. In fact, newer homeowners forms often exclude any ensuing loss started by vandalism (i.e., vandals burn the house down!).
  • Most homeowners insurers won’t continue to insure a vacant home. If your policy is canceled or nonrenewed for vacancy reasons, there are only a handful of insurers willing to insure a vacant home. For the customer, either the coverage is very limited but the premium is reasonable, or the coverage is as good as the homeowners policy but the premium cost is 4-5 times greater.

Another strategy if you are actively trying to sell the property is to ask your realtor to “stage” your house with rented furniture. A house staged attractively will sell faster and usually at a higher price than a vacant property. So while the property may be unoccupied, it does not meet the definition of vacant and you can continue regular coverage.

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