You should inform your homeowner’s insurance carrier before your home falls vacant. The notification is necessary because vacant homes carry more risks to insurers than occupied homes. A home vacancy is not just an issue for those with multiple homes; even homeowners with single homes sometimes leave their homes vacant for prolonged periods.
Why Your Home May Fall Vacant
Even if you only have one home, you may have to leave it vacant for some time. Here are some of the potential reasons you may have a vacant home:
You have to leave the home for some forms of home renovations. A whole-house renovation project, for example, may force you out of the house, particularly if you want the project over quickly. A renovation where you have to tear down some walls or deal with foundation issues may also force you out of the house.
An extended medical treatment period may also force you to stay out of the house for some time. Your home will fall vacant if you live alone. Or maybe you do live with someone, but they have to travel out of state with you while you seek treatment from a medical specialist.
Some people take extended vacations that make their homes vacant for long periods. Say you have saved some money for some time and planned to take your family to a vacation. In such a case, you may leave even with the dog and leave your home vacant for the duration of the vacation.
Lastly, your home may also fall vacant if you want to sell it because you have found another home. In a buyer’s market, you will have an easier time with the purchase of your next home than with the sale of your current home. If that happens or if the sale delays for any other reason, your home will have to stay vacant for some time.
Why Vacant Homes Pose Special Threats
Whatever the reason your home falls vacant, it poses a special threat to your insurance company. Vacant homes are more susceptible to various risks than homes that are not vacant. Below are some of these risks.
Risk of Fire
The risk of fire rises with a vacant home because no one is available to put out small fires that may arise. For example, if a passerby carelessly tosses a cigarette butt on your lawn, the cigarette may start a lawn fire that can burn your home down if it is vacant. But you can easily put out such a fire if you are at home to prevent serious damage.
Risk of Flood
The risk of water damage that involves water from inside the house also rises if a home falls vacant. For example, even a small leak may lead to a serious water pool in the house. A frozen water pipe may burst and fill your home with water. Both are things you can take care of and avoid water damage from if you are at home.
Risk of Burglary
Thieves love vacant homes since such homes don’t have people to thwart the thieves. The risk rises considerably if your home has valuables, such as expensive electronics, that passersby can spot from outside the house.
Risk of Injury
Lastly, your home also becomes a safety hazard if you leave it unoccupied for a long time. For example, the neighborhood children may sneak into your home and sustain injuries on your trampoline or swimming pool. Such victims of injury may sue you for their damages, and your home insurance company will have to settle the claim.
At Callis Insurance, we can help you get affordable vacant home insurance. Contact us for advice on how to keep your vacant home safe and how to enjoy affordable insurance rates.