Vacant Building and Unoccupied Home Insurance: What You Need To Know

A vacant building stands on the corner of a strip mall

As a homeowner, it’s important to consider potential situations that can leave your home at risk. The more vulnerable your home is, the riskier you’re considered to insure, and therefore the higher your rates will be for your home insurance policy. If your home is left unoccupied, it will be exposed to a variety of dangerous situations, like break-ins or damage from an uncontrolled leak or fire. If these scenarios occur while your home is left vacant, your homeowners insurance policy is unlikely to cover the damage. However, you can consider vacant building or unoccupied homeowners insurance coverage to mitigate some of this risk. Let’s walk through what you need to know about this type of home insurance.

What is considered a vacant home or building?

Before you apply for unoccupied homeowners insurance, you should first understand when a home is considered unoccupied or vacant. A vacant home is one where there is no personal property inside to allow for someone to live there. Additionally, a home is considered unoccupied if it is left alone for longer than 30 days, regardless if there is property inside. An unoccupied home is considered to be more temporary, while a vacant home is considered to be an abandonment of the property. This definition also differs for commercial property—a building, rather than a home, is considered vacant when less than 31% of its total square footage is occupied.

Why do I need unoccupied homeowners insurance for my property?

Unoccupied properties have an increased risk of theft, water damage, vandalism, wind damage and other losses. Unoccupied homeowners insurance provides coverage for claims that otherwise would go unpaid by your home insurance company if such damage were to occur. If you have a rental property, you may need to consider other coverages, such as vandalism or burglary coverage, to add to your rental property insurance. You can also consider a lessor’s risk only (LRO) policy, also known as landlords insurance. 

How to Buy Homeowners Insurance For a Vacant Home 

Whether you have a rental property or a vacation home, your vacation home insurance coverage will be different from your normal home insurance coverage. However, you can likely purchase home insurance for either your vacation or vacant property through your current home insurance carrier. Some carriers offer coverage for vacant homes through endorsements or separate policies, and while you can find coverage through the same carrier as your primary home insurance policy, you may expect to pay higher premiums. 

How to Buy Homeowners Insurance For a Vacant Building 

As you shop and compare homeowners insurance for a vacant building, you’ll want to tell your agent that your building is unoccupied. That way, they can make sure you get the proper coverage. Vacant building insurance coverage can help protect your property from water damage, theft and vandalism, even if your building has been vacant for more than 60 days. You also may be able to add a vacancy permit endorsement to an existing policy.

SelectQuote Can Help You Save on Vacant Home and Property Insurance Costs

Having the right home insurance coverage for your vacant home or property will give you peace of mind. At SelectQuote, we have 35 years of industry experience to answer any question you have about homeowners insurance. In just minutes, we search a variety of trusted carriers to compare plan prices and details, doing the shopping on your behalf while you do the saving.

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