Vacant House Insurance

Tashina KnightJanuary 4, 2008

I've seen one post on this subject, but it didn't really help with my problem. I have a house on the market that is vacant. It has been on the market for a month and a half and I am 4 hours away now in another house. My insurance policy with State Farm is clear that if I'm not living in the house with my stuff, after 60 days of vacancy the policy is no longer in effect. The house is 2 years old and generally easy to insure.

I'll need to get a different HO policy to keep the house insured by February (didn't move out til Dec 10th or so). If any of you have been in this situation and know of national companies that would be good for this sort of coverage, or if you have a regular HO policy which doesn't care if the house is vacant, let me know. My current agent is State Farm only, so I know I'll have to go elsewhere.

Thanks!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lucy

Can you not find anyone (whom you trust!) to live in the house officially for as long as necessary?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 9:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tauphidelt

We had State Farm on our last home. I had been checking rates and found another company that was cheaper, but hadn't gotten around to switching when we decided to move. I used the new company for the new house, and pretty much just never told State Farm that we'd vacated the other one. Fortunately, we came in under the 60 day clause when I'd need to make the real decision you're facing now.

Is there something in there about what constitues "vacant"? We had several items still in that home until we left and that was one of the things I was going to have to look up if we came to that point..l.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 10:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cordovamom

My brother in law experienced this problem when he vacated his home before he sold it. He called his insurance company to make sure the home would be covered while vacant and they told him his would be cancelled after only 30 days with no one in residence. He was able to find insurance that covered a vacant home, but it wasn't cheap. He said he paid as much for 3 months of coverage as he did for a full year of coverage for the home when he occupied it. So there are companies out there that insure vacant homes, it's just gonna cost you.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 12:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tashina Knight

I don't have anyone to stay in the house. I was only in Austin for a couple years and really only met the next door neighbors and casual acquaintances like that. Plus it's a big (3300 sq ft) empty house...it would need nice furniture to still show well.

The policy says that if you move a substantial portion of your stuff out of the house then they consider it vacant. Since we moved every scrap of furniture out of the house, that definitely qualifies.

I am expecting it to cost a bunch, but some people on the other thread said that their insurance company didn't charge them any more when the house was vacant, so I figured maybe there are other options.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 12:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kathyg_in_mi

Hmmm, isn't that your "vacation" home? Go visit it once in a while and insure it as your "vacation" home. So what if you are trying to sell your "vacation" home. We owned our retirement/cottage home for 10 years before selling our other house. Never an issue with insurance.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 11:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
whenicit

Good post for me to read. I was just going to call my insurer to see if they could reduce the insurance since it is vacant, seems like it'd be cheap to insure a vacant home? Now maybe I won't upset the apple cart before reading the policy. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 12:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
berniek

Renting a few pieces of furniture might be cheaper than the vacant home insurance.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 12:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tashina Knight

"If the insured (underlined) moves from the dwelling and a substantial part of the personal property is removed from that dwelling, the dwelling will be considered vacant. "

and then it says I have 60 days of coverage after that date. So I cannot have a friend move in and I cannot move in a couple pieces of furniture. I need a new policy. :)

Everyone with a vacant house, please check your policy. My policy for the house I just bought says that if the house is vacant for more than 30 days, they do not cover arson or vandalism at all. Luckily the old policy does not have that. Don't take chances with your house! I don't want to put a couple pieces of furniture in there or sleep in there a couple nights with a sleeping bag and hope that qualifies. I want to know that I am covered.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 6:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nancyinmich

State Farm covered my house while it was vacant. I switched from regular coverage to vacant house coverage and there really was not much of a difference in price. Since insurance is state-regulated, I imagine there are differences between the states on this.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 11:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cmarlin20

Everyone with a vacant house, please check your policy. My policy for the house I just bought says that if the house is vacant for more than 30 days, they do not cover arson or vandalism at all. Luckily the old policy does not have that. Don't take chances with your house! I don't want to put a couple pieces of furniture in there or sleep in there a couple nights with a sleeping bag and hope that qualifies. I want to know that I am covered.

Good advice, flimsy plans are worthless, you may not have coverage when you need it.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 12:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cassie_swpa_z6_7

We had a similar problem a few years ago when an uncle passed away and left us with his house to sell in another state (WV). We could only find one company that would insure it at a huge premium. Not only did we have to pay for a minimum 3 month policy at a time, we could not cancel the policy and get a refund once it sold. Naturally it took a long time to sell even then. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 7:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dragonfly_

We came very close to having to purchase vacant home ins. We moved out the end of June and I received a call from my ins. agent the end of September asking if our home was vacant? I believe what tipped them off is our auto policies were canceled as we moved to another state. They held both home and auto policies.
We had a failed Title V that took 3 months to complete. We were advised not to place our house on the market until we had the Title V in hand. Thankfully, when the ins. agent called we had a signed purchase and sale . We were just waiting for the closing. I also informed them I was there daily painting etc. I never gave this issue a thought until I was aware it was a problem.
I am curious how much higher the insurance rates are for a vacant home?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 7:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dreamgarden

How about hiring a house sitter? You pay the 'rent', they pay the utilities. Might be cheaper than insurance for a vacant house.

A link that might be useful:

www.caretaker.org

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 8:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
heimert

"I was just going to call my insurer to see if they could reduce the insurance since it is vacant, seems like it'd be cheap to insure a vacant home?"

It's cheaper on the theft of personal property; more for arson/vandalism. Depends on how those two risks balance out. Obviously tell the ins. co. that you don't want coverage for personal possessions.

As a practical matter, I doubt they're going to cancel the policy on day 60. It's unlikely they'll even know. One approach would be to call your ins. co. and ask them in general terms-- "I'm going to be moving soon, and may not have sold my home . . . "

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
talley_sue_nyc

I would think that, if you filed a claim, they'd point out that the policy AUTOMATICALLY cancelled on day 61.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 3:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cmarlin20

You may still be holding an active policy, but the terms do not give you coverage. A policy is worthless if it doesn't cover your loss.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 3:32PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Should we buy a home that was unoccupied for 6 years?
There is a cup-de-sac where a builder built 5 homes,...
coffeemama1
Home sellers: Terrible experience with realtors?
Hi there, I'm getting ready to sell my house and need...
dollhausimaginations
Seller isn't signing the sale contract
Land has been on the market for 1.5 yrs and asking...
net42k
Move into a rent house while selling current house?
I'm trying to figure out if this is a good idea or...
anniebeagle
How soon is "too soon" to select a realtor?
Not planning to sell until about this time next year....
lori_inthenw_gw
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™