Getting Insurance for Vacant Home
Can anyone give me advice on how to insure a property on the market that's unoccupied?
Our regular insurance company told us they do not insure vacant properties, and gave us the name of a local company that did. We bought a 6-month policy referred to as builder's insurance to cover the condo we bought to sell. We paid about $350 for the insurance, realizing we'd have to pay another $350 for another 6 months. We remodeled for a month, staged it, kept the water and electricity on, listed with a realtor, and checked the property almost daily.
Then a toilet malfunctioned (after a realtor showing on Friday afternoon), but no one knew, and by Saturday morning the unit was flooded. Our realtor and the damage remedial professionals she recommended assured us that insurance almost always covers this sort of thing.
Surprise. They don't. Our policy doesn't cover water damage. It covers liability and fire, not theft, wind damage, etc, etc. We still don't have a final bill, but to dry out carpeting (lifted and air dried), replace baseboards, and replace some drywall sections, our bill will be around $7000.
What do other people do to protect themselves when they have a vacant property for sale?
My advice to others is to read every page of your inch-thick insurance policy. It's an easy read -- mostly just lists of what's excluded!