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Ask the Home Insurance Expert

Q

Can my insurance company cancel my homeowners insurance because my house is empty?

A

Answer:

Yes, it’s possible.  Unoccupied homes can be hard to insure because they can easily fall into disrepair or be targeted by miscreants, making your home too much of a risk for your homeowners insurance company. 

Most home insurance companies have rules about how long a home can be vacant or unoccupied before the insurance is canceled.

Typically, home insurance coverage is in jeopardy if a home is left unoccupied for 30 or more consecutive days. 

Here’s more about insurance problems for vacant homes.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, some home insurance companies will offer you a “vacancy permit” if you request it before the home has been unoccupied for a 30-day period. 

A vacancy permit will allow some of your coverage to stay intact, such as fire and wind coverage, but will exclude coverage for theft, water damage or glass breakage. 

If your homeowners insurance company is going to cancel your policy on an empty home that you own, look around for home insurance providers that offer specialized vacant home insurance.  For instance, Farmers Insurance offers a policy that insures vacant homes valued up to $1 million and without restriction on the age of the home. Farmers says the home must be for sale, in the name of an estate or under renovation.

Another solution may be to find a house sitter for your home so that your home cannot be considered vacant by your home insurance company.  If you don’t know a friend or family member who can do it for free, there are professional house sitters you can hire to watch over your home, allowing you to keep your home insurance policy.

Last updated: Sep. 18, 2014