Yes, your homeowners insurance company will likely cancel your policy if your house is empty. Homeowners insurance companies may not insure unoccupied homes because they are not maintained regularly or could be targeted by thieves. This would make 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 policy is canceled. Typically, home insurance coverage will cancel your policy if a home is left unoccupied for 30 or more consecutive days.
Here are a few frequently asked questions about homeowners policy cancellations.
Q: How long can you leave your house unoccupied for insurance?
A: According to the Insurance Information Institute, some home insurance companies will offer you a “vacancy permit,” but you’ll have to request it before your home has been unoccupied for a 30-day period.
A vacancy permit will allow some of your coverage to stay active, such as fire and wind coverage, but will exclude coverage for theft, water damage or glass breakage.
Q: What do you do if your homeowners insurance is canceled?
A: If your homeowners insurance company is going to cancel your policy because no one is living in your home, you can buy 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. For a policy like the one offered at Farmers, the home must be for sale, in the name of an estate or under renovation.
Q: How do you avoid having your home insurance canceled?
A: If your home will be empty for more than 30 days, there is one workaround to avoid having your home insurance policy canceled: find a house sitter for your home so that your home will not 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.
A vacant home can compromise your homeowners insurance policy, but there are steps you can take to protect your coverage. For starters, consider getting vacant home insurance. You can also ask someone to stay in your home so that it is not vacant for more than 30 days.
Learn more about how to protect a vacant home here.
Penny Gusner contributed to this article.