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Vacant Versus Vacation Rental – Why it Matters

Having a Homeowners insurance policy is crucial when you own a home, but what if you don’t live in the home? Homes that are left vacant for 30-60 days or more may be considered as “vacant” by the standards of your policy and may leave you with coverage gaps. Here are a few situations to consider for your properties’ insurance coverages:

Unoccupied Homes
Having a property that is completely unoccupied or rarely occupied can increase risks. Small problems that would normally be noticed by those on the property (e.g. leaks, non-working devices, etc.) can go for days or weeks without attention. These can lead to big issues, and that is why a standard homeowners policy is unlikely to provide coverage. In addition, you may have liability for accidents that occur on the unmonitored property. Not to mention, standard perils like fire, wind, and hail may occur without immediate attention.

Vacation Rentals
Properties being used as vacation rentals are likely monitored more frequently than unoccupied homes. However, they still likely have periods of being unoccupied, and they also have larger liability risks with various guests using the property. Regular homeowners policies generally exclude “business activities” like earning rental income. Have a homeowners policy with a “rental rider” or other similar endorsement? Make sure the policy covers you for the amount of times you’ll be renting. More frequent rentals are often excluded by the language in these policy additions.

Determine or Estimate Total Use
Try to determine or estimate the total use of your property for the year, whether it be unoccupied for a certain amount of time, rented for a certain amount of time, and/or owner-occupied for a certain amount of time. This will give you the information to discuss with an insurance agent so that they can help you determine the coverages you will need to adequately protect your property. Otherwise, a claim scenario may leave you with an exclusion you weren’t aware you had.

Don’t let the wrong insurance leave you with a vacancy on coverage. Contact us at 865.453.1414 to discuss the right coverages for your property.