Have you ever been shocked into reading your insurance policy from cover to cover? I know we are all supposed to read everything before we sign it. But admittedly, sometimes I rely on the “everyone-gets-insurance-so-there’s-no-need-to-read-through-all-of-this” mentality.
The big shock came to me when I read on Insider Real Estate Tips that some homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the home when the owner is away for an extended period of time (30, 60, 90 days+). This is because insurance companies know that if a home is vacant, it is much more susceptible to vandalism, theft, arson, un-repaired water leaks, and other circumstances. Generally, I wouldn’t have to worry about this; the longest trip I ever took was for 15 days when I traveled home while unemployed in 2008. But I have always had a nagging desire in the back of my mind to take a mini-retirement, go on a Peace Corps mission, or live in another country to work for an extended period of time. How long? In my fantasy, it would be six months to a year. I have even worked out our bills and budgeting on a separate excel sheet to see how we would survive in another country for a year while keeping our home in the US. The only thing I did not work into the plan is the extra cost of home protection.
After reading about Unoccupied Property Insurance I called our current homeowner’s insurance company as well as our previous one. The first company declares a home “unoccupied” after 60 days, while our current company declares a home “unoccupied” after 30 days. Both do not sell Unoccupied Property Insurance (and one of the reps warned me about how expensive it can be for us to get this).
Yikes! How will this fit into my plan?
It is likely that we would rent out our home if we were to hop continents. However, I need to look into any deed restrictions we may have with our Homeowner’s Association. And what if we do not find a renter? Because of this I thought I would shop for one quote just to get an idea of the cost we might face. This proved to be very difficult to do. In fact, I still do not have a quote. The first company explained that they do not cover vacant property insurance in the county where I reside because they have incurred too many expenses for past damage caused by wind and rain. And three other companies I attempted to obtain quotes from did not offer this type of insurance at all. Fortunately one of the companies that do not offer this type of insurance for our county has decided to call around other companies for us and find us a quote. Until then, I will wait to see!
Have you ever had a need for Unoccupied Property Insurance/Vacant Property Insurance? Did you find it expensive? Were you denied coverage?