Vacant Home Insurance: When Do You Need It?

Homeowners should have vacant home insurance if their home is vacant for 30–60 days or more.

Danny Smith
Written byDanny Smith
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Danny Smith
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

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Katie Powers
Edited byKatie Powers
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Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

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Updated June 6, 2024 | Reading time: 4 minutes

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Basic homeowners insurance won’t provide coverage for your home after it’s vacant for a month. It’s crucial to have a vacant home insurance policy if you plan to leave your home empty for significant periods of time. Even when you’re away from home, accidents and losses, such as severe weather, vandalism, and theft, can still happen.

When looking for the right policy for your needs, you should always compare home insurance quotes and coverage options.

Here’s what you need to know about vacant home insurance.

Quick Facts
  • The number of days for an unoccupied home to qualify as vacant depends on your specific insurance company and home insurance policy.

  • Landlords with a vacant property in between tenants should consider carrying home insurance.

  • Vacant home insurance can be useful if you plan on doing extensive renovations.

What is vacant home insurance?

Vacant home insurance protects your home or another dwelling when it’s vacant for a period longer than your basic home insurance policy allows. This period is typically 30–60 days for most standard home insurance policies, but it varies depending on your homeowners policy and company.[1]

Insurance companies may also refer to vacant home insurance as “unoccupied home insurance” or “vacant property insurance.” You can buy this type of coverage as its own policy or as an add-on endorsement to your current policy. Ask your home insurance company which coverage options it offers.

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Which properties need vacant home insurance?

Vacant home insurance can be useful in a number of different scenarios, including:[2]

  • You’re planning an extended vacation and your home will be empty for more than 30–60 days.

  • You rent a home and are in between tenants (you may need landlord insurance for this).

  • You’re doing extensive repairs on your home and expect it to be empty for 30–60 days or more (you can also typically purchase home renovation insurance for this).

  • You have a vacation home where you stay only during the summer.

A standard homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover your home in these scenarios because vacant homes are more susceptible to certain hazards, such as theft, vandalism, and untreated weather damage.

Good to Know

Essentially, a home insurance company takes on more risk insuring an empty home than an occupied one, so it requires you to purchase more coverage at an additional cost. Due to this increased risk, basic vacant home insurance costs more than a standard homeowners policy.

What vacant home insurance covers

Vacant home insurance covers much of what standard home insurance covers, though not everything. It covers the following perils:

  • Theft

  • Vandalism

  • Lightning

  • Fire

  • Wind

  • Hail

  • Explosions

If you still want additional insurance coverage, you should talk with your home insurer about other add-on coverages. Other useful insurance add-ons that homeowners and building owners may want to consider for vacant homes include home renovation insurance, landlord insurance, other structures coverage, and personal property coverage.

For example, you should also consider a separate flood insurance policy to protect against water from a flash flood.

Why it’s important to have vacant house coverage

It’s important to have coverage for your vacant house for the same reason as an occupied house — repairing home damage can be extremely costly. Some potential risks to your home, such as theft and vandalism, are more likely when your home is vacant.

How to get vacant home insurance

Unoccupied homes cost more to insure because they have a higher risk of damage to your property and personal belongings. If you need vacant home insurance, first ask your current insurer whether they offer it. Insurers often offer it as an add-on or separate coverage. If not, you’ll need to purchase it from a different insurer.

Insurance discounts for vacant homes

Some homeowners insurance companies even offer discounts for vacant home insurance. Common savings opportunities for vacant homes include multi-dwelling, multi-policy, and new home discounts.[3]

Ask your home insurance company or insurance agent what discounts you may qualify for.

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Tips for keeping your vacant house safe

You can take action to keep your vacant home safe from potential damage. Consider taking the following actions to avoid ever having to file a vacant home insurance claim:

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/ef76aca096/house-rental-96x96-green_017-maintenance.svg

    Perform regular maintenance

    Take care of your vacant property just as you would an occupied one.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/9e462f87fd/insurify-icons-auto-orange-96x96_010-house.svg

    Address fire risks

    Keep the home free of any flammable or combustible materials to lower the fire risk.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/7e8db66d9f/protection-and-security-96x96-yellow_016-door-lock.svg

    Set up a home security system

    Invest in a quality home security system, such as one that automatically alerts you if someone attempts to enter the home.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/1f2d0372c5/protection-and-security-96x96-blue_001-cctv.svg

    Install cameras

    Having cameras inside and outside your home can help you monitor any suspicious activity.

Vacant home insurance FAQs

Vacant home insurance can be confusing. The information below can help answer your remaining questions about vacant home insurance.

  • What’s the difference between vacant and unoccupied?

    A vacant home is a house not occupied for an extended period of time. Insurers often consider a home or property vacant after 30–60 consecutive days. Unoccupied is when a home is simply empty for a short period of time. For example, a home is an unoccupied property if every family member is gone for the day or on vacation for a couple weeks.

  • Why is vacant home insurance so expensive?

    Vacant home insurance is expensive because vacant homes pose a higher risk. Theft and vandalism are more likely to occur because the property owners aren’t home to deter potential criminals. Severe weather can happen at any time, but when a home is vacant, nobody’s there to alert the fire department if lightning were to strike and cause the home to catch on fire.

  • Does USAA insure vacant homes?

    USAA doesn’t offer vacant home insurance, but it does offer landlord insurance for rental properties. If you have USAA, you’ll need to look elsewhere for vacant home insurance.

Sources

  1. Experian. "What Is Vacant Home Insurance?."
  2. Farmers Insurance. "When Would a Homeowner Want to Consider Vacant Home Insurance?."
  3. Foremost. "Vacant Home Insurance."
Danny Smith
Danny Smith

Danny is a Brooklyn-based writer with a producer’s license for property and casualty insurance. A former editor at Insurify, he specializes in auto, home, and pet insurance. He works to translate his insurance expertise into digestible, easy-to-understand content for drivers, homeowners, and pet owners alike.

Katie Powers
Edited byKatie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
Photo of an Insurify author
Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

Featured in

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