Last Saturday, Allen Norwood wrote a great column in The Charlotte Observer about insuring vacant houses. I’d done the same awhile ago, and of course the article caught my eye. It’s the kind of thing that’s coming up more and more, and people might get further hurt because they have a claim denied because they didn’t tell their insurance company that the house is vacant.
Part of the story referred to a very useful web site put up by the NC Department of Insurance- http://www.ncdoi.com/. There you can find lots of information about all kinds of insurance, including homeowner insurance, that you may have missed in talking to your insurance provider. You can download their Consumers’ Guide to Homeowner’s Insurance among many others.
WordPress’ links are not working right, so here are a few related to his post:
Allen Norwood’s article: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/11/12/1830767/vacant-homes-expensive-to-insure.html
Consumer’s Guide to Homeowners’ Insurance: http://www.ncdoi.com/consumer/consumer_publications/homeowners%20insurance/consumer%20guide%20to%20homeowners%20insurance.pdf
My post on vacant house insurance: http://stansuther.com/2010/05/10/insuring-a-vacant-hous/
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I’ve had occasion recently to talk with several people who due to moves or inheritances will have a house that is vacant or unoccupied for awhile. Having gone through this with my own homeplace some years ago, I pay quite a bit of attention to that for my clients. Most people think that they can just keep the same insurance on the home that they would use if they were occupying the property. They figure that what the insurance company doesn’t know won’t hurt them. Well, it won’t hurt the insurance company, but it may hurt the owner. The fact is that if the insurance company policy is for a typical primary residence that is occupied most of the time, then if that is not the case, and there is a claim, whether it be for theft, fire, water damage or anything else, there’s a good chance that the claim will be denied after the insurance company does a bit of investigation. Don’t believe it? Check the fine print on your current policy about how long the house can be unoccupied or vacant.
If you face a situation that will result in your owning an unoccupied or vacant house, I recommend that you talk to your current insurance agent about the situation. Saving money on premiums is no savings at all if you have a claim that’s not covered.
If you have a home that you maintain as a second/vacation home, there are specific considerations there, too that need to be discussed with your insurance agent.
HERE is a good article that goes into a bit more explanation.
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