Do I Need House Insurance When It Is Unoccupied?

Suburban house with for sale sign

There are various reasons as to why a property can be considered vacant. Some examples can include if a homeowner has moved into a new home but has not yet sold their previous one or if a landlord has a lengthy gap between tenants. No matter what the reason is, it is important to have the proper coverage to protect your vacant residence.

In the article below, we will discuss what you need to know about vacant property insurance.

Notification Period

If a home has been vacated and left unattended for a period longer than 30 days, it can be considered a vacant property.  A vacant residence is one in which the homeowner is not planning on returning to and individuals must notify their insurance company within 30 days of leaving the home.

What is a Vacancy Permit?

If your property has been deemed vacant, your insurance company will make arrangements for a vacancy permit which specifies the limited coverage which will be available to the residence. Vacant homes are subject to limited coverage as there is an increased risk of potential damage. Typically, a vacancy permit will protect against major risks such as fire but would not cover damage resulting from theft, water damage or vandalism.

The cost can vary between insurance companies for a vacancy permit.

Is a Seasonal Residence Considered a Vacant Home?

Many Canadians enjoy having a cottage where they spend their summer months. If every fall, you close up your cottage and leave for the winter, it is not considered a vacant property, as it is insured as a recreational property.

Protecting Your Vacant Home

Even if your home is vacant, you still may be required to take some precautionary measures to ensure that your insurance remains valid. Always review the vacancy permit to be aware of any inspections which may be required. In addition, there are a number of proactive measures which are always recommended to help protect your vacant home and give the illusion that it is occupied.

  • Use timers for lights
  • Hire someone to keep the lawn mowed, leaves raked or snow shovelled along with collecting mail and removing garbage
  • During winter, make sure that the home is heated enough to prevent freezing or burst pipes
  • Install locks on windows and doors

If you are unsure of whether your home falls under a vacant property situation, contact us at Bow Valley Insurance. We can help you determine the necessary insurance requirements for your particular situation and ensure that you have the proper coverage that you need. Plus, we will explain exactly what you need to know about having a vacancy permit and any limitations or conditions which may be a part of your policy.

For a free, no-obligation home insurance quote, contact a knowledgeable member of our team today.