Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Coordinator
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (206) 624-3330/(800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter.com/nwinsuranceinfo
abandoned homes leave homeowners at risk
of serious insurance and financial pitfalls
SEATTLE, June 1, 2011 - Many homeowners who are desperately
seeking to relocate in the sluggish economy and depressed housing
market are leaving their homes empty, leading to significant insurance
implications and serious financial risk. Standard Homeowners
Insurance policies generally discontinue coverage if a home
is unoccupied for more than 30 days.
Unoccupied or vacant homes require special
coverage. Homeowners Insurance is specifically designed to cover
homes that are occupied. Standard
policies exclude losses caused by abandonment of a home or
neglect when the home is left unoccupied for a specified number
of consecutive days.
"This is a difficult time for many people,"
said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "We encourage
homeowners to reduce their financial risk by getting special insurance
for their homes if they are leaving them vacant or unoccupied
for more than 30 days."
A vacant home means the residents have
moved out and taken personal belongings including furniture. An
unoccupied home means the home includes furniture and personal
belongings but no one is living in the home.
Vacant and unoccupied homes pose greater risks,
and, therefore require different insurance. Some insurers may
grant a customer a Vacancy Permit or policy insuring a home over
extended periods of time, from a few months to a year. Coverage
is generally more expensive than typical Homeowners Insurance
because of the higher risks vacant or unoccupied homes present
both to the owner and the insurer.
Here are a few of the risks homeowners take
when leaving a home vacant or unoccupied:
- Break-ins and vandalism.With no one around to supervise,
vacant and unoccupied homes are big targets for thieves and
- Lack of home maintenance which results in preventable
damage such as roof leaks, frozen and burst pipes, water damage
and/or mold caused by worn seals and poor ventilation.
- Emergencies. Without someone to call for an emergency
response, a break-in could lead to serious vandalism or arson
damage and a small, easily-extinguished electrical fire could
destroy the entire home.
If you're moving to a new home and haven't
sold your current home, contact your insurance agent or company
about adequately insuring your property to protect your investment
and provide coverage for liability.
For more information about insuring a vacant
or unoccupied home, contact NW
Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942.
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education
organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington,
Oregon and Idaho.