Can I get homeowners insurance for a home I’m not living in?

UPDATED: Jan 26, 2012

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UPDATED: Jan 26, 2012Fact Checked

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Asked January 26, 2012

1 Answer

Any property can be insured, but the greater the risks faced by the insurance company, the more the premiums will be and the harder it will be to find a company to provide the coverage. Just as a home in a high crime area will carry higher premiums, so will a vacant home in a low crime district, and the premiums could become extremely high if the neighborhood already has a substantial crime rate.

The question for the home insurance company is whether you are insuring a home that will remain vacant for long periods of time, or whether you are insuring a home, such as a rental property that will be lived in by someone other than your immediate family. Dwelling insurance can be purchased for the home that does not include property damage or other coverage intended for the occupants of the home. This type of coverage is generally referred to as landlord coverage, and will only cover the structure and home owner liability. Landlord insurance is much cheaper than home insurance, but it doesn't include all of the coverage of a home policy.

If the home is a second home, such as a family vacation retreat, you would be better served with a regular homeowners policy, but you could reduce the coverage by only purchasing the insurance you need. For example, you could have scaled-back liability coverage, but purchase an umbrella policy that covers you for liability on both properties. Similarly, if you do not keep much personal property at the second home, you won't need to have full personal property protection.

Where you might have a problem is in trying to insure a vacant home that is not lived in for at least a portion of the year. This type of structure is highly susceptible to weather and crime and that makes it a high risk for insurance companies. However, if you insure it with the same company you use for your family's home, you can get a discount on the coverage, which would help bring the costs back into the average insurance range.

Answered January 26, 2012 by Anonymous

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