I’m getting a divorce. Can I cancel my homeowners insurance since the house will be vacant?
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Asked January 28, 2013
The circumstances surrounding why the house is vacant are not important where insurance is concerned. The statistics show that any home which is no inhabited is a higher risk to insure, both because of the increase chance of vandalism and burglary, but because a vacant home is not considered to be getting adequate maintenance. That you and your husband are going through a divorce does not change the fact that a vacant home is an insurance risk.
If your insurance company becomes aware that your home is vacant, they will probably cancel your insurance. Check your policy or contact your insurance company to find out for certain, but most companies will cancel your policy if the home is vacant for any sort of extended period. The vacancy clause is common, and has been put into use for good reason.
The length of time the home can be vacant before the policy is canceled will be different by state and insurer, but a 30 to 60 day vacancy period is going to be the typical timeframe. Your policy may give you a longer period, and you may be able to negotiate an extension with the company, but make sure that you have taken steps before time runs out and takes your homeowners coverage with it.
Some insurance companies will provide you with a vacancy permit, which provides reduced coverage while the home is vacant. For example, the policy might cover damage from fire or wind, but it might exclude coverage for water damage, theft, or vandalism, to name a few. Not all insurance companies offer the equivalent of a vacancy permit, and the specifics will vary, so contact your insurance company before the home is going to left unattended.
There is also a type of home insurance known as vacancy insurance. This covers the home for typical perils, including theft, vandalism and water damage, and may even include liability coverage for damages or injuries which happen to someone on the property. This type of coverage is not available from all insurance companies, and the coverage will usually be expensive, adding up to as much as 50% or higher than the equivalent homeowner's policy.
Answered January 28, 2013 by Anonymous