If my house is left vacant, can my insurance company cancel our insurance coverage?
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Asked June 11, 2012
There are several reasons that an insurance company can cancel your homeowner's policy, including an increased risk based on lack of occupancy. In other words, if your home is vacant, it is riskier to insure than if it were occupied, and that could jeopardize your policy. If your home is going to be empty for more than 30 days, it is important that you contact your insurance company and make arrangements for insuring the vacant premises.
If your insurance company plans to cancel the policy, they are required by law to notify you at least 30 days in advance. Once you receive the notification of intent to cancel, you can contest the cancellation, compare new homeowner's insurance quotes, or give up insurance coverage on the home. Use the 30 days wisely to solve the situation, either by showing that the home is or is about to be occupied, or by making changes to your policy that will keep it active. Remember, it may cost more to buy a new policy after the existing one is canceled, so make sure that a replacement policy is in place before the notification period has elapsed.
If you decide to shop for a new policy, be sure to let the new insurance company know that the home is vacant, whether the vacancy is for a short period or an indefinite time. If the home will be occupied in the near future, such as being empty while renovations are made, then let the insurance company know. Most insurance companies will not extend coverage to the tools and materials of contractors, but you can insure the dwelling and other structures against damages and liability claims during the unoccupied period.
Answered June 11, 2012 by Anonymous