Most Common Causes Of Vacant Property Claims


Vacant Property Insurance Claims and Their Most Common Causes

By: Adam M. Matheny

It is not unusual for a property owner to find themselves sitting on a vacant property for a variety of reasons. Whether you have a property up for sale, a rental that is currently awaiting a new tenant, or you have a winter or vacation home; insurance carriers will you tell you that an empty property presents a unique situation with regard to insurance needs.

Exposure To Losses

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), homes that are unoccupied or left vacant could leave you exposed to a variety of losses and liabilities your current property insurance may not cover. The problem is that standard homeowner’s insurance policies were never designed to be used to cover properties that sit unoccupied for what could be months at a time. With this in mind, it is vital that you secure the right form of insurance to protect your properties.

Vacant Versus Unoccupied

For those of you who are not familiar with the difference between the terms “vacant” and “unoccupied,” here is how they are defined:

  • Vacant – a property that you do not live in and contains no personal belongings. This could include empty rentals, abandoned homes, homes being sold.
  • Unoccupied – this is a home in which you are not currently living, but still contains personal property such as furnishings, dishes, etc. This could be a second or vacation home.

Because these properties spend significant amounts of time unoccupied, they pose a significantly higher risk of loss or damage. Which in turn means that insurance coverage for these types of property tends to be expensive.

Common Causes of Loss to Unoccupied and Vacant Properties

Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of loss and damage to unoccupied and vacant properties:

  • Burglary – By far the most substantial risk to homes that are vacant or unoccupied. Homes that are left empty for long periods of time, it tends to catch the eye of would-be They can take their time casing the property and then spend their time cleaning it out. Or you could have squatters move in who cause severe physical damage to the property or create a serious liability problem for you.
  • Arson/Vandalism – Vacant properties are often subject to graffiti, vandalism, significant property damage including copper pipe and wire theft. The property may also be subject to more severe damage such as arson.
  • Lack of Maintenance – Often when a property is left unoccupied for an extended period of time, it goes without routine maintenance and any to catch things like leaky pipes, gas leaks, leaky roofs, and more. The longer these problems go unnoticed and unrepaired, the more damage will be done and the higher the repair costs are likely to be.
  • Liability Issues – When you leave a property unoccupied for an extended period of time, it can attract squatters and the homeless. Without anyone there to keep their eye on what’s going on, accidents can happen. Despite the fact, the person or people are in your property illegally; you could still be held liable.

Need More Markets?

Flow Insurance Services prides itself in having a variety of markets to fit the ever-expanding marketplace. We have markets for vacant and unoccupied homeowners insurance. If you need help placing a vacant or unoccupied risk, Flow can help!

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