Will Your Home Insurance Be Void In Case Your Home Is Empty?

October 22, 2019
Jason Davis

This is a rule that many property owners in Alberta would find interesting and useful.

Why because it pertains to the risk that your property is exposed to when you are not living in it.

There could be several instances why you may not be living in your property and it might be empty. For instance, one of your tenants might have left the property and another tenant might be moving-in soon. It could also be that you own multiple properties, but live in only one; or have a lifestyle where you live in your different properties at different times, like a migratory bird.

What are the risks involved if your home is empty?

As cited above, whatever might be the reasons for keeping your home empty, most Home Insurance Quotes Calgary will be higher, since the insurance company will find it riskier to insure your home. The reason is simple – if an incident happens in your home, say a pipe burst, or an electric short-circuit; then it could take several days before it is detected.

This could cause far more damages than if the damage was detected and rectified right away. Another risk of a house being empty is that it can be broken into easily by thieves, vandalized and burgled. Secondly, it could be illegally occupied by homeless people.

Home insurance rule related to a home being empty

Looking at the above risks, home insurance companies across most states in Canada insert a clause in the insurance policy that requires either you, or a person/ agency nominated by you to check in on your property every 48-72 hours. In case this clause is violated, and damages occur while you were not in your property, then your insurance company is well within it’s rights to reject the claim and void the home insurance policy, even if you have paid all your premiums on time.

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What is an “empty home” in insurance parlance and what are your options?

Technically speaking, an “empty home” in insurance parlance means any home that is unoccupied after more than 48-72 hours. This is considered as short term vacancy. In case the time period increases to 30-60 days, then it is termed as long term vacancy.

Say for instance, you are living in Calgary and expect your home to be vacant for short periods, then you should be checking on it regularly. In case you live in another city, then you can nominate an agency for this purpose. If this is also not possible, then you should check with your home insurance broker and seek options for

home insurance quotes Calgary. Below are two options:

– You could buy an add-on that will be added to your existing homeowner policy, if it is available to you.
– You could buy a separate vacant-home insurance policy, if it is available to you.

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Best practices to follow if your house will be vacant for a few days

If you expect your house to be vacant, then it is a good idea to have your relative or friend check it for you every couple of days. Below are some best practices to follow, when your house is supervised during its period of vacancy:

– Make sure they check every room in the house to ensure everything is fine.
– Bathrooms should be checked to see taps are working, but closed.
– Heating system is functioning.
– They should collect your mail.
– Perform general maintenance on the house.
– Keeping a log of inspections can be helpful in case a claim is filed.

The above practices help your relative, or friend spot an issue in the nick of time.

In case you will be away for long

In such an instance, it is best to opt for an add-on, or separate vacant home policy. Details of such a policy will be advised to you by your home insurance broker.

Conclusion:
Always notify your home insurance broker in case you will be away from home for an extended period of time, as some of them require notifications about extended absences.

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