Homeowners insurance is meant to cover a house that you use as a primary residence. If you rent out your property, own a vacation home, or have your house sit vacant for a period of time, your insurance needs will be different. If you don’t have the right type of coverage and something happens, the insurer may deny a claim and you may have to pay expensive bills out of your own pocket.
You’re Renting Out Your House
Insurance companies tend to pay out more on claims for rental properties than for properties that are occupied by homeowners. If you decide to rent out your house, either to a regular tenant or on a short-term basis, you’ll need to change the type of insurance policy you have.
A homeowners insurance policy covers your belongings, as well as those of your family members who live with you. If you rent out your house and get a landlord insurance policy, it may not cover your personal property that you keep at the house, unless you use those belongings to maintain the property or you rent out the house fully furnished. If you have long-term tenants, you may want to ask or require them to purchase their own renters insurance policy.
Your liability coverage may also be more limited if you rent out the property. Landlord insurance may, however, cover loss of rental income if the house is damaged and you can no longer rent it out.
You Have a Vacation House
If you own a vacation home, you may choose not to cover all your belongings that you keep at the house, and you won’t need coverage for additional living expenses since you will still be able to live at your primary residence if the vacation house is damaged and needs repairs. If you rent out the vacation house when you’re not staying there, you may need a landlord policy.
Your Home Is Vacant
A vacant house is more vulnerable to break-ins and acts of vandalism than one that’s occupied. A problem that occurs inside, such as a burst pipe, can result in significant damage since it may go undetected for several hours or days. There is also a higher chance that someone will get injured on a vacant property and that you will have to file a liability claim.
Your current homeowners insurance policy will cover your house if you go away for a short time. If the property sits vacant for an extended period because you’re having it renovated, trying to sell it, looking for a new renter or going on a long business trip, you may need to purchase a vacant home insurance policy.
Talk to Your Insurance Agent
Insurance is complicated, and each company has its own policies and rules. If you have any questions, or if your situation changes, contact your agent to make sure that you have the right coverage.