Trick or Treat? Or, perhaps more relevant for homeowners: Vacant or unoccupied?
What’s the difference? For insurance coverage purposes, “vacant” means without goods or personal property, while “unoccupied” means that no one is living in the premises.
This is a critical distinction, because if a property is vacant for more than 60 days, you do not have coverage for vandalism and malicious mischief. If it’s unoccupied, on the other hand, your coverage is ongoing.
Why would a house be vacant? Typically, we see property vacancy in one of the following scenarios: 1. The property owner moved; 2. Someone inherited a property and has yet to occupy; 3. The property owner has multiple (typically, seasonal) properties and spends extended periods at each one.
If some ‘bad eggs’ in your neighborhood decide to have some Halloween fun at the expense of an empty property that you own, you’ll definitely want to know the difference between vacant and unoccupied.
In short: a property loss due to vandalism is NOT covered if the property is deemed to be “vacant.” So, if you’re going to leave a property vacant for an excess of 60 days, you should let your local insurance agent know and make sure you have the right coverage.