What do you mean my homeowner’s insurance won’t pay? My premium is paid!

Prudent homeowners carry insurance for fire and other liabilities on what is typically their largest asset, the home. But most homeowners don’t realize that their policy includes a “vacancy clause.”

The vacancy clause suspends or restricts coverage if your home sits vacant or unoccupied beyond a period of sixty (60) consecutive days. If a homeowner dies, takes an extended trip or relocates only temporarily, their home is at risk for a denial of coverage. In other words, if there is a fire, water damage from freezing pipes, or some other typically insurable event, the carrier will deny coverage. This issue is of particular concern to “snow birds” who enjoy the warmer climates for several months over the winter. In disputes where the vacancy clause has been challenged, the courts have held that it is reasonable for an insurance carrier to require that a home is occupied at least once every two months.

One option to avoid a denial is to have someone stay overnight at the home at least once during the 60 days that the home is vacant or unoccupied. If that is not workable, we recommend you contact your insurance carrier to discuss the availability of an endorsement that will remove the vacancy clause.