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These two words are sometimes used synonymously; however, in the insurance industry, they are a world apart.
Let’s begin with the insurance definition of Vacant. A property is vacant when there is no personal property inside the home to allow for someone to live there. If there is a bed, a chair and table where a person could sleep and eat (and it is their intention to return) then it is no longer “vacant.”
Unoccupied is defined as a home that is furnished (with at least the minimum described above); however, the homeowner is not staying there at the time. Many homeowners who have second homes up north leave their Florida home “unoccupied” in the summer months.
Unfortunately, finding insurance for a vacant property can be challenging. Many carriers are reluctant to insure vacant properties for a variety of reasons.
Insurance carriers most often inspect properties within weeks of binding coverage. If the inspector reports the property is vacant, this could result in cancellation of the policy. The best case scenario is when a client tells us that the house was purchased furnished or that their moving truck is arriving within 30 days.
If you suspect a buyer will be leaving the property vacant for more than 30 days, encourage them to call us. We can guide them through the different policy options and get them to the closing table, with no surprises later.
Kevin Havemeier is a Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Kevin works with successful individuals and families with complex insurance needs. He analyzes his clients’ risks and collaborates with them to design customized solutions with the goal of ultimately delivering peace of mind. Comments and questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org