I am sure that you have noticed the increasing number of vacant homes on the market. At one time, one out of eight or nine houses were vacant. In this market, the norm seems to be reversed...one out of eight or nine are inhabited. It makes it nice for showing property (although most of them are really cold since, for some reason, the listing agents think it is OK to freeze while you are showing the property). HOWEVER...
How many sellers have maintained some kind of vacant home hazard insurance? Do sellers understand that after 31 days, the insurance reverts to fire insurance only? If any other kind of damage occurs, it is not covered. Having someone "stop by" once in awhile does not qualify it as being inhabited. Someone must be living in the house more than half of the time. My insurance agent assures me that if there is a claim, they will check with neighbors, check utility bills, etc to be certain that it was truly inhabited.
So, if you have a vacant listing, be certain that your sellers understand the consequences of not informing their insurance company that the property is vacant and not purchasing the appropriate insurance.
House on fire from Flickr by Krawiec
Water Damage from Flickr by Else esq.