Home Vacancies and your Homeowners Insurance

Services for Real Estate Pros with Allstate

Every day you hear from clients who are put in a position of owning a home that is on the market for sale, and have already moved into the new residence. Obviously the financial and emotional distress from this takes a toll, but of course overseeing the property and checking in on it every few days is also very worrisome. I had a situation just a few years ago on my own home where I was out of town on a trip, and during this time a pipe froze and broke, spewing water into the basement for a a few days until an alert neighbor noticed my sump pump was running quite a bit more than everyone else's, and found the problem. Most home insurance policies do cover a home while it is vacant and on the market for sale, but usually an exclusion applies to vandalism if it has been vacant for 30 days or more. Also, if you do not keep the home maintained with heat and the pipes freeze and break, this is also excluded. Basically what this means is if you turn the heat off to save on the gas bill, and the pipes freeze, it is your problem. If something beyond your control occurs, like a power outage, or the furnace malfunctions, than the normal coverage applies, and coverage is not excluded for the water damage that occurs. Of course, your best bet for peace of mind is to look in on your home every few days, or a have a neighbor stop by and make sure everything is up and running the way it should be. This of course would be especially important during periods of extreme cold when a break is more likely to take place.  


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Philip Rutledge

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