What kind of insurance do I need for a house that is empty? There is presently a homeowners policy.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Oct 27, 2015

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Insurance Question from Douglasville, GA

Asked on 10/27/2015

What kind of insurance do I need for a house that is empty? There is presently a homeowners policy. My Mother died in Feb. 2015. My Dad is in a nursing home. There is presently no one living in their house. I am in the process of cleaning out the house in order to rent or sell it. I was told recently that if the insurance company finds out the house is empty that they will cancel the insurance. Is there another kind of insurance that I need to purchase? I am afraid to call the insurance agent but also don't want to do anything illegal or fraudulent.

Answer given on November 23, 2015

If there is a homeowner policy on your parents home, the home must be occupied. Most insurance companies have a 30 day limit for a vacant home before much of the insurance becomes either invalid or limited. However, if you leave furniture in the home, it can be considered unoccupied and not vacant. Also, if you have someone stay in the home overnight every other week, that also keeps it as “occupied”.While it may be easier to rent or sell without the furnishings, the above solution may work better for your parents.If you can find the insurance policy, review it for the limitations on being unoccupied or vacant. If you can’t find it, call the agent and ask, on behalf of your parents what will happen if your father moves out.If you decide to rent the house, then you will need to change the insurance to a rental dwelling insurance policy. The agent for your parents can help you change that policy if that is the way you go.

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