I'm in the process of moving across the country, am selling my present
home. Called my insurance agent today (Farmer's) to tell him of the
move, thinking some adjustment to the home owner's policy would be
required (on the one hand the house is vacant, so presumably more
vulnerable, on the other it's empty, so no content is there to be
harmed) he told me they will not insure an empty house & as far as he
knows no one will. I almost wish I had not mentioned it, but you can
be sure if I hadn't & the damn place had burned down, they wouldn't
have paid anyway if they found out it was vacant. Anyway, anyone have
any advice on insuring an empty house while it is on the market?
My cottage is empty 9 months a year, and much of the other 3 months as well.
Insurance company never said anything about it; the rates are pretty normal.
Try another company.
It is certainly best that you mentioned it; if there is a clause in your
policy about it, they would just deny the claim.
America used to be a free country until all the insurance companies
took over our lives. Any freedoms that remained were given to the
republican party to destroy.
Hpw many years habve you had this sleazy company? I bet you paid them
lots of money too, and got little back. I'm not sure what you can do
now, but once you are moved, be sure to pay back the favor and tell
Farmers Insurance that you bought your insurance elsewhere for your
new home. Also ne sure to notify everyone on the internet how this
company fucked you in the ass. Aftrer reading this, I will be sure to
never get insurance from Farmers Ins.
Not quite. It's not the political parties fault. It may the the fault of
You gotta look at the track record of vacant houses. It sits vacant for a
week with no lights, no movement, etc, someone's going to take notice.
Vandalism, who knows? Someone moved into a vacant house in my former
neighborhood and set up house. "We bought it" was their answer when asked.
When the sheriff showed up to evict them, they claimed squatter rights after
8 months. Nope.
The insurance company is out there to make a profit for themselves and their
This is a pretty much standard policy with most insurance companies. I got
around it by buying insurance for "vacant house under construction". Problem
with those policies is that you must prepay for the year and there is no
refund if you cancel three months down the road.
Again, that depends on the carrier.
Rules will be different in different states, but if you insure a
vacant home with Foremost here in WA, you don't have special
restrictions on billing or cancellations, you can put it on two pay
or four pay and you do get a refund for unearned premium if you
I'd start by checking the details of the existing policy, there's a
good chance the house will remain insured until the current term
expires, with a temporary reduction in coverage while vacant.
email@example.com is Joshua Putnam
: I'm in the process of moving across the country, am selling my
: home. Called my insurance agent today (Farmer's) to tell him
: move, thinking some adjustment to the home owner's policy would
: required (on the one hand the house is vacant, so presumably
: vulnerable, on the other it's empty, so no content is there to
: harmed) he told me they will not insure an empty house & as far
: knows no one will. I almost wish I had not mentioned it, but
: be sure if I hadn't & the damn place had burned down, they
: have paid anyway if they found out it was vacant. Anyway,
: any advice on insuring an empty house while it is on the
Not recent, but a few years ago my agent told me they would only
insure it against fire/theft if it was temporarily unoccupied. No
contents, hail, roof claims, etc etc; so it was minimal, but it
was insurance. Maybe he thought you were abandoning it? Are
taxes in arrears? Don't answer that; just being rhetorical.
I'd ask around; that doesn't sound right.
I recently moved and it took about 3 months to sell the property. My
local agent was much more understanding and suggested, hypothetically,
that IF a person were to move and leave the property unattended, the
insurance company would drop the coverage, and the mortgage company
could then possibly call the mortgage due at that point. Her advice
was something along the lines of "no need to tell them about it until
you have closed on the property sale, just forward your mail"
Unless the policy contains an exclusion for vacancy, the company
would have a hard time refusing to pay a claim if the policy was in
force on the date of the loss.
Again, rules vary by policy, by company, and by state, but as an
example, the policy I have handy has, in its Conditions, "The
residence premises may be vacant or unoccupied without limit of time,
except where this policy states otherwise."
Now, the company won't normally accept a currently-vacant house for
that policy, and they might decline to renew a policy if they know
the house is going to be vacant, but if they've already issued the
policy, and the policy is in force at the time of a loss, the policy
is still valid and they will still pay.
firstname.lastname@example.org is Joshua Putnam
I got exactly what I expected, a sold house and no problems from either
the insurance or the mortgage company. The agent I mentioned was my
INSURANCE agent - the local representative of the insurance company who
held my policy. She knew about it and advised me not to make any
official notice about it to the main office. I took her advice and
things turned out just fine.
I believe that "vacant" and "unnoccupied" are terms-of-art,
the former meaning you've left and don't plan on coming back,
and the latter meaning that you do plan on coming back.
If you don't have any luck with an independant insurance
agent, try looking at commercial policies. Are you
looking for asset-protection or liability coverage? A regular
umbrella policy should cover the latter.
Check around at other companies and or agents. I suspect anything is
insurable (for a price). It is difficult for anyone to tell you without
knowing what state you are in as the rules are different in different
Much depends on the state the house is in, since insurance is
regulated at the state level.
I'm only really familiar with Washington State, since that's where I
live and have my insurance license. In Washington, Farmers agents
can insure a vacant house through Foremost Insurance, which is owned
by Farmers. It has a variety of "specialty" policies for houses that
don't meet the standards for normal homeowners policies. But I know
there are states where Foremost does not offer those plans, so you
might be in one of them.
You might also call your agent back and ask what, exactly, the
company would do if your house is vacant. They already have it
insured, is vacancy grounds for a mid-term cancellation of your
policy, or would they temporarily reduce coverage while vacant, then
decline to renew the policy when the current term expires? How long
do you expect to own a vacant house?
You might try going to www.netquote.com and putting in the info on
your house -- it will be forwarded to multiple insurance agents
serving your zip code, so it's a lot faster than calling around local
agents to explain everything again.
Disclaimer: Unless you see my name on your Policy Declaration Pages,
I am not your insurnce agent and this is not specific advice about
any particular policy, house, or situation. Contact your own
insurance agent for specifics of your policy.
email@example.com is Joshua Putnam
Thanks for the helpful replies. House is in Ohio, will be totally
empty, save some appliances. Unfortunately I can't even check on it,
since we're moving to WA state. I have one rather knuckle-headed
neighbor who's marginally reliable, I'm going to ask him to keep an eye
open, but who knows? I'll check out the netquote.com site, also I
think I'll try calling Farmer's directly; although I've used this agent
for about 20 years for house & car insurance, he could be mistaken, or
as someone suggested on another forum, doesn't want to bother
re-writing the policy if he doesn't get anything out of it. That would
be too bad, but not a huge shock. BTW the house is paid for, so a
mortgage is not an issue. This situation must come up literally
millions of times a year in the US, I can't imagine there's no way of
accommodating it. Needless to say, I'd like to see the place sell
about an hour after I vacate, but that's not terribly likely...
I think your agent has either taken too hard a line or misunderstood the
circumstances of the house status.
1. It's not empty -- you've already said you've left some appliances in
2. It's not unattended -- you have a real estate agent that is looking
after it in preparation for sale and you're still maintaining it -- keeping
the heat on and the utilities working, clearing the sidewalks, mowing the
lawn, caring for the garden, etc.
3. You haven't abandoned it -- you'll have to be in the house for final
clean-up, closing, etc. In fact, although you'll be travelling, you won't
completely move out of the house until you close the sale.
In other words, you haven't left the house unoccupied, it's just that at
some time in the future it will no longer be your primary residence -- it
will remain your primary residence until you actually close on a new house
in WA. Hopefully you will be able to sell this house quickly and move on.
In my case, I bought my new house before putting my old one up for sale. I
insured the new house with USAA, and stated that the new house was going to
be my primary residence. It took three months to sell the old house, and
during that time USAA provided insurance for both locations.
There are variations -- for example, many people have a vacation home or a
secondary home that may be unoccupied for months at a time.
If you're eligible you might check with USAA on how to handle this
question. Since they primarily cover military officers they are regularly
faced with questions of houses that will be vacant for extended periods of
time. You might also call your state insurance commissioner's office in
Columbus and ask them for advice. Regards --
Go through the local yellow pages and find an independent commercial
insurance broker. You'll get covrage. It will be costly.
Farmers' agents are company employees and are in the business of
representing Farmers' and never the policyholder.
Same goes for All Snake and Snak Farm and Nationwide.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.