What You Need to Know About Vacant Home Insurance

Are you undergoing an extended home renovation soon? Or maybe you're off to another country for a couple months? Or perhaps you've purchased your first investment property? Well, depending on your situation, you may need to consider vacant home insurance in order to have coverage in the event of certain types of losses. Let's go through what it is and when you may need it.

What is vacant home insurance and what's considered a vacant home?

Because vacant homes can come with increased risks (like vandalism, as an example), you'll need to consider vacant home insurance in order to protect your vacant property. Vacant home insurance typically comes at an additional cost and may include limitations to your coverage. Keep in mind that depending on your situation (e.g., how long your property remains vacant) and/or your insurer’s guidelines, your property may even become ineligible for insurance. Your insurer may consider a "vacant home" as either:

  • a property that is no longer lived in;
  • was never intended to be lived in while under your ownership; or,
  • one that won't be occupied for an extended period.

For example, if you were to purchase a condo as a rental property and it's expected to remain empty for several months until you've found tenants, you should inform your insurer to understand your options and/or potential limitations to your coverage. As mentioned above, when a home is not being lived in, there are certain risks associated with it since it may not be actively visited or maintained. That's why vacant homes are typically treated differently than more common home insurance coverage packages.

Do I need to do anything, or tell my insurance company if I will be away from my home for longer periods of time?

There are more common situations where your home may be considered unoccupied as opposed to vacant, whether that be for a vacation or an extended business trip, as examples. In these situations, check your insurance policy documents or call your insurer for advice on precautions you are required to take, before you leave for your trip. These could include things like having a friend or family member check in on your property regularly, general maintenance like snow removal from driveways/walkways in the winter, or maintaining your heating within the home to prevent frozen or burst pipes during the normal heating season. Although you may not be required to notify your insurer if you'll be away, it may still be a good idea to do so for added peace of mind to ensure your coverage remains active in the event of an unexpected incident.

If I have a monitored home (smart home), does that count as someone checking my home?

The answer likely depends on your insurer's guidelines. Although a smart home monitoring system provides peace of mind and allows you to watch your home from afar, there's no beating an actual person doing periodic checks on your property. As mentioned above, check with your insurance provider if you'll be away for an extended period. They'll be able to guide you through the steps you'd need to take to ensure your coverage will still kick in in the event of a covered loss.

If I own vacant land that doesn't have a home built on it yet, do I need to have it insured?

Typically, an empty plot of land you own won't require its own separate insurance coverage, but you may want to check out your options with your insurer first for peace of mind. For example, if someone was to injure themselves on your vacant property and bring legal action against you, you'd want to ensure your policy provides liability coverage in order to be properly protected. Keep in mind that vacant land insurance and vacant home insurance are two separate coverage needs. Speak to your insurer to determine your best options.

At TD, we're here to help you figure out the best solution for your home insurance needs. If you're already an existing TD Insurance customer, you can chat with us or review and update your policy by logging in to MyInsurance. If you're new to TD Insurance and you're looking for a home insurance policy that fits your needs, simply start with a quote to explore your options.

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The content on this page is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Coverages described herein may be subject to additional eligibility criteria, limitations and exclusions. In the event you make a claim, potential indemnification is also subject to the receivability of the claim and the type of coverage you bought.

In the case of conflict between the content on this page and your policy wordings, your policy wordings shall take precedence. Please speak to an Advisor or consult your policy wordings for further details.