If your property is subject to being vacant or unoccupied, your fire insurance policy may seriously impair your insurance, or void it altogether.  This of course means you may not be covered at a time when the property is probably most likely to suffer damage from vandalism, arson, water damage, etc.

Vacancy usually means a property literally empty, with little or no contents. Unoccupancy usually means a property which may have contents, but which is not being utilized or occupied for any purpose. These two terms are subject to variations in how they are defined, and policies may vary widely in how long a property may be vacant or unoccupied before voids or limitations apply.  (Typical periods are 30 to 60 days of continuous vacancy- unoccupancy.)

Even given the usually neatly-drawn definitions, actual circumstances can obviously lead to complicated and troublesome disagreements between insurers and policyholders.

Underwriters may be willing to endorse their policies to provide insurance during extended vacancy-unoccupancy, however the premium charges are usually horrendous, and they will usually up your deductible to a startling number.  (A sobering reflection of just how likely a serious loss becomes when your property is obviously vacant.)


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