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Author Topic: Does your insurance have this condition?  (Read 1582 times)

RVRAC

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Does your insurance have this condition?
« on: July 24, 2018, 08:23:07 PM »
I just got my annual insurance paper for our condo.  I was surprised when I read one of the changes in the policy.  It reads:
“vacant dwelling” means:
      a) a dwelling:
         1) that has not been occupied as a residence for more than 60 consecutive days immediately before the loss"


Because we leave our condo for at least five consecutive months for winter it would be consider vacant and we would not be covered in some areas.  Does your insurance policy have this condition? Is this only a State Farm condition?
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NY_Dutch

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2018, 08:35:23 PM »
Check with your insurance agent, but that usually means "vacant" as in no furniture or other personal property on the premises. Not just an absent occupant...
Dutch
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darsben

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2018, 08:40:43 PM »
occupied is the key word in my opinion.
You are the occupant of the home.
Occupied can mean being in control of or it can mean actually dwelling in the abode.
Only State Farm and your agent know the answer.
Write a letter to them and ask for a written reply. No email, no phone call. You want their interpretation in writing.
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SpencerPJ

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2018, 07:02:18 AM »
For years, I flipped houses, and had to purchase 'vacant property insurance', at a premium for sure.  I know, Example, State Farm: vacant means, no-one living there at the time; and if you are in transition of moving, you have 30 days.  Water line breaks, is someone there to stop the flooding?  Outlet smolders for days before catching fire, no-one there to catch it?  Vandalism, etc etc

Glad you caught that in your paperwork, and to everyone, rest assured, if you have a tragedy, and the insurance company can find a weasle way out, your agent's hands will be tied.

I've wondered about how people who are gone for extended times from the sticks home handle that with their insurance, and I just figured most gambled.

sightseers

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2018, 10:48:15 AM »
 That means your house is uninsured if go on a 61 day vacation.

Back2PA

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2018, 10:54:43 AM »
There's no doubt that houses where the occupants are gone for extended periods present a greater risk to insurance companies - here in AZ it's not the least bit unusual to hear of air conditioners being stolen. That will only happen when someone has cased the house and determined no one is there.

I've wondered about how people who are gone for extended times from the sticks home handle that with their insurance, and I just figured most gambled.

I suspect that is the case. Not that they wouldn't, but the insurance company would have to hire a detective to determine exactly how long someone had been gone when the loss occurred
« Last Edit: July 25, 2018, 10:57:30 AM by Sun2Retire »
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John From Detroit

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2018, 11:04:19 AM »
Can the condo manager set foot in it once a month just to check.. that nothing bad has happned. Only needs to walk in, look around, walk out and lock the door.. Perhaps a gift card to a nice restaurant as compensation for the job would do.

Then the manager can honestly testify the unit was indeed OCCUPIED by an authorized person.

Don't know if the insurance (or courts) will buy it. but... Well. Talk to someone smarter than I about it (As regards this issue).
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2018, 11:28:17 AM »
All good comments above.  Insurers are getting picky about "unoccupied property" because of the increase in burglaries and squatters, and many policies have a clause something like  this.  I'm always careful when talking to my insurer and avoid saying be are away for extended periods. I use terms like "on vacation" or "at our vacation home". I also mention that someone checks the house regularly while we are away (relative, neighbor, police, etc).

NY_Dutch and Darsben are right on target, I think, but your insurer may try to bluff you on any longer term absence.  "Absence" is not legally the same as "unoccupied", though, and a surprisingly large number of people have season homes or take extended trips.  Away more than 60 days is common enough that the courts generally hold that is not exceptional behavior. Still, it behooves you to be able to show that you have taken reasonable precautions during your absence to protect against intruders and detect potential mechanical damage (plumbing leaks, etc)..
Gary
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garyb1st

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2018, 11:29:32 AM »
We had a question on our policy as well.  Our agent confirmed in writing that we had coverage.  This is his response memorialized in an email.

It was a pleasure speaking with you this morning. Per our conversation, the exclusion for vacant/unoccupied homes does not apply to our insured’s going away on extended vacations. It applies to vacant homes not being lived in (no full time residents, no furniture, etc...)

If you have it in writing from the company or an agent of the company, you should be good to go. 

Don't take a chance.  Don't rely on a telephone conversation stating you have coverage. 

Good luck. 
Gary B1st

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RVRAC

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2018, 11:35:18 AM »
I just wrote a letter asking for clarification in writing.  We will see what response I get.  Thanks.
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Optimistic Paranoid

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2018, 12:18:39 PM »
but the insurance company would have to hire a detective to determine exactly how long someone had been gone when the loss occurred

If the homeowner isn't aware of that clause, the claims adjuster could easily determine by asking a few "innocent" questions when he comes to investigate your claim.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2018, 12:29:12 PM »
LOL. If somebody casually asked one of your neighbors when you were last there, they'd probably say "Oh, they've been away all summer". Ditto at the post office if you've forwarded mail.  It's best if the question never arises.

Most policies also require the owner to take reasonable precautions against damage, or against further damage after the initial event. Hard to do that if nobody is around for weeks or months.
Gary
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sightseers

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2018, 03:19:37 PM »
Job #1 for any insurance company attorney is to try and get out of paying any money. 

The opposing attorneys should be viewed the same as law enforcement when asked any question, all questions should go through your attorney.

(don't you just love our litigious society  :o)

timjet

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2018, 11:26:22 PM »
I don't know what my policy says on this but I turn the water off, we have a well, and I turn off all circuit breakers that don't need to be on. We have WiFi cameras that I check occasionally and our neighbors are good about letting us know if anything is amiss. We have the grass mowed and pool serviced professionally. We have lights on Alexa.  I hope this is enough.
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Alfa38User

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2018, 07:43:49 AM »
My household policy requires a visit at least once every seven days or so. My neighbour carries this out as well as collecting mail for us. Don't know what we will do next year as this particular neighbour will be moving away after 48 years next door!!
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RVRAC

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2018, 04:51:10 PM »
Well, I finally got in writing a response from the State Farm agent:

"To be considered a vacant dwelling the homeowner must 1st not have the intent to return to the property. (As an example in the case of an abandoned or a home taken over by the bank.)

The second part is that a predominant amount of personal property has been removed or is absent such that the dwelling is not functional as a habitual place of residence. In the case of secondary or homes for snow birds the home is owner occupied as they have every intent to use the property at their discretion. At the same time personal property remains in the home.

I hope this gives you peace of mind. State Farm is protecting the home in the case of loss during your travels and while you are there".


I wanted to let you know what happened with this.
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darsben

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2018, 05:32:59 PM »
Thanks for the come back
1990 Fleetwood Southwind on P30 chassis located in
Central NY in summer and beautiful Casa Grande AZ in winter

ChasA

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2018, 05:51:56 PM »
Thanks RVRAC.
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SpencerPJ

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2018, 06:23:53 PM »
Thanks for the feedback.  So my Flipping houses was a different circumstance.  I'm glad to see this, as I have State Farm on my primary House as well.


mel s

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2018, 10:24:03 AM »
I just got my annual insurance paper for our condo.  I was surprised when I read one of the changes in the policy.  It reads:
“vacant dwelling” means:
      a) a dwelling:
         1) that has not been occupied as a residence for more than 60 consecutive days immediately before the loss"

Because we leave our condo for at least five consecutive months for winter it would be consider vacant and we would not be covered in some areas.  Does your insurance policy have this condition? Is this only a State Farm condition?
deleted
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 10:28:43 AM by mel s »

garyb1st

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2018, 10:37:14 AM »
While I can't say for sure I suspect each policy has it's own and different terms and conditions.  No point taking a chance.  Ask your agent.  Do it in writing.  Have him respond in writing. 
Gary B1st

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darsben

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2018, 11:15:39 AM »
Thanks for the feedback.  So my Flipping houses was a different circumstance.  I'm glad to see this, as I have State Farm on my primary House as well.

But different states have different conditions even within the same insurance company so you need to check
1990 Fleetwood Southwind on P30 chassis located in
Central NY in summer and beautiful Casa Grande AZ in winter

johnaye

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2018, 05:04:37 PM »
You need to talk to your insurance agent.  I assume the term vacant is in an exclusion of some form.  Does the exclusio exclude any loss or a specific kind of loss such as vandalism?  If the exclusion is a problem, can you buy the exclusion back? If you are not comfortable assuming the risk of loss while you are gone for five months ask the agent to shop for coverage that will meet your needs or find a new agent.
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BinaryBob

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2018, 09:53:30 PM »
My household policy requires a visit at least once every seven days or so.

How was this determined?
I'm not aware of any policy from any insurer that actually defines "vacant", or what you need to do to prevent a "vacancy exclusion."
It seems a letter from your insurer or agent would be imperative for those that are away for an extended period of time.
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UTTransplant

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2018, 07:35:07 AM »
Well, I finally got in writing a response from the State Farm agent:

"To be considered a vacant dwelling the homeowner must 1st not have the intent to return to the property. (As an example in the case of an abandoned or a home taken over by the bank.)

The second part is that a predominant amount of personal property has been removed or is absent such that the dwelling is not functional as a habitual place of residence. In the case of secondary or homes for snow birds the home is owner occupied as they have every intent to use the property at their discretion. At the same time personal property remains in the home.

I hope this gives you peace of mind. State Farm is protecting the home in the case of loss during your travels and while you are there".


I wanted to let you know what happened with this.
That is pretty much the same as what my State Farm agent told me over the phone when we asked about the same wording. We intend on being gone 3-4 months.at a time. She said as long as you have furniture in it and intend on coming back, the house isn’t “vacant”. We do have one of the kids come by once a week or so to check on things, and we will have a security system that includes temperature and water alarms by our snowbird trip, mostly just for peace of mind.
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Marysmall

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2018, 04:31:43 AM »
First of all, I would make you sure about the insurance policy you hold for him. As there are many such fraud companies who send fake policy details and thus becoming a serious issue for the policyholder. Keep an eye on the original policy and cross check it with the insurance company by calling them. I agree If the homeowner isn't aware of that clause, the claims adjuster could easily determine by asking a few innocent questions when he comes to investigate your claim. I think you should now contact the public adjusters who can give you helpful hints regarding the insurance policy and claims.

NY_Dutch

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2018, 08:31:22 AM »
Allstate Customer Service has confirmed to me that our NY cottage is covered while we're away for long periods in similar wording to the previous quotes from State Farm, etc. One or the other of our daughters does visit the cottage every week or so, but that's mostly for our peace of mind, not for any insurance requirement. We also remotely monitor the interior temp during cold weather in case of a furnace issue.
Dutch
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2018, 08:39:31 AM »
Quote
I think you should now contact the public adjusters who can give you helpful hints regarding the insurance policy and claims.
Please be aware that the hot link in that post is to a business that sells a service. You can hire a "public adjuster" to advise you on your claim. Whether that is a worthwhile service is for you to decide.
Gary
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Marysmall

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Re: Does your insurance have this condition?
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2018, 01:12:26 AM »
Good luck.