Does your insurance have this condition?

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RVRAC

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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?
 

NY_Dutch

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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...
 

darsben

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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.
 

SpencerPJ

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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.
 
S

sightseers

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That means your house is uninsured if go on a 61 day vacation.
 

Back2PA

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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.

spencerpj said:
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
 

John From Detroit

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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).
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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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)..
 

garyb1st

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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. 
 

RVRAC

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I just wrote a letter asking for clarification in writing.  We will see what response I get.  Thanks.
 

Optimistic Paranoid

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Sun2Retire said:
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.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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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.
 
S

sightseers

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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  :eek:)
 

timjet

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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.
 

Alfa38User

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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!!
 

RVRAC

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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.
 

SpencerPJ

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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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RVRAC said:
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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