Take a good look at this photo. I realize that it might be difficult to see the loose bricks in the chimney but believe me they are there. I took this photo while standing on my back porch after watching one of the loose bricks plummet to the ground, it just missed squashing one of the neighbor’s cats! This building has been unoccupied since before I purchased my home in February 2014 and every time I see it I find myself wondering just who owns it and what will be done when the rest of the existing chimney crumbles away. Is this house insurable and do the owners actually carry insurance coverage on this decaying, boarded up monstrosity? These thoughts led me to today’s blog topic – Can you insure an unoccupied building?
In order to answer these questions I had to turn to the Hudson Valley’s insurance experts – Hudson Valley Agents. Dave Jr had this to say, “A vacant building is a liability risk, no one is around to make sure the pipes don’t freeze or that the roof does not collapse due to the weight of the winter snows.” This fact makes insurance coverage for vacant homes and buildings rather tricky and many insurance companies simply will not write insurance for unoccupied buildings.
An unoccupied building is a big insurance risk. No one is around it on a regular basis to keep Mother Nature from wrecking havoc. No one is around on a regular basis to keep non-authorized people from entering the building and damaging it or themselves. No one is around to alert the fire department should a fire break out. And no one is around to prevent bricks from falling off of the chimney. All of these things factor into the price of insurance coverage for unoccupied buildings and believe me when I tell you that these types of policies are not inexpensive but there are ways to lower the premium costs –
1- Install a security system. Makes sure the system you install has a direct link to your local police and fire departments.
2- Hire a property management company to check the property on a twice daily basis. Look for one with access to local plumbers and carpenters so any damage can be addressed quickly and efficiently.
3- WINTERIZE!!!! Winter weather does more damage to unoccupied buildings than any other season so make sure you do all that you can to ensure that the building is protected.
4- Call Hudson Valley Agents. They have access to several companies that will insure vacant buildings which means better savings for you.
An unoccupied building should not be ignored and neither should it’s insurance coverage. If you have an unoccupied building and are having difficulty finding coverage give HVA a call and ask for Dave Jr. He’s the Hudson Valley’s best agent and will take the time to make sure you understand your policy and all that it does and does not cover.