Depending on how long you are away from your home, you need to make arrangements to ensure you do not void certain Coverages on your insurance policy. The sections below give some direction on actions you should take. When in doubt always call your broker for advice.
Home Insurance Topics: What do I do if my Home is Unoccupied?
When away for a short time
If you will be away from your home for fewer than 30 days, you do not need to inform your insurer. However, you do need to arrange for a competent person to look in on your home on a regular basis to make sure that everything is in good order. If you are absent from your house for more than 4 days during heating season, arrange for someone to inspect your property on a daily basis, or turn off the water and drain the pipes. Most insurers will exclude damage caused by frozen pipes unless these actions have been taken.
For longer absences
If you are away for more than 30 days, your home is considered "unoccupied" because you plan to return. In this case, you should contact your broker to determine whether you will need to inform your insurer and obtain a special permit to leave the house empty. You will still need to arrange regular checks on the property, and you might want to consider draining water pipes and installing a good security alarm system.
If the property is empty
A fully vacant property is one with no occupants and no contents. This may occur if a house sale is delayed and the property remains vacant until sold. In this case, you need to obtain a vacancy permit from your insurer. This permit will maintain most of your coverage, except for risks associated with vacancy such as broken water pipes, broken glass or vandalism.These permits can be obtained for up to three months.
Before you leave your dwelling unoccupied, check with your broker to be sure that you are covered.