A white vacant property.

Do You Have a Vacant Property? Know the Insurance Risks

Owning property outside of your current home requires a big investment of time and money. With this in mind, it’s critical to ensure that your property is safe from any and all, possible risks. Of course, this is especially important if the property you own is vacant.

Unexpected occurrences can come with owning property; you might be faced with a situation where your tenants leave, resulting in an unoccupied home. There could be severe weather damage to your property, and renovations are required as a result. Unfortunately, vacant homes are more prone to potential damage than occupied homes and are therefore considered a bigger insurance risk overall. Whether your property will only be vacant for a week or several months, for your security it is highly recommended that you update your home insurance policy with Will Marshall Insurance Brokers.

Your Insurance Broker should be made aware of the vacancy so that a plan can be established in an effort keep your premises secure and protected from a possible loss as best as possible.

Securing Your Property:

  • Always do your best to make the property look occupied: Keep the grass cut or snow shoveled, install exterior automated lights and ensure there is some interior lighting for night time. These small tasks will deter unwanted activity among your property, such as vandalism or the potential for thieves to enter your home.
  • Always be sure to switch out the locks with new tenants, so there is no chance that previous tenants can re-enter your property.
  • You may want to consider installing a monitored security system and put together an appropriate response plan should it be required.

Heat and Water Management:

Throughout the winter months, the potential of water damage to your vacant property rises dramatically; after all, the cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and burst. You can limit the risks associated with water damage with a few simple, but effective measures:

  • If you have a fire sprinkler system and hot water heating, your property’s interior temperature should stay above the freezing mark at all times.
  • If you cannot keep the home heated properly and the property remains vacant during the winter season, keep the water supply system off and simply drain the hot and cold water supply lines.
  • Throughout the heating season, prevent freezing and damage by filling any plumbing traps with an antifreeze solution. If water still remains in the toilet tanks, antifreeze can be used here as well. Should your heating system break down, antifreeze will stop the water from freezing and thus stop any cracking in your drain pipes or fixtures.

Additional Tips to Lower Your Risk:

  • Inform your tenants about the risks of leaving the property vacant and ask that they keep you posted on any travel plans, especially if they will be lengthy.
  • Inspect the property on an ongoing basis to ensure the heating system is working effectively and that there has been no damage from vandalism, theft, water, or weather.

Insurance policies will provide some coverage for vacant properties, but policies do vary as there is an increased risk of damage to the property. In some cases, once a certain period of vacancy has been carried out (often 30 days) the policy will no longer be effective.

Get in touch with Will Marshall for further information about vacant properties and your insurance coverage options with our specialists. Call us in Barrie at 705-726-2551, or in Orillia at 705-326-5664.

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