How should I insure a vacant building?

Q:

I own a vacant building I want to insure. How do I make sure I've got the right coverage for it?

A:

Let's start by going over what "vacant" means. A vacant building is one that is without regular occupants and whose former occupants have left with no intention to return. A building is deemed vacant if it is in this condition for more than 30 consecutive days.

It is, however, not simply an unoccupied building. A a build is unoccupied if it has no regular occupants but still contains things such as furnishings and other personal items. A vacant building, on the other hand, is devoid of its usual contents (see Business Insurance: Building, Contents and Stock to learn more about commercial insurance for housing content)..

Vacant buildings are commonly excluded from coverage under your regular homeowners or commercial property policies because they represent a rare and higher than normal risk. Luckily, you can insure your vacant building against fire losses and liability claims by purchasing Vacant Home Insurance. Unfortunately, these policies have many exclusions for things like losses due to theft, vandalism, water damage, or damage to glass (see 5 Water Damage Home Scenarios to find out which of them are covered by home insurance).

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Written by Jacques Wong
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Jacques grew up around the insurance industry and began actively participating in 2013. Since then, he has gotten a Level 2 license, won an Insurance Council of BC award in 2015 for academic excellence in the insurance licensing courses and educates insurance professionals through PNC Learning.   Full Bio