What to do about home insurance when you live in your home part-time
If you don't live in your home the entire year because it's your vacation home, you're a snowbird or you just like to take long vacations, you need to pay close attention to your home insurance. Living in your home part-time creates extra insurance risks, so you may need extra coverage.
Why is there more risk when you use your home part-time?
If you only live in your home for part of the year or leave for weeks or months at a time, there are several additional risks. First, a water leak could cause much more extensive damage than it would have had you been around to notice it. Second, storm damage, such as a broken window or leaky roof, can also lead to additional damage than if you had been home to repair it immediately. Finally, burglars are more likely to target an unoccupied home, and when you leave your home for long stretches of time, there's a good chance of someone with ill-intent noticing.
What does your home insurance policy say about long absences?
Most home insurance policies have a clause about how long you can leave your home vacant. If you're not living in your home or having a house sitter check in for a long enough period of time, you may automatically lose portions of your home insurance coverage.
Your policy should state a specific number of days or weeks that you can leave your home unoccupied. If you're thinking the insurance company doesn't have to know, a skilled adjuster can often tell by the nature of the damage alone how long you left your home unoccupied.
What insurance do you need for when you leave your home unoccupied?
There are a few insurance options if you leave your home unoccupied for long periods of time. For your primary residence, many home insurance policies allow you to add a rider that will extend your coverage to when your home is unoccupied. For a seasonal or vacation home, you can buy a special home insurance policy that accounts for your part-time use by default. If you choose to rent out your home during your absence, you may need to look into a landlord policy in addition to your home insurance policy.