Is My Vacant Building Covered?

Both commercial property and homeowner’s insurance policies are very black and white when it comes to coverage for vacant buildings.  Be aware of the following limitations and exclusions and talk to an agent about options to insure your property if it is vacant.

Commercial property policies exclude coverage for vandalism, sprinkler leakage, glass breakage, water damage, and theft or attempted theft to a building that has been vacant for over 60 days.  For any other covered cause of loss the amount paid for the loss will be reduced by 15%.  A building is considered vacant unless at least 31% of its total square footage is used to conduct customary operations.  Even if a building is not vacant, damage from water that leaks from plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or other equipment caused by freezing is excluded unless you do your best to maintain heat or drain the equipment and shut off the water supply.  It is worth mentioning that buildings under construction or renovation are not considered vacant.

 Homeowner’s policies exclude coverage for vandalism or glass breakage if the dwelling has been vacant for over 60 days.  Additionally, freezing of plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or an appliance is excluded if a home is vacant, unoccupied, or being constructed unless you have used reasonable care to maintain heat or shut off the water supply and drain the system and appliances.  Rest assured, if you go on an extended vacation your home is not considered vacant; but please take precautions to minimize potential problems while you are away.

Steve Richter