Vacant home insurance covers homes that are unoccupied for an extended period. It typically costs 50% to 60% more than your traditional home insurance policy, or around $2,170 yearly. Vacant home insurance costs more than traditional home insurance because unoccupied properties have a higher risk of exposure to weather damage, theft, and vandalism. We evaluated several vacant home insurance providers and selected the five best options:
- American Modern Insurance: Best for vacant home insurance
- Obie: Best for landlords who need vacancy insurance
- Foremost: Best for discounts
- Farmers Insurance: Best for switching between occupied and vacant policies
- Vacant Express: Best for commercial properties and renovation projects
American Modern Insurance: Best Provider for Vacant Home Insurance
- Quote process
- Unable to determine coverage details
- No 24/7 claims line
- Online account to manage policy and claims
- Easily switch between occupied and vacant property insurance
- Temporary or long-term vacant policies available
Financial stability: American Modern Insurance is owned by Munich Re, which has a rating of A+ (Superior) from AM Best.
American Modern Insurance is the best provider of vacant home insurance because it has two very specific policies that fit nearly every vacant home scenario. It has a strong financial position, flexible insurance terms, and an online account system to manage your policy or claims.
While it does have the same score as Obie, a broker we cover below, it is our leading recommendation because Obie’s vacant insurance is for one specific situation and industry. Meanwhile, American Modern Insurance offers vacant home insurance for multiple scenarios for its customers.
If you are concerned about the type of your structure, for example, a mobile home, then check out Vacant Express. It has an appetite for nearly every type of structure, including mobile homes.
You can get a quote from American Modern in two ways: by entering your address and then reaching out to an agent in your area or by calling it directly. You cannot get a quote online.
American Modern offers two types of vacant home insurance policies:
- The temporary policy is for landlords who have an unexpected vacancy or real estate investors who are currently renovating an investment property. This policy is a standard homeowner’s policy with open peril and replacement cost.
- The other vacant home policy is for properties that will be vacant for a longer term. This policy is leaner, with coverage focused on physical assets and instead of a replacement cost, offers actual cash value replacement.
American Modern is available in all 50 states and offers home and auto insurance.
Online you can manage your policy, view coverages, file a claim, and then track the progress of the claim.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), complaints are lower than the national average.
A convenient feature it offers for vacant property insurance is the ability to change the type of insurance you carry. For example, if you own a rental property that has become vacant due to a tenant leaving, you can ask your agent to switch it from occupied to vacant—and coverage will automatically change.
Obie: Best for Landlords
- Unavailable 24/7
- No in-house claims
- Extremely fast and easy-to-use quoting system
- Specialty insurer focusing on landlord insurance with the option to insure vacant property
- Quotes provide important base coverage for your property
- Coverage available nationwide
Financial stability: Obie works with different providers but doesn’t provide much information on them. One provider it partners with is Munich Re, which has an AM Best rating of A+ (Superior).
Obie is a landlord insurance company. Its inclusion on this list is because the reality is that landlords often find themselves with an unexpectedly vacant property when a tenant breaks the lease and leaves. In a situation like this, the current policy either no longer covers the property or can very quickly stop being effective.
However, Obie offers a vacancy clause (think endorsement) that you can purchase. This clause gets added to the landlord policy so that your home, even if vacant, can still be covered.
However, the company does not handle claims directly, so if you’d like one that can offer coverage when a tenant leaves but does handle its claims, then check out Farmers Insurance.
Obie stands out in the commercial property space, including vacant homes, by making it easy to get a quote and purchase a policy online. We received a quote in less than five minutes for a home that would be vacant for 90 days. The quote comes with three levels of coverage:
- Basic: $1,046 annually with building coverage, $1 million in liability, and $18,000 in rental income. It had other coverages too, such as water backup. The deductible for this was $10,000.
- Complete: $1,137 annually with the same coverage as above. The primary difference is the deductible dropped to $2,500.
- Premium: $1,272 annually. The coverage was very similar with the largest difference being, once again, the deductible being lowered to $500.
Despite being only six years old, Obie continues to deliver on its product. On Google, there are around 190 reviews with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.
Obie is available in every state and offers both short and long-term rental insurance. Its quote process is swift, and you do not need to produce any paperwork to finalize the quote and purchase the policy online.
There is an online account for policy management. However, if you need to call for any reason, it is available only on weekdays.
Foremost: Best for Discounts
- Two- to three-day wait for “online” quotes
- Quote and policy purchase exclusively through agents
- Multiple options: Agreed loss settlement, replacement cost, and named peril coverage
- Residential, commercial, manufactured home, apartment building eligible
- Prorated cancellation
- Multiple discounts available
Financial stability: Foremost is part of the Farmers’ family of companies. Farmers has a rating of A (Excellent) from AM Best.
Foremost offers personal and commercial insurance, and its vacant insurance policies are available for both lines of business. It is the best for the discounts that it offers to customers. Some key discounts for property owners include:
- Multidwelling: Available if you insure multiple properties with Foremost
- Multipolicy: If you have more than one type of insurance with it
- Age of home: For newer homes
The company states it offers online quotes—but it is just a request filled out online, which then can take up to three business days for a response. If you are a property owner looking for quicker insurance, then visit Obie for its landlord insurance offerings.
To get a quote, you can contact an agent who works with Foremost or call the provider. You can also fill out an online request form and then Foremost will email a quote to you.
The company offers a wide range of coverages for its vacant home insurance, making it highly customizable. Its starting policy is a simple dwelling policy, and then you can add the coverages that fit your property best.
It also has broad eligibility for the type of property structure or ownership of the property: manufactured homes, house flipping, homes for sale, rent, estates, trusts, and an LLC are all eligible for purchasing vacant home insurance.
Foremost is available nationwide and has a lower-than-expected level of complaints per the NAIC.
The provider offers a 24/7 claims line and offers an online account to manage your policy. Online, you can also file and track claims. For claims, it has over 2,600 adjusters with over 200 catastrophe response members to help you when you need it.
Farmers Insurance: Best for Switching Between Occupied and Vacant Policies
- Quotes only through local agent
- Limited information on coverage specifics
- 12-month pro-rated policy for cancellation
- Easily switch between landlord and vacant policies
- Option to apply vacant insurance to an owner-occupied home
- Customers are happy; very low complaints
Financial stability: Farmers Insurance is an established, nationwide carrier with a strong AM Best rating of A (Excellent).
Farmers Insurance is an established carrier offering personal and small business insurance. Its vacant home insurance is a blend of both with options for landlords and homeowners to make use of vacant home insurance. It made our list because of its strong financial position and great customer service.
It is very convenient when it comes to switching between policies: if your tenant leaves and you need to switch from landlord to vacant, or if you decide to leave your home on an extended trip, the insurance can easily be switched from the existing policy to a vacant home policy.
If you are a landlord who wants vacant insurance and the option to review and purchase insurance online, then check out Obie. It specializes in fast, landlord insurance.
To get a quote, you can contact a local agent through Farmers’ location system, call Farmers directly, or start the process online, and then an agent will follow up with you.
Unfortunately, Farmers doesn’t offer much detail on the coverage specifics that it has for vacant home insurance. However, it offers a 12-month homeowner’s policy with vacant home insurance as an option. This policy comes with flexible options for payment and a prorated cancellation.
As an established carrier, Farmers has the many conveniences you’d expect and great customer service. It offers 24/7 claims reporting line, risk mitigation assistance, and online account maintenance.
Its customer service is strong with almost no complaints registered through the NAIC for homeowners insurance and zero complaints for commercial property and liability insurance.
Vacant Express: Best for Commercial Properties & Renovation Projects
- Contact an agent for a quote
- Focused solely on vacant insurance
- More than 40 years of specializing in vacant home insurance
- Appetite for commercial and residential properties
- Convenient online account and claim management
- Specialized coverage for renovation and short-term vacancies
Financial stability: Vacant Express is owned by Global Indemnity. Global Indemnity has a rating of A (Excellent) by AM Best.
Rounding out our list, Vacant Express is a dedicated vacant home insurance provider. A downside to it being focused on this type of insurance is it doesn’t offer wider types of insurance, like workers’ comp, which a property management or real estate investment company may need. However, it has been insuring vacant property since 1978 and has a broad appetite including for new construction and renovation projects.
While Vacant Express is great for commercial properties and renovation projects, it doesn’t have information on discounts. So if you have multiple properties and are looking for a discount, then check out Foremost.
To get a quote, you will need to locate and then contact an agent in your area.
Vacant Express offers insurance for nearly every type of scenario where you may have a vacant building. It has insurance for:
- Short-term rental
- Vacant dwelling
- Vacant commercial
- New construction
For each specific type of policy, it has some different coverage options to fit your needs. For example, it offers named peril or all-risk peril coverage.
Vacant Express’ coverage is widely available, but you will need a quote to see if it is specifically available in your area. It offers flexible policy terms of three, six, and one year.
It has an online account for handling payments and managing the policy and claims. It also has a 24/7 claims call center.
In terms of evaluating customer satisfaction, there is not much data available. Although in the insurance world, sometimes no news is very good news, so the absence of reviews doesn’t mean the company is doing a bad job.
Vacant Home vs Unoccupied Home
As confusing as it may sound, there is a difference between a vacant home and an unoccupied home. The difference matters because most homeowner policies will have exclusions for a vacant property but not for an unoccupied home. A key indicator when it comes to the difference is what is inside the home.
Has been removed
Still inside the home
Are shut off
Are turned on
For periods between tenants
For several reasons, such as home renovation, lengthy vacation, and dual residences
There can be overlap on the above. For example, if the property is one you have recently inherited as part of an estate.
How Vacant Home Insurance Works
Carriers write homeowner policies with the understanding that you are living in the home. Usually, the policy will refer to the home as “owner-occupied.” Whether the vacancy is because of a rental or renovation project, vacant home insurance provides coverage for an unoccupied property.
Vacant home insurance is often structured with flexible policy terms (three-, six-, and nine-month policies) to accommodate the nature of the vacancy and prorated cancellation. If your property is a rental property and between tenants, many carriers, such as those we list above, offer vacant home insurance, which then transitions into landlord insurance once the property is occupied by a tenant.
Vacant Home Insurance Cost
Like standard home insurance, vacant home insurance accounts for many factors when pricing the policy. These include the age and location of the home, building materials, improvements, amenities, outbuildings, and the total cost of replacing the structure. Due to the risk of having the home unoccupied, the cost is 50%–60% higher than a standard homeowner premium.
Average Homeowner Premium
Average Vacant Home Insurance Cost
$2,198 to $2,244
$3,297 to $3,366
$1,369 to $1,617
$2,053 to $2,425
$1,337 to $1,735
$2,005 to $2,602
$2,380 to $3,515
$2,570 to $5,272
$947 to $1,045
$1,420 to $1,567
$1,016 to $1,300
$1,524 to $1,950
Note: The list was compiled from the national average of home insurance premiums from a variety of reports ranging from mortgage companies, data providers, and the Insurance Information Institute. An average was taken from those reports. These numbers reflect a standard dwelling policy with $250,000 in coverage and a deductible of $1,000. The vacant home insurance cost reflects the standard increase of 50%.
Factors That Affect Vacant Home Insurance Costs
As you can see, vacant home insurance is significantly costlier than a normal homeowner premium. That’s because vacant homes are susceptible to more risks. After all, no one is present to monitor and secure the property. This is different from a vacation rental property, which is generally less expensive to insure. Other factors that affect vacant property insurance costs include:
- Length of vacancy: The shorter the vacancy, the lower the risks, resulting in a lower premium.
- Security system: Installing business security systems and other security measures generally yield discounts on the insurance premium.
- Property condition: The better your property is, the better your quote.
- Neighborhood: If your vacant property is one of many boarded-up properties on the block, this will usually negatively impact your quote.
- Property oversight: If your business is a property management company, are people regularly checking on the vacant property? Make sure to let your insurance company know.
- Replacement cost: Larger homes with nice amenities cost more to replace at a loss, increasing the amount of coverage required, thus driving up the cost of the premium.
Vacant Home Insurance Coverage
It is important to understand that functionally, there isn’t a difference in what coverage is available for a home between a vacant home and a traditional homeowner’s policy. Vacant home insurance doesn’t cost more because it provides different coverage from a homeowner’s policy—it costs more because of the risks associated with vacant property.
Standard vacant property insurance coverage generally includes:
- Named perils: Losses from named perils such as fire, windstorm, or hail
- Vandalism: Graffiti and intentional damage to the vacant home
- Total loss settlement: Cost of replacing the property
- Liability: Property damage and bodily injury to others while on the property
Who Needs Vacant Home Insurance
- Rental property investors: If you operate one or multiple rental properties, you already know that tenants come and go. If a tenant leaves and no one else is renting it, or the next renter has signed a contract that will not start for one to two months, you will want to consider vacant home insurance to protect the property while it is empty. Many carriers will write a policy that will transition into a landlord insurance policy once the tenant moves into the home.
- Fix-and-flip investors: Fix-and-flip investors generally work with empty homes for the duration of their ownership. Typically, during the purchase, renovation, and sales process, flipped homes are vacant the entire time, so a standard homeowner’s policy will not cover it. Since this may be longer than 60 days, you will want to work with a carrier that can help develop a policy right for your specific business needs.
- World travelers: While traditional homeowner’s policies provide coverage while you are on vacation, most vacations do not last more than 30 days. If you plan a grand tour of Europe that will take months, you will want to get vacant insurance for your home.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
No, they are different policies, though they provide much of the same coverage for the dwelling. A homeowner’s policy will usually provide coverage for contents, too, and a vacant home will have no contents inside of it.
Vacant home insurance costs an average of 50% to 60% more than the standard homeowner’s policy. For instance, in Washington, an average homeowner’s premium costs $1,016 to $1,300, whereas average vacant home insurance costs $1,524 to $1,950.
Vacant home insurance costs significantly more than a traditional homeowner’s policy because it carries much greater risks. For the same reason, there is no one on-site to catch any problems when they start, so it is more susceptible to vandalism or liability.
If you own a home that is unoccupied and empty, meaning there is no furniture or anything inside—for any reason other than you are moving into the home shortly—then you need to speak with an agent about purchasing vacant home insurance.
Typically, if no one has been in the house for 30 days, the home is then considered to be unoccupied. State law may have some bearing on the specific period before a home is considered unoccupied.
Suppose your home is vacant for an extended time, such as 30 to 60 days. In that case, there is a chance the insurance company could void your policy, and the property then becomes uninsured. While vacant home insurance costs approximately 50% more than your standard homeowner’s policy, the peace it gives you while you are away from home will be worth it. American Modern Insurance can help you with your vacant home insurance needs.