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10 Do check and update your insurance policies.

When you leave your home for extended stays away, upon your return, you don’t want to find out that something disastrous occurred and your insurance company denies the claim and will not cover the damages.

Be sure you know the contact number for your insurance representative should an unexpected event occur in your absence.

Be sure you have the correct policy in place to cover your home while you are away.

Do you know the difference between a vacant home and an unoccupied home? A vacant home is described as empty and personal belongings are no longer on the property and the utilities may be shut off. An unoccupied home is described as the property has been left as if the owners will return at any time.

Insurance.com lists the different reasons why your home may be empty, unattended or vacant for a lengthy period of time. Take a look at some of the empty home scenarios;

    • Dividing time: primary and vacation home

    • Medical treatment

    • Renovating

    • Renting or selling

    • Traveling

Value Penguin states that buying an endorsement could cost you as much as 50% of your homeowner’s insurance annual premium.

They also say that two insurance companies Farmers Insurance and State Farm offer the best options for unoccupied and vacant home insurance.

Insurance.com offers tips on how to save on empty home insurance.

Asking a house sitter to watch over an empty home may help reduce your insurance cost. Individual insurance companies vary in the way they view house sitters. Russ Dubisky, executive director of the South Carolina Insurance News Service says that having a house sitter or neighbor check on your property may not make a difference to your insurance company, since the property is not occupied by the owner.

On the other hand, “MetLife views a home with a house sitter as occupied, so no surcharge is applied while the sitter is in residence,” says Richard Caughron, a senior product manager at MetLife.

Bottom line is you need to know what is covered under your homeowners insurance policy.  Be proactive and have peace of mind that you are covered. Below you will see a few tips to move you forward.

    Pull your policy out, read it and ask questions.

    Research the companies take on this subject.

    Email your concerns to your insurance agent.

    Research the difference between your neighbor, friend or house sitter and a professional accredited, insured and bonded home watch company such as Gotta Gal Home Watch.