Vacation and Second Home Insurance
Whether you own a summer beach house, cabin by the lake or cozy cottage near your favorite ski resort, you want to make sure that the place you go to relax and make memories is protected. Just as you safeguard your primary home from the unexpected with homeowners insurance, you’ll want a vacation home or second home insurance policy to cover the structure and contents of your secondary home.
Why Do You Need Vacation Home Insurance?
Below are some common risks associated with vacation homes that you’ll want to keep in mind. This way, when working with your agent to customize your coverage, you’ll know what kind of protection to have in place.
Longer Vacancy Times
When a house isn’t your primary home, more often than not, it’s left unoccupied. In fact, most vacation homes are unoccupied at least part of the year. And though you or a caretaker may check in regularly to make sure everything is in order, empty houses carry a higher risk of unreported (or late-reported) dangers, like leaks, fires, vandalism and theft.
Increased Threat of Theft
Houses that are even temporarily unoccupied carry a greater risk of theft. If you’re renting the house out to guests for part of the year, visitors may pose a risk as well.
Environmental Dangers to Your Vacation Home
The features you appreciate most about your vacation home, like the waterfront view or resort location, could increase the chances that your property is affected by a natural disaster, like a flood, hurricane, earthquake or wildfire. You’ll need to purchase additional insurance coverage to protect the structure and your belongings from these types of disasters. Your agent will be familiar with the area you live in and can help you determine which natural disaster coverages may be important for you to have.
Potential Guest Issues
Do you like to host guests on your property? Make sure you understand how your liability coverage protects you. Liability insurance is included in the policy you purchase for your secondary home and protects you from accidental bodily injury to another person or damage to their property. It’ll help cover things like medical expenses, legal fees if you’re sued, or paying for the damage you cause to another person’s property. Your agent can help walk you through your liability limits to ensure they’re adequate for your needs.
Home Insurance Options for Your Second Home
Now that you better understand the types of risks your vacation home is susceptible to, here are a few coverages we suggest to make sure your vacation home is protected. Here are some options to consider:
Protecting the Property in Your Vacation Home
Consider all the belongings in your vacation home — like your furniture, electronics, clothing and appliances. You work hard for all the things that make your place a comfortable and entertaining place to visit, and personal property coverage is one way to ensure you’ll have the means to repair or replace them if they’re damaged by a covered loss, such as theft, fire, lightning and more.
With personal property protection, you’ll have coverage up to a certain limit for the value of the items you own. Your agent can help you determine how much coverage you’ll need, and make sure to ask them about your option to broaden your protection with itemized personal property coverage. For more valuable or unique items in your vacation home, such as antiques or art, you can add an increased level of coverage by where they’ll also be covered for a larger range of risks.
Umbrella Insurance for Your Vacation Home
A personal umbrella policy can provide greater liability protection for all your homes, so ask your agent if this might be the right move for you. If you face a substantial claim or lawsuit, umbrella coverage will help pay the outstanding costs not covered by your homeowners insurance or liability policy.
Flood Insurance for Your Vacation Home
If your second home is near a body of water, like an ocean or lake, a flood insurance policy with the National Flood Insurance Program can keep all the things you work so hard for protected. Even if you’re confident your vacation home isn’t at risk for a flood, you may still want to consider this coverage, as one-fourth of all flood claims occur in low- to moderate-risk areas, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. These policies protect your second home and its contents in the case of potentially costly damage.
How Much Does Vacation Home Insurance Cost?
Ranging anywhere from 2-3 times the cost of a comparable homeowners policy, vacation home insurance costs can run anywhere from $2,000 - $3,000 annually. The increase in cost is due to the higher risk vacant properties face. But you may be able to save by adding a smart home security system which can alert you to property issues in real-time.
Vacation Rental Insurance
If you own a vacation rental property or a home you’ve decided to offer up for short-term rentals through home-sharing programs, you may think you’re covered for damage, theft or liability involving short-term renters through your homeowners policy. But homeowners insurance is meant to apply to owner-occupied properties, not short-term rentals or home-sharing, so you may not be covered. Look into temporary rental insurance to ensure you don’t face gaps in coverage.
If you’re considering having long-term tenants in your second home, talk to your agent about landlord insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Insuring a Vacation Home
Finding the right coverage for your second home or vacation rental can be tricky. We’ve put together a list of common questions to help you feel more informed as you’re considering your options.