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Will Your Insurance Pay If Vandals Strike?

When people buy homeowner’s insurance, they usually intend for it to cover the home in which they live. That is also the insurance company’s expectation, and most of the time, that is the case. However, sometimes circumstances change and the home is left empty. For example, the family goes on a weeklong vacation, or one that lasts a month or more. One member of the couple may accept a temporary job transfer that will last for a few years, and they may decide not to sell the home. In other cases, the family may move into a new home but find themselves unable to sell the prior one. In all of these cases, the home is rendered either unoccupied or vacant. This change in status can affect the insurance coverage.

The standard homeowner’s policy provides coverage for losses caused by vandalism and malicious mischief. For example, the policy will pay for the repair and replacement of windows if the family comes home and finds all of the first floor windows broken. A reasonable person could conclude that vandals broke the windows. However, the policy will not pay if the home has been vacant for more than 60 days. Insurance companies design the policies and set the prices under the assumption that a home will be occupied. A vacant building is vulnerable to damage by vandals, so the companies have designed other policies to cover them.

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