Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments you will make, and yet there are times people are not sufficiently insured when they list or buy their home. I want to share some information that I hope will keep you out of trouble, save you some money and frustration.
Whenever I sit down with a client to list their house, or when they are going to purchase a house, I find out if they will be living in the home throughout the listing or right after purchase. If I learn the house will be vacant for a period of time I have them call their insurance company or agent to verify their property is covered while they are not there. I have seen a few clients learn the hard way about insurance coverage. One client had a rental property; they had not had it rented in two months. They lived out of town and asked if I would stop in and check on the house. Phoenix had a large storm come through a few days prior and they just needed some reassurances. To my surprise I walked into a back room, that had an entrance to the outside, and the door had a leak. The leaky door caused water to flood the room and in that short time a lot of damage was done. When my client called the insurance company they found out that because the property was vacant more than 30 days, and they didn’t have a vacant property policy, they were not covered. That was more than $10,000 worth of repairs out of their pocket.
According to Jim Hunt, who has 25 years of experience with Henderson Insurance Agency, if your house is going to be completely vacant more than 30 days, you should discuss what your current policy covers for 30 days. Find out what won’t be covered after 30 days.
Another client I listed moved out of their home and unfortunately a neighborhood teen had decided to use it as a crash pad. Fortunately, no damage was done. She did have a vandalism rider so if something happened she would have been covered.
If you take a long vacation you will want to check in. If you are a seasonal visitor you will want to verify your coverage. These are scenarios when most people don’t think about specialized insurance coverage unless it is too late. The phone call is easy and it will certainly give you piece of mind and protect your investment.
• Christie Ellis, owner of United Brokers Group, is a real estate broker specializing in the Ahwatukee area. She is the author of “Real Estate Agent CEMETERY: How to Survive the Fears, Challenges, and Mistakes That Can Kill Your Real Estate Career.” Reach her at (480) 201-3575 or www.StopTheCarThisIsIt.com.