Owning a vacation home is a goal for many people. But to protect their investment, second home insurance is required. In most circumstances, homeowners need to buy a separate policy for their vacation home to protect the property against fire, theft, and wind damage.
In this article, you can learn more about vacation home coverage, what is covered by these policies, and which factors affect the cost of second home insurance.
What is Vacation Home Insurance?
Anyone who wants to buy a vacation home or second property will typically need to purchase a second home insurance policy. Second home insurance covers homes that are not primary residences.
Because vacation homes are not continuously occupied, many insurance companies consider them a higher risk. Many second homes are beachfront properties or located in remote areas and are not occupied all year.
Since they are only occupied a few times a year, they are more vulnerable to vandalism or theft. Additionally, burst pipes, leaking roofs, or other structural issues often go unnoticed in homes unoccupied for extended periods, increasing the level of damage.
What Does Second Home Insurance Cover?
Second home insurance is similar to traditional home insurance but with some crucial differences. Since the home is not lived in all the time, vacation home coverage does not cover all the things a typical homeowners policy might cover. Instead, the insurance company may build the policy around specific types of losses.
For example, vacation home coverage is typically built around specific events that may be relevant to the home and location. These “named perils” could include damage sustained from:
- Fire and smoke.
Additionally, liability coverage is another factor for secondary homeowners to consider. Liability insurance covers personal injuries that occur while someone is visiting the property. In addition, these policies can include medical payment coverage, which covers medical bills for injuries sustained in the event of an accident in the secondary home.
What Factors Affect Second Home Insurance?
Because second homes are considered a higher risk, these insurance policies can be more expensive than traditional homeowner insurance. But, of course, this largely depends on the type of coverage required, with several factors affecting the premium cost.
Often the things that make a vacation home so appealing are elements that place it in a higher risk category, for example, a waterfront location. Unfortunately, these sought-after features can make a home more costly or difficult to insure.
Additionally, second home premiums may be affected by the home being built in areas that are prone to natural disasters like:
- Forest fires.
Another factor that can affect the cost of the insurance premium is the type of property. Smaller properties like mountain cabins or condos will typically be less expensive to insure. In comparison, multi-story beachfront properties will come with higher premiums.
Additionally, the home’s amenities can also be a factor in the cost of insurance. Amenities like finished basements, pools, home theaters, and fireplaces are amenities that can raise the cost of insurance.
Property Age and Condition
A home’s age and overall condition are also factors that insurance companies consider when calculating the premium. For example, poorly maintained older homes are far more likely to cause problems and often have a higher premium. Conversely, new or well-maintained homes are considered less risky for insurers.
Depending on the location, secondary insurance may be required for some vacation homes. For example, beach or lakefront properties may require separate flood insurance policies.
Likewise, if a property is in an area with a risk of hurricane damage, homeowners should ensure adequate coverage to protect their investment.
What Insurance is Required to Rent a Vacation Home Out?
While many people like to keep a vacation home so they can pack up and escape the city at a moment’s notice, vacation homes can also be a good source of income. Some vacation homeowners rent the home out during times they are not occupying the home.
However, renting out a vacation home could mean purchasing additional insurance to cover liability, medical payments, or bodily harm. This coverage can translate into extra costs to insure the vacation property.
There are several things to consider for homeowners who plan to rent out their vacation property, such as how long they plan to use it as a rental. Therefore, it is beneficial to get a short-term or a long-term rental insurance policy, depending on the amount of time the property is used as a rental each year.
Secondly, homeowners should be aware that while rental coverage protects the home, it does not cover the renter’s belongings. As a result, the homeowner should recommend their renters obtain renter’s insurance to protect themselves should a problem arise.