Insurance for vacation homes, vacant homes, and rentals

Posted on May 24, 2023 at 8:00 AM by Town & Country Insurance

If you own a summer beach house, cabin, or vacation rental that sits vacant for long periods, a seasonal/secondary home insurance policy may protect your property, belongings, and assets similar to the way your primary home's insurance policy does. You may also need landlord insurance if you plan to rent out your vacation home. Seasonal/secondary homes generally cost more to insure than your primary residence due to the additional risks involved, and coverage may be more restrictive than a home insurance policy on your primary residence.

Do I need a second home insurance policy for a vacation home?

If you're financing a second home, your lender will require insurance for your vacation home to help protect their investment. Even if your vacation home is paid in full, it's a significant asset, so you'll want to protect the property against damage from covered perils.

What does a second home insurance policy cover?

A home insurance policy on a seasonal/secondary home usually provides the same coverage as the policy on your primary home. These coverages include the dwelling itself, other structures on the property, personal property, liability, and more. As with your principal residence, insurance on a seasonal/secondary home should cover potential damage caused by fire, storms, water, and other acts of nature. However, some seasonal/secondary home insurance policies only cover perils specifically named in the policy. In that case, any damage that occurs due to an event other than the named perils won't be covered.

How do I insure my vacation rental home?

If you rent out a vacation home, you'll need landlord insurance. Landlord insurance may cover damage to your property’s structure, personal liability, and loss of rent due to a covered loss.

Does insurance work differently for a vacant home?

In most instances, a standard homeowners insurance policy won't cover damage to a vacant home. If your vacation home is going to remain unoccupied for weeks at a time, consider unoccupied home insurance, which is designed to provide coverage for unoccupied homes. Unoccupied or vacant home insurance is ideal if you travel for multiple weeks at a time, own a second home for seasonal living, or rent out a second home but are in between tenants.

Why is vacation home insurance more expensive?

If you own a vacation home or beach house, insurance rates may be higher because it's considered a higher-risk property than your primary residence. There are various reasons second homes are deemed riskier, such as:

Greater chance of burglary:

Since vacant or unoccupied homes are more likely to be targeted by intruders than an occupied home, the risk to your insurance company is more prevalent.

Hazards are more likely to go undetected:

Homes that sit unoccupied are more susceptible to damage such as leaks, burst water pipes, fires, and undetected mold.

Location risks:

The location of the home can also impact home insurance rates for vacation homes. Vacation or summer homes are often located in higher-risk areas such as near the beach where flooding and hurricanes are more likely to occur, or in remote, heavily wooded areas where forest fires may be an issue. Homes that are off the grid and have no running water or electricity don’t require special insurance but may also be riskier to insure, as these homes rely on fireplaces or coal stoves for heat.


Please note: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of insurance. This information is not an insurance policy, does not refer to any specific insurance policy, and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions expressly stated in any insurance policy. Descriptions of all coverages and other features are necessarily brief; in order to fully understand the coverages and other features of a specific insurance policy, we encourage you to read the applicable policy and/or speak to an insurance representative. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. Whether an accident or other loss is covered is subject to the terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in the claim. References to average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, costs of coverages/repair, etc., are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. We are not responsible for the content of any third-party sites linked from this page.

Categories: Property Insurance